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Napa’s 2017

Napa. Its seemingly daunting wine is made up of relatively simply shaped sub-regions. The clean-cut twelve seem well-fit into a geographical puzzle compared to the overlapping Russian nesting doll appellations of every other region in California, and I am 100% here for that. I finally ended last week's mental tug-of-war on whether or not to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference in neighbouring Santa Rosa, and I've decided to go but with as much cost-cutting as possible. Though it was super fun, one of the most interesting sessions was the discussion on the recent wine country fires: the panel included George Rose, photographer; Patsy McGaughy, of Napa Valley Vintners; and Pierre Bierbent, winemaker of Signorello Estates. The descriptions and statistics of the damage were heartbreaking, including 75,000 total acres burned and 652...

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Mendocino’s medicine-o

What terrible timing it was for the recent fires in California to start wreaking havoc around the same time as I started the California Wine Appellation Specialist course. It's so unfortunate that a recent masterclass helped surge personal interest in a wine region that went relatively ignored during my WSET diploma studies, only for the terrible news to ensue. I hope that by learning more about the region I'm doing a part to support them - and thusly I may also retract my decision to not attend this year's Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa? Sigh. We'll see. Testing my just-in-time schedule, I rushed out of the door from work to make it to class, being the last of the group that was on time,...

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Sissy That Wine: Trixie Mattel and Katya

My current journey has led me to San Francisco's tech world, where the constant and profuse flow of genius rarely wanes. This city has drilled its tech life into me so viciously that I regretfully find myself trying to turn every non-work situation into a slightly more productive one. Did I buy a bottle of Dolcetto to enjoy before going to see Trixie Mattel's drag show, only to force myself to write a detailed draft blog post on the grape? Possibly. Did I hand out two sets of business cards to four people I met in line for Katya's drag show? Maybe. Did I use the 60 seconds I had, meeting Trixie and Katya, to ask what their favourite wines were? A strong and unabashed "perhaps". Thusly, enter: drag queens...

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Demière-Ansiot Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut

I'm not going to pretend that an ill-planned day involving a rideshare vehicle arriving at the same time as an unexpectedly delayed train deserves a bottle of wine, but I'm going to go ahead and say that it does because my standards are low this week. Maybe they usually are? Part of me wonders whether watching all three seasons of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix counts as doing something productive on my spare time - though a friend unquestionably defeated me in that domain by finishing up the first season at the gym. I've convinced myself that kneading dough burns calories though, or maybe I'm just doing it wrong: one particular odd spark of inspiration on a Monday involved my regular two pans of cauliflower pizza followed...

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Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri 2017: Franciacorta, the other other other sparkling wine

I've always been a bubbly enthusiast - bar the brief phase as a neophyte, vehemently denouncing the region of Champagne out of myopic unfamiliarity ("why would you pay hundreds of dollars for sparkling bread water?!") - but for some reason the ember has recently been amplified for at least a modicum of time. It struck me as a bit odd, since the grandes marques of the wine world are the opposite of the dark horses I like to champion, but I've popped open a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck's non-vintaged brut (it was on sale, obviously), as I pound away at a daunting spreadsheet covering what I've deemed are the 70-or-so most important Champagne houses, everything down to oak regimes, house styles, or whether or not they were fucked over during an acquisition. Fascination...

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On Nova Scotian bubbles, mature Friulano, and aged Californian Chardonnay

It's an odd feeling - I've spent a decent spoonful of my adult life working outside of Canada, enough that I have to think twice about which boxes and lines I have to fill out on forms. Also very real: living through the lengthy process of waiting at the DMV, and wondering whether I should list my height in centimetres to throw the workers off, only to realize that it's probably best not to potentially risk going back to the end of the line. Can Fahrenheit not? Wine availability, politics, and markets are markedly different in Vancouver compared to San Francisco, and keeping my nose close to both is a bit of a challenge, especially with the constantly evolving wine scene in Canada. During a visit back home, my mission of going to...

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Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri 2017: On Prosecco, Italy’s power bottom

I have no real desire to flesh out this (very real) analogy to fruition, but should it end up inadvertently educating you, my job here is done! I have even less desire to write another several paragraphs about how much I think people should ditch the tank method Italian sparkling for something yeastier and Maillard-esque. Sorry, guys: sometimes Prosecco is exactly what you need when you're recording a drag podcast at 11AM on a Monday with your friend who's in Barcelona (his clock: 8PM). Stop telling me to ditch pears for dough, and soft padding for the sting of overinflated volleyballs. Which were never passed to me in high school gym class, anyways. It's obvious that the suited sommeliers don't flock to bottles of Prosecco at...

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16 sparkling wines to drink alone in your room on New Year’s Eve

Girl, do not limit yourself. You can pick any day! New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, or fuck: why not March 6th? I support you. On that note of celebrations, though, I don't understand why it's ridiculously vogue to aggressively bluster about how you're over partying with large crowds and noisy beats. We get it. Can you stop making me feel bad for not fitting into your definition of introvert, for once? I can be the biggest withdrawn human endlessly swaying to Björk and eating baby carrots, but maybe my version of Saturday night Chopin and Netflix occasionally involves enjoying a Hillary Clinton drag impersonator rip off four layered tearaway pantsuits in a row at a bar where I've made just the right amount of mistakes over the past few months....

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Rosé? For spring? Groundbreaking.

Seminar led by the Wine Diva, but I'm quoting diva Meryl Streep, obviously. If you didn't get that reference then why are we even friends? But really: I would wholeheartedly pair The Devil Wears Prada with a Loire wine. You'd need something light - maybe aloof - yet cutting, and dry. Also, that movie turns 10 this year? What? I've once again come a little too underdressed for such an event, but I can't help it because it's muggy, sunny, and I like mesh a little too much. Cool off with Loire wines? Probably one of the favourite French areas of from last year's Europe trip. My wallet cried. Anyways, I think my main point here is that people need to get excited about weird Chenin...

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The good, the bad, and the bubbly: 9 bottles to bathe in

Okay - not literally, obviously, but I'm waiting for Gwyneth Paltrow's new beauty regime that involves using a specific wines as exfoliants and face mask ingredients. Chardonnay from Puligny-Montrachet? Fuck that, she would say, with the flick of a finger. Chassagne-Montrachet is where it's at. Or blanc de blancs Champagne, only from the 1996 vintage. And, of course, cucumber slices. Maybe an avocado. Anyways, here's a random collection of bub. I've finally tried a legit sparkling Nebbiolo after having joked about it for so long, and then there's also a birth year bottle of Dom Pérignon, a stunningly electric sparkling British Columbian Riesling, and a collection of other cool and uncool bottles. It's become suddenly warm in Vancouver, and I broke the summer hiking...

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