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2015 ends and 2016 trends

I'm a bit late to this #bye2015hello2016 stuff! Anyways, I've said it way too many times than you care to read: I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. But this is the first year where reflecting and looking forward to the next year has felt the least forced. Despite my abrupt and perhaps ephemeral positivity, I won't be superimposing any fortune cookie pieces of advice onto filtered landscapes anytime soon - March seems to be my I-fucking-hate-everything downfall month anyway, so we'll see how much my outlook relapses. At the beginning of 2015, I made the tongue-in-cheek resolution to be a bit more selfish: to not to be guilt-ridden about having a balanced serving of things that make me happy and to give less of a shit about what...

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Barcelona: Cava to end the Saga

Spoiler alert: my few days in Spain were better than my two and a half weeks in France. Sorry, France. I was rooting for you, we were all rooting for you. #BeQuietTiffany Our hostel was superior to the one in Paris: Erin and I helped cook dinner one night, we met a Canadian from Edmonton, and we made a cab driver go through McDonalds after a hostel-hosted bar-hopping session that eventually ended on a club next to a beach. And then drinking on said beach, which was a reaaaaal big blur. Have you ever drunkenly told someone they look like Ygritte from Game of Thrones way too many times? There's a story later that night involving myself ejecting the Devil's Liquids from my soul, but...

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Pain in Champagne

When your only clean shirt is that floral one you bought in Paris, but everyone in this city dresses in understated colours, and then for some reason your ankle is busted in the morning so your swag level dips into the negative as you hobble past some college students who stare at you. I suppose life was finally punishing me for being so seemingly masturbatory on social media despite my lack of #blessed, and I thought sucking it up and drinking a couple of pints of beer in quick succession would numb the pain. But after dinner, we had to cab home not without me drawing more attention by hopping on one foot out of the fucking restaurant, though luckily Theran ran out...

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Chenin Flair in Savennières

I'm scared and embarrassed to accept what Erin and Theran say is true, which is that I inadvertently speak with a bit of a French accent when I talk in English with other French people. Gross. If I were a travel bingo card, would that be one of the squares? Right as we arrived in Angers, our Airbnb host Julien (who created this, by the way) drove us to our designated living quarters, in the centre of the city, where seemingly ancient buildings, castles, and churches were spiffily fused with fresh energy and bright streets you could get lost in. Not unlike the vitality of a non-vintage Champagne that has a dollop of older reserve wine added to its house blend, you know? Whatever. We learned that Julien once made a...

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Josh Likes Paris

I've unapologetically become my parents when it comes to travelling, which primarily means that I like to arrive at airports hours and hours before I realistically need to. Combine that with what Erin and I decided to drink the night prior, which was all of Cava, fresh hop beer, and bourbon. Why?! But the morning turned out fine, and we had shitty mimosas and beer at the airport to satisfy the unending ghosts of the night prior. The short layover in Montreal slowly eased us into our French-speaking modes, followed by a decent 7-hour flight to Paris. I sheepishly told the flight attendant that I would like the chicken option for dinner, which really just means I muttered "poulet". I don't remember what in-flight movie I...

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New York with Age; Brazil on the Page; Tuscany Backstage

There was another set of seminars: I had to choose between a study on South American wines, the range of Riesling grown in Alsace, or the aging potential of New York wines. When Brandon Seager - the Chair of the Winemaking Department at Tompkins College, Winemaker, and Finger Lakes Wine Country LGBT Ambassador (cool, I didn't even know that was a thing!) - used Brad Pitt analogies and pictures to explain the nuances of wine aging, I knew that I had chosen the right seminar. Huzzah. The wines were what I was mostly looking forward to, especially the aged ice wine, which can be quite a divisive topic when it comes to cellaring wine. Opponents of the idea believe that ice wine...

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“The Fizzyology of Lambrusco”

There's something about Lambrusco I'm not totally drawn to, despite its joyful distinctive sparkling red incarnation (or more infrequently, rosé, and even more infrequently, white). It might be because, at face value, its red form seems like a combination of competing textures, like bubble wrap made out of velvet, or carbonated lube. I once wrote an in-class essay on how Lambrusco - and other sparkling reds, really - are going to be the next ~big thing~ after Prosecco, because something something Millennials something 80s revival something something. Like Christina Aguilera sampling a-ha. Indeed, the Lambrusco cycle is apparently rotating back to the side of popularity. "Trust me. Just try it with food," is the everlasting Lambrusco (Lambruscan?) promise that I never trusted until this seminar, because there's something...

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Josh tastes 118 wines at Top Drop

If there was one unforgettable takeaway uttered by a wine god during this year's Wine Bloggers Conference, it was the keynote speaker Karen MacNeil (author of the Wine Bible) who opined - and I'm paraphrasing, here - that people should pay more attention to tasting the wines during such events. Of course, I was thrilled, because that gave me even more validation to ignore people. Ha! Key advice when the militant goal is to taste every wine during a well-curated tasting, but it's harder than it sounds because I guess I like to wave and flail at people. A regretful ode to the few tables I did not get to visit: Anthonij Rupert, Badia a Coltibuono, Elio Altare, Giusti, Latta, Montenidoli, Orofino, Scribe, Spottswoode Estate,...

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Josh tastes 41 New York wines

I can be a combination of thrifty and stubborn. If I'm spending money to fly to New York for the Wine Bloggers Conference, there's no way I'm going to waste a single sober second not writing down a tasting note. I'm getting my money's worth, y'all. Militantly shoving my head in between suits and dresses has trained me for these moments (I wonder if I was born easily?), and I planned to taste every wine in the damn room during the opening reception. Which I did, I think. Followed by cocktails, because why not gloss over my dying mouth with vodka? I obviously tasted fewer wines than that time I tasted 173 BC wines in a row, but the BC torture session was in a brightly-lit room...

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Finger Lakes: first spits and fire pits

More wine in this post, I promise! For some reason I was not tired after The Night Of No Sleep. My body knew. On a rainy morning dodging puddles and people, Christine, Amy, Leeanne, Sujinder and I bussed up to Elmira from NYC. This of course involved a cryptic and boisterous man who sat behind our group and modified the intensity of his New York accent depending on who he was talking to on the phone, including Joey, which included a mild conversation about picking up sodas at the dollar store; and then Beryl, to whom he aggressively told to check her mailbox and to "not worry about it" (severed hand?!). Obviously the world knew our NYC experience wasn't over yet, and we've accomplished...

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