Friday, January 29, 2010

Long Day Before A Short Trip To Texas

I woke at 5:30 yesterday morning feeling restless, antsy, anxious, like my mind was far more awake than my body was even close to being. I found myself laying in bed rubbing my feet back and forth atop one another, rubbing my eyes, trying to take deep sleep welcoming breaths…yeah, didn’t work. My mind was going a mile a minute, thinking about the tasting I was to do later in the afternoon, lost on some tiny piece of dream….a man walking on a porch, little bits of storm shrapnel crunching beneath his feet, hands shoved deep in his pockets, eyes locked on a bright shining moon, eyes full of hope, heart full of questions…I felt myself wondering if we had met, did I know him, should I know him…yeah this is the shit that comes racing to my feeble, damaged mind in the wee small hours, and you people wonder why I drink?!

I grew tired of waiting for a rest that was not going to come. Slithered out of the covers making sure not to wake my deep breathing, (that’s nice for snoring) husband, and made my way to the kitchen to the coffee pot. Hit the, “For The Love Of All That Is Holy Please Go” button and settled into my little, (well not that little) ass shaped spot on the couch. So here’s the thing…normal people are like sleeping at that ungodly hour, no new posts from fellow bloggers, a couple emailed photos from friends travelling through France, but for the most part…nada. Ended up watching American Justice and can I just give you dudes a tip, just leave your wives…don’t kill them, you are not going to get away with it, trust me…I watched like a giant chunk of this show…hours of it, and you aint getting away it, trust me. My hubby is a brilliant man but should he come at me with insurance papers, I am not only shooting him the hairy eyeball, I am misspelling my name.

Got into work and was inundated with wines sales reps. Corks popping, glug-glug-glug of a wine splashing in my glass, the somewhat soothing feeling of a pen in my hand….my script, my hand, my eyes closed trying to drown out their yammering….trying to picture myself on a porch, storm shrapnel crunching under my feet…silence, closed eyes full of hope, heart full of questions. My, “dream man” was with me as I scribbled my notes this afternoon, my unshakeable 5:30 vision was beside me, reminding me…”find hope. Find answers.” My sleep deprived melon was revived by the crunch of his feet, the longing in his eyes….tired or not, I was still going to focus, find, and seek. I tasted, laughed and blew off many a sales rep yesterday afternoon, but I found a few things. A wicked cool Anjou blanc, sexy as all get out, ripe pears, minerals and just a faint touch of Sherry…scintillating. A Hermitage, a 2000 Hermitage that was refined….pure, focused and set this girl back, reeling on her heels….coming soon.

Finished with my reps with just enough time to ready for my tasting. I was feeling good, so ready to turn some folks onto Camille Saves Champagne…was heartbroken to find that they really didn’t give a crap. I had some of my beloved regulars, people there to taste and really understand, but for the most part…these people were just there to taste wine and break my bawls. I had a guy, rather un-attractive in that….slim, balding-but-I’m-gonna-still-dye-it, wrinkled Target collared shirt and oddly fitting cargo pants, kinda way. He rolled in with three girls, big shot right…yeah, the girls. They were made up but, how do I say this…nature was not kind, they like fell out the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Hey, he was feeling all, “Heff” and who am I to burst his bubble? Truth be told I was kind of digging his swagger, he was feeling it, the girls were in, who the hell am I to yuck someone’s yum. That was until he started giving me crap about the size of my pours, dude. “How about you pour me a bigger one seeing as I am a big guy” said my wannabe, and I looked at his five foot nine frame, surrounded by those heavily perfumed one-offs…short skirts, stockings, that long sexy eyebrow running across their foreheads, “Sir, these glasses hold almost a bottle of wine each. It might look like a small pour but I assure you there is plenty of wine in there for you to smell and taste” He looked at me like I was speaking pig latin, “I don’t care about smelling it, I’m trying to get drunk” he responded, making sure to look at his homely harem while shaking his head. I caved, gave him just a splash more, (and he complained to his gaggle of ducklings, of the ugly variety) and felt myself snarling as he raised his glass, looked at my pour and herded his….sheep to the cheese table for dinner.

Half way into the tasting my jaw was tight, felt each and every little swipe from those that felt their $10.00 entrance fee entitled them to behave like pompous jackasses. “Give me more, I am a regular” comments just making me cringe, made me cringe as they are regular….regular cheese buyers. Oh don’t get me wrong, I love anyone that is willing to plunk down their cash in the store but…forgive me if I don’t pour unlimited amounts of eighty dollar Champagne when I know you are walking out with a bottle of six dollar Spanish wine and a chunk of cheese. Been at the shop too long, yes I know you are going to buy something but I can’t just keep pouring you more because, “These are too expensive for me to buy”….yes, what someone told me. Your tasting fee entitles you to one taste of each wine and unlimited amounts of cheese and bread….when I look at the wines we were tasting; four wines the least expensive was $57.00, it really is a wicked deal, no one was getting screwed, so why the unrelenting hammering on me for more?!

Finished the tasting, not sure we sold any wine…wait, I know by beloved Vicki bought a bottle but other than that, think it was a bust. Kills me, that just kills me, those are some of the most earth shattering wines I have ever had the pleasure of putting to my lips. Camille Saves, if you have not as of yet tasted these…seriously, get off yer rump. Each and every wine is enthralling, captivating, sexy as all get out. The Carte Blanche, ($56.99) showed the flashiest, tons of ripe, round fruit, studded with bits of raw dough and a sexy little snap on the back. The Carte d’Or, ($72.99) was my favorite of the day….very serious, minerals, dark red fruit, citrus and a thread of yeastiness that was relentless. The 2000 vintage, (sold out) was a crowd favorite, massive in the mouth, big fruit, big toast and yeast and big ass finish. Had one customer that I adore, that was kind of “Meh” about Champagne, change is mind once he tasted this wine…created a convert. The Rose, ($74.99) while popular was my least favorite of the day, showing a touch of stink on the nose, black cherries, tangerine and pie crust but…just seemed lacking in the depth and expansion that the other wines had.

Got home not feeling at all like making dinner, (leaving for Texas in the morning) and the rest of the evening went like this….




Marioitas, wicked good. What you see here is why we go to this old school joint, chips and salsa and delicious drinks. The food? Um...


Yeah, what's under all that goo? Have no idea but everything you order at Mario's looks like this and is at your table like five minutes after you order it.


Winding down.....




Is there a better way to end your day? Freaking un-tied...socks off, hot water, Dave Matthews, (Google Alert, C'mon Dave) and a glass of crisp white wine....

Popped a bottle of 2008 Roland Schmitt Pinot Blanc, ($15.99) a wine I happen to think is one of the best, most versatile food wines we carry but…I was so just looking for lightness, refreshment, pleasure…and it was so willing to give it to me. So clean and refreshing, bright exuberant fruit, kisses of spice and citrus and the perfectly balanced wine just seemed to shimmy on my palate, lift the snarl right off my mug leaving just a hint of peach and wet river stones….delightful.

Wandered off to bed, sleepy...mildly buzzy, thinking about seeing my Amy & Sexy Bitch the next day. As my mind began to shut down I thought of my, "dream man" once again, the way this person I had never met was able to stay with me all day, make me wonder, focus and keep cool under some rather trying situations. Don't know who he is but if I did...I'd be giving him the sweetest of kisses and offering him a glass of wine. Thanks dude, whoever you are...I owe you one.

Off to, "The Big D"....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Just Can't Do This Anymore

You know those moments in your life, those rare moments of complete clarity. Where your mind finally wins the battle with the heart takes control and kind of shakes you by the shoulders. Through clinched teeth whispers in your ear, “You can’t do this anymore. You have to just let go” and you feel your heart sink a bit from knowing that it is in fact the right thing to do….I am caught in the middle of one of those heart and head battles and I think this time, this time I have to let go of the heart and listen to my head. While it may break my heart, leave me missing and longing, wondering if there is any way to go back to where we were, in the long run….this is what has to happen if I am ever to find real happiness, pleasure and not end up broken, disappointed and feeling as if I have been played for a fool.

I am nothing if I am not loyal, once you have my heart, (not that easy to steal by the way) you have it for a very long time and I can endure many an argument or stumble along the way, my love is hard to win but easy to keep….that is unless you continue to hurt or disappoint me without any of those heart pounding, inspirational moments of passion that make it all worth it. I tend to love with my whole heart and through the years my heart has grown, learned to expand and accept the new but I never, not ever…lose my passion or fierce love for those that came before. I will fight and defend those I love with a tenacity that leaves those who dare to cast aspersions, licking their wounds and thinking twice before ever crossing or questioning my affection again. This is what I have always given you, what was yours for the taking…my love, my fight, my passion, but I just can’t keep giving while getting nothing, nothing tangible, nothing real in return.

I just can’t keep doing this, can’t keep pretending you are something you’re not. Keep ignoring the comments from friends and loved ones, their concern is weighing heavy on my heart and no matter how I try to justify this relationship we have….I simply cannot keep putting myself through this. I feel as if I have really tried, tried to hold on, waiting for you to be what I remember…to thrill me as you used to, but I simply cannot keep trying when I get nothing but disappointment and heartbreak from you.

I will forever remember you for what you were, no amount of time will ever destroy the memories I’ve stored deep in my heart about you…your touch will forever be a part of the woman I am, but I have to let go now before the heartbreak chips away at the little pieces of joy that I am still able to hold onto….I need to let you go just so I can still hold in my heart how beautiful what we had once was. Let me, let me have that….please. I hope that one day you are able to find your balance, and that you will be able to touch a woman the way you once touched me…it was lovely while it lasted but I simply have to walk away now.

Today will forever be the day that I broke up with one of the most powerful loves I ever had, one that I held on to for far too long and tried desperately to overlook the changes that were happening right under my nose….I just can’t do it anymore and so it is with a heavy heart that bid a farewell to my once beloved New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. A wine that once sent my heart and palate reeling and now leaves me flat and feeling like I am drinking the water that is left over after steaming vegetables. Just cannot spend one more of my hard earned dollars on the too ripe, top heavy, seriously out of balance wine that I have been tasting the past couple years…so sad.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Just Curious, When Did Sweet Become The "S" Word?

So I have been wrestling with this post, not the writing part (which is my usual issue) but if I should even bother. It’s been done, the argument had and the outcome is always the same…nothing is ever resolved, both camps believing they are right and the other must be high. So why bother bringing it up again…just not so good with the whole, “leaving well enough alone” deal I guess. After tasting and commenting on a bunch of California wines this past weekend the whole thing came up again….sweetness.

Now before anyone goes jumping on my neck let me just say, sweetness, perceived or actual is all in the palate of the beholder. I don’t wish to continue the argument about what is sweet and what is not, or if the, “perceived” sweetness is from actual residual sugar, alcohol or oak…wanna know why? Because it doesn’t freaking matter! Who cares what is giving the “impression” of sweetness, if the wine tastes sweet, it is freaking sweet. This thing drives me nuts, every time I taste something and say, “it’s a little sweet” I get to hear the speech again, “Oh no, that wine is not sweet, there’s no RS on that wine. If you are getting a perceived sweetness it might be from the oak” this speech is always delivered with the slightly aghast, how dare you say that, face.

Two things about this whole thing twist my undies; one is the arrogance of one person telling another what they are tasting or worse, that they are tasting wrong…who the hell do you think you are?! What I taste, how I taste and my perceptions are correct…for me. Would I turn around and tell a customer that the wine is sweet, probably not, not unless I knew their palate well enough to know that it would likely taste sweet to them. All taste is subjective, some people have a higher threshold for sweetness than I do, matter of fact I think most do. I don’t drink soda, will take cheese over dessert every time and I even put salt on my fruit for balance, I don’t find pleasure in sweetness but I would never call it a flaw. The other thing that gives my knickers a twist is the fact that those people that scrunch up their face when I say I am getting sweetness on a wine, see that as me pointing out a fault or flaw….when did, “sweet” become a bad word?!

I just don’t get it, some of the world’s greatest wines are sweet, some of the most respected, most sought after, most expensive…but I mention that I got sweetness on a Marcassin Pinot Noir and I get the scrunchy face and speech. Did I say I didn’t like the wine? Did I say that it was in any way jacked up?! No, as a matter of fact I rather liked the wine, it was sweet to me but I still liked it, was still able to taste things beyond the initial, “perception” of sweetness…so what gives? Why the defensive attacks on people’s palate when they mention sweetness? Why be defensive at all? Somehow we can talk about animal pee and poo but mention sweet and the fancy pants wine police thump you about the head and shoulders. Fruit is supposed to be sweet right; I mean you rarely see a shelf talker that says, “aroma of under ripe cherries” do you?

Last month I was given a box of rare and very special California wines, a beloved friend was trying to show me, teach me really, what great California wine can be…that Marcassin Pinot Noir was one of those wines and I popped it at work to share with the kids. I was tickled by the wine, I knew it was special and alone gave me a giggle, here I was the proud owner of this hard to get bottle of California wine. It was a gift from someone I absolutely adore, nother giggle. When I took my first deep whiff I must confess that my brow furrowed a bit…brown sugar, not my favorite thing to find in any wine, but I kept trying and I was able to pick out some cooked black cherries….ripe ones even. I brought the wine to my lips and again was a bit taken aback by the sweetness, that smack of sweetness that seems to attack the very tip of my tongue, but the more I tasted the more I was able to pick up. I liked the wine, even ended up pouring myself a deep glass of it to keep me company while I was doing my closing duties.

The more of those wines I tasted the more I started to crave that little sweetness, the way it wrestled with my tongue…and won. I would get home and dip into my fridge to see what was next or, I would be having a glass from the bottle I had opened the night before, or the night before that…..and you see, the thing for me, the way I drink, I never have a leftover bottle of French wine to dip into. So while I may not always go for a second or third glass in one night, I find that sweetness quite pleasant. Now I’m starting to wonder if I should be using some other term to describe that, “sucrosity” that I tend to perceive when tasting a lot of domestic wines….cuzz I’m getting kinda tired of picking at that crusty old scab of a conversation about residual sugar. If it tastes sweet to me than it’s sweet….to me and I personally don’t think sweet is a bad word.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


So okay, I know I share a bunch of stuff here in this space, you all know far more about me than I am guessing you would like. I stand before you naked time and time again, my life, my friendships, my overindulgence…my heart; it is all out here on display for you all to read in between my miscellaneous wine posts or rants about this and that. Not sure if that brings you closer or runs you off, guessing it is a bit of both. Some stay, follow me along in my quest and self exploration and others will flee in search of something more wine focused. I get it and don’t blame the ones that bail, adore the ones that stay and support me on my baby-legged stumble to find my voice in this big wine blogging world. For those that stay I continue to share, share my stories, my inspiration and myself…the only thing I really have to give to thank you all, all those fingers in my back, those eyes on me, that drive that pushes me to continue talking, oozing, waxing rhapsodic about whatever it is that bounces into this wacky head of mine…

So this evening, all alone in my home, I started thinking about sharing, how lovely, how codifying, how powerful it is but….sometimes, well sometimes it’s better alone. I’m willing to confess that sometimes pleasure is best served for one…especially when you are serving yourself.

Don’t go acting all shocked, don’t act like you don’t do it too, I know you all do, we all do, and sometimes there is nothing better than the pleasure one can derive than that from one’s own hand, one’s own voice and from one’s own purring sounds. Sure, the Internets assist, they lead us, toy with us; make us think of things that we might not have considered on our own. Offer scintillating photos of what we want, what we secretly ache for, make our mouths water for, “Just a taste” and then we are left to our own devices…our own will, our own want. Tonight I “wanted” more than I have in a very long time….alone or not, I was going to, have…take, and fucking feel…what I wanted, me and me alone.

To be alone with your, self seduction, the way you can feel the little hairs stand up on the base of your neck, the way the skin around your most sensitive parts seem to constrict, tighten and the way that feeling runs up the base of your spine. To have a room so silent that you can hear the groan of pleasure escape your lips, how sexy that echoing silence can be. Just you, your thoughts, your will, your want, your need…your nose caught up in the cacophony of scent, your palate wildly flicking away…bouncing, fighting to taste every last drop, the way your throat seems to expand to take it all in. There is nothing like it. Sharing is sweet, it’s wonderful but this feeling…unlike any other.

So tonight I pleasured myself, I’m not afraid to share that here. It felt fantastic, my hairs erect, my throat open, my heart open and me here, with all of you…exposing myself once again, sharing my self exploration with you. I opened a bottle of 2000 Paul Chapelle Meursault and drank the whole damn thing…alone. No one in my ear yammering about texture, length or premature oxidation, just me…alone in my library smelling home. Face washed, jammies on, little hairs tingling the base of my neck…

Great wine is best shared with people that can appreciate it, I have to agree….for the most part, but once in a while, there is nothing that can compare or compete with the knee weakening, heart pounding…….head spinning pleasure that can be had with a night of, “self pleasurevation”…

Monday, January 18, 2010

Highlights From A French Wine Weekend

This weekend just so happened to be a big French wine weekend at The Wine Country, first there was the Intro to French Wine class on Friday night and then Saturday afternoon we featured Cru Beaujolais and Value red Burgundy. So while I was a bit stressed on Friday, (newsletter stuff and I was nervous about doing my first ever joint class with Randy. We had never done a class together before and as I have mentioned here, like a million times…I am NOT a good teacher, Randy on the other hand, a great one. I was just so worried that I was going to be standing there looking like a complete idiot) it was all washed away with the aromas and flavors of a palate tour through the major wine growing regions of France. That and the crowd was truly enthralled with Randy’s presentation, many of which have a new found appreciation for those wines that I so adore…Randy has a gift I shall never posses…hell, he is the one that taught me. I left that evening full of inspiration, from the people willing to listen and open their minds to a whole new way of thinking about wine, about my boss’s ability to reach people and from tasting wines that were so pure, so beautifully balanced and that radiated their place…damn, I dig that.

We featured fifteen wines on Friday night, and nine on Saturday, would have been ten had we not had a last minute phone call asking if we would like to have Fred Scherrer come and pour at The Wine Country Saturday afternoon, um…yeah. So we dropped a bottle of Burgundy and poured four of the Scherrer wines, (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Zinfandel) and I gotta tell ya, even after tasting Beaujolais and Burgundy all afternoon, I really dug Fred’s wines. I found the Chardonnay full and focused with plenty of acidity, the Zinfandel while not my favorite varietal, was full of that spicy Zin flavor but did not assault my palate in anyway….well, other than it being a Zinfandel, not its fault. I thought the Pinot was out and out lovely, juicy primary fruit, pure Pinot Noir flavor, quite balanced and really easy to drink. To top it off, Fred was a really cool guy that even stayed after the tasting and sampled some of the wines we had open from the night before. Ended up being a fantastic weekend overall, the wines were just stunning and I felt that they deserved to be showcased one last time.


2007 Francois Chidaine Montlouis Les Tuffeaux, ($23.99) seems like every time we showcase a wine from Francois Chidaine it sells out, Friday night was no different. Ripe, round, succulent and the perfect combination of fruit and minerals. A wine of brilliant texture and balance that begs for pork, cheese, roast chicken or one more glass.

2008 Domaine Clape Les Vin des Amis, ($20.99) this wine even knocked Fred Scherrer on his ass. When Syrah is this pure and perfect…nothing can touch it. Violets, black pepper, minerals and black fruit with a friendly mouth feel and long refreshing finish. Seek this out…seriously.

2007 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape, ($61.99) yeah, at this price it had better be good…was! I’ve grown so weary of the trend in Rhone to crank out big gooey wines with deep extraction and tons of oak, wines that taste like they could have come from anywhere…just burns my ass but thankfully producers like this are still making wines with some restraint. Red fruit, wild herbs, with something somewhat savory mid palate. Big, big flavor without be clunked up or squished with oak, a very lovely offering that I would love to watch evolve over the next five years.

2008 Lapierre Morgon, ($22.99) this seemed to be a love it or hate it wine for people on Saturday afternoon. I was in the love it camp, this wine is so sultry, so fucking sexy…it just wrecks me. Going from Beaujolais to Beaujolais, loving them for their bright fruit and easy drinkability and then smelling this wine?! Gave me one of those, “Well hello there, how you doin’” moments. Wild strawberry, cooking spice and smoky meaty flavors…unlike the others in a way that drives me wild.

2007 Dominique Piron Brouilly, ($16.99) best vintage I have had from this favorite estate, hands-down, Bright perky fruit, tons of flavor, light weight and that zingy little snap that makes you long for another sip. If you’re going to buy one, get two….trust me.

2006 Pierre Guillemont Savigny-Serpentieres 1er Cru, ($29.99) um, can you say, “Stoopid Value”?! Cooked red fruit, sexy smoke, faint minerals and a creamy, slightly vanilla-like finish…bring on the roast beef, lamb chops or baked chicken.

2007 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Monthelie, ($26.99) this has been one of my favorite little Burgundies for that past few years, just so damned friendly. Bright red cherries, gentle earthiness and minerals with a pop of cranberry like tanginess. One sip leads to another….and another and, well you get it. Giant flavor without giant palate staining texture

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shoe On The Other Foot...

So when I think of the one moment that flipped the switch, that one little thing that made this all possible, I think of Tom Wark. The man, The myth, The legend…
Tom is the Blog Guy, he is… “The Cat” that makes it all go. Ask any blogger when their stat counter went all haywire, they will tell you, “It was after Tom interviewed me”..I am no different, hell I damn near peed myself when Tom asked if he could shine his little blogger light on me…I was fa-klepmt….I answered his questions, got my 6 comments and sat back waiting for the flood of adoring fans….yeah.

So I found myself struggling for content, just aching for something to write about, and after hearing me whine on facebook Tom just said, “well, you could interview me” I took it! I sat here in my humble abode, drinking Sauvignon de Saint Bris thinking…. “oh yeah, I gots some stuff I wanna know”
So this is what happens when you give a buzzy girl the floor…

When did you begin blogging and why on earth did you think anyone would give a rat’s ass?

I started FERMENTATION in late 2004. At the time I had no doubt that I could write a blog every bit as compelling as the other 3 wine blogs that existed at the time. As it turned out, for the first few months folks seemed to care more about the condition of rodents’ assess than they did about my blog.

Do you ever wish you had never started?

I never have wished that.

Boxers or Briefs?

Well, I’ve always been a big fan of the guys who get in the ring and practice the sweet science. On the other hand, I do love reading a well crafted legal argument. But for overall entertainment, I’ll take a welterweight championship bout over a well-argued brief.

How many blogs do you read daily?

I scan about 50 wine blogs per day. I don’t necessarily read them all, but I look for headlines that interest me, then I’ll dig down into them. I’m looking for blog posts that offer well informed opinion.

Are you afraid that I am going to ask you which ones?

There are a variety of things I fear in this world. Listing the blogs I scan is not one of them. Also, I’ve never been shy about saying which wine blogs I like.

How do you really feel about the three tier system for alcohol distribution?

I feel that the State-Mandated three tier system is the single biggest impediment to consumer welfare where wine is concerned. I feel the state-mandated three-tier system must result in political and economic corruption. I feel the state-mandated three tier system props up businesses that otherwise would have failed.

I’ve been sensing a twiterpation in some of you newer posts…are you like in love and junk?

Of course I’m in love. It’s the only rational alternative I have.

Do you accept samples, if so….who the hell is sending you samples, you don’t review wine!

When solicited, I refuse samples of wine. However, I still have many samples sent to me that are unsolicited and just show up at my door step. After a while folks will realize I don’t review wine and they won't send me a second sample. I don’t review wines at FERMENTATION primarily because it would be a conflict of interest with my day job, which is as a wine publicist and marketer. Also, I don’t think most wine reviews are very interesting. And finally, there are folks out there with far better palates than me, so I think it best to leave the work of reviewing wines to them.

Have you ever sneezed while peeing?

No. I never have. But it’s not the worst thing that could happen to me.

Single best bottle of wine you ever had?

1984 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour Special Reserve. It was the first great wine I ever tasted when I started learning about wine. I couldn’t afford it at the time. However, the person at the register at the liquor store I found it at was a dolt. So it was easy to switch price tags on the wine with a non-vintage Barefoot Cellars Red Blend. I could afford it then.

Absolute worst, (flawed not included) bottle of wine you ever had?

Warm Retsina on a hot day in Greece.

What tools have you used to pimp your blog….if you say, “My readers are the biggest tools” it will sting a bit…

Twitter. Facebook. Speaking at events. The American Wine Blog Awards. And being as helpful as possible to other bloggers I respect.

Why don’t you comment on blogs?

I don’t? I’m pretty sure I do. But keep in mind I’m a pretty busy man. It’s called the “DAILY” wine blog. Plus, I have a number of clients I service. Then there’s the golf and driving range to fit into the day. I have two cats to take care of. And I have to feel myself. It’s all a lot of work. But I’ll make a point of commenting on more blogs now.

Do you think blogs have or will change anything in the wine business? Their emergence has already changed the way I approach the promotion of my clients wineries and businesses. There are so many more people with followers who are watching and reporting on the wine business and wines. Understanding the markets perception of a product or brand is more complex now.

What really happened between you and Millie Ennial of WineWiped?

Nothing that I can talk about in public without first consulting my lawyer. Can we move on?

When you play Rock Star in your car, who do you pretend to be?

Adam Duritz and McCoy Tyner.

What inspires your Bloggerviews?

If you are asking how do I choose the people I invite to be interviewed in my “bloggerviews”, it really all comes down to which bloggers I like. I only ask those bloggers to participate if I respect their work, think their blogs should be read by my audience and if I really like their work. I remember seeing your blog and thinking, “wow…this is different and a really fun real. There is something going on behind Sans Dosage.” I liked Sans Dosage a great deal and knew it after reading it one time. That’s why you were bloggerviewed.

How often do you delete comments from your blog?

Very rarely. I’m not even vigilant about deleting the occasional spam comment that is pushing Viagra. I figure maybe one of my readers will appreciate a link to where they can find cheap and easily accessible erections. However, I’ll never allow FERMENTATION to be used by a commenter to attack another person simply because the attacker is vile. Those I will delete.

Are you the first or last person on the dance floor?

I took tap dancing lessons for 7 years. I’ve got some game. So, while I’m not the first, I’m rarely the last.

What do you think it will really take to overturn those archaic out of state shipping laws?

Lawsuits, shame and consumer action.

Pet: Ferret or Hamster?


Vacation: Detroit or Paris?

I didn’t even know Detroit was still open.

White Zinfandel or Almond Flavored, “Champagne”?

This is a tough one. I love love Champagne. I love Sparkling wine in general. But, I also have a sweet tooth. Remember “Arbor Mist”. Love that drink. Over ice on a hot day. Damn. Tastes like summer. I like to drink most White Zin the same way…over ice. However, I have had some beautiful White Zins. Hook & Ladder Winery in the Russian River Valley is best known for wonderful Zins and Pinots. But they also made the best White Zin I’ve ever had. It was better than nearly any Rose I’d ever drunk. Forced to choose, I’ll go with White Zin.

Hangover cure of choice?

Bloody Mary and Friends.

Airplane reading: Mutineer or Playboy?

Playboy. We like to make jokes about Playboy (“I read it for the articles), but the fact is Playboy is a damn good magazine. Take out the pictorials and you’ve got a compelling Mens magazine. They always recruited excellent writers. Because I may not be in the mood for drinks-related reading and because there is always a bit of drinks-related copy in Playboy, I’ll go with Playboy.

How does it feel to have the shoe on the other foot?

A little odd. But you are good at this. It’s fun to answer the questions here by striking a balance between earnestness and comedy. But most of all I like the idea of giving my blog, FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog, a boost in readership due to being interviewed at Sans Dosage.

You are charged with launching a bunch of blogs on the unsuspecting public…how do you plea?

If there is even a tiny bit of truth to the idea that I’ve helped a few blogs get off the ground and find an audience then I am a very happy man.

Paper or plastic?

Plastic is much more convenient. And usually stronger. But I can go either way. Don’t they make environmentally-sensitive “plastic” bags now?

If you could give me one bottle of California wine to try and change my French leaning palate, which would you choose?

The 1995 Stony Hill Chardonnay. It has 15 years of age on it now and should be drinking just great with those muted citrus, caramel and sage characteristics that this great Californian wine delivers after a few years. Also. Try the Failla Estate Syrah and the Mayo Family Winery Ricci Vineyard Zinfandel.

You showcased me and The HoseMaster of Wine at around the same time…what the hell was going on with you that month?!

Too many Manhattans. No. I jest. I think at that time I was really looking for something unique and different from the wine blog world. I was looking for really unique, well written, and compelling to introduce my readers to. Sans Dosage and Hosemaster of Wine are both great blogs.

If I told you that you taking the time to showcase this silly blog, bringing me new and fiercely intellectual readers, meant the world to me…would you buy me a goddamn drink?

Probably not. But if you interviewed me and posted the interview on your blog I’d probably buy you that drink.

Thank you Tom Wark, both for featuring Samantha Sans Dosage on your fancy pants blog and for taking the time to answer my questions. Not sure it is every wine blogger that can say, "Tom Wark said; erection, feel myself and weasel" on my blog"....

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Maybe Don't Do That

(Phone rings)
Me—“Good afternoon The Wine Country”

Them—“ Um….yeah, I was, um..(chewing their lunch, smacking there was lip smacking and that gross saliva sound) can you tell me where I can find Capetta Stella Rosa, (a sweet, fizzy $10 red wine) near where I am?”

Me—Nothing, I said nothing as I was waiting for the rest of her lunch to go down so she could finish her sentence.

Them—More chewing and smacking

Me—Cringing and waiting….



Them—“Can you tell me where I can find the Stella Rosa near me?”

Me—“Well, um, I don’t know where you are…”

Them—“Oh I live in the San Gabriel Valley and I don’t want to have to drive to your store, so can you tell me who has it in my area?”

I stood there, phone nestled between my chin and shoulder wearing my, “You’ve got to be shitting me” face. Not only was I treated to the melodic stylings of your nom-nom-nomming your lunch but now you want me, as a retailer, to tell you where you should take your business…what the hell?! I sucked in my breath, regained my customer service composure, (thank Gawd it was on the phone, I know the wtf was all over my mug) and explained that we were retailers so I would have no idea who might have her sweet, fizzy red wine in her area but there is always Wine Searcher. “Oh, oh…well can’t you, (nom-nom smack) just look it up in your computer and tell me?”…did she think we had like LoJack transmitters on Stella Rosa? “Yeah, there is really no way for me to figure out who might have it near you but Wine Searcher” I was cut off with a, “Well can you give me the phone number of the distributer?”…now I am all about customer service but c’mon, that is a lot to ask of a store that you are trying to not have to come to….right? I compromised, I gave her the name of the distributer and told her if she Googled it the number would come up. She thanked me and the call ended….um, just a little tip here, maybe don’t do that.

End little rant and public service announcement.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yup, Another Thing That Crunches My Undies

Got home this evening and pleased my own self by MacGyvering a very tasty sweet Italian sausage and egg sandwich dinner. Steamed the sausage, browned them, split them down the middle and browned the cut side after deglazing the pan with white wine and stock…placed them atop rustic bread that I smeared with a mixture of cream cheese and crushed garlic. On top of that I placed a fluffy mound of my double boiler scrambled eggs…just barely set, buttery, delicate. For something made up of what we had, it was pretty damn good but it did little to shake the irritation that I was feeling, the ever familiar, “chafe” from having my undies twisted all day. The thing that set me off this time? Randy handing me something he had printed out, “thought you might enjoy this” he said with that, “Oh this is gonna get her going” grin of his. I looked down at the freshly printed pile, (and yes, I mean pile as in pile of crap) and saw yet another, “Recommended Champagnes” list from one of the national wine publications….Dammit!

I sat there, my eyes glazing over at yet one more boring ass list of boring ass Champagne… “Why the hell do they even bother?!” rattling around in my beginning to boil brain. The wines were grouped into three categories; Light-bodied, Medium-bodied and Full-bodied…yeah, well I can tell you, there was no junk in any of those trunks. I looked up at Randy and said, “Now this, this shit just pisses me off” which I know is why he gave it to me in the first place, and we had the same conversation we have had a countless times, the, “What the hell good does this do?!” talk.

It goes like this:

Me—Jesus, this list is so freaking boring. There is nothing on here I would even consider buying let alone drink, (tad dramatic, some of them are in my, “meh it’s okay” pile).
Him—Well, they write for a national publication so they need to write up wines that are available everywhere.
Me—So what good comes from that?!

Okay so they write up the same boring crap over and over again, the wines made in such gargantuan quantities that they can be found in every Vons from Riverside to Duluth….so why not just call it the, “Best of the Shit You Can Get” list? It is absolutely no wonder to me why people don’t drink more Champagne when I read this kind of crap, why would they? Those wines inspire nothing more than a nose tingling burp. Clicquot yellow label….really? If I bought Clicquot, (um in the Full-bodied category by the way…gotta call bullshit on that) because some publication told me it was one of the best, then tasted it, dude…I might never have fallen in love with Champagne. Is it horrible, not really but it is pretty snooze worthy and man do they suffer with massive bottle variation, probably has something to do with the fact that those millions of cases are languishing in warehouses waiting for the masses to gobble them up…ugh!

So here’s a thought, how’s about writing up something like Pierre Peters, Agrapart, Jean Milan, H. Billiot…tell people how truly amazing those wines are, you know teach them something. Tell them how rare they are, how they will forever change the way people think about Champagne, urge them to seek them out, use the Internet if need be….like give praise where praise is due. I am so tired of these lists I could just scream, and when I read stories about distributers having to either dump these wines at the big box stores or even worse, having to send them back to France, rubbing their stink over the whole region…well that there, that just breaks my heart.

I just don’t see what’s wrong with writing up things that people may have to forage for, seek out, might just add a little more excitement when they actually procure a bottle of the stuff. It will also reward the stores that have done their research and homework, weeded through the merde to find the truly palate changing and have been fighting the, “Best of what you can get” attitudes, have been showing people how knee weakening a great bottle of Champagne can be. Oh and if enough people get pissed off that they cannot get their hands on the bottles that they are aching to try because of archaic shipping laws, well maybe they will join the fight to change them. Sounds like a bunch of wins to me but the thing that I long for most of all, to have people feel the weight, the texture, the length of a brilliant bottle of Champagne. The way the bubbles just barely dance across the palate…not stomp all over it, the balance between savory and fruity, the very noble, fucking sexy as hell, haunt that artisan Champagne can inspire.

Crushes me when I read lists like the one that was tossed in my lap today, makes me think of all the wines that will go underappreciated, undervalued and ignored because some publication is too damn lazy, afraid or uninformed to be willing to teach. Makes me think of all those people that sip on soulless wines and think they just don’t like Champagne. Even sadder, the people that will never experience the heart pounding want, desire and obsession that comes from a plate that has been touched, flirted with, kissed, seduced by a truly remarkable bottle of Champagne. That simply breaks my heart….and clearly gives me a massive wedgie.

So...Um, What Is It We Want?!

So we are nearing newsletter time and as a sort of resolution, I have challenged myself to try and get my stuff in to Randy before deadline….or at least on deadline, or the day after at the very latest, way to have conviction right? This was to be an easy enough task as we have decided to streamline our publication a bit, less or shorter articles and more wine write ups. This too works in my favor because since starting this blog I have found it very difficult to turn off the, “me shooting the shit voice” and step back into a more serious, wine focused role… “Whadda ya mean I can’t say blow me in the newsletter?” it has been a problem for me. So when Randy asked that I scale back on the articles it was somewhat of a relief, writing tasting notes is a lot let pressure, less fun for me personally, and the 6 people that dug my slightly irreverent articles, but it’s a lot easier to squish the, “Sam” in a write up.

So Sunday afternoon I got an email from, The Great Randini, (one of many pet names for my beloved boss) asking me if I would write a fun Valentines column for the newsletter, dag-nab-it…so much for less writing Okay so here’s the problem, he wants ME to write an article about what women want. Me, the girl that whenever he is making a comment about women and I say something like, “I don’t do that” he responds, “Yeah, but you’re not a regular girl”….clearly the perfect choice. I know he wants something fun, light with a smidge of my brand of snark but the problem is….I don’t know dick about what women want, hell I don’t even have a clue what it is that I want!

I acted locally first, checked with the, “girls” I hang with, not really the best source as they are kinda of my…ilk if you will. The best I got from them was, “Well it would be nice to be seduced. You know beyond the, hey honey look, I chubbed up…you wanna do it?” not sure how that would read in a Valentines article but I’ll keep that little nugget tucked away to use if need be. I then posted on facebook and I think that was just too confusing, the ladies there were asking more questions than really giving me the answers that I desperately needed. So now I am expanding my reach, calling to all of you out there…um, help me….please!

So I’m thinking…or hoping rather, that there will many varied answers, everything from wine to the perfect French fry so I’m just going to compile any and every answer and kind of come up with a, “style” chart of sorts, so let it fly people….I’m begging, this, “Not regular” girl really needs your help.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Three Countries, Three Delicious Reds & Four Ladies Saying, "Yum"

“Could you recommend a nice everyday drinking red?” was the answer a new customer gave me yesterday afternoon in response to, “Can I help you find anything or answer any questions for you?” my standard greeting to anyone wandering around the shop. She had piled a few wines on the counter, mostly domestic, and was looking for something new so I lead her to my little piles of quaffing wines in the French department and pointed to one of my favorite Cotes du Rhone.

“If I were going to buy a case is there any way I could taste it first?” now this not something I do very often, more often than not I urge the customer to just buy one bottle, take it home, spend an evening with it before buying a whole case. I’m not being stingy, the staff opens bottles all the time, in fact there is a better chance of selling a wine by having a bottle open on the bar. No, I don’t do it because without knowing someone’s taste, or whether they ate like Gummy Bears before coming in, I just don’t feel that my little French reds show their best in that, “Take one sip” setting. But it was a slow Sunday, Merritt and I had stocked and cleaned everything so there was little else to do, plus one of our regular customers, Vicki, was already in the tasting bar sampling some of the leftover Italian wines from our Saturday tasting.

I grabbed a bottle and headed into the tasting room while asking the customer what it is she normally drinks. “I like rich, full reds” she responded and I started to get that, “Rut Roe” feeling in my tummy, “why don’t you taste one of these Italian wines while I open this” I urged, hoping the high acid Italian red would ready her palate for my little Cotes du Rhone. She expressed that she had never really had an affinity for Italian reds, or white for that matter but after listening to Vicki recommend which ones she ought to try she reached for a glass.

I popped the cork on the Cotes du Rhone, poured myself a little and gave it the sniff and sip test, all good but I knew with just a few more minutes it would show a lot more, so yeah….I stalled a bit. “So what do you think about that Terre Nere Rosso?” I asked, noticing the slight crinkle over our new friend’s nose. Before she could say much I poured a little in my own glass to taste with her, it had been my wine of the day at the tasting and I was curious how it was tasting after being open for over 24 hours.

One sniff and I was once again transfixed, the aromatics were so lovely, so pure, so um….Pinot Noir like, stunning that I was diggin it the day before right? Vicki and I emoted over the Terre Nere, went on and on about the delicate floral notes, the tart strawberry and red cherry aromas and once the wine was in my mouth I knew instantly why our new buddy was making a, “crinkle face”….tangy fruit with really high acid, not all that pleasing to the palate that adores rich and full. Looking to our new friend I said, “Tons of acidity here, would probably taste amazing with a piece of pork or something kinda beefy” and motioned for her to feel free to dump the rest while I poured myself another little sip of the Cotes du Rhone….oh yeah, lots more happening now.

While pouring our new friend, whose name I now knew to be Stacy, the second wine I asked her a few questions; why she wanted to get into French wines, where she had been shopping before, just making a little small talk to pass the final hour on a Sunday evening. Merritt came over and joined us, we chatted, laughed, compared the two wines…discussing the merits of both. I looked at Stacy and while the, “crinkle face” was gone she was not wearing the elation I had hoped for so I just asked, “So what do you think of the Domaine de la Guicharde?” her response was about what I expected, “I like it a lot, really nice fruit and easy to drink, I just wish it was a little fuller” fair enough.

I walked back to my department and looked at my post holiday depleted stacks….sadly there was little left that I thought would suit Stacy's palate so I turned to my right which is where the Spanish department sits in the store. I perused the piles of affordable wine, many of which I had tasted before but it was label that I did not recognize that caught my eye, “How are you feeling about Spain?” I asked the still-sipping-on-Cotes du Rhone-ladies in the tasting room. Popped the cork on the bottle of San Martin 2007 La Nevera Navarra…elated Stacy face, awesome.

Stacy purchased both the Domaine de la Guicharde and the San Martin La Nevera Navarra along with her domestic wines that had been assembled before our little tasting adventure…the Terre Nere sadly, but not surprisingly did not make it into her mixed case of wine. She told us she had a great time and would be back soon, I sincerely hope to see her again. As Merritt and I closed the store, counted out the drawers and cleaned up the tasting bar we talked about how nice that last hour had been….
Three Countries
Three Delicious Reds
Four Ladies Saying, “Yum”

2008 Terre Nere Etna Rosso, ($17.99) my wine of the day at our Saturday tasting and honestly I liked it even better the next day. Tart red fruits, rose petals, faint..almost Indian type spice, light on the palate with really racy acidity. I dig this kind of tang in wines with such a light mouth feel, just feels bright and racy and like I want another sip.

2007 Domaine de la Guicharde Cotes du Rhone, ($10.99) everything I adore about Grenache, bright raspberry fruit, spice and pepper with a medium mouth feel, racy texture and a long satisfying finish. One of my go-to reds for everyday drinking, tasty, food friendly and affordable…how the hell can you not dig that?

2007 San Martin Nevera Navarra, ($9.99) it’s not too often that I go all gushy for a Spanish red, least in the past five years, (since they went and got all goopy and too damn fruity) but this wine is just damn tasty and infinitely gulpable. Packed with really fresh tasting raspberry and blueberry fruit, tiny bit of smokiness and a creamy, soft, but not opulent, mouth feel…the finish is just fresh, clean fruit…..simple but simply delicious.