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« March 2006 | Main | May 2006 »

29 April 2006

Weekend Wine Picks

Lawnmower_1 A mixed case full of weekend wine picks:

Now go get some sun (but not too much).

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28 April 2006

Song of the Day: They Never Got You

Thunderstorm What can you say about a song that makes your feet dance, hands clap and head bob - all before you realize you're gesticulating like a damn fool?  You can say it's a damn fine song. They Never Got You, by Austin band, Spoon, is one of those tunes that is immediately enjoyable. Got You begins with the thunderclap of an approaching storm and immediately breaks into a tightly strummed uptempo melody, which is soon joined by lead singer Britt Daniel's sandpapery tenor voice.  The thunderstorm theme continues throughout the song with jolts of jangled electric guitars and a very cool hand clap solo.  It makes me crave Prosecco and popcorn.

Listen to a preview of They Never Got You on eMusic or iTunes (track 10 on the album, "Gimme Fiction")

Plug in, pour some Prosecco (Casalnova or Zardetto) and dance, fool.

And if you really dig Spoon.  Check out the song Fitted Shirt off of "Girls Can Tell."  It reminds of the song AC/DC would have written, had they been Gen-Xers.

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Belushi's Visit to Coturri

Coturri_sidebar_1 (Editor's note: This is part of a new weekend series of posts by guest authors, who are fellow bloggers or Basic Juice readers.  If you are new to wine blogging, host a blog out in the remote reaches of wineblogistan, a wine maker or you're simply someone who enjoys writing about food & wine; contact me with a post proposal, and we'll see if we can't introduce the world to your handiwork.)

Guest Athor: Paul White of Coturri Winery (California)

Noble Rot
John Belushi's visit to Coturri Winery
"when mother nature molds your vines; make a select late harvest dessert wine"

Just before his 33rd birthday (January 24, 1982), John Belushi spent a day at  Coturri Winery - playing basketball with Tony Coturri, doing comedic pratfalls  and drinking some Zinfandel.  With Belushi were Tom Smothers and Don  Novello (aka Father Guido Sarducci).  It was a cold day, but they weren’t  deterred from “shooting some hoops”.

What were John Belushi, Tom Smothers, and Father Guido doing at Coturri  Winery? They were on a scouting mission looking for scene locations for an illfated film that was never produced called "Noble Rot". Some say that John  went on a downward spiral after this screenplay was rejected by Hollywood.  A  little bit of proof to this theory is that pages of the “Noble Rot” script were found  littering the bungalow in which Belushi died. Here’s the six degrees of  separation story:

Continue reading "Belushi's Visit to Coturri" »

Visualize Furred Peace

Getalong

If these two can get along; then peace is, most certainly, possible.

27 April 2006

Loo & Lit: A Perfect Match?

Powdernosew Do you read in the loo?  I certainly do.  In fact, I would estimate that I've read 7-10 books on le jon in my lifetime.  Do you consider loo-readers, like myself, vulgar?  I have a theory about loo reading.  Those who come from families with powder rooms stocked in reading material, tend to perpetuate bathroom bibliotheks.  While those from households minus a magazine rack in the WC, generally poopoo (ahem) the practice.  Yes, I understand this isn't a terribly complex theory.

I've only been close to one non loo-reader.  When she saw me exit el baño, book in hand, she was aghast/shocked/repulsed/disheartened.  Thankfully, while my wife and I may have incompatible palates, we're both throne scholars in the bathroom.

A selection of my recent literary accomplishments in the commode: the Nation, Wired, the Atlantic, Victoria's Secret (there is some fine writing in that publication)

A few past articles that I deem loo-worthy

 

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The Power of Blog Compels You

Exorcist_w "De-lurk! I Say."

Today is the day.  I want to know who you are.  Yes, you - the one who visits Basic Juice on a regular basis, but abstains from commenting.  Don't be afraid to join our discussion; everyone here is a well-behaved wino wine connoisseur.  Jump down to the comments section and tell us one or more of the following:

  • Where you're from
  • The name of your blog/home page (feel free to link to it)
  • The last really, truly, blow-you-away bottle of wine you sampled
  • The best or most annoying thing about Basic Juice
  • A topic I should address
  • Your favorite color
  • The airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow

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26 April 2006

Austria: Tradition. Modernity. Harmony?

Like Fermentation and a few other blogs, I was tipped off to an article on Hungarian wine in the current issue of Travel + Leisure.  The article is a nice read and reinforces my love of obscure grapes from lesser known areas.  The piece communicates an angst about the possible loss of Hungary's unique wine culture to arbiters of the international/modern taste.  I agree with the author - the loss of Hungary's native grapes and stylistic traditions would indeed be a detriment to the culture of wine.

Is it possible to have it both ways?  If a country or region embraces modern wine in the form of barrel-aged Chardonnay or jammy Syrah, is it a forgone conclusion that its own grape varieties and wine styles are doomed to extinction?  I don't know the answer.  However, it seems, at least on the surface, that Austria, Hungary's neighbor to the west, has managed to embrace modernity while preserving tradition.

For example, take two of Austria's native grapes: Grüner Veltliner and St. Laurent.  Both have names that would make many a wine drinker twitch with confusion.  Yet, wine made from these abstract varietals is being embraced in a big way.  Zantho's 2003 St. Laurent was blessed with the holy & coveted '90 points' by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate ("What a pleasure to encounter an inexpensive Austrian red so lip-smackingly delicious..").  This all but guarantees international success.  And who hasn't heard of (or at least tried to pronounce) Grüner Veltliner?  Granted, a garanimals wine drinker may  be too busy looking for cuddly critter-bedecked bottles.  However, even I, living in the equivalent of wine Timbuktu (i.e. Utah) can waltz down to the state-run wine shop and choose from no fewer than six G.V. selections.  How does one explain this?

Singerre_2 My preliminary hypothesis is that Austria has preserved its wine traditions while simultaneously embracing innovation and modernity.  Austria offers unique, tradition-rich wine from centuries old vineyards in regions like the Wachau and Kremstal.  In contrast, Styria, in southern Austria, produces modern wines made from international varietals like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  In fact, many wines from these regions are made in sleek, ultramodern wineries.

Sabatthiwinery_1 This juxtaposition of tradition with modernity is what intrigues me most about Austrian wine.  On the surface, it seems that both traditionalists and the avant garde are coexisting, and, in fact, thriving.  Is this the case, or is there a hidden struggle?  I'm excited to start looking for the answer on May 15th.

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BJI: Internationale Edition

News_stack_1
Basic Juice Intelligencer
26 April 2006
Internationale Edition

wine
India, The Sleeping Wine Tiger - In a country where whisky is the beverage of choice, wine is making surprising gains.  The current trends show a 30% increase in wine consumption per year.  St. Vini cautions that the Indians should organize and regulate their wine industry sooner rather than later.

French Field Blending - The Caveman gives us a crash course on the intriguing practice of field blending, pioneered by the likes of Jean Michel Deiss in Alsace.  Field blending is the practice of co-planting or co-mixing varietals in the vineyard, rather than mixing finished wines.  Caveguy wades deeper into the practice by discussing Luc de Conti, a vigneron in Bergerac.  Interesting stuff.

food
Mango-roasted pork & tuna pie with rich cheese pastry - Melissa, the chef from Panama introduces us to a highly original and tasty use for left over pork ribs and canned tuna.  It looks quite tasty.  Where's my Grüner?

WBW + IMBB - WineBloggingWednesday #21 and Is My Blog Burning have combined into a single culinary event for May.  You've got two choices: Select a bottle of wine and create a dish that goes with it, or, select a dish from your recipe repertoire and then find a wine to compliment your culinary creation.

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Steal This Article: Bitters

Editor's note: Steal this article!  Whether you publish a paper, magazine, blog or scribble on the bathroom wall; fresh (& free) content is always welcome, no?  Feel free to grab this article and use it to spice up your publication.  Do with it what you will - so long as you mention that the original comes from The Juice.  Now go forth, and copy & paste.

Nostrum Remedium: Bitters

Bonnore_ebath An Extraordinarily Brief history of Patent Medicine
The term “snake oil salesmen,” the modern advertising industry (which, some might consider to be synonymous) and dozens of liquors and spirits owe their existence in our lexicon, on our televisions and behind countless bars to something prosaically referred to as
patent medicines.  Patent medicines were the early industrial age expressions of nostrum remedium, or, “our remedy” – various concoctions of secret ingredients, sold as miraculous cures, with varying degrees efficacy.  Mid-19th century pushers of snake oil liniment claimed their product would cure everything from arthritis to dropsy.  It didn’t; and a pejorative was born.  Lest these liniment salesmen take all the blame, let it be known that outrageous claims weren't restricted to the snake oil marketing department.  Competition amongst patent medicine producers was fierce.  Thus, the task at hand for pioneers in advertising was to differentiate their products, or, in other words, to create a brand.  As a result of advertising’s big bang, products such as Mug-wump Specific were born.  Mug-wump was touted as a, “cure and preventative for all venereal diseases.” Not to be outdone, Bonnore’s “electro magnetic bathing fluid” was hailed as a cure for necrosis, epilepsy, cholera, scarlet fever and something called “mercurial eruptions.”  It’s nice to see that ad-men and ad-women aimed high right from the get-go.  Aside from cure-alls for V.D. and speedy eruptions, many products of the patent medicine age made more believable claims.  For example, Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper were introduced primarily as energy elixirs.  While the paleo soft drink manufacturers duked it out on the pep-in-step front, one maker of an herb-based, alcohol-containing tonic went for the gut.

Continue reading "Steal This Article: Bitters" »

25 April 2006

Ten Buck Tuesday: Verde v. Grün

Boxingw_1 Back to defend its Ten Buck Tuesday title is....Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde (NV, $8)

This week V.Verde takes on an up-and-coming challenger - Berger Grüner Veltliner (2004) from Austria's Kremstal region.  At first glance, Berger appears to be ineligible to compete in T.B.T.  The wine, at $12, is over the price limit.  However our judges* have dertermined that Berger, in the unique 1000 ml (1 litre) size class, qualifies as a ten buck wine (were the wine in a regulation size 750 ml bottle, its price would be around nine dollars).

Berger, aside from a bottle-girth advantage, is a formidable foe to Aveleda's V.V.  This wine is made in a similar fashion - using just-ripe, low sugar grapes.  Berger G.V. weighs in at a svelte 11.5% alcohol, and packs a jaw-rattling acid punch.  You might say this is Austria's version of Vinho Verde.  It's simple, refreshing and extraordinarily finger food-friendly.

*ding*ding*ding*

At the end of the tenth round the fight appears to be a draw.  What's this? Aveleda's Vinho Verde has yet to come out of its corner.  It appears to be empty, while Berger still has 250 ml-worth of picnic-ready wine in the tank.  The referee has stepped in and stopped the fight.  And the winner by TKO is....

Bergergv_1

Berger Grüner Veltliner 2004 ($12, 1 litre bottle)

Who's ready to step up and name a contender for the Ten Buck Tuesday Value Wine Grand Championship?  Give us your best shot.

*Ten Buck Tuesday is like Calvinball - the rules may change at any time

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