those unpredictable, wild and authentic, “native” yeast fermentations

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Before we get to the part where the indigenous yeasts, in colorful tribal garb, start dancing to some primeval rhythms while having juicy sex... I say BEFORE we get to that part... a word about this Wine Blogger nomination that has appeared before my jaded eyes.

Any writer, even one as ancient and jaundiced as myself, is secretly pleased to be complimented, honored in some way, hell, noticed in some way. For this I am grateful. I am, as most of you probably knew long before I did, a finalist for a Wine Blogger award. I share the nomination with my good friend Sean Sullivan and several others, in a rather odd category called One Trick Pony or something along those lines. For the record – again I say, I am truly pleased – I did not nominate myself, nor did I ask anyone to nominate me. Worse yet, I have been a less than frequent blogger of late. I am in the process of redesigning the blog, and I will resume more regular posts in the fall.

The past 12 months have been consumed with personal tasks relating to buying and selling real estate, moving primary residences, renovating and constructing three separate homes, starting up and establishing two new businesses, and trying to find time for 1) my new dog and 2) my music. So, inevitably, blogging becomes somewhat dispensable.

That said, I do appreciate the nomination, and the ongoing support of my reader.

Now, on to a new and I think more interesting topic: fermenting with native or wild or indigenous yeasts.

sifting through your booze-buying options in washington state

Friday, July 13, 2012

The media-sphere has been regurgitating speculation about the supposed impact of the Gallo acquisition of Columbia winery (and its rather forlorn compadre, Covey Run). Nothing that I have read has added to the information first published in this blog on June 6th and in the Wine Enthusiast online at the same time. My own thoughts remain exactly the same as what I wrote over a month ago.

The bigger story is what will be the impact of Costco, BevMo and Total Wine on the whole way wine and spirits are bought and sold in Washington state. And this week, I had the chance to visit all three.

a bottle of guasti at the foghorn diner

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

True confession time: I’m an incurable rummager. I’ve never met an antique/junk/used stuff store in which I couldn’t happily pass an hour or two. Lately, in the course of building and decorating a new wine cellar, I’ve been on the prowl for wine memorabilia. And in a little hole-in-the-wall in La Conner, I struck gold.

Carefully shrink-wrapped, and complete with a couple of ancient grease stains, was the wine list from Ben’s Fog-Horn Diner, a long-forgotten roadhouse on the Old Tacoma Highway south of Seattle. A three color charcoal sketch on the cover shows a bottle of Guasti Burgundy and a pair of martini glasses filled to the brim with cherry red wine. Inside are listings of wines-by-the-glass, light entrees, and a wonderful “Guide To The Selection of Wines” that clearly shows that the challenges of matching food and wine are nothing new.

Guasti was a Cucamonga Valley winery founded around 1900 by an immigrant from the Piedmont, Secondo Guasti. It spawned a sprawling wine industry in the valley, survived Prohibition, and became part of the giant Fruit Industries conglomerate after the Repeal. Judging from the wines listed on the menu, and the prices being asked, the Fog-Horn list must be at least 60 years old. What does it have to tell us?