Archive | July, 2011

So I’m officially working* in the wine industry** now.

29 Jul

*part-timey basis
** probably more like “wine tourism,” but why split hairs?

I’m now a Wine Ambassador for City Wine Tours. The story of how this came to pass is full of fortuitous little moments and connections, and I’m very excited to be working for a cool company that’s partnered with some of Boston’s stand-out wine destinations (no, I’m paid to lead tours, not say that). They’ve got a really interesting model, and they’re already traipsing around the South End, Back Bay, and Harvard Square too. And they’ve only been doing this for about four months. I’m the ninth Ambassador (woo! ground floor single digits!)

I’ll be leading my first crew through the North End this Saturday, when I am supposed to be studying for the CSW exam I’m taking on Wednesday. But hey, there are still 80 hours for me to learn the new EU appellation laws.

In addition to being able to say “yeah, I’m in the industry” in a blasé voice when I talk to someone who knows waaaaaay more than I do, it’s kind of a big deal for me because I was a volunteer tour guide up until six years ago for a non-profit. I loved showing my city off to tourists and telling them about why Boston was so special (well, duh, for starters, it doesn’t look like a Disneyfied strip mall like half this country does, but I digress). I loved telling the stories about how Trinity Church got built, or the scandal in the Boston Public Library courtyard. The tour had definite start and stop times–and when I got to the end, I’d say to the group “we’re supposed to say goodbye here, but I’ve got more stuff to tell you. So if you want to keep going, I’m game.” I wasn’t supposed to do that. I loved it when they all kept following me, because it meant they cared. They were having a good time.

That ended when I broke my leg on a tour (geez, this sounds like a Farrelly Brothers movie). The organization’s reaction was distant and minimally concerned. All I wanted was to know to know they cared, after all the years of time and training I had put in with them. They mailed me a book about the literary history of Concord instead.

So I figured that was the end of my time on the trail. I found myself instead accosting lost-looking tourists on the sidewalk with confused faces and foldout maps with “hey! You need some help?” But yet, Fate had other plans, etc etc. Destiny, ya can’t fight it. So I hope to see you on a tour soon; I’ll post a schedule of appearances when I’ve got them.


Domaines Ott? I think not. Seriously, the only freaking rosé(s) you need this summer.

18 Jul

Not quite a bouquet , but these are the rosés you should be drinking.

Maybe it’s me, but if I’m going to be sacrificing precious brain and liver cells this summer, I want something more than Commanderie de Peyrassol pale lavender-colored water passing itself off as rosé. Here are my highly flavorful, brilliantly colored, conveniently priced picks:

1. Rene Couly Dutheil Chinon (Winestone <$20). 100% Cabernet Franc and the most atomically-packed flavor of any rosé this summer. And you cannot beat that color. Strawberries, red berries and a hit of pink grapefruit up the ying-yang. Crisp without feeling like you have to scrape your mouth out.

2. Alois Lageder Lagrein rosé
(various places, $13-21). My summer standard and the one everyone I pour for loves.

3. Brana Harri Gorri 2010 (Wine Bottega, $19). Dark pink dusty sour cherry from the French side of Basque country and the Irouleguy appellation. I drank 7/8 of this all on my own during a Harry Potter marathon. Better than Polyjuice potion.

4. Schloss Schonborn Pink 2010 (Blanchard’s West Roxbury, $17.99),is way too cool for school and like biting into sweet wax flowers and orange blossoms–even though it’s dry pinot noir from the Rheingau. I know it sounds weird. But trust me on this. Highly unusual and unforgettable.

I won’t say “blech!” if you pour these for me:
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Summer of Riesling #1: Loosen Bros. Dr. L. Sparkling Deutscher Riesling Sekt

17 Jul

Summer of Riesling sparking deutscher sekt

Give me another wine, stat!

Noticeable trademark petrol note which turns downright greasy when combined with the steady stream of bubbles. It had a heavily oxidized finish I wasn’t too fond of. Not awful, but I won’t be overly eager to seek this one out again. Took me 3/4 of a glass to decide it wasn’t a keeper and dumped it out. Harsh? Perhaps, but I have 135 bottles at home, so I can’t afford pity. What do you do with unwanted wine?

Urban Grape, $16

White pinot noir: not a hit

7 Jul

Or, more specifically, white pinot nero since it’s from Italy. My friend Yoko at Winestone had been in the hunt for this for a couple of years. Since she’s got better industry/distributor connections, all I could contribute to this was my encouragement and best wishes.

So let me tell you about Vercesi del Castellazzo Gugiarolo Pinot Nero Blanco straight away. It was funky. And not in a cool way. Kind of like higher-class Zima, with a similar fruity, over yeasted taste. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Pic to come to help you identify this.