Baby, kiss that frog
Most wine is just OK, but that’s OK
By Tim Protzman firstname.lastname@example.org
The best thing about the new media is that with most online newspapers, the reader can post an instantaneous comment to an article and other people can read it. The posts are chronological so you can even see what people who commented on your post think. I love the little threads.
Reading an article titled “Snowmobile Crashes into Chicken Coop” provides tons of reading fun. The snowmobile-haters chime in first, decrying the hordes of noisy, fumy snow vehicles despoiling the wilderness. Then come the friends of the victim, who suffered a contusion on his thigh. They explain he’d never crash into a chicken coop on purpose, asserting it was truly an accident and affirming him as a reputable pillar of the community. Next come the animal activists. They write on their agenda, saying chicken coops are inhumane and there would have been fewer avian victims if only these chickens were free- range. Finally, the amateur scientists write in, explaining the importance of velocity and how cold, dry conditions may have contributed to the accident, by making the snow extra slippery and therefore making it harder to stop and turn.
Then they start attacking each other, totally forgetting the article.
“If those chickens weren’t in a coop they’d be frozen as solid as a Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster, you dumb bimbo!”
“Just a warning to all you operators of those infernal, smelly, noisy, racket making machines — don’t cross my property — I had it sown with land mines.”
And what better fun than to watch Victor88 dust it up with Thumbelina@yahoo in real time over your morning paper. Good times!
It used to be that if you had an opinion on a newspaper article you had to put pen to paper and then mail it to the editor. They’d contact you to make sure the editorial reply was for real and then they’d publish it. I once won a really nice pen set because of the editorial reply I wrote about the demise of the Dusty Roads ice cream sundae. This was a plain hot fudge sundae with vanilla ice cream sprinkled with malt powder on top. The little seaside place that served it changed ownership and no longer bothered to stock malt powder. They did install a cappuccino machine, though. (Is this really progress?)
The beauty of the malt editorial was that I had time to revise it to perfection in both content and tone. With the Internet we just seem to blurt. Today, in fact, I sent a cranky reply to an e-mail, not to a third party as I intended, but to the writer. He was miffed and vexed. But I held my ground. I felt I was right, but I explained I perhaps could have been more measured and diplomatic.
All this editorial concern stems from my recent reading of an article and its posts on wine. The article was nice but wouldn’t have won any Pulitzers, but the posts (comments) were a hoot.
The generic article was about a publicity stop by a vineyard owner. Nothing special. But the comments from the readers were, well, priceless.
Now most wine blogs, which are solely devoted to wine chat, are a little boring and very esoteric. Every poster tries to outdo the others with eloquence, knowledge and wine stories.
I have always said that wine drinkers are like teenaged boys talking about their sexual escapades when it comes to stories about the best bottle of wine they ever had. Stuff that begins with: “I was on the Gulf of Siam…,” “We were invited to a special tasting at Caymus…,” “Our closest friends own a 1,000-bottle cellar and it was his 55th birthday….”
But the posts to the generic article questioned the value and even the necessity of wine itself.
I was intrigued.
Boone’s Farm was mentioned several times. Many posters stated “wine just doesn’t taste good.”
Some complained about paying $20 for a bottle and some were apologetic.
“I’ve tried and tried, but I just can’t seem to appreciate fine wine. I must be a rube from the hills because I’d rather have a beer or a Screwdriver.”
The fact is they’re right. Me and some of the wine rookies were trying to calculate the percentage of wine that was OK, versus good. Estimates ran from 60 percent so-so to 95 percent so-so. Now you can improve these odds if you have a cellar and you age the wine. Also, if you spend no less than $100 on every bottle you drink, you’ll be happier with the product than you would with all $20 bottles. And yes, there are $10 wines that beat $100 wine, but they are few and far between. Unfortunately, the true fact of wine, and I quote someone else here, is: “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince.”
In the meantime, I’ll keep drinking. I’ll try new wines whenever possible and I’ll stay puckered up.
Here are this week’s wines:
2006 Hendry Pinot Noir, $36.49, from Napa. This was the perfect wine to show the difference between French and Californian Pinot Noir. Hearty and inky. Darker than the Burgundy. Juicier and bigger. Better? No, just different. And even though I liked these wines very much they were not “once in a lifetime” or earth-shattering.
2007 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, $8.99. Very elegant and nice with a homogenized finish of currants, chocolate and tobacco. This frog traded up to a gerbil once kissed.
2007 Woodbridge White Zinfandel, $4.99. I never met a wine I couldn’t drink until this one. Astringent, like paint thinner. Leaden, sour taste. Tart pickle juice finish. This bottle was a gift from my neighbor for helping him get his car out of a snow bank. Last storm I shoveled the snow right on his car. I kissed this frog and rolled over and died.