ALL-IN ON BOOK REVIEWS: Do you have a (non-fictional or fictional) book related to wine, spirits, or beer that you'd like reviewed? Contact me!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Distill Wars Episode V: Beefeater vs. Tanqueray

Distill Wars Episode V: Beefeater vs. Tanqueray

Distill Wars is back and this time it's botanical! Gin, motherfuckers!

It's spring time... or as anybody that's actually fun calls it: gin and tonic season. There's nothing that says "oh shit, this warm weather feels so fucking good" than a cold, refreshing gin and tonic. But be careful! There's nothing worse than a gin and tonic hangover so be smart and limit yourself to two, then move on to some other form of alcohol. Earn a hangover some other way.

Beefeater and Tanqueray are the big-gun gins on the market. There's far better ones, such as Martin Miller and Hendricks, but these guys are the ones that you're gonna see the most and people will be buying the most. So it's time to see which one is better.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Death and cheese.

"I don't fear death. But non existence means no cheese... and that sounds fucking awful." - Joey Casco CSW/CSS

"I don't fear death. But non existence means no cheese... and that sounds fucking awful." - Joey Casco CSW/CSS

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wine Club Review: WINESTYR Part 3, Colcanyon Estate Wines 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

This is the conclusion of three reviews for Winestyr. For an introduction and how this wine club service works then check out Part 1's review of Anaba Sonoma Valley 2012 Turbine White. In Part 2 I went over the actual package and the extra items while reviewing Claypool Cellars Pachyderm Sonoma Coast 2012 Pinot Noir. Here in Part 3 I'll be reviewing Colcanyon Estate Wines 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and giving my overall impression of their wine club.

Colcanyon Wine Estates was founded in 2001 as one of the first Santa Monica Mountain wineries above Malibu. This Cab says Los Angeles County as the place of origin but it could now legally say Malibu Coast, the new AVA for the area. Never seen either of those on a wine before? I wouldn't blame you. It's not like when you think of LA you think of wine.

But luckily for me I've had the opportunity to be an admirer of Colcanyon for several years now even though I'm on the opposite end of the country. I look forward to seeing them at tasting tables so, just like the Pachyderm, I gave another fist pump after seeing that this was part of my Winestyr shipment.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Book Review: "PROOF: The Science of Booze" by Adam Rogers

PROOF: The Science of Booze by Adam Rogers
Good morning, sunshine! You are so screwed.

The light coming in through the window is so... there. You'd kill for a glass of water and die if it came with food. Your guts are in full rebellion; whatever happens next is going to happen in the bathroom. And for some reason you can't remember how to read the clock next to your bed, even though you used to be able to do it relatively easily, you're sure.

You have at least a couple of the following symptoms: headache, malaise, diarrhea, loss of appetite, the shakes, fatique, and nausea. You might also be dehydrated, and feel generally slow - a little stupider, a little less coordinated. You, my friend, have a hangover.

Scientists have a more inscrutable name for it: veisalgia, from the Greek word for "pain", algia, and kveis, a Norwegian word meaning "uneasiness following debauchery". That sounds about right.

During the summer we went on a family trip to the Museum of Science in Boston. My daughter had a blast. She loved the butterfly room and all the activities that they have there to get kids interested in how the world works. She loved watching a scene from one of the Ice Age movies in 3D. (Although I think it's a load of crap that it's from the one where dinosaurs were still alive. I know it's a kids movie where animals talk, but c'mon. You're the Museum of Science! Make it from the one where they save the little human, not dinosaurs.)

Nobody had more fun than me. There's so much cool stuff from the Apollo missions that I was in awe. I need to go back, preferably by myself, so I can take it all in without feeling rushed. When we hit the gift shop at the end I poked around. I picked up a t-shirt with Albert Einstein's quote “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”, which I wear regularly on my YouTube channel.

Then I saw this book called PROOF: The Science of Booze. I had to have it. It turns out it was one of the best purchases I've ever made in alcohol education literature.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Benjamin Franklin's medical advice

"There are more old drunkards than old doctors." - Benjamin Franklin

Art by Traci Dibble

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Wine Club Review: WINESTYR Part 2, Claypool Cellars Pachyderm Sonoma Coast 2012 Pinot Noir

This is the second of three reviews for Winestyr. For an introduction and how this wine club service works then check out Part 1's review of Anaba Sonoma Valley 2012 Turbine White. Here in Part 2 I'll be going over the actual package and reviewing Claypool Cellars Pachyderm Sonoma Coast 2012 Pinot Noir, then in Part 3 I review Colcanyon Estate Wines 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and give my overall impression of their wine club.

WINESTYR corkscrew
The package I have is the "Mix Club" three pack. I'm not sure if the same extra goodies come with each pack, only with your first shipment, or if it's something different each time. But here's what I got:

- A cloth wine bag with their logo that holds two standard bottles of wine. Nice quality material and, most importantly, strong stitching. 

- A wood handled corkscrew / cap opener. I expected it to be kinda loose and crappily made but it works and it's totally solid. However, for me it's just a cool thing to have and it will be a nice decoration in my office at work. I prefer the smooth sailing of the efficiently done waiters corkscrew.

- A personally written note to me by founder Bob Wilson hoping that I enjoy the experience. Also, a printed card on the same impressive stationary (it doesn't take much to impress me there) with their mission statement.

- Leaflets, for the lack of a better term, done in a very hipster way that gives you the information for each wine in your shipment. It's most definitely from recycled paper but I've never seen the kind of clip they use to hold it together in my life.

The actual cardboard box from shipping is well done and all the extra stuff is well done... but how's the wine? The first was awesome so let's move forward to the second one...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Rest Of Us: Wine Blogging Outside Of Wine Country

I read a lot of wine blogs and most of them are by people that are right there in the thick of things. Sonoma in particular seems to be the hub of wine blogging these days. All the time they're hanging out at this winery or this vineyard and talking to this grapegrower or this winemaker. It's awesome, awesome stuff and I love it. It's a great way for somebody such as myself, nowhere even close to anything that can be considered wine country, to see what it's like and what's going on there. These people provide invaluable entertainment and educational information that you won't find in wine books.

Wine blogging
But recently I had a thought... what about the rest of us? There are plenty of wine blogs by people outside of wine country. But why do we do it? How do we do it? When we need material it's not like we can just waltz on over to that new winery in Temecula, snap a few pictures, and ask some questions. Location is against us, even if we're in the industry in some shape or form. We need a different kind of focus and inspiration behind our blogs.

So I sent out a call to action on social media! Contact me if you're a wine blogger nowhere near wine country! And the response was astounding! I'm VERY happy to feature many of my counterparts in this article, have them give their own story, and explain how they cope with being so far away from the mecca's of the subject they write about.

But first... I suppose we should start with myself, huh? Oh boy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Apothic: Nope!

Apothic Wine: Just Say No

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Wine Club Review: WINESTYR Part 1, Anaba Sonoma Valley 2012 Turbine White

WINESTYR Wine Club, Anaba Sonoma Valley 2012 Turbine White

This is the first of three reviews for Winestyr, an online wine retailer and wine club based out of Chicago. In Part 1 I'll be talking about the service itself and reviewing Anaba Sonoma Valley 2012 Turbine White, in Part 2 (Sunday, April 17th) I'll be going over the actual package and reviewing Claypool Cellars Pachyderm Sonoma Coast 2012 Pinot Noir, and in Part 3 I review Colcanyon Estate Wines 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and give my overall impression of their wine club.

Membership to the wine club starts at $75 a shipment at the time of this review's release. This is what they call the "Mix Club" with three bottles a shipment. If you want to up it to six bottles then the price goes up to $133. There's also an "All Reds Club" that only includes high end reds, and that will run you $99 for three and $179 for six. You don't have to get it monthly! You can totally only get shipments bimonthly or quarterly! Which makes it a far easier wine club to handle for those of us that have realistic bills on a "I'm not friggin rich, goddamnit" income.

Here's an important thing to note: they sent me their March or April three bottle "Mix Club" package. So these wines together would cost you $75 if you joined the wine club. HOWEVER!!! If you were to buy all three wines separately it would cost you $120 total. How's that for a deal?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Book Review: Age Gets Better With Wine by Richard A. Baxter, M.D.

Age Gets Better With Wine by Richard A. Baxter, M.D.
In 1974, after the Framingham Heart Study had been in progress for more than 25 years, a report on the factors related to deaths from coronary disease was prepared. Few were expecting the data to reveal a strong reduction in the odds of dying from heart disease with moderate alcohol consumption. Prevailing wisdom was that the reverse would be the case. The American psyche just wasn't ready, and in many quarters there is still resistance to the concept of alcohol as a good thing. Unlike the tradition of wine as a food in Europe, in America the underpinnings of crime and corruption of the prohibition era defined the alcohol legacy.

In fact, the findings came as such an unwelcome guest that when the senior staff at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reviewed the data, they demanded that the authors remove it!

Richard A. Baxter, M.D.Age Gets Better With Wine

You see it all the time: wine is beneficial to your health. Well, it is. It's been scientifically proven that alcoholic beverages in general are good for you as long as you drink them in moderation and with food. That's 12-24 ounces of beer, 5-10 ounces of wine, or 1.5 to 2 ounces of spirits a night, almost every night with dinner. The polyphenols in red wine make it the option with the most benefits.

You're more likely to get heart disease or cancer if you don't drink at all. And if you abuse alcohol by going above moderation and get drunk on a regular basis then you're increasing the chance of cancer and a million of other issues even more. It's actually more harmful to not drink all week and binge on weekends, what the average American seems to think is the best option, than to have a glass or two of wine every night.

Most of these people saying that wine is good for you are in the industry or are wine drinkers. So when somebody, like myself, says what I just said then most people think "well, he's just looking for excuses to drink". I really can't blame them because that's exactly what it looks like.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The blog turns two!

Today is the second anniversary of! Happy birthday to the death of other hobbies!

Oh yeah? I'll start my OWN wine blog! With blackjack! And hookers!

Friday, April 1, 2016

April "Wine" Pick: Asbach Uralt Weinbrand (German Brandy)

This WINE PICK of the month was written for the Luke's of Cape Cod website.

Asbach Uralt Weinbrand (German Brandy)

What? Brandy is distilled from wine! The Dutch first distilled wine to make it last longer during transfer and called it brandewijn, meaning burned wine. Thus, brandy. I believe this fully justifies having a brandy as a wine pick. So nanny-nanny-boo-boo.

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