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!

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Glasvin Natural Stemware "The Universal" Wine Glass

I got these new wine glasses by Glasvin! It's their "The Universal" model, meant to be flexible with all of your wine consumption needs, and I just think they're awesome. Razor thin, perfect tulip shape for wine versatility, and NO BULB on the lip! They're also tall and elegant, without being too tall and elegant. Just perfect, and they're going to now be the stemware that I reach for first.

It comes in a box with protection for shipment, and a guide to using other stemware shapes for specific wines and adult beverages. I highly recommend these glasses, and you can get them right on Glasvin's website:

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Yikes, man! I thought I posted this over a year ago but I never hit the schedule or publish button! Now I'm just embarrassed because the stuff for the photoshoot are super cool.

You see that Solostove with Wairau River etched on the side? That thing is amazing! It even comes with a holder for the top to place a pot or pan on it so you can cook with it. Really friggin' cool. And that knife and board is part of the Primus cutting set, for preparing food for outdoors. I've used that thing many times in the past year, and I keep it with all my "just incase, cuz you never know" stuff in my car. Love it!

That 2021 Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc was so good too. Crisp and refreshing, while clearly still a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but not feeling like you're being punched in the teeth. Oh yes, the expressive grapefruit is still there and it's still intense, but... okay, let's be honest... I'm kinda done with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. They can be just toooooo muuuuuch now. Just overboard with the grapefruit and tartness! This guy right here is expressive and varietally correct for New Zealand, but it didn't make me twinge once and I enjoyed drinking it! Grapefruit, peach, lime, and a little dash of herbalness. A delicious porch pounder for the summer!

Monday, July 10, 2023

The GrapeBunch presented by Luke's of Cape Cod

Where have I been? Well, first of all, real life hit pretty hard in early 2021 and I had to put things on a pretty extended hold. I'm looking to pick things up a liiiiittle bit with book reviews and such, but as it stands right now there are no plans on bringing the blog back to the constant content producer that it once was.

That doesn't mean that you can't see my stuff on a weekly basis, though! When I returned to Luke's of Cape Cod in 2020, I became the marketer, utilizing my experience with blogging and social media. For three years now I've been running The GrapeBunch; a weekly wine email.

Sure, it's made for the customers of Luke's of Cape Cod, but much of the information is universal. There's a winery feature every month, a monthly themed "in-home tasting package" where I choose six wines based on a theme for you to hold your own wine tastings, AND there's also a monthly article where I geek out about the history of a certain varietal or wine region (just like I used to do here, but without the bad language).

Subscribe to GrapeBunch

Take a look at all these articles and features from May 2020 to June 2023! (listed newest to oldest)
Regions and Varietals
● Puglia
● Merlot
● Paso Robles
● Loire Valley
● Cabernet Sauvignon
● Verdejo
● Moscato Bianco
● Chianti Classico
● Petite Sirah
● Oregon
● South Africa
● Malbec
● Sauvignon Blanc
● Washington State
● Montepulciano
● Tempranillo
● Bordeaux
● Cava
● Pinot Noir
● Zinfandel
● Trentino-Alto Adige
● Albariño
● Gewürztraminer
● Grenache / Garnacha
● Syrah / Shiraz
● Douro River
● Port Dessert Wine
● Nero d'Avola
● Côtes du Rhône
● Cinsault
● Champagne
● Grüner Veltliner
● Pinot Blanc
Winery Features
● Benzinger
● Duckhorn
● J. Lohr
● DAOU Vineyards
● Wente Vineyards
● Banfi
● Chateau Buena Vista
● FitVine Wines
● Treasury Luxury
● Bread & Butter
● le Fat Bastard
● Cline Family Cellars
● The Beachhouse
● Trapiche
● 14 Hands Winery
● DeLoach Vineyards
● Chateau Ste. Michelle
● Truro Vineyards
● 90+ Cellars
● Foley Family
● Joel Gott
● Noble Vines
● Knotty Vines
● Mondavi Private Selection
● Bodegas Callia
● Layer Cake
● Dreaming Tree
● Hess Select
● Leese-Fitch Wines
● Copper Cane
● Bogle Winery
Wine Articles
● Cooking with Wine - keeping it simple and inexpensive
● How Rosé exploded!
● Canned Wine
● Analyzing Wine
● How to make Spanish Sangria 

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Book Review: Eastern Promise by Peter Stafford-Bow

"I was tempted to suggest that anyone who reduced a living wine - its relationship with its terroir, the stage of its development in its decades-long life, the conditions prevailing at the moment of consumption, not to mention the company in which it was consumed - to a single numerical score, was a tedious, innumerate fool."
Eastern Promise is the fourth book in the Felix Hart series by Peter Stafford-Bow, and let me start off by saying that I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of these books. Corkscrew started things off back in 2017, recording Felix's rise into the wine trade, becoming a Minstrel of Wine, and going on a series of ridiculously hilarious adventures. Brut Force expands on his Minstrel duties while continuing to have Felix running around to save his own life. Firing Blancs was the first to be based on one location; South Africa. While the first two books were fun, hilarious, and definitely must-reads, Firing Blancs is where you could see Peter really coming into his own as story teller.

In the fourth installment, Eastern Promise, Peter continues that trend. Not only is this just a well-written story, it is definitely the wittiest of all four of the books and is very hard to put down. I finished it in just a few nights, staying up much later than I probably should have, and I cannot tell you how many times I literally laughed out loud. The character of Felix Hart is a treasure, and the world that Peter has build around him is quite brilliant.

You'll never think of elephant seals the same again. Trust me.

So what has Felix gotten himself into this time? Well, of course Sandra from Paris-Blois has coaxed him into doing something he doesn't want to do. This time it's for 1 million US dollars to raid a counterfeit wine scheme in Hong Kong! Although the year is not given, it appears that this all occurs during the later stages of the COVID lockdown, as many travel bans and safety measures (such as masks) have been pulled except for in Asia, where these things are as strict as ever.

As straight-forward as steal-a-fake-bottle-and-run sounds, things aren't really as they seem. And it's made even more difficult when the new idiot CEO of Gatesave fires Felix from his wine buyer job, and he becomes the bathroom accessories buyer instead! However, it turns out that this big screw up becomes a savior move for Felix. And it's a good thing that Felix was enlisted for this mission, because it's going to take a shifty thinker and a lot of screwing up to bring down these bad guys!

This is such a great book, and I highly recommend that every wine lover with a sense of humor reads the whole series. You will not be disappointed.

Oh, one last thing... In my Firing Blancs review I mentioned that Peter is really good at writing American tourists. Well, in this book he proves he's really good at writing modern business jargon. Those CEO and consultant meetings were tooooorttttttuuuuuure.
"On Sunday, if things didn't quite go to plan, my bloated corpse would be fished from a paddy field irrigation ditch somewhere up the Pearl River Delta, and by Monday, all going well, I'd be back in Britain, awaiting my own postmortem. Assuming, that is, there was enough of my cadaver left to examine once the flesh-eating wildlife of Guangdong had finished with it."

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