Monthly Archives: October 2014

Tales From: The Wachau, Austria, Part Two

the drunken cyclist

The following is the second half of the story of our trip down the Danube back in April when my wife and I were in Salzburg for a conference. After much debate, we decided on the trip to the Wachau to try some of the local wines, instead of visiting Vienna (a city my wife has never seen, and really wanted to visit). The first half of the story included a rather uninspired tasting at a “friend’s” winery…wine-stain1-3

After our rather unfortunate tasting at the first winery, I was hesitant to try again. It was not that I did not want to go to another winery—I would happily taste wine all day even if each tasting were as painful as the experience at Weingut Hick (think “root canal”). No, the problem was convincing my wife that an additional tasting (or two) was a worthwhile endeavor.

It was past noon at this point…

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Looking Beyond Local #MWWC12 Troon, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Applegate Valley, Oregon 2008


wine-stain1-3We in the West with more money than sense have made religion out of things local.  Like buying indulgences, that carrot at your farmer’s market or grandma’s un-labeled jam make us feel like we have done our part.

Farmer Market JamDelicious or dangerous, buying local frees us of our carbon-footprint guilt.

Yes, directing money back into the native economy slices out the middle-person. Yes, things grown from the same soil, sun, waters, and hands tend to synchronize well with similar products (see terroir).

But let us not fool ourselves.  At some point we get tired of underripe tomatoes, botulism, and local IPAs.  At some point we crave adventure.  This is why Oregon Pinot Noir bores me. I live a few minutes’ drive from some of the Willamette Valley’s best vineyards. I obsess daily over the finer permutations of Yamhill-Carlton or Dundee soil types.  But Pinot is (pretty much) all we grow here.

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Like A Kid In The Candy Store…


I’m traveling again (for my daytime job), and of course when I travel, I’m always looking for the local wineries to visit. This time I’m in Washington state, and of course there is no shortage of wineries to visit here. Well, let me critique myself here for that beaten up “of course”. This is not the first time I’m in Washington –  however, last time I was here, I couldn’t think of anything but the Chateau St. Michelle as a winery to visit (which was the great visit, by the way, and I love their wines). While the Washington wineries had been on my radar for quite a long time, there was no realization that those wineries are actually the places which can be visited. Until this time.

First, I tried to arrange a visit to the Quilceida Creek, a cult producer. Unfortunately, they were smack in a middle…

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Don’t Be a Snob; Drink Local…


… And Don’t Let Your World Get Too Small!
I live in Minnesota, not known for its’ fine wines. Medicine, yes.  The hotel directly across from the Mayo Clinic has a floor reserved for “Royalty”, and they are serious!  The Rochester airport regularly receives jets from all over the world with patients headed for Mayo.  Sometimes just for their annual check-up.

Yep, we chill our wines out in the snow.  Be careful, -15 F can be a little too cold! Yep, we chill our wines out in the snow. Be careful, -15 F can be a little too cold!

I had never given Minnesota wines a fair chance.  Too cold here, traditional wine grapes do not survive our winters, wimps.

Snowshoe right out your back door.  Nice! Snowshoe right out your back door. Nice!

Over the last year or two, however, I started to hear about the progress being made at the University of Minnesota Department of Agriculture (responsible for the Haralson and Honeycrisp apples, no less) with hybridizing wine grapes that could tolerate our winters. …

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Local Flavor at a Parisian Tabac


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I’ve been eagerly trying to write and submit this entry in this month’s #MWWC12 in spite of the distractions that abound. Work, deadlines, crying babies (not mine, the neighbors, they break my train of thought,) wine club pick-up parties, unexpected houseguests (aka ant infestation,) in-laws, parents, clergy, it’s so darn busy these days trying to make a buck and then you bonk your head “I shoulda written that post for the MWWC!”

But never fear! There isn’t a deadline that a little caffeine, spousal abandonment and chutzpah can’t conquer! Here goes….

The theme: Local. The place: Paris. The era: 2014, during the war on terror, Ebola outbreaks, overly bearded men and babies on iPads.

I’ve just strolled the Jardin des Tuileries adjacent to the Louvre, when I was nearly accosted by a band of gypsy girls asking if I spoke English. “Why yes! I thought you’d never ask!” By the auspices of lady…

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What Does it Mean to be Local


This is my second entry into the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge. The MWWC was created by the Drunken Cyclist to encourage creativity within the wine writing community. It is open to anyone with a blog and encourage youMWWC to participate. Last month’s winner, Armchair Sommelier, was bestowed the honor of selecting the theme for this month’s challenge. The theme she has selected is “local.” Initially I pondered this theme with a bit of confusion; after a week or so I forgot about it…until yesterday when I read the first submission for the topic. However, now that it is back in my consciousness I am still confused. What is local? The Google definition is such: an adjective “belonging or relating to a particular area or neighborhood, typically exclusively so.” Furthermore, Google offers synonyms such as community, district, neighborhood, city, town or municipal. And this is where my confusion…

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Dracaena Wines: Local- It’s a Mindset Not An Action

We have another great entry into this month’s challenge (#MWWC12) from Dracaena Wines, another previous winner!

You can check out her entry here:

Local- It’s a Mindset Not An Action

Thanks for another great entry