Monthly Archives: January 2017

#MWWC30–Time to Vote!


Searching for Identity in Bottles of Wine

the drunken cyclist

When I was a kid, I really did not think much about my heritage. I knew I was born in Ohio to parents who were also born in the state, but I did not know much beyond that. I did know, however, that my last name, “Kralik” (kray-LIK) was the subject of much derision by my classmates throughout middle and high school (Crap-lick, Crack-lick, and Cray-fish being the most “clever”).

For years I did not think about it much—I actually tried to block it out. There were plans to change my last name on my 18th birthday, but once I found out it involved money, well….

I remember I had asked my father about our family history a couple of times, but let’s just say that my father is not the most conversant nor introspective person on the planet. The most I ever got out of him was: “My great grandparents came from…

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Toiling Away . . . . (#MWWC30)

The Swirling Dervish


I’m jumping back into the fray this month, submitting an entry to the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge.  January’s theme – OBSCURE – was chosen by last month’s winner, Shez, of The Epicurious Texan.  This is the 30th edition of the MWWC, a friendly competition among wine writers, in which we venture beyond tasting notes and let the purple prose flow!  Here goes:

Obscurity and Competence:  That Is the Life That Is Worth Living.   Mark Twain

Not long ago I traded in my tailored corporate suits for the much more, ahem, relaxed, wardrobe of the independent writer.  Working from home, I relished the newly-found freedom to set my own schedule, accept assignments that excited me, and avoid the soul-sucking trials of weekly air travel.  That last bit alone has made me a nicer person, I’m sure of it!  No more wasting of my creative juices on dry-as-dirt product marketing…

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MWWC #30: Obscure

The Epicurious Texan

This month’s wine writing challenge was picked by…well, me!  As last month’s winner for my glass-shattering tales in my Winestory, I got the honor of picking this month’s theme: OBSCURE.

wine stain

For full disclosure, Jeff helped me pick OBSCURE–and he was right, it was the word I was looking for in my quest to hear about the often-forgotten grapes.  What I sent to Jeff was a long rambling email about how I was enjoying Lori and Mike of Draceana Wines posts about Cabernet Franc and their push for #CabFrancDay.  I love Cabernet Franc, from the moment that I tasted it!  But a lot of people have not heard of this delicious grape and even fewer know of other Cabernet grapes, like Ruby Cabernet.

Side note: Grape Creek makes a delicious blend of these three Cabernet grapes, Cabernet Trois, which I highly recommend if you’re in Texas and/or can get your hands…

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The Value in the Obscure – #MWWC30

Appetite for Wine

Monthly Wine Writing Challenge

Obscure…O-B-S-C-U-R-E…I have never heard of the grape or the region from which this wine is made; they are both obscure. Obscure.

Having successfully completed the latest round in the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge Spelling Bee, let me just say that I am a big fan of the obscure. Although there is no conceivable way to taste all of the thousands of different grape varieties in my lifetime, I am committed to giving it my all, and taste as many as possible! Not too long ago, I learned about the Century Wine Club. Yes, it’s a thing! All you have to do to qualify for membership is taste at least 100 different grape varieties. After going through my wine log, I discovered that I was only a handful short, so I hastened to my local wine shop and stocked up on a few more obscure varietals and blends. Yes, blends…

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Locations Wines: Comparing California And France

jvb uncorked

The scene: a midweek, extended family dinner in the suburbs of Manhattan.

I uncork and pour a wine for my brother-in law, and casually mention that this is a new selection by a winemaker I have followed for years, but have yet to try.

We let the wine breathe until dinner service starts. He tries a taste, and then another as his eyes widen.

He is having a “whoa” moment.

He swallows, takes a breath, then asks a barrage of questions: Who is the winemaker? Where is he from?  Where can he buy this bottle? How much does it cost? Are all this winemaker’s wines so good?

Almost immediately, he has become a fan.

My response to his “whoa” moment? “No real surprise there.”


Locations Wines CA4 California Blend by Dave Phinney. 15.5% ABV, $20/bottle MSRP.

A blend of petite syrah, barbera, tempranillo, syrah, and grenache grapes from California’s Napa, Sonoma…

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