Monthly Archives: January 2017

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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Obscure: Oenophile’s Pleasure


Today, class, we will be talking about things obscure. Yes, things obscure, but not in the whole entire world, of course, but in the world of wine.

In your opinion, if we use the word “obscure” in conjunction with the word “wine”, would that be a good thing or a bad thing? For starters, let’s think about the meaning of the word itself. Here is how New Oxford American Dictionary defines “obscure”:

Well, yes, we could’ve done without the dictionary, as the word is simple enough – but dictionaries exist for something, so why not use one.

Now that we are clear on the meaning, let’s go back to our original question: “obscure + wine” – is it good or bad?

Reading wine’s description, have you ever come across the words “obscure grapes”? I’m not talking about the stuff you read on the back label, as there you will rather…

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Obscurity Thwarted

Elizabeth Smith

#MWWC29, Monthly Wine Writing Challenge 24 #MWWC30, Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #30

Life is a brief, small, and transitory phenomenon in an obscure corner, not at all the sort of thing that one would make a fuss about if one were not personally concerned. ~ Bertrand Russell

As I write this, my the death of my mother on January 9, 2017 is obscuring my ability to do much of anything without thinking of her. Memories of her pop into my head at the most inopportune times, bringing me to either laughter or tears, in front of coworkers, friends, strangers, and while alone. Thus, this entry for #MWWC30 (Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #30) is going to be about her. I don’t have an outline or a plan of what I am going to write, so this is going to be stream-of-consciousness, cathartic writing.

My dad was a teetotaler and my mom wasn’t much of a drinker, either…

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