May 9, 2005

Agusti Torello Kripta 2000 – An impressive and balanced effort, with orange, lemon, pear, and nuttiness on the nose, and flavors of orange pear and a honey-dipped green apple slice at the end. Complex bubbly like this can be great on its own, or with light appetizers.

May 8, 2005

A wealth of delicious Spanish wines to review including a few pretty cavas. Agusti Torello Mata Cava Reserva 2002 – A very attractive nose with some yeastiness, toast, lemon and creamy green apple, the mouth is full and round but dry, with a little floral note and lemon zest at the finish. By itself, or with light foods, this is very stylish.

May 7, 2005

Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc 2003 Horse Heaven Vineyard is the product of one of Washington’s greatest and coolest vineyards. In most vintages, Horse Heaven is not a sure thing, even with a variety friendly to cool vintages such as Sauvignon Blanc.

But two things have changed: the vintages are no longer so cool in Washington, and Ste Michelle seems to be getting a real handle on the grape. Despite the Bush administration’s ostrich act, global warming is real and cool vineyards are nearly hot. This is laden with white pepper, notes of green pepper and nutmeg, cooked pears and apples and notes of orange and grapefruit. Lengthy, weighty and crisp.

May 6, 2005

SoloRosa 2004 California Rose – pink wine is not for very everybody, I know. It’s just that most people like it, and the wine press likes to ignore these wines despite that fact. Strawberry, raspberry and red currants flavors in a soft, somewhat simple finish. But simple isn’t bad when it comes to pink wine. Austere is bad, dull is bad. This is none of those.

May 5, 2005

I can’t recommend enough Mark Kurlansky’s books. A Basque History of the World is fascinating. Salt is great. Cod is required reading. The story of cod fishing is the story of mankind’s past, present and future. If you read Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel and were transfixed, these books don’t have the power and depth but have the research and are far easier reads.

May 4, 2005

In the middle of the film is an astounding portrayal of tuna fishing eighty years ago. The men stand alongside the boat, knee deep in the ocean, and pull the tuna out off handpoles. They’ve thrown out sardines to bait the tuna and they’re pulling out tuna at about three to the minute. And these are the kind of tuna you only catch in nets anymore, two hundred pounders.

The world of fishing hasn’t gone high tech because people were greedy. The world of fishing has gone high tech because there are far fewer fish today. It’s not that the fishermen got greedy. Okay, sure, some countries got greedy. But the problem is there are too many fishermen out there. Fish like the tuna are part of the mass species extinction that humans are creating.

May 3, 2005

The celluloid shark tale probably began with 1932’s Tiger Shark starring Edgar G. Robinson. The tough guy gangster is now a salty old Portuguese bachelor fisherman pining for a girl; any girl will do. Meanwhile he fights off the sharks; seemingly every fishing trip is a battle against sharks.

May 2, 2005

My friend Damon Ornowski gives me a bottle of Lungarotti Rubesco Torgiano Riserva Vigna Monticchio 1995. I’m pretty excited so I open it that night. At first, it’s plump and youthful. Then some cinnamon starts showing up, like the wet cinnamon note of New World Sangiovese.

Then the TCA shows up. It’s corked. The fruit recedes like a turtle’s head in harsh light. I hate corks.