• Anonymous sources

    Anonymous sources

    Forrest Gump, famously sharing his mother’s life insights, gave the world the deathless: “Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Had Mama taken a serious interest in wine, she would have found that mysteries are not limited to the Whitman’s Sampler. The wine aisle has

  • Wine country/weed country

    Wine country/weed country

    One of the lesser ditties in “Oklahoma” suggests as follows:   “Oh the farmer and the cowman should be friends Oh the farmer and the cowman should be friends One man likes to push a plow The other likes to chase a cow But that’s no reason why they can’t be friends.”   The theme

  • Class act

    Class act

    Greetings from Berkeley, Calif.! The weather is blessed, housing prices are unbelievable and all the avocados at the supermarket are ripe. And, of course, the wines are many, varied and locally sourced. Yet, that is not the reason for the visit. We’re here for our 50th high school reunion. Yes: Class of 1967, St. Mary’s

  • Convenience-plus


    At the center of the great, calorie-strewn plain that starts with a home-delivered Domino’s pizza and ends with a home-cooked meal prepared with fresh ingredients, there stands the Blue Apron: home-delivered but, also, home-cooked. Subscribers choose a menu item online and … zip … boxes of packaged, portioned fresh ingredients are delivered to their doors

  • Eternal verities

    Eternal verities

    Hard to believe that there was a time in living memory when folks gathered around the TV weeknights at 6 to watch the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. The avuncular anchor reported world and national events in deliberate, thoughtful sentences. No antics or drama. When he signed off each night, saying “And that’s the

  • The science of “Moneybottle”

    The science of “Moneybottle”

    Fans of baseball or statistics (there’s a difference?) were quite taken with “Moneyball,” the book by Michael Lewis that pulled the veil from the Oakland Athletics’ use of statistical analysis to identify true talent. The book describes how Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane dismissed the traditional indicators of a player’s potential — batting average,

  • It takes a village to choose a wine

    The idea that mature adults are rational human beings was first challenged in 17,000,000 B.C. That was the year a 14-year-old cave girl completed a cave painting of her parents, Urk and Og Mendelbaum. In her depiction, the cave girl rendered her parents with eyes crossed, goofy grins and missing teeth. Beneath the portrait she

  • Wine gaucheries are a Dr. No-No

    Wine gaucheries are a Dr. No-No

    “From Russia with Love” was the second James Bond film. The first, “Dr. No” (1962), had been so successful that the studio immediately greenlighted the sequel, which was released the very next year. The production budgeted was twice that of “Dr. No,” the Bond girls were more numerous and libidinous, the villains meaner and smarter

  • Victims of Volstead

    Victims of Volstead

    If you thought Prohibition was tough on wine drinkers, imagine what it did to wine makers. The 13-year stretch from 1920 to 1933 just about killed the California wine industry. The Volstead Act’s ruinous disregard for a good time was especially disastrous for the Napa Valley, which had weathered the phylloxera blight of the late

  • Talking the talk

    Talking the talk

    An appreciation of 2016’s wines from Bordeaux appeared in last week’s Bloomberg Pursuits. The reviewer, attempting to convey the characteristics of more than 20 vintages, swiftly ran out of adjectives, so he started making them up. The Lafite Rothschild was “dense, serious and expansive. Its long, complex, subtle flavors unroll in layers.” Guess he liked