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Could the Internet screw up direct shipping?

The perfect world of direct shipping — where we can buy any wine we want from any retailer we want, just like we buy computers or tennis shoes — will likely never Read More »

wineofweek

Wine of the week: PradoRey Rueda 2013

There are a variety of reasons why Spanish wine isn’t more popular in the United States, but to put it most simply: The wines are made with grapes that most of us Read More »

winenews

Winebits 370: Wine writing ethics, Big Wine, beer sales

• Full disclosure: The Wine Curmudgeon stopped writing about wine writing a couple of years ago; it boosted the blog’s numbers, but didn’t advance the causes that the blog believes in, like Read More »

great quotes

Great quotes in wine history: Kojak

New York City police detective Theo Kojak is very excited — or at least as excited as he gets — about the 2015 $10 Wine Hall of Fame. A tip o’ the Read More »

ernie banks

Ernie Banks, 1931-2015

Not that long ago, I was talking to a baseball fan who didn’t understand why New York Yankees fans were so cranky. “Their best player can make an error in the first Read More »

Great quotes in wine history: Kojak

great quotes

New York City police detective Theo Kojak is very excited — or at least as excited as he gets — about the 2015 $10 Wine Hall of Fame.

A tip o’ the Wine Curmudgeon’s fedora to the Dedoimedo website; this post is based on his “My reaction to — ” series. The video is courtesy of davedacunt via YouTube.

Ernie Banks, 1931-2015

ernie banks

ernie banksNot that long ago, I was talking to a baseball fan who didn’t understand why New York Yankees fans were so cranky. “Their best player can make an error in the first inning, and they’ll start booing and won’t let up,” he said. “They take all of the fun out of the game.”

“That’s because Yankees fans are used to players like Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter,” I told him. “When you’ve watched them, it’s hard to give anyone else the benefit of the doubt.”

I mention this on the death of perhaps the greatest Chicago Cubs player ever, Ernie Banks. The Cubs, for most of my lifetime, have not had players like Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Jeter. They have had Joe Wallis and Carmen Fanzone and Dick Nen. But as long as the Cubs had Ernie, that always seemed to be enough.

Banks’ death is about more than baseball and being a Cubs’ fan, and it’s about more than the part he played for those of us who came of age with the Cubs in the 1960s. It’s about what baseball says about our lives; as George Carlin wrote: “Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life. Football begins in the fall, when everything’s dying.”

Banks was a Hall of Fame ballplayer, one of the greatest shortstops in the history of the game. But what he will be remembered for, and what his New York Times obituary did not fail to mention, was the record he holds for most games played without ever making the playoffs, 2,528. It’s a most Cubs-like record, befitting the franchise’s reputation for futility.

But it reminds us that life is not about winning. We can’t all be the Yankees. Life is about getting up every morning and doing the best you can, because otherwise, what’s the point? It’s about understanding that you’re lucky enough to do something that you love, and that doing anything other than the best you can would be wrong. You can’t hit a home run every day, but you can try. And that’s enough.

Todd Hollandsworth, who played a couple of seasons for the Cubs at the beginning of the last decade (and yet another of those players who weren’t Babe Ruth) told the Chicago Sun-Times that Banks “taught me to let the game go and start over the next day. Each day was unto itself. `You can’t change yesterday,’ he told me. I don’t think I could fully understand what he was teaching me at the time. Still haven’t.”

There is no better epitaph than that.

Mini-reviews 68: French wine edition

winereview

French wine reviewsReviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month. For January, four French wines:

Macon-Villages Les Tuiles 2013 ($10, purchased,13%): This chardonnay from the Macon region of Burgundy is another winner from Cave de Lugny, which specializes in quality cheap wine from that part of France. This is a richer, less crisp style, but still with green apple, and even though the wine doesn’t have any oak.

Château Jacquet Blanc 2013 ($11, purchased,12%): Nothing special about this white Bordeaux, made of sauvignon blanc and semillon. It’s sort of jumbled together, without enough minerality and some sort of citrus and honey combination.

Château Rauzan Despagne Reserve 2013: ($13, purchased,12%): Overpriced white being sold in Dallas as a private label that doesn’t especially taste white Bordeaux, with too much citrus and sweet fruit. Very disappointing.

Hugel Riesling 2012: ($20, sample,12%): This Alsatian white comes from one of the region’s finest producers, and it’s impeccable — some oiliness, pear fruit, and minerality, as well as bone dry. But for all of its quality, it doesn’t come close to delivering value for $20. This is the problem the French wine business faces that few people want to admit.

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