Palate Teasers

Punster Penitence

June 14, 2011
Punster Penitence

Let me confess up front that I love puns. I get a giggle out of writing and reading them. But recently, someone mentioned to me that it’s high time wine writers retired “uncorked” for anything other than referring to removing a cork from a bottle and I was struck with a bit of an...
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Top 5 differences between hiking in Berkeley and the South of France

May 17, 2011
Top 5 differences between hiking in Berkeley and the South of France

Somewhere between the vegetable gazpacho and the duck confit, I realized my hike in La Clape, part of the Languedoc wine region of France, was just a little different than my usual treks up and down the canyons of Berkeley. It could have been the sign warning of a steep hill ahead that carried...
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Grapes of mirth

April 26, 2011
Grapes of mirth

Some people think of the wine world as a stuffy place. These people have not met Judd Finkelstein. The Judd in Judd’s Hill Winery, Finkelstein takes his wine seriously, but not himself. His impish sense of humor was on display in “Judd’s Enormous TV Show,” a series of videos that can still be found...
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How to deal with a wine snob

March 25, 2011
How to deal with a wine snob

Every once in a while I run into a wine snob. Oddly enough, this never seems to happen in a vineyard. Of all the winemakers I’ve talked to in more than a decade of covering  country, I’ve never met one who wasn’t down-to-earth. Even the men and women turning out really high-end, raved-over bottles don’t tend...
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Resolution rev-up

January 3, 2011
Resolution rev-up

Today’s a real Monday of a Monday, isn’t it? Had some time off; ate a lot of things that might have been better left uneaten. And now it’s back at the desk and all the problems that were put off “because it’s the holidays” are still sitting there large as life and twice as...
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Best of 2010

December 29, 2010
Best of 2010

The old year endeth, making way for countless analyses of what just happened and/or what’s going to happen next. Here’s my take, a baker’s dozen of standout moments. Dirtiest wine tasting: Being invited to sniff soil samples from Robert Mondavi Winery vineyards for a session on terroir and the new releases. Most unexpected soaking:...
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Google that bottle!

December 20, 2010
Google that bottle!

It’s the holidays and you’re likely reaching into your cellar for bottles to take along to this or that occasion. Which leads me to a very important piece of advice: Google that bottle! Why, you ask?I’ll tell you. A few months ago I was going to a friend’s house-warming and pulled out what I...
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A stroll down memory lane

December 7, 2010
A stroll down memory lane

What’s the word? If you know the answer is “Thunderbird,” you are very well-versed in wine lore. Or fairly antique, but let’s don’t go there. I was doing an interview today and the old ads for Thunderbird wine came up in conversation. The jingle went something along the lines of: What’s the word? Thunderbird. How’s...
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The Tweet Life

December 1, 2010
The Tweet Life

I love Twitter. I’ve been on it for about a year now and follow nearly 100 people, mostly in the food and wine world. And @KanyeWest, naturally. I don’t tweet a lot, mostly new blog postings and the occasional observation about the weather or a particularly good piece of work by someone else. I’d...
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10 Scary Things about Food/Wine/Travel Writing

October 29, 2010
10 Scary Things about Food/Wine/Travel Writing

1. If spotted in supermarket stuffing Cheetos into your basket … awkward. 2. Taste wine at 10 a.m. 3. Start thinking it’s perfectly normal to taste wine at 10 a.m. 4. Spend time with people who photograph everything before they eat it. Including the bread basket. 5. Catch yourself thinking, “Oh, no one will...
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Travels in France

Lovely Languedoc

  I don’t think six weeks is a long time to take to put together a slideshow on my visit to the Languedoc, do...
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Carcassonne: A Fairy Tale City

The ancient walled city of Carcasonne had me before hello. Just driving up to the fantastically fairy-tale expanse of walls, turrets and towers was...
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Languedoc dogs

Look out, winery dogs of Napa Valley. Yes, I know you’re cute and featured in all sorts of books and articles, but let me...
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Swept away by cassoulet

Ever get annoyed by people who go to the South of France and proceed to rave over the victuals? Well bite me, because today...
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Top 5 differences between hiking in Berkeley and the South of France

Somewhere between the vegetable gazpacho and the duck confit, I realized my hike in La Clape, part of the Languedoc wine region of France,...
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Party like a paparazzi at the Cannes Film Festival

Two things are vital if you want to chase stars at the Cannes Film Festival. First, you need to know a clued-in and friendly...
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