Availability vs. distinction 5-15-2019

Wine writers encounter a Rubicon, and their decision flavors and follows them whenever they write: wine availability or wine distinction?

When the newspaper publisher 10-plus years ago asked me to write a wine column, the assignment was to entertain, write about wine in general, recommend wines people could purchase.

There is no question wines made from a particular block of vines and nurtured by an owner with generations of experience with his or her soil and grapes can be superior to wine from a factory pushing out cases in five, six, or even seven, digit numbers.

Rub comes when most of us have little or no chance buying the artisanal gem. We are not on the allocation list. We did not get a trust fund when we were born or scored big in business so we could squander our fortune on trophy wine.

I mostly review wines you have a fair shot at buying, if not in a wine shop or grocery store, then online or from the winery’s website. When writing the column, I assume you want to be entertained with some wine knowledge, some humor, some word play, maybe a word that stretches your vocabulary, and notes on wines to give you an inkling about what to expect about wines you can buy.

If you read the column on a newspaper’s website, most sites include links to my longer review of the wine, or go to gusclemensonwine.com and use the search engine.

Full disclosure: I often review wines sent to me for free. I tell wineries or their marketing agents that sending me wine does not guarantee a favorable review, but if I do not like the wine, I will not savage their effort. I do not do that to protect fragile feelings. I do that because I think readers don’t want to waste time on negative rants. If you savor negativity, watch politically-based news channels. This space is for fun.

Tasting notes:

• The Original Dark Horse Chardonnay, California 2014: Minimally complex, does not have depth, but does have rich, ripe fruit. $8-10 Link to my review

• Famiglia Pasqua “Romeo & Juliet” PassioneSentimento Bianco 2017: Astonishingly delicious. Astonishing value-for-price play. Vivid fruit, superb acidity. $12-14 Link to my review

• Attems Pinot Grigio Friuli DOC 2017: Seductive—starts simple and innocent, evolves to reveal charming elegance and delicious fruit. $17-20 Link to my review

Last round: I tell wine jokes when I am in an elevator because they are funny on so many levels.