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A good friend of mine, a doctor/photographer (who admitedly, is a bit mad) absolutely loves peppery wine. In fact, he takes it literarlly. This summer, in a tableside video he gamely showed off his technique of doctoring a wine to get it to his liking. This is not a joke. He does this all the time. Is it a manipulation? Sure it is. Do I care? No. I choose the wines I give him carefully. A Côtes du Rhône or a wine from the Languedoc? For those he stays away from the mill. He's often a great receptacle for the... Continue reading
Posted 7 hours ago at The Feiring Line
During my last trip to Georgia, the country was in the middle of harvest and Iago Bitarishvili (Iago's wine) had a big problem. He needed help cleaning qvevri. This is one of the most important tasks when working with those big vessels. Without a proper and throrough cleaning the resulting wines would surely be a mouse bomb. But there were few takers to lend a hand. "I go to the square and ask the boys and men. I will pay good money. But no one wants to help," Iago lamented. I looked at Jeremy, a game sommelier newly off the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2014 at The Feiring Line
Hey, so I decided I had to find some delicious wines under $18 (to hell with under $20 which is the new $15). I mean, we have to drink every day and the days of $12 and under are long gone. So in this issue of The Feiring Line I tasted and tasted and selected 30 fab wines, I love and you'll love and if you want more, subscribe! Plenty of selections of Thanksgiving, the day that throws many into wine klutz. Let me save you from disaster. Here's two of my favorites from the issue. Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at The Feiring Line
Actually, for those vegans who wear leather, the biodynamic treatment of using a cow horn as a vessel to ferment manure in, is not an issue. FYI: no cows were dehorned for the sole use of the treatments. Thanks for chiming in.
Toggle Commented Nov 4, 2014 on Vegan wines? at The Feiring Line
This month there's a little vegan wine guide thing I wrote up for Vegetarian Times. It's a little heavilly edited, but there is information in there you might not have known. The PDF is living on the Querciabella site, so take a peek. Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2014 at The Feiring Line
A few years ago my friend Becky said to me, "You'll have to find a new battle to fight." The wine world had changed so much since I wrote The Battle for Wine and Love, she was indicating that winemakers had started to question their paradigms; make wine for Parker's palate or for themselves. The work was done. I mean, have you looked to see what's going on in the Beaujolais? Just look at the names of the annual tasting La Beaujolise . This season I'm aware of three significant debuts from the area, and I'm sure there's more. Yohan... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2014 at The Feiring Line
Want to know what goes on inside The Feiring Line? This from a part two series and a visit to Martin from the June issue. For more info. Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at The Feiring Line
My story on new natural wine power in an old Georgian city, Sighnaghi is up now on Punch. While wine tourism has reached that hilltop town, do not expect Napa, do not expect Rioja. Humility is part of the DNA in this town and in the Georgian wine world. May it always stay that way. So, go have a look, then come back here for the details, of places to visit and the faces behind the wines. John Wurdeman, the man who many point to as fueling the Sighnaghi wine and spirits think tank. Here is is, above the fog.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2014 at The Feiring Line
Thanks for posting, and RR, thanks for your shout out.
Hey Richard, The sulfite addition is a big question and very different from minimal additions to mega addition--which is the norm. To makes no -sulfur wines the conditions have to be perfect. So yes, there is benefit to small addition for transporting and storing a wine, but a wine made well, without, to me, is just more delicious. But over sulfiting, is never a good thing.
Last week three requests rolled in, "Alice, what is your position on wine ingredient labels?" Three requests meant that even though I have expressed my opinions in Naked Wine and in interviews, perhaps I best spell it out. For a long time I've been in favor of less government in wine instead of more, but in this instance I have to fess up that with so many additives allowed in wine, an ingredient label is best. If there's an ingredient list for soda, there needs to be one for wine. If you are warned about an orange juice from concentrate,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at The Feiring Line
In February of 2014, I traveled to Australia for the natural wine fair, Rootstock (next one is August 2015). Then I went off to see what I could drink. Never did I think I would find some gamay from the older generation that sung and a whole lot of chirping was going on from the newer. Here's an snippet. The morning wine writer and ukulele-meister Max Allen and I tanked up on flat whites and headed out of Melbourne, the bush fires kept the Victoria air smelling like barbeque. Our first visit was Bindi (conventional but snappy and sexy pinot... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2014 at The Feiring Line
Franck inspects his vineyard in prime Cornas Franck Balthazar, who looks like a slighter, younger Sean Connery, was getting me car sick. I had zipped down from Burgundy. For one day, I teamed up with my friend Amy Lillard, of La Gramière and we were in Franck’s clangy truck, taking the curves, and heading up into the heart of the Cornas terroir, an amphitheater of vines. With relief we reached his granitic plot in the esteemed Chaillot vineyard. That vineyard, along with Reynard are the appellation’s exalted crus. Sucking in the unseasonably chilled air at about 300 meters, the visual... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2014 at The Feiring Line
Chilecopadevino, I would greatly appreciate your letting me know which soap box you thought was more relevant or where you think I got things wrong. Please, more details.
Gentlemen, I really don't see much difference between the two territories. From the BC VQA website, "BC VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) is the appellation of origin and quality standard for the Wines of British Columbia. Established in 1990, BC VQA certified wines must meet specific standards with respect to origin, vintage and varietals. These wines are also tasted by a qualified panel for quality characteristics prior to being able to use the BC VQA designation. To put it simply, when you see BC VQA on a bottle, it is your guarantee that you’re sipping a wine that is 100% from British Columbia." In other words, same ordeal.
hello UncorkOntario, Yes, I believe that was inferred in my piece. You can have it or not, but if you don't, you lose the financial benefit. Appreciate your reading and comment!
And thank you KK, for pointing it out.
Thanks you all. And Madrone, wombat indeed!
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2014 on Why I hate natural wine at The Feiring Line
Thanks for stopping by, @italianwineguy. And the Maggiora is right on the old label as well.
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2014 on Vallana: a story at The Feiring Line
In the introduction for The Battle for Wine and Love I talked about a screenplay I wanted to pen: girl journalist finds out about a global plot to kill of the authentic wines of the world, she springs into action. The plot to kill off authentic wine is not such fiction. Let's take the plight of tw wonderful wineries in different lands, in similar situations, penalized for not lack of quality, tastiness or stability, but solely on their lack of typicity. Canada's Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) could almost be rebranded as the Anti-Quality Alliance. All wines of Canada's Ontario must... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2014 at The Feiring Line
Hello almost August dog days...and so I've neglected the blog. Instead I'm posting some of my favorite stories I wrote in The Feiring Line in 2013. This was from my visit to Italy last spring to an iconic winery, just reemerging on the scene, Vallana. Please subscribe. That and a little peace on earth, is that too much to ask? WHEN I said I was headed to Cantina Vallana in the Alta Piemonte—the northeast of the region—I saw the eyebrows arch. Then would come the “Why?” After all, the Vallanas aren’t on the current list of hipster- approved wines. But... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at The Feiring Line
Thus spake Bruce Palling. Or, rather, so he wrote in his 2012 essay. Palling's recent Newsweek piece was entitled much more astutely, Why Natural Wine Tastes Worse than Putrid Cider. His title seemed inspired by the sensational Robert M. Parker Jr. and Michel Rolland. Yet the text seemed more in step with restaurant critic Steve Cuozzo. It turns out that like Cuozzo, Palling (also a restaurant critic who loves his tipple) thinks he's the rare food writer who actually knows wine---as they say, a unicorn of the species. Now, Palling still drinks 'claret' and 'vintages, ' and even though he... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at The Feiring Line
2004 is widely regarded as the worst Burgundian vintage of the last decade. There was cold, there was hot, there was wet and there was rot. And, for some reason there was an overabundance of ladybugs. Some believe that this ladybug taint contributed to the compound called methoxypyrazines found in that vintage. But remember, even without ladybugs, this compound,which causes the pee in sauvignon and the bell in cabernet, often shows up in wet or cool years. So, how do you separate one from the other. Muddy flavors? Grilled hazelnuts? I've heard that those can be indentifiers as well. In... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2014 at The Feiring Line
I offer you this knish. Knish, In Search of the Jewish Soul Food, by Laura Silver, came out in May from Brandeis University Press. I was impressed. Silver's story begins on the one-year anniversary of her grandmother's death when she drove to Brighton Beach in search of her Grandma Fritzy's favorite, Mrs. Stahl's. She was craving a memorial knish. The storefront was intact, but Mrs. Stahl had dispatched for Florida. Shortly thereafter Silver was further crestfallen to find the shop retrofitted into a Subway franchise. All was wrong with the world. Bereft, she embarked on the sentimental journey, needing to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2014 at The Feiring Line
Hi Simon, I was wondering if this was just for the Dutch market. There are a few natural wine importers in Holland, I meet them all the time at tastings, and certainly, nearby Belgium is crawling with vin naturels, but I digress. I believe that legislature to safeguard the word would probably fail, as it would be impossible not to drag the food world in on this and big bus, I believe, has too much to lose. A pity he wouldn't engage, but then again, why would he? A smart one, that Gort is.
Toggle Commented Jun 20, 2014 on Slurp Wine, audacious fraud? at The Feiring Line