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Fresh blog content from Alice can be found at the new The Feiring Line Natural Wine Newsletter site. Please update your RSS feeds! To browse Alice's older content, you can continue browsing below. Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2018 at The Feiring Line
Please head on over to TheFeiringLine.Com for the mousey story Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2017 at The Feiring Line
The Dirty Guide to Wine is coming on June 13th! Curious? Take a look here, with Pascaline Lepeltier. Direction by Christy Frank, video and sound by Peter Zanger. Oh, yeah, and that's me in the red hair, Alice. Available for Pre Order! Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2017 at The Feiring Line
Coming to you June 13th, but available for pre-order on Amazon! Read Penelope Bass' full review on Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at The Feiring Line
From the archives of The Feiring Line...the natural wine newsletter. It's a fantastic resource for what you should know and drink in the world of natural. Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at The Feiring Line
After tasting through quite a few 2015s from all over Burgundy I have to report it was a difficult vintage....for me. Other folks seemed to love it. But then I'm almost always showing up with a different take, like on the 2005 vintage. Praised by others, avoided by me. Jean Claude Rateau early in the 2015 vintage But while I still believe that you stick by your favorites year after year, this is the vintage to stick to who you know or listen to those you trust. The snapshot was this: Hail was no stranger to the area and it... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2017 at The Feiring Line
In this month's Feiring Line, the natural wine newsletter you'll want to read about rebirth of the real wines of Chile and how a plot to reforest has created havoc on the wine industry and the natural richness of the country. For more on the issue of the land, you'll want to read Luis Gutiérrez reporting in ... yup... The Wine Advocate. Subscribe! Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2017 at The Feiring Line
cranberry beans and aji Back in January I visited Chile and the Secano Interior lands with dry farmed old vines and great history. The info is plunked into this April's issue of TFL, devoted to the campesinos making pipeños don't know what that is? Well, sign up and find out. But there were outtakes to my story and a summer dish of beans and beauty was one of them During the stay I was treated to several homemade versions of a soup or a stew that was a staple, Porotos Granados. Delicious. You'll see it everywhere. It's like the jonjoli... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at The Feiring Line
The Joys of Processed Wine and Ignore the Snobs, Drink the Cheap, Delicious Wine was the two-titled opinion piece from writer Bianca Bosker. It appeared in last week’s New York Times. It didn’t strike a nerve but it did press buttons. “The story shouldn’t have been titled cheap wine, it should have been cheap shots,” wrote Vermont winemaker Deirdre Heekin. I’m not sure those who reacted to the click-bait of it all were being fair. Any thinking person who read Bosker's conclusion (or the titles), would guess the writer was clearly out of her mind. But while I would have... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2017 at The Feiring Line
"Extraordinary," said Decanter. "Best vintage since 2010," said Forbes. Tim Atkin was a little more subdued, "a very good to great vintage for reds." But, Janicis Robinson went further, "Seriously impressive," she wrote. If you read about Burgundy you know that there's a gushing about the vintage 2015. I have a history of being odd man out. I don't know why I see the world differently, it could be a curse, but I do. I loved the tannic 1998. I loved 2006. I found the weird vintages of 2007 (difficult and rot plagued) and 2011 particularly charming. And as far... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2017 at The Feiring Line
Tom. What are you arguing about. I honestly don't have a clue. Marketing and machine? I was playing with alliteration. I'm talking recipe. I'm a writer, I was writing. But I meant it. Marketing? We think the consumer wants this kind of wine so we're going to make it this way. Okay? Your last graph; Please don't put words into my piece. I wasn't talking about the United States or the 9,000 wineries. That's your issue. Not mine. Best, Alice
9,000 wineries at what kind of production? When you have many little wineries that have about 5acres or less, or even 10 acres or less, many who make under 2,000 cases. But then you have this.. (from the New Yorker in 2009) Franzia’s objective is to sell as much wine as possible—he sells twenty million cases a year now, which makes Bronco the fourth-largest winery in the United States, and would like to reach a hundred million— Oh, let's not forget about Gallo's or LVMH champagne brands... or Conchy y Toro or... (keep on going). They squelch the many little wineries that add up to 9,000. Tom: These kinds of brands that ranked in the Drinks Business story are what I am talking about. Recipe wines. I'm willing to be open about this and say that I am wrong, but can you show me some numbers here? Help me understand? If I compiled supermarket wine sales, I could end this conversation here. But you have more access than I do, so please, give it a go, and support your point so I can see the light.
Tom, If we just looked at supermarket wines we'd have the #s covered, wouldn't we? To suggest otherwise is a bit naive, no? How much wine does Gallo/Bronco produce? And that is just in North America without going to mass market brands in Chile or the rest of the world. I have no problem with my eyeballing the worlds wine and saying more than 1/2 of the wines are made this way. Thanks as always for reading, and commenting.
When the wine writer emeritus Hugh Johnson told Washington Post wine writer David McIntyre that "orange" wines were a sideshow and a waste of time fur raised on Facebook and Twitter. He went on to say, "Making good wine is hardly modern technology, it’s just experience and common sense. And hygiene!" He's right about the part on making good wine, of course. But the sharp that stuck in the throats of wine drinkers who have come to love skin-contact wines (full disclosure, I did write a love poem to Georgian wine, home to skin-contact) was that this wonderful writer, (thoughtful... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2017 at The Feiring Line
When the wines for the inaugural lunch were announced, I wasn’t surprised that those selected were ones that would never be on my table, in my newsletter or in my glass. The White House has little history in sensitivity when it comes to selecting wines on taste and quality. This year, it was no different. However, in analyzing the Trump selection from J.Lohr, Delicata and Korbel (talk about a strong lobby) I did come up with something positive out of this commercial lot of wines. All are still family owned. But on the negative, they are examples of wineries that... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2017 at The Feiring Line
What are the wine trends for 2017? I am looking to these top ten. 1) Natural wine noise settles down The non-stop stories about this new natural wine will finally slow down as the world realizes this is not fad, but just a return to sensibility. In the end, what good wine is will get redefined and we can get back to the business at hand, drinking. 2) More conventional winemakers will actively seek to crash into the natural wine world Gatekeepers like Isabelle Légeron, and The Feiring Line will prove essential to keep the interlopers at bay. This means... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2017 at The Feiring Line
My latest essay is up on the Fish and Game Quarterly, about Trump, Ethel and Wine. You can read it if you head over to THERE. Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2016 at The Feiring Line
Elaine Brown alerted to me about a petition that had just gone up on the TTB site. I went right to it. The document is dense. It is complicated. And it is stunning. Now when industry is using less, big wine wants to use more. The TTB should understand that commercial wine and real wine need different governance. If people buy wine in the supermarket they can expect flavorings. If buying what they consider fine wine, then that category should offer the consumer some protections. Most of the petitions have been requested by Gusmer Industries, a sales and wine consultancy... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2016 at The Feiring Line
For no good reason at all---except that I flunk self-promotion, the wines I send out monthly to The Feiring Line Wine Society are cloaked in secrecy. I've a right mind to change that and giving the mono-chrome political climate, it seems correct that I break the silence with Thanksgiving. This year the message is poignant; resist the mono-varietal supremacy and go for the blend. A melange of grapes in a bottle make plenty of sense. These can be perfectly wonderful melting pot way of celebrating the diversity that makes America great, even though some---like the current president elect---see nothing to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2016 at The Feiring Line
The season of 2016 was a disaster in many parts of Europe. Hail. Flood. Drought. Frost. Mildou. Five of the ten plagues. As a result some people in the great tradition of no atheists in a fox hole, stopped their bio or biodynamic practice. It didn't help. No chemical treatment could prevent the disaster. Others kept the faith with the same outcome. But here's the thing. Many people we drink in every vintage had almost nothing to pick. This is the year that people in Burgundy do what the Californian's do---buy grapes. This is the year you get to see... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2016 at The Feiring Line
The wine list at Fulgurances is filled with natural wines, which I often find a little too cider-y for my taste. But the Le Bégou I had from Maxime Magnon, that the friendly waiter suggested, was a great choice with lunch to go with all the dynamic flavors in the food. My heart rose at the Magnon. It sank at the cider. David Lebovitz, the sublime food writer wrote that Fulgrances review. I love David. He is smart. Funny. Wry. Talented. His recipes always work. All good shit. But it slayed me that-- probably for good reason-- he associated natural... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2016 at The Feiring Line
"Go ahead, you don't have to stay with me," Ethel said. Ethel, that's my no-longer-89-year-old, still doing the daily drive in from Long Beach to 'the place' on the Bowery, Mom. (Jewelry, if you must know. 82 Bowery. Piccadilly) A few days back she had cataract surgery. At the intake they asked her about her alcohol intake. I answered for her, "Not enough." The nurse wrote it down as two glasses a week. This showed up on the medical chart as uses two glasses a week. Uses? Sips for Kiddush. Glasses? Hah! Thimble-sized vessels! And she fills those thimbles with... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2016 at The Feiring Line
Alert: There is no wine in this post. My mom, Ethel, (Favorite wine? Kedem's Matuk Rouge) is still working. Piccadilly, 82 Bowery. 212-226-5114--tell her Alice sent you. Coat by Linda St. John of D.L. Cerney Not only that, she is the oldest jeweler on the Bowery. She has a dramatic two-hour-each-way-rush hour commute to NYC from Long Beach five-days a week. Why there's not a story on her in the Times Metro section I have no idea. But anyway, people are always asking me for pro tips like how to clean jewelry. Want to know? Give a listen. Download Ethel... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2016 at The Feiring Line
"Vacation?" My friend was incredulous. Did you say you went on vacation? Did you really use that word? I did. She had reason to be shocked. For nearly 30-years the only days off I took were the random day or two when traveling, or when I was able to pinch a long weekend. It was all I could manage financially and emotionally. Vacation was a word that was not in my vocabulary. As a freelancer, envied by employed friends around the world for my 'freedom,' they never truly appreciated how 'un-free' a free-lance writer can be. Yes, I was free... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2016 at The Feiring Line
The Minerva of Vittoria, Arianna Occhipinti. If you care about natural wines and want to be on the inside track, subscribe. If you already subscribe, spread the word! Here's a taste. oops! The rest if for subscribers only. Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2016 at The Feiring Line