Friday, July 29, 2011

Bottle Sizes

Recently, I've been opening up a lot of large format wine bottles. Big bottles. 1.5L's, 3L's, and the whatnot. As you know, wines from large bottles often taste better, and it's all very fun to share them with people. Frequently, guests have asked me for the "term" or name for the bottle size I am pouring, and truth be told, I often have trouble remembering past "magnum". So I decided to make myself a shorthand listing of the different names for the bottles, a kind of cheat sheet, that I could keep handy. And I thought I would share that sheet with you, just in case you find yourself in the same situation.

1.5 liter - MAGNUM


3.0 liter - THE SHOCKER

4.5 liter - JIM MORRISON IN A BATHTUB

6.0 liter - REFRIGERATOR PERRY

9 liter - CHRIS FARLEY

12 liter - HEAVY D

15 liter - KIRSTIE ALLEY

18 liter - TRIPLE WHOPPER WITH CHEESE

20 liter - OLD ELVIS

25 liter - DAVID BANNER

27 liter - JABBA

30 liter - MAMMA CASS
I hope you find the listing as helpful as I did!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Are You There Petrus? It's Me, Levi

  Are you there Petrus? It's me, Levi. It's been awhile since we talked. I'm sorry for that. I guess we've drifted apart. Sometimes I just feel like it is difficult. I know that we used to talk more. The time you answered my prayers with the 1959 Belgian Label, well, I don't forget about that.
  Just it seems like maybe you don't care about me like you used to. I know that's not true, Petrus, but sometimes that is how it feels here. Being in a relationship with you can demand a lot of sacrifices, or a least that is how I think right now. When did the Ten Commandments start to cost $1,000 each, Petrus? That sure seems like a lot of money to me.
  Some of the other sommeliers talk about you a lot. They seem to know you pretty well. Like about 1947, and the sometimes small amount of Cabernet Franc, and stuff like that. Do you think I'll be like that someday? I really don't know anything about 1947, Petrus. That seems like a long time ago. Was 1947 when people wore fedoras for the first time?
  I understand that you have been very busy in Hong Kong lately. Do you enjoy Chinese food, Petrus? I know you used to be in Las Vegas a lot, and that it is hard to get good Chinese food there. At least that is what my friend said. I like Peking duck a bunch, myself. I wish you and I could have Peking duck together some day. The real kind, that you roll, and with good onions. Do you like the onions in your Peking duck, Petrus? Some folks don't seem to like the onions, but I think they are mostly from Napa, actually. I'm pretty sure about that. It would be great to have Peking duck with you, Petrus. Really, really great.
  I've been going through a lot of changes Petrus. I enjoy Muscadet more than I used to. Please don't be angry with me. I hope we can talk more.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The 13 Ways, with infinite respect to Mr. Stevens

I
Among twenty snowy vineyard rows,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the partridge.
 
II
I was of three minds,
Like a cover crop
In a vineyard owned by three wineries.
 
III
The bordeaux whirled in the decanter.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
 
IV
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a burgundy
Are one.
 
V
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The champagne poured
Or just after.
 
VI
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the pruners
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cordon.
 
VII
O thin men of Hong Kong,
Why do you imagine golden bottles?
Do you not see how the bocksbeutel
Compliments the eyes
Of the women about you?
 
VIII
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the barolo is involved
In what I know.
 
IX
When the vintage grew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

X
At the sight of barbaresco
With egg and truffle,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
 
XI
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For bergerac rouge.
 
XII
The river is moving.
The cork must be pulled.
 
XIII
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The madeira sat,
In the cellar-limbs.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

With the tasting group

I finally got together with my tasting group the other day. I have to say, it's been awhile. We always say we are going to hook it up, but it can take awhile before we do. Probably that's alright, because I feel like most times we just end up talking about the same things we always talk about.

Bobby Brown's restaurant is listed with the SLA again. It's all cash on arrival, or no deliveries for Bobby. But this always happens with him. He's always on the phone with the distributors, like, "Don't Be Cruel!" but they have heard it so many times before, and they just don't care any more. In the end, it doesn't matter to anybody in the Accounts Receivable office if you used to lay down a sick Roger Rabbit backwards step dance or not. It's a shame, but it's true.
"All of these accountants talkin' all this stuff about me, why don't they just let me ship?"

Wyclef is still deep into his Burgundy obsession. He's really in bad with that. He was there talking about being shot down and the Burgundy bullet being in his soul. He said the alleged assailant was half a liter plus one. That dude Wyclef is always opening the magnums up at home. Hell, I'd be in trouble too if I tried to drink a magnum by myself. Premier cru or no.
"If death comes for me tonight, Barthod, I want you to know that I loved you.
If this is the kind of love that the old retailers used to warn me about, man, my wallet's in trouble, it's in real big trouble."

Will Smith is buggin' about his GM again. I guess the guy wanted Will to wear a tastevin on the floor, but Will was like "this ain't 1963. What are you doing, you're ruining my rep." But the GM was like, "you don't have a rep yet! You come to work to help, not for a fashion show." That's some tough stuff to hear, I have to admit.
Will was like there's no need to argue, GM's Just Don't Understand, and I definitely understood where he was coming from.
"At my first interview I was scared as hell, I said I don't have a license but I drink very well"
Anyway, it was nice to see everybody again, and we did try some nice wines.

Do All Corked Wines Go to Heaven? Samples from the Reader Mailbag

Well, it's been hot outside. So I've set aside some extra time to sit in the air conditioned comfort of the SYWTBAS? offices and page through the letters that have come in from the many readers of this blog. The volume of reader mail received is quite extensive, and I regret that I cannot answer each query in a timely fashion, but here are responses to some of the more recent correspondence, as well as the original note for context.

Dear So...Sommelier,
I am new to the world of wine, and I would like to get your opinion on a topic of special concern to me. The sommelier of the restaurant where I work has assured the staff that every time a bottle is drunk to the bottom, an angel gets its wings, and that we waitstaff owe it to those heavenly creatures to sell more wine, thus allowing for more angels ascending the heavens. But my question is, what happens to the corked wine? When a sommelier or manager or wine salesman pours a bottle of wine down the sink, does that wine also receive a Beatification? Or is corked wine a lost soul, hurtling towards a final resting place in the dark of city sewage? Our own sommelier has been hesitant to answer this question. Please help.
Sincerely,
Devout in Detroit

Dear Devout in D,
I have it on good authority that the Divine is a keen collector of vintage wines (angels get thirsty from all that flying around), and that the powers of curing the ailment known as TCA extend far beyond the Saran Wrap trick. In fact, I have heard Biblical scholars state quite firmly that, as there are several known cases where leprous, crumbly 1947 Cheval Blanc corks have been miraculously restored to full health and good, auctionable condition, it would stand to reason that TCA is curable by an act of God. This is suffice to say that although those corked bottles may be poured down the temporal drain, certainly their final resting place is amongst their kin in that Great Cellar of the Clouds. So fear not for that corked bottle of DRC Montrachet. You will see it again before too long.
Yours in Good Faith,
Brother Levi

Dear Sir,
I read you blog almost every day, and greatly value your contributions to a better understanding of wine. There is a concept of "balance" in wine that I have seen you mention, yet I do not grasp what you are referring to. Would you please help me to understand what you mean by this term "balance"? Many thanks in advance!
Sincerely,
Teetering in the Tetons

Dear Teetering in the Park,
I suspect that each of us has our own understanding of what properly constitutes a "balanced" wine, just as each of us has our own taste in clothing. And indeed, balance is most noticeable when it isn't there. However, I am reminded of the analogy of the full length mirror. If one should see a passerby on the street and wonder if, indeed, they have actually seen themselves in that ridiculous and clashing outfit, that would be akin to the wine that is harsh or at contretemps with itself. Clearly such a person or wine has not examined their own appearance. That is why you will always find a full length mirror in all the best wineries and chateau of Europe. The finest wines know themselves in their entirety, and from top to bottom. Of course, a good wine offers more than just good looks: there has to substance there as well or it would be a like Brendan Fraser movie and nobody goes to those.
Yours in Harmony,
Levi with an i

Dear Somnolescent Sommelier,
I have noticed you haven't written any new posts in awhile? What gives?
Sincerely,
Haven't Read You Much Lately

Dear Have and Have Not,
Sorry, man. But in the words of two of my favorite wine professionals, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, it's "summer summer summertime, time to sit back and unwind". Hope you understand.
Sincerely,
Levi from Bel Air

Dear Editorial Board at So you want to be a sommelier?,
Recently, I have gotten into Burgundy in a big way. Would you please help me understand why some Chardonnays taste like Burgundy, but others don't? Why is that? Why don't I get the Burgundy taste that I love from other areas of the world?
Sincerely,
Caught up in Crus

Dear Tangled Up in Lieux,
I have often wondered about this myself! As best as I can ascertain, each time a Chardonnay is bottled, anywhere in the world, Bertrand Russell and Tori Spelling fire up the ColecoVision and engage in an epic game of Frogger to battle for the soul of the wine. Actually, I'm pretty sure Bertrand Russell plays Frogger and Tori Spelling goes at Super Ms. Pac-Man and then they compare High Scores afterwards.
If Bertrand wins, then Raveneau and Roulot.
If Tori wins, well, you know...
Sincerely,
Another Lover of Burgundy that tastes like Burgundy

Dear Sommelier Answer Man,
Sir, I have read many times that Savagnin is somehow related to Gewurztraminer, and yet I just don't see the connection! Would you please help me to understand this? Thank you kindly.
Sincerely,
Perplexed in Pennsylvania

Dear Roundabout,
Clearly you were never a Diff'rent Strokes fan. Any watcher of that show who also followed the life stories of the actors involved would understand how cute, cuddly and approachable can soon lead to strung out, angry, and tense. You tell me that you don't understand how Savagnin and Gewurztraminer could possibly be the same thing, and I ask you in response: "whatcha talkin 'bout?"
Sincerely,
Levi Jackson

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thank you, Peter!

Valdespino "Cardenal" Palo Cortado

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Orange Wine Dance

All right!
Stop whatcha doin'
'cause I'm about to ruin
the image and the style that ya used to.
I look funny
but yo I seem like honey see
so yo world I hope you're ready for me.
Now gather round
I'm the new skin contact fool in town
and my sound's laid down by the Anfora Underground.
I pair up with all the uni ya got on ya shelf
so just let me introduce myself
My name is Orangey, pronounced with a Gee-E
Yo ladies, oh how I like to pair wit thee.
And all the Chardonnay in the top ten--please allow me to bump thee.
I'm steppin' tall, y'all,
and just like a malo Humpty Dumpty
you're gonna fall when the sommeliers pump me.
I like to rhyme,
I like my ribolla funky,
I'm spunky. I like my clay eggs lumpy.
I'm sick wit dis, straight skin contact mack
but sometimes I get ridiculous
I'll eat up all your toasty, smokey vanilla
hey yo fat Somm, c'mere--are ya ticklish?
Yeah, I called ya fat.
Look at me, I'm Orange
It never stopped me from gettin' poured
I'm a freak
I like the girls with the Friuli boom
I once got busy in a Carso bathroom
I'm crazy.
Allow me to amaze thee.
They say I'm Orange and ugly but it just don't faze me.
I'm still gettin' in the girls' glass
and I even got my own dance


The Orangey Dance is your chance to drink the Orange
Do the Orangey Orange, come on and drink the Orangey Orange
Do the Orangey Orange, just watch me drink the Orangey Orange
Do ya know what I'm drinkin', drinkin' the Orangey Orange
Do the Orangey Orange, drink the Orangey Orange


People say "Yo, Orange, you're really funny lookin'"
that's all right 'cause I get people lookin'
Ya stare, ya glare, ya constantly try to compare me
but Vinho Verde you can't get near me
I give 'em more, see, and on the floor, B,
all the Wind Gaps they adore me
Oh yes, ladies, I'm really bein' sincere
'cause in 500ml my Radikon will tickle ya to tears.
My Orange is big, uh-uh I'm not ashamed
Big like a clay pot, Gravner's still gettin' paid
I get drunk by the ladies, ya know I'm in charge,
both how I'm livin' and my color is large
I get stoopid, I shoot an arrow like an Amber Cupid,
I use a word that don't mean nothin', like Jakot or Looptid
I sang with Cornelissen, and if ya missed it,
I'm the one who said just grab some Munjebel and Triscuits
Also told ya that I like tannic bite
Well, yeah, I guess it's obvious, I also like acidic, right?
All ya had to do was give Orange a chance
and now I'm gonna do my dance.


The Orangey Dance is your chance to drink the Orange
Do the Orangey Orange, come on and drink the Orangey Orange
Do the Orangey Orange, just watch me drink the Orangey Orange
Do ya know what I'm drinkin', drinkin' the Orangey Orange
Do the Orangey Orange, drink the Orangey Orange


Oh, yeah, that's the break, y'all
Let me hear a little bit of that Caucases right here
Oh, yeah!
Now that I told ya a little bit about myself
let me tell ya a little bit about this dance
It's real easy to do--check it out

First I limp to the side like my oak barrel was broken
Shakin' and twitchin' kinda like I was smokin' natural yeast
Crazy wack funky little beasts

People say ya look like Malvasia on crack, Orangey
That's all right 'cause my decanter's in motion
It's supposed to look like a fit or a convulsion
Anyone can play this game
This is my drink, y'all, Orangey Orange's my name
No two growers will do it the same
Ya got it down when Chardonnay snobs appear to be in pain
Humpin', funkin', jumpin',
jig around, shakin' ya glass,
and when the dude a chump pump points a finger like a pass

tell him step off, I'm doin' the Orange.

The Orangey Dance is your chance to drink the Orange
Do the Orangey Orange, come on and drink the Orangey Orange
Do the Orangey Orange, just watch me drink the Orangey Orange
Do ya know what I'm drinkin', drinkin' the Orangey Orange
Do the Orangey Orange, drink the Orangey Orange

 
Master Sommeliers, do the Orangey Orange, do the Orangey Orange
Busboys, do the Orangey Orange, do the Orangey Orange
Line Cooks, do the Orangey Orange, just keep on drinkin' the Orange
Overnight Porters, do the Orangey Orange, do the Orangey Orange
Let's get stoopid!


The Orangey Dance is your chance to drink the Orange
Do the Orangey Orange, come on and drink the Orangey Orange
Do the Orangey Orange, just watch me drink the Orangey Orange
Do ya know what I'm drinkin', drinkin' the Orangey Orange
Do the Orangey Orange, drink the Orangey Orange

 
Oh, yeah, come on and pour it around

Once again, the Anfora Underground is in the house
I'd like to send a shout out to the Natural world,
keep on doin' the Orangey Dance,
and to the ladies,
peace and OWGS forever