Booze Muse

The art and craft of liquid inspiration

Grapes of Mirth: In search of the ultimate value wine

Wine is Poetry in a Bottle No Comments »

trufferBy Michael Nagrant

There may be no better time in our history to hit the bottle. Certainly we are not lacking for motivation, what with all the layoffs, pay reductions, bankruptcies and mortgage adjustments. But, more importantly, even with thinner wallets, because of the over-production of wine, the growth in negociants (folks who often capitalize on that over-production by buying great wines for a song and selling them for a comparably low price at retail), and increases in manufacturing efficiencies, we’ve never had greater opportunity to buy relatively low-priced wine.

Of course, many wineries have capitalized on this idea not by offering great wines, but by saturating the market with a ridiculous amount of swill that forces us to sift through an ever-growing supply of junk to find anything good. I don’t know about you, but my track record for finding really good wines at a discount retailers has been a very hit-or-miss proposition, with a lot more misses.

I know, I know. You’re ready to smack me in the back of a head with a case of Two Buck Chuck. I’m not saying there’s not a lot of drinkable stuff out there, but I’m talking about the grapes that really stand out, the kind of pour you dream about and rush back to buy a case of. Read the rest of this entry »

Grace in Bubbles: A seasonal guide to sparkling wine

Champagne/Sparkling Wine No Comments »

taittinger-grace-kellyBy Michael Nagrant

While most men of my generation rocked Kurt Cobain and “Pulp Fiction” posters in their college dorm rooms, I had a vintage poster of a Grace Kelly Taittinger champagne ad mounted above my bed at the University of Michigan. At that time, my cinematic interests were mostly of the “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” genre, but on the advice of a stoner/aspiring screenwriter I worked with, I started checking out the Hitchcock canon in my free time.

When I got to “Rear Window,” I spent the first ten minutes of the movie bored, watching the cantankerous, wheelchair-bound, pajama-clad Jimmy Stewart stare through binoculars at his neighbors. But when Grace Kelly glided through the door of Stewart’s apartment, I was smitten. My boredom shifted to wonder about a twisted world in which the bumbling, old, funny-talking dude from “It’s A Wonderful Life” would score a siren like Kelly as his girlfriend.

After that I pursued everything Grace, eventually settling on the champagne ad as a proper adolescent shrine. I’d lull my self to sleep by staring up at her form hugged by a black mermaid-cut evening dress, her generous décolletage breached by a line of shimmery golden bubbles flowing through a v-shaped Taittinger-filled flute. The propaganda worked, as this ritual eventually had me bribing my buddy from New Jersey, who had the best fake ID in Alice Lloyd Hall, to get me a bottle. Read the rest of this entry »