Popular now on KPCC
Drew Barrymore is now a...winemaker?
And who doesn't want to be a winemaker these days? Welcome, then, Drew Barrymore to the sister- and brotherhood of vitners!
Well, more accurately, we should welcome the 37-year-old star of "E.T." and "Charlie's Angels" and the owner of a "Rebellious era" sub-entry in Wikipedia to the brother- and sisterhood of wine importers. Which is not a bad thing. I love wine importers. But don't expect to see Drew in a row of Merlot vines with a pair of pruning shears or down in a musty wine cellar rolling barrels around any time soon. (For the record, Drew is teaming up with Wilson Daniels, an established importer, to make this all happen.)
Her first wine under the rather appealingly conservative Shepard Fairey-designed "Barrymore" label is a 2011 Pinot Grigio from Italy. It isn't cheap, at $20. I haven't tried it yet. But at $20, it's by definition ludicrously overpriced. Pinot Grigio is a lunchtime wine that's built for washing down...well, lunch. And it has a name that's fun and easy to say (It rhymes!), which led it to be foisted on the American public as a Chardonnay alternative in bars a few years back. You can get a perfectly tasty one for less than $10.
All hail the almighty...wine spritzer?
When I was growing up in wine, there was nothing, and I mean nothing, more debased than the dreaded white wine spritzer. It was the quaff of the weak. Usually white wine with a squirt of soda water, sometimes garnished, sometimes not. I literally never consumed one — until I reached my mid-forties.
And there you have it. A wine spritzer is really a cocktail, but it's a cocktail that you can only really embrace as you age. Okay, sure, younger folks can take to the spritzers. Sure. But the point is that you don't want to be drinking Manhattans and Martinis in middle age, not all that often anyway. But you still like a nice cool drink with a tiny bit of a kick. Presto! Spritzer.
The key to a good spritzer, especially now that the cool weather is giving way to the warm, is to treat it like something to be mixed — a cocktail, not merely a handful of ice, half a glass of white wine (or red), and several splashes of soda.
Rose! Rose!!! ROSE!!!
Winter gives way to spring and spring gives way to summer. In the wine world, a similar progression takes place. Big, robust red wines — the kind of thing you use to wash down stews while sitting in front of the fireplace in wool sweaters — give way to lighter reds and then...well, when the weather warms up, it's time to break out the pink wine.
Officially, we call these wines rosés (less frequently, blush). You probably remember the day when an Americanized version, white Zinfandel (nothing like big, hearty red Zinfandel) was derided.
That was a bad patch for pink wine. But we know better now. In fact, we know enough to welcome the arrival of the pinks when the temperature climbs and the days get longer. We've evolved.
Rosé really and truly matters in France, specifically in Provence, where the wine is a rite of summer. They've been drinking the pink in Provence forever. In the U.S., rosé drinking caught on in the 1980s. Luckily, we can now obtain a wide range of rosés, from the U.S., from France, and from many other winemaking nations.
Storify: Ending the week with some wine and relaxation
What better way to end a long, hard week than with a glass of wine...and some tweeting? I figured that people were combining these pleasures, so I created a Storify to prove my point.
But maybe once Saturday arrives you can step away from the Twitter for a few hours and focus on wine, all by itself.
How much wine gear do you really need?
A lot of people are intimidated by wine because they think they need to master a special corkscrew or buy special fancy stemware or use special decanters. It goes on and on. And the wine world doesn't help matters by marketing lots of...what's the technical term I'm looking for here? Oh yeah — junk to folks who aren't all that experienced.
So how much wine gear do you really need? Well, you can get by with a pocketknife and a Solo cup. Actually, if you buy wines that are sealed with twist-off screwcaps, you can dispense with the pocketknife. And if you don't need to stand on ceremony, you can get rid of the Solo cup. A glass wine bottle is its own kind of stemware.
I'm not really advocating either of these tactics (please don't drink straight from the bottle, unless you're having a picnic in Paris). But what you should obtain is a good corkscrew. I recommend a simple model from the Screwpull brand. It's basically fail-safe. You'll never ruin a cork.