Now in chilly Northern California and while I was on the road in the Sierra N. Footills I was thinking hard and fierce about the LA Natural Wine Week --or at least the panel on Sunday morning. But before I get there, I want to thank the ever beautiful, sexy and wine-wise and wise Julie Brosterman for giving me shelter during the weekend. Sunday morning. I combed Hollywood for coffee and resurfaced needing caffeine at the panel. So, tell me, does anyone pull a good coffee in that hood? People showed up, that was a surprise. Abe Schoener stumbled in after a night of dancing. No surprise. He wasn't the only one reaching for gobs of water. Personally, I had spent a very pleasurable evening at Mozza drinking Barolo and Barbaresco, um--I over did it. And maybe that's why I was more inarticulate than usual when Lou Amdur, the patron saint of the week directed the first volley to me. Lou asked, "Why should we give a shit about natural wine." Oops. I actually don't believe anyone should give a shit about natural wine. It's not like giving a shit about the mistreatment or the free rangeness of chickens. In fact, I wish just enough people would give a shit so there are more winemakers who can make a living making wine in this way, but not too many drinkers so the nature of natural gets polluted. After a long winded answer, I decided if there's any reason to give a shit, it's to discover real wine. Period. An expression of terroir. Period. And then if you're the kind of person who reaches for unprocessed food you owe it to yourself to carry it over to what's in your glass. Then I wondered, after talking about natural being terroir driven why no one on the panel, talked about terroir. Instead the topics were irrigation, biodynamics, sulfur. But terroir, and the concept of planting the right grape to soil for maximum expression? Nothing. For example, I was visiting a rather natural winemaker in the Sierra Foothills, soil? Granite & Clay and really hot in the summers. "Why?" I asked. "Because life without pinot is meaningless," was his answer. My answer is to buy Burgundy and plant something else. But you expected me to say that, no? The best surprise tasted through the panel was Donkey & Goat as yet unreleased Untended Vineyard Chardonnay. Delicious. And that night, I was about to have what would be the best wine of the week.