When Paul Ryan paid $350 dollar bottle of this wine and some rabid woman thought it was her duty to play cop and I wanted to bop the agitator, (an associate business professor at Rutgers, named Feinberg--who on this links explains herself, though I don't think she added anything to the conversation.) over the head with a bottle of Screaming Eagle.
Take a look at this Outside the Beltway post. Human behavior, is a rare and strange weave.
" Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a leading advocate of shrinking entitlement spending and the architect of the plan to privatize Medicare, spent Wednesday evening sipping $350 wine with two like-minded conservative economists at the swanky Capitol Hill eatery Bistro Bis."
The story gets bizarre.
The clash became especially heated when Feinberg asked the men if they were lobbyists.
“F—- her,” one of them replied and stood up in a menacing way, according to Feinberg’s account. Feinberg said her husband then “puffed out his chest” in response before the manager and a waiter came over and Feinberg decided she had said her piece and it was time to leave."
I think she somehow missed Wine 101 and erroneously believed that all wine is Two-Buck Chuck at different price points. Also, she missed that the choice $350 and not $3500, a more common clam point for bailed out Morgan Stanley employees.
$350 is more than I can usually deal with. Jayer-Giles is not my speed, but Ryan must make about fifty times what I do. To me, the idea of getting in between someone and his Burgundy that he can afford is not an arguable position. All relative. In the end, the wine retails for about $190, it wasn't even overpriced.
The comparison Foxites want to invoke is to the famed Edward's $400 haircut. Apples and nuts analogy; one about bells and whistles (cushy treatment in the chair) and perhaps overpriced vanity (such as the intial vinyl impregnated merchandise from LV), the other is about rarity, work, exploration, cultural and aesthetic.
Soil matters. All vineyards really are not created equal. And if you can afford it, why the hell not. Especially as the politician was there with two economists, not lobbyists, and all were splitting the bill.
So there they were, three people with two bottles of wine and a $700 wine bill. Big deal. If the government wasn't paying for it, or if there was a specific reason for shmoozing with the bottles, again, I fail to see the crime. The only crime was that from my point of view there were better choices on the list, and he could have done better, and cheaper.
I went to look at the list. As it turns out, it's not bad. If the gents were interested in good choices at better prices, they could have asked me, but what can I say; Ryan didn't call me for advice.
Outside of an eh-champagne selection, and a strange devotion to V. Giradin, there were wines at decent price points, and some were even palatable. Being Parker territory there was quite a bit of Chateauneuf, but some surprising choices like the Domaine Pierre André 2001, Châteauneuf-du-Pape $112 (delicious!). The 2001 and 2004 Clapes on the list for $165 and $195 were more greaet choices. And if I was there on my own budget I might have risked the 2005 Descombes Morgon for $36 (but I do remember quite a lot of brett.).
What the rabid woman failed to understand is that the table wanted Burgundy. Their choice seemed to indicate that the table wasn’t focused on price but on taste. They were dodging the sloppy 2003 and the stubborn 2005 vintages. The Claude Dugat 1er Cru, Lavaux St. Jacques 2004 Gevrey-Chambertin for $215, would have worked for them, and they could have saved a cool $145, but maybe they just wanted a GC.
In the end, the woman's behavior to me was far more interesting than the politicians, and the question I have, what I want to know is what was Feinberg drinking on that night at Bistro Bis to celebrate her birthday.
As Rodney landed in NY yesterday, I thought it was a good time to repost this piece.
" I had never heard of this particular man referred to as "The Dating Game Serial Killer." I don't own a TV. Haven't for over 20 years. Maybe that's why? But last April, I was in NOLA for the Independent Champagne and Sparkling Wine Invitational. The volcano had blown. The vignerons over for the event were stranded. Wanting to see the spectacle that was messing up flights I turned on the TV in the hotel as I as packing. "
Well, I don't have an iPad, but my editor at GL just shared my story with me, so like, who says I can't be commercial!
When the gossip columnists broke the news that Colin Firth celebrated his Best Actor Oscar® nomination with breakfast Champagne, I flipped the Google pages like a mad woman, itching to discover the specifics of which particular fizz the dashing actor swilled. But, instead of the essential detail, all I could find was his quote to the press, “I’m not used to this much joy, or this much Champagne, at this hour.”
Placing a call to Firth’s publicist in Los Angeles, I entreated her to help me capture the name of his preferred brand. At first she was confused, then she declined to help me find the answer. After all, who cared? ......by Alice Feiring
Download Hollywood Pairs for the full and exciting and thrilling story.
Just because I didn't want it to disappear, as I might never have another piece of fiction published in my life, so, this excerpt from my novel (in-progress) appeared in 11/09 in Brooklyn Rail.
published December 5th.
Four Gates' Cantz carves a solo path to kosher wine
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/03/FDNF1GJCEQ.DTL#ixzz17LG4Mpty
My piece on the other side of Bordeaux in December Wines & Spirits.
I used to contribute to The Boss and My Job columns in the the New York Times and loved doing these little snapshots. Bascially, I wrote pieces in the subjects voice, hence the RMPjr, with Alice Feiring.
This one that I did on critic Robert M. Parker Jr, was one of my favorite, and I believe I broke the earth shattering news that watercress destroys his palate. (Cucumber does it to mine.)
MY JOB; Not Exactly for the Faint of Palate
Published: June 9, 2002
I'VE been sued for all sorts of crazy things. A Beaujolais producer I had never heard of took me to court for not reviewing his wine.
I'm not feigning modesty. I know I'm the most influential wine critic in the world, but to say I can make or break a wine is just not true. In fact, I can think of a number of wines that are very successful that I think are pathetic. There's nothing I can do to keep people from buying them.
I taste 120 wines a week, except when I'm on a tasting trip. Then I taste that much in a day. This might seem like a lot, but not nearly as much as I get credited for. The challenge is to keep all of them straight. I have to think about taste, smell and texture. I have to figure out where the wine is in its evolution and where it's going to go. Then I have to figure out a way that I can use real language, so it has some sort of meaning to readers.
When I taste quantities of high-acid wines, I can feel as if the roots of my teeth are rotting. Other hazards include black teeth stained from rich red wines. I joke that I can tell the quality of a great, concentrated ripe vintage by how stained my hands are. Sometimes even scrubbing won't clean them.
I don't get palate fatigue, which I attribute to drinking up to five liters of water a day. However, when I'm tasting wines high in alcohol and tannin, I can feel as if I've taken head shots from professional boxers.
The most punishing tasting was in Tokyo -- sake. I was confronted with about 200 samples. A third of the way through, sweat pouring off my brow, I'm like, ''What have I gotten myself into?'' I started to rely more on my olfactory sense. If it didn't smell charming, I passed.
Generally, when I'm tasting (and that means spitting), alcohol doesn't affect me. I'm a big guy, and this works in my favor. A while back, I was warned that some of my enemies might set me up and alert police to watch out for me after a tasting, which would be really embarrassing. So I bought one of those Sharper Image digital alcohol-monitoring devices. I check obsessively and have never been over France's 0.05 percent limit.
When on the road, I start at 8 a.m. and go for 12 hours. Lunch saps my energy, so I only grab a sandwich. Dinner is often in my room -- a salad and mineral water. When I was in my 30's, I would go out every night. But now? Look, I'm going to be in California for two weeks, and I'm going out for dinner once.
I love hot, spicy food, but it blows my palate, so I avoid it three or four days before I go on a trip. Garlic doesn't really affect me. I can drink a cappuccino in the morning, but not espresso -- and no coffee, chocolate or watercress during the day. Watercress is the worst.
ERobertParker.com just started up. It's great to have The Wine Advocate posted there, but I'm having fun on the site's food and wine chat rooms, too.
I don't want to be perceived as some freak in a lab coat tasting wines clinically. In a clinical situation, it's important to remember that wine is a beverage of pleasure.
(realizing that many articles have been lost when I switched to the new site, I am slowly reposting. This was an old one, but as I recently made the news about plumbing again--is this a theme?--I thought I'd repost this one that ran in May 2004)
NEW YORK OBSERVED; Kitchen Wisdom
By ALICE FEIRING
Published: May 30, 2004
I HAVE what may be one of the few remaining kitchen bathtubs in New York. While I think it's a blessing, my mother thinks otherwise. When she first visited me on Elizabeth Street, in its long-lost, pre-chic days, when the neighborhood was still known as Little Italy rather than NoLIta, she had little tolerance for my choice in real estate. Insult on injury, the first object she saw upon entering the apartment was my tub.''What did I do wrong?'' she demanded. Was I not raised to aspire not only to a doorman but private bathing facilities as well?
In my early days of living in the apartment, my bathtub was pathetic. A shower ring, like a tawdry halo, had been rigged around it, ruining the kitchen's classic vintage lines. The floorboards underneath it were so rotted, all sorts of odd creatures could crawl through. One of its early uses was as a party go-go cage. Later on, as I got a little less wild and my boyfriend and I braved my landlord's wrath in an effort to make the apartment habitable, we rebuilt the floor beneath it, patched the chipped enamel and presented the tub to the world unapologetically. While my tub is not the most beautiful of its kind -- more pig foot than claw foot -- it works.
But on holiday weekends like this one, my tub and I go into high gear. For wine tastings or dinner parties, it's indispensable. My dining table is an arm's reach away, and the tub provides ample space for overflow of dishes or for next course storage; no conventional breakfront could be as functional or multifunctional. At the risk of sounding clichéd, there's no better ice bucket for a methuselah of Champagne.Float tea candles and rose petals in the tub, and the look is very shelter magazine. Add fish and it's an aquarium.
For one party, my boyfriend surprised me by bringing home twin carp from Chinatown, which I promptly placed in the tub, although the poor things, probably terrified of ending up as gefilte fish, ended up dying before the party's end.
My landlord would love to rip the tub out and replace it with a shower stall, as he did for three-fourths of the apartments in our building. He'd move for a capital-improvement rent increase, which I'd contest, citing service reduction. In winter when he pulls back on the heat, a tub full of extra hot water radiates warmth and humidity. When the hot water goes off, I need walk only a few steps to fill the tub with stove-ready hot water. It's equally useful in steamy weather; a tub full of bracing cold water, especially when we bounce a fan's breeze off it, helps keep the room cool.
A kitchen tub is a perfect example of both form and function. During the blackout last August we turned the tub into a light source by filling it and sinking a couple of waterproof L.E.D. flashlights to the bottom. During the blistering next day, we kept refilling the tub with cold water, floating the perishables in it to keep them from spoiling. We dunked a watermelon, which chilled down refreshingly for our dinner guests; we also took the hot edge off a bottle of Beaujolais.
Oddly enough, not a lot of research exists about the history or culture of the kitchen tub. The tub at the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side is made out of soapstone; not a bathtub per se, this early tub was designed for laundry and for anyone tiny enough to fit inside.As part of the Tenement House Act of 1901, running water (but not hot water) was required in all tenements. With running water on tap, even if only cold water, home bathing was on the way to becoming a modern city convenience.
The bathing revolution presuming a hot tub for everyone started 28 years later with the Multiple Dwelling Law of 1929, in which it was written, ''Every wash basin, bath, shower, sink and laundry tub shall be provided with an adequate supply of hot and cold water.'' But landlords with an eye on the bottom line were unlikely to go out of their way to install two sets of hot water pipes, so the pipes went to the kitchen and the tub stayed.
Despite the close quarters in which many early 20th-century New Yorkers lived, privacy must have been an issue from early on. The daughter of my late super said that her father didn't get an enamel-clad iron bathtub until around 1940, at which point, she said, ''he was old enough to hate bathing in front of the family while his mother was making dinner.''
Her father continued to go nightly to the Y.M.C.A. for his baths, as did most of his friends. Some apartments had privacy screens; other families just made do, but in both cases these tubs became a symbol of primitive early-century living.In 1969, under Mayor John V. Lindsay, legislation was passed to address the needs of landlords who wanted to renovate these old apartments. Local Law 77 allowed bathtubs to be enclosed as long as there was adequate ventilation. Many tubs were lost in this first rush of renovation.
In the late 70's, I had one of these remodeled apartments on East 87th Street. The tub had been removed, and a shower and a sink as small as a doll house's were squeezed next to the toilet.When my current landlord took his very first apartment off rent stabilization he was quick to yank out the tub and plunk a shower stall next to the kitchen sink. He was incredulous when he learned that as the new tenants moved in, they ripped out the stall and replaced it with a comfy claw-foot tub. As soon as those tenants moved out, the shower was reinstalled, where it remains.
Unlike my mother, most of my friends are charmed by my kitchen tub. Young children giggle; my 8-year-old niece from the Midwest said she had never seen anything so silly in her whole little life. But if I think back to my first experience with the tub, I realize that I wasn't so cavalier. It was 1982, and I was visiting the friend who later handed over to me the lease on his Elizabeth Street apartment. Submerged in the bubbles, I felt a confusing intimacy while my host made me breakfast.Today when an out-of-town sleep-over guest sees the bathing facilities, they first think they'll skip the bath, but then enjoy being handed a cup of tea or coffee while immersed. (Of course if they want privacy, I can offer that as well.) But conversation flows freely where water is involved.
After all, next to the bedroom, the kitchen is the most intimate room in the house. In 14 years in my tenement apartment, it never occurred to me that I was missing something.