It’s hard to believe that another years has blown by. As we hustle and bustle along with the holiday season, there’s one day in December that just doesn’t get the kudos it deserves. With all that has gone on over this past year, it’s time to take note and celebrate a day that changed American history and has paved the road for most of us to just get by to the next day feeling a little more hopeful, and in many cases, a little bit hungover. Repeal Day is December 5th, and to me it’s simply “the most wonderful time of the year”. It was the day that the Volstead Act (also known as the 18th Amendment) was overturned by our government. Prohibition was over. Perhaps the biggest lesson we learned from it was that when people are legally denied a basic freedom, they’re going to find a way to do it in a big way. We’re gonna make a party out of it! It is the responsibility of this Sommelier to explore not only wine, but whiskey and bourbon, and with the type of year we’ve had, I’m more than up to the task.
Summer is here with a vengeance. You can’t sling a cork or screw-cap without hitting someone drinking that pretty pink summer quencher we call Rosé. Brunches and barbecues are pouring it into goblets by the gallon, so much so, that we are importing about 80% of this magical elixir I like to call “Day Water”. But what exactly is this stuff? And if we just call it rosé, what’s in it? What are the grape varieties? Why is it pink? And why is it that Americans just can't get enough of this stuff. Rosé is not a grape, it’s a style produced, for the most part, from bulk wine and blending grapes. But on a hot summer’s day, it’s oh so good.
In a world that moves at warp speed, most of us can’t seem find the time to take a few hours out of our day to indulge. We wake to a blaring alarm, turn on the TV to bring us up to speed on the latest atrocities, take a quick shower, throw on our clothes and faces and run out the door. We jump in our car or catch a train, bus, or BART while woofing down a power bar, or drive thru a plastic box to eat plastic food with our hands or plastic utensils while gulping down a version of caffeinated swill so that our already whirling brains can keep up to speed with the rat-race. Most of us stir and repeat at lunch (and don’t kid yourself if you brought your homemade Kale salad in your non-BPA container). By the time the Flintstone Toucan bird screams closing time, it’s yabba dabba doo back to the nest, where we will either stop for a bite, or pick up something edible to make at home, and of course...don’t forget the snacks. Either way, I’m betting alcohol is somehow involved in the process. In one form or another, it’s just how it’s always been done. It’s no wonder why most of America is bloated, stressed and alcoholic. The gods looked down on its pathetic people and said “Let’s give them Brunch”!
2016 has not been a stellar year. We have suffered great losses of iconic personalities, political strife, phobias of a vast spectrum, and we face even greater uncertainties in the years to come. In light of these dismal prospects, many of us are faced with the proposition of fight or flight. A knee jerk reaction? Perhaps. Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. I admit I was one of those people who checked out the Canadian website on November 9th at 4:00am. I also took a quiz and was informed that the Netherlands was well suited for my beliefs, but the Dutch wine thing deters me a bit. My second knee jerk reaction was to bury my head in the sand, not unlike the Ostrich, only to discover that they do that burying thing for a good reason - to dig holes and hide their stash. For the Ostrich, it’s eggs, for me, it’s wine.