Regrets... A few
Editor: It’s our 9th Anniversary and I’d like you to take a look back. A highlight thing, you know...relive where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.
Me: But... I...
Editor: Don’t worry ‘bout it. It’ll be fun. And if you’ve got some space left, maybe make a few predictions for the future.
Me: But... I...
Editor: Oh, and I need it yesterday.
Why lie? Fact is, there’ve been precious few highlights in this column. Progress? No. We stumble and if the direction happens to be forward, well that’s just swell. Mostly, we just drink a lot of booze, crank the stereo and hope no one calls 911. So rather than pat-pat-patting my own back, I’d rather be honest and offer up a humble list of regrets, screw-ups and general incompetencies with the promise that I’ll try to do better next time.
I regret flogging the following words as if I were some addlebrained hack wine writer: unctuous, compelling, exuberant, luscious, complex, supple...
I regret thinking that advice to spit wine at tastings was stupid. Failure to heed this advice led to a number of embarrassing snafus, embarrassments and fuck-ups. To wit:
I regret calling Robert Parker “fatso” during a tasting in 2001. I was inebriated.
Similarly, I regret planting a wet, sloppy kiss directly on the lips of beer/scotch critic Michael Jackson in 2002. Again, I blame the devil’s firewater for my lack of discretion.
I regret not buying those 200 acres in Walla Walla when I had the chance 10 years ago. Unfortunately, I was broke.
I regret nominating Rainier Beer as “Best Beer of 2004.” Regardless of my usual sterling recommendations, many readers did not “get” or “appreciate” the “selection.”
I regret recommending Mary Lou Lord’s album, Got No Shadow, in Wine X Volume 2.4. Looking back, I find it difficult to recall exactly what my attraction was to this disc. Sorry about that. In my defense, I will humbly note that my other selections that month (Derailers, Reverb Deluxe; Elliott Smith, Either/Or) remain beyond reproach.
Mouthwatering, mouthfeel, mouth-filling, a mouthful, happy-mouth, mouth-friendly, mouth-punch, “there’s a party in my mouth,” etc.
I regret hyping the hell out of Yellow Tail shiraz when it made its debut in this country a number of years ago. Not that Yellow Tail shiraz is a horrible wine - not at all. However, I’ve seen it lately at my local 7-11 and must admit that makes me feel like a yutz.
Even though I had nothing to do with it, I regret that that dude from Ally McBeal was ever on our cover. Dr. Ruth? On the cover? Same deal.
I regret penning the following line in regard to a scotch whisky named Loch Dhu: “There are...fistful of cinnamon and clove and a good dollop of honey, not to mention that gritty, dirt-floor heft a good scotch wears like a hockey jersey.” That one still makes me a bit queasy.
I regret recommending Sokol Blosser Evolution at least twice. It’s a good white, but it ain’t all that...
Plump, phat, fleshy, corpulent, porcine, full-bodied, burly, husky...
I regret hyping the living hell out of Prosecco and Moscato D’Asti if said hyping has had anything at all to do with the price jacking up in the last few years.
Tori Amos? Not me! Not my fault!
I regret neglecting the entire continent of Europe these past nine years. Sorry!
Similarly, I regret devoting a large portion of my column to writing about French wines in the “Best of 1998” issue. Any careful reader with even an inkling of knowledge about French plonk would have been able to discern within a mere handful of ill-constructed sentences and bad puns that I clearly didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. Sorry.
I regret not punching every one of the 147,987 people who has ever told me they like “a dry red.”
I offer apologies to all who have purchased a free-jazz album on my recommendation. No, they’re not really hurting those saxophones. That’s “art.”
I regret a 2002 pun constructed out of a bottle of 1995 Chateau LaGrange Clinet and a ZZ Top album.
Vivacious, supple, rapturous, profound, lithe, alluring, enchanting, scrumptious, yummy, delightful.
I regret failing to buy every bottle from K Vineyards I’ve ever stumbled across. Similarly, I regret spilling the beans about K in this here wine mag.
I regret penning the phrase “bubble structure” in regard to a bottle of Pacific Echo NV Brut sparkling wine.
I regret not living in New Zealand.
I regret the line “my taste buds became erect” and henceforth will deny it ever came from my laptop.
I regret recommending a bottle of 1998 Pouilly Fume En Chailloux by exclaiming, “It’s like sucking on a rock...but a rock with a nice mouthfeel and a hint of vanilla.”
I regret recommending Sonic Youth’s “Goodbye 20th Century.” It’s utterly pretentious and often unlistenable.
Refined, austere, delicate, subtle, enigmatic...
I regret the phrase “nectar factor” in the description of dessert wine, which appeared sometime in 1993.
Why did I ever let my subscription to the Ridge ATP program lapse? Oh yeah...as a “wine critic” I was supposed to have my mailbox filled by wineries eager for me to spill ink on the lovely vino. Big mistake there...
Starting now - Right Now! - this column vows to do things right. No more goofing off. No more dumb recommendations. No more bad, only good. Promise.