Monthly Archives: July 2013

Passportless in Pennsylvania

Last week I vacationed in Pennsylvania.  Wonderful place – 20 years ago I found my wife there.  Good times.

Last week I told a cashier, “this is the weirdest country in the world”.  I smiled as I said it, so as not to appear offensive [one should do that when insulting a country as patriotic as America], but I meant every word of it.

Long story short – I couldn’t buy beer because I didn’t have my passport with me.

These are some of the reasons that I think that is strange.

  1. I have been of legal drinking age for the past 30 years
  2. In PA you can’t buy beer in a grocery store at the checkout counter.  Oh, the beer is there are the store but you have to buy it at the sandwich / coffee counter.
  3. No really – the same place that you pay for your $1.29 coffee is the same place you pay for your beer.
  4. Because we couldn’t have people buying beer at the main checkout lines.
  5. I needed my passport because I have a Canadian drivers license = foreign drivers license = “we don’t trust any licensing agencies but our own sir”
  6. In Ohio they would have sold me beer as long as I had cash [my lawyer Aunt reassured me]
  7. I tried to go to the beer “store” [it’s more like an old drive through oil lube place] but could only purchase beer in a minimum quantity of 24
  8. The beer / oil lube guys thought it was funny that I was trying to buy less than 24 beer – and looked at me as if I was an alien [which legally I suppose I am down there]
  9. I was nuts not to buy 24 cans since it was only $16 – and that may be the craziest part of this story.

America – you’re beautiful, I love you, thanks for my wife, and catch you next time with my passport.

When my brother showed up with his passport we bought Yuenling - Black and Tan and Lord Chesterfield. And I got a small coffee

When my brother showed up with his passport we bought Yuengling – Black and Tan and Lord Chesterfield. And I got a small coffee

Wine Rating Controversy

There is quite the controversy brewing over how professionals rate the wine that they drink?  The National Post recently published an article entitled “Vintage snobbery: Are wine critics fooling us into buying pricier bottles?

Which brings me to my own wine rating systems which reduce wine snobbery and elitism to a minimum.

  1.  “Mmm, yum” get used most often in my house closely followed by the
  2. “do we have another bottle of this?” method.
  3. I have also endorsed the coliseum method – Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down
  4. And finally I have sadly used the “Plonk” rating for wines that deserve a quick death

Any rating system more complicated than these are really superfluous aren’t they?


Excessive Celebration & Hyperbole

Like any good wine blogger I start my morning with a double espresso and baseball highlights. “Back to the diamond we go …” gets my attention almost as much as a perfect crema.

But I’ve been recently become annoyed with the reoccurring trend of excessive celebration in baseball.  Last night I saw a Boston Red Sox player hit a walk off home run, then get gang mauled at the plate, then get a gatorade bath during his interview.  Hey Boston baseball players – It’s July and you’re 5 games over .500 – you didn’t win the pennant! Can’t we just celebrate with a handshake and “three cheers for Johnny, hitter of the walk off home run“.

But I guess we live in an age of excessive celebration and over-exaggeration. Everything is “unbelievable”, and filled with unnecessary superlatives.

Even the Vintages catalogue [my favourite piece of mail] got into it this week. I ask you, how are people ever going to believe that they understand a thing about wine when the following descriptions of wines are used to sell them?

  • with raspberry suggestions piling onto the flavours replays” [I don’t like the sound of a flavour replay]
  • Aromas of stones, white fruit, pear, plum, lemon and buttercream make for an enjoyable and rich nose” [I can’t  smell all those things at the same time]
  • A stunning effort, at a very exciting price” [“stunning” seems a tad hyperbole to me]
  • This may read like hyperbole but more embellishment would fall short and fail to do these wines justice” [Ha – admitted hyperbole – embellishment indeed]
  • The nose offers wonderfully intense aromas of lime, cordial, lemon custard, white peach, pear, mineral and and attractive petrol note. Very pretty and lithe” [I didn’t make that one up}
  • The crisp, dry finish brings some apple peel and cherry stone to the flavour replays” [I think that I would choke on a cherry stone replay]

I guess it could be worse.  We could live in the world of teenagers where every taste, aroma, and walk off home-run is “random“.


The Signs Are Everywhere

Do you ever wonder if you have good taste in alcoholic beverages?  It can be intimidating to purchase wine, beer, or liquor if you know that you are going to be sharing it with others. Sherlock Holmes often noted that we “see but do not observe”.  Well I tell you the signs are out there – you can easily tell if you have discerning tastes. Look at these three photos taken this week at the wine store near me. One of these things is not like the other.




I think that nobody looks to the under 25 generation for alcoholic beverage advice except other under 25 year olds – and they ain’t buying Veuve.

So if you find yourself looking at a bottle of Jägermeister, a 6-pack of Miller Light, and a 1.5 litre bottle of cheap Rye you might want to reconsider your buying habits and have your ID ready.