The mission of this blog is, uh,
I finally met Alan Kropf at the Wine Bloggers Conference. He and I had had a bit of a tussle a year or so ago, when I said some things he didn’t like and he proceeded to dub me his “arch-nemesis.”
I never replied because, without knowing him or anything about him (except that he is Editor in Chief of Mutineer Magazine), I figured he was just some middle-aged, sweaty jerk with a chip on his shoulder, trying to hustle his way to fame and fortune by attacking the power structure. As it turned out, Alan produced the wine blog awards ceremony at the Conference (and what a tremendous success that was), and when I saw him onstage, it turned out that he’s not a sweaty jerk at all.
He was young, tall and runway thin, dressed in an off-white suit with red sneakers and eye-hiding shades. Very hip and El Lay, a boulevardier-of-Sunset Strip image. Afterwards, he was hanging with his peeps, and I approached for a chit chat. It was a little tense, at first, but we’ve now emailed each other several times, and I’ve decided that Alan Kropf is going to be my new friend, and that’s all there is to it. (Of course, I hope he feels the same way.)
Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff, as I said in my keynote talk at the Conference. And the wine industry is too small a place for people to harbor grudges. That’s even truer when you’re in a single region, in this case California, which — as big as the state is — is still a relatively small village when it comes to wine. Everybody knows everybody, if not directly, then in a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon sense. And California being the ultra-mellow place it is, it’s only right that we who work here should get along with each other.
Alan suggested I create a mission statement for this blog. I told him that I’m not big on mission statements, because they tend to be pompous sermons with hifalutin goals that rarely if ever get accomplished. Besides, I’m not sure what the mission of this blog is. I suppose I could say something about “elevating the conversation in the wine community” or “being an inspiration” or “to speak the truth boldly,” or “to address the industry’s issues,” or “to open up wine writing and criticism and make it more transparent” — stuff like that. I guess all those things are true, but somehow, when you try to put a mission and a motive into mere words, they generally fail to describe its fullness and complexity (much like wine reviewing, I guess!). Anyway, when you come right down to it, the mission of this blog is no more and no less than to give me the opportunity to do some interesting writing.
The word “mission” is strange. I think of a mission as a crusade. The Mexican padres built “missions” up and down El Camino Real in Spanish California; those missions were to convert the Native Americans to Christianity, whether they liked it or not. I don’t particularly trust people who are on a mission. I don’t want to convert anybody to anything, and I don’t want anybody to try to convert me.
Still, Alan Kropf made this statement: “You owe it to yourself to make sure that you are not misunderstood.”
Yes, I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood
Mr. Eric Burdon and The Animals
I’m not sure there’s anything I could say to anyone that would prevent me 100% from being misunderstood. All I can do is talk to people through this blog, be as truthful as I can, let equal parts intellect and heart show, and hope that people get where I’m coming from. That’s all any of us can do in our lives, isn’t it? Be yourself, try to understand where others are coming from, and trust that the law of karma returns the favor.
I had an interesting wine on July 4. Maxine and Keith made barbecue (chicken and lamb), and among other bottles we opened, there was a 1998 Hartford Dina’s Vineyard Zinfandel, from Russian River Valley. A guest had brought it, and she was a little worried it might be dead. It was my job to open it and pronounce a verdict. The cork pulled out clean — not always the case with an older bottle. The wine smelled clean and inviting. The taste was rich and sweetly fruity, with a dry finish. It suggested raspberries. Delicious, and what was more interesting was that the alcohol was well over 15%. It shows that when these high-alcohol wines are balanced, they can take more age than you might think. Still, it’s a gamble to hold any California wine for 12 years, unless it has a prior history of aging, and your cellar conditions are ideal.