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Live from NY Day 2: News you can use

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I’m in New York at Wine Enthusiast’s annual summer editorial meeting, where the days are long and so are the nights, and everyone ends up a little sleep-deprived. But that is the cost of intense creativity, which is how I would characterize these rites of planning out the next year’s magazine calendar.

From around the Web:

“There’s no reason for you to buy expensive wine.” That’s the headline on this article from Slate. Well, of course there’s no reason–unless you actually want good wine! I’m here to tell you Heimoff’s Axiom: Not all expensive wine is great. No all inexpensive wine is bad. But more expensive wine than inexpensive wine is great, just as more expensive clothing or cars or cookware is generally better than cheaper versions of same. You just can’t get around it.

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I haven’t been closely following this China-France dispute concerning Chinese claims that the French are dumping wine onto their market. It seems an odd accusation considering the prices the Chinese are willing to pay for Bordeaux, but maybe it’s true. It’s funny that wine would be the source of friction between two major countries. But why would the Chinese object to cheap European wine for their thirsty masses, if they weren’t thinking they have a domestic wine production industry they need to protect? So they must be thinking that. How long do you think it will be before the first Chinese cult wine hits the West?

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Speaking of the Chinese, the “Communist Party has disciplined or scolded several officials for holding lavish wedding banquets, drinking wine at lunch and other extravagances as it tries to show progress on a frugality campaign aimed at addressing public anger.” I don’t know about the wedding banquets, but wine at lunch is the mark of a civilized society. Don’t forget that other group that’s down on alcohol: the Taliban.

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This is a big deal: Now you can take BART–the Bay Area Rapid Transit subway system–all the way from downtown San Francisco through to the Napa Wine Train. True, there’s a shuttle bus involved–and no one likes shuttle buses. Still, this is a significant step forward for the Wine Train, which almost everyone in Napa Valley hated when it was first proposed.

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Is the guy who paid $41,500 for that case of 1998 Petrus “a moral monster”? The WaPo’s Wonk Blog thinks so. Here’s his take: “If you are about to drink a $3,500 bottle of wine, you have to think for just a minute about this option instead: Drink a $100 bottle of wine that is about as good, but from a less renowned chateau. And deploy the other $3,400 to pay for malaria-preventing mosquito nets in Africa that, by one charity’s calculations, would be enough money to save about 1.5 human lives.” Hard to argue with that.

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I enjoyed Christopher Watkins ‘tribute to J.J. Cale on the Ridge blog, in which he compares the songwriter’s purity to Paul Draper’s decision to list ingredient’s on Ridge’s labels. It’s a good read.

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Okay. Early Wednesday morning here in New York. Time to hit the shower, then back to Wine Enthusiast Boot Camp for the 2014 Wine Star Nominations. Always an interesting experience.

  1. Michael P says:

    Steve,
    Good morning. Love the blog, so thank you. BUT, comparing the Chinese to the Taliban just due to the “no wine at lunch rule” seems a bit harsh. Yes, the Chinese government seems to opitimize Big Brother [and if not, they certainly manufacture all the toy spin-offs ;)], but essentially requiring public officials to reign it in at lunch can’t be too crazy. What are your feelings on the Amish and Mennonites? (Somewhat tongue in cheek.)

    Thanks for your work!
    Michael

  2. Thank you for your kind words Steve, I am very glad you enjoyed my post about JJ Cale. He’s a hard one to lose, to say the least …

    Enjoy New York!

    Regards,

    Christopher Watkins

  3. Anon O. Mouse says:

    Must of us (at least the people I talk to) still hate the wine train and think the rails would be better suited as a commuter rail line from Napa to St. Helena, if not all the way to Calistoga.

    The fact that it is still subsidized chaffs me.

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