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Alan Goldfarb waves the white flag

If you are looking for Alan Goldfarb, he's behind the wine boxes. Yeah, that's him waving the white flag.

America (Country Appellation)

I Acquiesce,
or How I Stopped Worrying
and Love the Alcohol

by Alan Goldfarb
May 20, 2008

I give up. I’m cryin’ uncle and I’m wavin’ the white flag. I acquiesce. You win. After your scathing comments about my “Wine Generation Gap” column (April 8, 2008), you beat me down. I’ve come to my senses and now I see clearly your side.

Thus, I pledge to you that I will:

Sell my cellar. It contains wines from Europe and those scant few from Cali that are under 14 percent that I thought I once loved so much. (Note to Darrel Corti: Don’t think ill of me when I don’t buy any of the wines in your Sacramento shop.)

From now on or until my back gives out again, I promise I’ll stand up when I have a glass of wine in my hand (well over 15 percent, of course); and I’ll go to the medical supply store where I’ll purchase a sling so that my elbow won’t get arthritis.

No more food and wine pairing: Toward that end, I will give up caring about what food goes with what wine, forever and ever,  Senior-Ed-Alan-Goldfarb.jpgI’ve come to realize that that’s so retro, so 20th century, as they say. As value added, the pressure about making that perfect wine and food match, is off.

(Come to think of it, thinking about wine and food makes my stomach queasy. I’d better pick up some antacid at the medical supply store, too.)

I’ll stop drinking white wine. Where’s the value in that? Except for Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, which are so damned hip, white wine doesn’t pack a punch (see: Every sports harangue and every political reference to the word “elite” ever uttered.) Compared to a big, beautiful, sexy red, white wine is a waste of calories and my time.

High alcohol for me: When I go into the corner wine bar next AA-commentary-250x67.jpgto the corner coffee joint that’s next to the corner cupcake cupboard, I’ll only order the wine with the highest alcohol content on the label. (If you’re ever in San Fran, you’ve gotta go to Pier 23 on the Embarcadero. It’s a biker (friendly) burger place that actually lists its wines by alcohol content. When I asked the pretty pierced, girl (that’s what they call them these days, “girls”) with the big tats which wine sells the best, guess what she told me?

I’m now intent on drinking my wine now. Not tomorrow. Not in two years. Not in 10. I want it now and I want it ASAP. The only thing I’m puttin’ down from now on are guys like me and my foot (which has a bunion, which means a trip to the Big Toe Joint joint on the corner.)

I’ll discard my Randy Dunn star winemaker card. With his ubiquitous 10-gallon Stetson (or is it a 37.8541178-liter Stetson?), Dunn is done, to my new way of thinking. He’s dead to me. What audacity, what cojones to set out to make wines under 14 percent. (Did you see my interview with him, “Higher alcohol wines should stop” (July 27, 2007), in which he lied and told me he actually once made a wine that was just over the Maginot line?) I’ll bet Dunn’s pantalones are on fire, if not his wines.

When I make wine, which will be any decade now, I swear I’ll take it to those fix-it shops to make it better. You know the places (seemingly on every corner these days) that take things out, put things in, and turn it all about. Who the hell wants a wine that stinks like a barnyard (which is just a euphemism for you know what), or be earthy, mineral-y, or gravel-y? If I wanted dirt, I’d watch The View and/or Fox Snooze.

You’ve told me over and over again that there’s plenty of different kinds of wines in the world to satisfy anyone and that I should get a grip. Well, I’m holdin’ on for dear life here. So much so that my gnarly knuckles (arthritis settin’ in?) have turned white (from drinking too much white wine, no doubt). But soon there won’t be enough wine for the likes of me, you know, those of us who once liked our wines made with nuance and complexity. But how soon I regress. I’m so over that now.

Finally, I pledge to you, my cranky readers (who I hope will stop being touchy after they read this), that I’ll go to Canyon Ranch or some other ranch (dude?) to get my life in balance. Goodness knows my new-found wines aren’t. But I know that one person’s balanced wine is another human’s unstable wine, due no doubt to middle-ear problems. Or taste. And we all know that taste is subjective. It’s just that I’m more subjective than others, which I know has something to do with gettin’ old in the mouth, as well as in the cabeza.
So, I raise a glass to you, the Millennials, the Thirty Somethings, the next generation, or whatever the hell you call yourselves these days. I’m really, really glad you’re drinking wine. (I mean that, jokin’ aside.) It’s just that I wish you’d see it my way. But what the hell do I know?

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Reader Feedback

Reader Comments... [10]

Arthur Przebinda , Founder & Publisher
redwinebuzz.com, So.Cal.
Take heart, Alan! Don't give up just yet!

The tide may be turning...

Daniel Schoenfeld , Winemaker
Wild Hog Vineyard, True Sonoma Coast, CA
Did I note a touch of sarcasm here? What's the big deal? Drink what you like, for crying out loud! I like wines from ripe fruit. Often it's over 14%. Sometimes it's not. Drink what tastes good to you, and don't worry about what anyone tells you is right or wrong. sheesh
~ Daniel Schoenfeld

Mel Damski , President
Lyrique Wine Company, Santa Maria, CA
We were about to ship you to Marseilles on a prisoner ship; now we're going to let you keep your California driver's license.

Good article. And even more importantly, you were having a great hair day when you took that picture!
~ Mel Damski

Heather Griffin
Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery, Howell Mountain ~ Napa, CA
Isn't it possible to have it both ways... a little more (15+%) alcohol and great fruit, tannins, and acid?

Keith Pritchard , owner
Slate Run Vineyard, Canal Winchester, OH
Hey, the Crown Valley Merlot you have listed above as a feature wine only has 13% abv!!

Marc Goldberg , Winemaker/Owner
Windward Vineyard, Paso Robles, CA
Hi Alan,
Sorry to loose you to my Pinot Noir competitors who pick the varietal at 29 degrees brix, do post-harvest irrigation, and kick up the kikapoo Joy pinots to the 15.5 level. It will comfort you to know that there are still a small but elite group of us that have gone into hiding to share our old vintages of this noble varietal paired with some pain e'pieces heated under fois gras that has been seared with white truffle oil. If ever you wish to sneak back into our club you can do so with anonymity and we will welcome your return.

Marc Goldberg , Winemaker/Owner
Windward Vineyard, Paso Robles, CA
Hi Alan,
Just noticed that the high ethanol that you're now drinking has already affected your anatomy as the hand you are using to "wave the flag" looks very feminine and hairless to me.

Teena Wilkins , Co-Owner
Vina Castellano Winery, Sierra Foothills, CA
The funny thing about wine drinking, wine making and wine speak in this country is that we are constantly looking for permission and direction on what we are supposed to like and dislike. Today's trend is almost always tomorrow's faux pas. Think Dry Rose to White Zin and back to Dry Rose again.

My 99 year old Spanish Grandmother, (who Darrell Corti and Alan Goldfarb would have likely loved) made 200 gallons of wine each year and refused to use anything but her tongue and nose to determine when her grapes/wine was ready and if it was to be drunk from a glass or eventually served on a salad. This unsophisticated and uneducated woman had a true understanding of the importance of wine and its place in life. It is never supposed to be the focus in life just an accessory that makes things and food a bit better. Abuelita gave me the only advice about wine that I would ever set in stone:
#1: “Two glasses everyday,” especially when you're pregnant, and
#2: when you take your last bite of food you must have a sip of wine left to wash it down. Digestion!

We try to make wine that enhances meals, life and the company with whom you are sharing it. I feel wine should always allow you think about everything but its alcohol. Perhaps to simple for many in the wine world, but then again simple is the new complex!

David Viano , Partner/Winemaker
Viano Vineyards, Martinez, CA
It is really too bad that a writer such as Alan has to mock the industry for doing what he and all the other wine writers have created -- wines high in alcohol and big fruit bombs. When they, the wine writers, are presented with wines of which he is referring to, food friendly and made by the grape not "chemists", they seem to give them low scores and say how out of date they are in style. Why can't they be honest and rate them for what they are not what they want them to be?

Steve , cork-dork
Terra Blanca, Red Mountain
I am 23. I went to a wine tasting on my 21st birthday. I like Rhone wines that taste like dirt. I like Chinons that taste like a salad in a bottle. If you tell me a wine tastes like leather and smoke, I'll snap it up over a 14.5% fruit-bomb any day. Hey, if they don't like em, more for us right?

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