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March 30, 2009

My favorite wine blog



There are some people who are such engaging critics I will read every word they write, even if I have no interest in the subject matter.

The Los Angeles Times' Dan Neil is one of those. What do I care about cars as long as they have heated seats?

If you've never read anything of Neil's, I urge you to sample the columns he won a Pulitzer for.

But he's not the point of this entry. ...

I want instead to lead you to Nilay Gandhi's blog 750 mL. I'm a lot more interested in wine than cars, but I don't read his blog to get suggestions for what wines to buy. I read it for the pure pleasure of Gandhi's writing, which is lush, extravagant, over the top and sometimes hysterically funny. He takes wine descriptions, which often seem silly to me, farther than they've ever been taken before, and somehow he makes me believe them.

My thanks to Sean for first bringing 750 mL to my attention.

(Photo courtesy of

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 7:38 AM | | Comments (27)
Categories: Wine and Spirits


When I read certain reviews, I must confess that I feel sorta' stupid. Two of my guilty pleasures in this world are wine and cigars and I can't even describe them properly. When I drink a glass of wine, I don't get blueberries, strawberries, kumquats, beetroot, fennel, cocoa butter or old leather. If it's a red wine, it tastes sorta' reddish to me and if it's a white, the flavor's on the white side. Okay, I can tell the difference between a Beaujolais and a Maneshiewitz Concord Grape. But that hardly suggests a sophisticated palate. When it comes to cigars, it's even worse. No cedar, loam, chocolate, pumice, fire-roasted chestnuts or once again, old leather. What comes through, loud and clear (I'm embarassed to admit) is smoke. And if you ask me to review a $10 hand-made Robusto, the best I can tell you is "it tastes pretty good. Sorta' deep and...I dunno'...hearty." I really envy the people who discover juniper berries, charcoal and just a hint of maple sap in a bunch of rolled tobacco leaves. Or pick up the tang of anchovy paste and jicama in a Pinot Noir.

When I drink a glass of wine, I don't get blueberries, strawberries, kumquats, beetroot, fennel, cocoa butter or old leather. If it's a red wine, it tastes sorta' reddish to me and if it's a white, the flavor's on the white side.

This is my nomination for Comment of the Week and if it doesn't win, I'm sending him a prize anyway.

I'm with Bucky.

Michael: great post!!
It is my personal opinion that more people than are willing to admit have unsophisticated palates, and can really only distinguish red or white. I will freely admit that I am one of them.
When I hear someone pontificate on the merits of a fine wine or something else, I usually want to throw up. I am convinced that they are just repeating something they read from a foodie journal/web site/other.
Yes, I know there are supertaster's, and people with trained palates or more refined taste buds than mine, but I don't think there are as many as claimed.
Michael: don't feel stupid, just feel normal!

That's Nilay, I remember selling him his first legal scotch buy. At the time, a night-time baker and day-time student of creative writing, we became friends. After Nilay was hired on with our merry band of vino-philes he gained dubious distinction as the employee who's store wine expenditures exceeded his yearly paycheck. Since he had graduated from school into marketing and the wine job was primarily to bathe in wine geekdom, no problem for him. But it's been pleasurable to see Nilay bloom into the loquacious, slightly irascible and wholly multi-syllabic R. Parker poker his has become. Peruse his archives for his pleasures, Oregon and Burgundian Pinot, exotic Gravner whites, venerable Spanish reds and anything else fermented by passionate oenologists, preferably insane.

Definitely the Comment of the Week--and it's only Monday!

Well, Michael, sometimes I can taste the plum/berry/cherry notes in reds or the apple/pear/citrus notes in whites, but most of the time they just taste like wine. I "fourth" this for Comment of the Week.

Tasting "like wine" is a definite plus in my book. We've had a few bottles that didn't even pass that test in our search for the perfect cheap bottle!

I would "fifth" that for Comment of the Week. The descriptions of the wines I get in my wine club are like that.

I do prefer that my wine taste "like wine". As opposed to, say, vinegar?

I, too, can't pick up all of the ten different kinds of berries in a wine. I do follow certain guidelines: fruity-good/grapey-bad, fullbodied-good/flabby-bad, lean-(can be)good, thin-bad, a little acidic-good/sour-bad.

The only wine I find "amusing" is sparkling wine because the bubbles tickle my nose and make me giggle.:-)

EL -- isn't that "post" from "Ciga" nothing more than a lame plug for an online cigar website, with a laughable attempt by the shill to tie it in to the wine topic?

Funny, it's gone away now. :-) I get dozens of these, and usually they don't get by me, but I must have published it with a group by mistake. I'm always grateful when someone points it out. EL

Hey Ciga, go home you freakin' tool. Uh oh, but then we would miss your adroit commentary on how red and white wines "have the different flavors". Really? You put a lot of the thought into that one.

I have noticed that red wines taste really red, and whites taste mostly white.

Can I be a wine reviewer too?

To me, a wine can have two tastes: I like it or I do not like it.

Sadly PCB I have a friend who wouldn't even try Lebanon bologna because he had such sad images of the Middle East in his head. Even explaining that it's a smoked, aged beef sausage from Lebanon PA didn't convince her.

BTW I'm out of LB. I hate being the guy that orders meat by mail, but what the hell. How was that smoked turkey? I really liked the turkey ham. We lived on that for a while. The turkey kielbasa was surprsingly close to the original. Still I hate being the guy who orders his meat from another state. You know what I mean?

Owl, the smoked turkey was excellent. As was the lebanon bologna and the smoked turkey canadian bacon. I froze some of the bacon so my fiance can try it on her next visit.

Owl (or should I say "the symbol formerly known as Owl"), you can get Lebanon Bologna (both regular and sweet) at Santoni's on Lombard St.

Not all Lebanon bologna is created equal.

Owl, or his symbol, is correct. The stuff from Godshalls is excellent and worth ordering. They do it the right way up there in PA.

My brother lives near there and I have suggested he visit/order from them.

I don't mind ordering my meat online, There is much out there that is superior to what I can buy in local stores.

But I don't do it much in the spring/summer months, since its so freaking hot down here. Even with their ice packs and whatnot, the meat arrives cool, but not cold. Plus, in hurricane season, I don't want to have a freezer full of meat that I have to keep cold in case of a power outage.

In the spirit of recession busting specials I want to alert everyone to a great wine bargain. The producer is Chateau Fontanes from the Pic Saint Loup area. The wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The price for the 2005 vintage at the Wine Source is $9.00. The 2006 is $12.95. I bring this up now because on Sunday with the temperature topping 90 I took a bottle of the 2005 and cooled it for about an hour in the frig and before I knew it I was shaking the empty bottle and thinking about uncorking a second (a temptation I resisted). Great with a roast beef sandwich with mustard, red onion, and horseradish. This will be a perfect barbeque and picnic wine.

Kermit Lynch describes the wine as having rasberry and cassis flavors with a hint of spice along with silky tannins. If you like your cabernets over-oaked then avoid this wine. Otherwise pick up a case and get for a summer of great enjoyment.

Elizabeth's Comment of the Week post led me back to OMG's question about Pennsyltucky Pork Meat, otherwise known as Lebanon Bologna. My husband is quite the connoisseur of the speckled meat, and buys his at Mars Grocery. They have both sweet and regular.

Wines are just really one of the most in demand when there's a party anywhere in the world.

Very lame spam at 9:47 pm.

Who cares?

One lame comment is replaced by another lame comment. Can we please just ignore the lameness and not enthrone them? No, I guess not. Carry on, John Done.

I don't normally get involved with these slap fights but why do you guys get all girly and tattly and b%tch about supposed spam when you watch TV with commercials? Do you scream at the TV? And why don't you scream about all the ads on this site? (Phonies or Sun shills)

Why add one annoyance to another? Why not shut up and change the channel? It's ironic that the people that carp about spam EEK A MOUSE! don't contribute anything positive. Go away, noisemakers.

Because Trig, we don't want the spam. And, when I watch tv, I change the channel during commercials, since you asked.

But, say hi to your mom, Sarah, for us. How's that helicopter moose hunting workin' out for her?

We are a Manufacturer and Exporter in China specializing in wine & spirit accessories and related artwork design.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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