The festival of insignificance

Milan Kundera's latest book. The recipient of extremely faint praise.

The Guardian complains about the Ham fisted flourishes of authorial interjection, and suggests that it is lacking in political or artistic urgency. While the New York Times calls it a flimsy novella an extremely slight musing on people's proclivities for pranks, lies and perverse choices.

These comments seem true while missing the charm and joy of the book. It's like being disappointed that a village wine is light and simple and not as profound as the Grand cru bearing same names. . . The critics complain it's nothing like the Unbearable Lightness of Being, that it lacks stuffing, Kundera is dated and the world and the reader has moved on. . . All of this is partially correct, but I still found the book to be faithful and true, what more can you hope for (from an author or a bottle of wine). . . ...

From St. Francis to DOGC: Umbria’s Sagrantino di Montefalco

In 1219, St. Francis of Assisi and several disciples traveled to Palestine in order to preach to the Christian forces and to evangelize the infidels. His group traveled throughout the region, from Syrah to Egypt -- where his famous audience with the Sultan occurred. Some believe that he returned to his native Umbria with a previously unknown grape variety to produce sacramental wine. The grape was Sagrantino, derived from the Latin  “Sacer” or Sacred, and in fact, was cultivated by monks to produce a raisin wine for religious rites. Perhaps, the grape variety didn't originate in Italy from St. Francis himself, but by Franciscan monks returning from Turkey, another theory. Regardless, Sagrantino is now considered an indigenous Italian grape and is found only around the hilltop town of Montefalco.

Image courtesy of VinePair
Whereas Umbria is central to Italy, Montefalco is centrally located within Umbria. Wine production is an inherit ...

Top 10 Surf Schools in Spain and Portugal

Surf Schools Portugal SpainBeyond the festivals, concerts and cultural activities in Portugal, lies a community of people who exist to ride the waves. This isn’t just a hobby for them, it’s a way of life!

What makes Iberia unique is that each and every beach hosts its own culture, a place where the wave obsessed can enjoy a customized experience based on their needs. Whether it’s the type of waves, the people it attracts or the schools it hosts, it’s a world onto itself. But if you’re not savvy as to what to look for, knowledgable in what each school offers, you may find yourself frustrated and ill equipped to chose the right surf school.

So what are you looking for?

A top surf school will give you proper coaching, while taking care of every detail. The staff will be professional, certified, and experienced. They’ll provide the ultimate environment for learning, teach proper surfing etiquette, take you ...

surfing portugal spain
Algarve Beach surfing
Surf Trip Portugal Spain

Wine of the Day, No. 38

Fire up the grill! Here is a cabernet-based wine perfectly tuned to the broad strokes and the nuances induced by the kiss of flames upon beef, lamb, veal and pork. The Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Napa Valley, is the product of one of those vintages that winemakers refer to with sighs of relief and giddy smiles. It’s a blend of 85 percent cabernet sauvignon, 8 percent merlot and 3.5 percent each petit verdot and cabernet franc that never sees a smidgeon of artificial herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers and is fermented with indigenous yeasts. The wine spent 21 months in French oak, 60 percent new barrels. The color is deep ruby from opaque center almost to the rim, where it shades delicately into a violet-magenta hue; to touches of cedar and rosemary, cloves and allspice, ripe and spicy black currants, cherries and plums, the wine adds grace-notes of ...

Chinese Trade Rules Put South Korea’s Kimchi Industry in a Pickle

South Korea is not permitted to export kimchi, fermented cabbage, to China, but cheaper Chinese kimchi flows freely into South Korea, competing with the domestic product.

Warm Up: The North Fork of Long Island

Driving on the North Fork. Photo by Erin Scala.
10,000 years ago, when humans in the Fertile Crescent were just switching from nomadic to agricultural societies and civilizations began to spring up, a glacier retreated northward over New York and left behind unique soils, especially on Long Island's Forks. Today, several types of loam cover the North Fork. Back in the 1920s, these soils were used mostly for potato farming. But today, the North Fork of Long Island can claim over 40 years of winemaking history. John Wickham grew vinifera grapes in the 1960s and sold them at his farm stand along with orchard fruits. Inspired by his success, the first commercial vineyard, planted in 1973 by Alex and Louisa Hargrave, made some serious headway for the region. Their grapes of choice? cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and sauvignon blanc. They founded their winery in 1975, and today-- about 40 years ...

I’ll Drink to That: Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards

Episode 281 of I'll Drink to That has been released, and features Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards, a family-run estate on the North Fork of Long Island, New York. The truth about America is that most of its citizens are prohibited from having wine for a quarter of their lives, and then beginning at their 21st birthday, they are expected to develop a normal relationship with the practice of drinking. As if drinking hasn't been denied to them for a couple of decades, and been fetishized as a result. A lot of people who have experienced this particular head fake might wish for Kareem Massoud's childhood instead, and the opportunity to have planted a vineyard with their father. Wine is often a multigenerational endeavor, and within the Massoud family you have sons who fell in love with their parent's dream, the dream of a winery. Kareem decided to stay ...

Flametree SRS Chardonnay 2013

The photo and the bottle were acquired a few months ago, possibly on the same day. In the distance Castle rock, still partially in shadow. The SRS on the label refers to sub region series, in this case Walcliffe, some forty or fifty kilometres further south. The mostly white cellar door is curiously and strategically ectopic - it's in Dunsborough off the highway and close to all the tourists and away from the vines and the older and more established competition.

It's very good, typical, unsurprising and identifiably Margaret river. Full, creamy and tanned; something struck - almost but not quite a curry leaf, but a definite matchstick and grilled peaches. It's terrific but I've smelt so many that are just the same. For a moment it's pert and crisp then the lactone / marzipan edge before the inevitable pineapple.

Chablis for the Summertime!

Chablis, it’s what’s for summer. Recently I […] The post Chablis for the Summertime! appeared first on The Wine Sleuth.

Beware of whisky

Forced by Chester to resume her usual life, Ketty gets courage by pouring herself whisky... Light summer photo [novel] story... I found this Western photo-novel some time ago in a street flea market, it was published in 1968 by Star...