after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

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a different kind of Olympics opening ceremony

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t says:  So I know that there may be a lot of people who are reminiscing about the Beijing opening ceremony …  so much so that maybe they’ve even re-watched clips on youtube or something …

But not me …

For me, the highlight of the last Olympics is this single race:

lezack ftw

Written by afterdinnersneeze

27 July 2012 at 10:24pm

Posted in "Lifestyle"

Diner en Blanc

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t says:  We’re in.  a and v are in.  kp is in (and might be looking for a dinner-mate).  Will we see you there, too?

Can’t wait to acquire some chairs and a table and awesome clothes and some awesome food … and don’t forget the wine …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

20 July 2012 at 10:40am

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which tastes better: marketing or wine-making?

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t says:  I stumbled across this article today.

full article:  http://www.pnas.org/content/105/3/1050.full
abstract:  http://www.pnas.org/content/105/3/1050.abstract

It’s an oldie, but for those interested in wine, it’s a must-read; however, can’t just read the abstract (because that’s not the full story) – you should at least read the first paragraph of the Results section and Figure 1 because there are some interesting data on people’s preferences on whether or not they are in the scanner.  (The rest of the article concerning fMRI data, I don’t really know what to do with yet …)

Kinda fun, no?

Written by afterdinnersneeze

6 June 2012 at 9:46am

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corked or screwed?

with 5 comments

t says:  Not one to “just let go” of an exhausted topic, I recently found myself reconsidering [again] my stance on the age-old issue of real corks vs. screw-tops for wine bottle enclosure.  For those who are unaware, the traditional enclosure for bottles of wine has long been cork.  And, while it’s been around for such a long time, the truth is that cork is not the most fool-proof enclosure ever “invented”, as there are countless cases of compromised corks (and consequent compromised wines).  Even we here at adsz have written about near-misses as well as straight-up failures of cork – and that’s just in the past 6 months!  I’d guess (as I have no numbers to substantiate the claim) that the two biggest problems with corks are that they can dry out and shrink, thus allowing air to seep in and oxidize the wine (n.b. this does not lead to a “corked” wine) and that they are prone to contamination with TCA (which does lead to “corked” wine).  Screw tops (and other synthetic enclosures) are have less problems with this [if any].  So why put up with corks?  The two most common reasons [that I can think of] are the following:
1)  The tradition/ceremony/romance of removing a cork would be reduced to an action we frequently perform on bottles of soda (or Yoohoo).
2)  Theoretically, the synthetic enclosures would “allow in less oxygen”, therefore preventing the long-term aging/maturation of wine.

While point 1 is inarguable (as it’s an opinion – “de gustibus non est disputandum”), I feel that even with abandoning the corkscrew there remains plenty of wine ceremony with screw-tops, like decanting, swirling, sniffing, etc.  Thus, I really only favored corks because I was a staunch believer in point 2 – I thought it was fact/truth.  But I think I’ve been misled.  As you can see in the hyperlinked post above, the internet author (like many authors out there – this one just happened to pop up on google first) kind of admits that it’s controversial but then strongly states that screw-topped wines would “never” be better with age.  Here, let me copy-paste for you:
other person says:  “Although some may argue with this, I do not believe that a bottle of wine with a screw top is going to improve sitting in your wine cellar for a of couple years. It will taste the same as the day you stuck it in the cellar or perhaps worse, but never better. No oxygen is going to pass through a screw top so those subtle aging characteristics produced by a cork are not going to take place. Corks breathe, screw tops to not. I am not recommending that you shy away from purchasing wine with screw tops but that you are aware that these wines are to drink now. When you purchase wine that comes with a screw top, be sure to drink it within a year.”

back to t:  What the crap?  I might be missing something, but where did those conclusions come from?  Is she/he sure that the oxygen going through cork that’s super-important for aging?  Or the oxygen that’s already in the bottle?  And how did he arrive at the recommendation to “drink within a year?”  As you can see, wine snobs (myself included) tend to be a [sometimes misinformed, yet] strongly opinionated bunch and tend to voice their opinions loudly (especially after a glass of wine), so it’s easy to see how such hypotheses and statements about the shortcomings of screw-tops are propagated …

BUT, that doesn’t mean they’re true.  There exist anecdotes and allusions to scientific-like studies:
https://www.cellartracker.com/new/event.asp?iEvent=13650
http://amateurgastronomer.com/index/screw-top-tasting/
http://www.atarangi.co.nz/cellaring-guide.html (at the very bottom)

And now … I’m left wondering who to believe!   On one side, the pro-cork people have “logic” … but they also require the use of “assumptions” (e.g. assuming that air entry via the cork is the most critical component for proper wine aging).  On the other side, the pro-screw people (that sounds weird …) have only some anecdotes and a couple [rather limited] studies suggestive of no difference between the two in terms of taste (and maybe some hints of the possibility of superiority for the screwtop).

The scientist in me (having awoken after a 1.5 year slumber) feels that there just isn’t enough data to take a side … yet.  It is pretty tempting to go pro-screw-top, but they’re going to need some better-controlled real-deal studies if they want to conclude that screw-tops are not worse than cork (“the absence of proof should never be considered proof of absence”).  Furthermore, the scientist in me is quite furious at the wine snob in me for being pro-cork for as long as I have, accepting and spreading the explanation as “reasonable”, “logical”, and even “truth” without the numbers to back it up; it’s dangerous and could lead to misinformation that could have disastrous effects had this been a real-life issue rather than something as frivolous as wine.  As for the wine snob in me – he’s crying after having been verbally abused for the duration of me writing this post.

Conclusion: I’m “retracting” my former statements made to friends and family about the superiority of cork … pending further evaluation by UC Davis and other such impartial investigators.  May the best enclosure win.  And yes, this means that if I meet the wine-of-my-life tomorrow, I will buy it … regardless of its silly-looking screw-top and less-than-sexy noise it makes as you open it.  I’m a changed man.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

31 May 2012 at 4:16pm

g would hurt me if i bought this …

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t says:  Yes … somewhere, someone (actually, 25 people) will pay $8k for this:

Behold! STING!!

Sorry for the tiny copy-paste – you will have to visit the website to see the real-deal:
http://www.wetanz.com/sting-fine-art-limited-edition-the-master-swordsmith-s-collection/
And there’s even has a movie on how it was made and everything!

8000 dollars!!  For a sword that doesn’t actually glow in the presence of orcs (or maybe it does – how would we know?)?  That’s a pretty penny indeed.

So as you can tell, I am a Lord of the Rings fan – maybe not so much to motivate me to buy LotR paraphanalia (but someone on our cast has!  I don’t want to mention any initials …), but I can’t turn it off if I happen to catch it on TV (those TNT marathons devoured many a weekend).  I think readers will be relieved to know that the g&t household contains no such LotR swords (or any swords at all!), as I believe that swords [along with “people” and “people with swords”] kill people!  (They also kill orcs and Nazgul, which albeit useful, is thankfully not an active problem of our society today.)  So I guess this means that I will never wield this mighty [hobbit-sized] blade.  That’s ok.  I’ll stick with kitchen cutlery.

a says:  What the hell is this?  You NERD!  First off, the Lord of the Rings movies are overrated (the books are okay).  Second, if you make another Lord of the Rings post, I’m going to have to remove my initials from this blog.  NERD!

t says:  Sounds like someone here is just a little nerdophobic … or maybe trying to hide his own propensity for nerdliness?

Written by afterdinnersneeze

7 May 2012 at 8:08pm

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t drools at zachy’s

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t says:  A weekend or so ago, g and I visited l and c who live outside of NYC in Pleasantville.  We made excellent time getting up there, so I was in a good mood.  g and l got down to business and did some work, while c and I were left to our own devices.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do … go to Zachy’s!

a pretty reasonably sized store ... and it's kept cooler-than-room-temp, too!

We did some Umbrian wine tasting (free!) and some browsing.  I walked out with yet another bottle of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon (I’m vowing here and now: no more pricey Cali Cabs until we drink some!).  But the coolest thing was walking around the “fine wine room”.

In this pic is a $15k bottle of wine!!

Perhaps a jeroboam of '05 Latour? or ...

... maybe a jeroboam of '05 Mouton Rotschild?

On one hand, yes, Zachy’s is nothing more than a liquor store …  but on the other, it’s a darned good one!  The selection of fine(r) wines is expansive; I could spend hours in there looking at label after label.  The staff try very hard to be helpful, which I like.  The prices for some wines are quite good (but some are ridiculous – $30 for 2009 Calera Pinot Noir? That’s way too much!) – so do some iPhone googling before pulling out the plastic and everything’ll be fine.  All in all, though, it was a positive trip.  Thanks for driving, c!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

28 April 2012 at 9:33pm

sign me up.

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

11 April 2012 at 7:49pm

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