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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 13, 2006 / 22 Mar-Cheshvan, 5767

Sour grapes and mud

By Dave Barry


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Recently, I spent several days touring the California wine country, and I must say that it was a wonderful experience that I will remember until long after I get this mud out of my ears.


I'll explain the mud in a moment, but first I should explain that the wine country is an area near San Francisco that is abundantly blessed with the crucial natural ingredient that you need to have a successful wine country: tourists. There are thousands and thousands of them, forming a dense, continuous stream of rental cars creeping up and down the Napa Valley, where you apparently cannot be a legal resident unless you own a winery named after yourself.


Roughly every 45 feet, you pass a sign that says something like, "The Earl A. Frebblemunster And His Sons Earl Jr. And Bud, But Not Fred, Who Went Into The Insurance Business, Winery." When you see a winery that you like, you go inside for wine-related activities, which are mainly 1) tasting wine, and 2) trying to adopt thoughtful facial expressions so as to appear as though you have some clue as to what you are tasting.


Some wineries also give guided tours, wherein they show you how wine is made. The process starts with the grapes, which ripen on vines under the watchful eyes of the head wine person (or "poisson de la tete") until exactly the right moment, at which point they form a huge swarm and follow the queen to the new hive location.


No, wait, I'm thinking of bees. When the grapes are ripe, they're harvested and stomped on barefoot by skilled stompers until they (the grapes) form a pulpy mass (called the "fromage"), which is then discarded. Then the head wine person drives to the supermarket and buys some nice hygienic bunches of unstomped grapes, which are placed in containers with yeast — a small but sexually active fungus — and together they form wine.


The wine is then bottled and transported to the Pretentious Phrase Room, where professional wine snots perform the most critical part of the whole operation: thinking of ways to make fermented grape juice sound more complex than nuclear physics. For example, at one winery, I sampled a Pinot Noir (from the French words "pinot," meaning "type of," and "noir," meaning "wine") and they handed me a sheet of paper giving many facts about the wine, including something called the "Average Brix at Harvest"; the pH of the grapes; a detailed discussion of the fermentation (among other things, it was "malolactic"); the type of barrels used for aging ("100 percent French tight-grained oak from the Vosges and Allier forests"); the type of filtration (it was "a light egg-white fining"); and, of course, the actual nature of the wine itself, which is described — and this is only part of the description — as having "classical Burgundian aromas of earth, bark and mushrooms; dried leaves, cherries; subtle hints of spice and French oak"; and, of course, the flavor of "blackberry, allspice, cloves, vanilla with nuances of plums and toast."


Yes! Nuances of toast! I bet they exchanged high fives in the Pretentious Phrase Room when they came up with that one!


At another winery, I stood next to some young men — they couldn't have been older than 22 — who were tasting wine and making serious facial expressions and asking a winery employee questions such as: "Was '93 a good year for the cabernets?" I wanted to shake them and shout, "What's WRONG with you!? When I was your age, I was drinking Sunshine Premium brand beer (motto: 'Made From Ingredients') at $2.39 a CASE!"


Needless to say, these young men also had cigars. You have to worry about where this nation is headed.


Anyway, the other major tourist thing to do in wine country is to go to a town called Calistoga and take a mud bath, which is an activity that I believe would be popular only in an area where people have been drinking wine. My wife and I took one at a combination spa and motel, where we were met by a woman who said, I swear, "Hi, I'm Marcie, and I'll be your mud attendant."


Marcie led us into a room containing two large tubs filled to the brim with what smelled like cow poop heated to 104 degrees. We paid good money to be allowed to climb into these things and lie there sweating like professional wrestlers for 15 minutes. Marcie — who later admitted that she had done this only once herself — said it was supposed to get rid of our bodily toxins, but my feeling is that from now on, if I have to choose between toxins and hot cow poop, I'm going with the toxins.


But I have to say that once I got out of the mud, I felt a great deal better than when I was in the mud, and I am confident that one day, if I take enough showers, people will stop edging away from me on the elevator. So let me just close by saying that, although I have made some fun of the wine-country experience here, I really do feel, in all sincerity, that "Pinot Noir and his Nuances of Toast" would be a good name for a band.

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Previously:

Pro golf: A game of non-stop boredom
Guard-dog vigilance is nothing to sniff at
Warm and fuzzy Cold War memories
The funny side of ‘Beowulf’
HOLY HEAT WAVE, BATMAN!
Abs-olute madness
Beware of brainy bugs
I'm in a sorry state
The frog plague: The inside story
If she had a hammer….
Keeping an eye on crime
Camping and Lewis and Clark
When in Iowa, don't forget to duck
Junior takes the wheel
Growing old with Dave
Sites for sore eyes
Beware of sheep droppings
Ireland, land of bad Elvis
Mr. Peabrain's misadventures
When they're out to get you, keep cool
Mothers of invention
Kill 'em with kindness



© 2006, The Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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