Wednesday, February 05, 2003

The Chron's wine section finally comes up with a good (if obvious*) article
The culture of connoisseurship isn't really about taste. Wine fandom has something in common with sports fandom: It's populated by bastions of middle-aged white men who memorize absurd amounts of statistics so they can support their opinions in lengthy debates. Wine fans take to the 100-point-scale ratings like baseball nuts to box scores. They absorb dazzling quantities of detail about vintners, winemakers, vineyards, geographical appellations, vintages, varietals and winemaking techniques such as malolactic fermentation. Their conversation is learned and forbiddingly technical. Their club is exclusive: Membership takes a lot of time, energy, money and toil, and it helps to have the analytical mind of an engineer or lawyer or MBA, which so many of them happen to be. They're chronically competitive and spend more time talking wine than drinking it.
*[Obvious, to me, because I'm such a conoisseur.]

Plus an article on the few remaining independent butcher shops in the bay area:

Co-owner Peter Flannery takes particular pride in the fact that Bryan's beef is dry-aged for as long as 30 days, a time-consuming technique that produces incredibly tender meat.

"It's the old-fashioned way," he says. "It's been working for 67 years and there's no reason to change now."

What you won't find at his shop or at many others is grass-fed beef. Many old-school butchers like Flannery say they don't like the taste and that it costs more than customers are willing to pay. But he says he buys his traditional beef from smaller-scale purveyors and can vouch for its quality.


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