Wednesday, November 24, 2010

airlines and john does ...

"Flying so high above the world, never thought I could feel so free ..."
That's a quote from South Park, in case you didn't know. Starvin' Marvin rocks!
Anyway, right now I'm chilling at the airport, waiting to board. I've been here since 8am, since the airport security checkpoint line was so short. Seriously, it only took me about 5 minutes to get through ... why oh why did I think it would take so long today? Oh well, I suppose it's better to be safe than sorry.
On a more serious note, I've stumbled across something quite odd and unexpected. As I'm sure most of you know, I am studying Journalism at San Diego State University. I am currently working on a case study for my Media Law and Ethics class, and I decided to write about the pending lawsuit Charles Smith is filing against various "John Doe's" who have allegedly libeled him online through comments on Blake Grey's blog: The Grey Market Report. We've talked in great detail in class about anonymous commenters and what kind of protection they do or don't have against libel and slander; and since I'm in wine blogging, I figured it would be a perfect way for me to explore that.
Well, I emailed W. Blake Grey, asking him to answer a few questions about the lawsuit, and how he feels it affects the protection of anonymity when it comes to online comments. He emailed me saying that he was "going to pass" and that he hopes I do as well. I am very perplexed by this. Does he feel that I should not study this lawsuit? If so, why does he feel this way? He has gone on record on his blog about the lawsuit, saying that he will most likely refrain from commenting. But why would he want me to refrain as well? I have no official opinion about the lawsuit ... I merely wish to examine it as a future member of the press.
This is just another piece of the strange puzzle that is the modern legal system and the internet. Online communication has completely changed the playing field of what is and what isn't okay to say. Traditionally people have been protected through anonymity while commenting online - and through that anonymity I have read some awful, hurtful things.  Without anonymous protection we wouldn't have trolling sites like 4chan ... not to say that is a good or a bad thing, as stated before I am not releasing an opinion on the matter. If you know me in person you can ask me.
If Charles Smith succeeds in getting the IP addresses from Google (and it looks like he is going to) and suing the anonymous commenters, that could possibly have a huge effect on internet commenting and privacy on blogs, forums and several other forms of internet communication. Perhaps even email and private chats. This could set a precedent that would influence internet usage for many years.
But apparently I should pass on discussing this.
I will not.
W. Blake Grey, I ask you to discuss this with me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

champagne wishes and caviar dreams ... literally

So yesterday I had the pleasure of trying a few sparkling wines with the #SDWM. If you don't know what the #SDWM stands for, that's probably for the best ... because if you knew, I would have to kill you. See my face right there? I'm that serious, people.
Anyway, there were a few hits and a few misses; as well as several sparkling wines (and some tasty looking caviar) I wasn't able to try because I had to go to work at Bencotto Italian Kitchen. Not to mention the fact that I'm vegetarian, but alas. Here are my notes from those wines.
The first was Iron Horse Vineyards 2005 Ocean Reserve Estate Bottled Sparkling Wine from Sonoma County ($40). Not to sound corny, but the nose was a bit salty. It was only after having a couple classic potato chips from Trader Joe's that I was able to lessen the scent. There were also some herbal notes on the nose, mainly basil with a bit of mustard seed. The mouth started out rather dry, with strong herbal notes and minerals (limestone and river rock). It then finished with some green apple and a slightly bittersweet aftertaste that lingered for a bit. I enjoyed the wine, but it was a little dry for me. I can be pretty forgiving of a dry wine, but this one pushed the envelope a bit.
The next wine I tasted was the Valdo Prosecco Non-Vintage Brut from Italy ($10). The nose on this one was quite complex: golden delicious apples, a bit of lavender water, river rocks and a tint of sweet grass as well. The nose was incredibly fruity. The mouth was rich, acidic and crisp, full of bubbly goodness. There were grassy notes on the beginning with strong green and red apples as it continued on the palate. For some strange reason (and I was the only one who tasted this) this sparkling wine kept finishing with flavors of baked cinnamon and pie crust. I imagine this sparkling wine would have been perfect with an apple pie. It's very easy to enjoy, with a crisp acidity and that fabulously bizarre apple pie finish that just made me think.
The third, which I tasted blindly out of a paper bag, was the Mumm Napa Blanc de Blanc 2006 from Napa Valley ($20). The nose was incredibly light and subtle, with honeydew melon and not much else to detect ... other than the slightest whiff of gasoline. The sparkling tasted of honeydew, limestock and the strong night air right before a thunderstorm. Almost where you can taste the electricity and tension. Sadly, it wasn't enough to blow me away. It was good, but not very memorable on my palate. Kind of finished too quickly.
The final sparkling wine, which was also tasted blindly out of a paper bag, was the sublime Champagne Delamotte 1999 Blanc de Blancs from, well, Champagne, France ($95). The nose had mineral notes with some light melon and a strong scent of spearmint leaf. The mouth was actually very multidimensional. Albeit it was a little bitter on the beginning, it carried through into a delicious flavor of orange peel, melon, a bit of Bitters with a floral finish and a bit of vanilla carrying through. It stayed for a very long time on my palate, made quite the impression on my taste buds. I know it's an expensive wine, so it's one I would only recommend for more of those special occasions. It's a classically-styled, well-rounded Champagne that would leave anyone satisfied.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

welcome to the real world, winos

In the words of Kyle's adorable-yet-terrible-stereotype cousin Kyle .... I'm back! You just have to imagine the whiny voice, silly glasses and complete lack of hand-eye coordination; only because Blogger now practices copyright protection on all images. When did this happen? I've only been gone two months and it's like everything is new and different. I suppose that's what my Media Technology professor means when she says that technology has made the world change so quickly.
After a few months of getting settled in San Diego; including starting university, sending a boyfriend off to Paris, having to find a new apartment after one month of a rather challenging roommate and getting a new (and much more wine friendly) job, I finally feel ready to get back in the swing of things.
I will probably be posting about once or twice per week, since struggling students and wine writers can't really afford too much wine!
Unfortunately I am unable to toast my grand blog return with anything but an unsweetened green iced tea from Starbucks, so instead I'm going to take an opportunity to thank all the wine bloggers (and friends) in San Diego who I have had an amazing pleasure to get to know. They have been pushing me since day one to get back into wine blogging, and I owe a great deal to their kindness and fantastic wines. And no, you can't ask about our secret handshake. Be sure to check out their wine blogs!

Beau's Barrel Room
Brain Wines
Wine Harlots
La Jolla Mom
Cuvee Corner