Fine Wine Writing by Jonathon Alsop

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April Is The Foolest Month
A fool and his wine are soon parted...

By Jonathon Alsop
April 1, 2005

Traditionally, April is the month for clearing up misunderstandings. It's a time to wipe clean the slate of whatever it is that gets on slate and makes it dirty in the first place.

In my own case, it's often a time to try in vain to soothe the hurt feelings of others. These arise from my practical jokes (needless to say, I think they're funny), unflattering pencil sketches of other people (ditto), and a couple of things I realize now I shouldn't have said in the meat department of our local grocery store (no contest).

Now, I have a profound and shameful confession to make. Like so many other "journalists," I have been paid -- and paid well, I will have you know -- by the White House itself to espouse the wine opinions of others.

The truth can now be told: it is the President himself who wants the Supreme Court to strike down every anti-wine law in the land. He merely uses me as his willing mouthpiece on a weekly basis, if you will pardon the disgusting, non-Republican imagery.

Think about it: I'm not the one who likes those underdeveloped, overcompensating California fruit-bomb wines -- that's a Cheney thing.

And what about all those sharp, acidic, aggressively flavored sauvignon blanc wines from South Africa and New Zealand I'm relentlessly recommending? I've got two words for you: Rumsfeld.

Anyone remember when I wrote about wine in a box last summer? Or the "new Budweiser" scoop? I worried I was too obvious, that it had the twins written all over it. But Wolfowitz was right, as always: we really are smarter than all the wine lovers in the world put together.

My contract expires April 15, of course, and the Office of Executive Budgets has informed me they will not be renewing it. Apparently they've found someone less expensive, and since Hooper -- my Secret Service bodyguard -- writes all this anyway, we're going our separate ways with very little bitterness in the finish.

Besides, I already have my sites set on my next big client. Heaven knows French president Jacques Chirac needs a wine writer.

April Wine of the Month

Bash a bottle today! 2001 Clubbing Seal Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (about $20, but seeing the look on your mother-in-law's face when you open it, priceless)
California's Gastro Valley is the hottest new wine appellation out west, and it's home to Allston Brighton, an intrepid young winemaker married to a Canadian. Brighton's in-laws are majority investors in the winery, which is named after the family business, or so the story goes. I quote from the press release, which really says it best, as always: "Easy and approachable, Clubbing Seal wines show no fear of humans. Sneak up on a bottle today!"

In Pinot Veritas

Pinot's so popular people are prepared to plunk down pounds of pennies for primadonna potions. Pinot envy perhaps?

Pinot Tasting, Chris Hinton Selections at The Wine Store, 8455 Holcomb Bridge Rd., Alpharetta, GA. Friday, April 1, 6-8 p.m. Compare and contrast old world/new world pinot. Call 770-641-1900 to register.

Pinot Noir Wine Dinner at the Green Street Grill, 280 Green St., Cambridge, MA. Monday, April 4 at 7 p.m. Four courses by chef Mark Romano plus pinot. Go to or call 617-876-1655 for information and reservations.

Santa Cruz Mountains: Pinot Paradise at Testarossa Vineyards, 300-A College Ave., Los Gatos, CA. Sunday, April 10, 1-5 pm. Byington, Cinnabar, David Bruce all make me salivate. Go to or call 831-479-9463 for tickets and information.

You-Keep-The-Glass Pinot Tasting at Chuckie's House of Wine, 7133 South 76th St., Franklin WI, near Milwaukee. Thursday, April 21, 7 p.m. Only $25 and you keep your $21 Riedel pinot noir tasting glass. Call 414-425-9800 for tickets.

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