'Pillow Talk'

Pillow Talk

She said: Okay, here are a few topics rolling around in my head. Read and reply at will.

  • Kids in bars: Brought on by the kerfuffle over at LAist (with its very contentious comments). I’m friends with some of the players, so I don’t really want to talk about the specific article, but it got me thinking about the “taking the kids out” topic.
  • Our biggest blog day ever: New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov Tweets about Us. Whoa.
  • M.I.A. wineries: I’ve been surprised by the lack of response from emails We send out about the United Slurps of America project. We’re not asking for free stuff (although it’s great when We do get samples), just if they will ship to CA and are interested in participating in the project.
  • Box wine: I really enjoyed having it around my place the last couple of weeks. So convenient. And it tasted good.
  • Making stuff: You’ve got the Barchitecture project, I’ve got an wine related art project. And how fun was it to make the silk screen of our logo. Should We sell stuff on Swirl?

That’s all I got. Okay. Go.

He said: I pick “Making Stuff.” The stuff you have been making is really great. And I am kinda consumed by the Barchitecture project and two other projects that have deadlines approaching. I’m an architect, you are an industrial / graphic designer, so yes, let’s make wine-related products to sell. Or just make them because me enjoy making stuff. OK, I’m busy, your turn.

She said: Not really the one I thought you’d pick…don’t you want to take a break and play Pillow Talk with me? Yes, We’ll make stuff no matter what. But let’s sell some t-shirts. And maybe give away a bunch of stickers. And little notebooks. Can you put together a store feature and then let’s get screen printing. Will anybody buy a shirt for fifteen bucks? It would help out our wine-buying fund.

He said: Yes, I will build a store. This Pillow Talk seems uninspired. I’m really trying to finish this work before the Laker game tonight.

She said: Alright, alright.

Here are my takes on the other topics: keep the kids out of bars; I am so rewriting Eric Asimov every week (even though it takes way longer then one would think); wineries–get back to Us, geez; I am a total box wine convert (although having open-and-yet-still-fresh 3L boxes around the house can be dangerous–too early for a sip now?).

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Pillow Talk: United Slurps of AmericaOnline

Tasting the 50 states:

She said: My heart skipped a beat and my palate turned sour when I saw this tweet from AlaWine.com. My RT was: “Hmm. What not to taste for United Slurps of America?” KenW did not respond (whatevs), but a couple of days later our Slurpin’ USA Washington co-blogger Josh of DrinkNectar.com sent Us a Tweet: “…did you see this…” with the same link. My RT was: “Yes! Was happy to see no duplicates so far. And of course We think our proj is way cooler.” And it is. Right? Damn you, Joel Stein of TIME magazine.

He said: Does anyone even read Time Magazine when they aren’t in a dentist’s or doctor’s office…or waiting all day in a jury duty room? Time Magazine is just that; to pass time. Also, remember when TimeWarner bought AOL? That was funny.

But it would probably make this project easier if there was an international multi-conglomerate backing it. We have this coming weeks state lined up, but after that, umm…

She said: Yes, I had similar thoughts: print is dying. Then again, the feature is online. And interactive–but in a graphically lame way. And–this kills me–he chose BV cab for California. Boring, dude.

One of the things I love about the USA project is that We get other people involved…not just the wineries, but also local bloggers. And in general our co-bloggers end up writing about the wine or the experience on their own blogs–it’s a terrific social networking experiment. And how great was it that for the Georgia post Joe of SuburbanWino.com was actually on vacation in California and came over to my place to taste. He was awesome. It was my first “I only know you from your blog” meeting experience–other than you, of course.

He said: Ditto that. And if anyone reading this is from a state We haven’t done yet (after Monday that will be 41 states, so the odds are good) and wants to be involved, please contact Us. If you live in a state with weird shipping laws, it’s possible We are going to ask you to do some black ops for Us. Really stupid laws are meant to be broken.

Oh, and international multi-conglomerates, feel free to contact us too. We love your money you.

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Pillow Talk

Expensive Wine

He said: 95% of the wine that I have had retails for under $30 a bottle. Most of the time that I buy expensive wine ($100+) it is as a gift for someone else. For whatever reason, I have trepidation about opening/drinking expensive bottles. I always think that it should saved for a special occasion; but just what is that occasion? Even the $100 bottle of Williams Selyem that I bought for Her (and We were supposed to drink on my birthday) is still cellared. When I go to Her house I marvel at the amount of Sine Qua Non (and many other expensive bottles) that she has. And more SQN seems to arrive frequently. How many bottles of SQN do you have? 50?

She said: No, no. Way more than that.

He said: Yeah, I know it’s a lot. But really, I’m not even remotely tempted to drink it, even though I know how good it is. The fact that it is rare and expensive is truly intriguing, but I would have a fair amount of anxiety opening any of the bottles. Which is weird. It’s like people who bought Star Wars action figures and didn’t take them out of the package because they knew they would increase in value; something that was meant to be played with can’t even be touched. I feel the same way about expensive wine, it’s not meant to be drunk. When our friend Harrison opened a bottle of SQN recently at a dinner party, my first thought was, “are you sure?” I was, of course, happy she did open it and it was the best wine I’ve ever tasted, but, that’s a lot of $$$, and one less bottle of something rare that is meant to be collected. I guess it makes Her collection worth more.

She said: It really was a treat when Harrison opened the “Just for the Love of It.” But then again, why should We consider it such a sacred thing? Wine is for drinking, and what better way to enjoy a bottle (whether it be expensive or not) with dear friends over an amazing meal? That said, the wine was totally spectacular and I felt serious and contemplative over the first few sips, knowing that it was a rarity to taste the wine. (Which I have before, by the way. And still own bottles of.)

I have to say that there are moments when I feel embarrassed about having a wine collection…especially one with so much of Manfred’s wine in it. It feels overly-extravagant. Then again, the wines are truly outstanding. And my love of the wines vintage after vintage is very much tied up in my relationship with Manfred. When I first started getting SQN (his first vintages) I popped open the bottles all the time. And probably at the wrong time–like at 1:30 a.m. when the house party was going strong and empty bottles were piling up. Makes me shake my head at myself. Then again, those were great moments.

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Pillow Talk

The Mentor and the Mentee

She said: I know more about wine and have a more refined palate than He does. I’m not being braggy: it’s the truth. This fact is the motivation behind the blog: it is a forum for me to reintroduce myself to the wine world and for Him to learn about it. We’re five months in and what has become increasingly clear is: He’s a fast learner. Or, at least, He is quickly learning how I taste wine. More often than not there are similar descriptors in our tasting notes. We have a strict “no talking” rule when tasting as to not influence each other. (And by We, I really mean Me–it’s my rule. No talking, no research, no reading the label. Shut up and taste.) And yet in the last few weeks our tasting notes are becoming more and more aligned. He’s advancing to the next level. Or at least, my level.

He Said: Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master.” Only he said it in a different language that I don’t speak. Also, there are a lot of “ess” sounds in that sentence. Did gay men have lisps in the 15th and 16th centuries?

Anyhow, as the story goes (which I believe to be lore) LdV’s mentor, Andrea del Verrocchio resolved to never touch a paintbrush when he saw the work of young LdV. I’m not implying that you have to stop drinking wine. Actually, I don’t know what I am implying. I wonder if da Vinci was fucking his mentor too?

She said: I don’t know what you’re implying either. Or even saying, really. But what I am implying is that you: 1. are a quick study 2. need to get your own wine tasting descriptors. And…the nature of the blog is transitioning.

I started the topic and sound like an overly serious dolt compared to your sex and daVinci line. You go next.

The Hazards of the Job

He Said: Both of Us have been to design school, where it is essential that one dives head first into projects and takes each job very seriously. I mention school, and not the professional world, because money isn’t exchanged for work. My point is that even though we aren’t making any money from Swirl Smell Slurp, We both take it somewhat seriously. It is a job, albeit quite a fun job. But on some of the nights that we have to taste 4 or 5 wines, I can get quite drunk. And, I’m totally fine with getting drunk when it’s planned; but accidentally getting drunk on a Sunday evening is a hazard of this job.

She said: Occupational hazard. Or non-occupational-but-take-drinking-wine-seriously hazard. Maybe We should start spitting more. Or skip the gin and tonics in between bottles of wine.  I’m not sure I believe “accidentally getting drunk” is a truism, but yeah, you did get kind of drunk last night. That da Vinci scenario you mentioned earlier didn’t happen.

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Pillow Talk

Big Top Wine Tastings

He said: I have only been to two “organized” big wine tastings, but I think I can say emphatically: I don’t like ‘em. They remind me of one of my favorite book titles, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. I don’t really like tiny pours. I don’t know if it’s because I am a “wine novice” but it’s difficult for me to discern much with such a small amount. I can decide “I like it” or otherwise, but I need more than a couple of sips to really taste it. Also, it always seems like well-dressed adults are trying to be too buddy-buddy with the winemakers. Too crowded, too early, too forced-fun for me. Not the setting I like to drink wine in. And, I usually can’t hear anybody because so many other loud people are listening to themselves talk.

She said: The first big tasting We went to together (I’ve been to dozens solo) was a Skurnik tasting in New York earlier this year. He declared: “I’m going to taste all 278 of those wines.” Right. I think He tasted 8 wines. I agree the crowds can be stifling–and ridiculous. If it’s not a trade tasting the crowd tends to be an ironically pretentious amateur hour (only they don’t get the irony). But the Wally’s tasting We went to on Sunday was a pleasure for me–saw some old friends, tasted some good wines, and…had a Let’s Be Frank dog that was awesome. Sue Moore is a hot dog dreamboat. Plus Larkin sent us home with two bottles.

He said: The Larkin bottles and the hot dogs were definite highlights.

Late Lunch at Umami Burger

He said: The Umami Burger craze has been going on for a while here in LA. Somehow, it wasn’t until today that We tried it. We walked down to Space 15 Twenty because I wanted to go to Hennessey + Ingalls because I need some books on Landscape Urbanism and Public Space Design. We decided to finally try UB, and, wow, the craze is for real. That was the most unique tasting burger I have had in a long time. Definitely overpriced, but good. Unfortunately, I am still a little bit sick and I don’t know if it was the burger or the pint of Boddington’s, but I hit a wall. The walk back to Her house was hard. I curled up on the sofa and don’t plan to move for the rest of the night.

She said: I had forgotten Umami was at 15-Twenty, so it was a pleasant surprise. I ordered the turkey burger. I figure it has to be an outstanding turkey burger if they serve it at a meaty burger place. Funny, when I ordered a dog from Let’s Be Frank at the Wally’s tasting I asked for the veggie, thinking the same thing. The owner, Sue Moore, asked “Do you eat meat?” “Yes.” “Well, you really should try our regular dog…we source the meat from fantastic sources…” The waitress at Umami did no such sell, but it didn’t matter, I loved my turkey burger. Had a Gruner Veltliner with it and it was a lovely pairing. But the wine list at Umami bums me out: no winemaker or region info are offered on the list. This is important. And the waitress didn’t know. Ultimately, no matter. The meal was great.

New Wall Street Journal Wine Columnists

She said: I’m pretty sure He didn’t know about this until I told Him, but my boyfriend in wine, Jay McInerney, is co-hosting the new wine column in the WSJ. Yes, I crush all over Jay. So why does my favorite bad boy wine writer have to share? If it was anyone BUT Lettie Teague I would be pissed (they are alternating every other Saturday). But I love Lettie–her video series “Educating Peter” reminds me of how Swirl Smell Slurp came about. (The link above is from Pete Wells blog on the NYTimes–the competitor is nervous?)

He said: To be succinct, I don’t care. To be wordy, I haven’t read the WSJ in a decade (except the one I was in) and this probably won’t change that. I don’t know who Lettie Teague is, but I am now a big fan of her name. I love JM’s writing, but I never read any of his columns in real-time. I will wait and read the articles when they are collected into a book. The same way I watch the television show Lost. I watched 4 seasons on a flight to (and hotel rooms in) China. If it is possible to subscribe via RSS to only JM’s column (and absolutely nothing else) from the WSJ website, then I may rethink my hard-line position.

She said: Dopey, we watched Lettie’s videos together. She has that crazy curly hair that I admire (and empathize with) so much.

He said: When and where did we watch those?

She said: Netflix. The cottage. With wine. (Which may be why He doesn’t remember?)

He said: I still don’t remember.


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