Thursday, December 20, 2012

Does MS mean Master of Spitting? Plus wine the Romans drank, and the Champagne of kings

Jancis Robinson, MS (Master of Spitting) via Octopus Publishing
While I've been busy blogging about wine media, three good stories of mine about wine itself have run on other sites that you might enjoy reading.

* Have you ever wondered what it takes to spit at a high level? To have master sommeliers mention your expectorating skills with awe? I spoke to world class spitters Jancis Robinson and Charles Metcalfe and learned their secrets. Bonus fun fact: Do you know how much alcohol your body absorbs when you spit instead of swallow? Read the story.

* Natural wine zealots like to talk about drinking wine the way it was hundreds of years ago. That's great, if you don't mind a foul vinegary drink that people consumed solely for calories and its disinfecting qualities. Wine historian Paul Lukacs gives a refreshing perspective on the wine of today by telling us what the wines consumed by the Romans and Henry VIII really tasted like, and reminding of us what everyday wines were like just a generation ago. You might be forced to reconsider the virtues of that 5-liter jug of Livingston Cellars that your relatives are even now planning to serve at Christmas. Yeah, that's right, drink the jug wine and stop yer yammerin'.

The world's largest wine bottle
* Palate Press released three stories on Monday: two powerful pieces of journalism about Natalie MacLean that hopefully you already know about, and one lost-in-the-excitement feature by me. It's a good reader about a winery making creative Champagnes with nearly-extinct grapes in a 960-year-old cellar. There's still time to find their wine for New Year's Eve.

I may not post anything tomorrow because I hear there's a war on Christmas, and I want to get out of the line of fire. But before I go, here's what I want from YOU this holiday season:

Writing for the Internet is often worse than a thankless task. You put time and effort into serving up commentary for free, then people call you a moron as abusively as they can.

I don't want you to say nice things to me today because that's like saying "I love it!" after your spouse asks if you really like the reindeer sweater. It's forced.

What I want you to do, as a gift for me, is to go to the site of some other writer whose work you enjoy and tell them that. Something simple: "I really like your work. I enjoy reading it. Thanks."

People occasionally tell me that in person, and it makes my whole day (thanks again, Courtney, and thanks for the Cognac.) Please, spread that
Christmas holiday Hannukah KwanzaaChristmas cheer around.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got something to say to Alan Sepinwall and Joe Posnanski.

Follow me on Twitter: @wblakegray and like The Gray Report on Facebook.


  1. Spitting bacteria laden "natural" wine on Natalie MacLean. I like it

  2. That's a generous suggestion you made.

    But we can still thank you here, right? Thanks for all you do :)

  3. Thank you, Kent, and you're welcome, Lisa.

    Kent: You might want to check back here on Dec. 26. I wasn't going to revisit a certain topic you'll find of interest, but I have some information that yearns to be published.