Category Archives: frivolity

Live Blogging James May’s Road Trip Premiere (on BBC America)

One of the few shows my husband and I get equal enjoyment from on the television is the BBC’s Top Gear.  He likes cars, and I like intelligence and funny.  And British.  So when I came in from my evening bike ride (daylight savings time, I forgive you) and saw that Top Gear announcer James May’s new show with Oz Clarke, James May’s Road Trip, was premiering tonight on BBC-A, it was like the universe was helping me out with that whole “what do I blog about on a Monday when I have two old bottles of wine in the fridge to finish before I open any more and I have no good wine-related ideas” thing I was wrestling with.  Thanks, TV!

Taking a page out of one of my favorite blogs, Haiku of the Day, I’m going to live blog the premiere of the show.  (If you get bored of this process, you should go read this or this, by Kari.) Watch along!  Comment!  or read the whole thing tomorrow and go read Deb Harkness’ fabulous new novel A Discovery of Witches, which I finished last week and can’t stop thinking about.

So, some reservations I have about this show: James May?  Old white guy.  Oz Clarke? Old white guy.  Possibly some of the least interesting people to listen to/watch, talking about wine? Two old white guys. How will they make this show NOT make people think that Good Wine is for Old White Guys?

Granted, Oz Clarke is famous for being accessible in his wine reviews, and James May has that kind of Alan Alda/bumbling but well-meaning/non-threatening white guy thing happening… so it’s not like Bordeaux was in any danger of testosterone poisoning when the boyz drove in.  Still, I’d be a bit more pumped if this show were… I don’t know, Adele and Eddie Izzard?

What? you say May and Clarke have done multiple successful shows together since 2006? Everyone loves them, and I know nothing? Ah. Well, that’s what I know.

9:20 Who starts a show at 9:20?

9:21  What? there’s nudity?  And we’re talking about what mature Chardonnay does to women’s nipples?

9:23  I feel for May, looking for the best way to spend his ten pounds, and worried about hating his traveling companion.  Clarke’s talk about wine seems pretty annoying, so far.  Am I like this when I talk about wine to people?  Gah. Shut up already!

9:25  Ha, Clarke made May get down on his knees and smell manure.  Not sure I agree that a whiff of barnyard is a fault, though, to be fair.

9:33 OMG James May is touching a 1940 Bordeaux – Oz Clarke’s ass is so tight right now.  Don’tdropitdon’tdropitdon’tdropit…

9:36  Will my teeth be that scary if I drink as much wine as she does?  Wait, there’s no way that’ll ever happen.  Shew.  Wait.  Is it worth it?

9:38  Judging from the ads, the network totally sold this show as a car show. And possibly a show about hating the telephone company… and fruit cocktail. Psych!

9:41 Not sure how we’re all going to teach James May about wine if he has to be the designated driver all over Bordeaux.

9:43 They’re sleeping in a tent together and reminiscing about past romances? Wow, that’s not homoerotic at all.  And now everything’s all wet?  Gracious, how did that happen?

9:46 Grape facials – possibly not the most wine-educational thing in the world. “Feel all that gelatinous flesh rubbing over your face.” Cough.

9:47  Wait.  IS Oz Clarke gay?  Didn’t he see that Glee where the gay kid learns it’s impolite to make a pass at guys you know aren’t interested?

9:48 That’s a lot of older naked guy skin. I’m going to need more popcorn.

9:56  Do you have to be British or Robert Parker to love Bordeaux this much?  Maybe I just can’t drink pricey enough to love it this much?  Also, James May is totally not ready to taste this stuff.  Why doesn’t Clarke have ME drive him around in my 2005 Honda Civic?  He could leave a banana on my dashboard if he wanted.

9:58  OK, James May is cracking me up right now.

9:59 Pink sweater totally wants to do James right now.

10:00  Wait.  It’s over? That’s it?  I’m confused.  What did we learn?  Was the whole point of today’s show to get May to smell tobacco on a Bordeaux?  Because I think they could have done that a little bit earlier and then just spent the rest of the time on the budding courtship between May and Clarke.

And now it’s Top Gear again.  Wow, BBC-A has a lot of confidence in the appeal of Road Trip to a wine-loving audience.  I dunno – it was fun enough, with the whistle bit to keep the Wine Bore chatter to a minimum.  Maybe a little less “here, smell this” next time, guys?  or is that just a natural hazard of a TV show about wine?  Teaching us to smell stinging nettle seems a bit much.

Well, since no one’s going to drive up in a Jaguar to pack the kidlet’s lunch tonight, I must, alas, say adieu to both screens.  Thanks for coming along for the ride, gentle reader!  (Pun unintentional.)

Tasting Domaine Ste Michelle Brut NV

It’s Oscar night.  Chez Scamp never watches the Oscars, but we’re breaking our custom… for what reason I have no idea.  We’re about 7:48 in right now, and I can’t say I’m really sold on the decision, but I’ve decided to pop a bottle of bubbly, so I’m likely to see it through.

Domaine Ste Michelle is one of my favorite “mixer” bubblies, so I’m actually going to taste the wine on its own as well as made into a mimosa and a poinsetta – which is bubbly mixed with cranberry juice and triple sec; I meant to make poinsettas over Christmas sometime, and I will confess that the cranberry juice has been waiting in the very bottom and back of my fridge, unopened since December.

Let’s start with the wine unadulturated: color is a perfectly respectable straw yellow in the glass.  Perlage (that’s fancy wine talk for bubbles) is quite fine, which testifies to the stunning high quality-price-ratio that DMS delivers.

Yummy green apple and lemon on the nose – as well as a mild undertone of earthiness. Palate of self-same lemon and quince (which is an appley-pear taste, if you’ve never had a quince) with a crisp, refreshing acidity that bounces around your mouth and leaves you wanting another sip.  SUCH an incredible value for about $10.  Seriously.

Why is it that I adulturate this wine again?  I seem to consistently forget how good it is.  Don’t forget like I do, gentle reader!  Remember! Buy this wine!  Drink it every day!

Anyway, I’ve mixed the drinks – and the glass of straight wine is gone – so let’s move on to the mimosa.

Color is, well, obviously, orange.  OK, I’ll dispense with the traditional structure of a Scamp tasting, because if the nose on a mimosa doesn’t smell like orange then I don’t know what.

Oscar Sidenote: wow, Anne-Hathaway-Singing-At-The-Oscars-And-Doing-The-Wolverine-Thing? So unutterably hideous.  Upside, we then get to look at Dame Helen, who makes me want to dye my hair white.

Anyhow, DSM Brut makes a good mimosa – it brightens up the orange juice with all the lemon, and the sweetness of the orange makes the wine even more suck-down-able.

The poinsetta… is interesting.  Without the triple sec, the drink is painfully sour.  The triple sec takes the edge off, but there’s still a definite bitterness here.  I can definitely see this as a sharp contrast to a heavy holiday brunch, bracing after a night of caloric overindulgence.  As an independent cocktail, I can’t recommend it, and I like sour/bitter drinks (I’m famous in my family as the only one who can happily drink Campari).  If you’re planning your Boxing Day Brunch and wondering how to balance the homemade cinnamon rolls, cheesy egg & sausage strata, and leftover pumpkin pie, this might just be your ticket.  I’m not finishing it tonight, even though Anne and James Di are about as cloying as an entire pan of frosted baked goods.

The mimosa was gone in about as long it took for Cate Blanchette to lead us through the clips of makeup nominees.  Oh, Rick Baker.  I love effeminate straight men with pure white ponytails.

OK, Wine Scamp out – there’s some serious laundry yet to be folded up in here.  For true Oscar liveblogging and general awesomeness, check out Kari Anne Roy’s hilarious Haiku of the Day.  I aspire to her life on multiple levels.

Depp Disses Illinois Wine

This week’s frivolity: evidently Johnny Depp is filming in Illinois, and “got sick of drinking the local wine,” so he shipped in wine from his home in France to get him through the duration of the filming.

This quote-unquote-news, while published I suppose to publicize a celebrity’s excess (because that’s unusual), makes me wonder various things:

What Illinois wine was Johnny drinking?

Why didn’t he just direct his entourage to purchase some CA wine, rather than shipping from France?

Or was California wine the “local wine” that the source in the article was really referring to? Was this a sort of slam against all US vintners, or Illinois vintners only?

Is French wine unavailable in Illinois, requiring one to ship in one’s own?

Did Johnny expect that drinking Illinois wine would be so delightful that he would not possibly need to pack some French bottles with him for his sojourn, and was subsequently dismayed to find himself mistaken, or what?

Yet another point to further my contention that celebrities are, in reality, robots and not actual people.

Happy Humpt-Day, the ancient celebration of putting a broken egg back together again. Good luck with all that and good night.

Everyone’s a winner

Well, everyone but Alvaro Palacios.  Poor him!

In our first Wine Scamp Male Objectification Poll, Joao Portugal Ramos and Telmo Rodriguez tied with 6 votes each for Most Handsome Iberian Winemaker.  The second most popular choice after our handsome duo was a vote against the poll itself, which I must applaud with one hand clapping: I knew it was wrong when I did it, and I did it anyway… Congrats to all the participants; I assure you it was an honor just for you to be nominated. 

And many thanks to those who simply joined in the fun – wine’s supposed to be fun, I’ve heard – despite their lingering gender-political doubts, or because of them.  We’ll have another of these real soon, I promise.
Pleez donâ??t bother me Lookin at pr0n, k thx
moar funny pictures

On a non-wine related note, please wish me to be very funny tonight when I perform stand-up at my company’s comedy show benefit for Meals on Wheels and More.  We’ve raised $15,000 so far for our local chapter.  Woot!

Sexist Poll to Remain Open Until Wednesday

I’m pleased to have so many fellow bloggers and other lovers of wine take an interest in my scientific research study regarding the sexual attractiveness of the male Iberian winemaker!

Alas, however; beauty is fleeting, and thus I’m closing the poll on Wednesday. If you or your friends have neglected to vote, don’t delay! There’s nothing in it for you but the fame (haha!) and conflictive sexual political conundrums, but when else this week has something so wrong felt So Right?

Vote for the Most Handsome Iberian Winemaker

Jill at Domaine 547 suggested this ages ago, and I’ve only just recently been able to make polls work for me… luckily, pretty endures. So here is your chance to vote for the Most Handsome Iberian Winemaker.

Our panel of scientists here at the Wine Scamp laboratories have studied the laws of winemaker attraction for many years, and they have concurred that one requirement is that a given winemaker must both be symmetrical in physicality as well as make damn good wine. Real wine lovers are not induced to swoon by pretty, namby-pamby vintners of plonk. No! We must have ample talent to buttress a winemaker’s rugged good looks. Continue reading