gweilgi

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Everything posted by gweilgi

  1. Ah, Müller-Thurgau ... a name to strike fear and loathing into the hearts of a certain enervation of wine drinkers. Germany's answer to the Australian Fruity Lexia. That said, I have actually had the odd example in restaurants (when plumping for the matching wine offer) that might tempt me to reconsider. A stupendously bad law, not least because the inevitable consequence of winemakers adding sugar (or, in some infamous cases, anti-freeze) to their products in order to achieve desired and lucrative grades of Oechsle was so eminently foreseeable. Also correct about the classification system: I find it quite confusing, despite the fact that unlike a great many potential customers I actually speak German. I also find that many German winemakers still do not employ the possibilities of labelling as they could and should; too few of them, for example, fail to indicate grape variety. Not all of us are qualified experts. The use of different names for varietals does not help, either: not everybody knows that the "Schwarzriesling" offered in a German restaurant is nothing other than a Pinot Meunier, or that a "Welschriesling" is quite unrelated to Riesling proper. As for stretching appellation borders, does not everyone do that? What I find annoying is the underhand stretching of boundaries, when winemakers import certain percentages of grapes or must from outside their AOC area in order to increase their production. When I buy a bottle from a certain area, that is what I expect to get -- not something that was "stretched" with x% of grapes from the next valley over. Oh, I do. I always enjoy experimenting and widening my horizons, and I generally will try everything at least once. Riesling and German wines in general are no exception. This is how I discovered Goldriesling on a trip to Dresden -- a very rare cross only planted along the Elbe in Saxony.
  2. Sorry, but I am scarred by youthful experiences. I grew up at a time when German Rieslings came in sweet ("halbtrocken") or dry, which meant sour. Couldn't stomach either. But Aussie Rieslings are a very different expression of the grape and a prime example of what one can do with a grape in different terroir. As for sherry, I'd be right with you. It is vastly underestimated and under-appreciated. Amontillado or Fino are perfect for seafood (especially lobster), and few things beat a good oloroso to go with cheese....
  3. Interesting. While I agree that the New World can like its oak a bit too much, I do find that Italian grapes grown in Australia tend to be far lighter than their Italian cousins. Aussie Sangiovese has disappointed me time and again, ditto Nebbiolo. But then, despite strenuous efforts I have not managed to work my way through all that this country has to offer so I am open to being pleasantly surprised!
  4. Whatever hasn't been snapped up yet by panic buyers .... ;-( In seriousness: for me, the world of wine is like the world of cigars. So much variety to discover, so little time. And the best wines are like the best cigars, they depend on the company and the mood and what I pair them with. That said, my general rule is to drink local. I would not order a Coonawarra in the Hunter Valley, or a Barolo in Bordeaux. But if I had to pick one desert island grape, it would have to be Pinot Noir from Burgundy, made by one of the old-school winemakers. Something that becomes drinkable after 10 years, good after 20 years, and bloody mind-blowing after 30....
  5. It may be local perspective -- my experiences are largely European. I definitely noted that in many restaurants, I can get two or three bottles of the Gaja for the same price as one of the big-name Tuscans -- not always a reliable guide to quality, to be sure, but it reflects desirability.
  6. Gaja is still a bit underrated in the wider world, thanks be. When wannabe wine snobs go "ooh" and "aah" over Sassicaia and Ornellaia, I would always go with a Gaja .... And the '98 Winston Churchill is stonkingly good! This line-up will take some beating...
  7. So antiquated that he never even bothered to list -- let alone describe -- robustos. I read th ebook twice, just to make sure...
  8. Sold in a special limited edition box with a bottle of Midleton....
  9. I gather Churchill is one of BoJo's great heroes (even wrote a book on him which, while hardly authoritative, was not bad). There are far worse role models to choose, particularly when a country is in a time of deep crisis. Especially if he now follows up his worthy reconciliation rhetoric with the sort of unifying cabinet that Churchill went for during WWII ...
  10. Showed this to the wifely person. Her comment: "... like men."
  11. Can't comment on Amsterdam, but the Casa in Cologne has a good stock of both regional and limited editions. Tell your relative to talk to a bloke called "Malek" -- sometimes he has aged and rare stock he is re-selling for regular customers. If your relative is also a BOTL, there is a smoking room in the basement with comfy chairs, beer (hey, it's Germany!) and rum ...
  12. Not morons, IMO. This is a calculated policy, standard government playbook stuff. Create a self-fulfilling prophecy to justify and legitimise intrusive policies. First step, they create a situation where widespread illegality becomes not just likely but inevitable. Second step, they publicise said illegality, preferably with large sums attached to "prove" how big the problem is. Blame is being cast, ministers fall over themselves to appear on camera explaining how they would love to be able to pay for thousands more nurses, teachers and so on but cannot because of these anti-social, nay criminal, elements. Third step, they use this as an excuse to tighten the screws on everybody: introduce new laws and more restrictive regulations, ramp up enforcement efforts and legitimise bullying extortionate standover tactics by government agencies. To wit, the recent news on restricting cash transactions, the announcement of yet another ATO crackdown on "tax dodgers" and figures of $51 billion in "lost revenue" bandied about (expressly including tobacco taxes). And the most frustrating part of this is that all too many voters sit there and agree with them ... right up to the moment where this bites them on the arse.
  13. Hey, I resemble that remark! What's wrong with being an ageing white man clinging to 1980??? I am oppressed (and depressed) enough, I deserve some self-indulgence!
  14. Extreme Ironing. If it isn't on ESPN, it should be. I am also quite fond of wife-carrying and cheese-rolling.
  15. Not to mention fornicators and drunks. Oh boy, am I in trouble...
  16. A terrible topic -- all my favourites are double acts (Laurel and Hardy, or the Two Ronnies!) or groups such as Monty Python. I'll give it a go, though: Eddie Izzard -- plain weird and wonderful. Steven Wright -- utterly hilarious. Woody Allen -- outstanding comedy, but a scuzzbucket in personal life.
  17. Fusion power and room-temperature superconductors -- lots of people working on that, and it would be a real game-changer. No loss during transmission would remove much of the rationale for local energy production, and fusion power would deliver all the energy we need without having to buy Chinese solar panels or disfigure our landscape with forests of wind turbines. Medical technology: again, there is great progress being made, and I look forward to custom-grown replacement organs, shiny new teeth and perfect vision.
  18. Having just survived a 4-hour trek up the M1 with all the aggro tradies, the suicidal P-platers, the holiday-makers who keep forgetting about the trailer hitched to their cars and above all the truck drivers who motor along as if they were all German tank drivers at El-Alamein in a past life, all I can say is that autonomous driving scares the living daylights out of me....
  19. So this, then, is a chicken and egg situation. Battery swaps -- or indeed any form of alternative energy supply for vehicles -- require a critical mass before they can become a viable or even mainstream solution. But until the infrastructure is in place to enable quick and affordable refuelling, it is doubtful whether this necessary critical mass will be achieved any time soon. In other words, I (and, I suspect, most others) would not even consider a battery swap vehicle until I can be reasonably sure of having the necessary facilities within driving range of any expected trip I might be making, but until there are enough potential customers for such facilities, who would invest the astronomical sums to build such a network? To say it with Kevin Costner: if you build it, they will come.
  20. Nah .... as soon as the first electric passenger jumbo jet lands safely!
  21. That's only half the calculation. For the true cost of car ownership, we also have to factor in the cost of maintenance and servicing, and generally depreciation. If I buy a new car tomorrow, the rate of depreciation is -- very generally speaking -- around 19% in the first year, half of which occurs immediately after I take possession ... followed by a 15% drop in years two and three. So that new $50,000 vehicle will be worth maybe $30,000 three years hence ... and those 20 grand alone could pay for a lot of Uber rides in those three years.
  22. Hmmm ... downsides. 1. Electricity and electric vehicles will get a whole lot more expensive in future. The Australian government alone will lose $2.3 billion in fuel tax revenue every year if Labor's ambitious targets are being met. 2. At some point, consumers and environmental activists will wake up to the reality of the inevitable trade-off. No more hydrocarbons being combusted may be a major goal, but it comes at the cost of massive environmental damage caused by vastly increased demand for lithium, nickel and cobalt. Mining those minerals and metals -- essential for the batteries -- is a thoroughly filthy business. 3. Power generation is an issue that will have to be faced. All these new electric vehicles will require huge amounts of electricity, and bar a few lucky small countries (Norway, Iceland etc) nobody has that much spare capacity. This means lots of new power stations, which is politically tricky in many countries. 4. Pollution: according to a German report out this week, there is another major trade-off. While EVs produce no pollution per se, they do generate much more fine particulate matter because they are harder on brakes and tyres -- and it is this, rather than nitrogen oxides or ozone, which cases asthma and other diseases in humans. 5. Infrastructure: millions of EVs on the roads will mean having to invest in a huge network of charging stations covering the country. This will cost tens if not hundreds of billions. Who will pay for that? 6. This is purely subjective, of course, but EVs simply do not hold the same visceral appeal for me. Where is the feeling, the vibration of all those explosions in the cylinders? Where is the glorious sound of hydrocarbons being turned into noise when I put down the pedal? What happens to my ability to pop the bonnet ("hood" in leftpondian parlance) and tinker with the engine?
  23. Fair assessment. One mitigating point, though: I reckon it has become much harder to have to deal with "those people" than it used to be. Time was when most people had manners and were at least somewhat considerate of those who provided a service. That percentage has gone down markedly, in my observation. These days, when I go to the shops, stay in a hotel or visit a restaurant, I see so many examples of customers behaving like utter shits. I am very glad indeed I do not have to do such a client-facing job today because too many folk seem to think that because they are the customer, it gives them the right to treat staff like dirt. With the sort of behaviour I have to witness regularly, I, too, would be hitting the bottle on a daily basis...
  24. Why stop at relevant education? I stopped reading the Sydney Morning Herald because I caught myself shouting at the paper. Not at the content, mind you (although they are as lefty as they come) ... no, at the sheer unmitigated inability of their staff to string together two sentences that are grammatically correct, have accurate punctuation and contain no spelling mistakes. I have come to the firm conclusion that either Australians have been lied to by their government and the standards in the education system are even lower than they thought, or the SMH has a HR policy that gives extreme hiring preference to dyslexics and those for whom English is their third language. Or both. Added to that, it is quite evident to me that not only are they too damn lazy to even run their incoherent drivel through their computer's spellchecker -- so is their editor. As for fact-checking and secondary confirmation, that's clearly sooo last century! Is there some form of editorial policy that forbids them from mentioning bodily functions? Ah, scratch that -- I just remembered Todd Carney, the Bubbler ....

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