The focus is red wine and to get right to it without distraction, click The Wine Commonsewer Speaks. The rest of the enchilada is just enough of an
eclectic mix of commentary on culture, food, tax, and econ 101 to
distract from the focus on red wine.
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Regular readers know that TWC doesn't go much for that cutesy, inspirational stuff arriving daily in the inbox (pass this on to ten people and I swear to God there will be a miracle in your life by 3:00 pm). Have to say, though, this tribute to Viet Nam vets is nicely done.
I've been to The Wall. There's 58,195 names on it. Okay, I've only been near enough to The Wall to read the first few names. Close enough.
Guest blogging from lovely Buenos Aires is Courtney.....
.......Argentina Malbecs. They are incredible, and a
*great* bottle costs about 40 pesos or $12-15... I'm hoping to get to
Mendoza in the next month or so to visit the vineyards as well, so I'll
be sure to pass along pictures.
Big Storm blew through here like a freight train early this morning and got rid of the last vestiges of that stale marine layer that often plagues So Cal like a clammy blanket filled with pollens and irritants. Not much rain though and we're at record low levels.
Just now there's a Golden Eagle framed in my office window, floating on the stiff breeze, wings as still as if stopped dead with the high speed shutter on Jim's Nikon. I'm like a dog in the back of a moving pick up truck, desperate to get out there and stick my nose into the wind. Instead, I'm sticking my nose to the grindstone. Bah.
The '02 Rosemount is Aussie by birth. Although I would not describe the wine as having Big Fruit, It is a pretty decent medium bodied Merlot with an earthy feel and a taste of black fruit and light oak. There is also a bit of astringency at first and decanting may help with that (although TWC did not decant it). You should be able to find it for around $10.00 US and at that price it is a relative bargain.
The grapes are grown in New South Wales at an elevation that permits a cooler and longer growing season and that may account for the relative smoothness once you get past the fumey beginning.
Enjoy this wine with the usual suspects. Your better half, a slow cooked pot roast, fresh green beans seasoned with a little butter and bacon, sauteed mushrooms, and crusty French bread.
Many Americans really are the millionaire next door and you are probably wealthier than you realize. Most of us haven't given much thought to Estate Taxes or the planning we need to do for our eventual demise.
This process can be complicated, deceptive, intimidating, or downright ugly. The Estate Tax rates are steep but there are also provisions allowing for some accumulation of wealth to escape taxation. We can further enhance our ability to keep Uncle Sugar out of the cookie jar with careful planning. This becomes increasingly important as we get closer to 2011, when the Estate Tax provisions are scheduled to revert back to what they were a decade ago. Oh sure, CONgress may act to change them, but one can't be too sure.
SmartMoney.com has an excellent discussion of Estate Taxes here. There is a slick little calculator that allows you to calculate your potential exposure. Pay careful attention to You've Gotta Start Somewhere. None of this is lite reading but if you look at it carefully it really won't take you long to familiarize yourself with what you face and the steps you can take to minimize the tax bite.
Those who own successful businesses, real estate investments, or large investment portfolios are particularly vulnerable to Estate Tax.
Next time the vet scolds you for giving the dog table scraps....
As far as that goes, grandma's dog was totally dependent on table scraps, after dinner, the plates were scraped into the dog bowl and that was it. She never bought a can of dog food in her life.
The latest death, a Yorkshire terrier named Pebbles, occurred Thursday.
The dog died of kidney failure after eating some of the food. Her
owner, Jeff Kerner, said he was contacting an attorney because he
wanted to prevent another pet tragedy.
Call me cynical, but unless your attorney plans a late night TV infomercial blitz, I can't see how filing a lawsuit saves pets. Seems more like a spelling contest. Can you spell B-O-N-A-N-Z-A?
As a condition of a loan application, the bank asked a client for a letter from yours truly confirming her self-employment for the previous few years. This silly requirement has become rather commonplace these days and I have a semi-standard format I use for this purpose. This is what I supplied:
We are furnishing this letter to confirm that this
firm has been engaged since approximately February of 1998 by Ms .............. to provide a variety of financial,
accounting, and tax preparation services to her as an individual as well as to
several business entities that she is both principal and owner of.
The Senior Loan Officer, who apparently went to public school in California and can't define principal or owner, sent another request asking for confirmation that my client is self-employed.
Big Sigh, maybe I'll use color crayons and blocks this time.
Guest blogging this morning from lovely Buenos Aires is Katarina Catalina.......
The Malbecs are addicting! We engaged ourselves with those as often as humanly possible. I can't say anything other than (there) ain't no bad wines in Argentina.
Also a wonderful mint drink, and I don't like mint, with a combination of mint, frozen papaya puree, sugar, ice cubes, and vodka.....would be a great summer refresher.
Sounds like she's poolside to me.
Argentina's winemakers take Malbec seriously and have crafted some delightful wines. Elsewhere, Malbec is a grape that has been mostly passed over or used sparingly to enhance blends such as California Meritage, French Bordeaux, and Cabernets.
Most Argentine Malbec vines were were transplanted before the phylloxera outbreaks of the 1860's and 1870's that devastated two thirds of the vineyards across Europe. As a result, many Argentine Malbecs grow on their own rootstock rather than a hybrid.
TWC is happy to introduce you to a fine Argentine Malbec right here.
American St Patrick’s Day celebrations date back at least three hundred years and like so much else that makes this America, we have embraced this Irish festivity in a style that is uniquely ours.
Shamrocks, leprechauns, and a lot of racket (old-country Irish slang for an old fashioned welcome-to-the-neighborhood party) fill our celebrations as we gulp green beer or dye our hair green to match the Chicago River.
But in Ireland today there will be a softer and more subdued festival that often begins with a morning church service. Despite Ireland’s hard drinking reputation, as recently as thirty years ago most pubs were closed on St Paddy's Day in honor of this religious holiday. Even today the pubs are open mainly to serve the tourist trade arriving to celebrate a real Irish St Patrick’s Day.
TWC suffered mightily as a protestant kid who invariably forgot to wear green. But you’ll not find Irish school kids dodging hard pinches from ornery classmates for that infraction because it’s purely an American custom.
And although every year Mrs TWC does the Corned Beef and Cabbage up just right for St Paddy, you'd be hard pressed to find that on any holiday table on the Emerald Isle.
We’re all Irish today—or maybe just a secular Americanized version of what we imagine being Irish to be.
The Wine O’Commonsewer
Full Disclosure: TWC has one third of a bucket of Irish blood but it's the Dutch that makes him hard headed. Pretty sure TWC was Italian in a previous life though.