Neighborhood Wine – Mudgie’s Part 2

January 2016 –I love every wine available by the glass (BTG) at Mudgie’s. I know this is self-serving, but it would be just as true if you wrote this list and if you served lunch here. Anyway, if you eat and drink at Mudgie’s, you are directly participating in the process of selection, even if you opt for Hamm’s and a water.

Granted, for someone this jaded to be so excited about every item offered, the list will necessarily be brief. You could say short. There are six specified wines, plus one always-changing wild card. That’s seven wines, plus estate-grown cava on weekends. Call it concise.

Here’s the improbable thing. Every single one of the “permanent” six belong to the most mainstream of call-categories: Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sweet White, House Red, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon.

And without undermining the compelling appeal of these call wines, the seventh ad hoc selection is the biggest call category of them all. The non-call. The deviant. The subversive. #7 is dedicated to provide an example of the benefits of violating mass market categories.

Let’s go through this item-by-item, shall we?

Sauvignon is misunderstood. It is a workhorse in the vineyard. It is assertive and polarizing. It tends to get caught in a self-reinforced cycle of industrial farming and potent aroma branding. The biggest dumbest Sauvignon wines reek of grapefruit. This obviousness is easily compatible with short, shallow wine-splanations, and so the call is made. Meanwhile, the domineering grapefruit character is a convenient symptom of shortcuts in production. Rinse. Repeat. Continue reading


Catching a Call Wine By the Tail- Mudgie’s Part 1


In 2016 Detroit we are surrounded by “bad boy” wine lists. Personally, I hope we have seen the saturation point of alienating terms like orange wine, pet nat, flor-aged, and txakoli. These perpetuate like waves in a pool, coming in and out of phase. Beautiful as ripples. Discouraging as choppy waves. (Admittedly, a wave of txakoli ain’t that bad.)

The interesting question is this: how well is your wine lingo backed up with good and large supplies? Multiply this by “vested interest” and you should be able to judge the life span of a buzzword.

Naturally, this applies to Muscadet as much as it does to Cabernet Sauvignon.


Natural Limits vs. Artificial Limits.

Modern humans co-evolved with wine. Each of us come with the sensory and intellectual equipment to discern very minute differences in a finished grape wine. These differences are a code, an articulated body of information revealing the state of the environment in which it was raised. This code is the point of contact between the production of inherent “goodness” and its limits.

Here are some examples of natural limits: geography, climate, weather, water, human resources, and microbial ecology. And there is one more, itself a smuggler of artificial limits: the market.

The market is intricately constructed of many artificial limits. Examples include withholding the sale of wine, brand proliferation, aroma branding, ratings, price fixing, state regulations, distribution deals, etc. And don’t presume to avoid it, because the market is that closing point on a loop which causes almost all wines to exist.

The good news is, here in the medium of digits on the internet, we amount to the market. We can alter its behavior. Our participation defines the narrative. It’s like a huge botanical video game.

Continue reading