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Feb 15, 201708:00 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Drips and Sips

A little Happy Hour potpourri

Karmarat, Getty Images, 2005

Don’t sweat the small stuff…

And it’s all small stuff

               - Richard Carlson


NOW You Tell Me!

Okay, since Valentine’s Day has just passed, we can share a few points to consider next year.

  • Almost $9 million is spent on sparkling wine on Valentine’s Day in America. As a point of reference, more than $450 million is spent on candy even though a majority of American women prefer wine over candy.
  • A Marriage Made In Hell – We are still trying to decipher who leaked word that red wine and chocolate are a good pairing. In the twosome, chocolate plays the role of a dominatrix – powerful and complex with lots of layers of flavors. On the palate, red wine in the presence of chocolate becomes angular, single-dimensional with attenuated tannins. 

 Want a beverage with a piece of chocolate? Coffee.

What’s Going On with All the Water?

In a three bears scenario, California does not seem to be able to hit the formula that is just right. The drought, which went on for about six years, is now officially over. And, boy, is it ever over! Massive amounts of rain to the northern part of the state have ended the need to worry about where the next drop of water was coming from for irrigation of crops.

The challenge now is to assess the situation, with many vineyards flooded for weeks under a load of water. And if there is any more understanding and sympathetic community to that situation than ours, well, let me know who that may be.

The real question yet to be answered is will the quality of the grapes grown over the next few years be up to par on what we have come to expect from the previous five years? It is a well-researched fact that grapes respond well to stress. Lack of water, too much sun, a deficit of minerals in the soil, layers of rocks – all pretty much contribute to conditions, to a point, under which grapes can thrive and put forth high quality fruit.

Now northern California has an abundance of water for the first time in years, a condition that will likely last for several more years going forth. It is reasonable to wonder if the fruit and the resulting wines will be up to the superior quality we have come to expect over the past few drought years. Stay tuned.      

So Where Does That Leave Us and Them?

It is not the purview of this column to even touch on governmental matters. The only good thing that can come from discussions/arguments/emotional conversations is that at the end all parties sit down and have a drink.

However, we feel the need to wade into mysterious waters. The current situation regarding wall-building and trade tariffs with our neighbor to the south – no, not Chalmette; Mexico – has us asking what may happen to the price of Tequila, a big favorite of Americans.

And, of course, at the moment there is no answer, only a lot of saber-rattling and diplomatic posturing. Should changes occur in the trade agreements between the US and Mexico, likely, the greater hurt would be on the southern side of the border. But we should consider items that we can only obtain from Mexico such as Tequila, Mezcal, top-grade avocadoes, a goodly number of our cars, among many other manufactured and agricultural items.

Then again, consider that most of the intense and difficult agricultural maintenance in California is done by workers of Mexican origination. Almost exclusively, maintaining vineyards and picking grapes falls on Mexican labor. The Salinas Valley – which furnishes us crops like lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, garlic and green beans – is also dependent on Mexican labor, and we enjoy the year-round fresh produce, as well as lower prices for these crops.

Sticky issues and tough questions all the way around. If we take steps to protect our borders and eliminate workers who technically don’t belong in our country, are we prepared for the economic shifts that will inevitably impact our economy and our own citizens, including us, at every level? Answers do not come easily.

Didn’t We Just Do That?

When it comes to cocktails, America is in a "Back to the Future" state of mind. The Old Fashioned is leading the resurgence and not far behind is the Moscow Mule.

Seems like the days of the flaming Whiz-Bang, Sittin’ on a Rock, and Fuzzy Navel have passed, at least for the moment.

Enjoy this moment of sanity. These things all change with each succeeding generation and fad.




Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com every Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored, at www.wgso.com. Also check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine. Be sure to watch "Appetite for Life," hosted by Tim every Thursday evening at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m., on WLAE-TV, Channel 32 in New Orleans. Previously broadcast episodes are available for viewing at http://www.wlae.com/appetite-for-life/


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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans


In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.


Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.


Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.


Tim’s love of wine actually came about many years ago from his then wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.


They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty years old.


Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.


Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.


Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.


It’s a good gig. 




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