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Sep 20, 201708:00 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

It’s in Our Head

Stephen J. Sullivan, Getty Images, 2006.

Two popular expressions we all like to use at times when viewpoints of situations and reality don’t agree are:

“We don’t want to mess you up with the facts,” and

“What are you going to believe: me or your eyes?”

Being a smart-mouth does not earn you any friends, but, hey, sometimes being correct is just not enough. And possessing a better grasp on what is happening or did happen is no guarantee of success.

We humans are funny children of nature, and by using that word I am using it more in the funny-weird sense rather than the funny-ha-ha connotation. Our world is littered with failures that were actually better than what came before and yet, we would not accept the better design, better color scheme, better construction or the better operation.

Anyone besides me remember quadrophonic sound? Not just stereo, quad featured separate recorded sounds coming not from two speakers but separate sound coming from four speakers. The fad lasted about 6 months. Could not replace 8-track tape devices, which were simply dreadful.

How about boxed wines? Putting wine into a plastic airtight bag and then placing that into a box with a dispenser is truly a wonderful idea. The wine will maintain its freshness longer than that bottled stuff and the dispenser provides quicker, easier and sexier access. Here’s wine at the push of a tap holding its character even after four or five days. Who would not go for that? Well, you would not, and haven’t.

In fairness to you, the boxes, usually 1.5 liters, which is two bottles worth of wine, were cumbersome and they looked like…er, boxes. All cardboard-y and without any style at all.

The real downside to boxed wines, however, was the wine encased in the package – mediocre, at best. Truly dreadful most of the time. It was obvious wineries who sent these packages to market had written off wine lovers who liked and understood wine. The unknowing masses who did not own a corkscrew were the target. In the end analysis, even those tool-less drinkers did not want their lack of education or appreciation on full display by having a box with a spout in the refrigerator.  

The solution to this issue has yet to be embraced by winemakers. Put better juice into the package. So far, no takers. Might be because some of the low-end better juice-makers do not want to flaunt their current offering’s shortcomings. Might be because the winemaker fears that charging consumers for two equivalent bottles at one time is too much money. Also, people may not believe that this package can last that much longer than a regular opened and recapped bottle. Then there’s the viewpoint that consumers will be forced to drink more wine than they would like. I don’t know.

The wine consuming public has also demonstrated a reluctance to embrace and demand screwcap closures. I think we are about on the end of stubborn acceptance but still, just try to order a $120 bottle of screw-cap wine in a restaurant, if you can, and see how fast the furrowed brow takes over. This is becoming less of a response than it was several years ago. Even now cork manufacturers are still telling tales about how quality wines only come in bottles sealed with corks, as if the enclosure says anything about the wine under it.

In truth, screwcaps are a greatly improved product, with significant strides made in sealing quality and design over the past five years.

Today, we are entering an era where wines in cans is a real deal. Truthfully for a lot of white and some red wines cans are a terrific package. The portability is superior, the cooling ability of the can is unequalled, and the need for glassware, while not eliminated for some wines, is not essential for most. The strides in can manufacturing techniques practically welcomes the placement of an acidic and alcoholic product into a can. The preservation aspect often surpasses glass bottles. Cans are a viable option. No metallic taste or aftertaste. No loss of nuances.

The point here is that progress is a movable factor. And if we are not open to improvements, even when they fly in the face of what we are accustomed to or want to believe, then we shortchange ourselves.

You certainly have adapted to using a smartphone and not just to call friends; or you rely on computers sitting on your lap which are more powerful than the one that sent humans to the moon; you’re anxious for driverless cars; and happy to receive television signals from satellites circling the earth, all adding up to your acceptance of change and progress.

So why won’t you taste wines delivered to you in cans or in boxes? Oh, and a special note to winery owners: maybe you are the ones holding up the progress.

 

-30-

 

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 (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine.

 

 

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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

about

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; the Executive Editor and monthly features writer for Gulf Coast Wine + Dine Online; 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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