We Like Sports

We Like Sports
Maybe it's the fact the NBA is great this year (like, not just good, but great), Laura Jane Faulds' Instagram, or seeing parks teeming with baseball games, but athletics feel honest and hopeful in a way that almost nothing else does right now. In a conversation among the Domestique team about wine writing and what inspires us, we came to the conclusion that if all was good and right with the world, then wine writing would be closer to sports writing than art theory. Less elegance, more honesty. There's this boldness and human level connection to sports writing that is so engaging, it makes us want to throw out every book on Champagne.
To us, the holy grail of sports writing would be Bill Simmons’ mailbag. It laughs and shouts off the page like a raucous dinner party. Fans email Simmons with insults, jokes, and praise in a way that reveals on both sides the INSANE bias and wild confidence in perspective. And that is when we became jealous of a 2008 ESPN archive blog post. 
The opinions and biased facts are thrown around so boldly that it can be hard to keep up or even pause to be offended; everyone is susceptible to criticism and an embrace of a mess that feels wonderfully refreshing (s/o Joe the Guy, Boston).
And then we felt a moment of envy. Working in an industry rife with chaos, laughter, and bold stories, there can be a strange emphasis on 'right.' Maybe it's passed down from the Court or built in through decades of lack of access, but many customers (and newbies) express this pressure to communicate what is correct versus their visceral reactions. 
Sports writing isn’t about statistics, really. It's about storytelling. It can be wild, bold, descriptive, and poetically tangential -- all rooted in humanity. Bill Simmons' mailbag makes us want to embrace the mess, invite opinions, and focus on the stories more than ever. Below is one tall tale, an opinion piece, and a mailbag of our own. 

Q: I haven't done a statistical analysis but it seems like many labels from relatively new "naturel" winemakers take an enormous departure from traditional wine labels; the Shiro labels from the new project from Simon Bize being a case in point (albeit a very elegant case). Many seem to be designed or lettered by people's kids...is there a reason for this? Is there a correlation between the "Bold Primitive " nature of these labels and the primitive nature of the winemaking? Are they solely looking to make themselves stand out on the shelf to millennials? Can I assume that the funkier the label, the funkier (i.e. VA, fizz, mouse) the wine will be? - Peter, 20015 (by way of 20852)

TD: Can you tell a book by its cover? An age old question. Lots to unpack here: children's drawings are an easy answer and they're typically cheap designers. Jeff's son Nat designed our second tote bag, Tricot is a classic example...maybe it's a combination of love, laziness, and no money? In our experience, bottle shape with a closure is a better statistical way (not proven yet) to determine "funk." Ex. a crown cap closure on a non sparkling red wine + a clear bottle = 97% chance of a kombucha-esque ferment. Or if shopping Italian, 87.5% of the time: the heavier the bottle, the better the wine. 

Q: What is up with not carrying Benjamin Leroux wines anymore? - Saman from NW DC

TD: Saman, it's almost summer, people are getting vaccinated, and we are shedding our winter (redux) skin. Here are five things we'd rather drink than opulent (albeit delicious) Burgundy:

  • Not a white wine, but Aline Domingues has youthful passion (like Leroux) and it's interesting to taste a sense of place in the context of Portugal. 

  • Have you had the Jean-Philippe Padie wines? They are stupid good and have that touch of reduction that gives you a sense of opulence, but the Grenache Blanc keeps it a bit lighter on its feet. Not sure why more people don't talk about these Southwest French beauties. They are stunning. This is our favorite (price + value ratio).

  • It's really fun to taste each vintage of Elisabetta Foradori's Manzoni Bianco. Grown on limestone soils, this is a trippy blind taste. SO MUCH SALINE magic that makes you think Jura or Loire or Burgundy, but there there is this richer, more tropical fruit (papaya, green mango). 

  • Ok…New World Chardonnay doesn't scream fun, but the Florez wines (Santa Cruz) are joyful and taste like how summer in California feels. Don't judge too quickly - underneath these flashy labels are really delicious wines. 

  • We love Burgundy, but Chenin makes us happier than basically anything. The Brendan Stater-West wines are as great as any Burgundy. THERE, WE SAID IT. It's surprising that the entry level is still on the shelves. 

Q: Do you feel that classic producers who make delicious wines with minimal intervention are being overlooked by new natural winemakers with limited experience? - Oliver on S Street 

TD: Yes and no. The fact that the masses love all things shiny and youthful is nothing new (restaurants, beauty standards, basically EVERYTHING). If anything, we hope this fact pushes the old guard that relied on insider language and lack of transparency to change the way they communicate. Look at brand new importer (young) Alex Gable -- his tech sheets are what we wish every Emidio Pepe wine offered. 

Q: The Domestique 1st year birthday party was one of the best parties of my life! The vibe, the pet nat, the people, and the pupusas are what dreams are made of. I know we are half a year away or so, but any plans for the 3rd party to make up for a lost year? Are we all going to take a bottle of Chenin to the face? - Karel from Chicago (via DC) 

TD: Karel, we love you. And yes, that was a PARTY. It's written in our goal sheet for 2021 to throw another one, and if everyone keeps getting vaxxed, mid-fall sounds like a perfect time (same theme, more outdoor space, and maybe less Overholt?)


Week 21 Quick Picks (Hot Takes) 
jelly jars > plastic glasses 
because the environment 

a DOMESTIQUE staffer's confession:
I am 10,000% shopping by label, bottle, and foil

Chillito + Canned Wine = Heaven 
baguette approved 

CHILLED red over ORANGE wine 
Gen Z drink of choice 

Italian orange wine is better than your fav. (see: ALL OF FRIULI)

cherry, aromatized perfection 
Newsletters > Instagram 
our future 

Cartoon labels are the menthol flavored cigarettes of wine. whew. via @winegriot 

Las Conservas Braseadas Güeyu Mar
sold here (!) pair w/ this

Sparkling wine is so two thousand & over. it's better w/o bubbles 
*an extremely hot, hot take from shipping@domestiquewine.com

To Malvasia - thank you for your service. Enjoy your retirement at Bath & Body Works