Telling Gout from Gonorrhoea

February 28th, 2011

Differential diagnosis paradigm. From: rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org

Differential diagnosis paradigm. From: rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org

The past year’s happenings – in my professional and personal lives – have me thinking about the idea of a “differential diagnosis”. In medicine, this refers to a list of the most common possible diseases likely responsible for a particular symptom or complaint. Ultimately, to help the patient, the list must be reduced to one disease process and that must then be treated.

Thus, the title of this post: Both Gout and Gonorrhoea can present to the physician with a single swollen, painful joint. It is up to the clinician to tease out (using history, physical examination and tests) what is ailing the patient and then treat that appropriately.

Read More



It’s pronounced “tsurl-YEN-ak”

February 17th, 2011

It’s pronounced “tsurl-YEN-ak”. (Screen capture from You Tube)

It’s pronounced “tsurl-YEN-ak”. (Screen capture from You Tube)

Last week, the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance released a video promoting the upcoming Paso Robles Zinfandel Festival (taking place March 18 to 20). This video spoofs the wildly popular Old Spice Guy ads.

The one and half minute, high-production-value video is well-done, entertaining, fun and gets viewers excited about the upcoming event. As it should.

BUT…… Read More



The more things change…

February 8th, 2011

The latest buzz spreading through the on-line wine microcosm is the recent musical chairs over at The Wine Advocate: Robert M Parker Jr. will no longer review and rate current California wine releases (to the joy or consternation of some). Instead, Antonio Galloni will now review… Italy, Champagne, Chablis, Côte d’Or and…….. (deep breath)… California (to the joy, puzzlement or consternation of some)

How can one taster be proficient in all those regions? Read More



Evaluation of NewAir 32-Bottle, Dual Zone Thermoelectric Wine Cooler

January 18th, 2011

NewAir AW-321ED 32-Bottle Dual Zone Thermoelectric Wine Cooler

NewAir AW-321ED 32-Bottle Dual Zone Thermoelectric Wine Cooler

Once a person reaches a certain level of wine enthusiasm, a way of storing wine in a cool, stable environment becomes a necessity.

In today’s world, very few people store wine to age it. Nevertheless, most wine aficionados want some way to protect wine from heat (at least in the short-term) and to keep it at a more appealing serving temperature. This does not have to be some dusty, brick-walled cellar with one incandescent bulb with a pull-chain. Read More



Thoughts on “House Style”

January 3rd, 2011

Norm Beko. From: Cottonwood Canyon Vineyard & Winery

Norm Beko. From: Cottonwood Canyon Vineyard & Winery

There are those wine brands whose “House Style” – a unique and distinctive common stylistic thread – is present in all their wines. In the Central Coast, and Santa Barbara County in particular, there are a few producers who fit in this category.

There is the unabashedly Californian ripeness of Paul Lato and Joey Tensley‘s wines, the high-octane styling of Consilience‘s Brett Escalera and the powerful compositions of Greg Brewer‘s wines and the dazzling elegance of Dragonette wines. Read More



Drink that oxidized white wine

December 2nd, 2010

Oxidized wine. Photo: Arthur Z Przebinda

Oxidized wine. Photo: Arthur Z. Przebinda

Because I spent most of my childhood and a four-year block of my early adulthood in Eastern Europe, it is safe to say that I appreciate aromas and flavors that in the American context may be unconventional – at least to some. And so I tend to like oxidized white wines (not to the exclusion of fresh wines with pure, focused fruit characteristics).

I should explain, though, that I’m talking about the kind of oxidation that takes place slowly over time in an unopened bottle and not in an open one, overnight on the kitchen counter. There is also a gradation of oxidation and even my preference and tolerance have their limits. Read More



Pneumonia’s Last Syrah

November 5th, 2010

Fermenting Montepulciano must. Photo: Arthur Z Przebinda

Fermenting Montepulciano must. Photo: Arthur Z Przebinda

This year, I will be making two small batches of wine as practice for making wine from my own home vineyard. My first lot, 13.5 gallons of Suisun Valley Montepulciano is already fermenting and should make for about 10 gallons of finished wine.

This weekend I will purchase some Syrah from the Santa Ynez Valley. I will not be able to drink all the wine I make, so I’d like to put it to good use. Read More



A D V E R T I Z I N G