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WINE REVIEW: DOMAINE GUION BOURGUEIL CUVEE DOMAINE (FRANCE)

Posted by on Jan 16, 2021 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

 

 

When one thinks of a classic French table wine, Domaine Guion Bourgueil Cuvee Domaine is right out of the central casting vineyards. Introduced to me by a French wine sophisticate, this palate pleaser is the quintessential payoff from the rolling hills of Loire.

Not for every taste, the Domaine Guion Bourgueil Cuvee Domaine is a bone dry red. If you’re seeking sweetness and fruit, run in the opposite direction. However, if you savor backend sensations and that classic Cabernet Franc typicity, this might become a daily “go to.”

This wine holds one distinction that might interest wine drinkers who haven’t sampled the product. It’s entirely organic. In general, I don’t find organic wines quite up to par with those employing standard ingredients and production, so I was eager to sample this terroir of temptation. She didn’t disappoint.

From the family estate and website: “There are few properties in France that can boast such a great pioneering legacy in organic farming as Domaine Guion. In the 1950s, the Guion family established their farm in the heart of the Bourgueil appellation, a stone’s throw from the banks of the Loire River. Since it was a polycultural estate, the family was able to live almost entirely off the land. By 1965, they began farming organically, with a holistic understanding of its effects far ahead of their time.”

I would categorize this as a niche wine for non-daily drinkers, and a possible staple product if you are like me and adore the unique characteristics of Loire wines. It usually runs in the $20-$25 price range but I’ve seen discounts as low as $16 a bottle.

Grade (100 point scale): 91
Value: (10 point scale): 6
Price: $20
Recommended: Yes (but only for those who enjoy very dry reds, with some tannins)

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My Thoughts on Sheldon Adelson

Posted by on Jan 14, 2021 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

 

 

 

Many friends and acquaintances asked me for my thoughts about Sheldon Adelson, who died a few days ago. Some media outlets also contacted me directly, seeking a quote or two. Presumably, this was because, quite publically, I’ve been an outspoken critic of Adelson for several years. I also organized a boycott of his properties several years ago. I politely declined.

I didn’t decline these requests out of respect for the deceased, nor an adherence to the fallacious notion of not speaking ill of the dead, which is an outright obfuscation of reality. I simply concluded that Adelson’s passing had become inevitable, quite expected due to his advanced age and ill health, and it was best just to move on.

However, since that decision, which I’m quickly coming to regret, I’ve been bombarded with homages to Adelson, both on social media and particularly in the local media (Las Vegas). As one expected, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the former newspaper he secretly purchased and instantly turned into a raving propaganda sheet for his petty political fetishes (recall his wife Miriam’s witless op-ed trumpeted as the front-page headline several months ago) turned the occasion of Adelson’s death into a cross between a good old fashioned Viking burial and a Tsar’s funeral. Evidence: Note the ten-page insert into yesterday’s paper dedicated to the fabrication of the phantasm of the man ranked as the 19th richest person in the world. By the way, last year’s Super Bowl insert was only 8 pages, so Adelson’s now bigger than the Super Bowl.

I recognize now that the only means to blot these illusions and soothe the annoyances that linger with letting lies perpetuate is to rise up, be direct, and simply tell the truth. I don’t profess impartiality on this matter. Let me be clear: Sheldon Adelson was my enemy. He, his voice, his vast wealth, and his enormous influence have been used for decades to destroy every single vestige of progressivism. He did enormous harm, to millions. Accordingly, it’s not a choice but rather a duty to give some balance to the many myths that Adelson’s army of sycophants are now spinning. Allow this to be one voice of dissent.

Fact: Sheldon Adelson was a hateful, stubborn, insensitive, divisive, fearmongering, vile, corrupt bully of a powerbroker who was one of the most dangerous men in the United States. Regretfully, his evil deeds and wicked ways are not confined just to Nevada, nor Macau, nor even the U.S. Perhaps Israel and its people may end up paying the highest cost for his activism. We’ll see how that plays out, the impacts of his actions not yet evident.

Case in Point: He encouraged and funded the most extreme theocratic maniacs and fanatics in Israel and the American political establishment, refusing ever to give an inch of compromise on any measure that might have advanced peace and stability. As an avowed Zionist, he was an obstacle to peace, a co-conspiring criminal who advanced illegal settlements in the West Bank, and always took hardline positions against the Palestinians that sometimes, by comparison, made even Benjamin Netanyahu seem like a peace dove. His racist, far-Right extremism became self-evident when he publically stated in 2013 to explode a nuclear bomb in Iran. Think of it: A major political figure advocating the use of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. If he wasn’t so wealthy and powerful, he would have been called for what he was — a madman.

His political activities in the United States were no less dangerous and deranged. He became widely acknowledged within conservative circles as a virtual kingmaker. Republican presidential candidates, reduced to whoring themselves out as obedient serfs, willingly flew to his kingdom in Las Vegas, lined up for his blessing, kissed the ring, promised to support his pet projects, and begged for his millions in donations. This egregious act of backroom bantering became known as “the Adelson Primary.” He was THAT powerful. He was that feared. So much for democracy in action. Newt Gingrich, a disgraced and dishonest charlatan who has been reduced to jestering himself on far-Right alt. media, got Adelson’s blessing in the 2012 election, receiving a reported $30 million on a flop of a campaign that went nowhere. A few years later, Adelson backed Donald Trump, and has since given more than $100 million to various Republican candidates and causes.

He was obscenely wealthy, yet years ago while he funded the construction of the Venetian, what would become the first crown jewel in the Sands casino empire, he ran into serious financial trouble. So, he did what all cutthroats do — renegotiating debts, stiffing contractors including small businesses, resulting in a flood of lawsuits. Though he would become worth tens of billions, Adelson had no problem screwing the little guy. When things didn’t go his way, he sued. If anyone spoke out against him, he threatened to sue. He used his money and his power to silence dissent. Most of the time, it worked.

Nothing made this more self-evident than when Adelson, in a caper that so embarrassingly became exposed thanks to some great undercover journalism here in Nevada, secretly purchased the largest newspaper in the state, the LV Review-Journal. Instantly, most of the experienced news staff resigned and the paper went from covering local news and uncovering scandals to what might as well have been Adelson’s company newsletter. Important investigative features on Adelson’s own dubious deeds in Nevada, his myriad of murky court cases, and particularly his illegal actions in Macau, utterly disappeared from the pages, purged from the newsroom. Instead, the LVRJ became a mouthpiece for Adelson’s personal pet peeves, morphing into a pro-Trump, anti-progressive rag. It elevated people who were punch lines, such as Wayne Allen Root the former sports tout, to political commentators.

He vociferously opposed all forms of online gambling including Internet poker and single-handedly funded the largest organization that destroyed what had been a healthy industry, throwing thousands of good people trying to make a living out of work and ending sources of income during what was known as “the poker boom.” He extinguished lives and livelihoods. which was comically ironic given Adelson made his vast empire off of…….gambling. So much for being an advocate of free markets, competition, and individual rights. Adelson talked a good game on capitalism but he walked a very different line. He was a grotesque hypocrite, a money-mad oligarch obsessed with seizing it all. Naturally, he hated unions.

I had the occasion to see Adelson speak twice. I was astounded to witness just how ordinary he was, void of any humor or sense of compassion Unlike so many other billionaires and human self-made success stories, who display captivating opinions and display obvious magnetism merely for their accomplishments, Adelson was the anti-charmer. If there was a word I would use to describe him, it would be — boring.

Some have noted publicly during this post-mortem, that Adelson did some good things in his life, particularly in his final months. That’s nice. Sometimes, good people do bad things. And bad people do good things. It’s no accident that Adelson has been credited (rightfully) with paying his employees during the pandemic, while the other powerful corporations he so willingly enabled with his nefarious political activities, were not so noble. Certainly, the millions in tax cuts for Adelson and the Sands Corp. more than offset the cost of his generosity. And, who knows if Adelson — aware of his own mortality early last year following a cancer diagnosis, wasn’t eager to spend a tiny percentage point of his vast fortune to buy some positive publicity after a lifetime of accumulation and greed. Still, for those workers who received their salaries, I concur as to why they might be under some spell of his benevolence. Too bad the tens of millions of other Americans who didn’t work for Adelson had to suffer from the consequences of his “small government” mantra. In short, he created far more pain for hundreds of millions than comfort for a few thousand, in what might have been nothing more than a PR stunt.

Have I made myself clear as to what I think of Sheldon Adelson?

 

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An Intelligent Conversation — Episode 11: Trump, Insurrection, and a Second Impeachment

Posted by on Jan 13, 2021 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

 

 

The fuse was lit a long time ago which inevitably exploded into the unprecedented events of January 6, 2021, when a pro-Trump mob overran the U.S. Capitol. But is this the end of anger, militancy, and attempts at insurrection? Or only the beginning?

In this latest edition of “An Intelligent Conversation,” co-hosts Matt Lessinger and Nolan welcome Vin Narayanan and Mark Tenner in which we discuss how we got to now, and the frightening direction where we may be headed.

This unscripted conversation was recorded on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, and runs for about 90 minutes.

 

WATCH VIDEO HERE:

 

 

 

 

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5 Best PDF Online Compressing Tools You Can Use Without Breaking The Bank

Posted by on Jan 12, 2021 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

 

The internet has provided several services over the years to ease our daily tasks, and one of them is online PDF compressor tools. It is best to have a trusted site for compressing files to make sure that the integrity and privacy of the file is protected. However, with the thousands of available tools online, it would be a bother to try all of them one by one. This article narrows down the five best PDF compressor tools online that you can use every day! Here are some of them. 

 

  • Gogo PDFs Compress PDF

Compress PDF file size from 40% to 75% on GogoPDF! Despite being one of the newest tools on the internet, it offers an easy to use Compress PDF feature to its users for free. The tool can compress PDF files to as small as 144 dpi, making it email-ready! It also has a simple interface with no ads for you to tap or click on accidentally.

You can upload your files directly from your device or cloud storage, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, in just one click. Once you have finished uploading your files, Compress PDF starts to process your PDFs and gives you two file size options, each providing estimated file sizes. 

Compress PDF will work on several operating systems and platforms. You can seamlessly access the web-based tool on Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer on your Linux, Mac, or Windows operated devices! It’s also easy to use. Just follow the four instructions provided on the website, and you will get your PDFs compressed within minutes!

It also provides excellent security to your files, and everything is deleted after an hour, so you will never have to worry about a data breach. Aside from Compress PDF, GogoPDF also offers a wide variety of PDF editing and conversion tools that you can use for free. Once their Pro registration commences, GogoPDF will surely surprise the avid users with more services! 

 

  • PDF Compressor

Just like what the website name suggests, it compresses your PDFs. PDF Compressor promises to keep the DPI intact, allowing you to print and zoom onto your documents without trouble.

Unlike other online tools, PDF Compressor will let you upload 20 files in one task. All you have to do is upload the files from your computer storage or drag them to the drop area. However, it does not have the option to download from cloud storage, unlike GogoPDF. 

After the compression is completed, PDF Compressor shows you the file reduction percentage of each file. Depending on the file size, the reduction can go more than 90%, and here’s the great part. The online tool has two downloading options. You can download them individually, or you can download all of your files into a ZIP archive. 

Regarding the tool’s interface, it only utilizes simple buttons and three colors. Aside from the English language, PDF Compressor also offers a selection of 14 other languages perfect for users working with different nationalities. However, the tool also displays three ads that could cause trouble for people having slow internet connection.

 

Free PDF Convert’s Online PDF Compressor

If you are the type of person who reads reviews first before purchasing or using a service, Free PDF Convert is for you! Anyone using the online tool could see the reviews of their users. Aside from that, it provides four uploading options, so you will never have to go through the hassle of downloading and uploading files.

 To start compressing your PDF files on Free PDF Convert, you can upload your files from your device’s storage, Google Drive, Dropbox, or enter the URL of your file’s location. Once you have uploaded your files, you have to choose among the three types of compression: Extreme Compression (80%), Good Compression (50%), and Custom Compression. 

After choosing your preferred option, Online PDF Compressor will start compressing your PDF files within seconds. Once it’s done, you can see how much the tool has compressed your file. You can then download the file to your device storage or directly to your Dropbox and Google Drive.

You can do more after the tool processes your PDFs. The Online PDF Compressor provides you with two after download tools such as the Merge PDF and the Compress. If you are not satisfied with your compressed PDF, you also have the option to delete it.

 it comes to compatibility and security, the tool works on several devices and operating systems, as long as it is connected to the internet. Free PDF Convert also utilizes a 256-bit encryption technology to safeguard sensitive files uploaded on their server. The website also shows other PDF conversion and editing tools in just one click!

 

  • I Love PDF’s Compress PDF files

I Love PDF is one of the most established tools on the internet. Like the previous online tools, it offers a simple and easy to navigate interface and only features a small banner-type ad. You can also upload your files from your device’s storage, Google Drive, and Dropbox.

The Compress PDF files tool feature on I Love PDF offers three compression levels: Extreme Compression, Recommended Compression, and Less Compression, each with descriptions. But before choosing your preferred compression level, you can also add more files to compress by tapping the “+” button. 

Once you click the “Compress PDF” button, the tool immediately processes your PDF files and automatically downloads them to your device. You also get to see the size reduced percentage and the new file size of your PDFs. 

You also can re-download the files again on your device or directly to your Google Drive and DropBox. If you want your colleagues to download the files themselves, you can copy the URL or download it to your mobile device by scanning the QR code! 

The Compress PDF file tool also offers seven after download PDF editing tools. You can continue adding page numbers, watermark, password, rotate your PDFs, and even organize, merge, and split your PDFs after they have been compressed.

 

  • Adobe’s Compress PDF

Last on our list is Adobe’s Compress PDF tool. When you see or hear the word Adobe, you might be thinking of a mobile or a computer app. Yes, they do have an app, but they also offer a free PDF compressing tool online.

However, Adobe offers minimal features than the other tools mentioned in this article. If you’re using the Compress PDF service for free, you can only upload your files from your device’s storage and then download them afterward. It also takes a while to upload your files. 

If you have an Adobe Account, you can store your PDF files online, start compressing another file and share the downloadable link. It also offers a variety of Acrobat tools that you will surely find useful at work. Since you are working on Adobe’s platform, your files are also guaranteed safe. 

 

Takeaway

If you are a small business owner or a student, our featured online PDF compressing tools will surely help you get the job done. No need to download and install or even spend a single dime to compress your PDF. Try these tools and find out what you like best!

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Why GoGoPDF Might Be the Best Converter Tool for You

Posted by on Jan 12, 2021 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

 

A quick Google search will probably give you hundreds of PDF converter tools. How do you know that you have selected the best from the hundreds and hundreds of these tools? What features do they offer? Is it free? These are the common questions you may ask yourself whenever you find a tool, right? But what if we give you a certain PDF converter tool that will change your mind?

PDF files are very convenient to use, and since it can’t be altered or tampered with in any way without leaving a digital footprint because of its “read-only,” you would certainly need a PDF converter, right? Something that will save you from a lot of stress and something that does not require you to transfer from one platform to another or even download anything.

What we’re talking about is GoGoPDF. In this article, we will give you some of the amazing features that GoGoPDF offers. These features will convince you why you should choose GoGoPDF as your next go-to converter tool next time.

 

GoGoPDF

If you are searching for the quickest and most convenient way of converting your files, then GoGoPDF is what you are looking for. It is a PDF converter that offers more than 20 tools to edit, protect, create, and scan your PDF files in record time. It is also a very reliable PDF converter tool that offers wide file formats such as HTML, Excel, PPT, JPG, and Word.

With GoGoPDF, editing, and managing your PDF files has never been easier. As we step closer to becoming paperless, it is only rational that we know a PDF converter tool that can help us anytime and anywhere we are, right? With that in mind, GoGoPDF is the answer to this predicament. 

 

Safety and Security

What a user looks for in a PDF converter tool is safety and security. Something that can assure them that their files are safe and protected while in their system. GoGoPDF guarantees to all of its users, both new and old, that your files are well protected, and you don’t have to panic whether they are in capable hands. 

We guess it’s safe to say that all of us don’t want our files being compromised, right? We don’t want any sensitive information in our files, our credit card number, or even our social security card numbers known by a stranger, or even worse, a cybercriminal. With this in mind, GoGoPDF has installed a Secure Socket Layer or an SSL Encryption Technology to ensure the safety and security of everything you upload in their system.

If you want to know more, GoGoPDF has included their Company Privacy Policy on their website, and they assure you that there’s nothing for you to worry about. There’s no need for you to use an incognito browser or VPN. Everything you upload is exclusive to your eyes only.

 

Available Platforms

Security is one thing, but usability is another. Fortunately for us, GoGoPDF has managed to combine the two. Whenever you access GoGoPDF, you can do this with any operating system, device, or web browser that you have. There’s no need for you to access their services from a different device other than your own. It does not matter if you are using Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, or Mac.

 

Customer Service Response Team

This is probably the best feature that GoGoPDF offers: an extremely responsive customer service team that will cater to all your issues and problems whenever you use their services. On top of that, they are open to customer feedback as they are dedicated to improving and enhancing their services to serve you better.

Whenever you have problems navigating their website or encountering some difficulty using their tools, their customer service team is more than happy to help you complete your tasks. This is one feature that you can only find on a small number of PDF converter tools on the internet, making GoGoPDF much more superior to others.

 

Pro Accounts

While it’s true that GoGoPDF is free for anyone who wishes to access their services, however, they also offer a Pro account that can help you even further. With a GoGoPDF Pro account, your experience on the platform is much faster and quicker since you can simultaneously convert multiple files. It gets rid of all the annoying non-skippable videos and pop-up ads.

You get to enjoy GoGo PDFs priority assistance with the customer service team and unlimited storage for all your files. GoGoPDF offers a 14-day trial to let you know how amazing it is to use its services without limitations.

 

Easy Sharing of Files

Another amazing feature that you get to enjoy with GoGoPDF is their unique mechanism whenever you share files. Rather than downloading them directly into your local storage, you’ll get the option to share them with other people such as your colleagues, friends, or family using a link you can share through your social media accounts or email. 

Even though the shareable link has an expiration time, it wouldn’t hurt you to request another one. Additionally, you will also get the option to save your files in your cloud storage such as Google Drive and Dropbox to save up space on your devices.

 

Takeaway

All in all, we guess it’s safe to say that GoGoPDF is on another level and is the most convenient way of managing your PDF files. It’s like they are spoon-feeding everything to you, and all you have to do is just a few little clicks on your device.

 

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GogoDFPDF File Converter: Convert Different File Types to P

Posted by on Jan 12, 2021 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

 

When you are looking for a particular service, and unexpectedly your display leads you to the website of GogoPDF, presently, fate possibly delivers you the most potent and stable interactive quick fix. Be thankful as there is a lot to come from GogoPDF. This is an “all-in-one” multimedia platform that will answer any matters relating to files.

GogoPDF supports a converter service that can transform any data type into a standard document. Across all internet users around here, this system is performing 100 percent free. If you access the site, feel more comfortable and confident. Would you like to begin? Check out these top GogoPDF powered conversion methods.

 

Converting Word to PDF

One of the most common free online PDF converter. You will have your Word files transformed to PDF with just four keys. The interface will be translated free of cost in Word to PDF. But you could still pick a paid version or enjoy the open 7-day preview as well. Use those free versions: submit the files, pause to complete the procedure, and save the new PDF.

By the final point of the transformation process, be guaranteed that the Word file’s quality content will remain unchanged. Several OS, like Linux, Mac, and Windows, can be used anytime and anywhere you wish, as long as you have full network access. You can do your job even on the go.

 

Converting Excel to PDF

The fastest and easiest solution to transform any XLS document into a PDF file is to use GogoPDF’s Excel to PDF conversion service. Because the GogoPDF online transformation process is the fastest on the internet, people won’t be waiting upwards of three to five minutes. No question why it’s widely growing. The procedure is 100 percent effective and secure, as well.

What else are you looking at then, or instead? Using the webpage set of tools for you to convert the Excel files to PDF without any payment. Next, visit the official portal and import any Excel data to its tool chest to run the program, instead and let the machine do another job on your part without so much as a second of difficulty.

 

Converting PPT to PDF

This is the most excellent site which you can hear online, mostly on the internet. In comparison to MS powerpoint, PDF is a far more comfortable file, particularly for workplace or community presentations, as the structure is typical. Adding, you can use any OS or device to view the file entirely.

And the ease, the PPT to PDF tool allows you to transform your PowerPoint slides to a single PDF type. Using PDF for documentation or presentations opens endless options for consumers. How to start getting begun? Next, go to the web, import any Excel files, press ‘Convert,’ and the phase begins.

 

Converting JPG to PDF

The GogoPDF platform helps anyone do anything in only a few simple steps to completely transform any photographs into one PDF file. All you would need to do is add your digital images to the website, and everything else will be easy. You now don’t have to make a special effort.

Somehow you’ve had a wrong impression before from online services. Other internet services offer PDF to JPG transformer options but do not work on the promise made. And being capable of converting the data, many other digital platforms often require registration. Today, as an alternative to such inadequate and site online tools, you can use GogoPDF.

 

Converting HTML to PDF

I prefer GogoPDF’s HTML to PDF conversion service to function on any HTML pages for an expert guide.wIt will transform the HTML files to PDF provided for free as fast as could be expected while maintaining their original content. When fulfilling the process, feel sure that even as much as you have network access, there will be no problems along the way.

Unless you are concerned more about your data’s internet security, the file you have uploaded to the website will be deleted immediately after such an hour. You may view the Privacy Policies of the site directly unless you have questions about any data security. Moreover, this service can be accessed or used via Windows, Linux, Mac, and Mac systems.

Converting PDF to Word

To transform any PDF documents to Word doc, you will not have to install the software. Through the GogoPDF site, the procedure will quickly be done. GogoPDF is a document form conversion tool that is internet-based. After just a couple of seconds, people can send the transformed file. GogoPDF will only take a few inputs and clicks to quickly convert your PDF to Word.

 

Takeaway

Each day, we’re too busy in our routines. Therefore, we must use the quickest process of retaining people’s files private and protected because we have several other files transformed into another document. Thus further, if you depended on the service of GogoPDF, it’d also be best.

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WINE REVIEW: PAXIS RED BLEND (PORTUGAL)

Posted by on Jan 3, 2021 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

 

 

 

The story on today’s wine selection (actually opened yesterday) bears sharing.

How does one present an encore to a stellar $100 bottle consumed on the previous day? After test driving a Maserati, is it really fair to get behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta?

After gushing over the Tuscan AREGENTIERA, I decided to jolt my wine senses and jump to an outlier. And that outlier is called PAXIS, from Portugal.

I picked up this little pearl from Costco. The in-store label had a rating of 90 from Wine Advocate, and it cost $7. When I saw this wine was from Portugal, I was intrigued. Other than some Ports (which I enjoy but have never taken a class about, yet — a gross void in my wine knowledge), I don’t have much experience with producers from Portgual, unless Lancers Rose counts, and then one can call me an “expert.”

PAXIS RED BLEND comes from the Lisboa region of Portugal. It’s a blend of 34pct. Touriga Nacional, 33pct. Touriga Franca and 33pct. Tinta Roriz. Those are grapes I’ve not tried before (probably many readers have never heard of them), so this was definitely worthy of an “experimental purchase.”

I would call my first impression a mix of pleasant confusion. Alc. content is only 12.5 pct, but it tasted like a fruit bomb. Very fruity. Almost too sweet (for me). Some people not used to wines, and those who don’t like bone dry wines (which I enjoy) are advised to try a PAXIS, which is totally the opposite side of the fruit scale. In short, this wasn’t to my taste and I did not finish the bottle. But I can see why it can be quite popular in a casual setting with non-wine drinkers. Nothing wrong with it, but I won’t be buying it again.

One added note (from the Total Wine website):

“The story behind the name of this wine is interesting. One day, Dino Ventura saw children playing a very traditional and physical UK game called Bulldog in school. During the game, he heard children calling out “Paxis!” as a way to express immunity from being caught. He then related the word to “escape from the stress of the world where we could appreciate a great wine” and Paxis “Bulldog” was coined.”

Note the bulldog on the front of the bottle.

Fun wine. Very sweet. Not for my taste, but others might enjoy and the price is certainly affordable.

Grade (100 point scale): 84
Value: (10 point scale): 6
Price: $7
Recommended: (personal) No. / (for some occasions) Yes.

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WINE REVIEW: ARGENTIERA BOLGHERI SUPERIORE 2016 (ITALY)

Posted by on Jan 2, 2021 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

 

 

Many wines tell a story and this bottle reads like the finest prose of Ludovico Ariosto.

Some time ago, I made an overtly simpleton remark as to not liking Italian wines. Such a comment isn’t merely shallow and uneducated, it’s downright blasphemous. Still, strictly as a matter of personal taste, I do not buy, nor try, nor drink Italian wines in my routine. Absurdly biased as this geographic discrimination is on my part, the “Italian section” of a wine store is the last place I’m checking out that’s not labeled with “Sale: Malt Liquor.”

My dear comrade Stevan H. Goldman was apparently miffed by my wine prejudice and in an attempt to educate and persuade, he gifted me a few bottles of a wine that I’d never sampled nor heard of before. Ladies and gentlemen — say hello to my little friend: Meet ARGENTIERA.

They say all good things are worth waiting for, and Marieta and I waited until New Year’s Day to open this window to Tuscany, and the delayed gratification made our experience all the grander. Registering in at $100, this is a wine way beyond the price point of my comfort zone, and so the glory was reserved for a special occasion, all thanks to Mr. Goldman.

The ARGENTIERA is certainly one of the best 100 wines I’ve ever had, and probably Top 50. It’s stellar. Spectacular. Splendid. Stunning. Did I mention that I liked it?

Mea culpa, Italy.

“Argentiera, our Bolgheri Superiore, is a wine with a rich and silky taste whose grapes come from the most dedicated vineyards of Tenuta Argentiera. The long fining in French oak barrique, the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon and the unique terroir of Tenuta Argenitera, make this wine one of the highest expressions of the Bolgheri area.”

50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 pct. Merlot, 1 pct. Cabernet Franc and 5 pct. Petit Verdot and aged in oak for 12 months. Drinks like a full-bodied Bourdeaux. The tannins, which turn me away from so many Italian wines, is minimal, but actually enhances a long, elegant finish.

Everything about this wine clicked. I even reserved one glass to drink the following day (left in a bottle in the refrigerator overnight) to see if it loses any of its characteristics after being opened and allowed to escape. This beauty was every bit as tasty a day later as when it opened up about 30 minutes after de-corking. What a stupendous experience. What a lovely wine memory.

Expensive? Yes. Worth every penny? Assolutamente!

Grade (100 point scale): 98
Value: (10 point scale): 6
Price: $100
Recommended: Yes.

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WINE REVIEW: CARMEN CABERNET SAUVIGNON GRAN RESERVA (CHILE)

Posted by on Jan 1, 2021 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

 

 

Here’s a perfect example of why you should ignore the numerical ratings posted as labels on bottles (not to be confused with ratings in the wine trade or on in-store displays). The Carmen rates at a “97,” which is posted there on the front label. A 97! That’s world-class.

Well, Carmen was fine, but it was nothing special. While the rating is legitimate (Carmen varietals have won many awards at tastings), my admittedly biased opinion is this Chilean vintner is one of those trendy picks popular with critics to show they’re not all about France and California. So, up-and-coming wine production regions (including Chile) get bit of encouragement from the experts. Wine reviews and journalism can be quite incestuous.

My reviews hide nothing and are entirely about authenticity and taste, combined with value. And, the Carmen Cabernet Sauvignon drank very pedestrian to me. Good wine, with those distinct characteristics of extra tannin which we associate with South American reds, but for the money, if you’re aiming for outliers, I’ll take several comparables from Argentina (or better yet, Spain) at this price point which are superior.

Credit Carmen for their 170 years of history and the prestige they’ve earned as the oldest major wine producer in Chile. The winery has produced many award winners — including some classified as “wine of the year.” However, as this write-up from Total Wine shows, much of this is about name-dropping:

“….they’re not afraid to innovate. That’s is why they brought Emily Faulconer to the team. Like Viña Carmen, Emily’s winemaking record is incredible. She brings passion and experience to Carmen after leaving her mark at several wineries from all over the world including Cakebread in Napa, Trinity Hill Winery in New Zealand, and Chateau Canon in France. Her wines reflect the true essence of the region in which the grapes are grown all while she continues to evolve and adopt new ways of making wine. That makes her a perfect pair for Carmen.”

Nothing against Faulconer, but she’s not going to change the flavors of what’s poured into my glass — at least not for a generation. So, let’s please dispel this celebrity-culture that pumps up reviews and adds points so the wine reviewers can feel good about their influence.

Again, Carmen drinks fine. And, it’s not a bad wine for $16 a bottle But it’s not a 97.

Lesson: Ignore ratings affixed to wine labels.

Grade (100 point scale): 90
Value: (10 point scale): 3
Price: $16
Recommended: No.

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“Looks Like We Made It” (My Farewell to 2020)

Posted by on Dec 31, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

 

 

This morning, I made a quick one-minute video — a quick look back at 2020, intended to bring a smile to your face.

I looked upon this as making a short promo or a television commercial, trying to create some joyful memories of what’s been a difficult year. 58 seconds.

Music by Barry Manilow — yes, Barry Manilow, who wrote the perfect song for this occasion.

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