SA Winemaker Profile: Wayne Ahrens

Have you ever stuck your hand into warm, sweaty garbage? I’m not taking about putting your hand in a trash can stuck in the sun. I’m talking about going full hog into a New York City black bag mountain in the middle of July. Have you ever felt hundreds of decomposing fruit peels and half-eaten…

SA Winemaker Profile: Tom Shobbrook

“The best secret to keeping wine cool on the go? Airplane sick bags.” Tom Shobbrook is full of these little kernels of WTF knowledge; one has the impression the if he wasn’t a busy winemaker, he could be Australia’s Mike Rowe. His property invokes the idea of reclusive professor in a wild college town. Having…

RAW NYC – A Celebration of Soil

The RAW Wine fair, the world’s largest assembly of natural and low-intervention wine makers, is first and foremost a gathering of friends. RAW is not one of the massive Grand Tastings like Wine Spectator’s annual fete – where wealthy point-system devoted collectors assemble to try all the industry’s big names – or like the typical…

On Natural Wine (with Donkey & Goat)

If you follow my Instagram (shameless plug), you know that I’m obsessed with Donkey & Goat. I’m evangelical about their wines but god knows if anyone takes my advice…quite frankly I’m pleased they haven’t, because it means more for me. Way back when I was a wine novice who just knew the varietals that grew…

Does “Vintage” Really Matter (Especially for a 20-something?)

The term “old wine” used to mean something. When someone opened up a so-called classic vintage of Bordeaux or came up from their cellars with twenty-year old Burgundy, there was a magic in the air that everyone at a table could feel. To drink a truly old wine was to take a step back into…

Live That Müller-Thurgau Life

“Müller-Thurgau” isn’t a name that inspires a lot of confidence. It sounds like the last name of a German politician or a fancy dog breed Jane Lynch might train in Best in Show. Hunty doesn’t get a lot of attention because most wine advocates in the United States are still busy hustling Müller-Thurgau’s mamma, Riesling (M-T…

Review: Vina Bodega Matias i Torres “Las Machuqueras”

I’ve been reading a lot of Patrick Modiano lately. There’s something about his writing style – those staccato bursts of observation that immediately acclimates you to the narrator’s location – that refuses to let me escape his worlds. In his book After the Circus, he spends what most would feel is an excessively long amount of time describing…

Shout Out to Sancerre

It’s movie-selling time in the south of France this week, meaning that the creme de la creme (and actual festering pile of dung, Woody Allen) are all going to be sipping rosé on the beach, while we simple folk enjoy turbulent pre-summer weather and potential Zika virus infection. Très charmant! Thankfully, this means more hidden…

Finger Lakes – The Promised Land Part 2

With Dead 7 behind me, I can finally resurrect (get it?) this blog and finish discussing the joys of The Finger Lakes before you all go out and stock up on rosé for the season. In our last installment, I discussed the fantastic wineries surrounding Keuka Lake. One winery I did not mention – for…

Finger Lakes – The Promised Land Part 1

Don’t worry – I haven’t gone sober on you all. It’s been a crazy few weeks at Ratapu HQ (aka, suburban Brooklyn) and I haven’t had a spare moment to rave about the beautiful bottles that have very briefly graced my wine shelves. Any minute I’ve not been hustling for zombie boy band westerns (yep, that’s…

Strawberry Fields Forever

My longest and closest friend is the only person who can get me to legitimately piss myself laughing. It isn’t even intelligent humor; we joke about trash and awful sex. When we get together, our respective lives are checked at the door. I’ve gone months without even a text, graduating college, getting a job, boyfriend, some…