• Why are Trader Joe's wines so cheap?

      Short answer: For the same reason that everything else at Trader Joe's is cheap. They're industrial agricultural products that are efficiently made and distributed. The Internet got excited last week with the "news" from the Huffington Post that there are dead birds in Trader Joe's wines. The Huffington Post, which doesn't pay writers for most of its stories, exists mostly t ...

      W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report- 16 readers -
    • Overwhelmed by trying to open a bottle of Lambrusco

      Last week I couldn't figure out how to open a wine bottle. It has a metal clamp over the cork that doesn't pull or twist off. I went to Twitter for help, but nobody gave me advice. I don't drink a lot of Lambrusco at home, so I have to ask: Does anyone know how to open this bottle? Seriously. http://t.co/Er6MwmiAGc — W.

      W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report- 9 readers -
  • The Day Wine Tasted Bad

    Last Thursday, as the Pineapple Express storm howled outside our windows, I prepared a comfort food: bacon-cheeseburgers. I had all the ingredients for an oeonophile version: Benton's super smokey bacon, English raw-milk aged cheddar, and grass-fed, grain-finished ground beef. All I needed was the right bottle of wine. I thought I was in the mood for a comfort wine: a ripe, rich red.

    W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report- 7 readers -
  • 10 great books for Christmas gifts

    Ask Santa for anything but a share of his cookies Last year I recommended 9 great, fun to read wine books that weren't necessarily new. This year I'm going to expand the concept past wine books. I can't compete with the New York Times' best 10 books of the year list because I don't read enough; their editors speed through hundreds of books in a year, while I probably read a couple of dozen.

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  • What they're drinking on The Flash

    I'm always interested in what TV characters drink. Earlier this year, I learned a terrific wine pairing for sashimi from Hannibal Lecter. "The Flash," on the CW network, hasn't ventured far into gastrophilia, even though we've learned Barry Allen needs to eat constantly because he burns a lot of calories running around Central City at 400 mph.

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  • Wine critic Antonio Galloni has silent investors

    Antonio Galloni What does it mean if a wine critic has silent investors? Possibly nothing, but what if those investors are, say, a winery owner or wine importer? Antonio Galloni was in the news recently when he acquired Steven Tanzer's International Wine Cellar. The move was universally lauded by the wine press (here's my own analysis column), as it gives Galloni a 30-year li ...

    W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report- 2 readers -
  • I, The Jury: The Case of the Library Urinator

    Juror No. 11, Mr. Gray I've always wanted to sit on a criminal jury. I think I'd be the perfect juror: skeptical of everyone, willing to consider all possibilities, but not hesitant to convict. Prosecutors always disagree, which is why until last week, though I've been called to serve many times, I never made it to the final 12. In the case of the People vs.

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  • 9 tips for serving wine with Thanksgiving dinner

    Thanksgiving is one of the biggest wine-consumption days of the year, especially for folks who don't often indulge. Wine columnists usually respond with recommendations of individual wines (here's mine this year for Wine Searcher). But this only helps the oenophile. Most folks just want to pick up a couple bottles while they're at the supermarket buying turkey.

    W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report- 6 readers -
  • Could a restaurant charge customers a "bad review" fee?

    An English hotel recently charged a couple 100 pounds (about $157) for calling it a "rotten, stinking hovel" on Trip Advisor. Pressured by the media, the hotel refunded the money. But the idea got me thinking: could a restaurant threaten to do the same? It's an appealing idea for restaurants bedeviled by Yelp reviews. Most of me -- 99.

    W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report- 2 readers -
  • Darth Vader on Wine Spectator's Wines of the Year

    I wanted a second opinion on Wine Spectator's 2014 Wines of the Year, so I contacted Darth Vader, a formidable critic and emeritus editor from the magazine. He used The Force to retaste the wines in question. Wine of the Year, original Wine Spectator review: "Powerful, refined and luscious." Darth Vader's ...

    W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report- 5 readers -
  • Florida shoplifter snatches vodka: caption contest!

    You may want an antibiotic after viewing this viral photo. The photo has been making the rounds of the Internet. I love a good booze shoplifting story, so instead of doing the sort of thoughtful reporting with in-depth personal interviews you expect from The Gray Report, I spent much of Wednesday afternoon trying to get some details about this woman's snatch...ing of the hooch.

    W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report- 1 readers -
  • Diner takes off glasses, suckered into $2200 Screaming Eagle ... or was he?

    Rule 1: never take off your glasses It sounds like an urban legend, or a hoax like this one. A diner in an expensive Atlantic City steakhouse asks the waitress to recommend a wine. She brings him a bottle and says it costs "Thirty seven fifty." The bottle turns out to be Screaming Eagle and he's charged $3750. According to NJ.com, this really happened. It's an outrageous story on many levels.

    W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report- 2 readers -
  • "Sake Confidential" book review: Straight talk about sake

    The best sakes tend to come from cold places Intro to sake books haven't been as successful as intro to wine books, and not only because wine is much more popular. Sake books tend to get bogged down early in describing how sake is made. It's an important question, but the answer isn't simple, nor does it have much to do with the really key questions about sake, such as How do ...

    W. Blake Gray/ The Gray Report- 1 readers -
  • Strippers know Champagne

    Courtesy Stag and Hen, Amsterdam The Champagne Bureau was in San Francisco last week for a huge trade tasting. I sipped a bunch of delicious Champagnes and left a happy camper. I guess they wanted me to write about the uniqueness of Champagne. It's illegal to call sparkling wine made outside the region "Champagne" in 117 countries, but not in the U.S.

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