And a good saloon in every single town

I’m sure you’re tired of us hearing us all whine about minutiae like Bobo’s new book, the comments on this blog, and nuclear radiation, so I thought I’d do a feel good post about wine. I went to a wine dinner last night where I tried wine from Pennsylvania (a Bordeaux blend), Idaho (riesling), Missouri (some kind of weird dessert wine), and Mississippi (a Muscadine, whatever that is). The Mississippi wine was from Natchez. I like that because there’s a Solomon Burke song that mentions Natchez.

There is wine made in all 50 states now. Here’s a cool feature where some guy from Time reviews a wine from each state.

I’m off to watch NCAA basketball.

Have a good Friday!

78 replies
  1. 1
    JGabriel says:


    I went to a wine dinner last night where I tried wine from Pennsylvania (a Bordeaux blend), Idaho (riesling) …

    So tell us about the Idaho. It sounds like it would be a conservative wine, with hints of potato and charred Reichstag.


  2. 2
    Tom says:

    Just about the time of the year the bust out GP/Grievous Angle.

  3. 3
    NickM says:

    There’s also the Dusty Springfield song “Natchez Trace,” which sounds a bit like Dusty backed by Zep.

  4. 4
    Comrade DougJ says:


    The Idaho wines were good, I liked them, I would have guessed Washington State (which they practically are), Hogue or Columbia Crest or something like that. All the other novelties were sort of awful.

  5. 5
    Nied says:

    You know the more I think about it the more the Libya no fly zone looks less like Iraq and more like Yugoslavia. From the broad based UN sanctioned coalition to the pledge for no ground troops, to the lesser-of-two-evils allied factions on the ground, the whole thing looks like some kind of un-holy combination of what we did in Bosnia and Kosovo. It’s even starting around the same time as Allied Force. I eagerly await the carping from congressional Republicans about how the several hundred troops we commit to the post conflict UN stabilization force (LFOR?) in a few months is far worse than defeat (while simultaneously telling us how we should have kept 100,000 in Iraq indefinitely).

  6. 6
    Laertes says:

    I’ve never had a really good American wine that wasn’t from California, Oregon, or Washington.

    I’d be interested to try one that was “really good” without a qualifier like “for an Oklahoma wine.”

  7. 7
    Comrade DougJ says:


    A lot of the Finger Lakes and Oregon stuff is “really good” by any measure. The Oregon stuff is generally way overpriced though.

  8. 8

    Muscadine is a thick-skinned pungent grape. I imagine the wine from it was fruity as pebbles, and just about as subtle.

  9. 9
    ThresherK says:

    I’m no wine pro; in fact I usually have to be driven home from wine tastings. But my stomping grounds (hardehar!) include the Atlantic northern seacoast, and my tastes run distinctly to white wines made there.

    Regarding the Massachusetts wine, I’m beginning to suspect that if he tried exactly one wine per state, he can’t have tried very hard.

    (PS Anyone else wishing it was setup bracket-style?)

  10. 10
    JGabriel says:

    Comrade DougJ:

    The Idaho wines were good, I liked them, I would have guessed Washington State (which they practically are)…

    That makes sense. Might be a good area for pinot noir too, then, despite my earlier snark.


  11. 11
    South of I-10 says:

    Muscadines are a variety of grape that can deal with the heat and humidity in the south. The muscadine wine I have had has been pretty awful.

  12. 12
    JGabriel says:


    You know the more I think about it the more the Libya no fly zone looks less like Iraq and more like Yugoslavia.

    That’s been my take on it, too. Of course, that could change depending on how it plays out, but I think the parallels to Yugoslavia are stronger than those to Iraq, so far.


  13. 13
    MikeJ says:

    @JGabriel: In Washington, everything east of the Cascades is desert. the wine growers say it’s good because every drop of water that goes onto the vines is from irrigation, therefore they can control what they get and when.

    There are certainly parts of Idaho that would fit the bill.

  14. 14
    soonergrunt says:

    O/T, I think I’ve found Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Nuclear Powerplant Operator’s certification test:

  15. 15
    beltane says:

    Are they allowed to drink, let alone make, wine in Mississippi? That is the same as imposing Sharia law. I hope the godless pagans who make it stay safe and sound.

  16. 16
    Splitting Image says:

    Scrooge McDuck started a boat race in Natchez once, according to Mr. Barks. That is the extent of my knowledge of the area.

  17. 17
    MikeJ says:

    @soonergrunt: It would ruin everyone’s day if nuclear boy pooped.

  18. 18
    Comrade DougJ says:


    Bracket style would be great.

    I’ve had some pretty good wine from Rhode Island, don’t remember if I’ve had any from MA.

  19. 19
    Svensker says:

    I’m off to watch NCAA basketball.

    But there is a nuclear emergency in Japan. Therefore, by lazily watching basketball you have caused Qaddafi to kill more innocents. Also, are you black?

  20. 20
    Comrade DougJ says:


    What MA wines do you like?

  21. 21
    Maude says:

    @South of I-10:
    Are those the green grapes that taste like old auntie’s perfume?

  22. 22
    jibeaux says:

    Finally, a good place for this.

  23. 23
    KD says:

    For Cole.

  24. 24
    jibeaux says:

    Muscadine wine is in fact terrible. But I could eat a pound of muscadine grapes. Tons of flavor. Avoid the skins, though.

  25. 25
    jnfr says:

    I have a real soft spot for Woot Wine!. That and a great deal I got via Groupon currently has my every wine rack running over with great wines.

  26. 26
    Steve says:

    I knew a guy from Texas who used to make muscadine wine. Now, if you picked up a bottle of wine from “Chateau Texas,” would your expectations be very high? I’m no wine expert but it tasted horrible.

    Riesling is my wife’s favorite and there are some nice ones from upstate NY. I’m kind of disappointed they reviewed a Michigan riesling when they could have gone with one of those awesome Michigan cherry wines.

  27. 27
    liberal says:

    OT: Maybe the O-bots (or Biden-bots) can explain this? In light of this.

  28. 28
    piratedan says:

    @JGabriel: Arizona wines are served sans corks, in a time honored tradition reflecting the headless immigrants found in the desert….

  29. 29
    Sentient Puddle says:


    OT: Maybe the O-bots (or Biden-bots) can explain this? In light of this.

    I’ll step up to the plate on this one…

    The hell are you talking about? Be more specific.

  30. 30
    gene108 says:

    I’ve been reading Red State a bit lately. I find it like looking at something both grotesque, but intriguing enough I can’t turn away.

    A couple of things really stand out. One is their unquestioning belief that their world view is correct and all other world views are wrong. The second is how they have integrated right-wing talking points to justify their world view.

    The article below:

    Wolf Packs: Wisconsin’s Public-Sector Unions Turn Into Neighborhood Thugs

    In Wisconsin last week, it was the police and firefighters unions threatening local business* with boycotts should they not support the union efforts to turn back the clock on their so-called collective bargaining rights. Now, like a pack of wolves, the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) has jumped into the age-old racket of shaking-down businesses. WEAC has sent an e-mail to hundreds of businesses belonging to the Fox Valley Chamber of Commerce offering to put a sign in a window for those businesses that support the union goals.

    WEAC letter in part:

    In exchange for signing a pledge that says they oppose limiting collective bargaining, businesses will receive a poster they can put in their window so union members with “substantially less discretionary money to spend” can support those businesses which support them.

    The conclusion:

    In days of old, this type of activity was relegated to street gangs and the mafia. Today, it’s just another tactic in the union arsenal of intimidation.

    Warning! Red State link

    What’s interesting is whoever in the summer of 2009 decided to brand the SEIU workers, who got into a kerfuffle with Tea Parties at some town hall somewhere, as “thugs” has had that impression stick to the wing-nuts.

    The comments basically reinforce the view that unions=thugs.

    A sign in your widow today or a rock tomorrow.
    johnt Friday, March 18th at 11:08AM EDT (link) I’m not sure, but thugs may be too nice a word for these creatures.
    I would be more sanguine about this if the low lifes hadn’t already trashed public, state government , property, if there hadn’t been repeated acts of violence, shown on this site, against Normal People, if Dem state legislators made a mockery of their oaths and office, if this boycott didn’t have the blessing of the Thing in the WH, busing of goons, the fanatical Richard Trunka, and a media to low to urinate on.
    This may serve as a brief and sanitized litany of how this boycott is different from others. It goes a little further then refusing to buy your strawberry malted at Pop’s ice cream parlor.

    In all honesty, boycotts are part of the free market and consumers expressing displeasure at business practices is part of the trade off we have for living in a free society.

    Yet they’ve internalized the image of unions = thugs and have then made the next step: unions = thugs :: thugs = gangsters, therefore unions = gangsters.

    They don’t stop to question if their friendly neighborhood beat cop should be associated with Al Capone or the teacher their little snot really likes, has the same view on “rubbing out” the competition the Lucky Luciano had. They don’t like unions. They like the idea of denigrating unions by labeling them thugs, therefore everything they read about unions must be a result of their “thug” / “gangster” tendencies.

    There’s no way to penetrate this logic loop with anything – facts, humor, etc.

    I don’t see how we can move forward as a country, when the crazy-ass 27% folks, will just ignore everything they don’t agree with and shout over the other 23% of right-leaning folks (assuming half the population is conservative or may vote Republican), who want to keep the crazification factor to a minimum.

  31. 31
    ThresherK says:

    @Comrade DougJ: I’ve had success with the two vineyards on Newport island, and the one in Truro on Cape Cod, and far southeastern CT. (I don’t want to name vineyard names exactly.)

    Particular wines I can’t name, but I keep coming back to whites over reds from places like that. (And I’ll throw in another disclaimer about my ineducatable palate.)

  32. 32
    jacy says:

    Am I a bad person if my wine sampling technique is to choose something with a pretty label from the discount shopping cart full of bottles when I walk into the Winn-Dixie?

    Also, too, because this is as close to an open thread as is available amongst all the gloom and doom and babies whining about somebody poking them in the back seat of the station wagon — I would like to submit that some friends and I are starting our own small press and we’re going to be blogging our adventures in real time.

    If you care, and even if you don’t, we are open for business at Publishing Yourself: Navigating the World of Indie Publishing.

  33. 33
    jibeaux says:

    Just looked at the Time 50 states wine reviews, some good ones in there. Like Wyoming’s.

  34. 34
    Tsulagi says:

    There is wine made in all 50 states now.

    Had to see what the hell comes from Alaska. From the review…

    It smells like lemon candy and gasoline and tastes like it too.

    Think he’s smelling and tasting the state cologne, unburnt diesel fuel. Maybe AKs can also use that wine as backup fuel for their generators.

  35. 35
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Tsulagi: You’re reading the Alabama review, not Alaska. And actually, the review does state how wine is made in Alaska:

    Not only is it a classic mixture of half chardonnay grapes and half rhubarb, but the chardonnay is purchased from other states as concentrate.

    So…it sort of isn’t.

  36. 36
    liberal says:

    @Sentient Puddle:
    First link: douchebag reporter from Wash Post appointed at WH. Second link: evidence from Balloon Juice itself that said reporter is a douchebag. (Really a lot of hits at Daily Howler.)

    Thanks for responding (no snark).

  37. 37
    ThresherK says:

    @gene108: There’s no way to penetrate this logic loop with anything – facts, humor, etc.

    Now, Gene, it’s not about penetrating the loop. It’s about isolating the contagion and keeping it from spreading further.

    To that end, I recommend NPR’s political analyst Horst Lleftbarne. He does a bang-up job, about three weeks after any meme reaches critical mass inside the Beltway, of breaking down exactly how NPR got suckered into swallowing it whole this time.

  38. 38
    Morbo says:

    Villanova could really stand some better free throw shooting. Mason really shouldn’t have been able to make it back into this game.

  39. 39
    RSR says:

    How was the PA wine? Brew Pubs in PA can also sell PA made wines (without needing a full bar liquor license) and I’m curious about their quality.

  40. 40
    stuckinred says:

    George Mason is back!

  41. 41
    cleek says:

    my dad brought me some red wine from New Mexico, of all places, last year. wasn’t completely bad. reminds my of NC reds – ok in moderation, but i wouldn’t choose them over west coast, Aussie, South American or European.

  42. 42
    Tsulagi says:

    @Sentient Puddle: Oops, my bad. Well, maybe bamans can use that wine as backup fuel in their trailers.

    Didn’t know you could buy wine as concentrate. Just add water? No doubt would make a fine addition to the MRE dining experience.

  43. 43
    Tom Hilton says:

    Sorry, but for us in California, the fact that wine is made in those other 49 states is hardly a feel good story.


  44. 44
    Comrade DougJ says:


    The PA wine was awful, unfortunately.

  45. 45
    Comrade DougJ says:


    New Mexico makes some excellent sparkling wine, Gruet. Love that stuff.

  46. 46
    kth says:

    Natchez also occurs in the Arlen-Mercer standard “Blues In the Night”, covered by Cab Calloway, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and probably a hundred people in between.

    From Natchez to Mobile
    From Memphis to St. Joe
    Wherever the four winds blow

  47. 47
    Tom Johnson says:

    This is right in my wheelhouse, so:

    The reason Muscadine wines are bad is that Muscadine is a vitus labrusca grape, which is native to North America and distinct from the vitus vinifera grapes that are usually used to make wine. Native American grapes have an inherent “foxy” quality that almost always makes bad wines. Almost anything made of labrusca grapes — Muscadine, Concord, Scuppernong, Catawba, Delaware, Niagra — will be something to avoid.

    There are lots of good wines being made somewhere besides the west coast, but they are made of vinifera grapes.

    To name two that I’d put on any table without appology or qualification: I had a 2007 Chateau Morrisette Cabernet Sauvignon from Virginia that was an awful lot like Silver Oak. And here’s a review of the 2007 Jean Farris “Tempest,” a Bordeaux blend, made in Kentucky that was enough of a rave I drove to the winery to try it out. The wine did not disappoint, and at about $30 a bottle was reasonable enough that I bought a six pack to take home. Jean Farris also produces a Petite Sirah that kicks significant ass.

    I’d also heartily recommend Canadian ice wines, and Michigan is starting to produce some Riesling that stands up pretty well. The North Fork of Long Island is showing some stuff, too, though its preoccupation with obese Merlot overshadows what it’s really good at, which is cooler climate whites.

  48. 48
    artem1s says:


    oh, thank you for that. I forget how funny Steve Martin is. luv those lederhosen.

  49. 49
    cathyx says:

    @Tom Hilton: And I would say that for those of us coming from the west coast states, the wine made in the other 47 states is completely unnecessary.

  50. 50
    JPL says:

    Gotta say Trader Joe’s carries a fine selection of wines for those without discriminating taste. Pretty bottles also, too.

  51. 51
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    Whoever chose those US wines for Joel Stein to taste is an idiot. Sangiovese from VA? VA’s strengths are whites, and then Norton and Cab Franc for the reds. Viognier from several VA vineyards (a white between pinot grigio and chardonnay) is awesome, unique and delicious. And then there is the dessert version of Viognier (should be served with cheesecake).

    At least they went red for Texas (an excellent spot for reds — there is a lovely wine cafe at the Dallas airport) and Yadkin Valley for NC. And I will give the selection chops for several Norton’s (the US’s only native wine grape, lost during Prohibition, but found in an Indiana cemetery), but still.

    Oh, and phutttt to you West Coast wine snobs.

    Yummm… It’s close to five. No, I should wait until dinner.

  52. 52
    Martin says:

    I only buy fortified wines to help with my vitamin deficiencies.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    lamh32 says:

    Okay, a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire decide to share a flat in London…sounds like a joke, but it really the plot to a UK drama called “Being Human”. I’m finally getting around to watching the Season 1 marathon that was rebroadcast on BBCAmerica last month. There is a Syfy version of the show, but like many of the American versions of UK shows, the UK version is much better. The 2nd season on BBCAmerica has already started. If ya can check it out

  55. 55
    Cris says:

    Howling Wolf, Natchez Burning

    Further reading: The Rhythm Club fire. :(

  56. 56
    South of I-10 says:

    @Maude: There are different kinds, but I know some of them are kind of musky smelling? They taste good though. Muscadine jam/jelly is good. Wine, not so much.

  57. 57
    Mike in NC says:


    Muscadine wine is in fact terrible.

    Muscadine wines are produced in the Carolinas, among other places. Avoid them like the plague; icky sweet stuff.

    Virginia, on the other hand, boasts many excellent vineyards that produce a wide variety of (dry) red and white wines.

  58. 58
    JGabriel says:

    Okay, a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire decide to share a flat…

    A girl scout brings them a dozen Do-Si-Dos (aka Savannah) cookies. The vampire takes 11, sucks the girl scout dry, then says to the werewolf, “Hey, keep an eye on that ghost. She’s trying to steal your cookie.”


  59. 59
    Ogden Gnash says:

    @Comrade DougJ: Second the Gruet. Owned and operated by a French family. I read somewhere that New Mexico’s wine making history is older than California’s, that Prohibition knocked it out. Following Prohibition, California came back strong while NM puttered along.

  60. 60
    Vibrant Pantload, fka Studly Pantload says:


    Gotta love a world view that equates civil-servant unions seeking to form alliances with local businesses as “thuggish,” while when their own show up at demonstrations packing guns or at town halls to disrupt proceedings by shouting down representatives with wholly-manufactured lies, it’s “vibrant” (or somesuch equivalent).

  61. 61
    Cris says:

    @JGabriel: * spittake *

  62. 62
    DS says:

    Is a Muscadine grape derived from Muscadet? Because most Muscadet from the Nantes/Loire area is garbage as well.

  63. 63
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Vibrant Pantload, fka Studly Pantload: I’m trying to figure out how The Left can simultaneously be effete and gutless, and so scary that the new (38% of the vote, Teahadi-approved) governor of Maine needs a bodyguard none of his predecessors seem to have felt a need for.

    It’s ‘due to the changing political climate’, says the governor’s spokesperson.

  64. 64
    soonergrunt says:

    Oh. My. God.

  65. 65
    merrinc says:

    @cleek: I’ve avoided NC wines since receiving a bottle of something or other from Biltmore Estates oh, about 15 years ago. I thought it was quite dreadful but perhaps it was my lack of appreciation for the vino at that time in my life. Which NC reds would you recommend?

  66. 66
    AAA Bonds says:

    Thank you, John, for sticking with where you stand on Libya.

    As more and more media outlets offer “right vs. left” debates where both sides agree that we should go to war with Gaddafi’s Libya (NPR’s All Things Considered being the latest), it’s going to get harder and harder for people to understand that our moral beliefs about the situation there don’t mean war in Libya is wise.

    And make no mistake, as soon as we bomb the first target in Libya, we are at war.

  67. 67
    AAA Bonds says:


    I’ve been reading Red State a bit lately.

    Thank you. Please continue doing so.

    The main error of the left in America is that most of them are too queasy and antsy to actually read the alternate history being produced daily that somewhere around half of America takes for God’s honest truth.

    Repeat: this is the MAIN ERROR of the left.

  68. 68
    trollhattan says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Steve Poizner–who tried to out-wingnut Megs for the right to spend a lot of money to be pulverized by Jerry Brown–used to pack heat at the office as state insurance commissioner. The, uh, rationale was he could because it’s technically a law enforcement position.

    One of the scant amusing bits in this season’s “Big Love” is all the elected officials packin’ heat at the state house.

    BTW, Jerry’s armed entourage is a fraction of Arnie’s.

  69. 69
    trollhattan says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    This. Although I make execptions for bits of Oregon and Washington.

  70. 70
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @trollhattan: If I regulated insurance companies I wouldn’t necessarily pack heat — but I definitely would have an official taster.

  71. 71
    jake the snake says:


    The right wing has been talking about union thugs since
    those peace loving Pinkertons were sadly forced the break the strikers heads.

  72. 72
    ThresherK says:

    @jake the snake: Not since those laborers assaulted those billy clubs with their noggins at Haymarket?

  73. 73
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    I must say, I am a fan of Sailor Jerry Rum, but that’s me.

  74. 74
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @JGabriel: I was hoping someone would go there. Thanks!!

  75. 75
    Gus says:

    I have a bone to pick with a throwaway line in Joel Stein’s little wine from 50 states article. He says Wisconsin’s beer sucks. He obviously knows shit about beer. Wisconsin has at least 4 or 5 top notch breweries.

  76. 76
    petorado says:

    Colorado wines are getting quite good. I have yet to drink anything that’s been life-changing yet, but there are a good number of wines made from Bordeaux and Rhone grape varietals that compete with mid-level California wines. California just has a more substantial spectrum of quality. (Plenty of swill comes off of the left coast too.) That said, just received an invitation to drink wine with Larry Turley and Ehren Jordan. I must have died and gone to heaven!

  77. 77
    RossInDetroit says:

    Just got in from work and I’m not going to wade through the 500 comments of blogmeta that are waiting for me.
    I find it makes nearly as much sense and entertains me more if I start at the bottom and work my way up.

  78. 78

    Late to the game, but I cannot recommend MA champagne style sparkling whites highly enough – my favourite vineyard, Westport Rivers makes some specacular blanc de blanc and does tours. They’re also partnered with a great microbrewery owned by members of the same family – mmmm White Whale ale….

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