Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just musing today

It’s a bad day. It’s been a few bad days. I’ve been wondering over what my next blog entry will be.

When I started wondering, I began to scan the bulletin boards and other blogs for ideas. Aside from tasting notes, I couldn’t come up with a new subject from the Web sites. Is it possible that everything has been said about wine?

I suppose one of the hardest parts of a teacher’s job is to keep the information sounding fresh and interesting after having repeated it over and over for years. I know I have that problem with the wine classes I teach. To help me seem fresh, even if the lessons aren’t, I move things around, add and subtract things, while keeping the core lesson.

I appreciate the feedback comments that I have been getting, but I suppose there haven’t been enough of them to keep any one subject alive for too long. Or maybe that’s the fault of the Internet…so much stuff in cyber world that our attention span is brief.

To add to my dilemma, I’m in the middle of writing my third book and it is consuming a great deal of brainpower and time. Not that the book is a tax on my brain, just that my brain is probably tiring from its years in service—time is always in short supply!

Anyway, here I am wondering if the Internet discussion of wine has run its course. I spent over an hour today scanning wine oriented Web sites and could not find an original subject among them. Seems we keep talking about the same issues, and the same bad information keeps on circulating, as well as the same good information—the operative word is “same.”

What’s new in wine? What questions need answering?

When I started this blog over a year ago, I thought it could go on for a long time; I thought there was so much needing to be addressed. Did I address them all? I doubt it. Maybe I was wrong.

Here’s one piece of news: in the last week of February and the first week of March, I will drink no wine. The last time I went long without wine was a medical situation that kept me from the nectar for two weeks. That was twenty years ago. Since that time, I don’t think more than two days have ever gone by without at least a half bottle of wine filling my soul.

This time, my lack of wine isn’t exactly medical, but close. I want to see if I can lose a few pounds by not drinking wine.

There was a time when I could not gain weight, with a metabolism that underlined frenetic energy, my weight was almost exactly the same for a straight 20 years, but then I turned 45 and along with my perfect eyesight went my frenetic metabolism!

Not that I’m overweight by much—ten or so pounds—but I can feel that excess, and I want it gone. I’ve tried all the usual suspects: increased exercise, reduced carbohydrates, and reduced calories from food. Reducing wine is all that I have left—how sad. How really sad if it works and I lose a few pounds. What will I do after that?

I’ll certainly not give up wine, but “something’s gotta give.” Suggestions? Do I stop cooking with oil?

Sorry for the lack of content in this entry. Maybe I need suggestions there, too.

Copyright, Thomas Pellechia
February 2008. All rights reserved.


  1. Hello Tom,

    Well maybe it is just the point of life we are at as I feel the same lately. I keep reading and writing and sometimes I feel like I make no progress but just travel in a circle to arrive where i departed once again! Well I hope you lose weight I too need it though sounds like more than you I am exercising but my condition is such that i do not burn many calories before I tire from the exertion well maybe I need to keep it up and soon I will see results! I hope you find something to speak on soon as I enjoy reading your thoughts!

  2. Thanks, Mark.

    This book I'm working on is taking my energy, that and the presidential campaign, that and the long winter, that and the fact that there really is nothing new right now that I can find.

    Hey, I exercise every morning--two mile walk at minimum, which I'm getting ready to do in a few minutes. It's age; after a certain point, our metabolism refuses to cooperate! Or maybe it's all that Port and Madeira I've consumed to keep warm...

  3. Thomas,

    Jamie Goode recently noted that: "some people suggest that what cork does is deliver quite a bit of oxygen to the wine early in its life, and then allow very little OT [oxygen transfer] at all after this. If they are correct, then this sort of behaviour would be difficult to replicate with an alternative closure."

    If this were ever proven to be true, it could be a real paradigm shift in the convoluted closures debate.

    With respect to another topic, the following book has been revelatory with respect to AOC, terroir, champagne, and French national identity. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in vino-viticulture:

    "Kolleen Guy. When Champagne Became French: Wine and the Making of a National Identity. (John Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science 121st Series.) Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 2003. Pp. xi, 245. $39.95.
    French luxury goods, including fashionable clothing, lace, perfume, porcelain, and furniture, have enjoyed a reputation for elegance and quality for centuries both domestically and abroad. Likewise certain foods—most notably wine, cheese, chocolate, and foie gras—as well as French cuisine have also been lauded by connoisseurs the world over. It is, therefore, not surprising that historians have long underscored the particular importance of luxury products to the French economy and balance of trade. It is, however, only more recently that scholars have sought to determine their role in the making of French national identity. This book by Kolleen Guy contributes to both of these historiographies. In seven well-researched chapters, the author provides the reader with a clear understanding of the exigencies of grape cultivation in the Champagne region of France and of the systems of production, marketing, and distribution of its namesake beverage from its origins in the eighteenth century until World War I."

    Lastly, with respect to your diet/weight loss plan, have you attempted to locate that elusive 'goalpost' between caloric intake (including alcohol) and caloric expenditure ? Feeling hungry isn't fun yet water often ameliorates hunger pangs. Best of luck with your calorie (metabolism) battle and book! ;-)

  4. I can relate to your current state of mind, and have experienced it many times myself. But, remember that this will pass, and time can be our friend as well as foe. When you think there is nothing more to say, think of people like me, who have so much to learn. It's all fresh and new, and relative to the reader. There is a quote I've always liked:"The real act of discovery is not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes."
    I enjoy your blog. As for losing weight, my suggestion is you switch to drier wines, as it is sugar that is always the evil culprit! Get rid of cereals and anything from a box. Do not stop using oil, but cook with raw, organic coconut oil. Despite what you may have heard, it will help you lose pounds and is a very healthy fat. You may be interested in
    I wish all the best.

  5. Thanks all of you.

    Memoree, I generally don't consume sweet wine--unless it's Port or Madeira!!!

    Also, I hardly ever knowingly eat anything from a package. In fact, I'm putting up a greenhouse this spring so that I can grow vegetables in winter. I am a healthy eater and a healthy person, just at that point where I cannot take in as many calories as I used to, and I do have to find the equilibrium.


    If what Jamie says proves true, then it seems to me the cork is a bad choice, what with all that oxygen in the bottle dissolved in the wine and slowly killing it!

    I'm quite flabbergasted that no comprehensive study has yet told us what actually happens when a wine is cellared with a cork closure in the bottle. Seems that some scientist somewhere should have figured out how to measure the thing.

    Geez, I always thought it was King Louis and the British crown that made Champagne into a luxury item. Why are people always analyzing things??? I will get the book, however, just so I know what I am railing against ;)

  6. hi thomas - you've probably been here before and you'll be here again. it's the natural cycle of things. one thing i picked up in your musings: you seem like you are having trouble figuring out what to write about from the perspective of keeping readers interested, or teaching. maybe you should ignore us all together and write whatever you feel like discussing.

  7. Maybe I should talk about old Brooklyn ;)

    I did mention the egg cream recently, but it was to establish that the wine I had tasted like one!

  8. Hello,

    It's John Z ...I just had to have the
    annual physical you know the whole blood work this year I wanted to not drink for one week before have my liver tested and that one week just cutting out the wine I lost 8 pounds...well I am back to drinking and can only hope the weight stays off for a bit...this time of year I feel like a Bear in a cave wanting to get out...I have been burning weeds in the vineyard, but had to stop due to the cold weather and wind...just took a look at the weeks weather arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrH, uncle I have had enough...Cheers !!!