“Why is it so hard to envision the natural wine movement taking root in Napa Valley? Maybe it’s the prohibitively expensive land already bought up by beverage biz conglomerates and billionaires with retirement hobbies. Or the expectation of Old California big boy Cabs and Chards that edge out an idiosyncratic hope of the small and funky to flower. Or the ’90s-style consumptive luxury that still attracts generic tourists who want their classic Valley experience. With Napa Valley being headquarters to commercial American winemaking and its corresponding iconography, it’s probably a combination of those things. But thanks to Outland, a tasting room in Downtown Napa, the hope for a nouveau Napa experience isn’t so outlandish after all.”
“A focus on friendly customer service didn’t just do Clement’s business good, but in part helped spin the web of a new wine culture radiating out of Los Angeles, the kind that rewards curiosity and a craving for a good time over expertise and pretension. “
A report on the effects of the October 2017 wine country fires on Sonoma’s beloved Scribe Winery, run by young winemaker-brothers Adam and Andrew Mariani.
“Natural winemaking is synonymous with methods that are termed to be non-interventionist, minimal contact, that roll with the punches of the earth. Except that nature itself is human-neutral, if not viciously indifferent, no matter the level of human reverence to its patterns.”
“Throughout the shop, a contemporary wine should be fun ethos glimmers through the details. Beyond offbeat touches—hand-written descriptions for each bottle are posted up with notes such as, ‘show up with this wine and get some!’ for Domaine Oudin Chablis Chardonnay, or ‘won’t you take me to Funky Town’ for Donkey + Goat’s Pinot Gris Romato—the tone of Vinovore is reverent towards its wine, but irreverent towards the old-school wine shop intimidation factor.”
“You, like lil’ ol’ moi, may be one of those kinds of very chill people who think they come off as easy-going. Go-with-the-flow. You’re a, ‘no, you pick!’-er. Well, I have to reckon with you that it not might be that you’re the most flexible, relaxed dude in the world. It might be that you’re just EXTREMELY INDECISIVE! And deflective! And—again, like lil’ ol’ moi—absolutely paralyzed by decision making and its dizzying array of possible consequences, good and bad! Enter: Magic 8 Ball. For questions big and small, from, Should I wear my cape today? to Am I a goblin? to Is this life just a mirage?, there is a spirit—be it just the molecular interactions of a hexagonal die suspended in blue liquid, or an actual god-thing moving through the ball to reveal truths—to provide you with an answer. And yes, you can shake it again, and get a different answer, all getting you back to the same place of indecision before. But at least you’re in the realm of yesses and nos, rather than the anti-decision maker’s domain of passivity. Thanks to Magic 8 Ball, you have a guide in that scary realm. Whether the spirit is real or not…I guess you could ask the ball that question.”
The trendiness of witchcraft seems to have seeped into mainstream pop culture. Now some internet-savvy witches in the Pacific Northwest are adding their own politically minded take to the conversation.
“Since natural wine is a pursuit that requires a degree of adventurous spirit and open-mindedness, spending time with [wine director Kathryn] Olson feels like having a zip-line tour guide through a remote jungle of magical drink. There are sensory highs and buoyant tastes to be had with a good bit of trust.”
“In Pure Heroine, Lorde picked up the ambience of adolescence and turned it into cultural echoes—songs that were accurate enough to relate to, glorified enough to spark a feeling, creative enough to herald in a new era of pop music. On Melodrama, a bonafide breakup album, a broken heart creates this ocean sound shell phenomenon, too. Its heightened sensitivity echoes the mundane into something like a metronome, a pulse-checking resuscitation from being either barely emotionally alive—or exhausted from utter feelings overdrive.’
“Cities are easy muses, with their complexities already wrapped up in clichés about energy, danger, and vibrance. But Morby pulls just a tiny bit at the thread of what’s obvious to give these familiar ideas some tension, without unraveling their sentimentality.”
“…to combat spoiled-greens guilt, I developed a strategy: making my own bags of salad mix. I get to choose my greens, prep for the week in under five minutes, and—like a robot with a salad button—I automatically eat more salad! There are a few principles, but no rules, and you’ll never have a depressing crisper drawer again.
“The name Girlpool comes from a chapter in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, but it is hard to shake the idea of the water feature it rhymes with, which is the spiraling thing that happens at the point where two powerful currents meet. Tucker and Tividad have a friendship of unique ferment, which, when talking with them, feels like a vortex of low-pitched emotional intensity. Best friends and bandmates for much of their formative years, they seem at ease in the swirling depth that their bond generates.”
“Despite all these springboards for context, ripe for observation of the perennial subjects of fame, religion, comedy, tragedy, folly, hubris, romance, heartbreak, and death … I was still out here, mildly tripping at a Father John Misty show, looking for some golden keys and only finding copper ones. (Kind of shiny, kind of gold-looking, but a little dull in terms of consciousness-unlocking opportunities.) My mind trailed, and I wondered what Tillman’s biggest onstage insecurities are, and I made a note to be kind to them, psychically. I have a soft spot for the art that I think he’s trying to make — luscious drama, pointed commentary, big, big feelings — but my craving for that trilogy still gnawed at me, unsatisfied.”
Here I am on the Rookie Pod with another Starter Pack—about how to recover from an existential crisis. This is a killer episode, featuring Tavi in discussion with Alia Shawkat, who you know from Search Party & Arrested Development.
I’m on the Rookie Podcast with a Starter Pack segment, where we provide points of entry for getting into a subject, a genre, a hobby, etc. Topic for this episode is astrology!