I always wondered what would happen if a fan got to grabby with a performer during a concert. I now know what Rihanna would do in that situation.
During her stop in Birmingham, England on her worldwide tour a fan clung on too long for Rihanna’s taste. While singing “We Found Love” she was prancing around the stage and went into the crowd.
As she was giving high fives to her fans one member of the audience grabbed onto RiRi’s hand. As a result she hit him with her microphone. So next time you go to a concert don’t mess with Rihanna. Here are a few videos from people in the audience.
‘The Third Date’, Written by Deborah Gross, Directed by Doug Hannah, is a funny and original one act play featuring Peter Cilella (Evan) and Megan Raye Manzi (Allie). The likable pair meet at Evan’s apartment for their infamous third date, filled with nerves and expectations for the night. The expected awkward banter is interrupted by the appearances of Barrie (Rebecca Mader) and Helmer (Antonio Alvarez). These ghosts of relationships past proceed to charm, distract and antagonize our young would-be lovers from each other’s arms while their fears and neuroses are revealed to each other and the audience.
Megan Raye Manzi and Peter Cilella do good work as Allie and Evan, portraying the clumsy early moments of a relationship without becoming caricatures. Rebecca Mader plays Barrie with enthusiasm, giving “the hot exotic ex girlfriend” character both charm and humor. Antonio Alvarez, who stepped in for Chris Wylde on our night, was convincing and likable as Helmer. Both Barrie and Helmer were written and played as likable yet pompous, finding camaraderie with their ‘competition’ while also sabotaging their efforts from within.
At 40 minutes, this well written and subtly directed piece deserved it’s full and raucous house. The one act satisfies it’s mission and leaves you entertained and amused.
Pete Holmes is a very funny comedian and he is being rewarded for that fact as he will have a show on TBS right after the Conan O’Brien show. The show will launch in the Fall of this year. The new show will be produced by Conan O’Brien’s Conaco production company. It will follow Conan’s schedule with shows airing Mondays through Thursdays. If you can’t wait until the Fall, well Holmes has an outstanding podcast called “You Made It Weird” on the Nerdist Podcast Network.
Pete has studied and performed at Chicago’s Improv Olympic and Playground theaters, as well as Boston’s Improv Asylum Theater and New York City’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
He is also known for his voice of the e*trade baby. One of my personal favorites from him is his Batman parodies on the website CollegeHumor. Pete was named one of Variety’s Top Ten Comics to Watch in 2011. If that is not enough Pete also draws cartoons for “The New Yorker”, and has written for shows such as NBC’s “Outsourced” and FOX’s “I Hate My Teenage Daughter.”
Last month he released his DVD “Nice Try, The Devil.” In his first hour-long special on Comedy Central, Pete does a phenomenal job as he displays his signature brand of comedy. His skits on Pierce and Juan, Good Time McDonald’s, Atlanta, Dropped a Dog, and Gay for Gosling are superb.
Me and my boys from the Masters of None Podcast show had the pleasure to talk to Pete. We talked about his new show, drinking wine on stage, and why his show is perfect to follow after Conan. He even helped us out with our show topic on the worst fictional dads of all time. To listen to the show click here.
All guys love gadgets, especially dads. So if you haven’t sorted out your Father’s Day gift yet, don’t worry. There’s still time. Sure, you could buy some socks or some golf accessories or some other lame excuse for a gift, but don’t you think it’s about time you showed your pops a bit more appreciation on his special day?
Enter the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the device that looks like a tablet and feels like a smartphone. That’s really the first thing you notice about it. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is not as heavy or clunky as an iPad and it’s not as tiny as a smartphone. It’s comparable to an iPad Mini, but it offers a few things that the iPad can’t.
The first thing you’ll notice about this little tablet is that it comes with a 5.5 mm S Pen. This little stylus lets you jot down notes, personalize emails, crop and save just about anything and doodle for days. It slides right into the device itself (with a handy little storage slot at the bottom), so you don’t have to worry about losing it. You can also set the S Pen to hover mode and move it around like a mouse on a desktop. If you like a bit of notepad love with your digital tablet, the S Pen is a huge addition.
The multi-window mode is another feature that sets the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 apart from the iPad Mini. In multi-view mode, you can have two apps running simultaneously. Wanna browse the web and take some notes? Not a problem. Shuffle through tunes while you doodle? Keep em both active. This really takes the second screen experience to another level. You can literally be doing two things at once while you watch whatever TV programs are cluttering your DVR. It’s a great mutli-tasking tool for a new, attention-deficit-driven generation.
Group Play is another sweet feature that lets you integrate your Galaxy Note 8 with other devices. You can listen to music on multiple devices, collaborate on photos, slideshows, documents and more. It works well for quickly marking up docs and sharing PDFs.
And man, this thing weighs less than one pound and it’s got an 8-inch WXGA display. You can lay it on a table and type, write, game, browse the web, etc., but you can also one-hand this bad boy and watch a video with a steady palm grip. It fits in the pocket of your track jacket, but not in the front pocket of your Levi’s. If you don’t want to schlep around a laptop or full-size tablet, but you want to extend your entertainment outside your phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a solid middle-of-the-road option.
Although photography likely isn’t your main purpose for picking up on of these devices, there’s a 5MP AF + 1.3MP VT camera in the mix if you need it. You also have full HD playback (1080P) and HD recording capabilities as well.
But the thing that your pops will love the most is that the Galaxy Note 8 can also function as a universal remote control! That’s right, man. Your dad can sit on the couch and pretend to be working on business stuff while also overriding your channel selections. What dad wouldn’t be into that?
There are a couple things about the Galaxy Note 8 that’ll take some time to get used to. The keyboard function on this thing is less than ideal for sausage-finger folks. So if your dad’s got a case on the man-hands, he’ll likely need a Bluetooth enabled keyboard to get any real typing done. The sausage finger factor can also get annoying when you accidently thumb the bottom right button. The back button comes in handy, yes, but not when you got an inadvertent finger shift while watching a YouTube clip. The Galaxy Note 8 is also as slippery as a recently mopped floor of a Burger King bathroom, so you’ll need to invest in some sort of case or something, especially if this thing is going to be held with one hand on the regular.
The Androidy-ness of the Galaxy Note 8 is really where it’s at. Apple’s great and all but Google Play is way better than iTunes. Having a MicroSD slot is just awesome. The intuitive nature of the auto-correct suggestions is also super helpful. Again, this isn’t anything new for Android users, but it’s better than the crazy auto-correct settings that come standard on an iPhone/iPad.
Bottom line, I like this little guy and your pops will, too. It’s just big enough to give you the right balance between phone and tablet. The screen is gorgeous, the dimensions are ideal for one-handing and the thing weighs next to nothing. Yes, it will set you back nearly four bills, but so what? Isn’t your dad worth it?
Trevor Bayne had a really outstanding week this past week. He got married and then come Saturday he headed straight to Iowa where he landed in Victory Lane. This weekend he will be driving at the Michigan International Speedway.
While he is in Michigan he took part in the 2013 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition National Finals. Students compete to win scholarships and prizes. Plus the winning team will also have a weeklong job shadowing Bayne and Wood Brothers Racing leading up to and during the Coke Zero 400 this July in Daytona.
I was able to talk with Trevor on the phone about racing, his wedding, and the 2013 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition. Plus I also got to ask him what his car of choice is when he is not on the track.
Art Eddy: I have to say congratulations twice to you. One for getting married this past week and then winning the Nationwide at Iowa on Saturday. Tell me how you plan to top last weekend with this weekend?
Trevor Bayne: (Laughs) Well that was a big weekend for us. It was a big week getting married and it was a huge deal and bigger than anything I could ever do on the racetrack. I topped it off by winning at Iowa last weekend. Pretty incredible weekend for us. Ashton told me all along that as soon as we got married I had to win the next race. So I guess I should have married her a long time ago. That’s when we knew we lived up to the pressure she put on me. So we will have to keep that going.
AE: How hard was it to transition from wedding day to racing day?
TB: It was okay. I have been doing this since I was five years old. This is pretty much all I have ever known. Ashton is obviously a trooper because we got married on Tuesday. We ended up going to Iowa for our honeymoon. If she can handle that she is a big support factor.
For me as far as flipping the switch it seems like we do that every week. We have crazy stuff going on just like I am up in Michigan today. Flying back to Charlotte. Then flying back to Michigan on Thursday morning to get ready for the race. It is always a busy lifestyle, but once you get to the racetrack you can turn it all off, hop in the car and try and get the most out of it.
TB: Yea I am hoping so. I am hoping that this offseason we will get together somewhere whether it’s somewhere warm like a beach. Get to go on vacation for a little bit and call it a honeymoon. So that will be a good excuse for it.
AE: Your first win was in 2011 with coming in first place at the Daytona 500. What a place to get your first win right?
TB: Winning the Daytona 500 in 2011 was beyond anything I could ever imagine. Being my first time at that race driving for the Wood Brothers. Seeing them back at Victory Lane was worth it. I have been waiting on that moment ever since I started racing. I wanted to make it to the Sprint Cup level in NASCAR and be a contender to win.
I never really pictured it to happen that soon in the first attempt there. I just have great people around me that gave me that opportunity and a great racecar that day. Everything worked out perfect. It was pretty much a miracle. There was no way I should have won that race. I was praying all day and saying God I want to experience you and see your power. I didn’t know that that meant a win, but I guess that is how it happened that day.
AE: You are now in Michigan for the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition. Tell me a bit about this great program.
TB: Yea it is an awesome program. I have been a part of it for the last three years. For that last two years I have come up to Michigan for the grand finale. Ford and AAA have put it on for the last 64 years. Ford actually has been with it for 19 years, but 64 years is how long the competition has been going on.
It starts out with 13,000 students. They narrow it down to 100 students. Two from each state along with an instructor from that state. They come here to Michigan for the finals. They had Ford Explorers here today. They were all bugged. I think that they had 14 bugs on the car. They didn’t tell what the students what was wrong. Then the students have to go in and try and figure out what is wrong, why the thing won’t run. Why the windshield wipers don’t work, or the blinkers or whatever. Try to fix the car and put it through the line for inspection.
The quickest team with the least flaws obviously, there was a perfect car today and pass a written test. The people that win that are rewarded with scholarships. They get to come to Charlotte, North Carolina for a week and hang out with our race team and then go to the Daytona Speedway with us in July.
AE: How psyched are you to be part of this program?
TB: Just getting people interested in the automotive industry whether it is working at a Ford dealership or being part of a NASCAR team. It is awesome to see these kids who are 17, 18 years old with as much knowledge as they have can perform under pressure like they did today.
AE: Where is your favorite track to compete at?
TB: I would say one of my favorite tracks is the Atlanta Motorsport Speedway or Bristol. Bristol being the home track. Atlanta just being a cool place, kind of worn out and old school and I enjoy racing there. So I would say those are my favorites.
AE: What do you do in the off-season when you are not racing?
TB: The off-season is normally kind of time for me to reload. We go 10 months straight without any off weekend from pretty much Valentine’s Day to November. It is a lot of work and a lot of time. It is a full time job. So my wife and I would go on some trips with some friends. I try to gain some perspective because you can caught up in racing and think you have a bad day since you came in fifth. Whereas some people in the world don’t have anything.
AE: Out the cars you own which is your favorite to drive?
TB: My Ford Raptor. That thing is fun to drive. I got it in 2011 after winning the 500. I never want to give it back.
To listen to the entire interview click here!
This month we get to celebrate Father’s Day. On Sunday June 16th we get a chance to spend time with our fathers and thank them for everything they have done for us. There are many cool things you can do for dear old dad. Find out what he wants to do and set something up. Whether it is playing a round of golf or taking him fishing try make sure he gets to do things he might not get a chance to do on a regular basis.
Now that I have been a dad for a few years I have realized all the love and dedication it takes to be a father. Another thing that I found out is that you might not live near your parents. This makes it hard for me to spend time with my dad. Still I know what he likes so I usually get him something that I know he can use or want.
One item that is always a hit for fathers is top notch liquor. You can sip a glass with your father and just have a great night of talking with the man who taught you how to drive. There are few brands out there that would make a great gift. Here are three ideas that are way better than getting your old man a tie or mug. They are Crown Royal XR LaSalle, Bulleit 10 Years Old, and George Dickel Barrel Select.
I was fortunate to try the XR LaSalle and this whisky was outstanding. This is the second addition to the renowned Crown Royal Extra Rare Whisky Series. The LaSalle is a unique blend that included a small reserve of the final batch of whiskies that was saved from the famous LaSalle Distillery.
As you sip it you taste a blend of dried fruits and honey. The fruit tastes are well balanced with the spicy notes of Canadian rye. The cost of the LaSalle is $129.99 and is worth every penny. You get this for your dad and I am guessing he will be kind enough to share.
Bulleit 10 Years Old
Bulleit 10 is the company’s selected reserve. It is a limited edition from founder, Tom Bulleit. This bourbon has a smooth taste and has tremendous oaky aromas. The small touch of vanilla and dried fruit completes the bourbon as you finish each sip that has a smoky vibe to it. You can get a bottle for $44.99.
George Dickel Barrel Select
As the name suggests the George Dickel Barrel Select was developed from only hand select barrels. Each year Master Distiller John Lunn hand picks which barrel he will use to create this batch. This is a labor of love for Lunn. I was able to chat with him about his job and he takes a lot of pride in his work. The Select has a fantastic taste of caramel and vanilla. You can pick this up for your father for just $45.99.
So hope this helps you as you look to purchase a gift for your dad. No matter what you do just make sure you take the time to tell your dad how much you appreciate him. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
David Rodriguez had a life-long dream to become a director. Growing up he had a passion for the film industry. He is the youngest of four siblings and was born in the New York City. After ten years of living what he called the “suburban grown-up life” he wanted to make a change.
So in 2003 David went to make his dream a reality. In 2004 he was able to direct his first film called “Push.” Now with a few films under his belt, David is back with a new movie. This summer he will be promoting his latest project, “Last I Heard.” The film stars Paul Sorvino, Michael Rapaport, Renee Props, Paul Ben-Victor, Stephen Bauer and Chazz Palminteri.
David was kind enough to answer some of my questions I had on his latest film and who was his inspiration to become a director.
Art Eddy: You have a new feature film out that you wrote and produced called “Last I Heard.” Tell me a bit about the film.
David Rodriguez: Although “Last I Heard” is a small slice of life from a Queens, NY neighborhood, it also acts as a bit of social commentary addressing the ‘old school’ person’s mentality and how they would deal with a progressive society. The film touches on a few different issues but at its core, it’s about an old Italian gangster ‘Mr. Joe,’ played by Paul Sorvino, who’s trying to live the same life he lived after serving 20 plus years in federal prison. All along, he’s dealing with one blow after another, ultimately reverting back to who he really is and doing so at the ultimate price.
AE: In the film there are great actors like Paul Sorvino, Michael Rapaport, Renee Props, Paul Ben-Victor, Stephen Bauer and Chazz Palminteri. Tell me about working with a cast like this?
DR: What can I say, it was truly amazing. I’d find myself smiling from time to time, taking it all in. I had actors on set that were in some of the greatest films ever, “Goodfellas,” “A Bronx Tale,” “Scarface,” “Cop Land,” “Get Shorty,” and “True Romance.”
Their stories were amazing and the collective experience with this cast was something most directors dream of. I’m pretty firm on set and they all knew what I wanted, however, because we all knew each other so well, we created a very nurturing environment that allowed us to grow on set and everyone brought their ‘A-game.’ It was because of my actors that we made it look so effortless.
AE: You will be going to film festivals to showcase your film this summer. Do you enjoy these fests when you are promoting your film or is there pressure in hopes the audience will dig the film?
DR: Well, the first stop is the Seattle International Film Festival where we’re world premiering in competition. It’s a huge top tier fest so we’re excited to be a part of it. We’re also excited that we’re premiering and screening during the closing weekend.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous and excited, but ultimately we have to trust the work we do and I feel really good about this film. It was a blessed project as Sorvino said once. Everyone really showed up, cast and crew alike. I hope people dig it, but that’s all out of my hands now. I feel good.
AE: You also co-wrote and directed the acclaimed feature film, “American Bully.” Tell me about the process of shooting that film?
DR: “American Bully” was a challenge on so many levels. We shot in Louisiana with producers who really were never on the same page as my cinematographer John Barr, the actors and myself. I didn’t know what the budget was when we started or how it was being spent. The weather was uncooperative in Louisiana at the time.
Ultimately, we were forced to make the best film we could in spite of all the challenges we had and I guess we pulled it off. It was a lesson for me throughout the process that every single person up and down the line needs to be on the same page in order to have success. That all said, I’m incredibly proud of that film and it’s very near and dear to my heart.
AE: What made you get into the career of producing and directing films?
DR: I’ve wanted to be in show business since I was 6 or 7 years old. At the time, my family lived in the Bronx and my oldest sister Janet would take me to all the big summer films at a theater on Fordham Road. I saw “Jaws,” “Rocky,” and “Star Wars” and it was a transformative part of my life, but growing up in a blue collar family wasn’t necessarily conducive to a creative mind. I got lost in those films, but it wasn’t until much later in life that I decided to go for it and attempt to direct. A few bad bouts with the 9 to 5 suburban life forced me to do what I always dreamed of doing. It was the scariest and best decision I ever made.
AE: Did any directors inspire you as you were looking to get into the entertainment industry?
DR: Fortunately, at the time that I decided to direct for food, one of the cable channels had a program where once a week or so they would feature a new director and that director would tell their story of how they got into directing and all that they learned throughout their careers. The show featured Ridley and Tony Scott, Michael Mann, Cameron Crowe, and Martin Scorsese and so on. It was like having an ‘A-list’ faculty of directors in my own personal film school. That said, if I had to pick one director whose body of work is most inspiring, I couldn’t. There are two, Martin Scorsese and Steven Soderbergh.
AE: Your focus is of course on “Last I Heard,” but do you have any other projects that you are thinking about starting?
DR: Of course! I wrote a New York based cable TV pilot recently that I’d love to direct and see happen as a series. I also have my eye on a few smaller projects at the studio level that I’d love to pitch, and I have some of my own scripts that I’d like to see happen. I really don’t know what’s going to happen as a result of “Last I Heard,” but I’m being patient and open to all opportunities.
AE: Who would you love to work with in your next project?
DR: As I’m sure you know, the climate of the business is ever evolving, so I’d like to work with actors that will help me get whatever I do next green-lit and financed. That said, if it was all over tomorrow, I’d be happy knowing that I worked with the most amazing cast ever in “Last I Heard” and they set the bar pretty high. It’ll be tough to top that experience.
Just in time for Father’s Day Oscar Mayer is presenting the “Oscar Mayer Original Collection.” Available only online you can pick up these elegant bacon boxes for you or your dad. There are a total of three specialized bacon boxes.
The three gift packs are being sold exclusively on the Oscar Mayer website, Say It With Bacon, which showcases the boxes in a way that pokes fun of jewelry ads, with a script headlines of “When words aren’t enough, say it with bacon”, and “Give the world’s most tasteful gift.”
Here are your choices. Each case has it’s own distinctive quality.
The Commander ($22) The Commander comes with a stainless steel money-clip engraved with the words “Bringin’ it Home” and an image of a bacon strip.
The Matador ($28) This one features two handsome bacon strip cufflinks.
The Woodsman ($25) The Woodsman which includes a rugged 12 function multi-tool with a bacon strip image carved into the handle.
Plus this is not just for Father’s Day. Oscar Mayer thinks you can use these one of kind gifts for birthdays and anniversaries…or even just because.
If you check out the website and see a sold out sign, well don’t fret. The company keeps on replenishing their stock of their commemorative boxes. To stay on top of all things bacon just follow @OscarMayer on Twitter for restocking alerts.
They even put together a hilarious video mocking those over the top jewelry store ads. Have to hand it to Oscar Mayer for this one. It is funny and deals with bacon. What more does a guy need?
The original hit series “Ice Road Truckers” on the History Channel returns Sunday, June 9 at 10PM ET/PT This season, old rivalries hit an all-time high as two different companies with legendary truckers go head-to-head and try to put each other out of business. Also, after a year on hiatus, the queen of the road, Lisa Kelly, returns and chooses a side.
Throughout the season, the rivalry between the companies reaches to a boiling point as every load delivered means money out of the other team’s pocket. No assignment is off limits, no road is too dangerous and no ice crossing is too thin in this battle for winter roads supremacy.
Lisa Kelly sat down with me this week to talk about her return, broken wrists, and what she did last year when she took a break from the show.
Art Eddy: So the new season starts this month. You are back. Fans of the show are psyched that you are back. Are you excited to be back on the show?
Lisa Kelly: I am so excited to be back on the show. I had fun doing it. (Laughs)
AE: What did you do while you were away from the show?
LK: Oh it is a big, big secret. (Laughs) No, not really. Just working and living life like normal people do sometimes.
AE: So do you consider yourself not normal when you are doing the show?
LK: Sometimes it gets pretty not normal. It is pretty crazy.
AE: Did you get a lot of mail or tweets from fans wanting you to come back on the show?
AE: The show is very interesting, but you guys are just doing your job. Some of the stuff you guys have to do is amazing. Does it feel weird to you that people are so involved with what you do for a living?
LK: I am just amazed that people are interested in it. You say what we do is amazing and I think it is amazing that you guys think it is amazing.
AE: What can fans of the show expect from you and the rest of the gang on the show?
LK: I am not entirely sure because it is a whole new ball game. Everything has changed this year. I am not in Alaska. I am in Canada now. I am not working for Carlile. I am working for a different company. Just for the show. I took time off of Carlile for show. I am back at Carlile now. I am literally in my truck right now.
Other than that I don’t know. There is a new show runner. It is a whole new thing. I had a lot of fun. I didn’t throw caution to the wind I would say, but I would say because I wasn’t working for Carlile I didn’t have to be so focused on safety and not getting fired. I had fun with it. I don’t know how that will come off, but I had a lot of fun with it.
AE: During this season I heard you broke your wrist. How did that happen and has that affected your driving?
LK: I didn’t break my wrist on the show. I broke it racing motocross last summer in June or July. I was racing and over jumped a jump and impact fractured it. I don’t know what happened. All I know is that I am doing okay. It took forever to heal. When I tried to shift at international 13 speed it just aggravated it to where I didn’t know at first what to do.
So I trained my camera guy on how to shift for me. So I would tell him what gear I had to shift into. I was like okay this aint going to last long. Then I am like oh I got duct tape. So I started duct taping it. The whole show it was wrapped up. It was really bothering me. It just won’t get better. I can tell I am getting old. I don’t heal.
AE: In what ways has the show changed your life?
LK: It has just changed it period. It changed it from top to bottom. It has taken over. It’s become my life. I can’t talk to anybody without mentioning the show or some interview because that is my life. I’m not bragging. It is just you want me to talk that’s all I got.
AE: You and Hugh Rowland have a bit of a rivalry. Will we see more of this transpire on the show this season?
LK: I didn’t know that we had something going on until I saw the preview. So I guess we have something. I don’t know. I just do my job and whatever happens, happens. Things did happen. I didn’t see it as a big deal of anything more than I would normally handle somebody that’s difficult.
To listen to the entire interview to find out what other bones Lisa has broken click here!
If you’re a whiskey and beer drinking kinda guy, you probably don’t have a great relationship with wine. And that’s okay. Wine isn’t for everyone. But it isn’t just a chick beverage, either. If you’re like me, wine is just something that’s never been a viable option. Sure, you may have gotten tipsy during a wine tasting or two, but what if you don’t know the basics? How are you supposed to dive in and enjoy the delicious chemical balance of fermented grapes without any real frame of reference?
Well fear not, fellow wine noobs. We got the basics covered for you right here. To prep this Wine 101 for Dudes guide, we spoke with Lauren Waters, the Senior Wine Education Manager at Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines. Lauren gave us the lowdown on everything from introductory wine selections to ordering tips to tannins and Grenache and so much more. Keep reading and get yourself up to speed, bucko!
Know What Noobs Like: Fruit Forward
“People who are new to the wine category or haven’t been dabbling in wine for that long, what they really love are wines that are really fruit-forward, and by that I mean that they’ve got tons of intensity and tons of fruit flavors and all types of fruit character in them and that they’re pretty easy to drink.”
Remember fellas, when it comes to wine, fruity is good.
Safe Bet: Red Blends
“Consider wines that aren’t really heavy, either in tannin or acidity or all these other things that you might hear about; wines that are just basically easy to drink, easy to appreciate and easy to enjoy. To that end, we typically find ourselves looking towards California wines because they’re more of a riper, more approachable style over all, so red blend.”
Basically, if you’re looking at a wine list and you’re lost, reach for a California red blend. It’s a nice, friendly, fruit forward introductory selection.
Put It in Neutral: White Wines
“In terms of white wine, I find that a lot of people like, especially when they’re starting out, things that are more neutral. So they don’t tend to like the really oaky chardonnays or things like that. They tend to like wines that have less oak character and less pungent flavors. Unoaked chardonnays are always a hit. Pinot Grigio is always kind of a neutral variety. Riesling is something that a lot of consumers that are new to the category tend to like because they tend to have a little bit of sweetness to the wine that makes them really easy to like.”
So if you’re not feeling fruit forward, you can always play it safe and go for a nice white. But how are you supposed to know which wine to reach for?
Know the Situation: Red vs. White
“The difference between red and white wine is really when and how you want to enjoy it. So really it’s about the occasion. So if it’s a really hot summer day or you’re sitting by the pool or it’s a beach day or something like that, you want something that’s light and fresh and cool and can also quench your thirst. So that’s a great time for a white wine. Also if you’re out to dinner and you’re having like a lighter food option, say you’re having like fish tacos or something like that, white wine is really the perfect selection to go along with that. Speaking to red wine, red wines are typically served right around room temperature so it’s not like that cool, thirst-quenching kind of feeling that you would get from a white wine which would be served cooler. So for red wines, I tend to think of them as more evening wines. You would pair them with bigger food items. So if you’re out for dinner and you’re going to have steak or if you’re grilling BBQ or having stuff like that, your bigger profiles will go best with red wine.”
So there you go. Look at you, big guy. You’re ready to order the appropriate wine for the right occasion. But does this mean you gotta get all crazy about food and wine pairings? Nah, bro. Just do want you want!
There Are No Rules: Wine Pairing
“I think the most important thing to remember about pairing is there are no rules. You don’t have to follow any specific strategy like you can only drink white wine with fish or you can only drink cabernet with steak. All those rules are, in my opinion, silly. People need to find what they like. It’s all about experimentation, it’s all about discovery and it’s all about how they meet social experiences with wine. What works for one person does not necessarily work for another person because everybody is different and wine overall is just such a subjective type of a topic so keep in mind, there are no rules. It’s all about experimentation, discovery and finding what works for you.”
So if you wanna pair your Sloppy Joe with a Sauvignon Blanc, just do your thing! Don’t let some punk wine snob tell you what’s what.
Facing Your Fears: Navigating a Wine Shop
“First of all, it’s totally overwhelming. You walk into BevMo and you’re thinking, ‘OK, where do I even start? There’s like 15 aisles here. There’s wines that range in price from $2.99 to $2,000, where do I even start?’ It’s good to have your price point in mind. Are you looking for a bottle that’s $15 to $20? Are you looking to splurge and spend a lot or are you looking for a Wednesday night $10 bottle. Having a good kind of price point in mind is always a good way to start because that cuts the store probably into a fifth and you can really pinpoint the section that you’re looking for.”
Think about the occasion and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s still manly to ask for help in a wine shop. It’s not like you’re asking for map directions or anything.
“The guys that are walking in those aisles are paid to be there and help you. So if you can tell them ‘Hey, I’m looking to spend $20. I’m having a bunch of friends over on Friday and we’re going to do burgers after work on the grill. What do you recommend? Point me in the right direction. Give me three options.’ It’s always a good thing to use your resources.
Intimidation Be Damned: How to Dominate a Wine List
“Opening a wine list in a restaurant, especially if you’re out on a date or you’re with people that you work with or whatever, it can be a really scary experience. You’re handed the list and all of a sudden you have this giant list of things that are probably written in multiple languages sitting in front of you and the only thing you can probably relate to is the dollar amount.”
So what’s a guy supposed to do?
“My recommendation when you’re in a situation like that is to figure out how the wine list is set. Is it set by country or by label? Once you know how this particular wine list works, try to find some options in there that might fit what the group is looking for.”
Think safe red blends. Chill whites. You know the drill. But what if you can’t even say the name of the wine you want to order?
“Half the time, I feel like people pick the wine because they can say it. I mean I’ve done this. When I first started out with wine I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m ordering this wine because I can’t say it and I don’t want to sound like an idiot, so I’ll take this wine even though I have no idea what it is but I can say it and at least I’ll feel like I’m halfway intelligent.’ So this is just a little trick – there’s usually a number, or a bin number is what it’s called, written next to the wine and the reason why the bin number is there is because it tells the server or the wait staff person where to find that precise wine. So when they go into the wine area, the wine cellar, whatever they have in that restaurant, each wine has a slot. So rather than saying ‘I’ll take the 2002 Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Chateau le Nerf’ or some tough-twister name, you can just look for the number and say ‘Bin 312’ and they’ll know exactly what you mean and you don’t have to say it. If there’s not a bin number listed, you can also just look for one word that you know how to say. So maybe you don’t know any of those words but you know the vintage so you kind of point to it and say, ‘We’ll try this 2002, it should be pretty good.’ Just try to find any kind of common ground.”
Bam, there you have it gents. Act like you been there before with bin numbers, pointing gestures and vintage/year dropping.
Getting Started: The Stark Raving Collection and Sterling Vineyards
Lauren represents Diageo, and they have quite a few wine selections under their belt. The Stark Collection is a good place to start.
“In terms of recommendations from the Diageo portfolio, the Stark Raving lineup, to me is such an amazing lineup of wines because the wines are, first of all they’re just freakin’ delicious. The quality is really high, the packaging looks beautiful, so it’s definitely a wine that you could bring to a party or rollup to a BBQ with and not have any qualms about how the wine looks. The red blend from Stark Raving is a killer wine, as well as the Malbec. The Malbec is from Argentina, from the Malbec region. That’s also a really fantastic wine. In terms of white, the Sterling Vineyards Collection which is part of the Sterling Vineyards portfolio, has a wine called the Aromatic White which is fairly new out there and it’s a blend. It’s a white blend and as the name suggests. It’s got really strong aromas and it’s really a lovely kind of sipping wine on the palate that a lot of people tend to love so that’s a really great wine. Also from that portfolio, the Sauvignon Blanc is a really nice wine too. It’s light and clean and fresh and completely inoffensive in every single way but just really delicious.
So look at you, newly minted wine expert. You even have some specific selections to fall back on.
What’s in an Age: Understanding Vintages
Have you ever wondered if there’s a good rule of thumb about wine age?
“So here’s the good news on that question. Over 90% of all wines produced are not meant to be aged. It’s only the top tier of wine that we encounter that are either meant to be aged or can withstand aging, because there’s a couple of components when you look at aging a wine. Does it have the necessary structural elements to age? So then you get into all those geeky things like does it have enough tannin? Does it have enough acid? Is the concentration there? Does it have enough stuffing to be able to age? But then the other question is, is it worth aging? If I put this wine in my cellar or in my coat closet in a dark corner (which is a really great place to keep wine if you don’t have a cellar), if I keep this wine for five years and I open it five years later, is it going to be better? Is it actually worth aging it? So that’s the question, but like I said, the good news is that most wines are meant to be drunk upon release.”
So you’re new to this wine thing, man. Don’t worry too much about buying something that’s old enough or aging something to make it better. Just pick a wine that you like and enjoy it.
Open This Baby Up: Understanding Decanting
If you know wine connoisseurs, you’ve probably seen them decant wine before. Do all wines need to be decanted before being consumed?
“White wine, no. Sparkling wines, no. Red wines, sure. It’s not really necessary by any stretch again for the great majority of wine. The reason why you would want to decant a wine is that it’s super, super young. This could mean that the wine was just released, so it’s got like really high tannin, it’s really concentrated and you kind of want to open it up, so that’s why you would decant. The other reason why you would decant is if a wine is really old and it’s got lots of sediment and all kinds of things floating around in it. You’d want to decant to separate the particles from your glass because obviously nobody wants to drink a glass of wine that’s got tons of things floating around. Those are the two reasons but sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s about the show. It doesn’t really have to be just for quality. It can be just for the fun of it and just for the look of it. There’s no doubt that when you do extra things like this, it starts to make it feel more special.”
So if you want to show off and make it an experience, break out the decanter. Otherwise, just grab some glasses and get right to it.
Know Your Ingredients: What the Hell Is Tannin?
“Tannin is not just present in wine. It’s present in a lot of different foods. Basically tannin is responsible for a dry sensation on the gums and the mouth. The best way to encounter tannin, if you’re not sure exactly what it is, is to eat an unripe banana and you will get a full dose of tannin. You will never, ever, ever have to ask again what tannin means. And you’ll probably never, ever want to try that experiment again.”
In other words, it’s “an astringent, bitter plant polyphenolic compound that binds to and precipitates proteins and various other organic compounds including amino acids and alkaloids.” So there you go.
Know Your Ingredients: What the Hell Is Grenache?
When I went wine tasting, the only thing I took away from it (other than mo wine, mo cheese, please) is that I really liked Grenache. I wonder why that is?
“Grenache is a low tannin varietal that’s very intense and really fruity so we’re back to one of my very first comments which is people love wines that are soft, intense and fruity, that is Grenache to a tee, so that’s the reason why you like that wine and that’s the reason why Grenache is typically found in most Californian red blends because it adds that element of fruitiness and it’s just a really loveable, easy to appreciate grape and it translates in the wine. It’s just plain delicious!”
We talked about the friendly approachability of the red blends. Based on my extra-limited wine tasting experience, you can’t go wrong with a Grenache blend. Do it.
Going Green: The Fuss About Organic Wines
Wait, isn’t all wine organic? What’s all the fuss about?
“Well, that’s a really interesting question. It’s very similar to other food products in the way that the vineyards are farmed. So just like you could have organic strawberries that were grown without chemicals or pesticides or anything like that, the same thing can happen with vineyards which are basically grapevines. So they can be farmed conventionally, which is when the farmer has the ability to use any kind of fertilizer or chemical compound that’s allowed by law. When you talk about organic, again it’s very similar to other foods and other farming techniques. Organic would be minimal use of sulfur and all of the fertilizers and all of the protectants would be of an organic natural. So they wouldn’t be using pesticides, they’d be using things that are natural.”
Why So Serious: Just Have Fun
“Don’t get bogged down on the details. Wine is, at its core, it’s a social beverage. It’s meant to be enjoyed. It’s meant to be fun. So don’t think you have to know everything about it. The most important thing is just ask questions. Ask questions to the waiter who brought you the wine list, to the salesman who’s walking around in BevMo, just ask questions. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.”
Educating yourself is one thing, but you don’t have to trip if you’re not a wine snob. Stick to being snobby and dickish about single malt Scotch. That shit matters. Wine is a playful beverage. Just have a good time, dude!