The Wine Curmudgeon celebrated a birthday this past weekend.
Not the Curmudgeon himself, Jeff Siegel, the Dallas-based wine columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, but the Wine Curmudgeon blog. Jeff started it a year ago, and it has become a daily read - and a daily delight - for me from the very beginning.
Jeff and I met three years ago on a wine junket to Chile. As we swirled, sniffed and spit our way through the Colchagua, Maipo, Aconchagua and Casablanca valleys, I came to appreciate Jeff's straight-shooting attitude about wine. He would cock his hat, and a skeptical eye, at any statement that smelt of pretense or marketing hype. Forget the shtick, just show him the wine. It better be good, and it better be cheap.
This honesty shows through in his daily posts on The Wine Curmudgeon. Jeff constantly searches for contenders to his $10 Wine Hall of Fame, and he throws literary darts at anyone who would try to convince us to pay more than a wine is worth. He even lampooned himself, describing the delightful travails of a wine writer who flits from lunch with a winemaker to two trade tastings and a wine education class in a (not-so-typical) day's work.
Jeff is also an untiring champion of local wines. He is probably the country's leading journalistic authority on Texas wines - I know, sound the trumpets! - and he was my co-instigator on DrinkLocalWine.com and "Regional Wine Week," last month's effort to gather wine writers and bloggers across the U.S. and Canada to write about wines "from around here." (It was a great success, Jeff tells me - he's much better at tracking Internet hits than I am.)
Jeff and I may never agree on the virtues of Norton, but we agree on a lot. Happy Birthday, Wine Curmudgeon! Here's to many more years of good reading!