lulu, hillsider companion

lulu, hillsider companion

Monday, December 15, 2014

MORE rain (lots of it), a really really really good barbera from boeger, and the annual return of a beer that you'll wish you had in your town

turns out that you should never wish for rain without being specific about how much rain you're talking about. we are, at present, bailing as hard as we can and hoping for a drying-out period. the sacramento river is out of its banks and all local streams and creeks are flooding. here on the hill, we've had more than 8 inches over the past 10 days. thank you, lord, but just a breather, please.

having said that, on to other stuff of importance: wine and beer. a couple of weeks back we wrote about a particularly good sauvignon blanc we'd just had, that being boeger's el dorado sb from the 2013 vintage. the wine is, in our opinion, excellent, and a classic example of what California sauvignon blanc ought to be. we've heard from several of you who have since enjoyed it themselves, and we're happy to say everyone seems to agree that it's a great bargain at $15, give or take. several days after that posting we got a heads-up from greg boeger regarding their el dorado barbera, in particular the gold-medal 2011 version, which I have somehow overlooked. I say somehow because I like good barbera, and usually scout them out pretty conscientiously, but I slipped up on this one. however, even though greg closed by saying that he wasn't sure I'd be able to locate the '11, but assuring me also that the 2012 is every bit as good a wine, I was lucky enough to find a couple of bottles of the '11 model at a local specialty-type deli/food market here in our little city. I bought them both, and I can report that the investment was a sound one (not always the case with me: see citibank). I intend to look for a few more bottles, and to pick up a couple of 2012s as well. the '11 wine is very deeply colored, highly-perfumed (bittersweet chocolate, tar, dried strawberries), and very complex on the palate; surprisingly so, in fact, barbera typically being viewed as a wine to drink fairly early and often. in fact, the wine is still developing, and will almost certainly get even better over the next couple of years. my advice is to try it for yourselves. and consider laying a bottle or two back for awhile; probably a good bet.

and, as long as we're on the subject of beverage alcohol, it's time to say "welcome back" to sierra nevada brewing's celebration ale. for those of you who may not know, celebration is their seasonal fresh-hop ipa, made from fresh-harvested cascade, chinook, and centennial hops every year about this time. it's fruity, citrus-spicy, and straightforward, and there are a lot of folks who look forward to seeing it hit the shelves each year, ourselves included. if you're a beer lover and you haven't tried it, you should.
in closing, and primarily for those of you engaged in the management of private clubs, it has suddenly dawned on me that the industry is very quickly moving in the direction of the corporate model, i.e. "management companies". this trend has certainly been developing at a fairly steady pace over the last 10 -to- 12 years, and for good reason, I believe, but it seems to me to be gaining momentum at a very rapid rate now. as I said, I believe that there is much to recommend the model, particularly in the case of clubs that struggle to maintain membership levels and therefore cash flow. my direct experience with a corporate operator has been brief and limited, but I came away from the experience both times with a substantial level of respect for what I had seen and heard, as well as most of the with whom people I had interacted. landscapes unlimited and ClubCorp are the two companies with which I have direct experience and, though very different in the scope of their operations, as well as the mechanics of how they conduct business, both are certainly class organizations with sound ethics and policies. more on this later. I would also be interested in input from anyone reading this who has direct experience of their own.
that's it for now. stay warm and dry.

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