The current food-obsessed climate may prize terroir in everything, from beef to coffee to olive oil, but winemakers aren’t new to the game — they’ve been sniffing the soil and praying to the grape gods for centuries. Wine at its best is spiritually, ritually, and tribally connected to a place, and knowing the major wine regions provides some basic insight with which we can approach the wine aisle or pick a bottle at a restaurant. Here’s our guide to the 10 essential wine regions of the world.
Know Your Terroir, Love Your Terroir
Cream of the Cropless
A fair amount of people in this country drink gluten-free by necessity, and that’s not even counting those who do it by choice. But when you tinker with malt, one of the four main ingredients in beer and the one that activates the autoimmune response in those with celiac disease, does the resulting product still taste like beer? And if so, how does it hold up against more traditional counterparts? To find out, we put ten gluten-free beers to a blind taste test.
A boutique hotel in SoHo, NYC
Like other cosmopolitan cities with a rich history, New York has as many layers as the Yemeni dessert Bint Al Sahn, as many nuances as Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulations, the subtleties of a Montrachet. In other words: it’s difficult to navigate. The difference between a quiet morning of coffee and pastry or getting steamrolled by a group of shopping teens could be one block. And that’s why you’ll want to know about The Broome, a boutique hotel in a SoHo brownstone.
Welcome to the Jungle
Ka’ana is a boutique resort, but rather than catering to those who like to sit by a pool all day with umbrella drinks, it encourages its guests to leave every day. Don’t get us wrong, there is a pool, and if you want an umbrella drink, it can be arranged. But Belize is a country ripe for adventure, and Ka’ana wants to be your (very luxurious) base camp.
A caving expedition in Belize
We’d been underground for five hours, as deep as 600 feet below the surface of the jungle in a cave the Belizeans call the Mountain Cow Cave. The cavern has been rebranded for tourists as the more picturesque-sounding Crystal Cave, though few tourists make it here. Unlike the more famous and accessible Actun Tunichil Muchnal cave, which sees thousands of visitors per year, Crystal Cave only sees a few hundred, most only peeking into its impressive foyer. I could see why. It was not for the faint of heart.
Think Globally, Drink Locally
One of the sublime joys of a tropical vacation is the beer. I’m not talking about anything you can find at your corner liquor store in Manhattan (Kansas or New York), or even those Mexican imports with the clever TV ads. I’m talking about the ones that come in brown bottles with peeling labels and caps that you knock off on the edge of a table, beers with names like Belikin, Polar, Banks, Sands, Sol, Belashi, Kalik or Three Coins.
An Offshore Account
After a long and fairly uneventful dive on an unnamed reef out in South Water Caye, I clambered aboard Splash Belize’s dive boat, shed tanks and weights and stripped off my wetsuit. The big diesels rumbled to life and Captain Malcolm steered toward a small island in the distance. As we drew closer, I could make out a few small panga boats and some activity on the beach. Then came a distinctive smell: barbecue.
America, as a whole, hates station wagons. But instead of despising the wood paneling, the center-of-gravity elevating roof loads and the smell of cheap vinyl seats, we should be clinging to every bit of wagon-dom that we can — who knows how much longer they’ll be around? Fortunately for history’s sake, they’ve made their mark in a handful of great movies and TV shows, not just as family haulers but as quick and capable chase vehicles and hero (and antihero) steeds of choice.
The Road is Life
From the Archives: With age comes the ability to do a long highway cruise better than we ever could as a youngster. Summer’s right around the corner, so we’ve compiled above all the gear you’ll need to make new memories on the road. Get what you need and hit the road, Jack. Grab the wheel and point it west, take a buddy and leave the rest.
Climbing Mountains Beyond Mountains
Despite Haiti’s reputation for danger, it’s a beautiful and inspiring country for the intrepid traveler. Although tourism in the country has been slow to rebound since the devastating 2010 earthquake, Haiti offers an opportunity for those with the right set of skills to get involved with humanitarian work while seeing an infrequently visited part of the world. During our recent visit, we got by on Pepto and grit, and a few other things besides: we found all of the above useful, if not downright necessary.
Big Races, Fat Bikes
Fat bike races are a great tool for carrying fitness into the winter, building your base for the coming year, or letting out your inner nutso cyclist. During some of the longer hauls, riders should expect to carry everything from sleeping bags and tents to locator beacons and cooking infrastructure. Just a few years ago your race options were limited, but the rapid growth in the category has created a number of race options and formats to choose from. Here are some of our favorites.
The Iditarod, by Bicycle.
The Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI) is the world’s longest winter ultramarathon by mountain bike, foot and ski. It follows the historic Iditarod Trail from Knik, AK, over the Alaska Range to McGrath and on to Nome. If you like to run and ride in severe winter conditions and sleep outside in the frozen tundra, then this is the race for you.
Because their flavor profiles range from hearty to downright bacon-filled savoriness, Rauchbiers — especially smoked porters — are the perfect winter beer, sipped alone or paired with charred meats. Crack one of these five in your living room in front of a roaring fire; if you don’t have a fireplace, it won’t be hard to imagine one.
Raising the Bar
As a greater number of athletes experiment with more natural fuel sources, nutrition bars have followed suit with ingredients heavy on nuts, berries, dates, chia seeds and agave syrup. Many are organic and gluten-free. The result is a better bar for athletes, one easier to digest than ever before. Here are a handful we’re eating now.
The Mountain Series ~ Part I of III
From the Archives: The rotor wash from a Bell 212 helicopter is startlingly strong. Though I was getting used to the pick up and drop off routine — kneel, huddle together, cover your face — every time the helicopter landed I was nearly blown off my feet. Peering out the side window as we lifted straight up from a postage-stamp-sized rock atop a peak called “Kickoff”, I noticed that getting blown over here would have meant a very long fall. Note to self: don’t be the guy at the back of the huddle.
60, 61, 75, 90, 120, Floor
Though Dogfish Head currently produces 33 beers, 65 percent of their sales come from their five “continuously hopped” IPAs — the 60, Sixty-One, 75, 90 and 120 Minute. We tasted them all, in numerical order, and learned much more about Dogfish Head, and craft beer in general, than we expected.
Love Knows No Boundaries
The argument has sound logic: your wife was technically on vacation when she came along to provide support during your last attempt at Leadville. She used up her vacation time, after all, and you did book a couples massage. But there’s nothing romantic or decent about compression socks and 3 a.m. wake-up calls. You’ve got to take a real vacation. We’ve got three suggestions for romantic destinations that may not have been on your list.
Insight from our man on the ground
I’m in Sochi this week, and guess what? I haven’t been blown up, my phone hasn’t been hacked, my hotel room is quite nice and the water from the taps isn’t brown. Instead I’ve seen some amazing athletes doing some amazing things on the ice and snow and had my preconceptions sincerely rattled.
The Fat Kid's Guide to Decent Snacking
Decrying the snack a week after the Super Bowl might seem heretical, but look: if you don’t stop your addictions to croissants or lard-chips or the ungodly delicious class of “puffed” snacks, one of these days you’re going to need a triple bypass, and there’s no use blaming genetics. So rather than even considering cutting down or stopping entirely, I’ve decided to head off cholesterol at the pass with some healthier snacking alternatives. Be strong, friend.
Low Hanging Fruit
For anyone uncomfortable with pills, powders, shots and gels, Mother Nature offers an alternative way to stay healthy this winter. We’re talking berries, those tart little packets of juicy goodness. But beware: not all berries are created equal, and some go together better than others. Our resident fruitarian breaks down some of the most popular options.
A Dram of Tam
Founded in 1923, Cutty Sark originally made a name for itself by offering an accessibly priced blended cocktail Scotch. By the 1960s, Cutty Sark produced the best-selling Scotch whisky in the United States; then it disappeared. In 2010, The Edrington Group bought Cutty with hopes of reviving the dying brand. The brand’s new line now consists of six whiskies, three of which are available in the United States.
To Russia We Fly
Packing for a trip to Russia for the Sochi Olympics is no small feat. There’s weather, international travel, technology and a desire to stay light on our feet to consider. Gear needs to be tough, functional, lightweight and understated. Here’s a sampling of what we’re packing to use on a normal day in Sochi.
Go, Speed, Go!
One of the most iconic cars the world has ever seen doesn’t even exist. It’s sleek, has a three-pointed front end, a huge red M emblazoned on the hood, myriad gadgets like saw blades and a periscope and sometimes has a little kid and a crazy chimpanzee in the trunk. It’s Speed Racer’s Mach 5, and both the car and its super-skinny driver made an indelible impression on me as a boy. More than candy and snow days, I longed for the next episode of Speed Racer with its high drama, fast cars and peril on and off the track.
You might think: packing for the Sundance Film Festival, all I need are my spectacles, some comfy corduroys and a family box of Goobers chocolate-coated peanuts. That might be fine if you’re heading to Smitty’s Cinema in Tilton, NH, to watch That Awkward Moment with your friend Dennis, but not for America’s premiere independent film festival. This is Sundance, baby. This is A-list. This is Redford country. We had boots on the ground this year, and we packed to work remotely, hit Main Street in (relative) style and take the edge off back at the condo.
Precious metals, mountain gem
Park City’s reputation as a winter resort is outsized: It was the home of skiing and snowboarding events during the 2002 Winter Olympics in nearby Salt Lake City; it remains the training grounds for the United States Ski Team; and it plays host to the Sundance Film Festival. We came for the latter, but we found an idyllic mountain town where the sun shines almost every day, an unironic trolley rambles along Main Street and beautiful women wear leggings and fur vests. Need a little help planning a long weekend there? We’ve got you covered.
Nurture Your Independent Streak
Scan the news coming from the movers and shakers in the movie press, and you’ll be sure Sundance 2014 was a bust. Money (surprise!) is apparently the new measuring stick for the festival. We can thank the Little Miss Sunshine VW bandwagon for that. It’s true that studios and Weinsteins of the world kept their wallets generally cheekside — who isn’t these days — but plenty of standout films were still shared with audiences throughout the week in Park City. Of the 121 in the lineup, here are some standouts worth hunting down in 2014.
Seeking the Reel Deal
This year was the 30th anniversary of the Sundance Film Festival, when Park City, UT, becomes the center of the celluloid universe and nearly 50,000 people descend on a mountain town of 7,500 inhabitants. Sundance is widely considered the most important film festival in the U.S., the incubator for films that resonate deeply in American popular culture. What’s more, the festival makes for a raucous week in the Wasatch Range. We were on hand this year to see how it all works. Here’s our guide on where to stay, what to eat and, most importantly, how to go about your festival week.
Be Safe and Have Fun
You’re going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and you’re going to be fine. Still, you should always reduce risk. The following tips minimize your exposure to terrorist activity and will also offer protection against criminal elements during your stay.
Because You Can't Bobsled 24/7
When the Winter Olympics kick off on February 7th, we’ll have a correspondent on the ground, leaving the rest of us at the GP HQ to wonder why we can’t take a week off to watch sports, while the weather in Russia — Russia! — is warmer than New York City. We’re not bitter. In fact, to keep him safe, entertained and entirely prepared we’ve put together a quick pocket guide to Sochi.
Blowing $25 million at the 30th anniversary of the Breeders' Cup
Ask any casual fan what the Superbowl of horse racing is and they’ll answer the Kentucky Derby. Pose the same question to a member of the horse racing community and they’ll quickly point to the Breeders’ Cup. Deciding who’s right depends on the measuring stick. History, attendance records and cultural recognition easily favor the Derby. But when it comes to cold hard cash, the Breeders’ Cup is clearly king.
We were invited to experience the scene for ourselves during the 30th anniversary of the lauded event at historic Santa Anita park, California’s oldest race track.