The Editor Writes
The Editor Writes
Since the 20th anniversary of Momentum is coming in August I'm interested in knowing what your favorite pieces from past issues have been. If there's enough response I'll put the top picks into an anniversary issue.
Speaking of features, it would be great to have more locally produced
submissions. I'm sure that most of you have at least one hobby or fascination that you
could share with your fellow Mensans.
For 19 percent of you the answer to the question on this month's cover is "Yes." For some, the issue is procrastination or absent-mindedness. For the others I have a question. Why did you decide not to renew? Though our lapse rate is very close to the national average, an improvement over last year, I'm interested in what is behind the numbers.
The Assistant National Service of Information, Guidance and Hospitality to Travelers (SIGHT) Coordinator recently contacted me requesting nominations for New Hampshire SIGHT Coordinator. Though it sounds like a local position, this volunteer is appointed from the national level. Let me know if you're interested.
At the local level we still have opportunities to help. In addition to the open offices on the back cover we need a Hospitality Chair and Volunteer Coordinator for the 2002 RG. Contact me about the group offices and Sue Barnes about the RG positions.
Last month I asked for opinions on the new test score non-reporting policy adopted by the AMC in March. The result is 100% against the new policy. Two alternatives were proposed by respondents.
One suggestion is to have qualified persons (in the meaning of states' laws) proctor the tests. Since this might require hiring licensed professionals it could get expensive.
The other idea is to restrict score reporting only where required by law. This is the same conclusion that I came to when I saw the new policy. With a few lines of computer code we can conform to legal requirements in the restrictive states and still report scores across most of the country.
In very late breaking news, the AMC is still working on this issue. Stay tuned.
Paws for Reflection
Ah yes, the wonderful month of June. The time when teachers' start planning for summer vacation and thoughts of travel enter the mind. Wait a minute! I'm retired. I can think about traveling and vacation anytime. Actually, I can't as I've taken a job teaching students who want to qualify for their Graduate Equivalency Diploma. Luckily, one of the fantastic perks of this job is that I can cancel class whenever I get the urge to wander. Here are some destinations that are well worth considering. Hopefully, gasoline prices will go down enough to make traveling financially feasible.
July 3-8 in Dallas, Texas. If you want to stay at the Hotel InterContinental, you'd better make your reservations quickly. There phone number is 972/386-6000 and the room rate is $103. Registration is $75 and can be sent to American Mensa.
Balloons over Binghamton
Mensa of the Southern Tier is celebrating the return of Balloons over Binghamton August 3rd 5th. Registration is only $45 until July 30th. It will be held at the Holiday Inn Arena, which has a room rate of $79 for single and double rooms. The phone number is 607-722-1212. Mail your registration to Ellen Shaw at 5 Riverside Dr. #411. Binghamton, NY 13905. Her e-mail address is Ellenshaw1@Juno.com. For those of us who enjoy hot air balloons the festival site is only a few minutes away from the hotel. We might actually be able to see some balloons without getting up at ungodly hours.
Mid-Hudson's Reality Gathering
Can you survive a weekend at the Ashokan Field Campus of SUNY NewPaltz? This gathering is quite different from others as its all-inclusive price of $129 includes 6meals, (prepared by a CIA graduate), as well as sleeping accommodations in the bunkhouses. Of course if you want to sleep in tents that's fine with us if you bring your own. Yes, we do have indoor plumbing! Dates are from Sept 7th 9th. Contact registrar Bill Zigo at 194 Roosevelt Road, Hyde Park, 12538 NY.
I'm pleased to report that two Region 1 groups have been nominated for PRP awards. Mid-Mensan has been nominated for 8 awards (Bill Zigo editor) and Empire (Paul Baxter editor) has been nominated for 2. Now, may I have the envelope please? Oh, they'll be announced at the AG so we'll have to wait.
Good Wine Cheap (Kind'a sez it all)
This month we will continue to explore some of the more affordable wines of France. As a follow up to a reader question we were asked to explain some of the potentially confusing nomenclature found on the French wine bottles. The first term is "appellation controllee". This in French means "controlled place name" and is the legally authorized name for a vineyard, wine producing village or wine region. Wine production is closely regulated in France in order to protect the wine industry. To maintain the "AC" designation, the wine producers have to follow a series of laws that specify yield per acre, approved grape varieties and per cent of alcohol. Yield per acre is one of the crucial factors in enforcing wine quality. The intensity and concentration of taste and nutrients in the grape juice is generally increased by decreasing the yield per acre and per vine.
The other term to define is "cotes". This is derived from the French word for slope, "coteaux", where vineyards are frequently found. It is often used to designate a wine area such as Cotes du Rhone.
One of the best sources of good wine relatively cheap is in the Rhone Valley in the Midi Region in the South of France. The Rhone Valley produces a number of famous wines. These include Cotes-Rotie, Chateauneuf du Pape and Hermitage. Unfortunately demand for these wines over the past two decades has pushed these wines well beyond our $10 a bottle price criteria. The Southern part of the Rhone Valley near Avignon, however, is a tremendous source of lower priced wines.
For affordability, the wines to look for have the regional appellations "Cotes du Rhone" or "Cotes du Rhone Villages" and two smaller areas within the Rhone Valley with their own designation, Cotes du Ventoux and Cotes du Luberon. These red wines are made primarily from the Grenache grape blended to various degrees with Syrah, Mouvedre and Cinsault. Two of the most dependable wines in the $6 to $7 range are the Cotes du Rhones from Georges DuBoeuf, 1998 and Chateau D'Aigueville, 1999. These are great everyday wines with a pleasant fruit and smoothness. Two wines from the Cotes du Ventoux are within this same price range. These are Georges DuBoeuf 1997 and La Vieille Ferme 1999. These two wines are a bit lighter bodied than the Cotes du Rhones but have a more pronounced berry nose and flavor. These wines can be found at stores commonly through the Northeast.
As an alternative, we have a wine in the $9 to $10 range. This wine is for when Mom comes by for dinner; and, you want to make sure that she keeps you in her will. This is "Parallele 45" a 1998 Cotes du Rhone by Paul Jaboulet Aine. This wine is a real step up in quality and was rated as one of the best buys for 2000 by Wine Enthusiast magazine. I found that it had a very distinct nose including the aroma of cherries and new leather. The taste continued to be dominated by cherries and a bit of raspberry with a warm smoothness over the palate.
As far as food pairings the red Rhone wines are more versatile than the Beaujolais we reviewed last month. These wines with their intense fruit go well with grilled meats, pasta, cheese, roasted chicken and Mediterranean cuisine. These wines should be served and stored at cellar temperature, about 55 to 60 degrees.
This month we have a recommendation from the readership. Tina from Western New York is very enthusiastic about the 1999 Gewurtztraminer from Wagner Vineyards in the Finger Lakes. Tina, always the technician, describes this fruity white as "YUM".
Remember, Grover's first rule of acquisition is to buy by the case. I hope that you will contact me with your comments and favorite wines at email@example.com. I will be happy to share them with the broader Mensa group.
John Grover is a member of Mensa of Northeastern New York. He lives with his
wife Sharon in Kinderhook, New York.
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