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A picture is worth a thousand words…

I came across a photo archive of Elizabeth Taylor recently.  While it began with recent years and looked backward, I prefer to focus on the beautiful shots of her in the 60s…this one, in particular.  Not the ingenue or widow or aging starlet, but a confident, worldly woman, for whom there were...

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In Defense of Barbie

Posted by admin | Posted in currentVintage, Fashion, travel | Posted on 25-08-2009

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vintage+Barbieplaying+cardPoor Barbie.  Not only is she now 50, she seems to be the scapegoat for just about every problem a girl child could have related to self-image, self-confidence, the need for a boyfriend and the desire for breast implants.  They say if the 11.5” tall Barbie was produced to scale as an adult, she would be 5’9″ and her measurements would be 36-18-33.  Her shoe size would be a size 3.  That doesn’t sound terribly realistic, but so what? The Drifters have been singing about a 39-21-40 shape for 40+ years.


"Busy Barbie" 1972

Isn’t it possible to enjoy something without wanting it?  Can’t a kid play with a doll without wanting to be it? Isn’t the problem with our need to consume, with our need for perfection, with our pervasive envy and covetous ways?   Just because you like an ad for Kate Spade doesn’t mean you run out and buy everything Kate Spade–although, I do love an obsession…

My Barbie phase was fairly short-lived, but I still got a little thrill when I came across a photo of the Quick-curl Barbie in her pink & white checked maxi dress.  I had a Barbie town house, and a Ken and Francie.  But what I remember most was my neighbor’s hot pink velvet Barbie coat.  I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life.  It didn’t help that said neighbor girl’s Mother had a pair of grown-up modern velvet chairs in the same shade of Barbie pink.  That fixation has lead me to several pink velvet vintage coats through the years—and eventually led me back to the chairs.  Twenty years later, I called up Mrs. Neighbor out of the blue and asked her if she still had the velvet Barbie chairs.  She thought it was hilarious and eventually sold them to me.  They now reside in my store, currentVintage.

Life-changing Barbie Coat

Life-changing Barbie Coat

I hope kids don’t grow up to be mass consumers, shop at malls, eat processed foods and buy disposable clothing from Old Navy and the Gap, but I certainly don’t think Barbie is the problem just because Barbie is pretty and Barbie clothes are fun.  If Barbie is critiqued as a role model, kids could do a lot a worse than one with good posture, clean hair, that loves animals and has run for President twice.  I think the real issues are not whether she wears nail polish, but whether it’s organic.  Not that she is plastic, but why so many toys end up in our landfills.  Not that she is perversely proportioned, but how parents accept the way they look.  Choose your battles carefully;  Barbie has served in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Our problems are a lot bigger than Barbie, although, when reading up on Barbie, I came across some pretty impressive stats.  In so many ways, Barbie is larger-than-life…

Homeless Barbies

Homeless Barbies

Some Barbie facts…

*Mattel is considered one of the largest apparel manufacturers in the world and has used around 105 million yards of fabric to dress Barbie.

*Neé Barbara Millicent Roberts, the first Barbie was launched in 1959

*Barbie’s hair is made up of seven shades of blonde, woven together to get that perfect golden look.

*Ninety percent of little girls in the U.S. (ages 3 to 10) own at least one Barbie.

*There are about 8 million Barbie collectors worldwide, most in their 40s.

*Every second a Barbie is sold, amounting to nearly 2 billion a year from over 150 countries.

*An original 1959 Barbie sold for $27500

*If all the Barbie dolls that have been sold since their introduction in 1959 were laid head to toe, they would circle the world seven times (can’t verify the math on that one)

*The Best-selling Barbie model ever was wearing a Pucci-inspired minidress and had hair to her ankles in 1992.

Watch “The making of a Barbie” & original “Welcome to the Dreamhouse” commercial


Barbie as art…

Barbie Art

MCHOW "ARMS" Barbie Art

*There is a Barbie Museum in a Union City, CA Industrial Park themed on the 1963 Barbie Goes to College soda shop and the 1964 Barbie Fashion Show play set.  It includes more than 2,500 vintage and new dolls.

*Situated in the Old Count’s Chambers of Prague Castle is the Prague Toy Museum, which houses a huge collection of old and new Barbie Dolls.

Prague's Toy Museum

Prague's Toy Museum

*The Museum of Play in Rochester (Strong Museum), has over 1500 Barbies.

*There is a Netherlands Barbiepoppen online museum

* David Levinthal’s 1998 Barbie Polaroids sell for about $12,500 each.

Very cool “Modern Barbies” Art:

The Barbie-haters…


The original Barbie, based on an "Adult" German doll

*San Francisco hosts an annual AlteredBarbie convention

*There is a Barbie-in-a-blender Day sponsored by barbieinablender.org

*Barbie is banned in Iran

Watch “Psycho Barbie”:


Check out the currentVintage newsletter featuring more great Barbie pics and trivia, plus wine and vintage fashion!

currentVintage Newsletter:  Barbie is 50 Edition

Cool & Cult-Worthy: Betts & Scholl

Posted by admin | Posted in currentVintage, Nantucket, travel, Wine | Posted on 18-08-2009

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We have been using the term “cult wine” a lot lately at currentVintage. That is risky business, because at any given moment, we might be asked to define “cult wine”, which is somewhat abstract–and more than a little bit controversial. Allocated. Highly-rated. WAITING LIST. These are terms often associated with cult-status wines. To some, that makes them more appealing. To others, a complete buzz-kill.

In this blog last week, I paid tribute to “The Two Garys” and, in doing so, referred to them as cult winemakers. I don’t think there is much to dispute there. Whether or not you like cult wines or buy them or think that they should or should not exist, the fact remains, that, some wines have a cult-like following, usually because of what’s in the bottle. Pisoni and ROAR are definitely in that club.
However, for the purposes of our store and this blog, we should be clear that some wines are considered cult wines because the world says they are and some wines are cult wines because I say they are.
In my world, cult-worthy includes Betts & Scholl.

Richard Betts & Dennis Scholl

Richard Betts is a Master Sommelier and the architect of the Wine Spectator Grand Award-status wine list at the Little Nell in Aspen, CO. I have been a fan of his for a long time, having seen and read glimpses of him over the last 10 years. He is not just knowledgeable and talented, but he has the natural charm and charisma that make him a great TV personality and of course, now easy to idolize as a winemaker.

In 2001, Richard partnered with Dennis Scholl, a Miami-based art collector, real estate mogul & card shark, and the two decided to make wine—in Australia. They started with Grenache and Riesling, and after much critical acclaim, moved on to Hermitage!

Everything about these guys is cool. Richard Betts is definitely a rock star of wine, but how about Dennis Scholl? There is something really endearing about a card counting math geek-cum-real estate tycoon who loves art? He is so passionate about modern art that he has commissioned seven different established and emerging artists to create the labels for the Betts & Scholl wines.  As he says, a wine label is like a record cover—you want it to stand out.  And they do—these labels are captivating and interesting, much like their contents. The Riesling is fruity and Vibrant with a capital V.  The O.G. Grenache, I truly loved; velvety & luxe. Full, yet elegant. Rich fruit, totally sexy.

Fun. Interesting. Different. Creative. Adventurous. Sexy.
Small-production. High & Lo. Rock Star & Geek.
Do you see why Betts & Scholl figures in my world of cult-worthy wines?

And currentVintage has them exclusively on Nantucket….

Richard Betts on PlumTV

Betts & Scholl Launch Party on PlumTV

Richard Betts on winetastetv.com

Betts & Scholl Riesling label

Betts & Scholl Riesling label from a still from Isaac Julien's film True North

Riesling Eden Valley 2008
Light, crisp and beautifully focused, with cantaloupe, papaya and lime flavors that bounce easily across the palate and into the long, fragrant finish. Subtle and absolutely enticing. Drink now through 2016. 250 cases imported. 92pts–HS (WS)

Betts & Scholl OG label

Betts & Scholl OG label by Anna Gaskell

Grenache Barossa Valley “The O.G.” 2006
Velvety, round and remarkably transparent, with raspberry, cherry and dusky spice flavors competing for attention as the flavors sail through the long finish, framed with fine-grained tannins. Drink now through 2013. 900 cases made. 90pts–HS (WS)

Betts & Scholl Hermitage Blanc label by Mark Grotjahn

Betts & Scholl Hermitage Blanc label by Mark Grotjahn

2005 Hermitage Blanc

Ripe and showy, but with good underlying grip to the dried papaya, creamed peach, fig, yellow apple and brioche notes. The long, juicy finish has a nice gilding of toast. Drink now through 2013. 400 cases made. 93pts –JM (WS)

Betts & Scholl Hermitage Label

Betts & Scholl Hermitage Label

2005 Hermitage Rouge

Very juicy, with lots of fig, currant paste and crushed plum fruit flavors that race ahead of dark tar, licorice and bittersweet cocoa notes. The long, toasty finish has plenty of grip. Best from 2010 through 2017. 425 cases made. 92 pts –JM (WS)

Cult pinot Noir: Two Garys

Posted by admin | Posted in currentVintage, Nantucket, travel, Wine | Posted on 11-08-2009

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2 Garys

2 Garys

Two Garys, One Garys’ Vineyard

In short, Gary and Gary are childhood friends.  Together, they manage Garys’ Vineyard.  Gary F. is married to Rosella and they own Rosella’s Vineyard  and makes ROAR wines.  Gary P. owns Pisoni Vineyards and makes Pisoni Estate Wines.  The fine-print to follow explains how they got into farming the unfriendly terrain of the Santa Lucia Highlands (before it was popular) and the incredible success they have enjoyed from their skill and perseverance. They make cult wines.

2 Garys Flow Chart

2 Garys Flow Chart

What makes a wine a “cult” wine?  Before all the mailing lists and allocations and press come into play, there have to be great grapes and then really good wine.  The two Garys, Gary Franscioni and Gary Pisoni, understand these fundamentals, and that has propelled them to “Cult Status” in the world of pinot noir.

Both have families that have been in the Santa Lucia Highlands farming business for generations.  Each eventually turned his focus to viticulture;  Pisoni Vineyard was planted in 1982(!),  Rosells’a in 1996, and Garys’ in 1997.   All are among the most celebrated and coveted in California.

2006 Pisoni Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands

Only 687 cases made.

Have you ever been to a $250 lettuce tasting?
Winegrower Gary Pisoni comes from generations of farmers who tended row crops long before he was born. Pisoni had enjoyed drinking and collecting French wines while in college and was eager to find a way into the wine business. When he told his father he wanted to plant grapevines on the family cattle ranch in the Santa Lucia Highlands, he was met with several objections, not the least of which was the cost. Gary countered to his father, “Have you ever been to a $250 lettuce tasting?” His father relented and a legendary vineyard was born in 1982. Gary’s positive energy has made him a household name among Pinot circles.

Gary planted his own-rooted vines in virgin soil. It took ten years  and six tries of witchers and well drillers to tap into a water source and make Gary’s dream come true. The original vines are rumored to be from suitcase cuttings from a famous domaine in Vosne-Romanee, hence called the Pisoni clone.

Pisoni fruit is highly highly prized in California. Designated as one of the world’s top 10 vineyards and one of America’s 5 Grand Crus, Pisoni Vineyard put Santa Lucia Highlands on the map. Following the traditional Burgundian model, three generations of the Pisoni family grow premium grapes, selling to top artisan producers of vineyard-designated wines—Arcadian, Capiaux, Morgan, Patz & Hall, Peter Michael, Siduri, Tantara, and Testarossa among them—and retaining a small percentage to produce one single Pisoni Estate wine, which saw its first vintage in 1998.
Gary Pisoni and his family have never wavered in their belief that Pinot Noir is the greatest red varietal on the planet and that the slopes of the Santa Lucia Highlands in the cool northern climes of California’s Monterey County are the best place to grow Pinot Noir. His family’s intense obsession with growing the world’s best Pinot Noir shows in every bottle from their unique vineyard.

“A fabulous effort from the irrepressible Gary Pisoni, this deep ruby/purple-hued 2006 exhibits a sensational perfume of spring flowers, forest floor, black raspberries, even blacker berries, and hints of smoke as well as earth. A sensational texture, full-bodied mouthfeel, and no sense of heaviness suggest this well-structured, moderately tannic wine will last for at least a decade.” Robert Parker 95+.  $100 bt at currentVintage.


Only 818 cs made.

In part because so many fine and dedicated producers use the grapes from Rosella’s Vineyard and in part because those grapes are especially tasty, this property owned by Gary and Rosella Franscioni has produced more great bottlings of Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot noir in the past few years than any other location in California! Roar is the Franscioni’s own label and their roots in the Santa Lucia Highlands are quite deep. The Franscionis both grew up in California’s agricultural heartland; Gary and his family before him have farmed their vineyard property for over 100 years. Gary took over the running of the 200 acre family farm business and recognized the region’s potential for premium wine grapes, planting the Rosella’s Vineyard in 1996. In 2001, the Franscionis partnered with good friends (and longtime customers) Adam & Dianna Lee of Siduri Wines agreed to collaborate on the making of ROAR WINES. Their collective goal is to make small lots of wine that are a pure reflection of the Santa Lucia Highlands. The name ROAR comes from the sound of the coastal winds that define the region and the roar of the mountain creeks that bisect the rocky, well-drained soils of our vineyards. $65 at currentVintage.

2007 Siduri Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir

Only 730 cases made.

The 2007 Siduri Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir ended up being a blend of 40% Clone 777, 20% Pisoni Selection, 20% Pommard, and 20% 828 Clone. Whole clusters on both the Pisoni Selection and the Pommard are used and fermented with primarily indigenous yeasts. They bled off approximately 10% of the juice from each of the fermentors in hopes of concentrating the must.  The Lees believe this is their best “Rosella’s” pinot noir to date.

“Supple and engaging, with ripe, generous plum, black cherry, mineral, spice and subtle cedary oak nuances. This full-bodied Pinot possesses depth, concentration and complexity, with excellent balance and length. Drink now through 2015.” WS 93.  $52 at currentVintage.

2005 Loring Wine Company “Rosella’s Vineyard” Pinot Noir

Only 825 cases made.

Brian Loring is obsessed with Pinot Noir.   After years of loving Burgundies, he discovered Calera (and Williams Selyem, et al) and fell in love with California pinot noir.  He then met Norm Beko from Cottonwood Canyon at an Orange County Wine Society tasting, participated in his first wine crush, and ended up making two barrels of Pinot Noir from which he started the Loring Wine Company. What had been a dream for 15 years was now a reality: he was a winemaker–and he has been a highly acclaimed one since the start!

This medium-bodied Pinot made by Loring Wine Co shows plenty of sweet and sour cherry, strawberry, plum, earth, and herb characteristics. For the Santa Lucia highlands, the 2005 vintage was one of the coolest in the past decade. Yields turned out larger than expected as the clusters kept putting on weight even late into the season – which is very unusual. These two factors combined to create a vintage of lighter style, more elegant, lower alcohol wines. Because of their higher tannins and acid content, these wines will probably be some of the longest-lived wines Loring has ever made: they may hold up for 6-7 years..

“Bright, full red. Complex nose melds raspberry, smoke, earth, cocoa powder and spices.Rich, broad and suave, with lovely brightness to its tangy raspberry and spice flavors.Here, too, one gets a sense of Burgundian spice and lift. Finishes with lovely persistence and energy. This would be a good answer to those who don’t believe that pinot noir in this area can be sufficiently ripe below 14% alcohol.” ST 91 points

“An elegant style, showing a measure of restraint and subtlety, with vivid black cherry, nutmeg and a hint of boysenberry fruit emerging on the finish. Drink now through 2010.” WS 90. $75 at currentVintage.

The White Party

Posted by admin | Posted in currentVintage, Events, Fashion, Nantucket, Vintage | Posted on 04-08-2009

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August began on Sunday, the 2nd at the Triple Eight “White Party” at the Summer House Pool. Cocktails, lawn chairs and beautiful people in all white completed the ultimate setting. That might have been enough for the perfect August Sunday afternoon, but we threw in a fashion show on the lawn by currentVintage and Cheryl Fudge and it became stellar.

Beautiful People

Beautiful People

The White Party

The White Party

molly  & deb 888 White Party

molly & deb 888 White Party

Cheryl Fudge & co at 888 White Party

Cheryl Fudge & co at 888 White Party

Elisabeth of currentVintage at Triple Eight White Party

Elisabeth of currentVintage at Triple Eight White Party

O'Neill at the White Party

O'Neill at the White Party

The Triple Eight White Party

The Triple Eight White Party

Chad Pierre

Chad Pierre