Actually, let’s take those in reverse order.
Here’s the deal – I have a love/hate affair with organic wines. I love the fact that they’re organic and environmentally-friendly; I hate many of the wines because they’re not any good.
And I’m convinced that enough wine consumers have reached a similar conclusion that they actually avoid buying wines labeled as Organic, which is why many good wines that could be labeled as officially organic don’t bother to mention this on their labels (see Alder Yarrow’s take on the subject of Organic wine labeling).
It’s not all organic wines that suck, and there are many excellent, premium wines that farm organically or biodynamically. But the extreme cases have a loooooong way to go before they will appeal to the average consumer.
Take Stellar Organics for example. Amazing things they’re doing for the environment and their community. BUT… they make a line of ‘No Sulfites Added’ wines (essentially, the only sulfites in the wines are those produced naturally in the winemaking process), and the samples I tried of those wines just aren’t very good. To the mini-review tape:…
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Earlier this week, I could have had wine signed by Philadelphia Flyers bruising legend Dave “The Hammer” Schultz.
Dave’s wine, that is. The Hammer Chardonnay. Given Dave’s playing reputation as an enforcer, I’d hope that this Chard packs at least 14.5% abv and is an oak & fruit bomb that will knock you squarely on your ass after two glasses.
[ Editor’s note: I met The Hammer once. He’s a very big and imposing man and I want to make it very clear that I am not making fun of him. Thanks. ]
Dave’s wine is part of the NHL Alumni Signature Wine Series – wines that bear the picture and signatures of hockey greats like Gordie Howe (another Chard bottling), Wendell Clark (a Canadian-only Merlot) and Pat LaFontaine (a CA Cab) – the proceeds are divvied up among a few charitable causes:
“There are three charitable components to the NHL Alumni Signature Wine Series™ wine program. First, a portion of the proceeds from every bottle sold will be donated to the charity of each player’s choice. Second, each of the teams’ Alumni Associations will receive a portion of the proceeds to be further donated to the charities of their choice. Finally, a portion of the proceeds will also benefit the NHL Alumni Association’s “Hockey’s Greatest Family Fund” which helps bring together former players to support charitable causes, assist former players in life after hockey and generally promote the game of hockey.”
The wines are made by Ironstone Winery and distributed via MyWinesDirect. I haven’t tried them yet, and I’m not holding my breath over it, either – both Dave Schulz and Bobby Clarke are legends in Philly, but thanks to the Communist-like liquor sales setup in the Flyers’ home state, those living in PA won’t be able to have the wines shipped to them. Oh, the irony…
Personally, I view this as a logical guy response to Paris Hilton’s wine-in-a-can. What do you think about celebrity wine and the NHL series? Let’s hear it in the comments!
I recently received a press release from the Wine School of Philadelphia, with whom I’ve been discussing taking part in their Sommelier Smackdown event series (basically, in a Smackdown event the Wine School staff take on local wine personalities and wine pros in a contest to match up wines with dinner recipes, and usually much merriment / fun / smack-talk ensues).
So far, we haven’t been able to nail down a mutually available date, and both the Wine School of Phila. and I had been lax in following up to make it happen. Their recent press release helped to clear things up, though – turns out that the reason things have been delayed (and I am not making this up) is that they’ve been issued a cease and desist order on the Sommelier Smackdown event series – from World Wrestling Entertainment!
Vince McMahon Issues Smackdown Against Wine School
Philadelphia, PA. Vince McMahon is taking on his oddest foe to date: a sommelier wine tasting. The World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., has issued a cease and desist against The Wine School of Philadelphia and its popular “Sommelier Smackdown” series of wine classes.
In a letter to the school’s owner, the WWE’s lawyers are threatened legal action if the school does not stop hosting the series of wine tastings. “I feel kind of special,” says Keith Wallace, “I am being picked on by Vince McMahon. I better start working out.”
The Sommelier Smackdown is a series of food and wine pairing events that take place in Philadelphia. The event pits a sommelier against a member of The Wine School team, and the audience gets to vote for the winner.
Mr. Wallace says he will not stop running the classes, at least for now. “They don’t have a leg to stand on. I am not going to bow down to a bully,” he says. “They claim that they own the term “smackdown” but they don’t.”
In response to the WWE threat, Wallace is calling out Mr. McMahon and the wrestler Chris Jerico to a wine-tasting double-team cage match.
Keith Wallace is the Founder and Director of The Wine School of Philadelphia. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Beast, and is currently working on his first book for Running Press.
Oh, sure, use the old “I can’t go head-to-head with you today, I’m in legal action with the WWE” excuse. Cowards!
But seriously, I imagine that you are having the same reaction that I did – as in, WTF?!?!?!
Let’s just get one thing clearer than a Loire Muscadet Sevre et Maine right now: I am NOT getting into a throw-down, folding-chair-throwing cage match with anybody over wine pairings…especially Robert Parker, because that guy is big…