Posts Filed Under wine news
Just in time for the not-so-Super-Superbowl (or any party occasion during these last few brink winter weeks), Jason Whiteside, my partner in crime over at 2WineDudes, has written a great article about soul-warming big red wines that are perfect for staving off the nasty chill of Winter, for the current issue of Philly’s Main Line Magazine.
[ Just a bit about Jason, so you know why you should trust him when you read his stuff: Jason is a fellow CSW, was previously a Sommelier & Wine Consultant on the Dutch/French Island of St. Martin, and is part of the Wine Educator staff at ChaddsFord Winery. Like the Dude, Jason also holds the Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Wine & Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. He’s got bad-ass wine smarties. ]
Jason shares both bargain and splurge wine recommendations for each of the Big Red varietals that he features in the article, so you can put your newfound red knowledge to good use immediately (or at least before the weather warms up).
You can check out the article on-line here (go to page 108).
Welcome to the first edition of the Weekly Wine Web Wrap-up (W4..?), where Dude shares some of his favorite wine news bites from the past week (Dude spends
too much a goodly amount of time trolling the ‘net for interesting wine tidbits)!
Giant Wine Glasses Invade Britain
In this article from the International Herald Tribune, the Associated Press reports that Britain’s Parliament blames part of the country’s rising tide of problem drinking (particularly among women) on the growing portion size of common servings of alcoholic beverages, like wine. I’ve previously cautioned about the same thing (restaurant wine glass portion size, that is) for wine lovers to look out for when dieting.
Cult Cabernet Prices Aren’t the Only Wine Crime in CA
The Napa Valley register reported on what appears to be an inside job of high-end wine theft from Jackson Family (Kendall-Jackson) Wines in Sonoma County. The accused men reportedly made off with $200,000 worth of wines – presumably they were going to use that money to buy four bottles of Harlan…
If you follow wine on the web, you’d have been hard-pressed (ha-ha) to miss the less than stellar reviews of the latest wine-related film, Bottle Shock, about the famed “Judgment of Paris” event that put U.S. wine on the map as a serious contender in the international market. I suppose this film is meant to be the wine equivalent of Miracle, but it lacks the ass-kicking coolness of Big Trouble in Little China‘s Kurt Russel, and was therefore doomed from the start. Plus, this movie’s villains (the French) aren’t nearly as cool as Lo Pan.
Speaking of China…
According to Wines-Info.com, China is poised to be anything but little in terms of wine sales in 2008, as the market for wine consumption continues to grow in China and Russia. Hmm… let’s see… where have I heard this type of prediction before…? Oh, yeah, I’ve heard it from every industry in every year for the last 15 years, most of which have not really done bumpkis to penetrate the Chinese market. But I’m sure this one will be different, right?
Fight the Power!
Another Senate bill to challenge a state’s stupidly archaic wine shipping laws is coming up in New Mexico. If you’ve not checked out FreeTheGrapes.org and written your state legislators to let them know you want them to stop their evil ways… well, then shame on you!
Fight the Power! Part Deux
Michigan residents are once again upholding their fierce reputation by taking the wine shipping situation into their own hands. MLive.com reports that there is a thriving booze smuggling economy in the state, which presumably has grown as people increasingly try to bypass the state’s restrictive monopoly on alcohol sales. Dude never advocates illegal activity. But he might be contemplating a move to Michigan more seriously…
“I’m NOT Drunk Ociffer!”
File this one under the “We’ve all been there” department – the L.A. Times reports that the busloads of people hopping from wine tasting to wine tasting in CA’s wine regions are getting disruptive enough that many CA wineries are starting to institute stricter regulations on these booze cruises. Dude is all about having a good time, but an obnoxious wine-loving drunk is still an obnoxious drunk!
“Lovey, be a Darling and Pass the `82 Mouton, Would You?”
If you own your own island or 3rd world country, then you might be interested in this advice article in the New York Times, on the proper etiquette for tipping at a dinner when the final price tag on the check “is built from $600 of food and $1,000 of wine but the $1,000 comprises three bottles“. Whoa, such a dilemma… maybe you could just offer the server a weekend at your 14-room cottage in the outer Hebrides in lieu of a tip?
Just in time for St. Valentine’s day, the Wall Street Journal has a nice introductory treatise on dessert wines. Dude has a serious sweet tooth, and he loves him some dessert wine. If you’ve not ventured into the realm of higher-end sweet wines because you think that you prefer your wines dry, check this article out because it may convince you of the truth (that you’re cheating yourself out of some seriously good wine drinking, and that you’ve been drinking “dry” wines that actually have a fair amount of residual sugar in them…).
Cheers – and mind your shadow!
There’s a great little article by Janice Jones in today’s Sierra Sun about the rising tide of wine consumption in the U.S.
According to the article, the U.S. has surpassed Italy and is now on the heels of France to claim the title of the world’s largest consumers of wine by volume (at 2.77 gallons per wine drinker per year). Though I think Luxembourg still holds the title in terms of wine consumption per capita.
What is most interesting about the article is the picture it paints of just how vast our wine choices are here in the U.S. – 7,000 different brands (with the $20 and under category making up most of the market).
That’s just… HUGE!
How’s a wine consumer supposed to navigate that kind of territory?…
Janice offers some sound advice on this: keep track of what you’re drinking, so you can build up your ‘Wine IQ’ and form the vocabulary to accurately describe what tastes you like – and don’t like – in your wine. Preferably by using a notebook and writing down your wine experiences. Which is exactly what the Dude’s Wine Tasting Guide eBook. Yeee-haw – vindication!! ;-)
In a way, the Sierra Sun article underscores why I wrote the eBook in the first place – to help people better navigate the crazy (but utterly wonderful) wine by building their own personal wine taste ‘map’. Without that map, and considering the vast array of wine brands available, their multitude of styles, and the increasing ‘pressure’ to somehow get on board the rising wave of wine popularity in the U.S., you may find the journey into the world of wine so daunting that you never even take the first step.
And that would suck – because the journey is really an amazing one.
You may not guess it from the sky-high prices of the top Bordeaux chateaus (some fetching in excess of $1000 USD per bottle – and presumably on allocation to those who can afford their own islands), but the European wine market has been in trouble for a few years.
With labels that many international consumers find confusing, and laws that restrict varietals, winemaking conditions, grape production, and dictate what techniques can be used by winemakers, EU (aka “Old World”) producers have been searching for the magic formula that will allow them to better compete with their “New World” counterparts…
While many producers in the EU have strong ‘brands’ (mostly linked to the most famous of their chateaus), countries like the United States, Australia, Chile, and Canada have stronger marketing, cheaper land, and encourage more innovative vineyard and winemaking practices by having far fewer restrictions on their production. Which is why, in the cheaper wine department, these countries are taking the traditional EU wine countries to the cleaners in the marketplace – and cheaper, everyday wine is, by far, the largest volume of wine produced and sold in the world today. And now EU producers are getting handed their lunch as wine sales of producers in their own countries are falling as the onslaught of New World wine marketing hits their shores.
The stakes are not insignificant – wine has accounted for over 5% of the EU’s agricultural output, employing about 1.5 million people.
So, what can the EU do about it? Presumably, they can argue. EU farm ministers have proposed some progressive steps, but some countries still don’t want to play ball, and are stymieing the process. Which is a shame – those countries may wine the battle, but without some sort of compromise, can the EU hope to wine the wine War?
Updated Dec. 19 – Looks like the answer may be ‘Yes’ – see more details in the news here.