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The Single Most Important Piece Of Wine News In Decades Is…

Vinted on December 5, 2011 binned in wine news

This.

No, I’m not kidding.

The fact that the Australian Wine Research Institute researches have sequenced the Brettanomyces genome is, potentially, the single most important piece of news to hit the wine world since it was discovered that malolactic fermentation could be controlled. In terms of newsworthy impact, it makes Scarecrow’s busting of the Premiere Napa Valley auction record look like the equivalent of your regional free paper running a headline like “Local Youth Paves Driveways.” And for me, it makes the recent Pancho Campo/JayMiller/Wine Advocate pay-for-play tasting controversy taste like small beer.

For those wondering what the hell I’m on about here, last week I was sent a link to a Decanter.com article titled “‘The enemy’ at bay: scientists crack brett gene code” by a fiend via email (the subject line: “Finally, some good news! What will Bobby P. do??”).

The story, in a nutshell, is that Brettanomyces – the spoilage yeast responsible for creating aromas in wine that range from a hint of smoky meat to horse sweat to downright pungent, mousy-barnyard-droppings-wrapped-in-Band-Aids – has had its genetic code cracked by a team of intrepid Aussie-based scientists.

Why the big deal? Because it means the wine world is closer than ever to finding a way to control Brett yeasts – and until that day comes, I stand fast in my resolve when I tell you that Brett is not terroir, and is not really an element of added complexity; it is a flaw (and if someone’s wine happens to have the relatively inoffensive meaty kind of Brett, they’re not necessarily uber-talented winemakers or viticulturists adding a dash of complexity to their final product; odds are they’re just lucky)…

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Tangled Up In Tunes (Music’s Effect On Our Perception Of Wine)

Vinted on November 29, 2011 binned in wine news

I’ve been playing around with on-line music-and-cocktails-matching entertainment app Drinkify, and have concluded via completely non-scientific means that it is almost a total failure (at least, when it comes to one pairing in particular).

It’s fun, don’t get me wrong; it’s just that it offers me the booze-pairing “beer” (I use that term loosely) suggestion of Bud Light (!) when I tell it that I’m listening to RUSH – and that, my friends, is a FAILure so epic in size that its scope can only be measured in light years.

While Drinkify might be fun, the pairing of music with imbibing, at least when it comes to wine, isn’t simply a laughing matter: according to a story published on wired.com earlier this month, a recent study (led by Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University), showed some rather scientific evidence that our perception of a wine’s qualities is measurably influenced by whatever music happens to be playing in the background when we drink it.

And I, for one, think that odd bit of news is actually pretty… awesome

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The Most Wanted’s 100 Essential Blogs: (Early?) Christmas Edition

Vinted on November 16, 2011 binned in about 1winedude blog, going pro, wine news

Last week, my little old hunk of the global interwebs was named one of the Best Wine Blogs in in the 2011 installment of Most Wanted’s 100 Essential Blogs: Christmas Edition.

I’m honored to have been included, because their other blog selections are all great so I find myself dragging down the curve of the list, so to speak.  But all those years of watching British sitcoms like Black Adder must have paid off, because apparently the Most Wanted folks also think I’m a Brit (I know… I don’t get it, either); to the tape:

“The Most Wanted 100 Essential Blogs: Christmas Edition is an online list of the most influential blogs in the UK (within their categories) of the past six months.  We have painstakingly scoured the web to find ten publishing leaders in each of the ten categories. The Most Wanted 100 Essential Blogs: Christmas Edition aims to be a definitive list, a go-to resource if you’re looking for some inspiration about what to do, make, give and consume over the Christmas season.”

Hmmm… sorry, old chap, but I’m quite thoroughly American, I’m afraid.  And it’s a bit early for Christmas, don’t you think? And don’t get me started on Christmas shopping – that shiz doesn’t start for me until December at the earliest.  Anyway, don’t tell them I’m not British, otherwise they might take me off the list.

Speaking of the list, here’s the full complement of Most Wanted’s awarded wine blogs below (in what I think is no particular order, though truth be told I’m not so sure) – and it’s the real meat of this post, because if you’re geeking out over wine then you really ought to be checking out these sites on a regular basis.

Cheers!

Pennsylvania’s Privatization Bid Is One Glass Of Wine, Two Glasses Of Bull Honkey

Vinted on November 14, 2011 binned in best of, commentary, wine news

Everybody knows that I “love” the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board [ Editor’s note: this is a boldfaced lie; I think the PLCB acts like a Communist monopoly and therefore I actually hate the PLCB ].

At least, I loved the recent move by Governor Tom Corbett to appoint Joseph “Skip” Brion (that’s his real nickname, by the way) the new PLCB Chairman, since both Corbett and Brion appear to be in favor of privatizing the state Commonwealth’s monopoly alcohol sales system – and they’re supporting House Bill eleven (HB11) which seeks to amend the existing Liquor Code “providing for the privatization of sales of wine and spirits in this Commonwealth through abolition of the State Liquor Stores.”

But as much as I’d love to see privatization take hold and the free market rein when it comes to alcohol sales in my home state Commonwealth, it’s become clear to me that, technically speaking, HB11 is actually not in the best interests of PA’s wine-consuming public; I would describe HB11 as Bull Honkey. As in, a big, stinking, steaming load of Bull Honkey.

Why?  Two reasons, my vino-loving friends, neither of which portends any favorable outcomes from HB11 when it comes to actually letting the free market into the ring of PA’s liquor sales and distribution…

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