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Latest Wine News and Updates

April 1, 2019 6 comments

With the risk of repeating myself, I still have to say – we truly live through the wine revolution nowadays. This revolution takes on many forms. The wine quality is at the highest throughout the world, and it keeps getting better and better every year. Wine is made in far more places than ever before – who would’ve thought 10 years ago that England can produce world-class sparkling wines, rivaling the best Champagne? The wine has shaken off its traditional format of not only the bottle, but even the box, and it is available today in the can and in the keg. Heck, the wine today can be even mixed with CBD (Cannabis) so you can get high quickly and surely. Yep, it is the wine revolution time.

So with this, I want to share with you some of the latest and exciting developments taking place in the world of wine.

Let’s start with an interesting development around high-end wines. Have you ever noticed that many successful (and equally expensive) super-Tuscan wines have names ending in “aia” – Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Solaia – you see the trend, right? Turns out that a couple of the US retail giants – Walmart and Target, to be exact – decided to add high-end Italian wines to their portfolio, and surprisingly (or not?), both went with the super-Tuscan theme and named their new wines – can you guess – Targaia and Walmaia! Targaia is the blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Sangiovese, and Walmaia has a very interesting blend of 80% Cab Franc, 10% Sangiovese and 10% Carignan. 2016 will be the first vintage of Targaia, and Walmaia will debut with the 2015 vintage, both slated to hit the retail shelves later on this year. The release price for Targaia is set for $75, and Walmaia will open at $70 – great price for super-Tuscan wines, where a lot of well-known wines today are offered at the prices well north of $200 per bottle. Will “aia” do the magic trick for Target and Walmart? You will be the judge of it, once you will be able to get your hands on the bottle – hopefully it will not be too difficult, however, the production volumes had not been disclosed, as well as the source vineyards, so we will have to wait and see.

Our next update is about the Coravin, the famous wine preservation system which allows you to extend the life of your precious bottles and enjoy them over a longer period of time than otherwise would be possible. Of Coravin is a tool of choice of many wine writers, restaurateurs, sommeliers and all of the wine lovers, and it works perfectly for most of the wines – with Sparkling wines been a notable exception. And who wouldn’t like to have a small celebratory sip of Dom Perignon, while preserving the rest of the bottle for another special occasion? Coravin set out to solve the sparkling wine issue and reportedly invested more than $3M (USD) into the brand new lab in Switzerland. The initial design seemed to be successful, however, not really commercially viable, considering that the machine was a size of a small desk and weighed around 300 lb. Subsequent tests, however, showed that the researchers still have long ways to go, as the bottle of Dom Perignon shattered into the hundreds of little pieces while operated by the first smaller size prototype – luckily, nobody was hurt and the only loss was the one of a precious liquid. I’m sure Coravin researchers will not give up and sooner rather than later we will be able to enjoy a small pour of delicious Champagne while the rest of the bottle will be safely preserved.

Continuing the subject of bubbles, this next piece might surprise you. I’m sure everybody knows Grey Goose, the famous French vodka, a staple of any top shelf of any self-respecting bar. The problem with vodka is that it is typically relegated only as a mixing component in the cocktails, no matter how high the regard it has. Many vodka producers are trying to change this status quo, but it is usually done by simply infusing vodka with a certain flavor in an attempt to convert it into a sipping drink. Grey Goose decided to try something different, and partnered with Moët & Chandon to create … yes, the sparkling Vodka! The attempts to produce sparkling vodka using the Classic Method were unsuccessful, however, based on the initial reviews, the Charmat method worked just perfectly, with many critics simply raving about the experience. The sparkling Grey Goose vodka is packaged in gold-adorned classic Champagne bottles and it is already available at select retailers in the USA for about $200 per bottle (suggested retail price). While I don’t drink vodka as is, I’m definitely looking forward trying this unusual drink – would be curious in your opinion too.

Now let’s talk about cult wines. Not just any cult wines, but maybe the cult of the cults – Screaming Eagle. I’m sure you know that Screaming Eagle makes the most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon wine in the USA, priced at around $3500 if you can ever find a bottle. But do you know that this is not the most expensive wine made by Screaming Eagle? Until now, their most expensive wine was white – Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley, priced north of $4K, and equally impossible to get. Did you noticed I said “until now”? Screaming Eagle is set to beat its own record with the brand new offering to the mailing list members – Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé. It will be priced at $4999 for the mailing list members, and with only 30 cases produced (360 individually numbered bottles), this Screaming Eagle Rosé is expected to disappear in less than a minute after the members will be able to place their release orders. It seems that Rosé is an absolutely unstoppable category, with such heavyweights as Screaming Eagle joining the madness – I just hope not everybody will join their suit for the insane prices. And if you will be able to score a bottle, send me a note – I would looove to help you drink that.

Our last news for today is really from the “hard to believe” category, but I guess everything is possible… For about 10 years now, world famous UC Davis conducted the work to identify the effects of different types of music on the vines, grapes and the resulting wines. Fully independent test vineyards had been set up each with its own winery facilities, to ensure the same type of music is used through all of the stages of the winemaking, from the first bud break until the wine is pressed, aged and bottled. All facilities are outfitted with state-of-the-art Bose sound systems to ensure high-quality sound, both in the vineyards and inside the wineries. Chants, classical music, dance, hip hop, and heavy metal are used in the experiments, each one at its own, individual vineyard. All results are still being processed, and no conclusions had been made yet, however, a recent report from UC Davis really makes you wonder. It appears that after barrel-sampling wine from the vineyard subjected to the heavy metal music for 7 years in the row, visiting scholar, Dr. Drunkken, became extremely violent and attacked his colleagues, initiating an unprovoked, bloody fight. Dr. Drunkken was never previously known for any aggressive behavior, and after he spent a day subdued in the hospital bed, had literally no memories of an accident and couldn’t understand why his hands had been tied. It is completely unknown what triggered such behavior of a generally nice and gentle man, so it seems that researchers just got a lot more work to do. I don’t believe one single accident will derail the whole (expensive!) program, but I’m sure the new level of caution will be asked of everyone involved in this research.

That’s all I have for you today. Until the next time – cheers!

Latest Wine News Update

April 1, 2014 7 comments

So many things are happening in and around of the world of wine that I had to share some of the latest updates with you.

Coravin, the maker of the Coravin™ Wine Access Technology, announced that the company recently finished development of the patented wine fingerprinting algorithm, which allows to uniquely identify all different wines made in the world. Using this algorithm, Coravin is planning to complete within the next 5-6 months the creation of the database of all the wines ever made. The next version of the popular Coravin™ Wine Access appliance will not only allow you to enjoy your prized wines without pulling the cork, but will also automatically identify year, grape(s) and producer of the wine, and provide a prediction as to for how long the wine will continue to evolve in the cellar. The new Coravin gadget will also serve as a deterrent against fake wine, as it will be able to tell you if the wine you are drinking doesn’t match information on the label. Coravin is accepting pre-orders now and expect to start shipping the new device in the first half of 2015 –  make sure to order yours now as it is expected to be sold out of pre-orders within the first week.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s wedding seems to be occupying the thoughts of everyone nowadays, and it seems that everybody want to be a part of it. I’m sure you heard that Burger King offered to provide all the food for Kanye and Kim’s wedding. Now Korbel, the famed producer of California Champagne, is offering not only to supply all the champagne for the wedding, but they also want to provide an unlimited access to any amount of champagne to Kim Kardashian for any occasions when she will feel a la Marylin Monroe and would want to take a bubbly bath.

You probably read recently that sales of Prosecco worldwide surpassed sales of French Champagne in terms of volume shipments. This news is not taken well by the bubbly greats, and based on the unconfirmed rumors, Krug Champagne, one of the most venerable producers, entered the talks with Zonin Prosecco about purchasing the company. It seems that Zonin’s witty TV commercials had a great effect on Krug’s top management, and they believe such an acquisition will be a great asset in the Krug’s portfolio. The exact amount of possible transaction is unknown.

Wine Advocate leaked that Robert Parker will be leaving the publication very soon. To replace him, based on the information from inside industry sources, it appears that Wine Advocate reached out to Ron Washam, the HoseMaster of Wine. The folks at Wine Advocate believe that addition of Ron Washam to the team will help to take the publication to the next level – Ron’s fiery wine reviews and skewering comments are expected to be especially well received by the aspiring audience of Chinese wine lovers. Stay tuned as this story is developing, more updates will be coming.

And the last update for today: in the usual spat between Manfred Krankl and TTB, the application for the newest label of Sine Qua Non Syrah, called Five Naked Women and A Cowboy, was rejected. TTB reviewers said that cowboy’s facial expression is too scarily detailed, and young wine drinkers might feel threatened be simply looking at the bottle. It is unknown if Manfred Krankl is planning to appeal or will decide to change the name of the wine to something else.

That’s all I have for you for today. Enjoy your day and cheers!

 

 

 

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