The wine world enjoys ever-increasing popularity and attention, and respectively, the wine news are coming at us at a neck breaking speed as well. I wanted to share with you some of the most interesting updates I recently came across.
First, an interesting update from Coravin. I’m sure the name rings the bell, but just in case it is not, Coravin produces a wine gadget, which can be somewhat classified in the “wine preserver” category – Coravin helps you to pull small amount of wine from the bottle through the cork without much impacting the wine, thus allowing aficionados to enjoy their prized bottle of Petrus slowly over the years. Coravin recently got $22 million in funding from the group of investors. One of the projects touted by the company is a “flavor booster”, for the lack of the better term – special attachment to the main Coravin device will allow consumers to specify the desired level of acidity, fruit and tannins, and the “favor booster” will be able to affect the wine on the molecular level, delivering ultimately tailored treat to the individual palates. The project is well underway, however, it is still mostly in the experimental stages. The rumor on the street had it that Riedel, producer of the finest glassware, is on the lookout for the same technology, so it will be interesting to see which company will deliver better solution first.
Now we need to move from Earth to space. Well, okay, not exactly, not yet anyway. The NASA and Space-X recently started a collaborative project aiming at converting wine into a paste concentrate. As Space-X is readying their space tourism program, having wine on the board of the spaceship is highly desirable. However, transporting the wine in its usual form – bottles – is extremely impractical as bottles are both bulky and heavy. Having the wine in “just add the water” form would be extremely beneficial. Of course, the key is to preserve the taste and uniqueness, to ensure that every wine is recognisable and maintains its individuality. Some of the best wineries in the world are sponsoring this work (Latour, Krug, Penfolds, Antinori, Mondavi, Heitz just to name a few) and are very much interested in the results. The work is only in the initial stages so we will need to keep an eye on it.
Now, let’s talk again about the paste – this time, a toothpaste out of all! If you find the flavors of the toothpaste boring, you are not alone – mint, peppermint, really? That’s all we can have? What if we had an amazing glass of wine right before the bedtime, now we need to use that mint toothpaste to destroy that wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon flavor lingering in the mouth? It seems that Colgate understands us, wine lovers. Colgate recently announced an upcoming availability of the wine-flavored toothpaste. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay flavors are expected to hit the market first, and Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are in the works. The price was not revealed yet, but it is expected to be close to the $10 per tube. Crest and Sensodyne are expected to announce similar products in the near future.
The name Nomacork might not be familiar to many of the wine consumers. Most of the corks used in winemaking today are produced from the bark of the tree. The reason corks are such great enclosures for the wine is due to the fact that while cork fully retains the wine inside the bottle, it is still porous enough to allow trace amounts of oxygen to get through and reach the wine – and oxygen is very important for the evolution of the wine in the bottle. Nomacork produces so-called “engineered corks” which can be constructed for the different levels of oxygen penetration, thus allowing winemakers to use the ideal enclosures for the different types of wines, depending on how slow or quick they would like the wine to age. While this all sounds too technical for the wine consumers, Nomacork recently announced the brand new type of engineered cork, this time squarely looking after the wine consumers. The new type of cork will have a microchip inside and will allow consumers to select the month and the year when they want to drink the wine, and cork will automatically change its properties to ensure the wine will be at its peak at the required time. Nomacork filed more than 50 patents associated with this technology and this work might be one of the most guarded secrets in the wine research today.
Over the last few years, violent “wine riots” shook South of France, with French vignerons dumping wines and setting fires to protest imports of the cheap Spanish wine juice. The unexpected offer to help came unexpectedly from the world renowned supplier of the fine meats, D’Artagnan. The company, known for its gourmet meats, game, duck, foie gras and lots more, offered to buy the inexpensive Spanish wine in the large quantities. Based on D’Artagnan research, it appears that most of the water in ducks’ diet can be perfectly replaced with wine, which leads to the much tastier meat and unbelievable smooth and delicious foie gras. It was also stated that red and white wines create different flavor profile of the meat, so soon we are going to see ever tasting products available from D’Artagnan.
That’s all I have for you for today. Cheers!
There were a number of interesting developments in the world of wine and related “beverages”, which prompted this post. Here are some of the latest happenings:
Who doesn’t like Rum and Coke? It is easy, simple and refreshing, and it clearly says “warm days are here”. Yielding to the ever increasing popular demand, Coca-Cola company just announced the brand new product – Rum and Coke in the can, which should be available in the supermarkets next to you starting in May. Going an extra mile, and taking an advantage of thawing relationship between US and Cuba, Coca-Cola signed an agreement with Bacardi company to use their famous authentic Cuban Rum for this product line, thus this new line from Coca-Cola will appear under the name of “The Real Rum and Coke“. Coca-Cola arch nemesis, Pepsi-Cola Corporation is reportedly peeved by the announcement and entered into the talks with the famous French Cognac producer, Hennessy, to come up with some authentic concoction. Stay tuned for the further updates.
Starbucks recently announced that in addition to the Starbucks Evenings program, which adds wine and beer offerings at a number of select Starbucks locations, the purveyor of the fine coffee will add a Starbucks Mornings program, which will feature a special morning beer program to be available in select markets nationwide. The pilot will start in Las Vegas and New Orleans stores, and then it is expected to expand to New York and Los Angeles markets. Starbucks also announced a partnership with Blue Moon Brewing Company to produce a special light morning brew called “Blue Bucks”. A number of analysts in the industry believe that Starbucks Mornings program will be widely successful.
Considering recent acquisitions of Siduri Wines by Jackson Family and J Vineyards by the Gallo, Bronco Wine Company, producer of the famous Fransia and Two Buck Chuck wines, decided not to be outdone by the competitors and made an offer to buy a legendary California producer, Sine Qua None, at an undisclosed amount. To express his reaction to the Bronco’s offer, Manfred Krankl, proprietor at the Sine Qua None, responded in his usual eclectic fashion by sending a case of one of his latest and greatest wines, a 100% Grenache, to the Bronco’s headquarters. The wine, called Middle Finger, had specially designed unique label, surprisingly quickly approved by TTB. There is a great suspicion in the industry that the acquisition talks might collapse after that.
And just a few more tidbits. Screaming Eagle, producer of the eponymous most desired California Cabernet Sauvignon, recently acknowledged growing trend of “Rosé Rules” by announcing the brand new Rosé, made from the best plots of Cabernet Sauvignon, under the name of “Screaming Hen”. The new Rosé wine will be priced at the $500 per bottle, and will be available to the mailing list subscribers. 150 cases will be produced. After this information became public, Christian Moueix, producer of the famous Petrus wines in Bordeaux, reportedly attempted to enter into the partnership with Chateau Miraval in Provence, to produce the best and most expensive in the world Rosé. Based on the limited information available to the press, the talks fell through as Christian Moueix was unable to convince Brandelina team to rip out Cinsault and replant it with Merlot.
That’s all I have for you for today. Happy Wine Wednesday and Cheers!
Last few days were filled with important announcements in the wine world, so I wanted to bring them to your attention just in case you missed them.
Target, one of the major department stores in US, made the decision to catch up with success of Trader Joe’s “Two Buck Chuck” wines and announced the new wine series called One Buck Willie. The wine will retail at $1.01 and will initially include Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as “Hello Willie” Moscato. Target’s major rival, Wal-Mart countered that with their Rollback series which includes Rollback Red, Rollback White and Rollback Sweet Ending, all proprietary blends. Rollback wines will retail for $0.98 and $1.96 in the magnum size, and will be available this fall at the Wal-Mart retailer near you.
According to the information leaked on twitter by the law firm Trellis & Press, Antonio Galloni surprised James Suckling with the lawsuit few days ago. He claimed that James Suckling’s bad influence forced him to quit his lucrative position at the Wine Advocate. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified amount in damages, but it seems that its major target is Suckling’s exclusive collection of Barolo and full vertical of Petrus starting from 1928. James Suckling declined request for interview.
Chinese wine fashion finally arrived to New York, and it is all official. Coca-Cola and Chateau Latour cocktail, called CocaTour, is now served at all leading New York restaurants, and it seems that bartenders can’t make it fast enough. The cocktails are priced according the vintage ratings, with 1947, 1961 and 1982 being the most expensive. Eying the success of the competitors, unconfirmed reports seem to indicate that Pepsi-Cola entered into preliminary talks with Domaine Romanee-Conti to endorse the new Pepsi-Cola/DRC cocktail which will be called PepsidRC. Representative from both companies couldn’t be reached for the comment.
Riedel, the world leader in manufacturing of the wine glasses, announced a new line of plastic glassware. In the recent interview given to National Enquirer, Maximilian Riedel admitted that customers long enough demanded high quality plastic glassware capable of highlighting qualities of he different wines. First release of the plastic glassware series called PlastiXtreme will include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Port glasses, and it will be available exclusively at Costco this fall. Single use plastic duck shaped decanter will also be available in time for holiday season.
Joe Roberts of 1WineDude fame and Gary Vaynerchuk of VaynerMedia, announced their new joint venture which will be called DudeChuk. DudeChuk owners wowed to create content will be funnier than Ron Washam’s HoseMaster of Wine and Chris Kassel’s Intoxicology Report combined. Partners also plan to continue writing wine reviews not only for Playboy magazine, but make them specifically white-labled for ease of reuse by Natalie MacLean.
That’s all I have for you for today, folks! Cheers!
Okay, let’s get to our meritage business – starting with the answer for Wine Quiz #26 – Extreme Wines, Part 2. Actually I think the question was not difficult, which is also showing in having many people chose the right answer – Tavel. While Jerez, Marsala, Vin Jaune and Vin Santo are all aged in the open barrels, Tavel, while famous, is a regular Rose wine from Rhone. Just for the quick heads up, I think the next quiz will still be along the same line of “wines and factors”, and then we will probably play with “wines and places”.
Going into the news, let’s start with the important one – believe it or not, but it is harvest time already! Many vineyards in Texas already picked they grapes, and California wineries are well on the way. Dr. Vino just had a great quiz regarding the harvest – try it on for a size, you might find the answer quite surprising.
Wine Bloggers Conference 2012 just took place a week ago in Portland, Oregon – but the wine blogging doesn’t take any breaks, and Wine Bloggers Conference 2013 is already announced – it will take place in Penticton, British Columbia (yep, in Canada), on June 6-8. As I missed the one in Portland, I will have to really think about this one now …
Steve Heimoff wrote a very interesting blog post (love the language, very colorful) about monetization of the wine blogs, which was triggered by the discussions at WBC12. Whether you are thinking about monetizing your blog or not, this will be an interesting read – don’t miss it.
Interested in exploring 100 top restaurant in US? You are in luck! Forbes just published an article about those 100 best restaurants, circa 2012, just to make your job easier. And if you need more information, you can go directly to the source – the full list at Opinionated About Dining website (while I have no comments about the list, the overall design of that OAD website looks very unappealing to me – but hey, the information should be still good, right?).
This is the end of my wine news for today. Ohh, wait, no – whatever you do, don’t forget the #CabernetDay day tomorrow! And if anyone needs help to finish that bottle of Screaming Eagle, or Bryant, or Harlan, or (tired yet? I can continue) anyway, you got the point – I’m at your full disposal! Okay, fine, for real – what are you going to open?
Happy Wine Wednesday! Cheers!