Depardieu drinks 14 bottles of wine a day

gerard depardieu 150x150 French wine consumption has been declining for the past fifty years. But one man seems to be taking it upon himself to single-handedly reverse this trend: Gerard Depardieu.

The Frenchman-turned-ruski told the British site So Film, “I can absorb 12, 13, 14 bottles…per day. But I’m never totally drunk, just a little pissed.”

“All you need is a 10-minute nap and voilà, a slurp of rosé wine and I feel as fresh as a daisy!” He added.

He’s not likely to run out of wine since Depardieu owns Chateau de Tigne in Anjou. He once joked that his mother’s amniotic fluid was wine.

Meet the new critic: the electronic tongue

electronic wine tongue
Winemakers who make wines for critics, meet your new overlord: the electronic tongue!

Although artificial, or electronic, tongues have been developed before, researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark have a breakthrough in their application to wine. Now, proteins from human saliva can be mixed with wine in the artificial tongue that can measure the effect of wine’s astringency, or tannins, on the tongue via a gold-plated nanosensor.

So welcome to the the new era of wine reviewing, where, instead of nonsense wine descriptors, the robo-tongue can just cut straight to the chase and spit out scores!

Full story

Nested wine glass aims to pace you

Screen shot 2014 09 09 at 7.54.38 AM

Drink a glass of water for every glass of wine and you’ll emerge from the evening hangover-free. Such is common wisdom and some French design students have made some new nesting glassware, hand blown in Holland, that help drinkers comply with this maxim.

However, in his book Proof: the Science of Booze, Adam Rogers pours cold water on the idea. He writes that academic research on hangovers has not demonstrated dehydration, or a lower level of electolytes, as the cause of hangover severity.

So I guess it’s a good thing the the designers of the nested wine glass told Dezeen that their main goal is to reduce the over-consumption of alcohol, not prevent hangovers. Apparently having a little water after wine will slow the guzzlers down? Well, even if not, enjoy the cool glasses.

Back to school with my new NYU wine class

wine barrels This fall, all you grown ups can go back to school thanks to my NYU wine class.

Now in its ninth year, the course provides a lively forum to discuss hot-button issues of the wine world, explore key countries and regions, as well as taste at least six wines each session.

It runs for six weekly sessions from October 15 through November 19. It’s always fun to see site readers in the class–hope to meet you there!

Full details and registration.

Wines under $20: Ott (Gruner edition)

ott gruner am berg There’s a hilarious story that runs every August: they’re running out of rosé in The Hamptons! Predictably, it ran again this week. There are tons of great rosés out there (both still AND sparkling, ahem, Hamptons-goers) but the good ones do tend to sell out early in the season. So stock them early for subsequent stashing in sea planes!

Rather than mention other rosés, I’m going to pivot and talk about Ott. Domaine Ott is the pink object of much desire in the Hamptons. But wine enthusiasts would be very will served to take an Austrian turn and try Bernhard Ott’s 2013 Gruner Veltliners. I poured the Am Berg at a private tasting on the Upper East Side the other day and this was the crowd favorite for its verve, minerality and crackle. The best thing too: it was the cheapest 750ml wine at the tasting, ringing up at $19.99, in part thanks hailing from the Wagram rather than the more tony Wachau. (Find Ott Gruner Am Berg at retail)

Oh, and if you want some bubbly, the 2012 Knauss Riesling Sekt Zero also turned heads with stylish packaging (below) as well as purity on the palate. (Find Knauss Sekt Zero at retail)

Actually, I take it all back: who needs these prices to run up? Read more…

Sting: pay to pick my grapes

sting estate
Finding labor to perform the annual harvest at a vineyard can be hard. Many wineries compete for migrant laborers at a time when there are lots of other fruit to bring in; we’ve even seen wineries recruit students to pick the grapes. But Sting doesn’t have such difficulties: the Englishman in Tuscany is charging people $350 a day to come and work in his vineyard.

The paying pickers would arrive at a leisurely 11:30 at Il Palagio, Sting and Trudie Styler’s 900-acre estate. After a picnic on a lawn, with possibly a game on the giant chess set, the paying help can then start laboring for up to four hours. Then, freshen up (no word if the pool is available), and, before heading out, try a sampling of the estates wines, including the rosso “Message in a Bottle,” which sells in the US for about $20. No word if the estate’s owners will be around but guest workers will get a talk from the estate manager about the vineyards and soil, as well as winemaking.

If you can’t get enough time under the Tuscan sun, you can go back in November and harvest Sting’s olives.

Il Palagio web site

Napa quake registers 6.0

An area south of Napa was the center of a big earthquake overnight. The 6.0 quake, the biggest in the Bay Area in 25 years, shook wine barrels and bottles off of shelves and onto the ground. What the damage is remains to be seen; we hope that it is fixable and that the barrels bounced and weren’t broken.

Here are some pictures from Twitter of the Napa quake (#napaquake is a common tag):

Steve and Jill Matthiasson, whose wines are a popular choice among wine geeks, posted this dreadful picture, saying “Will be barrel pickup sticks #napaearthquake.” He also posted a picture of severe damage to their house. It is is “not a wipeout,” Matthiasson commented. Thankfully!
napa quake barrels

And this from Silver Oak: Read more…

LA County tries to crush Malibu wine

malibu wine

California…celebrities…vineyards…Throw in some hills, glitzy real estate with water views and it sounds like a match made in some screenwriter’s Heaven.

But LA County authorities are taking a dim view of such a scene. The part they find objectionable, oddly, are the vines! Yes, what is now LA was the home to some of the earliest vines in California. And the new Malibu Coast just won federal approval for putting on wine labels. Rather than cultivate this heritage, and nurture the new Malibu wine recognition, County authorities are moving to ban new plantings and uproot some existing ones.

What is this–Europe? Do residents of Malibu need planting rights as in the EU? The logic is not entirely clear as organic farms will be tolerated but organic vineyards would not. And equestrian facilities installed without permits will be allowed? Hmmm. LA Weekly has the full story but the motives of County officials remain unclear. The story concludes that the rule looks to be voted through in a meeting on August 26.

Image credit via creative commons


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