No merlot, talking urinals, splurge, what’s hot – tasting sized pours

No F&*%# Merlot!
Miles may have had a rant against merlot in Sideways, but now officials in Utah are piling on the grape–and wine itself. The officials have revoked a personalized license plate in use for ten years with the word “MERLOT” on it citing a state ban on words of intoxicants to be used on vanity plates. Wow. The owner should file for “VINO,” which should give him another 10 years. [AP]

Binge 1
Taking their campaign against DWI to a new, um, level, New Mexico has introduced the talking urinal cake. A woman’s sultry voice intones, “Hey there, big guy. Having a few drinks?” and then advises a taxi. A laudable goal for sure, but what’s up with the sultry voice? Don’t want guys to lean on the urinal and ask it out on a date! [Free New Mexican, with video!]

Binge 2
One Chinese traveler blew $30,000 in a 15-minute shopping spree at a duty free shop in Charles De Gaulle airport. His haul included a 200 year old cognac, a 100 year old armagnac, and a 45 Mouton–but if he’d only shopped around, he could have found it for half the price! [, thanks U:TB!]

What’s hot?
Everything. Grape varieties across the board from riesling to pinot gris/grigio were up; only lowly white zin (not even a grape, but a style that’s out of style) was down according to Nielsen scanner data for 2006. Screwcaps gained acceptance and New Zealand zipped higher. More details at Uncorked.

Cheap wine, it’s fine
The Gray Lady has run tests to determine what I have practiced for a long time out of my sheer miserly tendency: using cheap wine is fine for cooking. [NYT]

Puck says no duck
A three-year campaign against Wolfgang Puck has brought the chef to his knees–he’ll stop serving foie gras in his restaurants. [AP]

Varietal, crushed
Frank Bruni one-stars the wine-themed restaurant Varietal. He can’t seem to stop giggling about the “grower champagnes,” which reinforces my thinking that they should be called indie champagne. He also trashes the desserts, which “don’t so much eschew convention as pummel and shatter it — literally, and often pointlessly.” I found the same with molecular gastronomy desserts in my experience at Moto. [NYT]

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One Response to “No merlot, talking urinals, splurge, what’s hot – tasting sized pours”

  1. Hi,

    concerning Merlot, yes the renomée of Merlot is not such good, but there exist really fantastic Merlot´s, like the SuperTuscan “Messorio” from the Le Macchiole which I strongly recommend to buy for your cellar. Here is my TN from 1999 Messorio…….



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