Mafia-free wine, White House, Justice Roberts, wine service – sipped and spit

sopranos_wineSPIT: Bada-bing!
Sustainable wine? Organic wine? Been there, drank that. Now: Mafia-free wine! The Sicilian label, Libra Terra, will guarantee that pasta, olive oil and wine will have the “taste of freedom.” [Global Post]

SIPPED: American wine
The White House continues pouring only American wines, so far from four states at official events. The first state dinner is coming up next month–stay tuned for what the Obamas pick for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh! [Obamafoodarama]

SPIT: American wine; SIPPED: generosity
While dining in lower Manhattan last weekend, Chief Justice John Roberts and his wife Jane sipped a bottle of Villa Mangiacane, a Chianti. When they finished their meal, they offered the rest of the wine to a neighboring table, specifically, Gay Talese who blogged about it for City Room.

SIPPED: wine service tips
A budding restaurateur offers his first 50 service tips for his staff, including several wine related ones including “For red wine, ask if the guests want to pour their own or prefer the waiter to pour.” [You’re the Boss, NYT]

SPIT: old vines; SIPPED: apartment complex
Philip White, a wine writer in Australia, has a scathing critique of Constellation, one of the world’s largest wine makers and marketers, and their apparent plans to scale back in Australia. Particularly irksome to him was the uprooting of John Reynell’s 161-year-old vines at Reynella; 41 “tiny apartments” will replace the vines. [INDAILY]

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16 Responses to “Mafia-free wine, White House, Justice Roberts, wine service – sipped and spit”

  1. My God that article by Gay Talese in the Times was pretentious!

    “It’s from Firenze,’’ she explained, adding that this is the region of her ancestry. She had a renowned uncle from there, she went on to say — Enzo Dell’Orefice, a voice coach who tutored Caruso.”

    My wife just threw up in her mouth before I could even finish the paragraph! And it was exceeded only by the following comment on the post:

    “Everyone in New York City is a celebrity.
    There’s an old rule of thumb in show business never to trash another performer’s act.
    Stephen King, the writer and I stood in an empty meeting room at an otherwise crowded Democratic Rally at the local Civic Center in Bangor, Maine years ago.
    We stood and looked at each for a few minutes, and neither of us spoke.
    We didn’t have to as we were both well aware of who the other one was!

    — Perley J. Thibodeau”


  2. Josh-

    SIPPED: pretentiousness

  3. Ask Marco di Bartoli about “Mafia-free” wine.

    I’m thrilled to learn that John Roberts carries a ball-point pen in his jacket pocket, so he’s always ready to autograph wine labels.

  4. BRAVO!
    I think this is a great idea. However, I think it’s almost a matter of time that the Mafia will counterfeit this certification if it takes off.

  5. Without reading this Dr Vino posting thoroughly, wasn’t it Ruffino that was usually featured at Tony Soprano’s dinnertable (usually shot with the label slightly askew)?

  6. Ruffino was the wine that Tony Soprano often drank, which I find funny, seeing as his family came from Avellino. I reckon Ruffino paid a slotting fee for the product placement

  7. I agree. Plus Ruffino sounds a lot like “ruffian”, which Tony and most of his pals were in the series.

  8. Josh – I hear ya re. Gay’s post but what’s worse is his poor dining companion Carmen Dell’Oredice! I was intrigued by who would dine with such pretension. Poor Carmen doesn’t learn!

  9. That last excerpt Josh posted was a doozy. There’s a distinction between loving yourself and being in love with yourself, one which, sadly, many seem to miss.

  10. Who is to say that some wineries are not fronts for something else in any event? The Mafia is almost totally expunged in Sicily anyhow–at least publicly. Its public presence is much more evident in Naples these days–or at least so I am told by friends in Sicily.

  11. A couple of links:

    1. Wine in several episodes of The Sopranos, with screenshots!
    (Who made The Sopranos wine, pictured above?)

    2. In relation to the Constellation in Australia story, the WSJ is now reporting “Constellation Considers Partial Sale in Australia and U.K.”

  12. Well of course they’re drinking Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad, the wine bottle most clearly intended to serve as a weapon following consumption of the contents. That metal base, man…don’t let anyone swing one of those at you!

  13. Re: the 50 things a waiter should or should not do, two stand out for their absurdity:

    23. If someone likes a wine, steam the label off the bottle and give it to the guest with the bill. It has the year, the vintner, the importer, etc.

    First of all, have you ever seen this happen? And will that include both the front and back of the label? The importer is generally on the back, not the front… And good luck getting the label off it’s got an industrial adhesive, instead of a water-soluble glue.

    27. For red wine, ask if the guests want to pour their own or prefer the waiter to pour.

    Why only for red?

    And as a bonus, the first reader comment is clearly not a resident of the South:

    Treat a single female diner as well as you would anyone else. And don’t call us Ma’am.

    Not calling a woman “ma’am” here in North Carolina would be a major faux pas.

  14. As a transplant from the Northeast living in North Carolina, I hate to admit it, but Mark’s right about the “ma’am” thing. It’s a different culture.

    The label thing is possible (We sell a label removal kit), but “steaming,” wow, that was a long time ago…hardly anybody uses animal glues anymore.

  15. While I love this blog for (among many other things) the way it has raised the bar for investigative journalism in the wine world, I was disappointed to see that the Libera Terra project earned a “spit”!

    And I was doubly disappointed to see that some of the comments seemed flippant and superficial, especially about the mafia. Speaking as an American who has lived in Italy for more than ten years, it is incredibly naive to believe that the mafia has been “almost totally expunged in Sicily.” Sadly, the mafia is still very much a reality in Sicily; it affects peoples’ lives on a daily basis, to say nothing of the fact that many courageous judges, journalists, politicians, law enforcement officers, and ordinary citizens have died fighting against it.

    As for Libera Terra, while of course I cannot comment on the issue of possible mafia infiltration or counterfeiting of the label, to the best of my knowledge it is a serious project, NOT a cheap marketing ploy. I have tasted the Centopassi wines and they left a good impression. The wines are biological and, in my opinion (especially the catarratto) simple but well-made, with good varietal character and more focused fruit flavors than one usually finds in this price range. I would say they are very valid from a quality/ price point of view (you see them in coop supermarkets priced at 5-6 euros).

    p.s. I love the Sopranos as much as the next guy….

  16. Hi Fred,

    Glad you have been enjoying this site! I didn’t SPIT the wine, just the Mafia/organized crime (hence the badabing is spit). Nor did I intend to diminish the seriousness of the effort but just wanted to highlight that it’s a new screen for socially responsible beverages.




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