Archive for the 'leaders and liters' Category

G20, Bordeaux pricing, Cake wine, Australia – sipped and spit

jamieoliverSIPPED: English wine
Well, now that all the serious business of the G20 meeting is over, we can turn to what wine lovers wanted to know all along: what did they drink? Gone were the lavish dishes of last year’s G8 summit. Jamie Oliver, chef for the dinner at Downing Street, put together a menu showcasing the “best of British cuisine,” which was expected to include Nyetimber, a sparkling wine from West Sussex. (The spouses’ table seemed like the most laughs that evening–Joachim Sauer excepted.) []

SIPPED: a shot glass of sanity?
Chateau Angelus is the first of the top Bordeaux properties to release their 2008 vintage: 50 euros a bottle, or 40% less than the 2007, which was not a strong vintage in the region. Our previous discussion highlighted how mush pricing is relative and based on perception, rather than actual costs. And Simon Staples is back again, quoted as saying that he wouldn’t even be a buyer of Angelus at 30 euros. [Decanter]

SIPPED: wine in the USA
While worldwide wine consumption fell by one percent, Americans tacked on a 1.8% gain in wine last year, the fifteenth consecutive annual gain according to the new edition of Impact Databank.

SPIT: cakes!
On March 23, we laid out the Layer Cake/Cupcake confusion/silly naming. March 26, Layer Cake’s producer (One True Vine) sues the Cupcake producer (The Wine Group) for trademark infringement claiming the name is “confusingly similar.” [Wines & Vines]

Australian wine “has moved from being revered to being reviled” with tremendous speed, writes Jancis Robinson at She asserts this is largely because of the success of “ubiquitous and vapid” low end wines and the high alcohol wines that receive big scores from the Wine Advocate. Then add a glut followed by a drought and fires, industry consolidation and a global recession and it’s not difficult to see why the sledding has gotten a little rough. I’m quite interested in the story of Australia, particularly the one that is not much exported to the US. That’s why I’ll be joining a group wine writers and sommeliers there in June for the Landmark Australia tasting.

Leaders and liters…at Quinta de Vargellas

Yesterday I attended a vertical tasting of single vineyard, vintage ports from Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas. Adrian Bridge, managing director of Taylor-Fladgate, was in attendance in NYC and regaled our group with stories not only about the wines but also about how a local town’s population astonishingly dwindled from eight to three and how an enormous St. Bernard slashed a local realtor’s pride.

More details to come on the wines, the Quinta de Vargellas, and Adrian’s comments on specialty port.

But what grabbed my attention for immediate posting was the fact that they keep a guest book at the winery at Vargellas where visitors are requested to write a poem. I don’t know if these are impromptu poems or if they are told about this before lunch and then have to produce one after lunch–indeed, some of the poems seemed quite “lunch” influenced.

Most of the poems do not have the author’s name attributed in the brochure, but a few did. In the latest addition to our series “leaders and liters of wine,” consider this poem from a visit (during a war!) by the sitting Defense Secretary of the United States. I’ve redacted his name and his wife’s for your guessing pleasure in the comments.

“From out of the sky they flew into Vargellas,
Richard Cheney, his party and Lynne.
But the hosts in Oporto forgot to tell us
the numbers we had to fit in.
Mais Cabirto called “Gilly,”
the hostess so cool,
as forty turned seventy three.
While the wine-hacks with training stood by at the pool
serving port to all they could see. “

Hope and change: wines for Obama and the inauguration

obama_wine2After learning that the wine vote carried Obama to victory, it’s no surprise that wine writers can barely contain the corks from popping until next week.

John and Dottie dig up this vignette from the the White House Historical Association: “In 1840, the Whigs presented their candidate, William Henry Harrison, as a simple frontier Indian fighter, living in a log cabin and drinking cider, in sharp contrast to an aristocratic, Champagne-sipping Van Buren.” But then they say they don’t know what Obama will have after the inauguration.

Cue Elin McCoy. She’s got the intel on this one. And it ain’t all pretty. To the tape: “Fortunately for Barack Obama, the first wines he’ll sip as president include some pretty nice California bottlings, though one of them poses a foreign-relations test. At the inaugural congressional lunch at the Capitol, right after the swearing-in ceremony, the wines will include 2007 Duckhorn Vineyards sauvignon blanc ($30; find this wine) and 2005 Goldeneye pinot noir ($55; find this wine). Two hundred dignitaries will toast the new President with 15 magnums of Korbel Natural sparkling wine ($15; don’t find this wine). It’s labeled “California Champagne,” so better not show it to the French.” Korbel? Puh-lease. And how did Duckhorn hit a double (they also make Goldeneye; see the inaugural lunch menu at their site)?

Mike Steinberger pops off a piece on Slate bristling with his usual brio. He has his own version of financial stimulus and suggests expanding the paltry White House wine cellar, introducing mature wines as opposed to current releases, and flattering foreign dignitaries by re-introducing wines from their own lands (presumably as an aperitif). I’ll raise a Montelena to that.

What will you pop next Tuesday? UPDATE: Or, if you were in charge of the inauguration lunch, what would you pour for the 200 honored guests?

Related: “The Sorry History of Wine in the White House,” p. 54, A Year of Wine
Leaders and Liters of wine

Let them sip Hillside Select, KJ, Thanksgiving, dogs- sipped and spit

SIPPED: too much
As G-20 leaders met in Washington this weekend while the economic world burns, they sipped Shafer Hillside Select 2003, a $250 Napa cab (find this wine). This raised the hackles of bloggers at CNN (perhaps because they could only find it for $500?). The era of the teatotaler-in-chief is soon over! (Thanks, Arthur!)

white_house_kjSPIT: too little
An eagle eyed publicist at Kendall-Jackson spotted a mention of their Chardonnay in an interview the Obamas did with People magazine. The maker of this supermarket staple then sent “a few congratulatory cases of the brand” to the Obamas, care of the Democratic National Committee. Celebrate a historic victory such as his with a $12 chardonnay? But what did Shafer send them?

SPIT: Sauvignon blanc
NYT restaurant critic Frank Bruni goes public about his dislike of Sauvignon Blanc as he tasted one from California, “he offered a grimace and a cry of anguish.” And what did his colleagues do to him after that. Why, laugh at him. Get the full story and their wine picks for turkey day in Eric Asimov’s column.

SPIT: 2008 Hospice de Beaune
The climate, both meteorological and economic, put a damper on the annual charity auction for barrels of red Burgundy. [Reuters]

SPIT: celebrity wine
Michael Vick’s 22 dogs will appear on a new wine line called “Vicktory Dogs.” A portion of the proceeds benefit the shelter in Utah where the dogs now reside. [ESPN]

The candidates and their wines – a Wine Politics giveaway

Last week we heard about the Palin syrah and because it’s organically grown in Chile, we knew it was the perfect wine for the veep wannabe, Sarah Paleen (as they say in Alaska, methinks). Check out reader Nate’s tasting note.

In anticipation of this Thursday’s debate (when we will need mucho vino), put your country first and decide which wine is best suited to each of the three other candidates! I already had my say during the primaries, so now it is your turn.

To sweeten the pot, I will be giving a away a signed copy of my book, Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink, a book in which none of these four candidates is mentioned!

Post your pairings for the non-Alaskan candidates here in the comments. Friday after 3PM Eastern, check back to see the winner, selected at random. Everyone, to your snow machines!

Sipped and spit – all French edition

france legoSIPPED: Wine nationalism!
At the recent G8 Summit in the remote Hokkaido, wines from various of the countries (sorry, Russia and U.K.) were poured at the festivities, including: “Le Reve grand cru/La Seule Gloire champagne”; the Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo Nakadori sake; Louis Latour, Corton-Charlemagne 2005; Ridge California Monte Bello 1997 and Tokaji Esszencia 1999″ (Hungary–booyah! A non G8 country slips in.). The juxtaposition of the leaders’ banquets and global food shortages was not lost on The Independent. France won the vinous nationalism stakes with the most wines poured.

SPIT: Adolescent binge drinking!
France will debut it’s first ever anti binge drinking campaign on Friday. According to Decanter, it will run on TV, radio and in in movie theaters and “feature adolescents enjoying a ‘paradise-like universe’, which turns into a nightmare after they drink too much.” Whoa! Send in a clip if you see it.

SIPPED and SPIT: The St. Emilion classification!
Sweeping victory from the jaws of defeat (or, more likely, the other way around), the classification of St. Emilion producers that updates every ten years was thrown out by a judge last week–only to be reinstated on a temporary basis for three years by another authority later in the week. [Decanter]

SIPPED: summer all year!
Rosé surpasses white wine as the most popular in France. []

At summit, Bush says cheers – with wine?!?

bush wine toast

We know international summits are tough. They’ve been known to make a teetotaler go weak in the neck as recently as, oh, last year.

Now we have this photographic intel that the Teetotaler-in-Chief raised a glass with President Yushchenko in Kiev last week! The Dr. Vino cam only has this one angle, but it looks distinctly like the fruits of the vine that he his holding in the glass behind his goobery hand. My guess is that it beats fermented yak milk!

UPDATE: thanks to a comment from reader Mark, please feel free to “CAPTION THIS PHOTO!”

Teenagers, NYC wine bars, Sarkozy, diseased mitochondria – sipped and spit

SIPPED: discussion!
Eric Asimov of the NYT had a thoughtful article in Wednesday’s paper about exposing teenagers to wine in the home. It’s great to see a constructive discussion (325 comments long!) on his blog about fostering wine enjoyment in the home rather than the usual discussion of excesses. Related: we’ve discussed kids at wineries and how appropriate is the drinking age of 21 here. [NYT]

SIPPED and SPIT: NYC wine bars
Closing tonight is Divine Wine Bar East. Zagat reports they have having the Mother of All Happy Hours tonight to liquidate (ha) the inventory. Opening: Bowery Wine Company and the new wine lounge at Le Cirque. See the action on the NYC wine bar map!

SIPPED: The audacity of nope
French President Sarkozy, a self-proclaimed teetotaler (although see here and here for evidence to the contrary), has the nerve to ask to see the wine list at Windsor Palace before a state dinner. [Times of India]

SIPPED: resveratrol
“Researchers at the University of Rochester have shown for the first time that resveratrol, a natural antioxidant found in grape skins and red wine, helps to destroy cancerous pancreatic cells by crippling the diseased cells’ mitochondria, the minute organelles found in the majority of living cells which provide them with energy.” []

Image: fair-use is made of a reduced size crop of an image that appeared in the NYT attributed to Lisa Adams.


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