Archive for the 'On notice!' Category

Who’s threatening us now? Malicious mead!

First it was a new winery in Manhattan. Now, word buzzes in about the new Manhattan Meadery, which promises to make “a distinctive honey wine” in NYC (though which borough will receive this honor is unclear since “Brooklyn buzz” is on the ad).

While we were just sitting here sipping our sauvignon, they have brought the fight to us wine geeks, touting their product as “wine,” and packaging it in 750 ml bottles with 13% alcohol. The audacity! And they continue that their measly mead is “a light and crisp dry white that is thoroughly wine-like, but unlike any wine you’ve had before.”

Oh yeah, which vintage is your honey from, Mister Meadery? Can you imagine, the meadery is exploiting the honey bees during their time of Colony Collapse Disorder! Drink real wine instead! There’s a global glut! Manhattan Meadery, you’re on notice!

Who’s threatening us now? Bling beer!


Carlsberg, the Danish brewer, has announced the release of a $400 beer called “Vintage No. 1.” According to Bloomberg, the beer, which costs 357 times more than the regular Carlsberg lager, “has been developed to challenge luxury wines in the gourmet restaurant market and capitalize on rising individual wealth.”

But don’t they know that bling is only allowed in wine country! (OK, maybe cognac too.) How dare them try to pry our white-gold encrusted jerobaums out of our wine stained fingers! Bling beer, you’re on notice!

– “Research subjects think more expensive means better wine!
– “Are restaurants pushing wine for profit?
– More on notice

Who’s threatening us now: BlingH20!!

Keen readers of this site know my antipathy–nay hostility–for bottled water. I gave up the easily substitutable beverage for thirty days to offset my wine carbon footprint, allowing me to enjoy wine from all corners of the earth with a clearer conscience.

Now we wine drinkers can focus our animosity at BlingH2O. This new product apes wine by calling itself the “Cristal” of bottled water, is sold in glass bottles with wine-like sizing, a cork, and for a wine-like price of $20 a pop–and a 375ml pop at that! (The water is “bottled at the source in Dandridge, Tennessee.”)

BlingH2o, you and your Swarovski crystal-encrusted, frosted glass bottle, you’re on notice!!!


More “On notice

Who’s threatening us now: nanotechnology!

Tired of high alcohol levels in your wine? Want to tone down the “fresh cut grass” in your sauvignon blanc? Heck, want to turn your red wine into white?

Behold the future is here! Kraft brings you “programmable” food and beverages. Roll the tape from The Observer (UK):

The processed-food giant Kraft and a group of research laboratories are busy working towards ‘programmable food’. One product they are working on is a colourless, tasteless drink that you, the consumer, will design after you’ve bought it. You’ll decide what colour and flavour you’d like the drink to be, and what nutrients it will have in it, once you get home. You’ll zap the product with a correctly-tuned microwave transmitter – presumably Kraft will sell you that, too.

This will activate nano-capsules – each one about 2,000 times smaller than the width of a hair – containing the necessary chemicals for your choice of drink: green-hued, blackcurrant-flavoured with a touch of caffeine and omega-3 oil, say. They will dissolve while all the other possible ingredients will pass unused through your body, in their nano-capsules.

While the Observer article only mentions nanotechnolgy as being able to “turn red wine into white,” Neil Pendock cranks it up on

Goodbye cork taint, hello programmable alcohol levels – nanotechnology can deliver solutions to the age-old problems of wine… Feel like a glass of Sauvignon Blanc? Switch on the green peppers (capsicum if you feel in an Aussie or pretentious South African mood). Syrah? Dial up some wood smoke, sweaty saddles and spice.

I’ve had wines that express the terroir and wines designed for focus groups. But I’ve never tried a do-it-almost-yourself (with-the-help-of-microwave) “wine”! Nano-wine, I’m putting you on notice!

Related: “Who’s threatening us now: United Airlines!

tags: |

Showdown: we know there’s smoke–but how about mirrors?

I recently crossed light-sabers with Chef Homaro Cantu who had a recipe in Wired magazine for “caramelaserizing” wine. In short, he zaps a vanilla bean with a laser beam to fill the overturned wine glass with smoke, then upends it and pours in the wine. For the details see my earlier post where I put Chef Cantu on notice for such a practice.

Well, Chef Cantu, founder of Moto restaurant in Chicago is clearly a cutting-edge chef who says he’s “changing the way humans perceive food.” He prints his menu on edible paper, cooks his sea bass sous vide, bakes his bread from the inside out, and serves frozen pancakes at -273 degrees.

However, his wine service has been less publicly analyzed than the food. We know it is progressive (no word on cork screws). And the chef himself is so progressive that he even posts comments on blogs. Such as this one. To wit, here are his previous comments in defense of caramelaserizing wine:

Utilizing pure light does not add nor take away any artificial or natural aromatic characteristics of the item being “caramelaserized”. Another advantage is low energy consumption per glass altered and the pinpoint energy and directional control of a laser. A water based vapor would impart a different mouthfeel into the glass as well as implement bitter qualities. Also, I can impart qualities not associated with edible foodstuffs, like laserizing real leather into a glass of scotch. Now you can allow your imagination to run wild with descriptive characteristics because they are now a more robust reality, not just a subtlety.

I wrote Chef Cantu and said I would be in Chicago over Thanksgiving. He has invited Mrs. Vino and me to be his guests on Saturday the 25th. So for you, dear reader, I will go and try his vanilla beans and laser beams and issue the definitive report! Does smoke blend with wine? Or is it post-modern smoke and mirrors? Stay tuned!

Who’s threatening us now: Homaro Cantu” [Dr. V]
Weird Science” Fast Company magazine.
Moto restaurant

tags: | | |

Who’s threatening us now: United Airlines!

Do you travel with wine? I did recently. And according to today’s NYT, there are a lot of wine professionals who do.

As if the Global War on Toiletries weren’t cramping our style enough by prohibiting us from carrying cabernet in the aircraft, now it is surfacing that United may be preventing wine from being checked in the hold.

According to a thread on Flyertalk, one passenger was denied checking wine in his luggage at the Los Angeles airport, LAX. The traveler put a “fragile” sticker on his bag and the staffer checking him in (wait, they have people doing that at LAX?) asked him why, he said he was taking a nice wine to a friend’s wedding. No go said the staffer. “She just started shaking her head and informed me that if UA “knows” that you are checking wine, they must ask you to remove the wine from your suitcase,” he wrote.

The traveler chucked the $90 cab in the trash. He must have decided not to chug it like this guy.

United, what are we supposed to do? Even though it doesn’t appear to be your official policy, this inconsistency is bad. Vintage variation? Fine, we can live with that. But travel policy variation? Nope. I’m putting you on notice, United Airlines!

Thanks for the tip, Mark at Upgrade: Travel Better!

Related: “Who’s threatening us now: Homaro Cantu!” [Dr. V]

Who’s threatening us now: Homaro Cantu

Homaro Cantu, the Chicago chef who writes his menu on edible paper and bakes his bread inside out with a laser, is now turning his lasers on something else: wine. Roll the tape from the current Wired magazine:

Carmelized Wine
Mixologist: Homaro Cantu
1 vanilla bean
6 oz. red wine

Clamp vanilla bean below inverted wine glass. Heat bean with a class-IV laser until mist coats the inside of the glass. Remove bean, flip glass, fill with wine, and serve.

I dispute this. It’s really much better with a class-II laser.

Actually, this 30-year-old chef at Moto restaurant and practitioner of “molecular gastronomy” has pushed his wine too far (but at least he’s not using hazelnuts). If he needs to enhance his wine, maybe he should simply try other, better wine? And make it one aged in American oak, which imparts his desired vanilla notes. Would Homaro add vanilla aromas to enhance any “red wine” from Beaujolais to Barolo?

Keep your laser away from my wine glass! We’re putting you on notice, Homaro!

Who’s threatening us now: robots!” [Dr. V]
Who’s threatening us now: cider!” [Dr. V]

UPDATE: Read about my encounter with Chef Homaro Cantu and his laser beams

Who’s threatening us now: cider!

First there was POM, the bottled nectar of the annoying pomegranate, more seed than fruit. Now cider is trying to move in on the action. Cider!

What this Johnny-Appelseed-come-lately boasts with POM is they is high levels of phenolics, those life prolonging antioxidants. Morley Safer “discovered” on “60 Minutes” in 1991 that moderate consumption of red wine helped lower heart disease in a phenomenon known as “the French Paradox.” Ever since then various hangers-on in the world of drinks have been trying to one-up vin rouge. Red wine, particularly from high elevations, boasts high levels of phenolics.

The Economist recently reported that cider is the latest to extol it’s health virtues. Varieties of British cider apples have been found to have phenolic levels 10 times that of Golden Delicious (no mention of comparison with red wine grapes). But will they transfer to humans through cider? British researcher Serena Marks is doing a study to find out. The wine world will be watching. And we don’t want to have to put her on notice!

Who’s threatening us now: robots!” [Dr. V]


Wine Maps

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

See my op-eds in the NYT
"Drink Outside the Box"
"Red, White, and Green"


Monthly Archives


Blog posts via email



Wine industry jobs


One of the “fresh voices taking wine journalism in new and important directions.” -World of Fine Wine

“His reporting over the past six months has had seismic consequences, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a blog.”

"News of such activities, reported last month on a wine blog called Dr. Vino, have captivated wine enthusiasts and triggered a fierce online debate…" The Wall Street Journal

"...well-written, well-researched, calm and, dare we use the word, sober." -Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, WSJ

jbf07James Beard Foundation awards

Saveur, best drinks blog, finalist 2012.

Winner, Best Wine Blog

One of the "seven best wine blogs." Food & Wine,

One of the three best wine blogs, Fast Company

See more media...


Wine books on Amazon: