BREAKING: After thirty vintages, Noel Pinguet has decided to leave Domaine Huet, the world-class producer in Vouvray. La Revue du Vin de France cites differences with the owners about the role of dry white wine in the production. [larvf.fr]
Paul Pontellier of Chateau Margaux has been so frustrated with bottles under cork that have gone bad that the esteemed estate is seeking another closure has begun tests with screwcaps. Maybe he should follow Henschke and say bonjour to Vino-Lok? Also: Ch. Margaux is “very close” to being organic. [Decanter.com]
SIPPED: mmm, brand extensions
A “real” housewife of New York, who was probably thin to start with, is launching a low-alcohol wine called “Skinnygirl.” It builds on the success of her low-calorie ready-to-drink margarita. [Drinks Business] Related, Drew Barrymore is launching a new wine called, Barrymore. And, yes, it includes a pinot grigio! [HauteLiving.com]
Don’t cryo-selection for me, Qaurts-de-Chaume
A new grand cru designation has been approved in the Loire for sweet wines. Yet conflict has shaken the nobly rotten zone as one producer has sued to stop the process at the eleventh hour over “cryo-selection.” [NYTimes.com]
SIPPED: An insight into why White Castle is testing wine: “The burgers cost $2.49, the wine $18.” [WSJ.com]
Was on break much of the week with family…Back in full next week!
SPIT: bottles of DRC
SIPPED: the power of the internet; credit card return policies?
Don Cornwell, a collector and attorney, posted an impressively detailed assessment of lots that went under the hammer at a London auction last night. Spectrum and Vanquish, the auctioneers, did withdraw some lots but continued to sell others despite statements from DRC’s English and American importers urging buyers to beware. I heard about someone who bid on some DRC knowing all the backstory but was attracted by the (relative) low price; if he finds the bottles to be fake, he will dispute the purchase with his credit card company. For background on the consigner, see winediarst. For tweets from the room, see @Pigeage.
An arsonist who burned a warehouse with $250 million of wine in it gets 27 years in prison. [SFgate]
SIPPED: good vine hunting
Columnist Jon Bonne tracks Tegan Passalacqua, an influential and connected vineyard scout, as he scours remote vineyards in Northern California. Spot the one behind Carl’s Jr.! [SFgate]
SIPPED: more celebrity wine
Lionel Messi shoots and pours: announces a new wine from Argentina to benefit his foundation. [drinksbusiness]
SIPPED: charity tasting
This Saturday, a dozen top NYC sommeliers will help pour dozens of wines in a fundraiser. The big question is whether jeans will outnumber windsor knots–stop by to find out! The charity benefits Wheeling Forward, supporting those living with disabilities. [leduwine.com]
Calvin Trillin has a hilarious post on ACI, a measure with false precision akin to the wine score. Here’s a snippet: “Among people who think of themselves as wine connoisseurs there’s a 61 percent ACI.” What is ACI? Click through to find out… [Slate.com]
Giuseppe Quintarelli, “master of the Veneto,” has died at 84. [NYTimes.com]
Registration is now open for the next session of my six-week wine class at NYU. [scps.NYU.edu]
And next Monday, I’ll be participating in a panel at The New School with Frank Prial, Julia Flynn Siler, Charles Sciccolone and Andy Smith. We’ll be discussing the life and legacy of Robert Mondavi.
SPIT: Burgundy 2010 allocations are harder than ever to get, per above video!
CHUGGED: USA remains the largest wine-consuming country for the second year in a row. China rose to the top five for the first time. [thedrinksbusiness]
SIPPED: Americans rejoice as they will soon be able to purchase NJ wines directly! Or that’s how they spun the bill’s passage to liberalize the state’s shipping laws. [NJToday.com]
SPIT: Chinese “8″ no longer lucky for Lafite — 08 vintage has tumbled 45% in a year. [decanter]
SIPPED: Collateralized drink obligations. A little leverage with your wine? A NY lender offers loans with wine as collateral: borro.com
SIPPED: Mmm, maps. Parcel-by-parcel in Montrachet.
SIPPED: I offer some wine picks at Men’s Health. You’ll have to get the ab workout advice from them though…
What might just be the best-selling wine glass this holiday season? Why, the RedNek wine glass, a Mason jar on top of a candlestick holder as a base. Launched this year, sales have hit $5 million already. Good thing it comes with the lid, making it the travel mug of wine glasses. [CNN]
SPIT: Vinturi aerator
A panel of sommeliers blind tastes wines that have been put through the Vinturi aerator. They admit that it transforms the wine but give three out of four the thumbs down. [bonappetit.com]
The NYT tasting panel has some good picks for all your blanc de blancs needs.
SIPPED: malbec, DrBigJ & Stone Temple Pilots?
A new wine shop in Prospect Heights suggests music pairings on their shelf talkers (too bad they also borrow heavily from at least one DrBigJ tasting note without attribution and slap on point scores, instead of pursuing the point-free path). [Village Voice]
SIPPED: carry on
A traveler at Charles De Gaulle airport dropped $60,000 on six bottles of wine. Come on, didn’t he know that there are better values in town? [Metro.co.uk]
Robert Parker has launched an “investigation” into only what transpired in Murcia. And the Institute of Masters of Wine has initiated an investigation into whether Pancho Campo MW has violated their code of conduct. [DrinksBusiness.com]
SPIT: stinky reporting
A microbial enologist laments the lack of rigor in Decanter and Wine Spectator’s recent reporting of sequencing the genome of Brettanomyces, a cause of feral, animale aromas often considered a flaw. She says that while sequencing is an accomplishment and helpful, but “by no means guarantees a solution to winery brett problems.” [wineoscope]
Speaking of sequencing, David Schildknecht hit the airwaves to say that Parker told him almost a year ago that Miller was retiring at the end of 2011. [Jim's Loire]
GAWKERIZED: Recent personnel changes at Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate make Gawker, in typically colorful style.
SIPPED and SPIT: saber rattling
Jim Budd posts more revelations about Pancho Campo and Jay Miller, including emails involving a $31,000 tasting for the wines of Madrid that the regional body could not afford. On his web site, Robert Parker threatens to sue over the recent revelations. Jim Budd pushes back against such a prospect.
A blogger views the events transpiring in Spain through the lens of Aristotelean tragedy. But how does it end? [koskeloonwine]
SIPPED and SPIT: Yao Ming wine
Yao Ming, former NBA player and current wine enthusiast living in Shanghai, has released a Napa cabernet that will sell for $289 a bottle in China (including duties and sales tax). Blake Gray points out that the wine is not from a specific vineyard; Cameron Hughes elaborates in the comments that he bought similar wine for $5 – $25 a gallon on the bulk market. (There are about five wine bottles to the gallon.) A higher-priced wine, Yao Family Reserve, is expected soon. [WSJ, Gray Report]
Over on Chowhound, a commenter wonders if it is okay to bring wine, specifically Armand de Brignac “Ace of Spades,” to MASA where the corkage fee is $90. Over on Facebook, Lyle Fass quips that the bling bottle merits that “They should charge your ass double!!” It’s an interesting idea to have restaurants vary corkage fees depending on whether they like a diner’s wine–how much for Chateauneuf du Pape at Masa? Or Yao Ming cab?
SIPPED: Bordeaux brands
How big is your brand extension? Cheval Blanc, one of the wines in the LVMH stable, will include a Paris luxury hotel of the same name. [Decanter.com]
Über-somm David Lynch will open a wine restaurant in SF where all sub-$100 wines will be available as 375ml for half price. Kind of makes you want to try two different halves, no? [SFGate]
Beaujolais from 2009 and 2010 get thumbs up in a thoughtful LA Times article. “Beaujolais is a party,” says a natural winemaker who still seeks to capture the fun of the wine.
SIPPED: wine jobs
Senior account executive (PR), California Direct Sales Manager for an import portfolio, assistant cellarmaster internship at BALTHAZAR, executive assistant to the CEO at Acker Merrall, and more!