The plot thickens! First, $500,000 of rare Bordeaux goes missing from a restaurant in Sweden last August. “Only 600 bottles of the best wine were stolen. They did not take any of the cheaper wines. They were real professionals,” Lars Fagerlund, restaurant manager, told decanter.com.
Then in late December, the “big wine caper” took place in the well-heeled enclave of Atherton, California. Thieves cracked the electronic code and stole 450 super-premium bottles of wine. The New York Times wrote that “There was no sign of forced entry, indicating the possibility of an inside job…The perpetrator had a discerning palate, leaving behind lesser vintages. The average bottle stolen was reported to be worth $222.”
Now news is coming out of Bordeaux of yet another heist. “Over €600,000 of first growth and other top Bordeaux wines have been stolen from one of France’s oldest negociant houses in a heist which bears all the hallmarks of an inside job,” reports decanter.com.
Wow, international intrigue, precious wine, savvy thieves–someone had better alert a screen writer and Catherine Zeta-Jones! THIS is the wine screenplay they have been waiting for! (Sorry, Russell Crowe)
In case you missed Tony Boudain’s hilarious rant against the Food Network, it has been making its way around “the internets.” New York magazine got into the action, rushing to the defense of the Food Network saying that Michael Ruhlman, who published the Bourdain rant on his blog, specializes in cheap shots. Ruhlman fired back calling NY Mag “wankers” and told them to buy his book. Good stuff. I can’t wait for the TV version to come out (though probably not on Food Network).
Now we get this sent to the Dr. Vino world headquarters from a trusted source with insider knowledge (emphasis added):
Interestingly, [the Bourdain critique] is not a big deal at the Network at all. They are a media company first and they try to appeal to the masses as much as possible. It’s part of the business model if you will and a byproduct of being available in over 90 million homes. As a side note, the fact that they’re in 90 million homes is why it is very unlikely to ever have a show on wine or even organic foods on the air. They don’t want to alienate any of the non-drinking viewers or preach to anyone about the wonders of organic foods, especially if they can’t afford the extra cost or find them easily. As an extension of that, the Network doesn’t necessarily want to alienate the “non-chef/home cook” too much either and that’s why they need people like Rachael Ray and Paula Deen. But… they also need the balance provided by a Mario Batali and Bobby Flay.
Wine alienates viewers?! Organics are offputting?! Call or write your cable or satellite channel, demand a wine network!
Want free wine? It can be yours for the next few days courtesy of…HBO. Roll the tape [source: AdAge]:
HBO will offer complimentary bottles of “Rome” cabernet sauvignon at more than 100 eateries in the three cities to promote the second-season launch of its sex-blood-and-togas series, debuting Jan. 14. But rather than have restaurant servers introduce the product by saying “And our house wine tonight is brought to you by HBO,” consumers will be presented with a polite card at their tables: “A taste of ‘Rome’ awaits you. Ask server for details.”
Mmm, cabernet, swords and sandals. Sounds authentic? Hardly. But at least the promoters recognize as much.
Though intended to give diners an authentic taste of the show’s premise, the “Rome” wine was not shipped in from Italy; it was produced in California. HBO’s senior VP-consumer marketing, Courteney Monroe, was unable to secure an Italian wine vendor, but she doesn’t believe the promotion fails logistically. The detail is as subtle as the promotion was intended to be.
Somehow, I bet the special effects are better than the wine…(hat tip: UTB)
I have assigned the book Fast Food Nation to political science undergrads. Eric Schlosser’s non-fiction account about “the dark side of the all-American meal” really makes political economy theories about labor and markets seem much more relevant and grounded. Heck, even if you’re not a polisci student it is still a great read, weaving together compelling stories that may change your eating habits forever.
So it was with great relish (but not ketchup) that I attended an advance screening of the new movie “Fast Food Nation” yesterday with director Richard Linklater and Eric Schlosser in attendance. The movie is a fictional account–written by Linklater and Schlosser–that weaves in much of the material from the original book. Even though the material is dark, it’s got a lot of great acting and terrific characters, most of whom journey from innocence to cynicism–or just started off cynics anyway.
Since it has little relevance to wine despite being very worthwhile I’ll leave the reviews to the pros. Check here for AO Scott’s review in the NY Times. Or get a roundup of reviews over on metacritic.
But I did record the Q&A with Linklater and Schlosser so I will put that up here. You can learn about how they got access to slaughterhouses, their thoughts on potential lawsuits, and just how much Bruce Willis got paid for his excellent cameo.
Audio here (35 minutes)
“A three-P movie: pleasant, pretty and predictable. One might add piddling.” -Stephen Holden, NY Times
“Even judged by the not excessively demanding standards of middle-aged renovation fantasies, ‘A Good Year’ isn’t much…Stocky and bullish, [Crowe] looks great on the bridge of a ship or holding off barbarians with a lance but exceptionally unhappy in a bespoke suit.” -Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
Russell Crowe “manages to make Max unremittingly dislikable. What’s more, Mr. Crowe inflicts on Max, and himself, a painfully clumsy version of the clownish physical comedy that Cary Grant once did so well. “A Good Year” is “Sideways” gone sour, the dregs of faux Provence.” – Joe Morgenstern, WSJ
The reviews of “A Good Year” are out! And Ridley Scott, Peter Mayle, and Russell Crowe must be drowning sorrows in Aussie shiraz. Hopefully not a Penfold’s Grange from 1964, Crowe’s birth year. The actor just sent back a $4,400 bottle of it while dining at Marco Pierre White’s Mirabelle in London last month. But, hey, at least he didn’t throw it back!
So, how much will this vaguely wine-y movie, set in Provence, take in this opening weekend? I’m going with $8 million. “Borat,” by comparison, made $26 million last weekend. Post your thoughts in the comments below!
UPDATE 11/12: Well, it looks like the movie did even worse opening weekend than any of the predictions taking $3.77 million from 2,066 theaters showing the movie. The production budget was $35 million. [BoxOfficeMojo]
I think I will write my first screenplay based on these lab mice living longer. Here it goes.
Synopsis: Two wine lovers find a mouse in their bottle of wine and decide to go on an odyssey return it to the winery for a refund. After battling two teams of vicious hockey players, the duo arrive at the winery where the vintner (Max von Sydow) refuses to give them a refund. Through it all, the mouse refuses to die thanks to sheer force of will–and a high dose of resveratrol.
Related: “The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew” [IMDB]
In the most punchy writing ever seen on Decanter, a review calls “A Good Year” starring Russell Crowe “an absolute dog.” Russell Crowe’s character, an investment banker turned vintner in Provence, intones such lines as “I want a bottle that tastes like you and a glass that is never empty…” The screenwriter, Marc Klein, said that he “knew nothing about wine or Provence.” [Decanter]
Jay-Z, who announced a boycott of Cristal early in the summer, has declared his new house champagne: Ace of Spades, from boutique producer Armand de Brignac. No word on the price of the wine. But you can watch him wave off a bottle of “cris” in his new video and take a bottle of Ace! [Decanter, YouTube]
Acker-Merrall, the NY auctioneer and high-end retailer, set a record with a $24 million auction last weekend. A methuselah (6L) of 1978 Romanée-Conti went for $125,475–$608 an ounce!
Want 10 million liters of French wine? Bid before November 10, probably pennies per ounce. [Scotsman]
“I love writing about wine. It’s like being paid to date models.” -Jay McInerney [Observer]
“A Good Year,” [Dr. V]
The National Highway Safety Administration launches a new marketing campaign against drunken driving. Will it crimp wine sales the way a similar campaign has in France? [NYT]
Speaking of Washington (were we?), blogger Winesmith has contacted all the candidates for DC mayor and posts their wine preferences. The leading candidate likes Australian (!) Shiraz (!!) under $10 (!!!). He also gets the faves for DC’s non-voting Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton and her recent interviewer, Stephen Colbert. [winesmith]
In New York City, Eater blogs about the closing-before-opening of Liquor Store Bar in Tribeca as a latest chapter in what they call “the drying of NYC.” [Eater]
You can’t say Mosel-Saar-Ruwer? Don’t worry, it’s being shortened to Mosel. [Decanter]
Steve De Long has thrown up an interactive map of Lonon wine shops–check it out before your next trip and find some wines to drink there since you can’t bring them back (in your carry-on). [De Long]
The Guardian says that wine producers play a mark em up just to mark it down game in the UK. [Guardian]
And finally, next summer will see the release of Ratatouille, a Pixar movie about an epicurean rat who lives in the sewers of Paris. [movie trailer]