In a profile of Aida Batlle, a coffee grower in El Salvador, The New Yorker blows the lid on coffee’s imitation of wine. Check out all the ways how these above-average Joes are threatening us now:
* using word “terroir”
* rise of estate labeling
* a focus on harvesting good fruit
* existence of a barista guild certification
* frequent use of blind tastings, known as “cuppings”
* stating that coffee pros like their coffee served slightly cooler because it releases more aromatics at a lower temperature
* obsessing over gadgets, such as a $100 burr grinder
Hey, “coffee experts,” back off! We wine geeks already have all these areas covered. And on the iPad version of the story, they even have the gall to offer an instructional video of how to brew coffee. Come on, we know that wine has a monopoly on “how to serve” videos on the web! Next thing you know, “coffee experts” will be spitting their java into a Jets bucket!
One thing they dare bring to blind tasting is rigor. Get this: in the Cup of Excellence program, “judges must be able to describe samples the same way when they are presented at different tables, in different orders.” And the story’s protagonist nails her own coffee when a cheeky barista in Red Hook tried to trick her in a cupping!
But don’t worry, wine geeks, we still have one thing they don’t: point scores! Yes, I pity the “coffee experts,” since they are not able to substitute a subjective experience with the false pretense of objectivity–we still have that one covered!
I’m going out on a limb here and say that women don’t really want their wine in perfume-shaped wine bottles.
But that’s just what the grappa distillery Mazzetti d’Altavilla is making with their new “Essentia Vitae.” Here’s what someone who hailed it as the packaging innovation of the week had to say.
“While perfume-inspired wine may be an acquired taste, Essentia Vitae goes further than most to connect to female consumers. Its perfume-like packaging should break through the crowded product assortments that can often confound shoppers.”
Argh, those crowded product assortments confusing women wine shoppers! Apparently the wines come in three different flavors/aromas/varieties: No. 4 Ruche – jasmine scent, No. 6 Malvasia – rose scent, and No. 8 Moscato – violet scent. What that exactly means is not clear–are they for drinking or dousing?
My bold prediction: these will go the way of Beringer’s White Lie and the French WineSight. Dammit, marketers, gendered approaches to marketing are best left to important things like razors blades and deodorants!
I got a catalogue in the mail the other day from something called Napa Style. I don’t know if it’s 100% from Napa or just sort of a Fred Franzia Napa style. But they had the item shown above listed as “big bottle wine hurricanes.” Yes, empty bottles, albeit big bottles, priced $99 – $249!
How hard is it to cut a wine bottle and make your own “hurricanes” with big bottles left over from your last party or gotten from a restaurant? Not hard, it turns out. Check out the video below for details. Or, to save you ten minutes of your life, score (no points!) the bottle with a tool like this, then pour boiling water from a tea pot over the score line and the glass has a super clean break, apparently.
Voila. Now, if you like this sort of decor and feel a tiny bit artsy-craftsy, you can spend the $249 on bottles that actually have wine in them, not candles. Read more…
Have you ever been cycling home and thought, “Gee, I’d love to stop at that wine store but I have nowhere to put a bottle because I do not have a backpack or paniers or a basket or anything!” Well, this clever little gizmo available on Etsy will solve all your problems! And if you are commuting in New York City and a cab cuts you off, well, that wine bottle might just come in handy too.
One caveat: probably not great for Champagne. Unless you are seeking to turn the cork into a projectile.
When do the companion baguette holders come out for handlebars that turn your bike into a sort of Longhorn?
Hat tip: bottlenotes.
Rob, a site reader living in China, sent in these photos. He says he doesn’t drink Chinese wine (“for obvious reasons”) but this bottle was a birthday present (“tasted terrible and was definitely not made of 100% juice”).
Still, are the Chinese trying to send anglophone customers messages via corks a la fortune cookies? If so, cute idea but they may want to use a service other than Google Translate. Oh wait, maybe “You Fat in bed” sounds better? Hmm, not really.
David Pogue, tech columnist for the NYT, is known for his goofy videos. Earlier this week, on a lark, I joined him at his house to tape a segment about low-light cameras. Sure enough, it is pretty goofy–you can tune in to see my acting debut today at about 1:45 PM on CNBC. Don’t blink or you’ll miss my lines!
We were chatting during the taping and he told me that almost authored “Wine for Dummies” way back when. Read more…
Who said wine isn’t a contact sport? In an attempt to break a world record, Harry Constantinescu, sommelier at the St. Regis Hotel in Atlanta, had a crack and a zing at sabering 22 bottles of Champagne in 60 seconds last Friday.
We’ve talked about children and wine education before. And recently about divers finding old wine under the sea. So I was surprised to stumble on a reference in a book I was reading to my kids the other day, The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau, by Dan Yaccarino.
“When diving in the waters near France,” Yaccarino writes, “Cousteau and his crew found a sunken ship full of wine jars over 2,200 years old! They tasted the wine. Alas, it was bitter.”
My seven-year-old son thought it was cool to taste something outrageously old, even if it was “bitter.” (Apparently, Cousteau’s comment at the time was that it was “a poor vintage.”) Here’s the same 1952 discovery in another book, for grown-ups:
“[Cousteau] checked his depth gauge. Two hundred and fifty feet. … He tripped his reserve valve to give himself an extra five minutes. … And there it was. Looking like an object in a museum … an amphora lay half buried on the slope in front of him. With the last measure of his strength, Cousteau pulled the amphora free of the bottom.”
Funny we get the tasting notes in the kids’ book. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any video from on-board the Calypso. But I’m sure it was captured in the ABC series “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.”