Archive for the 'wine random' Category

Worms & “the truffle kid”

worms for sale Recently, my seven-year-old son dug up some worms, made a sign, set up a table on the street and sold them for ten cents each. “Great for your garden! Great for fishing!” ran his pitch. He made $9, including tips. That’s almost better than wine writing!

On a somewhat related note, check out the profile of Brett Ottolenghi–alternately known as “the truffle kid” or “Hamleg”–in the current issue of the New Yorker (subscription req’d). When he was 13, Ottolenghi started selling white truffles online and later ran the business from his dorm room. Now 25, he “specializes in the small run, the vaguely regulated, the hard to come by, and the near-banned,” which includes foie gras, truffles, caviar, saffron, vinegars, cinnamon, oils, salts, and ham. He sells them to the 375 Las Vegas chefs he claims to know on a first-name basis.

Woman tries to recycle her cork lingerie [video]

Rather than scaring you about the Iberian lynx, some cork enthusiasts have put out a video to try to save…foxes? Foxes and forests? Bottles sporting wood? Something like that. I am confused.

A glass a day…keeps sobriety away

huge wine glass

Have you ever thought, “Gee, I’d love to drink this whole bottle of wine–but not right out of the bottle since that’s not classy–and I don’t want to get up from the couch to do so.”

Then the inventors of the supersized, Kotula’s giant wine glass had you in mind! It fits an entire bottle in the glass, right up to the rim. Be sure to check out the hilarious video. (That’s also a party trick you can perform with some of the enormo glasses from Riedel or Bottega del Vino.)

A downside: you sure need a lot of Wine Away if it’s full of red wine and gets knocked over.

Related: “Big glasses make you drink more
Thanks, Leah!

Canadian cows drink red wine for better flavor

cows wine

The world wine glut just found a new category of consumer: cows.

A farmer in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is feeding her cattle red wine for the 90 days before slaughter. According to the Vancouver Sun, Janice Ravndahl of Sezmu Meats stumbled on the idea while watching chef Gordon Ramsey feed beer to pigs on his show, The F Word. Because she thought her Angus would get bloated from the carbonation in beer, she started feeding her cows a liter of local red wine a day, sometimes mixed in with their food, sometimes straight. Here’s how the cows reacted:

“When the cows first drink the wine, it’s like ‘what is this?’” says Ravndahl.

“But once they have it, they’re happy to have it again. They moo at one another a little more and seem more relaxed. There are a few that lap it up out of the pail. After they’ve had it for a while, when they see us coming with the pitchers, they don’t run, but they come faster than usual.”

A little more relaxed? And they seem to “talk to each other”? Hey now–I think someone is asking for a candlelit stall for two in the back.

Why do it? Local chefs attest to the subtly more complex flavor. One even remarked that it came “pre-marinated.” If in boeuf bourguignon, the meat cooks in the wine, boeuf a la canadienne must put the wine in the beef first.

Every time you open a screwcap, a kitten dies!

screwcap glenn beck

It’s almost as if cork producers have hired Glenn Beck to present their $22 million marketing campaign! The campaign, mostly in Britain, links a switch to synthetic wine closures to the decline of the endangered Iberian lynx.

If you are interested in the Iberian lynx, surf over to SOS Lynx. It discusses the causes of their dwindling lynx numbers (chiefly, a decline in wild rabbits and 70% of their natural habitats allowing hunting), a doubling of females in recent years, and how most of Iberian lynx live in Spain, not Portugal, which produces over 50% of the world’s cork.

Opening wine with a shoe–is a Croc

Various notes have come to the Dr. Vino World Headquarters recently: “Is it possible?;” “I am expecting some dr. vino independent trials;” and “Hilarious, can it be done?”

Of course, they are all referring to the most discussed wine topic of today–not Bordeaux 2009 futures, not even natural wine–but how to open a bottle of wine with a shoe.

It all started with a video last fall of a drunken Frenchman and a group of his thirsty friends, which had tens of thousands of views on Youtube before being removed for some reason. Then came this sober French video:

Inspired, challenged, bored and thirsty on a summer afternoon, I grabbed a bottle of six-year-old Italian Pinot Grigio and three-year old California Sauvignon Blanc, both closed with real corks, and headed to the nearest sturdy tree. I banged the bottles against the tree with Crocs, Keens, dress shoes, cycling shoes, dish towels and, finally, straight-up, bottle against tree. Neither of the corks budged. Not a millimeter. Now I was sweaty, annoyed, chagrined and thirstier than before. And the wines had angry bubbles swirling around the bottles.

I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m just saying I couldn’t do it that day. So my advice to you: at picnics, hiking, when you need to open a bottle without a corkscrew, bring a screwcap. Or champagne.

After the jump, check out the collection of “how to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew” videos for your your summer time-wasting needs! Read more…

Which white wine would convert a fan of reds?

white wine red wine
Ray Isle posts an interesting question on his Facebook page. Since Facebook as all the appeal of a leper with cooties these days thanks to their recent privacy decision, why not bring it up here as well? Here’s his question: “if you want to convert a red wine drinker to drinking white, what do you think is the best white wine out there for the job?”

I’ve contemplated this very question several times. It probably matters which type of reds the person is accustomed to drinking. If it is a lighter-bodied red, the conversion is most likely painless since the shift would be changing some fruits on the same chassis of high-acidity. So it probably is someone who likes low-acid, “big” reds who doesn’t like the acidity of some whites. In which case, there are white Rhone varieties such as viognier, marsanne, roussanne that might fit the bill. It’s hard to say in the abstract, but that seems plausible in theory.

There’s also the context: put the red-wine drinker with lunch under an umbrella on a 90-degree day and see if the white wine doesn’t just have a little more appeal.

And Champagne is always a good fallback–perhaps a blanc de noirs, to be tricky! Any which way, there’s probably little chance of weaning a dyed-in-the-wool red wine-ophile to a steady diet of whites–I was aiming for admiring and ordering a glass from now and then.

What do you think?

Trader Joe’s introduces new “Th. J.” wine; dubbed “ten buck Tom”

ThJ ten buck Today, Trader Joe’s launches a value wine that riffs on history.

The grocery store chain that brought the world Two Buck Chuck is debuting a wine in a weather-beaten bottle bearing the initials Th. J. and a $9.99 price tag. Various wine blobbers have dubbed it “ten buck Tom” after trying samples. Trader Joe’s is also colloquially known as “TJ’s.”

“The bottle itself–a real collector’s item–is expensive since it is sandblasted for that aged look,” said Bill Cook, Director of Operations at Trader Joe’s. “The wine itself costs considerably more but thanks to widespread discounting in the industry today, we were able to source this Pinot Noir from prime vineyards in the Languedoc region of France.”

The inspiration for “Th. J.” was the contested wine sold at auction allegedly having belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Malcolm Forbes bought one of those bottles for $156,000 in 1985. These bottles were the centerpiece of the book, “The Billionaire’s Vinegar.”

“Since those bottles are now considered at least questionable, we’re selling a wine that we know to be true and a heckuva lot cheaper,” Cook said.

Lines have formed outside various Trader Joe’s locations as collectors and wine enthusiasts hope to score a bargain.

“I’m going to buy ten cases and sell the empty bottles on eBay right away,” said Harvey Rollingstock outside the 13th Street location in New York City.

“I’ll put it a third of it for sale with a $30 reserve to triple my money overnight,” he said. “And drink the rest.”


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