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?
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.”
Is this wine targeting minors, adding fuel to the fire of distributors who play the underage drinking card in the direct shipping debate? The wine’s marketer told LA Weekly: “My take on it is this: with over 60,000 Hello Kitty sku’s in the marketplace and at 35 years old now, she is definitely ready for more adult skewed products. I don’t think that the $15,000 dollar Hello Kitty handbags are aimed at children either.” What say you: is Hello Kitty wine the Joe Camel of wine?!?
Yet another winter storm rips up the Atlantic coast. Areas that just got hit with two feet of snow may get another two feet starting today. What’s a wine lover to do? We turn to The Twitter: Read more…
Yesterday on Twitter, we opened a lively discussion about who should be the Wine Person of the Decade (follow along). That’s right, who in the wine world most epitomizes the decade that may one day be called the Naughties? Here’s a summary of the leading nominees thus far–feel free to hit the comments to add others, especially if you have a reason of why they embody the Naughties. Voting starts next week on selected finalists.
@pmabray: two people come to mind Gary Vaynerchuk and Jonathan Newman (formerly head buyer of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board)
@1WineDude: @drvino you’re kidding, right? just give it to Gary V now and get it over with already
James Molesworth: Michel Chapoutier brought Biodynamics to mainstream…Nicolas Catena, driving force behind resurgence of Argentina….I’d consider both of those categories (which are consumed by the way) way more important than any retailer, ever…
@candidwines: Has anyone had a greater impact on a grape, a region, or a nation’s awareness of both than Sideways writer/director Alexander Payne?
@evandawson: I’d go with someone who took wine away from the pull of sweet, massive, high ABV bombs. I’m sure there’s someone. (Not Nossiter!) I’d say Alice F
@makerstable: Randall Grahm, master of vinous self-reinvention, champion of terroir. Swimming upstream, a little ahead of the rest of the school.
@RichardPF: For an offbeat pick, Shin & Yoko Kibayashi, the writers of “The Drops of the Gods,” a very influential Japanese wine comic …
@alpanasingh: It would have to be someone who has impacted the value wine market which has improved significantly over the last 10 yrs. Jorge Ordonez?
@dalecruse: @drvino Wine person of the decade is the consumer! Buying more, wider varieties, no longer just listening to what establishment tells them.
@RobertDwyer: Chuck Wagner: Caymus was the most consistent producer in America’s favorite category in the decade.
James Molesworth: Manfred Prum – he’s probably the ultimate low-alcohol producer…so out of date, he’s back in style…
RandallGrahm: Consider Nicolas Joly. Obviously doesn’t make a lot of wine himself, but his impact is far and wide.
@WineExpo: Terry Theise! Reason–> 5000% increase in the market for Grower Champagne
@cathycorison: Jancis Robinson
Alice Feiring: Naughties award? Clark Smith.
@candidwines: I suppose if total influence is my grounds for nominations, I have to consider (thru a clenched jaw) whoever created yellow tail.
Gary Vaynerchuk: hnmmmm people behind sideways or two buck chuck
@sdelong: @drvino wait, it’s all so clear now: Fred Franzia. Clearer than crossflow filtration. Clearer than vigorous enzyme treatments…
Recently, someone asked me, “so just how big is Burgundy, say, compared to Manhattan?” Excellent question! Herewith, some of the world’s wine regions and their whole or fractional Manhattan equivalents:
Manhattan is the smallest of the five boroughs of New York City at 14,478 acres (22.6 sq. mi.; all sources appear after the jump.)
* Romanee-Conti (DRC) vineyard: 4.4 acres, about half of Bryant Park
* Burgundy: 70,470 acres or about five Manhattans
* Champagne: 86,500 acres or about six Manhattans
* Bordeaux: 300,000 acres or about 21 Manhattans
* Barossa (Australia): 13,256 acres planted or about Manhattan minus Inwood
* Napa (California): 44,000 acres planted, or about three Manhattans
* Mendoza (Argentina): 360,972 acres or about 25 Manhattans
* Maipo (Chile): 30,000 acres or about two Manhattans (or, the Bronx)
* Languedoc-Rousillon (France): 528,000 acres or about 37 Manhattans
“Give me screwcaps or give me corks!” Patrick Henry presciently wrote in 1775. Er, maybe that was Jancis Robinson who wrote something like that in 2006.
But you get the idea. That middle ground between true cork and screwcap is occupied by the synthetic cork. On the plus side, there’s no TCA taint, which can arise with natural cork. But on the minus side, the little rubber bullets can be hard to get off the corkscrew (particularly the solid ones), nearly impossible to shove back in the bottle, not biodegradable, and until someone makes a wall of synthetic corks, they haven’t had much appeal being reused functionally or artistically.
What say you?
Related: “Vent your spleen: wax seals on wine bottles“
Writing in today’s WSJ, Melanie Grayce West describes the annual “Rioja rumble” known as the Batalla del Vino, or battle of wine: “After mass, the melee on the hillside begins and red wine is fired from buckets, jugs, water guns, crop sprayers and any other vessel possible—the goal is to drench everyone in sight with red wine.” The town of Haro graciously provides the wine. The photo from the event, held on June 29 this year, begs your captioning–sound off in the comments!