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James Molesworth: Manfred Prum – he’s probably the ultimate low-alcohol producer…so out of date, he’s back in style…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!
Drinking wine from the bottle is a pleasure that no Austrian crystal maker will tell you about. But it is the right olfactory, environmental, and economic choice.
The best crystal wine glasses have a wide balloon that narrows toward the top. That’s also the case for wine bottles where the aromas are conveniently concentrated through the bottle neck.
And because heavy glass has a larger carbon footprint than box wine, drinking directly from the bottle bypasses the need for crystal glasses that may have been sent via airfrieght with excess packaging.
Economically, the costs are clearly lower. And it also provides greater mobility to drink on the go although open container laws do interfere.
Paul Grieco of the NYC hipster wine bar Terroir says that bottles as glasses are all the rage at his bar. “The only hard part is getting people to stop after the equivalent of one glass,” he said. “And you really don’t want to be the last one to order a glass from a given bottle.”
For more details, click here.
Follow the wine action on twitter. Or not. Our interns monitor it for you:
@pete_wells: Never again will I say there’s no good cheap pinot noir. Drinking Latitude 50 from the Rheingau in Germany. Twelve bucks.
@lancearmstrong: Sitting here with @johanbruyneel at his house. Glass of wine, cheese and crackers. Now going to bed. Night, y’all. http://twitpic.com/2e0z4
@TishWine: Getting excited for April Fools 09. At DregsReport.com, we’re cooking with gas. Laughing gas. Homepage going up later this week.
@peterliem: Finally not working, for once. Listening to Sonic Youth and drinking my friend’s French moonshine: a 1995 mirabelle that his dad made.
@TQThomas: @spume I always think acidic whites with Sonic Youth, but maybe that’s only with Goo. Here, Kings of Convenience and Sant’Agata Ruché good.
@ericarnold: having a monster, spicy ramen from the deli down the block. My insides are on fire like in the Family Guy ipecac contest. But in a good way.
@billdaley: Any Lake Michigan types out there know when smelts will be swimming into the Chicago area? Miss smelts, morels, ramps. Miss them badly.
@FrankWine: is mulling marketing a t-shirt to wine bloggers that reads, “I’m Alice Feiring’s Bitch.” This post is meant in good fun, kids.
FrankWine is riffing off this video from Tina Caputo, editor of trade pub Vineyard & Winery Management, entitled Robert Parker’s Bitch. She interviews several winemakers about the influence of–you got it–RP. Check it out (26 minutes):
Robert Parker’s Bitch.
Sales of three-liter box wine are growing at a 32% clip. Compare that to 4% growth in the overall wine market. Sign o’ the times!
Why not make that box all fancy? Site reader Damon writes in to say he has made some hardwood cabinets for box wine: take the plastic bladder out of the box and drop it into an oak model that sits on the counter ($200) or a floor-standing model made from purpleheart and birch ($250). He describes them further: “The interior of the cabinets has a stone finish with a sloped floor, which keeps the bladder flowing until it is empty. I will make these custom for people out of any hardwoods that you want, with any finish wanted.”
Would you, could you in a fancy box? Or same old box wine in a new container?
Related: “Best box wines of 2008”
UPDATE: After a couple of requests via email and with Damon’s approval from Whitefish, MT, his email address is email@example.com.
Last fall, I discovered and was immediately inspired by the work of Paula Hayes, an artist in the East Village. What captivated my attention were her beautiful terrariums, exquisite miniatures of nature (which you can see in excellent photography on her website).
So I did my best to replicate her art using my own medium: wine. My five-year-old son and I went into the woods last fall and collected two kinds of moss. He made his own terrarium in a glass cookie jar; I made mine in a bottle of Domaine Tempier rose 2007, my favorite rose from last summer. Unlike most wine bottles, rose bottles are clear to show off the eye-popping color of the wine. This also makes them better terrariums!
I first added dirt to the bottle. Then I ripped off chunks of moss, compressed them and shoved them through the wine bottle’s neck with a chop stick leftover from a previous takeout. A few pokes and prods later, I had them all lined up. The only problem was a bit of schmutz and condensation on the upper part of the glass; I’ll have to drop by Paula’s studio and ask for tips on terrarium schmutz removal. But now at least all the moss pieces have actually grown together to form a rich green carpet. And there you have it: mossage in a bottle.