How do you make rosé? Add red wine to white wine (according to the EU)

This one really takes the cake. I mean, we’ve heard about a number of dumb things being done in Europe – and especially in France – to weaken and vilify wine.

Laws that prohibit just about every publicity about wine, and equate its online presence to pornography, a prohibitionist mood that seems to rival the American one from the 19th Century, new rules on appellations that are not exactly a boon for preserving the centuries-old identity of regions and vineyards… Things are not going great for this pillar of French culture, to use a euphemism. So much so that a recent survey showed that a majority of citizens judged that wine was “risky”.

But now, the whiz kids that are putting together wine regulations for the EU (more…)

It’s AWBA time again

It’s that time of the year again. The Oscars, the Grammys… the American Wine Blog Awards.

These Wine Blog Awards were created by Tom Wark of Wark Communications and the Fermentation Blog, one of the most widely read wine blogs on the web. They are now in their third year, and were created with an interesting mix of public voting and judging in mind.

Right now, until midnight tomorrow, February 8, you can nominate your favorite wine blogs by simply leaving a comment in the appropriate category on Tom’s blog (please feel free to nominate this blog, if you’ve enjoyed it – just not in the graphics category…). From there, a panel of judges will select four blogs in each category as finalists. And then, the vote will be open to the public again. The more suggestions at this point, the better the chances for the finalists to be representative of what people are reading and enjoying in the growing world of wine blogs.

So go ahead and nominate. Then come back and vote, when the finalists are out. A little recognition goes a long way for wine bloggers, who more often than not are doing this in their spare time, with little or no revenue in return.

Published in: on February 7, 2009 at 3:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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California wines for Obama’s inauguration – and thoughts about wine at the White House

I have to say that Americans sure know how to throw a big party. Case in point, Barack Obama’s inauguration, which is drawing an incredible line-up of artists over these few days, and millions of people in tow, to witness this historic occasion.

It may be presumed that, at some of these functions, wine will be served.

Actually, it is certain that wine will be served, including three California wines at the Inaugural Luncheon, served for the new president, the vice-president, their wives, and 200 other members of Washington’s who’s who, in the Hall of the Capitol.

In honor of the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, (more…)

Wine and the economic downturn: a sense of paradox

It’s a story about the Emerald Inn in the New York Times that got me thinking about the whole, strange relationship between wine (and booze in general) and the economy.

You see, the Emerald Inn is a historic pub from New York’s Upper West Side that was supposed to close in the spring, because its rent was set to more than double in the red-hot Big Apple real estate market. Until that market tanked, and the owners saw that they’d never get a tenant who could pay that much. The owners traded down a bit (but still raised the rent), and so the Guinness will keep flowing, and the customers will keep drinking. And everyone seems happy. And if they’re not, they’ll probably be drowning their sorrow in an extra pint anyways.

Which is a bit what has been happening in the wine business over the holidays. (more…)

Twitter Recipe #1: Wine suggestions for Anthony’s white bean sunchoke purée crostini (and another recipe)

The other day, I was getting ready to cook some white beans, and wanted to take the dish in a different direction than what I usually do. So knowing that I have many friends on Twitter who are well-versed in the culinary arts of the Mediterranean, I tweeted for suggestions while the beans simmered and got many good ideas.

Caroline (aka @gastrolinguista) suggested a Fabada, a bean dish with chorizo and saffron, among other things. I wound up doing a kind of fabada, that evening, with some of my homemade chorizo and dry-cured bacon.

There was also this very simple one from Anthony Nicalo, of Farmstead Wines:

@RemyCharest sweat onion & garlic, add chopped tomato, lightly color, deglaze w wht wine; add beans, and simmer w po rk stock, rosemary, salt

And then, as I dug through the fridge (more…)

75 years ago today, Prohibition was repealed. I’ll drink to that!

It  was on a post from The Passionate Foodie, yesterday, that I read about it: today marks the 75th anniversary of the Presidential Proclamation of the repeal of Prohibition, a US Constitutional amendment that caused a lot of criminality and made fortunes for Canadian distillers, among other things.

While Franklin D. Roosevelt had announced his intention to repeal Prohibition from the time he ran for President, it was only on December 5, 1933 that the Constitutional amendment repealing the one that had brought it into effect actually was validated. Indeed, it was on that day that Utah (!) became the 36th State to approve what then became the 21st amendment.

It’s certainly worth cheering that anniversary. Moderation being much preferable than prohibition, obviously.

But it’s interesting to note that (more…)

It’s Christmas. Bring out the big bottles – and I mean that literally

I did another one of those fun collaborations with Sharman Yarnell, of Montreal radio station CJAD, this week. The theme was Holiday wine giving, by which she meant: what wine do you buy someone as a gift that will be distinctive and, hopefully, impressive.

I made many suggestions, from Alvaro Palacios’ Petalos, a scrumptious Bierzo with a lot of fight in it (see my tasting note), to Miguel Torres’ Mas La Plana, an exceptional and age-worthy cabernet sauvignon from the catalan part of Spain, and to the oft-forgotten madeira (the perfect match for plum pudding and fruitcake) with a Henriques y Henriquest 1995 Single Vintage as an excellent starting point.

But the idea that really stuck with me was: Go Big.

By which I don’t mean heading for overripe, (more…)

Twitter Taste Live: from sake to sherry, with Hahn in the middle

If you think that people who write about wine are all stuck up wine bores, you need to come on board and watch (or take part in) Twitter Taste Live, a live wine tasting event imagined by the folks at Massachussetts wine merchant Bin Ends Wine. A clever use of social media for marketing purposes, the TTL events are also just plain fun. Earlier this fall, I took part in one such event where Etienne Hugel, from the famous Alsace wine producer Hugel et fils, was the guest of honor as we tasted various Hugel wines. The sharing of notes, and opportunity to talk with the producer and fellow online wine lovers… it was just terrific. You can see a summarized recap right here which gives a sense of the event – but not all the grat atmosphere.

For the 5th Twitter Taste Live event, which took place in a lighthearted, football-and-vacuum-pump joke-filled session just a few hours ago, wine bloggers were invited to take the floor and propose wines and themes. And the proposals (more…)

Wine and the electoral process

In times of political campaigns, politics can seep into just about any part of life. It may even get into your wine.

For at least one Chilean wine producer, as I found out on Twitter, thanks to wine educator Bruce Cass, the ricochet from recent political events is rather stupefying. The name of the wine? Palin Syrah, a reasonably-priced organic wine made by renowned winemaker Alvaro Espinosa for GeoWines. The association with the one and only republican vice-presidential candidate is apparently causing people to walk away from it in San Francisco, while Texans are buying it with extra enthusiasm in Houston.

As a quick Google search will tell you, (more…)

Various Goings On in the World Wine Web

The fluidity of the world wide web is only surpassed, perhaps, by that of wine. OK, I’m reaching, here. It just sounded good.

Yet, there is something true to that idea. Things can move fast, and in sometimes suprising ways, on the Web.

For instance, thanks to a timely Tweet from Tim at Winecast, I found out that Amazon is supposed to add wine to its expanding catalogue of goods within weeks. We’ve come a long way from the world’s largest online bookstore.

Tim points out that, interestingly enough, (more…)