Posts Tagged ‘can’

French wine in a can?

French wine in a can?

 

Making its debut at the prestigious Vinexpo beginning Sunday in Bordeaux: French wine in a can!

Will Winestar’s single-serving cans create a riot in the hallowed halls of the international wine and spirits fair?  Maybe not.

The Paris-based company isn’t dealing in the generic swill those adorable single-serving bottles typically hold. Their wines are all A.O.C. (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). Each 187-milliliter can (one-fourth the size of a typical 750-milliliter bottle) lists the wine estate, the appellation and the grape varietals as well as the vintage. Working with the European office of Ball Packaging, Winestar founder Cédric Segal developed a can with a coating inside “to make total isolation between the wine and the can.”

The first series hails from Château de L’Ille from the Corbières appellation in the Languedoc region of southern France. The white is a blend of the local Rolle (Vermentino) grape, vintage 2011. The rosé is Syrah and Grenache, vintage 2012. And the red is a blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache from the 2011 vintage. The cans sell for about $3.30 to $4.

Segal says he got the idea when he was traveling in Asia and saw that Australia was selling quality wine there in cans. Why couldn’t that work just as well with French wines?

He realizes that the French have a very strong tradition with the bottle and doesn’t expect the can to be adopted immediately in France. “Most export markets, though, have already accepted the screw cap and synthetic cork, so it’s not such a big leap,” Segal said.

 

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Chances are that at least once in your life you’ve found yourself at a restaurant, sitting next to someone who claims to know everything about wine.

They usually hold their glass up toward the light to see the color of the wine, talk about tannins, grape variety, soil quality… Of course, the most expensive wine always seems to be the best one.

But recently, several studies have shown that the price itself of a wine can actually influence its taste.

In 2001, Frederic Brochet carried out two experiments at the University of Bordeaux. In one of them, he got 54 oenology students together and had them taste a glass of red wine, and a glass of white wine. They described each wine with as many details as they could. What Brochet did not tell them was that both glasses were actually the same wine. He had simply dyed the white wine red – which did not affect its taste. In the second experiment, he asked experts to assess the quality of two bottles of red wine. One was very expensive, the other one was cheap. Once again, he had tricked them, filling both bottles with the cheap wine. So, what were the results?
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The science of winemaking.

 

From refining a style to rescuing a difficult vintage, how outsiders can help a winery

 

WHEN MICHEL ROLLAND was named the winemaking consultant to France’s Château Figeac two months ago, a great protest was registered in certain wine-drinking circles. The St. Émilion grand cru would be ruined; the wine would be “Rolland-ized,” opined drinkers posting on a popular discussion board. One reader even declared that the move was “a disaster for all fans of Figeac.” The impassioned discussion ran to seven pages and lasted two weeks. Who would guess that a winemaking consultant—even the world’s most famous one—had the power to provoke such an outpouring of passion, not to mention a purported ability to destroy a Bordeaux estate?

Winemaking consultants range from professionals who might offer a word of advice on the final blend to those who are involved in every phase of the winemaking—from the vineyard to the bottling line. While consultants have been employed for decades, the profession has lately been the subject of much debate: Do consultants actually help elevate the wines of an individual estate, or do they simply stamp out the same wine over and over again? For example, to members of that particular discussion board, a “Michel Rolland wine” was shorthand for an “overripe, over-extracted, high-alcohol” product. But was that fair? I contacted some prominent winemaking consultants—starting with Mr. Rolland—to hear what they had to say.

 

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The now well-scientifically-established French Paradox — which has driven a wine/health craze since the pivotal 60 Minutes Episode on Nov. 17, 1991 — is all about moderate consumption.

Red wine sales increased 44% after the broadcast … dropped off a bit, then soared again a year later when the program was re-broadcast. As a whole, per-capita consumption in the U.S was in decline until then. And has been on the upswing ever since.

However, wine industry neglect and government guessing, has made the defining of “moderate” an unclear and, perhaps, unhealthy situation.

What’s Moderate? What’s A Drink?

And are you a drunk and don’t know it?

WHAT IS MODERATE DRINKING?

The biggest problem with defining this level concerns how researchers and government agencies gather data.

In general, the vast majority of the hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies define “moderate” as 1 drink a day for women and no more than two. For men, that range is 1 to 2 drinks a day but no more than 3 or 4. Weekly consumption for “moderate” is 7 for women and no more than 14 for men.

This site: from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) offers the current definition of Moderate & Binge Drinking. While NIAAA receives almost half a billion dollars per year in tax funds, as far as can be determined, they have never conducted studies on the health benefits of moderate consumption.

That may seem unfair, but they are in keeping with other government-sponsored alcohol organizations including those at the United Nations.

DATA COLLECTION ISSUES PLAGUE “STANDARDIZATION”

The definitions of “moderate” and “binge” are somewhat based on the extensive research showing that moderate drinkers of alcohol live longer and more illness-free lives than either heavy drinkers or abstainers (with corrections for abstainers who do not drink because of illness or other health issues).

However, those definitions are based on self-reported consumption data from alcohol consumers who may underestimate the number of drinks they consume. In addition, most drinkers do not have a precise idea of exactly what constitutes “a drink.”

In the absence of hard data in large population studies in hundreds of scientific papers, government agencies have basically made a wild guess and decided that the “standard” is one that contains a very small amount of alcohol — 14 grams.

This is a timeworn bureaucratic technique: when the facts aren’t available, make one up.

And thus, the “standard” drink was invented based on a guess with no solid facts at all.

But like so many government pronouncements — especially when UNchallenged by private parties — this bureaucratic invention of convenience has achieved the level of dogma.

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Natural wine has much to learn...

Natural wine has much to learn from…

 

I can’t look a chicken in the eye anymore unless I ask it first if it’s free range. My family eats organic, right down to the kale. Yes, the natural food movement has changed the way we eat. We consider where our food came from, who grew or produced it, and how far it traveled to get to our plate.

Certainly — to throw some reality-check deionized spring water on the previous paragraph – the vast majority of American eaters are slugging down sugary drinks and sucking down deep-fried McSomething every day, but what was once the fringe domain of a few tofu freaks is now mainstream. You can buy stock in Whole Foods, which took in nearly $12 billion last year, and you can buy organic at Walmart and Costco.

Authors like Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman champion intelligent eating that will help us all live longer. I wonder, though, when those guys sit down to a meal with wine, do they drink organic? I’d like to think so. Laura Klein, publisher of Organic Authority, told me that people who eat organically would also be likely to drink organic, natural or sustainably-produced wine.

“It is a natural extension of their lifestyle,” she wrote me in an email. “Grapes can be one of the most heavily sprayed crops with pesticides, and those who want to limit their exposure to pesticides will probably want to choose wine made with grapes that are grown organically the way mother nature intended: without the use of chemical pesticides that damage the soil, environment and health of the workers that pick those grapes. In fact growers who use pesticides have to pay higher health insurance rates for their workers because of exposure.”

Although you can get organic wines in Whole Foods and Trader Joes, how can you find out more about them, and who are the champions for drinking the good (organic) stuff?
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