Posts Tagged ‘does’

 

Bag-in-Box dispenser; chillers; aerator
 
Publications and other media are bombarded with unsolicited product samples from suppliers seeking publicity. As the North American wine business has surged, so has the flood of innovative “accessories” intended to enhance the drinking experience and enrich their inventors/promoters.

While some of these gizmos look like foolish or overpriced trinkets, others at least appear to have practical application. Wines & Vines editors evaluated a few recent entrants last week.

Most striking is the Boxxle: A sleek countertop container that dispenses bag-in-box wines while dispensing with the actual box. Designed and produced by Tripp Middleton, a former banker in North Carolina, the Boxxle would be especially useful for on-premise, by-the-glass sales.

First described in our October 2011 print edition, the Boxxle “came out in spurts,” according to Middleton. Seeking perfection for his vision, the fledgling inventor took time to refine and retool the Boxxle, which is manufactured in China.

“We really just started pushing in the last month,” he said. Already more than 200 of the devices have been sold through Boxxle website, Amazon.com and deals with Wine Enthusiast and Preferred Living.

Middleton is negotiating with distributors in Tennessee and on the West Coast, and, he said, has heard “a lot of interest from wineries themselves, plus wine and spirits distributors to the restaurant and bar industry.” His sales goal for this year is 10,000 units, a figure he considers doable.

Boxxle has a non-skid base and stainless steel/black exterior. Unlike conventional 3L bag-in-box packages where the spout at the bottom demands placement at the edge of a shelf, Boxxle dispenses the wine from the top: Even a tall glass fits under the spigot for a clean and easy pour.

Middleton believes the growing demand for on-premise by-the-glass service will fuel his sales. Any 3-liter BiB package can easily fit inside, where a spring-loaded dispensing devise pushes the remaining wine up and out. This helps ensure an oxygen-free environment that preserves wine for a month or longer and allows every last drop to be poured out as the package is depleted.

Middleton hopes that wine producers or distributors will begin to provide the Boxxle as a premium or an add-on to top on-premise clients. He said he can provide custom, peel-off, self-stick labels to identify the wine brand and varietal in commercial settings. He also hopes to tap winery tasting rooms, although it’s the rare winery that serves tasting room pours from BiB packages.
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The critic.

The critic.

 

Influential critics have long played an important role in our discovery of many of life’s pleasures but are noticeably absent from others. Ardent fans of the movies, theater, literature and other areas of interest often look to familiar and trusted critics for guidance in unearthing new products and adventures as they emerge.

We tend to identify with a critic’s personal preferences and subjective direction on a range of important topics and use these “critiques” as suggestions, rather than point-driven rules, in steering the way to what might be appealing to us.

So why has the wine critic’s role taken on such a different and more rigid path in the appreciation, marketing and consequent production of wine by “awarding” completely objective scores behind a subjective facade?

A critic should be a reliable source of information for those interested, by conveying seasoned personal opinions through a review. But when a point score (without published derivation or computation) is attached, the review assumes the appearance of objectivity but remains couched in the more familiar subjective style.

Certainly there are expert reviewers and writers voicing their experienced personal opinions on what’s new in the market, but have you ever seen a dress with a 96-point rating or a perfume bearing an 85-point score? I doubt it. Yet the opinion makers in these industries do get their fair share of media time and space with detailed descriptions and observations that followers can accept or reject within their own frame of reference.

I guess this all leads to the basic question: “Is the critic’s role one of opinion or judgment?” And it’s often this question, phrased in different ways, that becomes the subject of many discussions I’ve had with others in and out of the wine industry.

 

Read on …

Cathay Pacific wine selection.

Cathay Pacific wine selection.

Roy Moorfield and Lau Chi-sun are in charge of one of Cathay Pacific’s most rigorous selection processes. Last week 140 candidates were brought before them and evaluated by appearance, body, character and even how bitter they are.

“Any flaws or problems here on the ground just get magnified in the air,” said Moorfield in knowing tones.

While it may sound like the way stewardesses were selected some 40 years ago, Moorfield and Lau were actually in Hong Kong to pick out new additions for the airline’s wine selection.

It’s a job that’s kept Moorfield busy for over 24 years as a consultant for the airline. “It’s a dark and lonely life,” he quipped, “but someone has to do it.”
Searching for a ‘first class’ wine Each year around 3,000 glasses of wine are checked by the pair’s educated palates, and through blind tastings with other connoisseurs they decide what vintages will thrive at 35,000 feet and appeal to discerning drinkers in each travel class.

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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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As a member of the “Wine Media” – I hear about medals won by wine all the time – in fact, I have been to a number of events where the wines were judged and awarded medals. My questions for consumers are:


– Does anyone in the general wine-drinking public care about these medals – most of which are from competitions many have never even heard of?
– When was the last time you purchased a wine simply based off of the medals it won in a competition?
– If you did make that kind of purchase, did you find your experience of the wine to collaborate with the medal(s) it earned i.e., gold. silver or bronze etc?
Example, you go into a winery tasting room here in Washington State and you’ll see notes about the wine or hear from the tasting room staff, things like: “This won a double-gold at the Tri-State Fair Wine Competition”. Call me a little naive here (really, go ahead, I promise I’ve been called worse) but how many of your typical “wine consumers” here in Washington State have either heard about or even care about that competition?

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Kim Kardashian.

Kim Kardashian.

 

From Kim Kardashian to Queen Elizabeth II, here’s a look at the favourite drinks of some of the world’s most famous people.
Whether it is a white Russian or glass of Sapporo, celebrities enjoy some very different drinks. Who do you think enjoys a gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon with the pips removed? Can you guess who lists a pomegranate Martini as their favourite drink?

This is a slightly more cheery list than our rogue’s gallery of despots and their drinks, which we featured recently.

Read on …

 

It’s not the end of soda — yet. But soft drinks have peaked, while bottled water, energy drinks, and a considerable amount of premium alcohol are taking their place in our liquid diet.
One hundred and eighty gallons. It’s enough to fill 11 kegs, four bath tubs, or just one big aquarium. It’s also how much liquid you drink ever year.

The question is: 180 gallons of what?

American drinking habits have undergone a major shift in the last decade. Throughout the 1990s, soft drinks made up nearly a third of the typical Americans’ liquid diet. But in the last ten years, we’ve cut our soda consumption by 16 percent. Meanwhile, we now drink more than 50 percent more bottled water than we did in 2001 — and twice as many energy drinks.

“Soft drinks peaked around 1998,” said Thomas Mullarkey, an analyst from Morningstar. The big winners in the last decade have been bottled waters, sports drinks, wines, and then spirits, “which have picked up a quarter of a gallon per person in the last decade,” Mullarkey said, before adding, “that is a lot of extra alcohol.”

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The color and opacity of a wine gives you many hints as to the style of wine you’re about to enjoy. Most places where we typically enjoy wine are too dark to observe a wine, such as a low-lit restaurant or, in my case, an office room lit by a computer screen at 2am in the morning! However, if you look at the color of wine in a more scientific setting with clean lighting (and a white background) you’ll see how the colors of red wines are substantially different from one another. Learning how to identify the colors in red wine will help you become a blind-tasting master.

 

The Many Different Red Wine Colors
The color of wine indicates age, grape variety, density of flavor, acidity and more. By comparing the different colors found in various red wines you can learn to identify a wine just by looking at it.

Red Wine Color Variance What to look for.

Intensity of Color

How intense is the color of the wine? Is it pale with very little pigment or is it staining the sides of the glass? This pointer will tell you if the wine is lighter/denser in style. Wines with more intense colors tend to be bolder and have higher tannins. The longer a winemaker keeps the skins of the grapes in contact with the juice while making the wine, the darker and more intense the color of the wine becomes. However, along with the skins (that add intense color), there are also grape seeds (pips) and stems which will add increasing amounts of tannin to a wine. Too much tannin can make a wine bitter and overly dry. Hints of blue at the edge of the glass are an indication of higher acidity.

Opacity

How opaque is the wine? Can you read text through the wine or is it so dark that you can barely see light through it. The opacity of a wine can tell you what kind of grape was used to make the wine and it can also tell you the age of a wine. An opaque wine can also be unfiltered and will look hazy (i.e. more opaque). This type of style is common in Italian wines where the winemaker intentionally doesn’t filter the wine in order to maintain rich textures and more dynamic flavor in the wine.

Learn more …