Posts Tagged ‘It’

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Swedish alcohol supplier said the country’s state-run liquor monopoly sent back 6,000 bottles of a Spanish wine because it tasted better than the samples.

Kare Hallden, chief executive officer of alcohol supplier Spruce Up, said state-run liquor store monopoly Systembolaget chose to stock Spanish albarino wine Fulget after choosing its samples over 50 competitors in March, The Local.se reported Friday.

However, Hallden said the store sent the 6,000 bottles back to the company in May because the wine delivered was “clearly better” than the March samples.

 

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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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Many filtering/fining agents are animal-based, but alternatives exist
 
 
At first glance, wine produced from grapes or other fruit would by definition be vegan. Vegan refers to a strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products. But the recent launch of the Vegan Vine Wine Club called that into question.

As it turns out, many wines are not strictly vegan because animal-derived products are used for fining or filtering. Common filter/fining materials including isinglass (fish derived), gelatin, egg whites or milk protein caseins—even if only trace amounts remain in the finished beverage—are “not appropriate for the vegan lifestyle,” according to Gary Smith, principal of Evolotus PR, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based agency that works with many animal-protection organizations and nonprofit groups. “Even a lot of long-time vegans don’t know this,” said Smith, a practicing vegan for many years.

“Each vegan has to deal with the minutia,” Smith continued. “You buy organic veggies, but your cat can’t go vegan: It’s not healthy. Everybody makes their own decisions. It’s impossible to live in the world and not harm animals. You do the best that you can.”

Clos LaChance, the Murphy family’s 60,000-case winery in San Martin, Calif., decided to make it easier for vegan imbibers. After a discussion with a vegan cousin during a family vacation two years ago, Clos LaChance created The Vegan Vine and began to market Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and red blends under the label. With enthusiastic distributors, and the energetic promotion efforts of partner and ambassador John Salley, a former NBA champion, Vegan Vine has already sold through some 5,000 cases.
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Fake it like a pro ...

Fake it like a pro …

 

You’re sophisticated enough to know that a proper bottle of vino is the calling card du jour, but a bit of a novice when it comes to picking out something worthy. And should you actually choose something notable, will you be up to the challenge of carrying on an intelligent conversation about it?

We asked Michael Fagan, wine ‘Matchmaker’ with one of the world’s largest wine purchasers, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), for a few tips to help us fake it like a pro.

How to choose a good wine

“We’re easily influenced as consumers by media, fashion, and friends, so when it comes to wine many of us are insecure and don’t know if we can trust our own taste. We don’t know that we know enough about wine to be right. So many consumers will buy a label, what their friends buy, or what they read in an advertisement.

The best way to learn about wine is to taste it. When you’re tasting the wines, don’t worry too much about where it comes from, think about its characteristics and whether you like it or not. The more you familiarize yourself with different wines, the easier it is to understand where your preferences lie.”

Wines are made of fermented grape juice, and each variety of grapes has unique characteristics determined by geographical region, grower, growing conditions and time of picking. Icewine, for example, is extremely sweet because it is picked very late in the season when the grapes are frozen on the vines. The water in the grapes has frozen solid, which allows the grower to squeeze the sweetest, most concentrated liquid from the frozen grapes. Common red wine varieties are Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. White wines include Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Price versus Quality

The price of a wine is determined by the origin of the grapes. Generally speaking, wines labelled as Table wines can be made from grapes grown from anywhere within a large region such as France, whereas the grapes for a more expensive wine, come from a smaller sub region or village, or even one single vineyard. Luxury wines can be upwards of hundreds to thousands of dollars. One of the most expensive wines in the world is the 1787 Chateau Lafitte, valued at $160,000 and comes from the cellar of former US President Thomas Jefferson.

The country of origin can also influence price, Fagan explains.

 

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What do you think, shall we buy?

What do you think, shall we buy?

 

As prices stabilise and Robert Parker prepares to re-evaluate 2010, Jon Barr, director of EF Wines, has declared “Bordeaux appears to be back”.
Speaking to the drinks business, Barr said that Lafite sales were strong again in Hong Kong, although he added that, “this may just be for the Chinese new year.”

Nonetheless, he continued: “It’s stabilised and people are getting interested again. Prices haven’t gone down, Liv-ex is showing some rises, I think it will be a good year”.

His comments come after a year when Bordeaux was subject to severe price drops as the market took a dip and as buyers branched out into other areas, notably Burgundy, Champagne and the Super Tuscans.
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Or is it?

Or is it?

 

America’s wine industry is booming.

But a new study from Michigan State Professor Philip Howard shows “industry” maybe something of a misnomer.

While you may see a wide variety of American labels at your local wine shop, the vast majority are merely offshoots of mega producers, most of them concentrated in California, Professor Howard found.

Click to read on and see the incredible browsable map he produced:

Also read:

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For who are you writing?

So where have all these wine bloggers and writers been living for the past 10 years? Under a rock?

Last week, a professor at Michigan State University named Philip Howard made the news by publishing an article with a semi-nifty interactive graphic, entitled Concentration in the U.S. Wine Industry.

The article has been tweeted, its graphics stolen and republished (usually with proper credit given to the professor), and dozens of articles have been written by bloggers and mainstream journalists about the “news” that about 50% of the wine sold in America has been produced by just three large companies: E&J Gallo, Constellation, and The Wine Group. These articles range in tone from scandalized to awestruck, which prompts the question, if you write about wine and you didn’t know this already, what do you imagine most of the people in America actually drink?

I’ve been frankly nonplussed at the reaction to this information, and somewhat dismayed at what seems to be its clear implication: namely that a lot of people writing about wine are quiet out of touch with the average wine drinker in America.

Of course, most people writing about wine aren’t writing for the average wine drinker. You know, the one that buys most of their wines at the grocery store, or at chain restaurants where they eat out for dinner on occasion? These aren’t the folks reading wine blogs, wine magazines, or even wine columns in newspapers.
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Also read:

Wines being aged in a cellar.

Wines being aged in a cellar.

 

Wines have changed and so have our palates

My greatest wine dream—and I’ll bet it’s yours, too—was a wine cellar. Not just the actual cool-temperature space, but one that was filled. I dreamed of a cellar so full that I could easily forget about whole cases of wine for years at a time, the better to let them age to a fantasized perfection.

That dream came true. It took me years—decades, really—to achieve. And it cost me a disproportionate amount of my limited and precious discretionary income, especially when I was only just starting out as a writer. I was motivated, obsessed even, by a vision of what might be called futuristic beauty. How soaringly beautiful it would be in 15 or 20 years!

I wasn’t wrong—then. But I wouldn’t be right for today. What’s changed? Surely me, of course. I’ve had decades of wine drinking to discover that my fantasized wine beauty only rarely became a reality. But I had to find that out for myself. And I’m glad I did.

But it isn’t all personal, either. In recent years it’s become obvious that an ever greater number of wines that once absolutely required extended aging no longer do.

Simply put, most of today’s fine wines—not all, mind you—will reach a point of diminishing returns on aging after as few as five years of additional cellaring after release. Stretch that to a full 10 years of additional aging and I daresay you will have embraced fully 99 percent of all the world’s wines, never mind how renowned or expensive.

I can hear you already. What about this famous red Bordeaux? Or that fabled red Burgundy? What about grand cru Chablis? Or a great Brunello di Montalcino? Or Barolo?
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