Archive for February, 2010

Viruses & phoney wine

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

OK, I have slacked of late.  Based on my blog stats it seems I slacked SO much that I have even lost some readers.  I hope you will forgive me and come back for my uber compelling wine prose.  I’m full of excuses.  It is my busy season (50% of kosher wine is sold in the 4-8 weeks leading up to Passover).  I’ve been traveling all over the place – I’m actually writing this from Logan International Airport in Boston (my flight is delayed or I would not have even had a chance to write it).  And about 20 minutes into a post this past Sunday night, my computer was taken over by a nasty virus that my fabulous IT guy has not been able to fix (yet – I hope).

But you don’t want excuses.  You want action.  The latest wine related story of interest relates to FAKE PINOT NOIR.  Huh?  What is fake Pinot Noir?  When I was working in Napa winemakers told me about “hiding” merlot in their Cabernet, but here it seems bulk wine producers were actually trying to pass off a merlot (blended it seems with Syrah) AS ACTUAL Pinot Noir.

The wine in question is E&J Gallo’s “Red Bicyclette”.

Apparently Gallo paid these 8 growers & bulk wine producers from the Southern France Languedoc region in excess of 7 million Euro for said fake wine.  On the bulk level that amounts to…well, a lot of cheap wine.  Oh, and this scam had apparently been going on for over 2 years.  So if you had this wine – you might have been PINOT-ed!

Whether it is fake expensive Bordeaux, fake Brunello or fake Georges Duboeuf wine, it seems pulling the wool over unsuspecting wine drinkers is easy enough.  Apparently testing wine to determine exactly what it is can be difficult, costly & inaccurate.

This makes me think more and more that if you tell consumers that a wine is highly rated or very expensive that they will (as has been scientifically proven) believe that it is a good wine.  I’m not saying you can give a regular wine drinker crappy wine and expect him to believe it is a first growth Bordeaux.  But I do believe that it is further proof that the line between a very good and what some call “great” wines is a very thin line indeed.

Happy who knows what the heck you are drinking wine tasting!


Good news beer lovers…beer is good for you!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

A quick news story to report.  University of California Davis has released the results of a story that says beer is good for your bones!

An analysis of 100 commercial varieties found that beer is a good source of dietary silicon, which is important for bone health and could help prevent diseases like osteoporosis.

“Beers containing high levels of malted barley and hops are richest in silicon,” said Charles Bamforth, the lead researcher.
“Choose the beer you enjoy. Drink it in moderation. It is contributing silicon (and more) to your good health,” Bamforth added.

Happy healthy Beer chugging!


Kosher Food & Wine has arrived

Friday, February 5th, 2010

My posts have been increasingly inconsistent of late as my new job has me working night and day representing amazing wines and helping to plan fabulous events.

This past week saw it all come together with the culmination of the 4th annual “Kosher Restaurant & Wine Experience” on Feb 1 in NYC & the 3rd annual “International Food & Wine Festival” on Feb 3rd in Oxnard, CA.

I helped out with a bit of the planning for the NYC event and have been ecstatic to hear all the positive feedback (with a dash of criticism thrown in of course).

And while I had little (OK, nothing) to do with the planning of the West Coast event, I was privileged to represent Israeli standout wineries Carmel & Yatir – whose wines also received rave reviews from the attendees.

Though high priced items such as the Yatir “Forest” attracted lots of attention, having spent MANY hours (on my feet) pouring the Carmel/Yatir wines I found that people were pleasantly surprised by the resurgence of Carmel and the new “Private Collection” (new label & no longer mevushal/flash pasteurized) & “Appellation” series wines.  Though the Appellation Carignan & Petite Sirah (both old vines incidentally) have been cult favorites for years among Israeli wine lovers, other Appellation wines such as the 2007 Cab Franc (in NY) or the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz (in CA) were also very positively received.

Though my wife makes fun of my food critiquing, I am far from a food critic (can you say Food Tasting Guy?).  Yet I managed to sneak away from my post at the CA show a few times and marveled at the culinary genius of Tierra Sur Chef Todd Aaron’s creative and delectable cuisine.  It was so good I reserved a precious spot to go back for dinner prior to my return flight to NY early next week.  Now if I can only figure out a way to get the company to cover the tab…

Happy mind blowing-ly good KOSHER food & wine tasting!