During several of our tastings this year, we have needed to open some very old wines; this can sometimes result in disaster IF you are not prepared for 'crumbly' old corks. The link below will take you to a tried-and-true method for your use, if/when needed.
Rudy K's Fake Wines Get the Death Penalty (see image above)
And today (December 10), the end came for more than 500 bottles of Rudy Kurniawan's counterfeit and unsellable wine seized by the U.S. Marshals (more than 4,700 bottles seized from Kurniawan are being sold). Trucked to a recycling/composting facility in Creedmore, Texas (pop. 219), the bottles were unboxed by hand into a 20-cubic-foot, concrete-bottomed tub and smashed by a magnet. A door in the tub was cracked open, allowing the rogue wine to run out into a pile of earth. Witnesses said that the scent of wine infused the air. After thorough mixing, the "drunk earth" was carted to a 200-foot-long compost heap kept at a steamy 145° F by microbial activity. "The sugars and nitrogens in the wine will be a good benefit," explained Paul Gregory, director of organics and recycling for Texas Disposal Systems. The bottles, once pulverized into tiny pellets, will be sold as decorative glass at the firm's retail shops, Garden-Ville. Purchasers likely won't know that the glitter in their garden was once bottles of such faked luminaries as Lafite Rothschild, Lafleur and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Had his firm ever before recycled bottles of wine? "We've done beer, water and Gatorade," Gregory said. "But people don't usually bring me wine. They drink it."
French Collector Holds a Tasting to Raise Money for a Museum to Display His Wines! Michel-Jack Chasseuil, 73, has amassed an incredible 40,000 bottles over his lifetime - worth an estimated 50 million Euros, and he wants to create a museum for his collection in France. He hopes a museum will keep the collection in France but says he has been offered millions to sellbyforeign investors.'China offered me 50 million to install it in the Imperial City in Beijing,' he claimed, while he said a Russian priest had proposed to create a 'wine gallery.' Eight bottles will be opened for a once-in-a-lifetime wine tasting to raise money for the museum, although he has not yet confirmed which they will be. Mr Chasseuil is auctioning ten seats at his table at a Tokyo hotel in December - which will start at 10,000 euros a ticket.
Jewels of the collection include
An 1805 sherry from Jerez de la Frontera in Spain which celebrates the Battle of Trafalgar
A Bisquit cognac from 1811 which is engraved with the effigy of Napoleon, from the cellar of the Emperor at Fontainebleau
A 1900 Louis XIII Remy Martin
A 1735 Hunt's port
And..... many cases of Chateau Petrus!
Breaking News in the Wine Industry! Sotheby’s will auction two bottles of the rare 1916 Chateau Mouton Rothschild at a Hong Kong wine auction later this month at a top estimated price of $10,000 for the pair, according to the auction house.(I guess I'll sit this one out!)
Millennials are changing the way wine is consumed and marketed, says E&J Gallo Vice President of Marketing Stephanie Gallo, as the unpretentious consumers shift wine from a celebratory, elitist beverage to something casual, everyday and social. Wine marketers are able to be more creative and break tradition to capture the millennial market, she says, citing Barefoot Wine's sponsorship of the World Series of Beach Volleyball.
The humble Côtes du Rhône wine is becoming more popular with younger drinkers as the formerly average-tasting wine is getting a boost in quality from serious and ambitious producers in French wine country. “Older wine drinkers think of Côtes du Rhône as a wine to drink at home during the week, but wine drinkers in their 20s and 30s are seeking the story of the producer,” says The NoMad's Wine Director Thomas Pastuszak, who credits the wine's high quality and affordability for its popularity.Getting Closure: From The Wine Enthusiast (February, 2014)
The five major bottle stoppers winemakers are using today: Natural Cork - has been used for centuries and is found in 80% of wine bottles today; Pros: it compresses easily and expands to seal tightly, yet allows small amount of air to enter and aid the aging process; Cons: it requires a corkscrew, is breakable, and is susceptible to cork taint. Screw Cap- widely used in Australia and New Zealand and is seen more and more world wide; Pros: keeps out more air than corks but does not hermetically seal the bottle, helping to preserve wine's original aromas and flavors; Cons: wines can't breath and sulfides may impart off-aromas. Synthetic Cork - is made mostly of petroleum-based plastics (some producers are trying a new synthetic from sugar cane called Nomacorc); Pros: looks and sounds like a cork, allows wine to breath at a consistent rate, no risk of cork taint; Cons: some claim the plastic gives wine a chemical taste. Vinolok- is a glass sealer with an o-ring being used in the Napa Valley and Germany; Pros: it has no impact on aromas or flavors and it hermetically seals the bottle, reducing the risk of oxidation and preserving the wine's original aromas; Cons: it must be manually inserted in the bottle, adding to the cost of the wine. Zork - is a stopper with a plastic casing that gets peeled away before it is removed from the bottle; Pros: no cork taint, provides the "pop" sound, and can be used on still and sparkling wines; Cons: needs a specially designed bottle neck, driving up the cost of the wine.
What is a "Standard Drink" in the United States ? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) A standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in
12-ounces of beer.
8-ounces of malt liquor.
5-ounces of wine.
1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).
Wine Pirates on the China Seas Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of Lafite! The Chinese, have found you can make "rare" and expensive wine by setting up wine labs on cargo ships in international waters, where they can blend or simply bottle low-end wine in recycled or faked bottles of blue-chip labels. Fine wine fraud has thrived in China as long as fine wine has, and the fact that operations have slipped offshore, beyond the reach of mainland law, means some crackdown is presumably working. But with officials estimating that even today half of China's Lafite supply is LaFake, the Protected Origin of Eco Products (PEOP) certification used on some Chinese foods is being extended to French wine in partnership with a French authentication technology company.
I Can Dream, Can't I ?!?! Having become a fan of Grand Crus Burgundy after my trip to the Cote de Nuits, I pay more attention to ads and articles that might lead me to high quality bargains. So when I read the recent Wine Spectator blog by Bruce Sanderson entitled Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s Brilliant 2012s, I wondered if I might drop a hint to my wife and kids about a Fathers Day present. His descriptions were so inviting:
"The Echézeaux is ripe, rich and charming, its ample flesh enveloping cherry and spice flavors that persist (91–94). Neighboring, Grands Echézeaux also bears the cherry and spice notes, but with a distinctive floral element. Its hallmarks are finesse and class, with a long finish (92–95).
The replanting project in Romanée-St.-Vivant is paying dividends. This cru is becoming a real star in the DRC lineup. Gorgeous aromas and flavors of flowers, red berries and spices ally themselves to a silky texture; this is fresh yet firm, harmonious and persistent (94–97). Richebourg lies across the road, yet is very different. Fleshy and precocious, it offers strawberry and cherry flavors backed by density and muscle (94–97).
La Tâche is an expression of darker fruit—black cherry—along with licorice and sandalwood notes. Though dense and powerful, its tannins are ripe (94–97). Romanée-Conti reveals an ethereal nose of flowers, strawberry and spice, with great persistence, length and complexity (95–98)."
Only one problem. The release prices on the 2010 vintage of these wines ranged from $750 to $4,500. That's per bottle. Oh well, I can dream, can't I ?!?!?
Gee, I Didn't Get To Taste This One On My Trip to Napa! Christopher King, Robert Mondavi Jr. and Justin Anthony have created a "high end prestigious" 2010 Napa Valley red wine blend of cabernet sauvignon and petite syrah. The wine, called King of Clubs, was aged in 100% new French oak barrels for two years and is priced at nearly $800 per bottle
France Tops Italy as the World's Biggest Wine Producer France has recaptured its standing as the biggest wine maker worldwide after two years of coming in second to Italy. France increased its wine output by 10% over last year, producing 46.2 million hectolitres, while Italy's output dropped 15% to 44.4 million hectolitres in the wake of bad weather. Spain came in third, with the U.S. ranking fourth among winemakers.
Italy Regains Top Production Spot In another reversal, Italy topped France in 2017 wine production at 39.3 mhl vs 36.7 mhl for France. However, much of Europe (including the big 3 Italy, France, and Spain) produced vastly less wine than in 2016. For example, the figures for Italy (44.4 mhl) and France (46.2 mhl) for 2016 showed much higher production. The lower numbers in 2017 were attributed to "extreme weather.