Napa Valley is alive and well.

Napa Valley is alive and well.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wine in the news -- highlights and lowlights

Today’s public service article presents for your reading enjoyment a few wine-related topics—highlights and lowlights, as it were—that have appeared in the news of late.

Millennial Marketing.

Even though Baby Boomers account for the largest part of today’s wine sales, it seems that millennials—that generation of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s—will be the driving force in forthcoming wine consumption. With that in mind, producers are hard at work developing new wine brands to fulfill the needs of this market segment.

Get a load of these warm and fuzzy brands released in 2012: Skinny Girl, Fancy Pants, Be, Thorny Rose, Wine Sisterhood, Flirt, Ooh La La, Barefoot Refresh, Butterfly Kiss, Flame Lily, and Aura. None of those seem to be targeting men, (at least the ones I chum around with!). Also, since I was unable to locate any recent wine brand releases for the sensitive and caring modern man, I suppose that underappreciated group will have to remain content with this brand that was released ten years ago and is still selling quite well: Fat Bastard.

Brangelina Update.

With the kind of extensive free coverage from People Magazine, ABC News and other media that any winegrower would kill for, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie recently announced the first vintage of Miraval, their own, specially formulated Rosé. Introduced in a very stylish, cognac-like bottle (with a punt at the bottom, no less!) the wine is named after their chateau located near Aix-en-Provence.

Giddy fans of the tabloid twosome purchased all 6000 bottles within five hours of being offered for sale on line. For those wine enthusiasts who missed out on the first tranche and who also believe that Miraval is a “must have item,” it is available on the Internet from Wally’s Wine and Spirits Store for $24.99 per bottle, on a pre-order for shipment in May. Is this a great country, or what?

Mermaid Merlot.

“Honey, where’s my Scuba gear? I need to pull up a few bottles for tonight’s dinner party.” That may not be so fanciful if recent experiments on aging wines underwater—at select sea, ocean and river sites—prove to be cost effective. Several ocean-aging experiments in France have resulted in wines being assessed as displaying better color, aroma and flavor than traditional storage and aging methods. Aware of those salutary effects, Mira Winery—a new Napa Valley producer—decided to try their own version of shipwreck aging by submerging several cases of Cabernet Sauvignon in the cool, deep waters of the Charleston, South Carolina harbor.

After three months of sloshing around in a protective mesh, the winery’s owners will retrieve the cases and assess what effect the unique marine variables of water pressure, ocean currents and ocean floor sludge had on the Cabernets. (“An intriguing, briny nose, a hint of kelp in the mid palate, and a palate cleansing, low tide finish.”) This aging routine definitely gives the notion of “coastal wines” a whole new meaning.

Gallic Gall.

In a nifty example of Big Brother knows best, the French government passed a law in 2012 that requires every driver, including foreign tourists, to have a disposable, government-approved breathalyzer in their car. If not, face an immediate fine. Abstainers and health conscious teetotalers are not exempt. The law’s underlying logic? Drunks who survived an accident maintained they were not drunk or thought they were not drunk.

Of course, it doesn’t take much to be “officially drunk” when the blood-alcohol limit in France is 0.05%. (USA is at 0.08 %.) Further, it is recommended that you have two in the car, for if you test yourself before your outing and dispose of it—no matter, there must be an unused one in the auto.

Meanwhile, last year our highly rated House and Senate approved a bill funding a Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety program that “would work to create alcohol detection systems for installation as standard equipment on all cars.” (“Siri, am I OK to drive? Siri, are you sure?”)





































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