The WineSpeed Blog


“De Chryseia” 2016 

(Douro Valley, Portugal) $20

Dollar for dollar, the top dry red table wines of Portugal offer more flavor and personality than any other wines in the world. And flavor that’s fascinating—a dark mysterious deliciousness that combines spiciness, pepperiness, and minerality with loads of earthy luscious fruit. Chryseia (the name means “golden” in ancient Greek) is a blend of touriga nacional and touriga franca, the two leading grapes of the Douro Valley. The wine has beautiful structure and is long on the palate. The winery itself is a joint venture of two of the top European wine families—the Symingtons of Portugal and the Prats of Bordeaux. Great winemaking is in their blood. (13.5% abv)

92 points KM

Available at

Imaginary Foods—If Only They Were Real!

Atlas Obscura recently asked readers to list the best imaginary foods in literature and on film—foods the readers wished were actually real. Here are some.

•    Roast Beast from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
•    Frobscottle from The BFG by Roald Dahl
•    Cauldron Cakes from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
•    Klingon Bloodwine from Star Trek: The Next Generation 
•    Bilbo Baggins’ Seed Cakes from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
•    Soy Pop from The Simpsons
•    Doozer Sticks from Fraggle Rock
•    Snozberries from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
•    Subtraction Stew from The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

A. Australia

B. Japan

C. New Zealand

D. South Africa


New Zealand is located midway between the equator and the South Pole, about 1,000 miles from Australia to the northwest. Due to the islands’ proximity to the International Date Line (IDL), New Zealand’s vineyards are the first to see the sun every day. The IDL, which was established in 1884, runs from the North to the South Poles, zigzagging to avoid cutting two nations into two different calendar days.

The efforts to demystify and simplify [wine] never ring true because they ignore the fact that wine by its nature is mystifying and complicated. These qualities can be embraced and celebrated without suggesting that they require mastering, but that would force us to think and talk about wine in a different sort of way, as a food staple to be enjoyed rather than as a symbol of status or as a ‘lifestyle.’”

—Eric Asimov, The New York Times, July 16, 2018


A capsule is the molded plastic, bimetal, or aluminum sheath that fits over the cork and top part of the neck of a wine bottle. Historically, capsules were made of lead to keep animals and bugs away from the cork. However, in the 1990s, lead was banned because of potential health risks.

Why Man’s Best Friend is Probably (OK, Definitely) Not a Canine

They drink alcohol and love spicy food. What attributes could be better in a best friend? And of course, it’s not your dog. The animal in question is a tree shrew, the only mammal (besides us) who likes habaneros, jalapenos, spicy Bloody Marys, you name it. If its furry forehead breaks out in a sweat, it’s just fine as far as a shrew is concerned. According to a report in Atlas Obscura, tree shrews are very closely related to humans but are smaller than primates so they are easier to study. In recent research, scientists discovered that tree shrews are similar to birds: neither are affected by capsaicinoids, the molecules that make chilis hot. So break out the Carolina Reapers and the Ghost Peppers—we think these guys can handle them.


Century when the elite classes in Italy began using a single wine glass per individual. Before then, even in formal banquets, glasses were shared by two or more guests. As part of the Italian style of refined dining, each guest at a dinner would also use an individual fork. Italy was the first country in Europe where wine glasses and forks were used individually, rather than shared.


Number of different gins at Singapore’s Atlas Bar, No. 15 on this year’s list of the World’s Best 50 Bars. The gin collection, which includes aged gins dating back to 1910, is considered one of the largest in the world. The bar is described as The Great Gatsby meets southeast Asia.


Percentage of vineyard workers in the Napa Valley who are Latina women, up from fewer than 5% just five years ago. Gender diversity in vineyards is now a way of life in California where a severe labor crisis has meant fewer male workers. See my blog How Latina Women Are Saving California Wine in an upcoming WineSpeed.

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