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Prosec-obsession

Maybe it’s just me but doesn’t this pink cheese bring back memories of Hostess Pink Snowballs? It’s actually Wensleydale cheese (a British classic) flavored with raspberries and prosecco (which, sigh, Snowballs didn’t have). But I don’t know, there’s something creepy about pink cheese and besides, Prosec-obsession is starting to get a little tedious. The pink prosecco cheese—already being billed as gastro-bait for millennials–is made by The Great British Cheese Company. Get it here and WineSpeed friends, report back please.

 

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Ten Aromas

Top ten aromas you don’t want to smell in your wine this fall.

Compound  What it Smells Like
Acetaldehyde Stale straw; roasted nuts
Amyl-acetate Fake candy banana flavoring
Brettanomyces Barnyards, fecal matter, gamey horses
Cork taint Damp dog in damp basement sitting on damp cardboard
Butyric acid Rancid butter
Ethyl acetate Weak vinegar, paint thinner, nail polish remover
Hydrogen sulfide Rotten eggs,  garlic that has gone bad
Mercaptans Burnt garlic or onion
Oxidation Cooked bruised fruit and walnuts
Sulfur dioxide Burnt matches

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Smoke Blunder

With the fires that have killed nearly 50 and devastated 162,000 acres of wine country not yet fully out, famous San Francisco chef Michael Mina is heralding the opening of his new SF restaurant. Its name? International Smoke. The promo copy talks about how “approaches on fire, grilling, and smoke…bring communities together.” (Yeah, no kidding). We’re pretty sure Mina’s cooking is great. His timing? Not so much.

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Calling Rambo

You can use nets. You can use cannons. You can walk around a vineyard randomly firing a shotgun in the air. But a better solution? Rambo—or one of his feathered friends. In some places like Carneros California, small birds that eat grapes (only when they’re perfectly ripe of course) are a curse this time of year. Draping the vineyard with expensive nets is only partially effective. Booming cannons scare the birds, at least until they get acclimated to the sound. But a falcon circling overhead? A falcon could eat you. Which is why grape-loving birds leave your vineyard immediately. Rambo, one such falcon, has been employed by a company called Authentic Abatement to swoop over several Carneros vineyards while looking hungry. (Apparently Rambo doesn’t really eat any little birds, preferring to be fed by his falconer master). One downside of this new “technology” for minimizing bird damage to vineyards: eagles and hawks like to eat falcons.

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Don’t-Taste

Here with a few items we’ve filed under the heading Don’t-Taste. (And, yes, the following all exist).

  • Pinot Meow—Wine for your kitty. (You’d think cat-pissy sauvignon blanc would have been the first feline varietal but, hey, cats are cool; they prefer pinot).
  • Bacon Vodka—Curious to try it? Absolut makes one. (Personally, we think Bacon Vodka ties with Fruit Loops Vodka for the TBD (Truly Bad Idea) Award.
  • Edible Wine Glasses—Riedel must be kicking themselves over missing this obvious opportunity. Solves the wineglasses-don’t-fit-in-the-dishwasher problem.
  • Brussel Sprout Soda—Taking the “grown up soda” notion a wee bit too far.
  • Ice Cream That Doesn’t Melt—Oh those opportunistic food marketers… poised and ready for global warming.

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Your Wine Horoscope

A Silicon Valley-based company has developed StarSip, a wine-horoscope app that makes wine recommendations for each sign of the zodiac. Based on an interdisciplinary approach the company calls Biodynamic Astrology, the app’s algorithm aligns solar and lunar cycles in both viticulture and cosmology. StarSip subscribers who enter their signs  are sent a list of wines that possess the most “harmonic convergence” for the month. (Ok, we made this up. But hey, it’s California where anything is possible).

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Pink Kink

In the they-must-have-been-looking-at-each-other-through-rosé-colored-glasses department, right after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie purchased (for $60 million) the 17th century Provençal estate Château Miraval, the rosé sold at a rate of 1000+ bottles an hour for five hours, according to Drinks magazine. Of course, that’s when they were married. Now that they’re splitting, presumably it will take a little longer to sell the just released 2016 vintage (a blend of grenache, syrah, cinsault, and rolle). Still, Hollywood’s famous (former) couple report that they will continue to be vignerons together. (The Château has 35 bedrooms so np). The label on the latest vintage carries the words “Bottled by Pitt, Jolie and Perrin.” (The Perrins of Château de Beaucastel in the Rhône make the wine for them). 

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National Ice Cream Month

With July being National Ice Cream Month, the pressure’s on to answer a fundamental question: what wine is best with ice cream? Being something of a traditionalist, I’m going with vanilla ice cream and PX Sherry, one of the gastronomic gems of Spain.  But that was before I heard of Golden Opulence, a $1000 (that’s not a typo) sundae now being served at the New York ice cream shop Serendipity 3. Golden Opulence consists of 3 scoops (imagine!) of Tahitian vanilla ice cream infused with Madagascan vanilla beans, and covered in 23K edible gold (ok that’s impressive), placed in a Baccarat crystal goblet (of course it is) and drizzled with Tuscan chocolate from Amedei (the Amedei Chuao chocolate is said to be from beans grown off the coast of Venezuela but we’re down on Venezuela thanks). There’s also some accompanying Parisian candied fruit, Swiss chocolate truffles, and a gold-plated sugar orchid (which doesn’t sound that tasty).  A tiny bowl of Grande Passion caviar—a dessert caviar sweetened with passion fruit and Armagnac (finally some wine!)—is on the side. I think you get to keep the 18K gold spoon that the sundae is served with. Ok wine friends, what would you drink with this?

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Binge-ing in Italy?

A friend once told me that when an Italian drinks too much, they don’t say he’s drunk too much; they say he hasn’t eaten enough food yet. By that standard, the residents of Alto Adige must be famished, because a new study by ISTAT Aspetti Della Vita Quotidiana (Italy’s National Institute of Statistics) has found that nearly 20% of the population of Alto Adige over 11 years old (yes eleven) has participated in binge drinking in the last year (defined as drinking more than 6 alcoholic beverages on a single occasion). Interestingly all of the other heavy-drinking regions of Italy were also in the northern part of the country. By comparison, Sicilians and Campanians were the least likely to drink a lot in one sitting—just 4.1% and 4% of over eleven-year-olds respectively.

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Big Machine

Big Machine—the record label of superstar singers Taylor Swift and Reba McEntire—is coming out with a vodka. Tenn South Distillery will help produce the spirit which will carry the tagline “Pour It On…Turn It Up…Lean In…Or Lean Back…And Indulge.” The vodka is said to derive its superior quality thanks in part to “pure Tennessee limestone water.” Ladies, ladies. Vodka? Really? Better things are made in limestone.