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redesign

Welcome to Wine Curmudgeon 2.5

Or, the Wine Curmudgeon really likes blue. Call this refreshing the blog, and not a complete redesign; hence version 2.5 instead of 3.0, which you should see sometime this weekend. The changes Read More »

winereview

Mini-reviews 84: Beso de Vino, Graffigna, Our Daily Red, Albero

Reviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month. • Beso de Vino Read More »

winerant

Wine, food, and truth in labeling

Serious food writing may be more rare than serious wine writing. Usually, it’s poetic rhapsodizing about quinoa and kale, beatifying this week’s hot chef, and barely paying attention to quality, price, or Read More »

wineofweek

Wine of the week: Arrumaco Verdejo 2014

Want to find out what real verdejo tastes like? Want to strike a blow for quality, terroir and value? Then buy the Arrumaco Verdejo. Its importer, Handpicked Selections, is one of those Read More »

winenews

Winebits 435: Wine lawsuits and legal foolishness edition

This week, more legal foolishness from the world of alcohol and wine lawsuits. Because, of course, even those of us who didn’t write “Bleak House” and “The Pickwick Papers” see the humor Read More »

Welcome to Wine Curmudgeon 2.5

redesign

wine curmudgeonOr, the Wine Curmudgeon really likes blue.

Call this refreshing the blog, and not a complete redesign; hence version 2.5 instead of 3.0, which you should see sometime this weekend. The changes should make it easier to use the site – faster loading times; easier navigation, particularly for those of you who visit the WC with your phone or tablet; and a cleaner, simpler design. Many, many thanks to Kermit Woodall of Woodall Design, who did an excellent job with the renovation despite my schedule, which meant I took too long to make decisions, and suffered my cranky ex-newspaperman design eccentricities.

The new look should also make it easier to add better and higher quality advertising in my never ending quest to make enough money from blogging so I can retire to Burgundy.

Finally, there are a couple of things we had to do to please our overlords at Google, which probably annoy me more than they will annoy you. Why every post has to say that I wrote it, when I’m the only one who does any writing here, is beyond any rational explanation other than Google says we have to do it. As always, if you have questions or thoughts, send me an email.

Mini-reviews 84: Beso de Vino, Graffigna, Our Daily Red, Albero

winereview

Beso de VinoReviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month.

Beso de Vino Syrah/Grenache 2014 ($10, purchased, 13%): The sort of wine that I am always wary of, given the cute front and back labels. So it’s not surprising that this Spanish red blend doesn’t taste much of Spain, syrah, or grenache – just another International style wine with way too much fruit.

Graffigna Reserve Centenario Malbec 2014 ($15, sample, 14%): Competent Argentine grocery store malbec with sweet black fruit, not too much in the way of tannins, and just enough acidity so it isn’t flabby. Not what I like and especially at this price, but this is a very popular style.

Our Daily Red Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($10, sample, 12.5%): This California red is juicy, simple, and zesty, with more red fruit than I expected. There isn’t much going on, but there doesn’t need to be given what it’s trying to do. Enjoyable in a “I want a glass of wine and this is sitting on the counter” sort of way.

Albero Cava Brut NV ($8, purchased, 11.5%): One day, I’ll find a wine at Trader Joe’s that will justify its reputation for cheap, value wines. This Spanish sparkler isn’t it — barely worthwhile, with almost no fruit and not even close to Segura Viudas or Cristalino.

 

Wine, food, and truth in labeling

winerant

wine labelingSerious food writing may be more rare than serious wine writing. Usually, it’s poetic rhapsodizing about quinoa and kale, beatifying this week’s hot chef, and barely paying attention to quality, price, or value.

That’s why it was such a pleasure to read Tampa Tribune food critic Laura Reiley, who wrote that some chefs in her region are – and there is no more accurate way to say this – liars. A variety of Tampa area restaurants that claimed they used local ingredients not only didn’t use them, but were buying the same corporate food from the same distributors that sell to the chain restaurants that those chefs love to hate.

Best yet, many of the chefs didn’t understand why they couldn’t lie about it. As one told the newspaper, “We try to do local and sustainable as much as possible, but it’s not 100 percent. For the price point we’re trying to sell items, it’s just not possible.”

So why does this matter to wine? Because, as regular visitors here know, wine also plays fast and loose with labeling. Artisan and hand-crafted, anyone?

The latest: The federal study that found that about one-quarter of wine labels incorrectly listed the amount of alcohol in the wine. Can you imagine the outcry if one-quarter of the ketchup in the grocery store made the same sort of serious labeling error?

At some point, someone who isn’t looking for an arsenic fast buck will do for wine what Reiley did for Tampa’s phony farm-to-table restaurants. And then, when the U.S. consumer finds out that their favorite $20 bottle of wine, with its expressive boysenberry and toasty mocha flavors, used Mega Purple and highly-processed wood chips to get those flavors, there will be hell to pay.

Finally, a note to newspaper bosses everywhere: Read Reiley’s story. See how well done it is. And just imagine that you had the guts and good sense to do something like that at your paper. Maybe the business wouldn’t be in such bad shape, would it?

Illustration courtesy of Tampa Tribune using a Creative Commons license

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