? Invisible wines: Mike Veseth at the Wine Economist weighs in on availability and the three-tier system, writing off the recent Eric Asimov column. “Asimov uses the article to respond to readers who are frustrated that the fabulous wines he often praises turn out to be nearly impossible for them to actually experience. … Asimov is sympathetic to his readers ? frustration and explains how the almost hopelessly fragmented US wine market (a lasting legacy of Prohibition) makes it nearly impossible to talk about important wines if you limit your list to only those that can be found in all the nation ?s many marketplaces.” In this, he puts Asimov in perspective, noting that there are tens of thousands of wines that are made around the world, most of which we’ll never get a chance to buy. I’m not so sure Veseth is defending the three-tier system as much he is reminding us that there is more to wine than what we find in the grocery store, and that there is a certain joy in that.
? Bring out the attorneys: Because, frankly, the Wine Curmudgeon takes an almost unhealthy glee in reporting that wine companies are suing each other. This time, Veuve Cliquot, the French Champagne giant, is suing Ciro Picariello, a tiny Italian producer that makes spumante. The former says the latter’s label is the same color as Veuve’s, and that’s illegal. That the wines have nothing else in common save bubbles is apparently irrelevant. And, as Diana Goodman notes in the linked article, the colors don’t look that similar, either. Isn’t it reassuring to see Big Wine spending its money to make a better product?
? “Depths that need to be stirred:” The Italian Wine Guy is one of the best writers in wine in the world today, and I almost always want to leave a comment on one of his posts. And I’d say that even if he wasn’t a friend of mine. So, the next time the wine world leaves you frazzled and worn out, and you’re tired of the foolishness that too often passes for wine writing and criticism, read this post. It will make you feel better. It did me.
? The best description of wine scores ever: From The Italian Wine Guy, who has written perhaps the most telling indictment of scores: The wine magazines, he writes, "push high scores like meth dealers," so even knowledgeable wine drinkers get bamboozled. Which sends shudders through the Wine Curmudgeon when he thinks what happens to less knowledgeable wine drinkers. The occasion for all this? The Italian Wine Guy recently tasted a 15.1 percent California chardonnay mostly because it got such high scores: "Within minutes I was repulsed by the imbalance of the wine. …[T]he wine tasted like iodine and rubber. I poured it out and moved on." Glad I wasn't there for that one.
? Name that grape: Really. Researchers at Cornell University have developed a couple of new wine grapes, and they need a name for them, says Todd Trzaskos at New York Cork Report. The grapes are now known as NY76.0844.24, a cold hardy white that compares to gew rztraminer and muscat. NY95.0301.01 is a disease-resistant red with "moderate body, good structure, and blueberry on the palate." How about Wine Curmudgeon White and Red, given my fondness for these kinds of grapes? You can send your suggestions to Bruce Reisch at Cornell by July 27.
? Wine blogging dissected: The HoseMaster of Wine, whose acerbic posts make me seem like I ?m high on life, pretty much nails wine blogging: "I wish someone had warned me about this stuff before I started typing. It would have saved me a lot of grief, heartache and hate mail." The secret to wine blogging success? Write about wine blogging, and you ?ll get gazillions of hits. Which strikes me as utterly and completely true (so of course I'm mentioning it here).
Some really fine writing in the cyber-ether in the last week or so, and more than worthy of a second look:
? You're in big trouble, Joe Bastianich: The Italian Wine Guy's Mom is mad at you. What were you thinking, calling a rose — our beloved rose — a bisexual on The Today Show? I can't quote verbatim what Elissa Cevola told her son (since this is a family blog), but it's enough to note that one of the mildest words she used was fool. And that Mrs. Cevola thinks Joe is not nice enough to his mom, the chef and restaurant owner Lidia Bastianich.
? It's black and white: Tom Johnson at Louisville Juice wants to know why state regulators are threatening to ban an urban-themed alcoholic beverage, Blast, yet don't seem worried by a similar drink, which has no hip-hop connotations. Writes Tom: "Seventeen states attorneys general have banded together to protest Blast. Interestingly, none have joined to protest the recent release of Bacardi Classic Cocktail Pi a Colada, which, like Snoop Dogg ?s Blast, contains fruit flavors and sugar, but clocks in at a whopping 15 percent alcohol. The Pi a Colada mix is marketed primarily to white suburbanites. It ?s probably just an oversight. I ?m sure the attorneys general are going to line up against Bacardi soon."
? Right on, sister: Please, please, please read this, wine industry. Forget your focus groups and your scores and your shelf talkers. This, from the Hairpin blog, which is apparently aimed at your target audience — middle-class women of a certain age: "For some reason wine has become this thing. This huge inflated pompous thing that people have invented corny language around, jacked up costs for, and made intimidating as all hell. Then you find yourself retreating to your couch with whatever's cheapest and goes well with sweats, or smiling through a glass of something at a dinner party that you can't pronounce and aren't sure if you're supposed to enjoy, instead of actually enjoying the wine." The Wine Curmudgeon wishes he had written this. Boy, do I wish I had written this.