In Mexico it's so hot that their President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador suggested that a global beer exporter based in drought struck Monterrey should stop making beer! Wow. The Mexican president said the government will help companies that want to make beer in the south or southeast of the country. Beer giants Grupo Modelo and Heineken have facilities in the area most in need of water. This is important because 76% of all beer imported in the US was from Mexico.
The heat makes us do crazy things. For example in Napa a new beer company Voodoo something something has advertised that they're making a 'beer' themed action park smack in the middle of wine country. Needless to say the locals are not thrilled but these are the same people that cry about diversity. What's good for the goose is good for the gander and let these snooty wine folk have a taste of their own medicine. I hope Voodoo Ranger Punks makes a great theme park. I'd love some VIP tickets.
And lastly in wine news in Europe a 62 year old Wine Fraudster scammed 38 million euro job to skirt excise taxes. I think. He served four years in jail. Geez, some murderers get less time. Strange times we're living in. Drink good wine.
LVMH isn't messing around. Even amongst all the bad financial news the posh juggernaut reported a 2nd quarter sales increase across the US, EU and Japan. This particular news bolsters the sentiment that I've been talking about for a while now. The future of food (including alcohol) will fall into two camps. Low end conventional and high end, that's it. There will be no in between. Look at what's going on right now. The middle class is being wiped out and with it the middle class offerings in food and wine. Again, this is a very compelling argument for having a legit somm so you can navigate through the shite wine. Look for one that focuses on organic wine (spirits or beer) because that will be one of the facets of the higher end food class. Lower end can expect additives like bugs (don't fret because bug's are stated as food in the bible) and recycled poo water (thanks Bill Gates).
In other news, in a ten year study sheep grazing enhances carbon sequestration and improves health soil according to UC Davis. Duh. Organic and biodynamic wineries have been practicing this for a while now but it's nice to see mainstream finally catching up. But it wasn't so long ago when these same idiots were laughing at such notions. Drink good wine and turn off your tv.
According to a recent SFchronicle podcast, wines are tasting the same. The title is: Why Are Napa Valley Cabernets Tasting the Same? Duh, all of them are vying for the same consumer and none of them have the balls or imagination to do something different. I get it, if it ain't broke don't fix it. As long as Napa can keep slapping the name Napa on their wines, they're gonna ask for higher than average prices. Even for average wines. There are standouts but even then there is little difference in the terroir, climate and wine practice. That's why having a legit sommelier is great, to cut through the bullshit and help you pick out awesome wines that won't cost you an arm and a leg. Somms blind taste and learn to recognize similarities within a region and amongst the specific varieties grown there. In Europe there are stringent rules as to what can be grown and where, that clears that up but in the US where it's supposedly a free for all, all or at least many of the vineyards grow the same grapes, tend and grow them the same and age them the same in the same fucking barrels. And people wonder, "Do these wines taste the same?" This is also a good reason to have a legit somm, to try things you have no clue about. I'm sure you know someone that only drinks one thing, let's say cab. Cab in the winter, cab in the summer, cab with ice cream because it's all they know. Get out of your comfort zone, only be faithful to your spouse. Drink many wines from many places and you'll appreciate what you truly love even more. Drink good wine.
Certified Sommelier CMS
In Napa news the Festival Napa Valley pre-sale raised $3.75 million bucks for the arts. Now I have absolutely nothing against the "arts" but why didn't they donate this to the homeless problem, or food shelters to combat rising inflation? Or clothing for the poor? It baffles my mind to see how out of touch some of these people are. But at least patrons got to see Tyler Florence, hear Trisha Yearwood perform and drink vino from Far Niente. Some of the top bidded lots were trips to Mustique, Monaco Formula 1 trips, foodie inspired journey to Tuscany, Neiman Marcus fashion experiences (what the hell is that?), private performance and dinner at Joshua Bell's NYC penthouse, tailored Lake Como and Milan adventure, London trip to the Glyndebourne Festival, Australian trip to Penfolds (Australia letting people in?!), visit to Montana set of TV show Yellowstone, private concert with Gloria Estefan and an "intimate" evening with Andrea Bocelli & family. Go next year if you have an extra $410,000 to burn.
If you're in San Francisco this week (July 26th & 27th) you can visit the International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show (IBWSS). This is primarily for wineries, distilleries, importers, retailers, distributers adding to private label programs, negotiants looking to meet growers and producers and the wine curious looking to add to their knowledge or start your own thing. There will be Masters of Wine, winemakers, major buyers of Sake & Wine, major sellers like Costco and Target, Cannabis research! from the Boston Beer Co. This is something I'd love to go to. Looks like fun and you'll learn a lot, not to mention all the contacts you will meet. You're network is your net worth.
Drink good wine.
In 2018 it would cost you half of what it costs now to go to wine tastings in Napa. Don't let the bullshit jargon newspeak of "Elevated" wine tastings grip you. Yes I get it. Napa is one of the premier wine regions but Jimminy Christmas, do they have to keep raping us in the pocketbook? Isn't it enough that because of the Napa label they get to charge much more dinero than say Paso Robles (though they're raising prices also)? Though prices are rising in Sonoma too, they're still less than their eastern neighbor and their wine is amazing. You will never hear, "OMG you didn't go to Napa? You were just in Sonoma? Gasp!!!" Ain't gonna happen, and if it did you're dealing with a moron that was just going to Napa for clout. Booo.
Remember those fires in Bordeaux, well Spain has it's own problems now with "total destruction" in the middle province of Avila. The wines from this region often plant at 700 to 1100 meters above sea level and gives their wines a unique character. Fires also rage in Cebreros and almost 90,000 hectares burnt in total in Spain. This past week alone 20,000 hectares have been torched which is about the same size as NYC. Yikes
And Minnesota is making news for something good for a change. The American Society for Enology and Viticulture=Eastern Section (ASEV-ES) had a 3 day conference in Bloomington, MN since going virtual for the last couple of years. The eastern climes are colder and face different problems than more sun drenched areas such as California and Texas. Various vineyards were visited plus the Horticultural Research Center at U of MN. MN is known in wine through it's GMO varietals: Frontenac, La Crescent, Frontenac Blanc, Marquette and Itasca. Good Luck. I prefer the classic vitis vinifera myself. Drink good wine, zombie apocalypse is coming.
Yesterday I told you about boxed wine and that unless the iconic wineries changed to boxes this won't really take off. Unless it gets a push in the media. And that brings us to fucking Vogue. They're obviously getting paid promotion with boxed wine. Sex sells but it doesn't mean the wine rocks. The article called "Is Boxed Wine Becoming Cool?" portrays 2 well dress, primped women and a pretty boxed wine, in a tube. Ohhh, fancy a tube wine. Don't fall for it. It wasn't a master grower or Master Sommelier or Master of Wine that made it. Yuk. There are boxed wines that are very good and you won't pay anywhere near this Vogue crap. Drink good wine, it's the end of the world as we know it.
Right now nearly 75 sq miles is on fire in the south of France. Arson is suspected. What the hell is the world coming to? I'm so angry at Bordeaux I'm gonna set it on fire, really? If it is arson I sincerely hope the cops or vigilantes catch these people or this person and hang him from the fucking gallows or hopefully France will bring back the guillotine and chop this turd's head off.
In other news, if you were in Aspen this past weekend you were privy to the 39th annual Food and Wine Classic in Aspen. Food, spirits and a ton of food. I got nothing else because I'm still bummed about Bordeaux. Drink good wine, the world is literally on fire.
According to Wine Speculator it's easier to buy Napa wines from Bordeaux necogiants. What the hell. Talk about cornering the market. This is wine market manipulation at it's finest and one of the main reasons that you can't get some of the cool kids wines from various places including Cali.
On top of that "scientists" from the National Inst. of Standards and Technology (NIST) have supposedly created a wine-tasting AI. What does that mean for the regular guy? So instead of busting your ass with Court of Master Sommeliers or WSET you just punch into robo-wino and it spits out the exact flavor profile. Good I guess but if you're in the wine industry you may be fucked. Thankfully this version considers only 13 characteristics which is nowhere close to what a human can do, but what will the future hold. Who is funding the NIST? Are they trying to weed out people? Also this thing doesn't account for personal taste which is the bedrock of wine anyway. Ughh.
And finally glass bottles. There's shortages but the world is largely reluctant to go full box. Yes boxed wine is mostly trash but there are gems (if you're trained CMS, etc) you can get great bargains but unless Lafite, Screaming Eagle, Penfolds, etc go into boxes, this isn't gonna happen. Would you buy a DRC in a box, especially at $20,000. I don't think so. Drink up, end of days are coming.
I've known about Erik since 2019. Here's one of the wine dinner's Wine Republic has had with James Beard nom Erik Skaar at Vann restaurant.
I just picked up a book called Reds, Whites & Varsity Blues. I'm only eighteen pages in and I'm hooked. You want to know how Jancis Robinson MW started in wine? This will tell you. Oz Clarke and his entre into vino? Same. Seems like almost everybody that came out of the UK and is/was a wine expert went to Oxbridge and was a member of the Oxford or Cambridge Wine and Food Club. These crazy students not only are brilliant in their own right, they train in wine tasting to the point that a great many of them end of becoming Masters of Wine. Not all of them do but damn, they do lead fantastic lives. Ambassador to France, check. International sportsmen, got it. Business mavericks and mavens, yup. And all foodies to boot. You gotta see some of the food pairings these college kids get to eat. Thinking back on my college days, I am jealous. Check out this book to see how truly artful wine, food and education can be. Cheers. RJ