Remember the Where’s Waldo books? A modern classic series back in the Age of Print. Big hardcovers that opened to panoramic cartoons of countless people in quirky settings engaged in practically every possible human behavior except fornication. And somewhere on every spread stood Waldo, hiding in plain sight: round-frame glasses, goofy-cool striped hat, smile. The idea of the book was simple and sweet: find Waldo. Ah, good times.

And now, an updated, wined-up version: Where’s Hardy? Read the rest of this entry »

Labor Day has come and gone. It’s now dark by 8:00. Time to stop wearing (if not drinking) white. I’m all for pushing ahead to Fall. But first, must clean the cobwebs off the blog by sharing some summer leftovers and good news about things ahead… Read the rest of this entry »

Riesling rocks. Life is not a blind tasting. Nor should it be. I was delightfully reminded of this slice of vino-veritas this week when running a wine bar at a cocktail party for a group of about 100 NY metro alumni of a prominent business school. It was a completely unscientific and yet utterly real-world setting to compare how wine lovers respoinded to an array of options. Let’s cut to the chase: the hands-down winner in this smackdown was a Finger Lakes Riesling; Dr. Konstantin Frank 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling, to be precise. Over the course of two hours, we went through 8 bottles of the luscious Dr. K (retail $15), vs. just over 2 bottles of Chalk Hill 2006 Sauvignon Blanc ($29 retail). This was an old-fashioned and well-deserved butt-kicking. The Dr. K checked in to the party with gobs of juicy fruit and a vivid underpinning of mouthwatering acidity that seemed to make apples turn into apricots and pear. What was wrong with the Chalk Hill, which I learned after the fact had been “highly rated”? It was a Chardo-wannabe, smothered with a viscous malo-lactic charater and barrel-induced distraction. Fruit and acid took a backseat to winemaking technique and the result, as judged by the discerning masses, was not pretty. In fact, I ran out of the Dr. K, even after starting to offer smaller pours; could have probably poured 12 bottles. Word got out very quickly: try the Riesling. People kept coming, and kept coming back. Read the rest of this entry »

Listen up, wine lovers: Fermented grape juice and hulking SUVs have something in common besides ethyl alcohol as an ingredient. The federal Cash for Clunkers program has been extended to wine.

The Wine Skewer has learned that thanks to secret negotiations hammered out this weekend over copious quantities of nondescript Merlot at an undisclosed wine bar in San Francisco, aides to Governor Schwarzenegger and President Obama are expected to announce that relief is at hand for millions of American enthusiasts whose wine cellars once seemed cool and wonderful but are now hallmarks of inefficiency and/or bad taste.

According to a reliable inside source (the bartender), the plan—dubbed “Greeno for Vino” until someone comes up with something catchier—will cover the following categories. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the pleasant side effects of being a wine professional is the opportunities that pop up involving our favorite beverage. Take, for example, one that arrived over the weekend.

A fairly large, fine-wine-oriented distributor was looking for volunteers to pour at their portfolio tasting on a Monday, in Manhattan, in September. Said the email:

“The work is pretty straightforward: They’ll need you from noon to 6:00 to pour wines; you’ll receive a fact sheet beforehand that will cover information about the region whose wines you’ll be working with. For your efforts, you will be compensated with a mixed case of their wines.”

Note that this email came to me under the auspices of a dues-driven association of New York wine media professionals, so my response needed to account for the fact that I am a member wine writer/blogger/communicator. That said, what do you think my reaction was? Here’s what ran through my head, roughly in order… Read the rest of this entry »

It was bound to happen. Ever since porn star Savanna Samson started her own wine label—Sogno Uno, in Italy with the 2005 vintage—it was only a matter of time before a full-frontal line of sexually charged wines was unleashed. Thanks to the folks at Porneauxxx Imports, a brand new firm based in Hoboken, New Jersey, wine lovers will soon be drinking vins and vinos with some real va-va-va-voom.

The Wine Skewer was treated to a sneak peek at the complete Porneauxxx line, at a 25-cent movie theater just off Times Square in Manhattan.

200177388-001Chateau Porneauxxx 2006 “Triple X Cuvée” Bordeaux. The flagship blend of the line, this classic French beauty makes you want to uncork it with your favorite mate on a shaggy rug in front of a fire. Like a vintage, cepia-tone burlesque photo, Porneauxxx teases, offering layers of titillating pleasure—cedary earthiness with a touch of plum on the nose, currants popping on the palate, palpable tannins stroking the tongue before slinking away in a way that just makes you want more. But Chateau Porneauxxx is not just a tease: behind every label is passport-size photo of, well, real porn, for your eyes only. We don’t want to tell you what the picture is…think of it as a sort of blind date with Bordeaux.

 

Righteous Shugga 08. Straight from the streets, this tricked-out blend of mm-mmm-mystery grapes is blingin’ inside and out. Sure, baby, there’s some Shiraz. Some sin Zin too. Maybe Malbec, and a touch-o’-sugar tickling your tongue like nobody’s bizness. And mos definitely it’s been around the block, in a goooood way. It’s got the beat, that’s all you got to know. Just open wide and say ahhhhh. Wine out. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s July, and America is still sweltering amid the extreme high pressure front of the Great Economic Downturn. Wine is not immune. In fact, the econo-doldrums have prompted some surprising, even outright bizarre, measures on the part of wine makers and marketers. To wit, consider the following wine ventures that the Wine Skewer—exclusively, mais oui—has learned are in the works….

[tignanello tail]. This mash-up of high-end and low-end wine was bound to happen. On one hand we have the 16 {or is it 60… who’s counting?} generations of winemaking Antinoris, whose Super Tuscan pre-eminence has been reduced to worthless press clippings as their $100 blends draw more dust than glances on U.S. retail shelves. On the other hand, we have Yellow Tail, the Jammy Juggernaut of Oz, King of Critters, the wine that every 30-years-and-under American can remember, pronounce and afford. Look for bottlings of this new joint venture to appear for $19.99 {hey, it’s the new $99.99}. Read the rest of this entry »

HIM: Honey, have you seen the Rabbit?

HER: Which one?

HIM: What do you mean, which one? The Rabbit. It’s black, has clamps as ears, a lever on top, big Teflon screw… Art wants to do a Pinot-palooza during the barbecue. I promised I’d bring the über-corkscrew.

HER: Ah, you mean your Rabbit.

HIM: Well, I’m okay with calling it our Rabbit. I’m a good sharer.

HER: You’re forgetting that I have a Rabbit too. It’s black and shiny and makes me very…hoppy! Kind of like a Penis-palooza, without the penis.

HIM: Ohhhh, that Rabbit. Read the rest of this entry »

Couch Potato America reclined and recoiled the other night upon learning that the Reality TV stars of Jon & Kate Plus 8 have filed for divorce. The split can not come as too great a surprise, what with mounting tabloid rumors, not to mention the cumulative stress of raising twins and sextuplets amid the relentless glare of cameras. What may come as a shock, however, is the real reason for their split: namely wine. Read the rest of this entry »

I am extremely fortunate to be affiliated with the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, where I do both private/corporate events and teach. For those in the vicinity, I have a class this Saturday (June 27) called “Catch the Trendiest Wines” {still a few seats available @ $80; if interested, click to register}.

I thought it would be fun to share my 12 Trend-O-Licious picks here, as well as the logic behind them. In most cases I am aiming to showcase a type of wine, rather than specific brands/bottlings. And, as per my usual tack whenever designing a tasting, the wines were picked with a progression in mind, from lighter through heavier. Read the rest of this entry »

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