One of the popular features on this site is the challenge of the “impossible food-wine pairing.” But while we often focus on the virtues of sparkling wine with zany foods, there’s one that a classic 80s commercial told us about: Riunite!
Today, a blast from wine advertising’s past. While the refrain of “Riunite, on ice” is well-known, don’t forget the other compelling text: “Riunite and burgers so nice. Riunite and tacos so nice….goes great with all your favorite foods.” Problem. Solved.
Charlie Trotter has been sued for selling a fake wine. In the complaint, Bekim and Ilir Frrokaj allege that they contacted Trotter about purchasing a magnum of 1945 Domaine de la Romanée Conti from the restaurant’s cellar (the restaurant closed last August). They allege that Trotter told them to book a table at the restaurant and discuss it with him over dinner. On June 15, 2012 they dined at the restaurant. Here’s an excerpt from the complaint:
During dinner, Charlie Trotter and the sommelier explained the rarity and value of the DRC magnum to Benn and Ilir. Charlie Trotter and the sommelier also spoke about wines from the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti estate and how those wines are some of the rarest and most valuable in the world. A Charlie Trotter’s employee negotiated the price – $46,227.40 – with Benn and Ilir. Based on Defendants’ representation of the rarity and value of the DRC magnum, Benn and Ilir agreed to purchase it. Ben and Ilir paid Charlie Trotter’s $40,000 in cash and $6,227.40 by credit card for the DRC magnum.
They continue that their insurance provider required an outside authentication of the bottle, during which they discovered that DRC didn’t bottle any magnums in 1945. They are demanding a refund, damages in excess of $30,000, court fees, and reimbursement of some expenses including travel to Chicago.
Charlie Trotter told the Chicago Tribune: “It was a disgruntled client who probably paid a lot more money (for the bottle) than he’s ever paid before,” Trotter said. “It’s buyer’s remorse.”
Anchovies are polarizing: a recent poll found them to be among the three foods the are most disliked by Brits (along with oysters and liver). But then there are people like Jeremy Seysses of Domaine Dujac who recently tweeted a photo with this caption: “Christmas came early: just received over 2kg of my very favorite Sicilian anchovies. Umami for dayyyssss.” He later elaborated that he likes them on caesar salad, salsa verde, pasta, and everything, including eating “anchovies and avocados for breakfast.”
It’s not as if Jeremy needs any wine advice, but maybe there are other anchovy lovers out there who do. Which wine would you pair with them? Or are they…impossible?!? (Maybe you just eat them for breakfast, sans wine.)
Factions in France, a country whose national image has historically been intertwined with wine, are waging a bizarre campaign against wine. They opened a new front in their battle last week: trying to ban blogs and social media from talking about wine.
The initiative, part of a report from Professor Michel Reynaud with the cheery name “Damage related to addictions and strategies for reducing the damage,” would seek to limit promotion of wine in the internet, extending and updating the 1991 Evin law. Winery websites would be exempt but Decanter has a summary; the full report is available in full as pdf here.
“We need to formally ensure that no media about alcohol can be aimed at young people, or potentially seen by young people, including the internet (except producer sites) and social networks,” Reynaud writes on p. 56.
Clearly, this is absurd. Not being able to discuss wine at all also means not being able to discuss how to consume wine in moderation or with food. Or its role in history, culture and economics. Or its plant biology, making it a forbidden fruit. The report is out of step with discussion on the internet, unenforceable, and is as boneheaded as it is blunt in its proposals.
Fortunately, an effort with a petition has emerged, called “Touche Pas a Mon Vingernon.”
News appeared today that thieves broke into Chateau d’Yquem and stole 380 (half) bottles of the famed sweet wine. The wine theft was valued at $166,000. Sadly, wine heists have become more common of late. Where does the d’Yquem debacle rank in the top twelve?
12. Boston, wine shop, July 2009: one bottle of 1945 Chateau Mouton Rothschild was stolen, valued at $20,000. The bottle was eventually recovered. [Boston.com]
11. Benicia, CA, April 2010: One tractor trailer containing an assortment of wines totaling 1,100 cases was stolen from a loading bay. The value of the wine theft was estimated at $90,000. [Wines & Vines]
10. SF-Bay Area warehouse, March 2013: 80 bottles stolen from warehouse; bottles valued at $100,000 belonged to Fine Wines International. [KTVU]
9. Atherton, CA, December 2007: In something that could have been lifted from a whodunnit, a thief stole 450 bottles from a residence in the leafy Silicon Valley town of Atherton, CA. No evidence of a break-in was reported, so it may have been an inside job. A magnum of 1959 Pétrus was among the wines missing; the estimated value of wines taken was $100,000. [nytimes.com]
8. Dorset, England, wine merchant, June 2012: a gang of burglars broke in and stole 70 cases (and even a car to carry it away) from the Alexander Hadleigh warehouse. Total value: $156,000 [Daily Echo]
7. Chateau d’Yquem, Bordeaux, June 2013: 380 (half) bottles of the 2010 vintage valued at $166,000 stolen from the chateau warehouse. LVMH owns the Sauternes producer.
6. Somewhere between Chicago and New York, November 2012: Charlie Trotter was set to auction the remaining wines from his iconic Chicago restaurant. However, on the way to Christie’s in New York, 60 cases were stolen/lost; Christie’s opened an investigation. The value of the wines was not immediately known; the live auction portion of the sale brought in $1.9 million. [EaterChicago]
5. British Columbia, Blackwood Lane Vineyards, June 2012: thieves broke into the rural winery and took 5,200 bottles of wine valued at $199,720. The small winery, founded in 2005, only makes about 1,-00 – 5,000 bottles a year. [langleyadvance.com]
4. Stockholm, Sweden, August, 2006: A 600-bottle collection of old Bordeaux was stolen from the Ulriksdals Wärdshus restaurant in Stockholm. The thieves avoided wines on the regular list and only left one fingerprint. The collection was insured and valued at $485,000. [winespectator.com]
3a. New South Wales, Australia, March 2013: thieves stole an astonishing amount of wine–more than 60,000 bottles–and the two containers they were being transported in. The wine was from 12 South Australia wineries and was bottled as “cleanskins,” that is to say, as yet unlabeled. The wines were estimated at just under $500,000 US.[AdelaideNow]
3b. Champagne, March 2013: Thieves steal 4,000 bottles from the cellars of Jacques Selosse, acclaimed Champagne producer. Estimated value: $512,000. [LATimes.com]
2. London, May 2011: Thieves broke into an East London warehouse, disabled cameras and security alarms, and used a forklift to steal about 400 cases of wine, some of which belonged to private investors. Scotland Yard started an investigation. The estimated value was $1.6 million. [AP]
1. Orange County, CA, Legends Cellars, 2008-2012: An employee of a wine storage facility was charged with stealing wine from the customers’ lockers over a four-year period. Authorities say he delayed dectection by replacing the bottles in lockers with inferior wines. The total amount came to about $2.7 million. [Decanter]
Needless to say, if you have information on any of these wine thefts that could assist authorities, please contact them.
Consolidation strikes the Empire State: The Vintner Group, the Virginia-based distributor, is acquiring Martin Scott Wines, a distributor based in Lake Success, NY.
Founded in 1990 by Martin Gold and Scott Gerber, Martin Scott Wines has grown to have a thick “book,” distributing wines from about 450 wineries, ranging from Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Bonneau du Martray, and Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier in Burgundy to Ponzi Vineyards and Chateau Montelena from the US.
The Vintner Group, formerly known as The Country Vintner, is an importer and wholesaler of fine wine and spirits. CEO David Townsend has led the company on an acquisition spree of late and the company now has operations in nine states in the mid-Atlantic and southeast. They now add New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to that list. According to Shanken Daily News, the company recapitalized in the mid-2000s and now have Brockway Moran as a private equity partner.
What does this mean for the New York City wine market? If you’re in the trade, share your thoughts in the comments. Here’s a link to the press release.
Well, as I’ve written before, all wines are enhanced by good stemware. The titanium-infused line of “impact-resistant” stemware from Schott-Zwiesel have their virtues. At about $10 a stem, you could even break a few but they really are pretty resistant.
I recently splurged on a pair of gorgeous Zalto Universals, hand-crafted crystal stems from Austria. They are so elegant and weightless that they almost take the glass out of wine drinking–somehow, the fermented grape juice is constrained beautifully on display, the aromas concentrated, and the wine ultimately swishes over the palate while hardly sensing the glass rim. They are so thin it took my wife a couple of weeks to overcome a fear that they would shatter merely upon casting them a wayward glance. But we’ve had the set for a couple of months now, enjoying Champagne, Burgundy and Barolo in them, with nary a break (hope I didn’t just jinx it). I have yet to find more pleasurable stemware.
I bumped into Aldo Sohm, the head sommelier at Le Bernardin whose signature adorns the glasses, a few weeks after I got mine. He shocked me by telling me to throw them in the dishwasher to clean them. Eeegad! I continue to hand wash but good to know that the dishwasher is authorized by the highest authority.
Even though they are pricey at $60 each it sure would be nice to share a pair with a wine geek dad.