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Archive for July, 2009

All Publicity Is Good Publicity

July 31st, 2009 by Tom Johnson

After the not-at-all-backward Alcoholic Beverage Control Board of Alabama bans Cycles Gladiator wine over its supposedly pornographic label, sales of the wine skyrocket. Bill Leigon, president of Hahn Family Wines in Soledad, Calif., said Thursday that visits to the company’s Web site have increased tenfold since news of the ban broke late last week, and [...]

Posted in News, Regulation | Comments (0)

It’s Creepy How Well These People Know Me. It’s Like They’re Living Inside My Head.

July 30th, 2009 by Tom Johnson

Anthony Dias Blue, editor of online wine publication The Tasting Panel, unloads on people like me: And who are these bloggers anyway and, more important, what is their motivation? It would be comforting to find that they are altruistic wine lovers who see their purpose as bringing insight and valuable information to like-minded consumers. But [...]

Posted in Feuds | Comments (2)


July 30th, 2009 by Tom Johnson

Wine is incredibly complicated, a mixture of thousands of chemical substances that somehow produce unique tastes, textures and aromas. What is it in grapes that gives some wines the scent of leather and others the flavor of grapefruit? For centuries, the alchemy of wine has been mysterious to the point of seeming magical. Which brings [...]

Posted in From the Web | Comments (1)

I Guess This Doesn’t Quite Count as a Petty Wine Feud, but It’s Close

July 30th, 2009 by Tom Johnson

If you haven’t read Billionaire’s Vinegar yet, read it. It reads like a whodunnit, telling the true story of the biggest wine fraud in history, the forgery and subsequent sale of “lost” bottles of wine from Thomas Jefferson’s cellar. A key player in the book is Michael Broadbent, who at the time of the forgeries [...]

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Maybe He Was Drunk

July 30th, 2009 by Tom Johnson

The Associated Press tells of a guy who, when the economy soured, abandoned the real estate business for something he thought more secure: growing wine grapes. In Missouri.

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Bartender Challenge: In Which I Have Fun Putting Someone Else On the Spot

July 29th, 2009 by Tom Johnson

L&N Winebar & Bistro sells flights of wine from their roughly 50 bottle selection of nitrogen-preserved wines-by-the-glass. The bar is comfortable and the staff, top to bottom, is among the most knowledgeable in town. So, just for fun, tonight I walked in and challenged Rick, the bartender on duty: set me up a memorable three-wine [...]

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We’re An Innovative People

July 29th, 2009 by Tom Johnson

The Transportation Safety Administration now allows some kinds of corkscrews in carry-on luggage. This small, unheralded policy revision, according to Seattle writer Harris Meyer, opens up a world of possiblities.

Posted in From the Web | Comments (0)

Oh No, It’s Happening Again!

July 29th, 2009 by Tom Johnson

Yesterday I wrote a thing with the headline “That’s Amoré,” and ever since I’ve had the Dean Martin song going through my mind. That’s problematic because I don’t know the words. So I make up my own words. A few minutes ago, I made up a verse that made me laugh out loud in a [...]

Posted in Not Particularly Anything | Comments (0)

Ruth’s Chris Hits the Road, Pianetta Hits the Glass, All for a Great Cause

July 29th, 2009 by Tom Johnson

Chef Anthony Lusiak of Ruth’s Chris Steak House makes a guest appearance at Westport Whiskey & Wine tonight to benefit CASA, an advocacy group for abused and neglected children. Lusiak will cook good things to match the wines of Pianetta Winery. Pianetta’s vineyards are in the Indian Valley, a corner of the Monterey AVA that [...]

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Chicago Art Institute Features Wine Exhibit

July 29th, 2009 by Tom Johnson

If you’re traveling to Chicago between now and September 20, the Art Institute features an exhibit about wine in art.  Wine has always played a major role in art, and since its founding the Art Institute’s collection has included paintings, sculpture and more practical objects on a wine theme. Above is Thomas Couture’s painted woodcut [...]

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