I try to stay on top of the latest wine technology. A trend I’ve noticed lately is the ability to go to your mobile, while in a wine store, and check on wine prices. This is a great idea but thus far, clumsy in execution. There is WineZap, which allows you to text the wine information and recieve local pricing in return. However, I found the return text/email to be slow (at times it took over 24 hours, and by that time I’m out of the wine shop) and their database to be small, but growing.
Similar in idea, we now have Global Wine Stocks. Today they announced a mobile version of their online wine search service. I haven’t yet played with the mobile version, but I did try my hand at the full-size, online version.
I searched for two different Bordeauxs in my cellar, and it turned up nothing in either Ohio or Kentucky. Since I purchased these in Ohio and Kentucky, that didn’t quite work for me. Giving up, I simply typed in Yellow Tail and searched for merchants in either state. It turned up one merchant in Ohio and no merchants in Kentucky. Ohio is a big state. The merchant was several hundred miles away from me.
I believe that WineZap’s database is directly related to the WineZap community, but I’m unfamiliar with how Global Wine Stock completes their information. I suspect they sell the opportunity to be listed in their search engine to wine merchants, but I’m not positive.
I love the idea of these mobile wine services. I think they’re on the
right track. However, I also believe they need to fatten their
databases before going live in order to attract, and retain, users. But you’ve got to start somewhere, right?
I came across an article today by Holly Howell in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. She talks about the art of food and wine pairing.
No matter how much I love wine, and how much I love food, I never seem to be able to get my pairings right. So I enjoyed her little mnemonic of how food and wine FIT together:
F – Flavor, I – Intensity, and T – Texture.
Let’s start with the F word. Flavor is not just about the protein
(meat, poultry, fish or tofu). Clue No. 1. It is all about the sauce
and the overall taste of your main dish. For example, citrus-based
sauces have a fondness for citrus-flavored wines, such as Sauvignon
Blanc. Yet a grilled swordfish with a mango-pineapple salsa would be
better with a wine that carries more tropical flavors, perhaps a New
World, oak-aged Chardonnay. A steak topped with peppercorn sauce could
be lovely with a peppery red Shiraz from Australia. Makes sense.
Intensity is clue No. 2. Intensity is the concentration of
flavors on the plate. A delicate poached filet of sole has much less
intensity than a roast duck with blueberry sauce. Choose a wine that
will match the intensity of your food. Neither food nor wine should
overwhelm each other. Try a delicate white Pinot grigio with your fish
and a rich berry-flavored red like Merlot with your duck.
Texture is clue No. 3. This can be measured in terms of body,
from light to heavy. Think of milk. Skim milk is light. Homogenized
milk is heavier. Half-and-half is heaviest. Wine can be measured in the
same manner. Just like the milk, consider how heavy that wine feels in
your mouth. If your food is lean and light, then your best bet is a
light-bodied wine like a dry Riesling. If your food has a moderate
amount of weight, then go with a medium-bodied wine like Italian
Barbera. If your food is drowning in sweet and sour barbecue sauce,
then bring in a big gun, like a full-bodied red Zinfandel.
I do beg to differ on a couple of her examples. Earlier this year I tried a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc with a wonderful citrus pork loin. It ended up being a clash of the citrus. A slightly heavier Chardonnay, or perhaps a light reisling, might have worked better. For another WBW this year, I paired a peppercorn steak with a shiraz, thinking the pepper would meld well. Not so much.
Other than those two examples, I can’t really fault the rest of the article. At the end, she lists 10 general examples of great food & wine pairings that consistently work. In fact, the only one she missed is port and/or sherry and chocolate.
I’m a huge fan of Design Within Reach, and am lucky enough to have a warehouse (and thus, warehouse sales) nearby. (Our wine rack is a product of Design Within Reach.)
Each year, DWR sponsors a contest to see who can make the niftiest mini chair out of a champagne cork (and/or foil and wire). The contest has been narrowed down to 5, which you can view here.
You can view all the entries here.
CNBC’s Sports Biz blog had an interesting post today:
Time To Wine?
Most sports leagues have official beer sponsorships, but it might be time to consider wine deals. Nielsen found that wine consumption among U.S. sports fans was up $14.60 in 2006 to $81.40 per household. The highest spending fan, believe it or not, was in households with at least one fan of the LPGA ($125). Tennis fans came in second ($111.90) and PGA fans finished third at $109.40 — spending for them actually went down in 2006 by some 30 percent. The biggest gain was among NFL fans who spent more than 60 percent more on wine this year than last year. An NFL fan household now spends $94.30. Sports figures who own wine brands include: Mike Ditka, Tom Seaver, Greg Norman, Joe Montana, Mario Andretti and John Madden.
You know, I had one beer during the Super Bowl (a Bass) and then moved into a nice Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Last year I popped open a Three Thieves Cab Sauv, as the wine and the game seemed to go well together. Maybe an "official wine" wouldn’t be a bad idea. Wouldn’t it have been cool if Mike Ditka’s wine had been the official wine sponsor of this year’s Super Bowl? Greg Norman wines could sponsor golf tournaments. The end result – wine not as snobby fare, but as a drink for the average joe.
Yeah, I’m not sure it could, or should, happen either. But it does bring up interesting thoughts.
It was brief. Some of you may have seen the post. It was the result of a missing list, crazy schedules, and miscommunication. My Wine Education will NOT be hosting Wine Blogging Wednesday this month. Fear not – we think we’re hosting it in February 2008 (or sooner if someone drops out). It’s all good.
Check out the "real" WBW for this month and have some fun with it: Boxed Wines and Alternative Packaging.
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