Archive for the ‘Fake Wine’ Category

Perfect Pairings

September 10, 2012

When it comes to wine and food pairings you need to study the art and science of sophisticated flavor components to be able to  comprehend all the complicated systems required for the enjoyment of fine dining.

Be very aware, for this is in fact something similar to rocket science.  Thankfully rigorous guidelines have been developed to facilitate successful wine-and-food pairings.

In this case we are examining the chemical make up of the worlds most popular Chardonnay based beverage: Rombauer!

The Carneros sourced Rombauer Chardonnay is the style of wine that the majority of Americans gravitate towards.  Its honeyedew, yellow peach and fig body supported by vanilla and carmel frame make it nearly impossible to pair with haute cuisine.

Thankfully the pain reliever Vicodin (a combination of two analgesic products hydrocodone and paracetamol) is a natural and available narcotic that binds opiod receptors in the brain and spinal cord that pairs beautifully with the tropical fruit laden oak menace that is Rombauer Chardonnay.


Whether a special occasion with that someone you thought was special 8 years ago or after a busy day pretending to play tennis,


Rombauer Chardonnay and Vicodin fuse together the same way  an intended parent recruits the help of a young, healthy gestational surrogate egg donor to create a family.

The rich and lush and buttery and silky fruit-forward Rombauer Chardonnay is the perfect counterpoint to the desirable effects of euphoria, drowsiness, depressant effects on the central nervous system and slowing of the pulse which are all positive components of the semi-synthetic opioid analgesic Vicodin pill.

The constipation, dry mouth, decreased appetite, yellowing of eyes and skin, bruising, stomach pain, dizziness, decreased sex drive and muscle twitches side effects of Rombauer Chardonnay should be no deterrent to the powerful zing of the orally taken or crushed up insufflated snorted or liquid extracted rectally syringed Vicodin pill.

If no Vicodin or second rate  analgesic or recreational heroin is available to you; science has also concluded that a late night viewing of “Gladiator”can be a reasonable substitute.

Wines That Rock! Rock Out With Your Cork Out!

November 16, 2011

Another attempt at dumbing down wine to appeal to the non-wine drinker.

These are the official Wines of Rock ‘N Roll, a revolution years in the making, a unique and new challenge to blend some of the greatest rock bands of the world with some of the shitiest juice The Mendocino Wine Company has ever sourced.

Wines That Rock!

2009 Grateful Dead Red Blend

Feel free to experiment with this blend as you would experiment with finding some clique to identify and hang out with.

2008 Pink Floyd “The Dark Side of the Moon” Cabernet Sauvignon

What happens if you drink this deep, complex, chocolaty cab while watching “The Wizard of Oz”?

2009 Rolling Stones “Forty Licks” Merlot

The wine that won’t die.  Imagine Mick Jagger’s lips on your glass.

2010 Woodstock Chardonnay

Break away from the past with this ‘naked’ style Chardonnay, no oak, no make up, but plenty of acid.

2009 The Police “Synchronicity” Red Wine Blend

This wine promises to be playful, seductive, and haunting like the old Sting before he became all douchey and tantric sexy.

The holidays are coming up, keep these wines in mind for the man who has everything, including dumbed down taste.

Understanding “The Prisoner” by Orin Swift Cellars

October 17, 2011

“The red Zinfandel juice I sourced had a stuck fermentation leaving it extra sappy and sugary.  I blended some Cabernet essence to it and ran it through the oak machine to create a “wine” like nothing else before.”  Wine scientist Dave Phinney talking about his creation and how difficult it is to find an audience for it.    The majority of wine drinkers in this country are die hard fans of wines that are un-manipulated from organically farmed vineyards that reflect a viticultural heritage.  What demographic is underserved that would appreciate heavily manipulated “wines” that have no sense of place?  Careful marketing research was needed to attract such a specific segment of America’s wine drinking culture.  “Who really is looking out for the candy eating bondage fetishist that demands cheap labor for goods and services?”The Prisoner Abstract Machete Orin Swift   2010 review  Dave Phinney
Mr. Phinney felt that America’s love for prisons and prison labor was under represented among wine drinkers.  This country has always relied on prison labor for cheap products.  After the Civil War, prisons kept slavery going by allowing companies to hire out convicts to pick cotton, dig in mines and build railroads.  “I want consumers of my “wine” to remember the good old days of places like the Parchman plantation down in Mississippi,” says Phinney “and know that the spirit of those places are still alive in the vineyards and wineries I source from thanks to cheap, Mexican labor.”

Fans of THE PRISONER will be happy to know that America’s prison population is at an all time high, with mostly black inmates serving longer sentences for petty crimes.  This means private corporations in 37 states have a large pool of labor to legally contract from. Computer companies can have circuit boards made on the cheap, China can get low cost jeans exported to them, airlines and hotels can use prisoners to take reservations and you can take comfort knowing that Victoria’s Secret has used convicts to lovingly assemble lingerie.

“Not only do we love the services that prisons provide there are some of us that like to imagine what it would be like to be locked up, or tied up and forced to do things.”  Making the decision on what wine to pair with what meal can be maddening, do we pair Muscadet or Chablis with the oysters?  Can one pour a Tuscan wine with an Umbrian dish?

“My “wine” takes those decision making hardships away from you.  It tells you what to do.  You will drink this with sushi AND chocolate cake, no questions asked!  With this “wine” a person is both warden and prisoner.  You control how long you want to punish yourself.”

There are only 70,000 cases of THE PRISONER to go around, meaning only 840,000 bottles can be appreciated by such a small group of the country. “Not only to drink but the velvety smooth texture also makes my “wine” a great substitute for lube in all the underground S & M clubs.”

“People that like to receive or inflict humiliation, pain and indulge in confections made from concentrated sugar but also appreciate cheap products made by folks that are forced to work should know that I am catering to them.  Not everyone wants to drink a wine that was crafted by a responsible farmer family that only cares about carrying on old fashion traditions.”


Now if only Dave Phinney could create a “wine” that celebrates


the Rwanda genocide…

and nonfigurative, nonobjective, nonrepresentational art…

The Prisoner Abstract Machete Orin Swift   2010 review  Dave Phinney

Let’s Make Fun of Celebrity Wine Makers, Mike Ditka Edition

August 27, 2011

Attitude, Character, Enthusiasm.  Welcome to the wines of Mike Ditka.  When the Hall of Fame player and coach decided to let the prolific Mendocino Wine Company craft his lineup of wines he wouldn’t settle for anything less than Kick Ass!  Mike Ditka actually traveled to some of the best 3rd rate vineyard sites to watch the blending of five wines.  Only the toughest, forward moving wines were good enough to have his name on the label.  Then, all that was needed was Ditka’s coaching expertise and mustache know-how to complete the brand.  No cheerleader or sissy placekicker wines here.

But please don’t change your intake until you have ordered and paid for these wines.
from his website

Cabernet Sauvignon:   Attitude means a clear, direct approach or stance. Clear, true-to-type varietal character is a hallmark of my wines. Character is integrity and appeal, that extra zing that makes this wine stand out from the pack. And how can a wine have Enthusiasm? By being ready to go, any time, any place. Open this bottle and see for yourself. $19.99

Merlot: Whattaya want in a good house wine, anyway? Lemme tellya: Good fruit flavors, nice balance, somethin’ at goes great with a lotta different kinds of food. This is it, a real good wine I know you’re gonna like. Rich and dry with flavors of smoky black cherry and plum and complexities of clove and toasty oak in the lingering finish. $13.99

Kick Ass Red:  This blended red wine, Kick Ass Red, is the top of the line bottling for the Mike Ditka brands. It is a brilliant, concentrated dry red wine with luscious aromas and flavors of jammy wild blackberry. It has a lingering finish of freshly ground black pepper and toasty vanilla. Worthy of cellar aging, this wine is delicious now with fine beef, wild game and artisan cheeses. $49.99

There is also Mike Ditka’s Kick Ass Wine Club that you can join. It’s described as “Kick Ass!”

Kick Ass Perks include: 20% off all Mike Ditka Wines and logo merchandise; first access to newly released and limited edition wines; 30% off your Super Bowl wine party order; recipes and party ideas.

Mike Ditka,

Hall of Fame Player.

Hall of Fame Coach.


Former guy who once thought about running for senate.


Company Profile: PRÉDEL, for Tannin Management!

August 22, 2011

Since 1989 the Bordeaux based PRÉDEL has helped struggling winemakers with problems of filtration, microbiology and hygiene. Here are some of the winemaking products they provide…

Liquid  and powder Enzyme formulations:  These can do about everything from pumping up color, clarifying cloudy wine, to enhancing aromas.  All meant for super hot thermo-winemaking.  When you bring the grapes and the must to a near boil before fermentation you can do miracles with color and tannin extraction.  Deconstruct the wine, get rid of the bad stuff and put the good stuff in.

Anti-Oxidants:  Protects the grape must from oxidation and decreases bitterness.

Specially Prepared Yeasts:  from their website, here are some names of yeast strains…

ESSENTIAL GRAND CRU: For structured, elegant and complex wines(good with Merlot, Cabernet S, Zinfandel)

ELITE PREMIUM: For structure, color and spiciness (good with Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Malbec)

PRIMA: Develops cherry and fruit aromas (good with Pinot and Gamay)

HAR 17: Chardonnay variety

FINAROME: aromatic white wines, high capacity for revealing terpene-type varietal aroma precursors (ß-glucosidase                            activity) ? huh…

THIOL AROMA: aromatic white wines, high capacity for revealing thiol-type varietal aroma precursors. ? wha…

® – PINK EXCEL: fruity rosé wines

DAVIS 522: safe fermentation and highlights the primary aroma

PDM: development of white, red and effervescent wines

Aging Products: These include tannin extracts from French and American oak, chestnut, grape seeds and grape skins, also Acacia and Eucalyptus plants and Cherries.  Want the wine to taste of coconut, vanilla or cocoa?  How about spicy or smoky or caramel?  PRÉDEL also cheats by providing fresh oak shavings, oak staves and barrel inserts. Toasted to any degree of toastiness needed.

Filtration Services:  Oh man, just go to their website, every aspect of their company is listed.  It really destroys the romantic notion of leather skinned farmers growing grapes for generations, waking up at dawn to pick the years harvest and delivering it to an underground, chalk cellar, vinifying a beverage to drink alongside a fresh chicken.

Mega Purple to the Rescue!

June 5, 2011

“Help!  My less than superior Pinot Noir grapes that I bought have finished into a puny, thin wine with pale color and it stinks of brettanomyces.  How can I thicken the texture, sweeten the finish, mask the odors and give the wine a more aesthetic dark appearance?”


Brought to by Constellation Brands, they own… basically all the mass-produced wine beverages found in every grocery and box store around the country.

MEGA PURPLE! is a super concentrated, boiled down jelly substance derived from Teinturier grape varieties which have dark skins AND dark pulp.  Add a small percentage to your wine before fermentation and let the magic happen.  A little bit goes a long way, too much and your wine will have an over-ripe characteristic.  Get it on your fingers and it will stain them for a long time.

Use it to “adjust” your wine, sweeten it up, give it a syrupy body.  Make those pink rosés redder, those red Syrahs blacker.  Who wants a delicate, mineral wine with a sissy rosy bouquet when you can jack it up with MEGA PURPLE! and turn it into a crowd pleasing jam bomb with viscous purple legs.  

It is relatively cheap as well!

Celebrate the homogenization of wine, do yourself a favor and request only MEGA PURPLE! wines!!!!

Vacuum Concentrator

April 28, 2011

Made in Italy, secretly used in exalted Bordeaux, perfected in California, I introduce you to the Reda CM 400 Low Temperature Evaporation Device!Does your vineyard location get too much rain?  Does your vineyard management not allow for proper air circulation to dry out your overly wet harvest?  Do you not want to wait a few days for your rain soaked grapes to dry out before picking them?  Is your harvest screwed because the ratio of water to grape sugar is out of wack?  Or do you just want super concentrated, viscous wines without having to lower your yields?

The CM 400 takes in grape juice, somehow boils it below atmospheric pressure at a temperature of 70 degrees, water is carried off in vapor but also takes away important things like lactic acid and ethanol (these and other compounds can be put back in). Nanofiltration membrane technology keeps all the good stuff in (tannin, color).  What is left is a more balanced, syrupy wine.  It is also fully automated!

Most winemakers don’t like to admit to using machines like these.  Some might call it cheating, some might say it is a way to save a poor crop.  You will not really find them used on cheap wines because these gizmos are EXPENSIVE!

Is the wine you are drinking really an artisanal product of responsible land stewardship?


April 13, 2011

Acid in wine is essential if you want balance.  Acid means body in wine, the stuffing that holds it all together.  Healthy ripe grapes mean acids develop slowly and fully and are balanced out by an acceptable amount of sugar.  Sugar gets turned into alcohol during the fermentation process.  Grapes that are overly ripe with way too much sugar can not develop good acidity, leading to an unbalanced, flabby wine.  Too  much hang time on the vine, too much sunshine.

Grapes that are not fully ripe haven’t developed much acidity and not enough sugar leading to a tart, high toned wine.  Not enough hang time, not enough sun(or rain, or warmth, or whatever it is that makes fruit ripe).

Acidity is necessary to give a wine freshness, it also protects the wine from bacterial infection.  When people talk about acidity in wine it does not mean you are about to suck on a lemon.

Adjusting acid in wine is best done before and during the fermentation process.  It allows better integration of flavor and aroma and is easier to control the integration.  Tartaric acid (which is naturally present in grapes) is best added at the beginning stage because it  does not become susceptible to lactic acid (the milk, dairy, creamy textured acid) easily and will not lower the quality as much to a finished wine.  Too much tartaric acid will crystalize and separate from the wine anyway, leaving it split and hollow.  Citric acid is the cheapest and most prone to bacterial infection.  It can be added at the end of fermentation and stabilization to give the wine  a perceived “zippiness”.  Malic acid (also one of the natural acids found in grapes) is rarely added because for one it is expensive and it can easily become infected with dirty microbes.  Malic acid is very tart on the tongue but is desirable for wines that have plans to incorporate an inoculation of a bacteria to transform it into lactic acid (the milk, dairy, creamy textured acid) this gives the wine a round, buttery, soft mouth feel.

In a perfect world, in a perfect climate, in a perfect soil; responsible, healthy, fanatical farming will produce healthy ripe grapes and a wine grower will not have to deal with all this acid business.

Boring Wines: Wines to Avoid

April 7, 2011
Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington state’s oldest winery.
Chateau Ste. Michelle sources grapes from 3500 acres.
Chateau Ste. Michelle  produces 2.5 million cases a year.
Chateau Ste. Michelle hired German weine consultant Dr. Ernst Loosen to make Riesling for them.
Chateau Ste. Michelle “invented” Riesling.
Chateau Ste. Michelle can be found in every single grocery store in the country (how special is that?)
Chateau Ste. Michelle can be found on some really uninspired wine lists in this city.
Chateau Ste. Michelle produces wines, be it their Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc,Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Tannat (just kidding), Gewurtztraminer, that all taste the same: flat and homogenized.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is owned by Altria (use to be Phillip Morris)
Altria owns…
A little bit of everything.
A shitload of tobacco and…
  • Chateau Ste Michelle
  • Columbia Crest (their reserve Cabernet was Wine Spectators #1 wine of the year last year)
  • Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (Napa Valleys FIRST first growth!)
  • Conn Creek
  • Red Diamond
  • Snoqualmie
  • Spring Valley
  • Villa Mt Eden
  • Erath
  • Col Solare
  • Northstar
  • Villa Antinori (An evil Tuscan empire dating back to the year 1385)
  • Tormaresca
  • Tignanello
  • Antica Napa Valley
  • Solaia
  • Santa Cristina
  • Haras di Pirque
  • La Bracessca
  • Montenisa
  • Hawk Crest
  • Fourteen Hands
  • Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte
  • Palmes d’Or (Instant luxury!)

Many people enjoy processed foods, or big-studio processed movies, or all-inclusive, processed vacations where you never leave the hotel’s grounds: just because people enjoy these things doesn’t mean they’re healthful, or artful, or inspiring or good. The same holds true for wine. A lot of people like the processed stuff, but this doesn’t mean it’s authentic. It doesn’t mean this wine is good.

You are allowed to drink differently.

Questions for Richmond Wine Culture

March 1, 2011

What do you mean by natural wine?  Made by hippy’s?

No, not hippy’s, think more along the lines of families with deep traditional ties to their land and culture. The term “natural” can be subjective and not necessarily regulated but for the most part it means that grapes are grown with little to no chemical pesticides and little to no manipulation by technology in the actual wine making stage. Sometimes you will see labels that claim the grapes were grown organically but it does not always mean the wine made from those grapes weren’t spoofilated by acidification, industrial yeasts, micro-oxygenation, reverse osmosis, oak chips, chaptalization, de-alchoholization…

Aren’t natural wines expensive?

No. You can find honest, delicious wines in all price ranges from all over the world, especially Southwest France.  Good wines are “made” in vineyards and wine cellars that have been around for generations as opposed to brand new high-tech million dollar wineries that have been built on expensive  real estate.  This blog will direct you to several examples for sale in wine shops and restaurants around the city.

How do I know if I am buying or drinking an honest wine?

Hopefully the label can tell you, France has their A.O.C., Italy has their D.O.C.G., Spain has their D.O., Germany has their V.D.P.  Not really a guarantee of quality but it is a starting point.  These label designations mean specific grapes were grown in specific areas by specific means.   Look for who grew the grapes and who put them in the bottle.  Also get to know who the importer is, leave it to these experts to wade through the oceans of wine in the world to find the good stuff.   Of course your local wine shop should be able to point out what’s what.   More on this in the future.

What about ‘Wholefoods’ and ‘Trader Joes’, they sell all-natural wine don’t they?

Don’t get me started, more on this in the future as well.