Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Display at De Admiraal ( Amsterdam) A few of the Genevers (aka Dutch Gin) they make Posted by Hello

One of the Stills at van Wees (Amsterdam) Posted by Hello

A Small Sample of Van Wees Products at their Proefkalen De Admiraal on Herrengracht (Amsterdam) Posted by Hello

Wine Tasting in Roman Cave, France Posted by Hello

Cellar aging Room Van Wees, Amsterdam Posted by Hello

Me at Van wees Distillery, Amsterdam Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Mondovino The Movie

We went to see "Mondovino" a couple of days ago and I have to say it is a must see movie about wine and globalization of wine or maybe more to the point the world hegemony of wine driven by Robert Parker.
As I have stated before, I am not a fan of his or Wine Spectator (who is also featured in the movie).
While I like some of the wine he likes, I like a lot more wine that he does not like and I respect and honor the differences between different wines and terroir.
unfortunately the wine world (or at least the buying public) have increasingly been showing traits that are normally attributed to Lemmings rather than higher mammals.
Alarming numbers of the producers and buying public are flocking a singular type or model of wine, that singular type being a anointed Robert Parker wine ( a wine given a high score by Robert Parker).
Most of these wines have been micro managed, doped up, and blended beyond all recognition as to their original type and origin to fit a model of wine championed by Mr Parker. In many instance (in my opinion) these wines are manipulated in such a way as to mimic long aging in a short period of time and t remove terrior or any local variation. I refer to it as the McDonald's model of winemaking, fast, global, insidious, and lacking a soul. In any case back to the movie...
It is a wonderful compare and contrast between traditional winemakers and people like Mondavi, Parker, and Rolland.
It chronicles the struggles (and occasional victories) of the traditional winemakers and terroir, against the global homogenization of wine as represented by the above.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Cognac is Brandy, But Brandy is not Cognac

In another installment of the Zen Riddles of Booze. Cognac is a brandy but not necessarily the reverse. Brandy come from the term gebrandtwien or burned wine ( Dutch/German origin).
In the middle ages wine began to be distilled in order to evade customs duties ( based on volume and further to reduce shipping volume and make it less likely to spoil in transit. When it arrived at its final destination it was watered back down to more or less its original strength. Many people found however that they liked distilled down. Brandy is an umbrella or generic term for a distilled spirit made from a fruit (as opposed to a grain). Here are some rough definitions:
Cognac is a form of grape brandy, produced under strict guidelines from certain varieties of grapes.
Armagnac is produced in a different area of France, and is quite different from Cognac.
Marc (French) is a form of unaged brandy similar to Grappa ( Italian) or Pisco (South America) all of which can run the range from lighter fluid to sublime depending on the distiller.
Aquadiente is the Portuguese version of grape brandy which may or may not be aged.
Calvados is apple an brandy produced in Northern France.