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Wine: Notes from the dump bucket

The sour economy is pinching French winemakers so badly that some are now willing to conduct tastings in private homes. The financial crisis has hit small, independent wineries especially hard, said Phillipe Kazek, founder of Vignerons a la Maison. Winemakers are eager to leverage the expense of visiting trade fairs by conducting some private tastings on the side as a way to show their wines directly to consumers.

Meanwhile, here in the United States winemakers are using technology to reach as many people as possible while staying home. The extended Mondavi family -- that is, both sides of Napa Valley's most famous family feud -- are uniting for a special wine dinner at Charles Krug winery (owned by Peter Mondavi Sr and his family) on Oct. 7. You are invited, but you don't have to book a flight to Napa, only a reservation at Morton's The Steakhouse.

The dinner will be simulcast to 54 Morton's outposts, including five in the Washington region. The event, which will benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation, will kickoff an online auction of a 27-liter bottling called Siamo Insieme, Italian for "we are together." the event features Peter Mondavi Sr. and his sons, Peter Jr. and Marc Mondavi, as well as Michael, Tim and Marcia Mondavi, the children of the late Robert Mondavi. The brothers Robert and Peter Sr. famously feuded in the 1960s at the dawn of Napa's modern wine boom. Tickets for the dinner are $175 and may be booked online or by calling your local Morton's.

Science once again demonstrates its worth by proving what we already know: The best way to pour Champagne is to tilt the glass and pour the wine slowly down the side, rather than pouring it straight into the glass. The slow way preserves carbonation and avoids that awkward band of foam that forms at the top of a carelessly poured glass and forces one to wait a few precious seconds before taking that first nirvanic sip. Who figured this out? Why, scientists from the University of Reims, in the heart of the Champagne region. That must have been some fun research. But at least beer drinkers no longer need feel insecure around wine geeks -- they've known the pouring secret all along.

-- Dave McIntyre
(Follow me on Twitter.)

By Dave McIntyre  |  August 30, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Wine  | Tags: Dave McIntyre, wine  
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