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Wednesday wraparound


“Wine critic buys $145k truffle” is hard enough to wrap your head around, but how about “French wine sells for $300k at auction”?

The wine was a 6-liter bottle of 1947 Cheval Blanc, a wine I’ve been lucky enough to taste twice. However, I believe the story, which was widely reported across the world’s news services, got it terribly wrong when it describes the bottle as a “white wine.” So far as I know, Cheval Blanc produces no white wine; the vineyard consists of red varieties. Perhaps the writer was confused by the fact that Cheval Blanc, translated into English, means “white horse.” At any rate, this is a prime example of how bad reporting can spread virally across the Internet, with no corrective except for a little blog like this. (And if I’m wrong and the wine really was blanc, I’m sure someone will correct this corrective.)

Just to make sure whiskey doesn’t feel left out of the ridiculously-priced sweepstakes, somebody just paid a record amount for an old Macallan.

Anyhow, the wine world has been dying to know who is paying these sky-high prices for truffles, wine and Scotch. Now it can be told. In a exclusive, I have learned this person’s identity. He is none other than The World’s Most Interesting Man, the Dos Equis guy.

* * *

It was over a leisurely lunch of paté, crevettes in a sauce boursin, portobello mushrooms stuffed with four cheeses, smoked salmon on toasted baguettes and a lovely bowl of onion soup (all of it washed down with 20-year old vintage Champagne) that I learned of the United Nations’ decision to declare French gastronomy a treasure of world culture.

French food and wine, and the art of enjoying it with family and friends at the table, now joins 911 other “properties” identified by UNESCO as “forming part of the [world’s] cultural and natural heritage.” These include Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Historic Centre of Vienna, California’s own Yosemite National Park and Israel’s Masada where, in the Spring of 73 A.D., 960 Jewish inhabitants committed mass suicide in order to prevent their capture by Roman legions.

In a world gone mad, it is good that the U.N., that maligned organization, can recognize French cuisine as one of the greatest cultural achievements ever devised by humanity.

* * *

With the coming of the Holiday Season, wine writers ascend into a frenzy of activity recommending what wines to drink with whatever is on the table, which is usually a lot of everything. You don’t really want to over-stress on the wine-and-food pairing thing. Put out a bunch of stuff and let people reach for whatever they want. Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. 145k for a truffle was a bit much. In the picture there were even some roots, I guess you can eat the roots too? But I guess for 145k I would want to eat the pillow it was on as well.

  2. During the ten years that I wrote newspaper columns, I would pen a new Thanksgiving wine column every year. I wouldn’t say that every one of them was a lie because I usually served whatever it was that I wrote about.

    But, we have about 30 adults (the eight kids–my grandkids and their cousins don’t even get Martinelli’s), and I do follow your advice, Steve, and put out a cross-section of wine of all kinds.

    At the end of the day, when everyone has had their fill, here are the winners, as determined by that tried and true measure of how much of each was consumed.

    Pre-dinner drinking is dominated by Bloody Marys regardless of what else is available including my favorite, a glass of fizz. The wine most consumed with the meal turns out to be whatever rose’ I put out, followed by Pinot Noir.

    Now that I have my own blog, I am tempted to write yet another Thanksgiving column, but maybe not. Maybe I will just send people here. Your recommendation is as good as it gets. Thanksgiving is never a day on which I put out wine worthy of contemplation. Even I would not pay attention to it.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving Steve.

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