nose in the nooze

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Some odd tidbits from the digital flotsam and jetsam arriving on the tide this morning...

From the Drinks Business online comes word that Swedish and Spanish engineers have invented an electronic nose that works better than a human organ. There are still a few hiccups to be worked out, however. As the article reveals, the nose, which resembles a deconstructed vacuum cleaner, only works with chopped apples and pears. Its main claim to fame is that it can detect methane and butane. Nonetheless, its creators are convinced that eventually it will replace wine critics. Not that anyone would really mind. As long as the thing was programmed to spit out 90+ point scores along with its tasting notes. Here's a sample:

“An odorous little Cabernet, rife with nuanced threads of methane and butane. The butaneous aromatics are further enhanced with a drop of machine oil in the finish. 95 points.”

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From PR firm Godot Communications comes an email about a Colorado Wine Cocktail Celebration. Here’s the lead: “Defending champion Joe Hines of Williams and Graham joins three other top Denver bartenders at the Colorado Wine Cocktail Celebration II, an event that puts the terrior in cocktails.”

As a proud terrier owner, I hate to see the breed’s name misspelled. But my aggravation about a spelling miscue pales in contrast with the horrendous images that the line conjures up. Really – stuffing little dogs into cocktails, simply to sell your Colorado plonk? Have you no shame?!

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Also in the news this week, three major purchases of Oregon vineyard land. Jackson Family Wines, Precept Wine, and Laurent Montalieu’s NW Wine Company have all recently closed on deals for substantial Willamette valley vineyard acreage. Some grumbling has also been heard. A land rush in Oregon will quite possibly squeeze some of the little wineries, who may have to scramble for grapes, and pay more when they find them. However, it is also true that a major obstacle for the growth of the entire Oregon wine industry has historically been the lack of a market leader big enough to cover the country with national distribution. Any one (or all) of these three should now be able to step up to that challenge. As Ste. Michelle Wine Estates wines have led the way in promoting brand Washington, the same may be hoped for Oregon. We shall see.

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