Worth reading this week: Yao Ming, ego-shaped fermentation tanks, and the RdV backlash

My weekly roundup of wine news worth reading on the blah-blah-sphere:

I like my wines sunny side up!

When I saw the headline for this piece on Wines & Vines, I mistakenly thought it said “Ego-Shaped Wine Tanks … “, which had me mentally riffing about self-important winemakers until I refocused and saw what the article was really about. But it didn’t take long for my eyes to start spinning again when I read the manufacturer’s explanation of the “seductive” charms of egg-shaped fermenters – note the unintentionally hilarious final sentence:

“The Biodynamic producers who like this shape are interested in the natural vortex it allows the wine to create. It has no corners to baffle and disturb motion. In theory, Brownian motion will naturally be directed by coreolis forces to establish a natural vortex in such a tank, constantly refreshing lees contact and thus protecting and enriching the wine,” he said. “We have not verified these claims, but for sure, the tourists love the look.” (emphasis added)

I wish my office cube at work had no corners to baffle and disturb my coreolis forces from their natural vortex. But thank goodness someone finally found a cure for Brownian motion. (I think it’s milk thistle.)

A backlash has started against all the favorable press for RdV Vineyards, the Virginia winery that debuted this year to acclaim, astonishment, and high prices. Frank Morgan, of DrinkWhatYOULike, complains of the “dismissive tone” much of the coverage has for the rest of Virginia’s wine industry. Keeping in mind he points out that I started this parade of coverage with my feature and blog on RdV last March, I agree with his main argument, especially about one article in particular I hope to find time to critique here in this space. In the meantime, a lively and thoughtful debate ensued in the comments to Frank’s piece – highly recommended reading.

Joe Roberts has an interesting post at 1WineDude about the effect of music on our impression of wines. Makes sense, when you think about it – I can conceive of having differing impressions of a wine if I were listening to Mozart’s Requiem, as opposed to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!”

And finally – This oughtta help the trade deficit: W. Blake Gray reports that basketball great Yao Ming is marketing a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon under his own name, and that the wine – made with juice purchased on the bulk market – is selling in China for the equivalent of $289 a bottle. I bet he used those ego-shaped fermentation tanks – the really tall ones.


Happy drinking and reading this week!

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About Dave McIntyre

Wine columnist for The Washington Post, co-founder of DrinkLocalWine.com, and blogger at Dave McIntyre's WineLine (dmwineline.com).
This entry was posted in Books, Humor, Uncategorized, Virginia, Washington Post, Wine Humor and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Worth reading this week: Yao Ming, ego-shaped fermentation tanks, and the RdV backlash

  1. Jamer says:

    Touché Dave!

    Egg shaped concrete wine tanks have been en vogue here in Washington for over a decade, thanks to Matt Loso and others who discovered them on trips to France. Many winemakers swear it gives their wine that, “je ne sais quoi”.

    Sad to hear Yao Ming is selling bulk wine in China for $289 a bottle! I bet the barrel of Washington Cabernet I split with a friend every year and sell to friends and family for $15 a bottle is better juice!

    Keep up the good work!

    Cheers, Jamer

  2. Tom says:

    Hey Dave,

    Egg-shaped digestive tanks have been the norm in the waste treatment industry for a couple of decades now. The shape promotes better fermentation (of grapes or garbage) and easier mixing with less mechanical input. If you’ve seen the Deer Island Waste Treatment Plant in Boston Harbor while flying into Logan Airport, you can see them from the air. So now they’ll always have that waste treatment association for me.

  3. Joe Roberts says:

    Thanks for the mention.

    And I LOVE Tom’s waste-treatment comparison… :)

  4. Pingback: Worth Reading This Week: Toasting Kim Jong-Il, Foppiano family feud, and consumers gain a voice | Dave McIntyre's WineLine

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