2008年12月26日 星期五

creative cocktail s

Proof: Drinking Outside the Temple
Devotion to the art of the creative cocktail stretches coast to coast, writes Paul Clarke.

New York is one of the world’s great drinking cities, and I raise a glass of Red Hook Rye that it will always be so. But America grew up as a drinking country, and it was once possible to come across as talented a barkeep in St. Louis, Chicago or Denver as could be found on lower Broadway. While it sometimes seems the country has become one massive expanse of big box stores, chain restaurants and strip malls, it’s reassuring to see that these drinker’s oases are not only surviving, but thriving. New York remains the shining star in America’s mixological firmament, but the clouds are clearing and the glittering expanse of the country’s boozy Milky Way is once more coming into view.

December 25, 2008, 10:00 pm

Drinking Outside the Temple

Everyone has something they do well, along with a place where they learned how to do it. Me, I learned how to drink in New York.

I moved to Manhattan in 1988, a month after my 21st birthday, and in the time between the first welcome-to-New-York Rolling Rock at a forgotten East Village bar, and my farewell pints of Bass at Milano’s on East Houston Street 10 years later, I learned many things about alcohol. Not much about life, of course — I hadn’t figured out how to make a lot of money, or find true happiness, or make a relationship work — but I did learn about drink: how to order it, how to hold it, how to leave it alone, how it could take an everyday occurrence and make it at once absurd and sublime, how to feign sobriety while walking home at 3 a.m., and how if you were at the right bar with the right bartender and the right friends, last call was merely a suggestion and the party could continue until dawn.

One lesson absent from my alcohol education, however, was how to mix a decent drink. My New York drinking years revolved largely around beer, with the occasional scotch thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t until I’d been in Seattle for five years that I finally learned how to mix a proper Manhattan, and the effect was that of a whiskey-fueled satori: the skies cleared, the universe slipped into balance, and for the first time in my life I understood the concept of bibulous beauty. Overblown? Perhaps — but liquor has a tendency to do that.

After that, the pursuit of cocktail wisdom began to consume virtually all my free time. I’d spend hours prowling eBay in pursuit of bartending manuals from the cocktail’s heyday, and began allocating a part of each paycheck to building my liquor collection from a meager couple of bottles of vodka and crème de cassis into a mighty mixological machine replete with dozens of kinds of rum, bottles of obscure liqueurs and every type of bitters I could lay my hands on.

And the drinks! After mangling my first batches of Manhattans in a Pottery Barn cocktail shaker — I suspected they weren’t supposed to have a head on them — I began a more thorough exploration: from the basics of the Sazerac and the whiskey sour to the fragile gaiety of the Ramos Gin Fizz and the delicious obsolescence of the Police Gazette Cocktail, I mixed and sampled my way through the old books. Over time I began adding cocktails to my repertoire that I’d learned about in newspaper columns or online: the Red Hook, the Gansevoort Fizz, the Slope — drinks that had a character and composition that harkened back to the old days, but that had been created only weeks or months before by writers and bartenders now energizing New York’s cocktail scene.

It’s a rote part of America’s drinking history that the art of mixing a well-crafted cocktail — arguably at its prime about a century or so ago — never fully recovered from being kneecapped by Prohibition. My own spirituous experiments as a beginning drinker in the late ‘80s were with the drinks that defined the era: vodka tonics, Long Island Iced Teas, a token Fuzzy Navel and maybe a pitcher of Mudslides for the table. No wonder I usually stuck with beer.

But during that same time, unbeknownst to me, there were still a few artisan bartenders who rose above the tide (or the Mudslide, if you will). Then-Rainbow Room bartender Dale DeGroff was building a reputation for mining liquid gold from vintage bartending manuals and from his own pursuit of cocktail excellence. Dale was promptly joined by successive waves of gin-pouring artisans such as Audrey Saunders and Julie Reiner, and by adventurous bar owners such as Sasha Petraske, who together created an urban empire of classically oriented though modernly ambitious cocktail bars, built on a foundation of esoteric spirits, fresh ingredients, and perfect blocks of Kold Draft ice. This group, which has grown exponentially in the course of just a few years, may have saved the craft of the cocktail in America.

At least, that’s the way it can look when the farthest west you can see is Weehawken. As I enviously observed New York’s bibulous rebirth from afar, I drank closer to my West Coast home. While disappointed that I couldn’t just step into PDT’s phone-booth entrance in Crif Dogs whenever I wanted, I was quickly distracted by what I was finding out West, such as my local bartender, Murray Stenson, a 30-plus-year veteran of the bar now at Zig Zag Café who refuses to be swept up by the sometimes faddish aspects of the cocktail renaissance but who was practicing the principles expounded by David Embury, one of mixology’s high priests, when many of today’s top bartenders were still in diapers.

As I began trying other craft-oriented bars in Seattle and beyond, I saw how the New York cocktail culture that had become legendary among thinking drinkers was mirrored, in its own regionally styled ways, in cities across the country.

Over time I sampled — O.K, drank — cocktails such as the Averna-laced Black Manhattan at Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco, and the concoctions made with house-made amari and smoked ice from Portland, Ore., bartender Daniel Shoemaker, and talked inside baseball — or inside cocktail — with many, many more. As I did, and continue to do, the expanse of the country’s libational landscape began to define itself in broad, general ways.

San Francisco seems to be largely populated with vermouth-making, locavore-oriented Alice Waters-style bartenders who are not only growing in number as fast as those in New York, but are taking a shot at Gotham’s title as the country’s most exciting city for cocktails.

Bartenders in Portland are deploying improvisation and experimentation that is waking up the city’s once-sleepy cocktail culture, and in Los Angeles — where for years the quality cocktail scene was mostly as glossy and devoid of substance as, well, the rest of L.A. — a growing group of die-hards is reintroducing the city to the beauty of a well-made drink, eschewing simple visual dazzle and blatant product placement in favor of drinks made with a deeper culinary comprehension.

And as I talked to bartenders and drink geeks who lived in or had visited places I haven’t in recent years, I saw that this flood of quality drinking was not confined to the West Coast: Boston bartenders are challenging Seattle for the designation of most-vibrant-yet-underappreciated bar scene in the country; a small group of Texas bartenders are preparing to make Houston an unlikely fine-drinking destination; and craft bartenders have established a beachhead in and around Washington, D.C. And in New Orleans — which hosts a convention each year for bartenders and other cocktail geeks like me — bartenders such as Chris Hannah at Arnaud’s are proving that the city’s mixological range extends well beyond Sazeracs and Hurricanes.

2008年12月23日 星期二

mead wine

Arts on the Air | 24.12.2008 | 05:30

Backstage at one of Britain’s most famous Christmas traditions the Pantomime

Christmas time in Scotland - warmed mead wine, yule logs- and pantos.

Pantos - short for pantomime, are musical-comedies usually based on traditional children’s stories adapted for satirical effect. The characters are either very good or very bad. The audience- both young and old- know who they should boo and hiss and who they should cheer and warn from danger. The shows are outlandish, cheeky, and often over the top.

Report: Jodi Breisler


A traditional wine made by fermentation of honey, sometimes flavoured with herbs and spices. One of the oldest alcoholic drinks.

2008年12月18日 星期四


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【明報專訊】在香港當老闆,也許都曾發夢有朝一日成為上市公司主席;正如在法國Bordeaux的釀酒人,都在競逐爭取成為倫敦葡萄 酒期貨市場的一分子。只是當大部分釀酒師或老闆,都在侃侃而談,告訴我他們如何傳統、釀酒何等用心,只有這位Chateau Sérilhan的莊主,三言兩語,坦率地道出了Bordeaux葡萄酒的遊戲規則。

在法國Bordeaux的酒村中,Saint Estèphe的名氣不小,以大家熟悉的電視藝人方式來比喻,應該是一線演員,村內擁有Chateau Cos d'Estournel和Chateau Montrose等列級明星酒莊。

實而不華 平房酒莊

驅 車時經過Chateau Cos d'Estournel那座宏偉並滲入東方色彩的古堡後,我們來到當地一家小酒莊Chateau Sérilhan。相對剛才行注目禮的古堡,Sérilhan的平房有點「簡約」,但當酒莊主人Didier Marcelis,帶我走完由幾幢平房組成的酒莊,便明白這完全是實而不華的組合。從起居飲食、辦公室、試酒室、酒窖到釀酒室,全部都在這組建築物內,連 他在內我全程只見到3部電腦加3名員工,據說股神畢菲特的總部也只有12人,所謂低成本高效率就是這個意思。

得期貨市場 得天下

對 比起以前見過慢條斯理的法國釀酒師,Didier簡直是個另類分子,說話高效率而有幽默感。他在英國取得MBA,曾於IBM位居歐洲市場部副總裁要職,甫 見面便斬釘截鐵道出這門生意之道:「我一接手這生意時,便想着如何才能成功,第一件事,便是打入期貨市場。而這樣必須有兩個條件,首先就是地利,葡萄園必 須位於六大酒村之內,而我們所在的Saint Estèphe,已擁有了這先天優勢。第二是要進入列級之內,當然如果在1855年的列級中榜上無名,那唯有靠Parker Point了。」

也 許大家都知道,Bordeaux酒在倫敦有期貨(En Primeurs)市場,但全區只有約300家酒莊獲此殊榮,能吸引當地酒商買賣你的期貨,才代表有價有市。而1855年的列級酒莊,好比入選恒生指數的 成分股,可惜這個評級制不如恒指般每兩年換馬,百五年來,只改動過一小次。至於Parker Point,就是指Robert Parker的評分,他比股評人陸叔更權威,能左右葡萄酒市場價格。


在 2003年,Didier放棄高薪厚職,從I.T.界返回家族接手這門傳統生意,即時實行他的一連串策略,大刀闊斧改革,從大事如引入比利時財團的資金, 及聘請Chateau Pontet Canet的Bernard Franc作技術總監,到細節如更換酒瓶上新的標籤等。結果他在2003年即獲得傳媒及酒評家的好評,而現在他的Chateau Sérilhan已被放到倫敦的葡萄酒期貨市場去。

Didier不愧為策略高手,酒莊不但在其規劃下取得成功,就連掌握訪問時間也恰到好 處,然後帶我到試酒室試其Chateau Sérilhan 2006。此酒成熟的漿果味道,富橡木的香氣而不浮誇,酒體適中優雅。我回香港後在葡萄酒商店上見到這一瓶酒的其他年份,才實惠地賣200多元,不論酒質 和價錢,都如莊主Didier的為人及其酒莊的風格,一樣踏實。


2008年12月16日 星期二

Anheuser-Busch Loses EU Trademark for Budweiser

Competition | 16.12.2008

Anheuser-Busch Loses EU Trademark for Budweiser

The European battle of the Buds continues as a European Union court annulled an EU-wide trademark for Anheuser-Busch's Bud beer, which has been contested by Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of First Instance said in its ruling on Tuesday, Dec. 16, that the bloc's trademark registry, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), made mistakes when rejecting Budvar's complaint against Anheuser-Busch's registration.

Anheuser-Busch, which was taken over by Belgium's InBev earlier this year, can appeal the verdict to the European Court of Justice.

The Czech and the US brewers have waged a worldwide legal battle over Budweiser trademark for more than a century. The disputes have blocked Anheuser-Busch's expansion in Europe.

Budvar is the last Czech beer maker owned by the state and the centre-right government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek initiated steps to sell the brewer, a tricky legal exercise because of the legal disputes.

But the premier said in July that the firm will not be ready for privatization before his government's term is up in 2010.

DPA news agency (sms)

2008年12月8日 星期一

Boston Beer Company- leading independent brewer

Saturday Interview

It’s All About the Beer, and Independence

Published: December 5, 2008

WHEN Jim Koch, a sixth-generation brewer, started Boston Beer Company in 1984 with an old family recipe, he was one of a few pioneering craft brewers in a field dominated by Miller, Budweiser and Coors.

Now, a wave of consolidation has radically altered the brewing landscape. In November, shareholders of Anheuser-Busch agreed to a $52 billion acquisition by the Belgium-based InBev, creating the world’s largest beer maker (now called Anheuser-Busch InBev). That follows the merger in July of the United States operations of SABMiller, with roots in South Africa, with Molson Coors Brewing Company (itself a merger of Molson Inc. of Canada and Adolph Coors Company of Colorado), into a new entity called MillerCoors.

With less than 1 percent of beer sales in the United States, Boston Beer is now the nation’s leading independent brewer.

In addition to its signature Sam Adams lager, Boston Beer produces more than 21 types of beer, including seasonal ales, Chocolate Bock and Utopias, a beer aged in oak barrels that sells for $140 for a 24-ounce bottle. Still, the company has struggled in recent months to manage a voluntary recall because of defects in bottles from one of its suppliers, the acquisition of a new brewery and a broadening economic slowdown.

Mr. Koch recently discussed the beer market.

Q. It’s an interesting time in the beer market, wouldn’t you say?

A. There has probably been more change in the last four months than at any time since Prohibition. Ninety-five percent of the beer made in the United States is controlled by two companies, one based in Belgium and one in South Africa. It’s stunning.

Q. How does it feel to be the country’s largest independent brewer?

A. It’s bizarre and sad. It’s a little like your kid’s Little League team winning the World Series because no one else showed up.

Q. How have things changed since the early days of the craft brew movement?

A. For years, craft beers were a largely ignored curiosity in American beer. When I started Sam Adams, beer drinkers had two choices: mass-produced domestic beer that was consistent and well made — the equiv of fast food — or imports. The mentality of beer was completely different. No one thought about beer as having quality differences.

Over time, Sam Adams and the whole craft movement began to slowly change the way Americans think about their own beer. Today, the center of creativity and quality in brewing has migrated from Europe to the United States.

Q. And now, there are 1,400 craft brewers in the United States?

A. Yes. Roughly 1,000 of those are brew pubs, while others are making some of the most interesting beer around.

Q. Does the competition worry you?

A. No. Beer is where wine was 25 years ago. We are at the beginning of an explosion in interest in beer. There’s a generation of beer drinkers who have grown up expecting to get great beer. They are really driving the market. Sam Adams is starting to become available in places that it was never was, like convenience stores. We are growing in Wal-Mart.

Q. When you’re the No. 1 brewer, and you’re in Wal-Mart, do you worry that that takes away from your pioneer craft beer image?

A. There will always be people looking for novelty and obscurity. I’m not trying to be obscure. I’m trying to change the way Americans think about beer.

Q. Boston Beer reported worse-than-expected third-quarter results and lowered the outlook for 2009. What happened?

A. Sales were actually a little better than expected. We had a number of accounting charges. One of them was some residual charges from the recall back in April. We thought we closed the books on it and then we got the last bit of beer back from our wholesalers. And we had to accelerate the shortfall fees we pay to other breweries as we ramped up our new brewery in Pennsylvania, and there were some things with the tax rate.

The thing that I’m most worried about is what we call depletions — the beer that got shipped out of wholesalers to retailers. It’s the closest proxy we have to how much beer people drink. That was up 12 percent, compared to 10 percent last quarter. But it’s really more a continuation of the trend.

Q. Consumers have been cutting back on all kinds of discretionary spending. Has that included beer?

A. We haven’t seen that happening yet. Beer as a category is recession-resistant — nothing’s recession-proof. A quality beer is a very affordable luxury. People will cut back on a lot of things before they give up on something that’s so affordable. But we don’t know. We’re looking week by week at whether the economic situation is going to affect our drinkers. I was at an account in Philadelphia the other day. He said what’s really been hurt is the high-end margarita. They’re not buying the luxury vodkas.

Q. Are people buying more beer at the store and drinking it at home?

A. You bet. And that kind of benefits Sam Adams. That’s one of the very democratic things about beer. If you are a wine connoisseur and want to experience a world-class wine, it’s going to cost you around $100.

Q. There’s a lot of experimentation in brewing lately. Tell me about your extreme beer.

A. Extreme beer was a term I coined back in 1994 to describe a beer we had invented called Triple Bock. It was the beer equivalent of extreme sports: 35 proof, 17 percent alcohol. At that level of alcohol, there’s no longer carbonation. It didn’t taste like a beer. It tastes like a tawny port, maybe with some old sherry notes, and a bit of that savory character came from the yeast. It has evolved into Utopias. The boundaries of beer are much farther out than people realize. Extreme beer is brewers’ way of pushing those boundaries.

2008年12月5日 星期五




2008年11月29日 星期六

德国 葡萄酒的 "质重于量"生产策略


德国人爱喝啤酒世人皆知,但德国啤酒消费量明显下滑却是不争的事实。去年一年,德国人喝啤酒的数量已退居到1993年的最低消费水平。与此相反,爱喝葡萄 酒的德国人正在大幅增加。据"德国葡萄酒研究所"的调查结果,德国每人每年平均饮用20.6升葡萄酒。更令葡萄酒爱好者感到高兴的是,劣质葡萄酒已逐渐从 德国市场上消失。今天德国葡萄酒产区的酒农,致力生产国际高质量产品。本台特约记者Claudia Hennen在秋收季节走访了一趟德国山坡地上的葡萄酒产区。

本年度德国葡萄酒皇后玛丽丝说:“葡萄酒广告中的个人感情色彩浓厚,看过的人因受到感染,或多或少留下了印象。而这也是葡萄酒皇后的使命:使葡萄酒人格化,从而达到促销的目的。 ”

今年新出炉的葡萄酒皇后玛丽丝,黑发、碧眼,是德国葡萄酒的新代言人。她的脸上绽开了灿烂的笑容。22岁的玛丽丝是弗兰肯人,受过酿酒专业教育,上 任后已履行了首次亲善大使的任务:造访了黑森州莱茵高地区哈滕海姆的"汉斯朗葡萄酒酿造厂"。酒厂主人约翰.马克西米里安.朗,是享誉国际的德国葡萄酒酿 造商。他2005年份的特制上等雷司令葡萄酒,刚赢得全世界最著名葡萄酒大赛的金牌奖。朗先生表示:“我们经营的酒庄是家族企业,没有支付庞大广告和公关 费用的财力,但却必须让外界得知我们生产高质量的葡萄酒。参加比赛可说是自我宣传的最佳途径,因为产品再好,没人知道也是白搭。”


"汉斯朗葡萄酒庄"在莱茵高地势最佳的山坡地上,种植了18公顷的葡萄园。他们生产的葡萄酒主要供应国内市场,现在也有1/3产品销往美国、加拿大 和中国。美因茨"德国葡萄酒研究所"的新闻发言人毕舍尔表示: “我们这儿属于德国葡萄酒产区的最北方,这意味着,葡萄的成熟期很长,而成熟过程长,葡萄就有了足够酝酿果香的时间,因此我们酿造的葡萄酒富含特殊的果酸 成份,成为一种芳醇、美味的淡葡萄酒。南部地区生产的葡萄酒,特别是白葡萄酒的酒精含量较高,也缺少淡淡的葡萄果香。”

高质量德国葡萄酒早已不限于白葡萄酒类,为人诟病的气候变化却为德国的红葡萄酒带来积极影响:近年来由于德国气温上升,有利于葡萄酒的酿造过程,从 而产生了香醇可口的高质量产品。现在德国已有1/3的葡萄园种植红葡萄,其中大部份是晚期勃艮第品种。毕舍尔指出:“德国红葡萄酒在外国还没闯出名号,因 此我们要出奇制胜,与国际知名品牌同台较量,从而使人发现,德国生产的红葡萄酒,并不比国际上的其它品牌逊色,但却物美价廉。国际市场上的知名品牌是有着 相当价位的。”

 Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: 今年德国一家生产红葡萄酒的厂家,在英国葡萄酒专业杂志"Dekanter"举办的国际知名"世界葡萄酒大赛"中脱颖而出。获得这项荣誉的是德国阿尔河谷"麦耶尔.内克尔酒庄"生产的2005年份晚期勃艮第。


Claudia Hennen

2008年11月27日 星期四

蓝樽(上海)酒业赔偿 Johnnie Walker Black Label


该法院判定,蓝樽(上海)酒业公司(Blueblood (Shanghai) Wine Co)抄袭了帝亚吉欧集团知名的尊尼获加黑牌威士忌(Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky)的酒瓶设计和包装,并且在上海政府于2006年收到帝亚吉欧集团的投诉并对其处以罚款后,仍在继续其抄袭行为。此次判决的赔偿金额异常之 高,而且适逢上海政府开展打击盗版的专项行动之际。政府官员试图通过此项行动展示他们保护知识产权的决心。


2008年11月22日 星期六

Chateau Los Boldos

2008/11/23 meeting (simon university) 陳巨擘先生攜
Chateau Los Boldos
1948 old vines...

2008年11月16日 星期日

Some See Big Problem in Wisconsin Drinking

Some See Big Problem in Wisconsin Drinking

Andy Manis for The New York Times

Mike Whaley, owner of Wile-e’s in Edgerton, Wis., did liquor shots with Amy and C. J. Erickson.

Published: November 15, 2008

EDGERTON, Wis. — When a 15-year-old comes into Wile-e’s bar looking for a cold beer, the bartender, Mike Whaley, is happy to serve it up — as long as a parent is there to give permission.

Skip to next paragraph
Andy Manis for The New York Times

Mixing a shot at Wile-e's Bar.

“If they’re 15, 16, 17, it’s fine if they want to sit down and have a few beers,” said Mr. Whaley, who owns the tavern in this small town in southern Wisconsin.

While it might raise some eyebrows in most of America, it is perfectly legal in Wisconsin. Minors can drink alcohol in a bar or restaurant in Wisconsin if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who gives consent. While there is no state law setting a minimum age, bartenders can use their discretion in deciding whom to serve.

When it comes to drinking, it seems, no state keeps pace with Wisconsin. This state, long famous for its breweries, has led the nation in binge drinking in every year since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began its surveys on the problem more than a decade ago. Binge drinking is defined as five drinks in a sitting for a man, four for a woman.

People in Wisconsin are more likely than anywhere else to drive drunk, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The state has among the highest incidence of drunken driving deaths in the United States.

Now some Wisconsin health officials and civic leaders are calling for the state to sober up. A coalition called All-Wisconsin Alcohol Risk Education started a campaign last week to push for tougher drunken driving laws, an increase in screening for alcohol abuse at health clinics and a greater awareness of drinking problems generally.

The group, led by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, criticized the state as having lenient alcohol laws and assailed a mindset that accepts, even celebrates, getting drunk.

“Our goal is to dramatically change the laws, culture and behaviors in Wisconsin,” said Dr. Robert N. Golden, the dean of the medical school, calling the state “an island of excessive consumption.” He said state agencies would use a $12.6 million federal grant to step up screening, intervention and referral services at 20 locations around Wisconsin.

The campaign comes after a series in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel titled “Wasted in Wisconsin,” which chronicled the prodigious imbibing among residents of the state, as well as the state’s reluctance to crack down on alcohol abuse.

Drunken drivers in Wisconsin are not charged with a felony until they have been arrested a fifth time. Wisconsin law prohibits sobriety checks by the police, a common practice in other states.

“People are dying,” the newspaper exclaimed in an editorial, “and alcohol is the cause.”

Wisconsin has long been famous for making and drinking beer. Going back to the 1800s, almost every town in the state had its own brewery. Milwaukee was the home of Miller, Pabst and Schlitz. Now Miller is the only big brewery in the city.

Most people in Wisconsin say the beer-drinking traditions reflect the customs of German immigrants, passed down generations. More than 40 percent of Wisconsin residents can trace their ancestry to Germany. Some experts, though, are skeptical of the ethnic explanation. It has been a very long time, after all, since German was spoken in the beer halls of Wisconsin.

Whatever the reason, plenty of Wisconsin people say they need to make no apologies for their fondness for drinking.

“I work 70, 80 hours a week, and sometimes I just want to relax,” said Luke Gersich, 31, an engineering technician, who drank a Miller as he watched the Monday Night Football game at Wile-e’s tavern. On a weeknight, he said he might drink seven or eight beers. On a weekend, it might be closer to 12.

In Wisconsin, people often say, there is always a bar around the next corner. But drinking is scarcely limited to taverns. A Friday fish fry at a Wisconsin church will almost surely include beer. The state counts some 5,000 holders of liquor licenses, the most per capita of any state, said Peter Madland, the executive director of the Tavern League of Wisconsin.

“We’re not ashamed of it,” Mr. Madland said. He said anti-alcohol campaigns were efforts to “demonize” people who simply liked to kick back and relax with some drinks.

“It’s gotten to the point where people are afraid to have a couple of beers after work and drive home, for fear they’ll be labeled a criminal,” he said. “At lunch, people are afraid if they order a beer someone will think they have a drinking problem.”

But the drinkers have typically had plenty of advocates in the State Legislature. State Representative Marlin Schneider, for example, sees sobriety checkpoints as an intrusion on Constitutional rights of due process.

As for allowing minors to drink in bars with their parents, Mr. Schneider said the law simply allowed for parents to educate and supervise the youthful drinking. “If they’re going to drink anyhow,” said Mr. Schneider, Democrat of Wisconsin Rapids, “it’s better to do it with the parents than to sneak around.”

Technically speaking, the sale is between the bartender and the parent or legal guardian, who then gives the drink to the minor. The bartender has the discretion to decide whether the minor can drink in the establishment.

Before he owned Wile-e’s, Mr. Whaley said there were some cases where he had to say no to a parent. “I’ve had situations where a parent was going to buy drinks for a kid who looked 8 or 10 years old,” he said, “and I had to say, ‘That’s a no-go.’ ”

He also has a rule in his tavern that under-age drinkers must leave by 9 p.m. “When it gets later in the night, people don’t want a bunch of kids running around,” he said.

One recent night, a lanky, blond-haired 17-year-old boy shot pool at the bar with his dad. Both were drinking soda.

In Mr. Whaley’s view, the bar can be a suitable place for families to gather, especially when the beloved Green Bay Packers are on the television. “On game days, a buddy of mine will come to the bar with his 2-year-old, his 8-year-old and his 10-year-old,” Mr. Whaley said. “He might get a little drunk. But his wife just has a few cocktails. It’s no big deal. Everybody has a good time.”

2008年11月5日 星期三

David Dubal

David Dubal 的鋼琴欣賞節目的引言多甚妙

"純水是上帝賜與人的最佳 best 禮物.....
對我 葡萄酒 威士忌甚至於啤酒已足矣"

David Dubal's Radio Show "Reflections from the Keyboard"

"Reflections from the Keyboard -- The Piano in Comparative Performance" with David Dubal, Peabody award and Emmy award winner, is one of the most popular ...

2008年11月1日 星期六

Italy’s Craft Beers



In the regions of Lombardy and Piedmont, a nascent craft beer scene has begun to emerge, bringing well-made brews into the dining rooms of some of country's best restaurants.


The country might be best known for fashion and food, but it is gaining a reputation with beer lovers as well.

2008年10月21日 星期二

“The Drops of the Gods,”...

Next Week, Our Hero Chooses a Médoc

Ko Sasaki for The New York Times

“A GAME” Yuko Kibayashi, left, and her brother, Shin, mix wine and comics. More Photos >

Published: October 21, 2008


SIPPING a 2001 Bordeaux from Château Mont Perat, a bead of sweat trickling down his left cheek, Shizuku Kanzaki is suddenly overwhelmed with images of a turntable, guitars and Freddie Mercury.

“It’s powerful,” he says of the wine, “but it also has a meltingly sweet taste, with an acidic aftertaste that catches you by surprise. It’s like the voice of Queen’s lead vocalist, sweet and husky, enveloped in thick guitar riffs and heavy drums.”

Since coming out of nowhere four years ago, this 20-something Japanese would-be sommelier has quickly become the most influential voice in Asia’s wine markets.

In Tokyo, wine sellers monitor his weekly pronouncements before adjusting their stocks accordingly. In newer markets like Taiwan and urban China, his recommendations are turning the newly affluent into wine converts. And in Seoul, South Koreans now hold forth on “terroir” and how a bottle “marries” with a particular dish without blinking.

Never mind that Shizuku is a comic-book figure, the hero of a manga series, “The Drops of the Gods,” created and written by a middle-aged Japanese sister-and-brother team. Asian readers who have never heard of Robert M. Parker Jr. scrutinize the comic hero’s every sip, learning about wine in words and images that may seem strange to traditionalists.

The series has evoked images as disparate as the painting “The Angelus” by Jean-François Millet (to explain a wine’s richness) and a marsh north of Tokyo (to describe a difficult yet rewarding vintage).

“These are images that emerged from wines that we actually drank,” said Yuko Kibayashi, 49, who created the series with her brother, Shin, 46. “It’s like a game.”

The Kibayashis, who write under the pseudonym Tadashi Agi, came up with the series while collaborating on another comic more than four years ago. During their work sessions, their spirits ran high as the wine flowed.

“We found ourselves looking for the drama behind the wines we were drinking,” Mr. Kibayashi said. “It started with one wine, ‘This wine is definitely a woman.’ ”

His sister said, “Right, with black hair.”

In a recent interview at Mr. Kibayashi’s home in suburban Tokyo, the brother and sister, who tended to complete each other’s sentences, said they have long been wine lovers — so much so that they rent an apartment just to stock their 3,000-bottle collection and pay for an earthquake-warning system to protect it.

Neither has any professional wine-tasting credentials; they say they are interested not in using the sommelier’s jargon but rather in describing wine from the average drinker’s perspective.

Indeed, their series “The Drops of the Gods” follows Shizuku as he learns about wine, allowing the reader to do the same. At the start of the series, Shizuku has rebelled against his father, a famous wine critic, by refusing to drink wine and working instead for a brewery. Suddenly, though, his father dies and leaves in his will a description of 12 wines he considers the world’s best, comparing them to the disciples of Jesus.

Pitted against his adopted brother, who happens to be a sommelier, Shizuku must catch up in his knowledge so he can find the 12 wines mentioned in his father’s will and inherit his father’s vast cellar.

The comic — which appears every Thursday in Japan in a magazine called the “Weekly Morning” and has been compiled in 17 books so far — rapidly became a hit in East Asia, where people are still learning to drink wine and may feel insecure about it. Even in Japan, the region’s oldest and biggest wine market, annual per capita consumption is around 2 liters, compared with nearly 9 liters in the United States or 56 liters in France, according to the California-based Wine Institute’s figures for 2005.

In Japan, wine sellers grab copies of the magazine as soon as it comes out on Thursdays, quickly showcasing a featured wine in their stores or on their Web sites. According to Enoteca, a large chain, men in their 30s to 50s tend to ask for wines from the magazine, especially those priced around $30.

The comic’s impact has been perhaps greatest in South Korea, where the Mont Perat and other wines like Emmanuel Rouget sold out after earning praise in its pages. On their first visit to South Korea last year, the Kibayashis were stunned to be greeted like stars. Television crews filmed their arrival at the Seoul airport and they were introduced to candidates during the presidential election.

Kim Jun-chul, 56, who is the vice president of the Korean Wine Society in Seoul and also runs a wine academy, said the appearance of the comic in Korean translation fueled an interest in wine that began around the year 2000. South Korea had been closed to all alcohol imports until 1987, and only a tiny fraction of the population had tasted wine.

The comic thus served as wine primer for the nation, influencing tastes in sometimes unpredictable ways. For example, there was so little demand for Burgundy that even top hotels did not bother stocking it. But after the comic extolled Burgundy’s virtues, stores and hotels scrambled to secure stocks, which immediately sold out.

“I felt the comic’s impact in my skin,” said Mr. Kim, adding that his academy attracted large numbers of wine novices. “Even my own kids, who had never expressed an interest in wine despite their father, developed an interest.”

At Addiction Plus, a trendy Italian restaurant in central Seoul, men in their late 20s to early 40s often ask about wines featured in the comic, said the owner, Kim Chin-ui, 38.

“They won’t mention that they’ve read the comic, though it’s pretty obvious,” Mr. Kim said. “They try to insert terms like ‘terroir’ or ‘marriage’ to show off — normally, to their colleagues or dates.”

“But I don’t think the women are impressed,” Mr. Kim added. “I can tell from their faces. I mean, the women know where the terms are coming from, because they’ve read the same comic.”

The wines featured in the comic are selected by the Kibayashis, who say they have no sponsor. They do, however, accept free bottles from wine importers, though “our stance is that we won’t necessarily feature them,” the sister said.

In general, French wines have gotten the most attention in the series. The Kibayashis are unabashed Francophiles who say they do not feel American wines have the Old World’s depth.

“I don’t feel the terroir,” the brother said.

His sister said: “They’re too simple. Wines are like human beings. The first time you meet, instead of being all smiles and wanting to become friends right away, there has to be some formality, some conversation, before gradually becoming close. When you open an American bottle, it’s all big smiles.” It may be fortunate for Americans that there are no plans for an English translation of “The Drops of the Gods.”

For France, though, whose share of the Japanese wine market had been falling in recent years, the series has been an unexpected blessing.

A French translation of the first book was published in France in April and, thanks to strong sales, was followed rapidly by the next four titles in the series. There’s no word yet, though, on whether French readers think 2001 Château Mont Perat tastes like Freddie Mercury.

2008年10月14日 星期二

David Lett, Oregon Wine Pioneer, Dies at 69ワイン用葡萄品種の一覧

David Lett, Oregon Wine Pioneer, Dies at 69

Published: October 13, 2008

David Lett, who planted the first commercial pinot noir vineyard in Oregon, opening the way for what became a thriving pinot noir industry, died Thursday at his home in Dundee, Ore. He was 69.

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Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian

David Lett in 2003

The cause was heart failure, his son Jason Lett said.

There was no wine commerce in Oregon back in 1965 when Mr. Lett arrived in the Willamette Valley, armed with 3,000 vine cuttings and a theory that the best wines come from places where the grapes have to struggle to ripen. He and his wife, Diana, planted 13 acres of vines in 1966 in an old prune orchard in the Dundee Hills, which they named the Eyrie Vineyard. Their vines foreshadowed the future of Oregon winemaking. Today, the state has more than 10,000 acres of pinot noir.

In 1970 he produced his first vintage of Eyrie pinot noir. He found it so disappointing that he refused to call it pinot noir, selling it instead as Spring Wine. He soon found his stride, and in 1979 his 1975 Eyrie pinot noir became the first American pinot noir to compete successfully with Burgundies in a blind tasting in Paris.

The Eyrie pinot noirs are graceful and elegant with complex aromas. They are pale ruby in color, and against many of today’s inky dark pinot noirs, which strive for power and weight, the lighter-bodied Eyries have sometimes been misjudged as thin and pallid.

“He always felt deeply appreciated by culinary types who understood that wine was made to go with food,” Jason Lett said. “I do think he felt regret for the misrepresentation of power as terroir.”

David Lett was born in Chicago in 1939, and he graduated from the University of Utah in 1961. After a stint in the Coast Guard Reserve, he planned to attend dental school at the University of California, Davis. On his way to Davis for an interview, he made a detour through the pastoral Napa Valley, where he stopped at Chateau Souverain, the leading Napa winery of the time, run by Lee Stewart.

“He was absolutely floored by what Lee was doing,” Jason Lett recalled, “and he asked Lee for a job right there.”

His parents were not so thrilled, but agreed that if he returned to school for a professional degree, he could pursue winemaking. He did attend Davis, and emerged in 1963 with a degree in viticulture.

After traveling through Europe visiting wine regions, he returned to the United States in love with the pinot noir grape, with the conviction that it could succeed only in a marginal environment. A taste of some particularly good strawberries grown in the Willamette Valley convinced him that it was the place for pinot noir. He moved there in 1965.

While searching for the right site for a vineyard, Mr. Lett supported himself by selling college textbooks. The job permitted him to drive around the state, and whenever he saw a likely area, Jason Lett said, he would pull over to take soil samples. In the summer of 1966 he found his vineyard, and he also found a wife. David and Diana Lett spent their honeymoon planting grape vines, Jason Lett said.

In addition to his wife and son Jason, Mr. Lett is survived by another son, James, of Dundee. Jason Lett took over as winemaker at Eyrie in 2005.

While pinot noir was his passion, Mr. Lett was also the first winemaker in the United States to produce pinot gris, now the second leading grape in Oregon, after pinot noir.

Although Mr. Lett at first derided his 1970 vintage of pinot noir, he decided later that he had been mistaken. With time, the wine he thought thin and wan turned complex and delicious.

“We had a bottle with Christmas dinner last year,” Jason Lett said, “and it was fabulous.”

ピノ・ノワール (Pinot Noir) は、フランスのブルゴーニュ地方を原産とする世界的な品種で、紫色を帯びた青色の果皮を持つ。冷涼な気候を好み、特に温暖な気候では色やフレーバーが安定しないので栽培は難しい。イタリアでは「ピノ・ネロ」(Pinot Nero)、ドイツでは「シュペートブルグンダー」(Spätburgunder)の名がある。遺伝子的に不安定で変異種が少なくない。この中には、緑みを帯びた黄色の果皮を持つピノ・ブラン(Pinot Blanc)や褐色のピノ・グリ(Pinot Gris) などがあり、時には同じ樹に異なった色の果実がなるともいわれている。フランス以外では最近ニュージーランドでの栽培が盛んで、日本でも北海道など寒冷地 を中心に栽培される。ワインはライトボディで、弱めの渋味、繊細かつ複雑なアロマとフレーバーや強い酸味が特徴である。シャンパンのような高級スパークリングワインにも欠かせない品種である。


2008年9月15日 星期一

When CEOs Become Winemakers


When CEOs Become Winemakers

Many successful CEOs love wine, and some choose to make their own. Then they find out just how difficult—and expensive—it can be

Frank Grace, an American based in London and group chairman of Team Relocations, a corporate relocations company, recently discovered one of the great secrets of the wine business: You make a lot more money selling 30,000 cases of $15 wine than you do selling 6,000 cases of $75 wine.

It is the reason that such high volume vineyards as Kendall-Jackson's Vintners Reserve and Yellow Tail have made fortunes for their owners. However it is a lesson that many CEOs, successful in other fields and financially secure, never learn. As often as not they are not so much concerned with making money from owning a winery as garnering prestige and enjoying the lifestyle of being a gentleman farmer in such salubrious spots as Napa or Tuscany.

Grace originally purchased Il Molino di Grace in the heart of Italy's Chianti region as a vacation home and, because the property contained vines, he began making high-end Chianti Classico and Super Tuscans.

It's the Money

Over time, though, he found his involvement in the winemaking aspects of Il Molino have assumed a far greater demand on his time than he anticipated. The winemaking started as a hobby but is now developing into a money-making operation, a viable business. He has learned that "you can't protect your quality unless you're making money and besides, it's against my religion to not make money. If something's not working financially, ultimately it's not going to survive."

This is the central dilemma faced by any CEO looking to make wine as a hobby: It's a very expensive hobby.

Last year, though, Il Molino di Grace began to make money on an operating basis, after 11 years, thanks to its new, lower-priced label, Il Volano, which retails for around $15 a bottle—about half the price of its Chianti Classico Riserva. But Grace is also learning what everybody who owns a winery learns: namely, that any profit has to be pumped right back into the business. As he puts it, "any money you make, you quickly find ways to spend."

Another aspect of owning a winery that surprises many executive amateurs is how you have to wear many different hats. Susan Hoff, former senior vice-president at Best Buy (BBY) recalls how she and her husband were so excited when they received the first order at their new winery, Fantesca Estate in Napa Valley, but then realized that neither of them knew how to process the credit-card payment. "You are so not used to that, having to take care of everything yourself, when you step off the corporate runway" she explains.

For fun or for business?

Bill Murphy of Clos LaChance in Santa Cruz, Calif., experienced the same thing when he left his senior-vice-president position at Hewlett-Packard (HP). His wife cautioned him that she wasn't going to book his plane tickets. "I had people to do things like that!" he exclaims in mock indignation. "Now I have to make my own travel arrangements."

On a more serious note, he advises any aspiring owner that there are important decisions that have to be made going in. "Do you want to be in it as fun thing, to go to the Napa Valley Wine Auction and try to make the world's best Bordeaux blend, where it's more of a hobby than a serious business? Or do you want to make a business out of it?"

He cautions that "if you want to do the former, that's fine, it can be a lot of fun, even though it will cost you a lot of money. But it's hard for people to take you seriously if that's all you are going to do."

Richard Parsons, chairman and recently retired CEO of Time Warner (TWX), finds the rewards of owning Il Palazzone in Montalcino, Italy, are twofold. "It is a personal experience and the very opposite of what I do in my day job…and the end product is something tangible and beautiful."

Immersed in Silence

The pleasure he takes his winery and its wine is summed up in its motto: "We drink all we can and sell the rest!"

He also finds great relaxation in being in Tuscany, telling an earlier interviewer that "for someone like me, who lives and works in the chaos of New York, spending a few days immersed in silence, surrounded by these splendid hills, it is a dream."

For Joe Anderson, chairman and CEO of health-care-management and consulting company Schaller Anderson, and now owner, along with his wife, Mary Dewane, of the Benovia Winery in California's Russian River Valley, the biggest reward of owning a winery is the ability to participate in a long-term project. "It really changes your whole approach to life understanding that you're only along for the ride. You can provide all the input that's necessary, but the whole thing will happen on the vines' schedule, not yours. You've got to sit back, sip some wine, watch the vines, and be happy."

Not an approach many CEO are in the habit of adopting in their professional life, but then perhaps that's the point.

Click here to see which CEOs divide their time between the board room and the vineyard.

Passmore is a writer and photographer living in New York City.

2008年9月9日 星期二

cork wine-stoppers are making a comeback

Putting a Cork in It

Cork, harvested primarily from the cork oak trees in Portugal, has long
been used to seal wine bottles against the ravages of time and air. After
a decline in use as wine-stoppers due to the increase in the use of
synthetic alternatives, cork wine-stoppers are making a comeback.

The DW-WORLD Article

2008年9月7日 星期日

“Kvass”(‘bread drink’)

EuroVox | 08.09.2008 | 05:30

Tasting a Special Drink from the Streets of Eastern Europe

For centuries, people in many Eastern European countries, have been drinking “Kvass” -- which translates into English as ‘bread drink’.

Kvass is a mildly alcoholic drink made from fermented rye bread and it is often flavoured with herbs like mint or fruits like strawberries. During the hot summer months on streets in Russia, Belarus and Poland, vendors wheel around large yellow barrels, selling the brewed drink.

2008年9月6日 星期六

German Wine Producers Discover the Art of PR

Food and Drink | 06.09.2008

German Wine Producers Discover the Art of PR

After years of being thought of as cheap and sugary, German wine is enjoying huge international success. It owes its success to producers who are adapting to accommodate a new generation of consumers.

As the first grapes of this year's harvest are due to be picked in the coming weeks, wine producers are optimistic about the 2008 vintage. But Raimund Pruem, who has been producing wine in the Moselle Valley for over 30 years, remembers a time when Riesling was not so prosperous.

"The bad reputation of German wine really hurt us," he said. "I will never forget a blind tasting we did a while ago. The judges gave tremendous praise: Against South African and Australian wines, German Riesling did the best. But when they took off their blindfolds and saw the labels they started making excuses for their comments."

Since then, however, German wine has made a comeback, particularly in the US after some Moselle Valley vintners earned the attention of the hugely influential American wine critic Robert Parker.

A new generation of customers

Raimund Pruem stands by the Moselle River and fields of his vinesBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Pruem produces around one million bottles per year

As German vintners don't tend to produce very large quantities of any one style of wine due to the varying conditions in the vineyards, most of their wine sold abroad goes through specialist retailers or online.

Due to the steepness of the slopes virtually all Riesling in the Moselle Valley is hand-picked and despite being very labor intensive, high quality German wines remain relatively inexpensive -- a new reputation that is prized by vintners.

But while Germany's sweet Rieslings are by far the most popular in the US, the German market decidedly prefers the "trocken" variety, the dry wines. Ninety-five percent of the wine the S.A. Pruem winery sells in Germany is dry Riesling.

"There is a generational problem, young people in Germany today do not drink the same wine as their grandparents anymore -- they drink only drier, more expensive wines," Pruem said.

This is a relatively new development since a sudden change in German wine drinkers' pallets in 1976 switched the demand from very sweet Rieslings to bone dry. Such changes are not uncommon in the wine business as each generation of customers presents new demands.

Producers stepping up

A VDP label around the neck of a wine bottleBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Most top German producers are members of the VDP quality wines organization

Although Raimund Pruem's vineyards have been in his family since 1158 and his daughter is now sharing his marketing responsibilities, the art of winemaking is no longer something taught exclusively from one generation to the next. Virtually all top vintners around the Moselle have studied viticulture and vinification, gathering experience with many grape varieties and in some cases working in vineyards around the world.

While Pruem's ancestors' jobs mainly consisted of winemaking, today German wine producers are increasingly spending their time promoting and selling their wines too.

"When people come here they don't want to meet the sales staff, they want to meet the producer," Pruem explained. "Who else is a better promoter than the producer himself? That's something that has changed totally. My grandfather, my father and even myself when I was younger -- we saw how it doesn't work sitting here, waiting for customers, you have to be active."

There has to be a connection between the producer and his customers, he added: "Customers need communication."

As a result, more and more producers are taking it upon themselves to host large group tastings, wedding receptions and to participate in international tasting events, touring the world with their wines.

An artful business

Vines growing on steep slopes above the Moselle RiverBildunterschrift: Wine has been produced in the Moselle Valley since before the Romans

The change in approach is evident. Producers are experimenting and reaching out more and more: Bottles of other grape varieties such as Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay -- and even the occasional red wine -- are increasingly found on tasting lists around the Moselle Valley.

But the demands of marketing are hard to keep up with.

"I have to sell my wine twice: first to the customer (the retailer), then to my customer's customer," Pruem said. "You have to go with the retailer to ensure the wine is on the shelves and is being taken off the shelves and bought."

Like most other wine producers, Pruem is carrying on the centuries-old art of winemaking: "The art is to taste the juice from the grapes and produce a wine from it that shows the signals of the vineyard." But he is also introducing a new art -- that of public relations.

"My wines need to show character, if they don't show character then forget it." -- Pruem's statement reveals the bottom line for vintners like himself: If their wine fails to meet standards, then not only is their livelihood, passion and reputation at stake, but also their legacy.

Antony Herrmann

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2008年9月2日 星期二

Viva Vivanno


('və, -vä') interj.

Used to express acclamation, salute, or applause.

[Italian and Spanish, (long) live, both from Latin vīvat, third person sing. present subjunctive of vīvere, to live.]


Viva Vivanno

Sep 2nd 2008
From Economist.com

Innovative things to do with a banana

“BEHOLD, the atheist’s nightmare,” declares Ray Comfort, an Australian evangelist, as he holds up a banana in a hugely popular video on YouTube. The fruit, he says, testifies to God’s creative genius. It comes with a colour-coding system that shows when it is ready to eat (green is too early, black too late); an easily gripped, biodegradable wrapper; and a “tab at the top” which, unlike that on a can of soda, works so well that when you pull it “the contents don’t squirt in your face.”

Not everyone is convinced. One video response points out that the banana only achieved its user-friendly qualities through evolution over many centuries of farming.

Jupiter Images Saviour of Starbucks?

But Howard Schultz certainly seems to regard the banana as the answer to his prayers for the recovery of his ailing drinks company, Starbucks. Since July 15th, the firm has been selling two new smoothie-style drinks called Vivanno, both of which are based on an entire banana—one blended with chocolate, the other with a mixture of mango and orange juices.

Mr Schultz, who earlier this year returned to the helm of the company he built into a global giant, deserves credit for trying to return Starbucks to its old approach to innovation, which was all about incremental product variation around a central platform. Just as three drink sizes and various types of coffees, milks and syrups became the core ingredients that people could customise to suit their own tastes, so Vivanno is aiming to take Starbucks into the smoothie trade (popularised by Jamba Juice) without greatly altering its production methods.

Go into a Jamba Juice store, and a team of people frantically peels and mixes fruits and powders. With a Vivanno, a barista must simply peel a banana (the simplest of tasks, thanks to God or several centuries of farmers), which is placed into a blender already in stores for producing iced frappuccino drinks. Happily, there have been no reports of baristas—let alone customers—slipping on stray banana skins.

Already, baristas and customers are suggesting new combinations involving Vivanno ingredients and traditional Starbucks products on the firms social networking website, Mystarbucksidea.com. Ideas include mixing the orange-mango juice with cream to produce something that tastes “just like an Orange Creamsicle” (sic) or mixing the smoothies with the firm’s Tazo teas. And customers are being invited to add a shot of espresso to the banana-chocolate Vivanno.

Certainly, the simple addition of bananas to the Starbucks mix seems to be working more, er, smoothly than the previous big innovation, the hot breakfast sandwich, which required bulky additional equipment and confused customers and baristas alike as to where the sandwich should change hands after heating.

Yet the Vivanno’s taste has received a mixed reception: some customers find it chalky and artificial. Certainly, Mr Schultz was getting carried away when he said to Portfolio magazine recently, “Tell me this isn’t, like, over-the-top! Is that fantastic?”

Your correspondent suspects that many of the grumbling customers have grown so accustomed to the sugar and other fattening ingredients in Starbucks’ drinks that the Vivanno’s natural taste (the fruit provides all the sugar) took them by surprise. Other customers may welcome a healthier option.

Clearly, the Vivanno alone will not revive Starbucks, which expanded too fast and diluted its quality and culture in the process. Getting the store closures right and finding other new products will be crucial.

But the banana beverage may be the turning point. It seems to be catching on with the many Starbucks customers who have complained over the years about the company’s descent into the obesity business. One of the many Starbucks outlets near The Economist’s New York office is selling the Vivanno at four times its target volumes. The firm’s share price, which hit a five-year low the day before the Vivanno was introduced, has since risen by around 10%. If not exactly proof of the existence of God, this does at least suggest that even fallen companies can have some hope of resurrection.

Spanish Wine Industry Suffers From Climate Change

Money Talks | 03.09.2008 | 04:30

Spanish Wine Industry Suffers From Climate Change

Ten years ago, most Spanish vineyards would start gathering their grapes during September, but temperatures have been rising, resulting in many grape varieties ripening up to a month earlier.

Until now, the changes to the grapes caused by higher temperatures, such as faster maturation, have generally had a positive impact on the wine's taste. But with temperatures expected to continue going up, climate change poses a threat to Spain's wine industry and a challenge for winemakers worldwide.

Report: Danny Wood

2008年8月31日 星期日


文學寫歷史》諾獎老將萊辛 新書寫雙親

2007 年,八十八歲高齡的英國小說老將萊辛(Doris Lessing)終於捧回諾貝爾獎桂冠;彷彿為打破「諾獎是死吻」的魔咒,她日前快筆交出新著《艾佛烈與愛蜜莉》(Alfred and Emily)。果真老當益壯筆力雄健,新書虛實交錯,寫小說也寫回憶錄,展示萊辛穿梭現實與想像的高超技法,活力咄咄逼人,探觸文學的極至,證明諾獎不是 送給老作家蓋棺論定的封印。

書名中的艾佛烈與愛蜜莉,原來是萊辛的父母:愛蜜莉出身中產家庭,功課好本可進大學,但她和父親唱反調,改讀護士學校。艾佛烈是鄉下人,離開父母到銀行工 作,不料一次大戰讓他斷送一條腿。在醫院他認識照料傷兵的愛蜜莉,當時她的醫生未婚夫才在英倫海峽意外喪命。兩人隨後結婚,都想擺脫原生家庭,大戰後到波 斯(伊朗)求發展,生下萊辛;舉家又遷到羅德西亞(辛巴威)。萊辛艱困的不快樂童年,在黑暗大陸度過,父母冀圖靠農耕賺錢回英國,但命運捉弄,愛蜜莉精神 崩潰臥床一年,艾佛烈患糖尿病,最後連下田都不能。


萊辛早前出版多本自傳,這些往事並不新鮮,1994年《內在的我》(Under My Skin)書裡說:「多年來我一直揣想:如果沒有戰爭,我的父母後來會如何?」新書落實想法,前半虛構大戰未爆發,兩人迥然兩般的際遇:他們因板球賽邂 逅,但並未共結連理。做護士的愛蜜莉嫁給心儀的醫生,沒有生育子女;艾佛烈豪邁又顧家,如願當了英國農夫,娶太太生下雙胞胎兒子,快樂終老。

婚後失去自我的虛構愛蜜莉,感受婚姻的冰冷,對照真實愛蜜莉在羅德西亞荒野的無援和挫折。「她不愁家用,華服要多少買多少;先生要她打扮漂亮。但她仍是 苦,尤其先生把裝錢的信封交給她的時候。十八歲就自力更生,如今婚姻許多讓她不快樂的事情中,就是他笑著給她錢最讓她惱恨。」丈夫死後,愛蜜莉發現自己有 說故事給小孩聽的才華,憶起書在童年何其重要,用丈夫的遺產成立慈善機構,在貧窮區設學校。儘管她不快樂,卻成了群眾景仰的名人。


新書一分為二,下半部真實悲憫地回顧挫敗父母一生的戰爭傷痕:艾佛烈常夢到死去的戰友,不停說著壕溝、坦克和炮火的慘烈,想擺脫揮之不去的恐懼陰影。愛蜜 莉親見無數傷兵死去,「我們無能為力」。戰爭粉碎了他們的夢和靈魂,讓他們在非洲困陷磨難和絕望,「母親身上沒有傷疤,但她和可憐的父親同是戰爭的受害 者」。一戰給父母的痛苦影響萊辛的世界觀,「那戰爭像活在我的回憶裡」。

到底寫的是血緣親人,書中萊辛難得真情流露,艾佛烈癡想發財回英國務農,但羅德西亞的田地「小得存不下一毛錢」。愛蜜莉原以為殖民地少不了聚會應酬,帶了 大批衣飾,全沒派上用場。愛蜜莉看到屋前飛過的鳥會輕嘆:「啊,燕子就要去英格蘭了,牠們比我們先到。」父親想法比較正面,他對著非洲清澈的星空感懷: 「這在英國看不到,有時候我覺得這樣的夜色就值得了。」


新書還有母女間永恆的戰爭,「那句老話『她為了逃離母親而嫁人』是真理」。萊辛不諱言對母親反感,「我那時痛恨母親」。她仔細描繪母親無用的衣飾,試圖揣 摩母親的不快樂深刻感人;但誠實無隱的筆觸藏不住她怒氣未消,她直言對母親自怨自艾的氣惱:「到現在我還能感受當時的憤怒。」萊辛常抱怨她被誤解或狹隘界 定為女性主義作家,《艾佛烈與愛蜜莉》隱然可見女人要投入工作、不要窒息在婚姻裡的主張,但更深入鑽探切割自我認同與家庭、國族及歷史認同的掙扎,「我想 要逃離那段可怕的過往,想要自由」。


2008年8月30日 星期六

Japanese whiskies take world titles

Bitter taste for Scots distillers as Japanese whiskies take world titles

TWO Japanese whiskies have been voted the best in the world.
Yoichi has become the first variety produced outside Scotland to win the single malt award in an international competition run by trade paper Whisky Magazine, it was revealed yesterday.

The whisky, distilled near the city of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido, beat dozens of other varieties, including last year's winner, Talisker 18 years old, produced on the Isle of Skye.

Suntory Hibiki, the brand advertised by the washed-up actor played by Bill Murray in the film Lost in Translation, scooped the award for the world's best blended whisky.

Rob Allanson, the editor of Whisky Magazine, said: "Hopefully this will make people sit up and realise that the Japanese are producing some phenomenal stuff. While they don't have a particularly strong toehold in the UK, they are making great gains which the British market should take note of."


adjective 過氣的

No longer effective, capable, or valuable: done, done for, finished, through. Informalkaput. Idioms: at the end of thelineroad, over the hill, past one's prime.

2008年8月28日 星期四

The Other Extreme: Low-Alcohol Beers

The Other Extreme: Low-Alcohol Beers

Published: August 26, 2008

KELLY TAYLOR was tired of the limited choices of beers he found at bars: either insipid lightweights or staggering powerlifters.

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Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

MILD BUT FLAVORFUL Many low-alcohol beers are from Britain, but American microbrewers are now concocting their own.

Julien Jourdes for The New York Times

LOW-OCTANE NIGHT Beers that do not pack an alcoholic punch are popular at the Diamond, a bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Julien Jourdes for The New York Times

The German beer Reissdorf Kölsch is 4.8 percent alcohol.

“There was no middle road,” he said. “We wanted to make beer where you could have a few and not have to go take a nap.”

So Mr. Taylor, the brewmaster at Greenpoint Beer Works in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, which brews for several local companies, started the Kelso of Brooklyn label in 2006 to make the quaffable beer he craved. Last year Kelso introduced a Fall Session ale. At 3.5 percent alcohol, it is full of flavor and less alcoholic than Bud Light (4.2 percent).

While many craft brewers are trying to quench the nation’s growing thirst for extreme beers pumped with alcohol, Mr. Taylor is one of a small but growing number of brewers, beer experts and importers who are applying the brakes and turning toward well-made low-alcohol beers.

“A bunch of guys talk in the market,” said Don Feinberg, a founder of Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y., and an importer for Vanberg & DeWulf there. “We’ve all been saying the same thing for about 18 months now, which is, enough of the high octane.”

Mr. Feinberg imports boozy Trappist and farmhouse ales, but in April he introduced a brew from another Belgian tradition: bières de table.

“When I lived there in the late ’70s and early ’80s,” he said of his time in Belgium, “everybody drank it for lunch, from grandmothers to kids.”

His new import, Brasserie Dupont’s spicy, yeasty Avril, is all of 3.5 percent alcohol. By comparison, the brewery’s more famous farmhouse ale, Saison Dupont, is 6.5 percent.

Tom Peters said Avril was selling well at his beer bar, Monk’s Café, in Philadelphia.

“Most people equate Belgian beer with big body and high alcohol, so having something like this seemed like an anomaly,” Mr. Peters said. “First, I had to educate my staff, and now they’re totally behind it. They really like to serve beers without being concerned they have to tell someone who’s drinking 8 or 9 or 10 percent alcohol, O.K., you’ve had a couple, so we have to slow you down now.”

For him, he said: “If I just want one beer, that high octane is stellar. If I want to drink several pints, I want something where I can still have a conversation.”

Other lovers of low-alcohol beer turn to Britain, where a long history of pub culture combined with a system that taxes beer according to alcohol level keeps ales at about 4 percent alcohol. Among British microbrews available in New York, Harviestoun Brewery’s grapefruity Bitter & Twisted, Orkney’s ruby-hued Red MacGregor and Daleside’s mild Old Leg Over exemplify the low-alcohol, full-flavored tradition.

“My brother and I lived in Europe, and we loved English milds because you got a lot of flavor, could have a lot of them, not get drunk, not get full, and really enjoy the taste of beer,” said Jason Ebel, an owner of Two Brothers Brewing Company in Warrenville, Ill. For the opening of their tap house this year, he and his brother, Jim, brewed a nicely hopped 3.9 percent ale, Mild, that was so successful they shipped kegs of it to New York. It has sold well at Bierkraft in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

“I think there’s a good chunk of the bigger players in the craft beer world that are starting to look at this,” Mr. Ebel said.

In fact, some bigger craft breweries already bottle beers that are below 4.5 percent alcohol. Shipyard has included a mild brown in their samplers for years, and Harpoon introduced a Brown Session Ale last year. There are also low-alcohol summer wheats like Magic Hat’s Hocus Pocus.

Last year on his blog, Seen Through a Glass (lewbryson.blogspot.com), Lew Bryson, a beer writer, began championing session beers: well-made low-alcohol brews meant for long nights at the bar. “Unfortunately, we have come to associate low alcohol with low flavor,” Mr. Bryson said in an interview.

That attitude frustrated David Pollack, owner of the Diamond, a bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “It seemed silly to me,” he said, “because I knew of really delicious session beers.” So he took on a mission to increase awareness of them.

The clientele at the Diamond on a recent night seemed to appreciate his efforts, which included a detailed list of his finds in the 3 percent to 6 percent range next to his regular beer board.

“If you order off the session list, you’re not going to go home and have a fight with anybody,” said Kevin Vincent, who sipped his way through a Reissdorf Kölsch (4.8 percent alcohol), then a Tröegs Sunshine Pils (5.3 percent). “And you can get in a few different flavors.”

Liz Geisewite was enjoying a Hop Sun (4.5 percent) from the Southern Tier Brewing Company after a fitness class because, she said, the description said it was light and easy. “Everything I drink after class has to be light and thirst-quenching and refreshing,” she said.

Ms. Geisewite is the type of drinker Alex Hall is going after. In the winter he plans to open the Nomad Brewing Company in Pittsfield, Mass., which will brew a low-alcohol English mild. “We may even convert some mainstream light lager drinkers who could be attracted by its ease of drinking through a session,” he said.

This taste for session beers will grow even in the face of Americans’ growing desire for double bocks and triple I.P.A.’s, said Ron Barchet, who brews Uncle Teddy’s Bitter (4.2 percent) and Donnybrook stout (3.7 percent) at Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pa. “Their lighter body and alcohol are a natural attraction for more mature craft drinkers,” he wrote in an e-mail message.

As Scott Smith, who sells draft session beers in growlers at East End Brewing in Pittsburgh, explained: “People who come for session growlers are like me. They have young kids, so they’ll have a beer after the kids are put to bed. They’re not out on the town. It’s more about the flavor and enjoying a quality beer.”

One sign of changing times is the addition of a session beer category at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival, from Oct. 9 to 11 in Denver. “We realized that the smaller, flavorful, unique session beers made by craft brewers were being lost in the increased interest in extreme beers,” Charlie Papazian wrote in an e-mail message. Mr. Papazian is president of the Brewers Association, which operates the festival.

Microbrewers are experimenting with session beers as much as with big beers. Kelso’s fruity Fall Session is brewed with orange pekoe tea. Mr. Smith’s session series has included such esoterica as kvass, a fermented Russian beer made with bread.

Christopher Leonard, owner of the General Lafayette Inn, outside Philadelphia, said it was a test of his skill to create Lafayette’s Escape, a beer in the style of bière de table, at his inn’s brewery. It is only 1.9 percent alcohol.

“I was looking for a new challenge,” Mr. Leonard said. “I thought, Let’s go extreme the other way.”

He came up with an amber ale that has the peppery, herbal notes of Belgian yeast. “The beer had a residual sweetness, heft and density that made it taste like something that had more alcohol,” he said.

But although attention to low-alcohol beers is growing among craft brewers, there is still “not a lot out there,” said Mr. Pollack of the Diamond in Brooklyn. Because beer with less alcohol does not travel or keep as well as stronger brews, session beers are often available only in draft editions that do not make it to New York.

Moreover, whether beer drinkers will give up the stronger stuff and embrace beers with a low alcohol by volume, or A.B.V., remains to be seen.

On a recent evening at the East Village Pub in Manhattan, the owner, Bill Mackin, was fretting over the Victory Donnybrook he had listed next to Sixpoint Craft Ales’ 6.6 percent Diesel stout.

“The heat hit in the summer; I thought Victory would be more sellable,” he said. “But the Sixpoint outsells it, 2 to 1.”

As if on cue, Pat McCann, in a rumpled softball uniform, plodded in and ordered the Diesel. “I wanted a stout, and I don’t want a 3.7,” he said. “We lost by 12 runs tonight.”

“See?” Mr. Mackin said. “People lose their jobs, they don’t want a low A.B.V. People lose at baseball, they don’t want a low A.B.V.”

That may be the case, but according to those who champion session beer, if you’re at the top of your game and want to stay there, a low-alcohol beer may be your poison.