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White Zin is still king

White Zin is still king – White Zinfandel; briefs

White Zin is Still King. Anyone who thinks that moneyed Americans prefer “serious” wines of the Bordeaux ilk should talk to Erich Steinbock, VP of food and beverage for the Ritz-Carlton. Steinbock amazed us all during his presentation at WineVision’s July meeting with the revelation that White Zinfandel is the luxury hotel chain’s top-selling wine by-the-glass. Due to its incredible popularity, Ritz hotels are required to offer the pink stuff, whether they like it or not. The success of the Ritz, according to Steinbock, is built on the company’s drive to give their customers what they actually want, rather than what some chef or sommelier thinks they should want. Now there’s a crazy idea, eh?

It’s Hitler-rific! So says Italian winemaker Alessandro Lunardelli, who recently introduced a wine with Hitler on the label. The offending wine was created as part of Lunardelli’s “great dictators” series, which so far includes Mussolini, Marx, Stalin, Lenin and Che Guevara. He plans to add a Tito wine in the near future. (What? No George Dubya?) Tasteless as it is (at least in the visual sense), the series reminds us of Laurel Glen’s “Reds” table wine, which features images of various communists on its corks. It’s funny when they do it, though.

How Many Carbs In That Wine? A new quarterly magazine called Truth In Wine aims to let readers know which wines are the healthiest. In its first issue, the Virginia-based publication tested the alcohol content in 30 wines to see if the amounts matched the percentages on the labels. They didn’t. Every wine tested was off by more than 1.5% (the wines all had less alcohol than the labels claimed)–a federal no-no. Truth In Wine also rates wines on the 100-point scale–but not in the way you’d think. Instead of focusing on quality and flavor, the magazine ranks wines according to the health benefits they provide. For example, a wine that rates 95-100 points is considered to be “excellent,” due to its low sugar content, high level of antioxidants, low sulfites and cholesterol-reducing abilities. Can mandatory nutritional labels be far behind?

Wine Excessories. Leafing through wine accessory catalogs is always good for a few laughs, and the spring edition from IWA is no exception. Our favorite items included: the “Bacchus funnel,” a funnel-with-a-face that makes it look like the wine god himself is spitting wine into your decanter ($59.95); bottle stoppers topped with dog figurines ($19.95 each); and the “Lord of the Rings” pewter and crystal wine glasses, guaranteed to appeal to former Dungeons & Dragons players everywhere (a mere $74.95 each). No wonder everyone thinks wine lovers are dorks.

Bottles As Weapons. A UK group is pressuring the government to ban glass bottles (as in, the duty-free kind that hold booze) on airplanes because they may be used as “terrorist weapons,” a Scottish news Web site reported. Sure, a wine bottle could be used to bludgeon unsuspecting passengers, or smashed into jagged shards, but lots of ordinary items could be used as weapons. Such as: spike-heeled shoes (come on, we all saw “Single White Female”), broken arms in plaster casts, magazines (death by paper cuts? It could happen), and those scratchy airplane blankets (“Obey, or we’ll rub off all your skin!”) Lucky for the Brits, UK airports aren’t about to surrender the profits they make on duty-free drinkables. Now where did we put that corkscrew?

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