IPOB vs. Robert Parker: Philosophical Battle for the Soul of Wine

A group of upstart wine makers and sommeliers have formed an organization called “In Pursuit of Balance”.  Their goal is to promote wines with lower alcohol levels made from grapes picked before they are fully ripe.  Their enemy is Robert Parker, the founder of the Wine Advocate.  His popular ratings have promoted  riper and more flavorful wines with higher alcohol levels.  This battle for the heart and soul of the wine industry is set forth in a recent New York Times article that can be read >>here<<.

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Take Two Crawfish and Call Me in the Morning

Crawfish as MedicineHouston attorneys Richard LaGarde and Mary LaGarde visited the Burgundy region of France last week and discovered that crawfish were used as a medication in the 15th century.  They toured the Hospices de Beaune, a hospital for the poor built in 1443.  One of the medicine jars in the hospital’s apothecary was labeled “Yeaux d’ ecrevisses” (Eyes of Crawfish).  The ingredients were ground limestone and the interiors of crawfish.  The medication was used to prevent diarrhea and hemorrhages. Cajuns have known for a long time that crawfish are good for you. It appears that their ancestors in France knew that too.

Hospices de Beaune medications

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Robert Parker Concerned by High Wine Prices: Admits He’s Partly to Blame

Popular wine critic Robert Parker recently expressed concern that high wine prices are shutting out young consumers and are leading to the rise in craft beers and other alternative alcoholic beverages.  He predicts that there will be a “reckoning” for high-priced wine producers, especially elite Bordeaux producers.  Parker admits that he is part of the problem and that his rating of certain wines has led to increased prices.  Click here to read more about Parker’s comments.

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Unsolved Mystery: Who Stole the French Laundry’s Rare Wines

Approximately $300,000 worth of rare wine was stolen from the French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley on Christmas Day, 2014.  One month later, the wine was found in the possession of a private collector in Greensboro, N.C.  Who stole the wine?  How did it end up in the hands of a private collector?  The mystery remains unsolved.  Click here to read the few details that have been revealed.

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Terroir: Is It the Soil or the Bacteria in the Soil?

For the past few years scientists have published papers suggesting that the bacteria in our gut have a profound impact on our health and perhaps even our behavior.  A scientific paper published this week by the American Society for Microbiology suggests that the bacteria in soil has a profound influence on the health of grape vines and even the flavor and other characteristics of wine. Click here to read the paper.

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Winemakers Fight Back Against Arsenic Allegations

Chris Lehane, spokesperson for The Wine Group, spoke out against the class action lawsuit that claims cheap California wines have high levels of inorganic arsenic.  “It’s the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire and in fact, everything’s perfectly safe.”  Lehane alleges that the lawsuit is being driven by Kevin Hicks, the owner of BeverageGrades, a Denver-based food laboratory that analyzes wine.  Lehane suggests that the lab owner has an economic interest in feeding the controversy.  CBS in San Francisco reports that Hicks “tested more than 1,300 bottles of wine and found almost a quarter contained levels of arsenic higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum limit for drinking water of 10 parts per billion.  In some cases he says the wines contained up to four and five times that amount.”  To read the entire CBS article, click >>here<<. For an interesting article about Lehane’s allegations and even more interesting comments about the controversy, click >>here<<.  For a list of the 83 wines accused of having high arsenic levels in the lawsuit, click  >>here<<.

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Arsenic Levels in Cheap Wine 500% Daily Limit Lawsuit Alleges

A class action lawsuit filed in California alleges that arsenic levels in popular inexpensive wines contain 500% the maximum levels considered safe by the EPA.  The suit further alleges that the arsenic is not naturally occurring but is somehow introduced during the wine-making process.  Read details >>here<<.

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