• This year’s squad of football wines is getting an early start (that’s American football for the soccer-loving wine fans among you). The New York Jets announced last week that the team will celebrate the inaugural season in its new stadium, which they will share with the New York Giants, by releasing Jets Uncorked Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008, pre-orders of which can be purchased on the team’s official website for $28. Jets Uncorked is made by veteran winemaker Marco DiGiulio, formerly of Buena Vista, Pine Ridge, Atlas Peak, Pepi winery and more. Interestingly, NFL players are forbidden to endorse alcoholic beverages, as Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson learned in 2008 after announcing the creation of his own Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon called TwentyFour. Apparently, what’s bad for the goose can sometimes be good for the gander.
• They had a hit in the 1980s with the tune “Wine, Women an’ Song,” and now you can add the band Whitesnake to the pile of rock bands to lend their name to a wine label. In a bit of synergy that even winemaker Dennis de la Montanya describes as “random,” the band, fronted by David Coverdale, an avowed wine lover, will soon release its debut wine, the 2008 Whitesnake Zinfandel. Coverdale describes the $30 wine as “a bodacious, cheeky little wine, filled to the brim with the spicy essence of snakeyness,” and goes on to recommend pairing it with “grown-up friskiness and hot-tub jollies.” De la Montanya, who makes wines from estate vineyards in Sonoma, was slightly more subdued in his description of the wine, which he told Unfiltered was “friendly, with a lot of spice—very characteristically Russian River Valley.” A percentage of the profits from the wine’s sale will benefit Musicares, a charity that provides emergency financial assistance for musicians and their families in need.
This "modest" pan of paella was one of the many distractions at the Spanish Wine Festival.
• Last week, more than 250 Spanish wine devotees congregated at the Landmark on the Park, a converted neo-Gothic church in Manhattan, to pay their respects to some of Spain’s most venerated wines. The seventh annual Spanish Wine Festival, hosted by merchant PJ Wine, raised $5,000 for the charity Action Against Hunger. A flamenco dancer did her best to beguile the assembled, but all were distracted: On the right side of the nave, 1973, ’81, and decade-old R. López de Heredia Gran Reservas were being poured. Elsewhere, a flight of Muga reached back to 1970, while drinkers thronged to booths showing off 1999 Vega Sicilia Unico and 2007 Emilio Moro Malleolus de Sanchomartin. For the Sherry lovers, Gonzalez Byass and Barbadillo had finos, Pedre Ximénez, and everything in between, and New York restaurant Boqueria provided jamón, paella and chorizo.
• Wine vending machines, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's high-tech toy to sneak wine into grocery stores while still reaping the profits, have finally arrived at two locations in the state. A Wegmans and Giant supermarkets are testing the pilot kiosks, which come with a computerized menu to help you select the right wine, a state-ID scanner to ensure that the buyer is over 21 (or has a card that says they are), and a Breathalyzer that will shut down the sale if the would-be buyer has more than a .02 blood-alcohol level. The state receives the profits from the sales of the 53 wines available in the machines, and if all goes well, they plan to install 100 more.
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