VINE CUTTINGS November 2004

News and Notes from the World of Wine

"Ketch"ing up to Mrs. Kerry

File another one under Crazy Political Stunts: W Ketchup, which was introduced a few months ago as an alternative to Heinz ketchup. W Ketchup’s founders would rather Republicans buy their conservative condiment than support Teresa Heinz Kerry "and her liberal causes." W Ketchup "comes in one flavor: American," says the Web site; four 24-ounce squeeze bottles will set right-wingers back $12. Why you can’t order fewer than four bottles is beyond us—is there some study that says that Republicans eat more hot dogs and hamburgers than Democrats do?


Eau de…Grappa?

A distillery in Italy has made a grappa for people who don’t even like grappa. Distilleria Bottega, near Trevigiano in Northern Italy, is releasing what it says is the first spray-on aqua di vita.

Alexander Spray, the company’s vaporized version of grappa, is aimed at people who like the fruity aromas grappa offers the nose, but who don’t like the harsh alcoholic burn it sometimes leaves in the throat. Packaged to look like designer perfume, each bottle contains 10 centiliters of Moscato grappa. The product’s target markets are women, and first-time grappa drinkers. Distilleria Bottega even offers handy suggestions for how to use the spray: Moisten cakes and biscuits with a few squirts, or cover the end of your cigar with grappa mist. You can spray it over a cup of espresso coffee, for the equivalent of a caffe corretto, or try a few droplets over oysters. Alexander Spray ( will be released in the U.S. in early 2005.

—Monica Larner


Divine Darkness

To choosy chocophiles, Fran Bigelow is a legend. Twenty years ago, she opened Fran’s Chocolates, a European-style chocolate salon in Seattle. while other companies have launched gimmicky products with sex-drenched ad campaigns, Bigelow has quietly gathered a devoted following for her exquisitely crafted, impeccably fresh, reasonably priced and orgasmically delicious confections.

Now, with Helene Siegel, Bigelow has assembled 75 recipes for confections, brownies, cakes, tortes and all other things chocolate in her new book, Pure Chocolate (Broadway Books, $35). Accompanied by 40 color photographs and the author’s savvy observations and advice, this is the chocolate book of the season.

—Tim Moriarty


Q & A Alex & Paul Golitzin Passing the Baton in Washington State

Wine Enthusiast: Has Quilceda Creek has already achieved everything that it can achieve?

Paul Golitzin: We’ve never made our best wine. We can always do better. A 100-point wine today won’t be a 100-point wine in five years. The bar is always getting raised.

Alex Golitzin: There’s no question the wines we made in the 1980s are not as good as what we make today.

WE: Paul, growing up around the winery, did you always know you’d make it your life’s work, or was there some thought of doing something else?

PG: For years, it was strictly a matter of manual labor. For many years I despised the winery; I wanted to spread my wings and do something else.

WE: What happened?

AG: We went to Bordeaux in 1985, and my uncle had arranged for us to have lunch with André Lurton. There were 14 wines for us to try; Paul’s about 16 years old at the time. I thought, "Oh boy, he’s gonna fall into the soup!" After lunch, he says to me, "You know, Dad, I really like this lifestyle!"

PG: It was a defining moment. It was awesome. Just think about it; I’m this young kid, with André Tchelistcheff as a mentor.

WE: What do you like to drink here at home?

AG: We taste stuff all the time, from California, Bordeaux. Cabernet-based wines. Other wines we love? Sauternes, Ports, Amarones, Pinot Noir if it’s really good. Or it might be a Kistler Chardonnay, or a Paul Hobbs. Also Zind-Humbrechts. Those are wonderful wines.

PG: We rarely buy a case of anything. It’s more fun to drink stuff from all over the place.

WE: Paul, what’s it like working with your dad?

PG: He’s definitely a mentor. He inspires me. He’s very intellectual, which can be intimidating at times. I always want to outdo him. He’s got a wonderful palate. He’s firm, kind of an Old World kind of guy. He’s easily influenced by me because he’s proud of me, I think.

AG: [chuckling] You get your way because you’re right.

WE: How do you rate Washington State as a wine region?

AG: I think it’s the most spectacular place for Bordeaux varietals in the world. I don’t think there’s any place that can even come close. You can get the grapes ripe every year. This place is incredibly consistent.

PG: Right near Bordeaux is kind of where we’re at. Wines with a wonderful core of fruit, a strong sense of place and a minerality. Wines that will last.

—Paul Gregutt



Published on November 1, 2004