June 2, 2014
The Italians love playing with colors - especially in their wines. First, they started the modern "orange wine" trend by vinting white grapes on their skins like red wines. Now comes Alter Ego, a dry "white" made by Andrea Occhipinti from Aleatico, a Muscat-scented grape usually made into a sweet red. Occhipinti ( not Sicilian superstar Arianna Occhipinti), is an academic who settled on the volcanic slopes of Lake Bolsena in Lazio (a region that includes Rome) and melds indigenous grapes with innovative techniques.
May 23, 2014
BUZZ: Hey, Marnie, how come cheap wine doesn't come in cans, like beer or soda? My wife always wants to pack some for the Shore, but glass bottles aren't allowed on the beach. Marnie: You can only find a handful of canned wines in the U.S., Buzz, and they aren't necessarily "cheap. " In fact, one of the trailblazers is a sparkling wine marketed in nightclubs. I'm sure more will follow soon - cans are already popular in places like Australia that have fewer hang-ups about wine than America.
May 9, 2014
BUZZ: Hey, Marnie, can grapes grow indoors? My neighbor does hydroponic tomatoes in his sunroom, so why not wine grapes? Marnie: Grapevines are more like little trees than tomato plants, Buzz. They need to put down deep roots and would require tending for decades. Besides, hydroponic grapes would make for pretty bland wine. Buzz: Why's that? Marnie: Well, hydroponic gardening uses no soil - plant roots are bathed in a nutrient solution instead. This produces decent flavor in herbs and greens, since leaves have a simple flavor structure, but grapes are more multidimensional.
April 11, 2014
ANYONE well-versed in contemporary commerce will tell you that while credit is convenient, cash is king. Unless you're in South Philadelphia, where an ancient form of currency holds even loftier influence, and goes great with a little cheese. The painstaking art of hand-making soppressata - the heavily spiced, cured pork salami closely associated with southern Italy - is not lost, but it's not exactly easy to find. That's why anyone armed with a bucket of the stuff - "super-sod" past Snyder Avenue, "soupie" in coal-mining country, a thousand colloquial variations everywhere else - might as well be strutting down the street with a wallet fatter than a hog set to slaughter.
April 7, 2014 |
A 77-year-old man is recovering after a "gruesome, violent assault" that left him in critical condition early yesterday, police said. The man who allegedly assaulted him was being sought by police last night. About 12:30 a.m., police found the victim inside an apartment on Butler Street near 7th in Hunting Park, Chief Inspector Scott Small said. He had severe injuries to his head and face, including deep cuts around his mouth and eyes. Emergency-medical personnel took him to Temple University Hospital, where he remained last night in critical but stable condition.
March 28, 2014
B UZZ: Hey Marnie, keeping busy? Marnie: I sure am, Buzz. We happen to be in the middle of the first-ever Philly Wine Week, so I've had events every night. Wine seminars, book signings, you name it. Buzz: I went to a wine tasting once, but never again. Marnie: You didn't like the wines? Buzz: The wine was good, but the vibe wasn't - too snooty for me. My friend and I didn't know much about the wines and got the hairy eyeball a couple of times.
March 28, 2014
TURNABOUT is fair play, but in the case of Philly Wine Week it's also long overdue. The inaugural grape-juice jag, which continues through Sunday, was modeled on the city's original bacchanal, Philly Beer Week. Never mind that the winos have stamina for only 8 days of festivities while the suds set goes 10 - that's close enough. After all, beer has been plagiarizing wine for years. The Everyman's drink, aiming to claw its way to the rarefied height of the vine, has adopted wine's expensive corked bottles, its aged and blended casks, its boorish Robert Parker ratings and lavish "pairing dinners.
March 16, 2014 |
Polyhyphenate Tyler Perry is so impossibly prolific that sometimes you suspect he has a magical word processor that allows him to just type in a premise and print up a perfectly formatted screenplay. Then it's find a cast and roll cameras. There's certainly something machine-tooled to his latest melodrama, The Single Moms Club . The category is five stressed-out women of disparate circumstances who get thrown together because of their unruly adolescent kids. The spectrum of Single Moms runs from haughty, half-racist snob (Wendi McLendon-Covey of The Goldbergs )
March 7, 2014 |
"I can teach all of freshman chemistry in 45 minutes without leaving anything out - it's one of my great achievements," says Clark Smith. Anyone who knows Smith knows he isn't bragging - not exactly. A noted winemaker, scientist, inventor, consultant, college professor, and author of the recent book Postmodern Winemaking (University of California Press), Smith, 62, is one of the most dynamic, erudite, and outspoken people I've ever met in the wine industry, not to mention a know-it-all.
February 14, 2014
BUZZ: Hey, Marnie, my mother came over this weekend and brought a bottle of "chocolate wine. " That sounded weird enough, but then she poured a glass and it looked like Yoo-hoo. Yuck! Who thinks up this stuff? Marnie: That was probably ChocoVine, Buzz. It's made with red wine, chocolate and cream, and tastes like a lighter, less boozy spin on Bailey's Irish Cream. I find it hard to discern the taste of red wine, personally, but there's no question that that stuff is hyper-popular these days.