A bluntly-curated selection of absolutely random recent bits from around the wine and drink world served up “mostly fresh” for your enjoyment.

Bear with me on this as for those who may not be familiar with Restoration Hardware (or RH as it’s called now), this is a company that my family ordered a set of fancy doorknobs from, once. The doorknobs didn’t arrive initially and despite the company saying that they’d been discontinued, they refused to give a refund of the full payment that’d been made for the order. Weirdly, 10 months later, they did finally arrive and the company gave a refund, twice. We never told them about this lest they then charge us six times in return. Suffice to say, it’s long been a shit company but oh hey, they’ve got restaurants now!

In the standard RH oeuvre, the fact that these restaurants serve food is purely a byproduct of their existence as was stated in the article, “The food got a brief mention. There’s a grilled avocado topped with caviar ($52); a burger with cheese and caramelized onions ($38); and a grilled maitake mushroom served over fried potatoes ($36). Most of it was enjoyable. Not much was memorable.” Dope. Also dope that they apparently banned “black pepper from the kitchen after tasting a version of the rotisserie chicken that seemed too spicy.” Can’t have the chicken outshine the Italian marble countertops. Ultimately it seems to matter not as those who dine there find the interior decoration “feels very European”. This to me paints a mental picture that’s full of stag parties vomiting on historic landmarks or people riding a motorcycle through the ruins of Pompeii but my point of view is admittedly skewed.

There’s a hot, steamin’ news flash that the offices of Southern Glazer (the US’s largest alcohol distributor) have had a “visit” from the IRS (tax authority) and the TTB (Tax and Trade Bureau). You know that a place in the US is severely screwed when the IRS sends in its goons. After all, that’s how they brought down Capone.

Stuck in a drinking rut? I know I am as I just keep wanting to drink good wine. Lettie Teague tells us that she keeps going back to Chablis which is a fair play. Some of the others she profiled in their rutting were less entertaining, except for Tony Parker (who I met during Bordeaux research this year). Apparently, “His method of breaking a rut? ‘I just stop drinking for a few days’.” And here we just thought he was a solid basketball player.

Oh thank god, Bordeaux survived the 2022 vintage! Here’s an idea, how about just drinking wine from regions that are great more than one out every three freakin’ vintages?

Fresh off the bullshit desk there arrives the standard report of a no headache wine, again. The irony in this shoddy advertorial is that this wine looks exactly like the kind of non-regional, bulk-grape plonk that will most definitely give you headaches for days if you make the mistake of drinking it at a wedding in order to get along with people you can’t stand/don’t know.

Wait, here’s an actual solution to wine headaches! How about drinking Kylie’s new non-alcohol sparkling (duh) rosé? The trade secret is that the key ingredient is apparently green tea and those who actively hate rosé. Sparkling rosé… is people!

It’s Halloween! What are you dressing up as? Perhaps I can suggest the humble winemaker? It’s sure to be a hit and you can can go with a group if someone in your squad is willing to don the evil “vintner” outfit–same vest, nicer shirt and shoes as those don’t get dirty. The key with the vintner isn’t the dress up part but acting as if you’re doing fuck-all, which you ain’t.

As everything else in Georgian wine has been covered to the edge of existence, someone has decided to care about Khvanchkara. Let’s get things straight as firstly, when visiting the region, it’s not a “vertiginous, winding road” that passes through the rather broad valley where Khvanchkara is made. Secondly, Dimitri Kipiani should be despised, not damned-near canonized for inventing this crap back in 1907 as it’s a wine that tastes like someone could care less and dumped a bottle of syrup into it. It’s all about context though as in the 19th century, the “glorious” Russians, had a megasweet dosage for Champagne at nearly 300 g/l. For reference, your standard Brut is max 12g/l. Russians have always liked sickly sweet wines and that’s where Khvanchkara went and continues to go, Russia. Now that there are “problems” with this, maybe we can just junk this crap wine in favor of the great dry wines that are actually possible from the region as, when researching my Georgia book, I asked the director of one of these crappy sweet wineries if he drank this stuff. He looked around nervously to see if the owners were in earshot and said very quietly, “No, never.”

Enough about the Russian sweet tooth and a great bit of news for Ukraine as it’s been announced that they’ve joined the OIV, the international wine organization! That only leaves the higher-production countries of the US and Canada still on the outside, which looks pretty shabby given that Norway and Sweden are members. Come on you two, enough of this “keeping our independence” crap and let’s be part of the international wine community already…

And lastly, from the facts bureau, kvevri.

Until we meet again in the cul of the cuvée.

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