Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Champagne, or something like it

Posted by Richard on December 31, 2019

Happy New Year’s Eve! Planning on celebrating with some bubbly tonight? Here’s a marvelous ditty from the musical Gigi to get you in the mood:

[YouTube link]

(Yes, I’m a politically incorrect, toxically masculine, cis-hetero gun nut who also happens to like good musicals. Wanna make something of it?)

There are many sparkling wines. But by decree of the French government (a.k.a. cheese-eating surrender monkeys), only sparkling wines bottled in or near the Champagne region of France may be called champagne. And you pay a premium price for that appellation.

So here’s a pro tip: you can get an Italian prosecco sparkling wine of similar quality for a fraction of what you pay for a bottle of champagne. There are also plenty of California sparkling wines. The good ones are probably similar in price to a good prosecco.

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I like this greeting card message

Posted by Richard on August 23, 2017

American Greetings apparently has a new division called “Tender Thoughts.” Actually, I don’t know how new it is, since I don’t keep up with the industry. And the one I received for my recent birthday doesn’t strike me as a terribly tender thought. But I really like it:

On your birthday, may the happiness and good times flow like boxed wine into a redneck’s coffee cup.

Man, that’s just beautiful. And funny.

But let it be known that I don’t drink my boxed wine in a coffee cup. BTW, Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel is a great wine!

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Wine industry hurt by insufficient global warming

Posted by Richard on January 3, 2008

Recently, as we approached the end of an unusually cold and snowy December, I scoffed at earlier scare stories about global warming destroying the Colorado ski industry. According to The Rocky Mountain News, another Colorado industry is suffering due to global warming — oh wait, it's due to not enough warming:

Unusually cold weather in late 2006 and the spring of 2007 wreaked havoc on Colorado's grape harvest, especially in Delta County. Vineyards there are planted at elevations as high as 7,100 feet.

The larger grape-growing area around Palisade and Grand Junction in Mesa County – which accounts for about 85 percent of the grapes produced – suffered losses, too.

Experts estimate the damage slashed the state's wine grape harvest by 40 percent to 50 percent last year from 2006's record harvest of 1,515 tons. A final tally will be compiled within a few months. But industry officials agreed the grape harvest took a big hit.

Yeah, I know that one cold year in one place proves nothing about global climate change — but whenever some region is temporarily hotter (or wetter… or drier…) than normal, Al Gore and his acolytes always cite it as evidence for their faith (I mean, scientific theory), so I can't resist turning the same tactic back on them.

Colorado's vintners — who produce some excellent white wines (and OK reds) — should hope the IPCC predictions come true, so that the Earth warms back up to about where it was during the Medieval Warm Period, when grain crops were grown in Greenland and wine grapes were cultivated as far north as Scotland and Nova Scotia.

The proponents of anthropogenic global warming theory dismiss the Medieval Warm Period as a "local" European phenomenon (despite a wealth of evidence that it was global). But they can't have it both ways. If they insist that the retreat of Greenland's ice fields a thousand years ago had nothing to do with global climate change, then they shouldn't point to a similar retreat in recent years as evidence of global warming today.

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Drink up, fatsos!

Posted by Richard on November 6, 2006

So, let’s say you’re one of the 65% of Americans who are obese. And let’s say you’re worried about the health consequences of those extra pounds — including double the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and arthritis, and triple the risk of diabetes. So, what are you going to do about it?

Well, you could walk more, join a gym, and start working out. You could forego that plate of ribs and order a nice salad with low-fat dressing.

Or you could just order a nice bottle of Shiraz to go with those ribs:

Good news for gluttons and anyone else who gets old: Scientists are looking for the antidote for age and disease in a glass of red wine.

Harvard Medical School and National Institute of Aging researchers have found that a natural susbtance found in red wine, known as resveratrol, countered the ravenous ways of mice fed a high-calorie diet and even prolonged their lives.

“Resveratrol can excuse most of the negative effects of being obese in the mice,” said Harvard Medical School professor David Sinclair, one of the study’s authors.

The study compared three groups of mice. The first ate a standard (30% fat) diet, the second ate a high-fat (60%) diet, and the third ate the high-fat diet supplemented with resveratrol.

The third group got just as fat as the second, but suffered none of the ill effects. Their hearts, livers, and other organs remained normal (in fact, somewhat healthier than the standard-diet group’s). Their blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity mirrored the lean group’s. And they lived longer:

… After 114 weeks, 58 percent of the normally fed mice and the resveratrol group were still alive, compared with only 42 percent of the untreated, high-calorie-intake mice. Sinclair reports that resveratrol reduced the risk of death from a high-calorie diet by 31 percent, leading to an increase in life span of 15 percent thus far. More accurate numbers will be available when all the mice pass away. "We are around five months from having final numbers," Sinclair notes, "but there is no question that we are seeing increased longevity." The researchers also note that the resveratrol-treated mice not only live longer than their untreated counterparts, but have more active lives, too–their motor skills have actually improved as they have aged.

Of course, there are caveats. To get as much resveratrol as the mice, you’d have to drink a hundred or more glasses of wine (depending on which news report you believe) — clearly, supplement capsules would be a more practical choice. And everybody from the science reporters to the researchers is mouthing the usual warnings that you always hear regarding nutritional supplements:

While resveratrol supplements are available at many health food stores, experts caution that no one knows whether the compound will work the same way for humans and, perhaps more important, whether high doses of resveratrol are harmful in the long run.

It’s worth noting, though, that researcher David Sinclair founded a company to develop resveratrol-related drugs (in which he and Harvard Medical School have a financial interest).

And Sinclair has been taking resveratrol supplements himself for three years already.

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