Gallo Family Vineyards NV Twin Valley pinot noir

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on September 4, 2010:

These must be the dog days of summer for wine bloggers as there’s nothing even faintly entertaining or informative being posted over the last week. Thankfully, big media has stepped in with hyped-up titles misrepresenting the thin content within. Let’s take a looky.

First up is a major homepage’s headline square touting “Want To Live Longer? Have Some Wine.” So, I bit and here’s the dogfish I caught, entitled “5 Surprising Benefits of Alcohol.” First “benefit” is longevity. It references Dutch researchers stating that “drinking a half-glass of wine might help you live longer—five years longer, in fact.” Next is “Improves Heart Health”: Japanese researchers suggested “light to moderate drinking paired with socialization can significantly reduce…heart disease.” Following that is “Reduces Inflammation.” Again, Dutch researchers discovered “those who drink were found to have significantly reduced risk of developing” several types of arthritis. In the cleanup spot is “Aids Weight Loss.” Researchers at a women’s hospital in Boston “studied the alcohol consumption of more than 19,000 women over 13 years (and) found that women who drank a ‘light to moderate amount of alcohol’ tended to gain less weight than women who didn’t drink.” Last up is “Fights Osteoporosis.” Researchers at a department at the University of California link the consumption of beer, which is said to be a good source of silicon, with increasing bone density. Just to be clear, I’m not making any of this up.

Let’s go with the claims. Okay, if I read this like a blank, idiot, sound-bite feasting dweeb this hype is targeted at, I am to believe that drinking alcohol will: (1) make me live longer; and sidestep (2) heart disease, (3) arthritis, (4) obesity, and (5) osteoporosis. Wow! Sign me up for that.

Here’s what’s wrong with this deal. First of all, above all else, is check if any claim is validated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). None of these are. If the government does not back it up, then who’s liable?

Next, look for key words, such as: “might”, “suggested”, “tended”, “fights”, “supports”, and inappropriate linking (if doing A results in B, and B results in C, then A must result in C). I might be the king of the world. I suggested wine bloggers are unemployed junkies. I tended to favor Lake Chelan wines. I drank water and pee’d on the ground (A) which evaporated (B)—the water vapor from my pee condensed (B) and rained in my runoff barrel which I drink from (C)—so I drank my own pee. Yeah, right. And, lastly, watch for any research done out of the country. Another country’s research standards frequently do not match up to our own.

Then, ask how the studies were conducted. True scientific studies are precise in methodology (eg. product and quantities) and the most conclusive studies are “double-blinded.” This is absolutely what wine reviewers THINK they do, but really only do weak “partial” blind tastings. True, double-blinded studies impart a placebo-controlled group to expose any bias in the results, such as for example, in wine terms, see a bottle Quilceda Creek, automatically think “great wine.” Chris Camarda and Lettie Teague set the standard in substituting the contents of a 1982 Château Mouton Rothschild bottle with a blend of Andrew Will cab and merlot and pushing it off as Mouton at a dinner party. Back to the topic, none of these studies done by these “researchers” included a placebo control. And, worse yet, the precise quantities and specifically what type/brand of “alcohol” beverage were not listed. This type of ambiguity is what sold a lot of snake oil in the early part of the last century before the government exposed the sham.

So, you want to live longer and be disease-free? Here’s the wineman’s tips: (1) live a clean, honest lifestyle of moderation—eg. diet, exercise, and choices; (2) don’t believe anything hyped in the media; (3) have good genetics, and (4) read my blogposts because you’ll learn a lot more about the intricacies of wine that you won’t find with any other wine blogger, especially with upcoming posts about an AVA, an eccentric winemaker, and some wines I had access to that I can afford to review as an independent opinion. You thought I was interesting then? Stick around, pals; it gets much better!

I could dig deep into the dirty roots of the Gallo “family” but I will give them a pass this time. As for the wine, I found this in the ‘trailer park’ section of the supermarket wine department on the 4-pack shelf.

After a stressful day of work (unemployed, non-business-owning people are not familiar with this concept), I needed a wine with a sole purpose of cooling me down. I wasn’t looking for quality but didn’t mind if the wine had some. A recent tasting with a quality pinot noir from Oregon set the standard for this wine. I know, unfair, but hey, life is unfair so deal with the hand you’re dealt, sucka. No food. No accompaniments. Just a $20 Riedel Oregon pinot noir glass…which is a lesson—never drink a wine from a glass that costs three times what the wine cost.

Tasted at 28-62 degrees F on the IR gun (great gulping under 32 degrees, but better presentation above 55 degrees). Color: transparent cranberry-grape. Nose: Bing cherry. Mouthfeel: watery thin. Tail trail: 2 seconds. Flavors: diluted cherry juice, blip of cola on the tail. Positives: no alcohol heat streak, no bizarre flavors, and actually goes down good at below-freezing temps.

Alcohol: 13%. Product of Italy. Purchased as a 4 pack of 187mL bottles. This isn’t pinot noir in my book, but it must be for a lot of other wine drinkers. Rated: 60. Value: $5. Paid: $6. Music pairing: “Kissing A Fool” by George Michael. This is WAwineman…uncorked, informed and fearless.

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