Beersicles, Mafia wine & other developments in potent potables

Is there any food that’s not improved by adding the words “on a stick”? Once a food has been sticked the only remaining improvement is “deep-fried in batter.” Well, a chef at Rustico’s in DC has gotten beer half-way there. He put a beer in the freezer to get it cold quickly and then forgot about it. The brew froze solid and he ended up eating his booze instead of drinking it. Now the place is sticking a stick in it and selling them. Reports are they are quite popular. You first.


What with the recent demise of Mr. Soprano and America’s obsession with fictional mobsters, it is not surprising that someone has created a Mob-branded wine. What is surprising is that it is an anti-mafia branded wine.

Campo Libero, which means Free Field, is a lightly sparkling white wine made from Trebbiano grapes , and the brainchild of a teetotal charity worker. Dario Campagna, whose Il Gabbiano (“The Seagull”) association provides jobs for drug addicts and former prisoners, has taken advantage of an Italian law that allows property belonging to convicted gang bosses to be used for “social purposes”.

Campagna has taken to growing the grapes for the wine on land formerly owned by Francesco Schiavone, a boss in the Naples mafia.

“At the beginning, local farmers that we’d asked for advice kept missing appointments,” Mr Campagna explained. “But then we discovered that one of Schiavone’s relatives was living nearby and people were simply scared of having anything to do with us.”

Last year someone cut the wires holding up the vines causing Campagna’s group to lose half their crop.

The vines were replanted. And now 10,000 bottles of vino bianco are waiting to be drunk. “I don’t drink alcohol but those that have tasted Campo Libero say it’s a solid wine,” Mr Campagna said.


Everyone knows that alcohol can lead to ill-fated romance, now a French vintner is hoping the interweb will remove the ill-fated part of the equation.

The ‘Soif de Coeur’ (A Thirst for Romance) bottles of rosé, red or white wine contain a unique code in their labels that you tap into the website in the hope of finding your perfect match.

Go to the site, type in your age, sex and the sex of the person you would like to meet and the site will link you up with someone who also bought a bottle of the wine and registered on-line. And there’s no risk that you will ever be asked to appear in one of those creepy eHarmony ads.


Not only can you drink yourself into the gutter, now you can advertise there as well. Quoth the NYT: In the June 15 issue of Wine Spectator, Newton Vineyard purchased a series of ads on a narrow slice of the page that is known picturesquely as “the gutter” — the space, normally blank and white, between the binding and the first column of text. Maybe AA should consider it.


madonnaMadonna may not have wanter her papa to preach but she doesn’t have any problem with his selling wine with her name on it. Tony Ciccone, recently decided to advance his winery business by releasing Madonna Wine, which is available in five varieties: Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.  The label on each bottle features a colorful picture of Madonna, with whom he consulted beforehand to make sure his daughter approved of the idea. Those of you wondering what wine made in Michigan tastes like can go here to order some.


Driving under the PR influence

It should come as no surprise that Rep. Patrick Kennedy is currently treatment for “addiction to prescription pain medication.” This is not surprising because of his family heritage or his own personal history of problems with substance abuse but because that is what always gets said under these circumstances.

This phrase comes like clockwork from the PR reps of every movie star, musician or other demi celeb who gets busted behind the wheel. It must be in some handbook under “what to do when client gets busted for weaving across the white lines even if he or she has in fact been snorting them.”

It is such a wonderful wording, cleanly and quickly making it clear you haven’t been doing anything grossly illegal. You weren’t stoned out of your gourd on horse tranquillizers. You hadn’t just smoked the entire agricultural output of Northern California. You just took to many of those damn pills that the doctor gave you. It was medication, right? It was prescribed, right? You were just doing what you were supposed to and things got a little out of hand. That after all is what happened to Rush Limbaugh.

“He became addicted to pain killing drugs, prescribed by his physician for a medical condition.” OK, so The King Of The Dittoheads allegedly bought 1,733 hydrocodone pills, 90 OxyContin pills, 50 Xanax tablets and 40 time-release morphine pills – an amount even Elvis would have found excessive – but they were PRESCRIBED!

Judging by how often it is invoked, prescription pain killers must also carry less stigma than saying you were fece-faced from chugging down a few fifths of whatever. Alcoholism in the PR world implies lack of control whereas medication abuse sound much more like one of those things you could just stumble into.

Let’s get one thing clear, I have no reason to doubt that Rep. Kennedy was in fact incapacitated by something his doctor told him to take. He has even named names — blaming his driving misadventure on “Ambien, a sleeping pill, and another medication, Phenergan, for treatment of a stomach disorder.” And why not believe him? He has been very forthright about his problems before and just based on odds alone, abuse of prescribed meds must happen to at least some of the celebs who claim it. But it remains a phrase that should at least raise the eyebrow of anyone who reads or hears it.

French winemakers going after the all-important alcoholics-still-in-denial market segment

A new batch of el cheapo French wines are hitting the shelves. And I say El and not La cheapo for a reason: The label for Los 3 Bandidos has fake bullet holes and a story that alleges a link to Pancho Villa. Apparently, Les Froggies think Ripple sounds better in Spanish. All right, so at $8 a bottle it’s a top shelf Ripple so it’s clearly aimed at alkies with delusions of grandeur (there’s another kind?).

This is just one of several branding efforts which the makers allege attempt to capture the attention of young people who couldn’t tell a merlot from a muscatel. Another is XL Wine’s Jet Lag. You can get either a white and red in small screw-top bottles that, at just under 9 ounces, “may remind U.S. consumers of shampoo or cologne,” says Reuters. Mmmmm, shampooey. XL says the XS bottles are meant to fit in a carry-on bag and complement an airline meal, a “French Mediterranean wine for globe trotters.”

Equally odd is the standard-sized bottles which have “no labels but simply times and a clock face on the bottle. Their 11:30 a.m. could be the first glass of the day, with 12:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. for later.” What, no 7:30 AM? Sacre merde!