30 Second Wine Advisor
Tour the world of wine with Robin Garr in 2004
Burgundy and Champagne tour with French Wine Explorers, May 24-30, 2004
www.wine-tours-france.com/
BurgundyWineTours.htm


New Zealand tour with Wine & Food Trails, Feb. 3-12, 2004
www.foodandwinetrails.com/
html/new_zealand.html


Today's sponsors

California Wine Club
Free shipping with Fedex! Place your holiday gift orders before Dec. 11, 2003, and The California Wine Club will give you Fedex delivery for the standard shipping charge. The California Wine Club guarantees your gift recipients 100 percent satisfaction, or your money back!
(Click to "California Wine Club" below)

Saratoga Wine Exchange
The Saratoga Wine Exchange is your source for fine wine online! Spend less time searching web sites for that rare vintage or gift - we've done the work for you! Our online store is easy to use, flash-free and full of fine, rare and collectible wines.
(See "Saratoga Wine Exchange" below)

In This Issue
 About the "punt"
 J et F Lurton 2002 "Les Salices" Viognier Vin de Pays d'Oc ($13.50)
 California Wine Club
 Saratoga Wine Exchange
 New, quick and affordable: Zap your text message on The Wine Advisor
 This week on WineLoversPage.com
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index
Administrivia

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Wine bottle punts


About the "punt"

The bottom of a wine bottle, more often than not, is not flat but deeply indented in a cone shape. This odd dent prompts one of our most frequently asked wine questions: What's it called, and what is it for? We haven't addressed this topic in the Wine Advisor since March 1999, so let's have a quick look at it today.

The name part is simple: The wine-bottle dent (in English) is called a "punt," just like the kick on fourth down in American football. (Even more coincidentally if just as inexplicably, those in the bottle-making trade call it a "kick-up," also evocative of boot toe on football leather.)

What's it for? Here we move onto less certain ground, as this tradition seems to go back to the earliest days of bottle making, long before glass bottles were widely used for wine.

One theory holds that early glass blowers discovered that a deep indentation made a sturdier bottle than a simple round or flat-bottomed flask ... a possibility that gains some credibility from the deep punt in most Champagne bottles, which must withstand heavy internal pressure. Other experts speculate that the dent reflects the shape of the iron rod used to hold the bottle while it was being blown.

(A related if probably mythical speculation, by the way, suggests that the standard size of wine and liquor bottles - one-fifth of a gallon or the rough equivalent 750 ml - was the coincidental result of that being the amount of air that an average glass-blower could produce with one good deep breath.)

More theories abound. For instance, the fact that the crease around the punt does a dandy job of collecting sediment prompts speculation that wine-bottle makers intended it that way. Champagne bottles are often stacked nose-to-punt during production, and some sommeliers like to hold the bottle with thumb in punt for graceful pouring.

And of course, if you've ever noticed how effectively the extra cardboard packaging expands the apparent size of a candy bar, you might be excused for wondering if the punt represents a similar marketing ploy.

One thing is certain: There's no real need for the punt in modern wine bottles. But as with so much about wine - not excluding the natural cork - tradition is an important part of marketing wine, and a lot of consumers feel vaguely uneasy if we don't get what we're used to.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
If you have information, a theory or just a good story about the punt and wine-bottle packaging, you're invited to share it in our Wine Lovers' Discussion Group. To join in an interactive round-table online discussion on this topic, click to
http://www.myspeakerscorner.com/forum/index.phtml?fn=1&tid=46856&mid=392705

If you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at wine@wineloverspage.com. I'm sorry that the overwhelming amount of mail I receive makes it tough to respond personally every time, but I do try to get back to as many as I can.


Lurton Viognier J et F Lurton 2002 "Les Salices" Viognier Vin de Pays d'Oc ($13.50)

Very pale straw color. Fresh and floral aromas are typical of the variety, although this one's on the delicate side. Tart and crisp in flavor, fresh white fruit and tangy acidity make it a good food companion; simple but clean and balanced, a good expression of Viognier. U.S. importer: Ex Cellars Wine Agencies Inc., Solvang, Calif. (Oct. 31, 2003)

FOOD MATCH: A fine match with a hearty autumn dish of German-style bratwurst with sauerkraut.

VALUE: A bit dear at the price I paid; it's widely available on the Web for less than $10.

WHEN TO DRINK: Best drunk up in the next year or so, while it's fresh.

WEB LINK: The artsy, flashy Lurton Website is best viewed with a high-speed connection at
http://www.jflurton.com

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Locate vendors and compare prices of Lurton Viognier on Wine-Searcher.com:
http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Lurton+Viognier/2002/-/USD/A?referring_site=WLP


California Wine Club

California Wine Club

Free shipping with Fedex!

Place your holiday gift orders before Dec. 11, 2003, and The California Wine Club will give you Fedex delivery for the standard shipping charge. The California Wine Club guarantees your gift recipients 100 percent satisfaction, or your money back!

Since 1990 The California Wine Club has introduced thousands of wine enthusiasts to the best of California's "mom & pop" wineries. Every wine is hand selected by club owners Bruce and Pam Boring ... wine that they serve in their own home to family and friends.

Each month includes two bottles of award-winning wine and entertaining 8-page newsletter, Uncorked. $32.95/month plus shipping. Call or visit their website for special discounts on gifts of 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.

http://www.cawineclub.com
1-800-777-4443.


Saratoga Wine Exchange

Saratoga Wine Exchange

The Saratoga Wine Exchange is your source for fine wine online!

Spend less time searching web sites for that rare vintage or gift - we've done the work for you! Our online store is easy to use, flash-free and full of fine, rare and collectible wines including Kistler, Turley, Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estates, Shafer, Plumpjack, Diamond Creek and many more. Find exactly what your cellar or gift list needs right here, 24-hours-a-day, with just a click of your mouse.

Our holiday gift sets feature 2 or 3 bottles, are tastefully boxed and include a gift card. These pairings are unique and affordable, making them perfect gifts for your loved ones, corporate clients and friends. We offer nationwide shipping and attractive case discounts on larger orders.

Shopping for wine should be easy and enjoyable, not time consuming. Just visit
http://www.e-winegifts.com
and see how easy shopping for fine wine online can be! If you have a special request in mind, call us toll-free at 1-877-493-6532.


New, quick and affordable: Zap your text message on The Wine Advisor

As I frequently point out to those of you in the wine business, there is no quicker, better or more efficient way to deliver a wine-related message to wine lovers around the world than an advertising "sponsorship" on WineLoversPage.com.

Now we're introducing a low-cost, high-impact alternative that makes it easy even for small wine-related businesses with limited advertising budgets to reach our international audience of wine-savvy readers with a simple, discreet and affordable text message in The 30 Second Wine Advisor. It's just about as quick as tapping out an instant text message on your mobile phone, and not a whole lot more expensive.

For more information, or to reserve space while it's available, write me today at wine@wineloverspage.com.


This week on WineLoversPage.com

Here are links to some of our recently published articles and features that I hope you'll enjoy:

Dave McIntyre's WineLine - The crystal goblet
Our man Dave McIntyre has been thinking of the future as the year nears its end. Now, in WineLine No. 36, he comes foward with some wine-related developments that he believes we'll see in the coming year, along with some trends that he hopes we'll see, if we're lucky.
http://www.wineloverspage.com/mcintyre/wineline36.phtml

Nat Decants - The Tipping Point
Why is the end of a fabulous restaurant meal so stressful? Because it's time to leave the tip. The act of tipping is loaded with social insecurities ... Tip too little and you're a cheapskate; tip too much and you're a doormat. Natalie MacLean offers an extensive overview: The Tipping Point.
http://www.wineloverspage.com/natdecants/tipping.phtml

Wine Lovers' Voting Booth: Your wine time online
This week we revisit a question we ask every couple of years: "How do you spend most of your wine-related time on the Internet?" Whatever your interests, we invite you to select the three specific wine-related purposes that occupy most of your time online. To join the fun, just point your browser to the Voting Booth,
http://www.wineloverspage.com/votebooth/index.shtml


Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:

 Two from the South (Dec. 5, 2003) http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor1/tswa031205.phtml

 Food-friendly Malbec (Dec. 3, 2003) http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor1/tswa031203.phtml

 Readers talk back (Dec. 1, 2003) http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor1/tswa031201.phtml

 Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:
http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor1/thelist.shtml

 Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Meatloaf: More than comfort food (Dec. 4, 2003)
http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor1/tsfl031204.phtml

 Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:
http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor1/foodlist.phtml


Administrivia

To subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at wine@wineloverspage.com, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.

We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please send E-mail to wine@wineloverspage.com

All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Monday, Dec. 8, 2003
Copyright 2003 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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