Wednesday, 25 September 2013

50 Shades of Grey wines released

It had to happen, didn't it? Along with the branded fluffy handcuffs and leather whips, the latest item to be pimped by the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy is wine. A fan of the odd drop of red herself, 50 Shades' ever-savvy author E L James had the bright idea of releasing a duo of wines inspired by the erotica, called Red Satin and White Silk (of course).

While most £11 wines are keen to flag up their unique terroir and hand-picked grapes, all that was leaked (sorry) about the 50 Shades pair is that they are "made from grapes grown in California." This will unlikely be a deterrent to die hard fans, who will no doubt be dying to get their mitts on a bottle. Both the red and the white carry a simple black label framed by a metallic diamond-shaped pattern and run with the tagline: “You. Are. Mine.”

“Wine plays an important role in Fifty Shades of Grey, adding to the sensuality that pervades a number of scenes,” says James, adding, “I’ve always had a penchant for good wine, so combining two of my passions to blend Red Satin and White Silk was a natural extension of the series. I hope my readers curl up with a glass as they enjoy the romance between Anastasia and Christian.” 

White Silk 2012 is a blend of Gew├╝rztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc, and offers "floral aromatics of lychee, honey and pear tempered by flavors of grapefruit with a faint hint of butterscotch." Marrying Petite Sirah and Syrah, Red Satin 2009 meanwhile, is said to boast flavours of black cherry, cocoa powder, caramel, vanilla, cloves, spices, and, somewhat fittingly, leather. 

Wine and the City cannot be responsible for any flirtatious behaviour that arises as a result of sipping Red Satin and White Silk and advises proceeding with caution.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Snake pickled in wine bites woman

It’s the year of the snake and the feisty creatures are in a fighting mood. A woman in northern China had to receive hospital treatment last week after a snake preserved in rice wine jumped out of the bottle and bit her hand. As reported by The Drinks Business, the surprise attack happened when the woman, surnamed Liu, from Shuangcheng went to top up the bottle with more wine.
Remarkably, the reptile, which had been pickling for three months, was still alive. Liu, who received treatment at a local hospital for inflammation, had bought the snake wine to try and cure her rheumatism. It is a widely held belief in China that such wines boast medicinal properties.
This is not the first incident of a pickled snake seemingly coming back to life. One Mr Zhang of Hubei Province was bitten by a snake in 2009 that had been preserved in a bottle of rice wine for two months. While in 2001, a villager from Guangxi Zhuang died a day after being bitten from a pickled snake. Makes the Tequila worm seem rather wimpy… 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Professor Green to open a London nightclub

Red-haired rapper Professor Green is to open a London nightclub in collaboration with mixologist Gerry Calabrese. Dubbed “an East End club in the heart of the West End”, Ink is set to open at Number One Leicester Square this month. As reported on, the club, which will play a mix of urban and rock ‘n’ roll music, takes its name from Pro Green’s passion for tattoos. 
Cult tattoo artists Nikole Lowe and Neil Ahern’s body art will be displayed on the walls of the fifth floor venue alongside graffiti murals and neon sculptures. Inspired by the cocktails served at Calabrese’s East London bar, The Hoxton Pony, libations will be made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients, syrups will be made in house and sharing platters of “East End tapas” will be served.
Son of famed Italian-born, London-based mixologist Salvatore Calabrese, Gerry Calabrese owns The Hoxton Pony bar in Shoreditch and the Hoxton Gin brand. Last year he founded Baroque, a Mayfair nightclub next to his father’s bar at The Playboy Club specialising in Champagne fountains. Also in on the project is Gerry’s mixologist brother, Jon Calabrese, who heads up The Hoxton Pony.
This isn’t Green’s first foray into the world of drinks – last year he released a beer called Remedy in collaboration with craft brewers Signature Brew. An American Pale Ale made from British hops, Remedy is said to boast “smooth malty flavours” “robust hops”, “citrus aromas” and a bitter finish. Born Stephen Manderson, the 29-year-old rapper has released three solo albums and eight hit singles.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Wine under a microscope

Beaujolais' featherlike appearance under a high powered microscope

A series of strikingly beautiful photographs taken by an American scientist have come to light that reveal what drops of different red grape varieties look like under a high powered microscope. As reported on, Dr Gary Greenberg placed drops of Merlot, Beaujolais and Zinfandel under a microscope and used polarised filers on a camera to capture the results. 

The sugars within the wine make themselves known in a rainbow of colours, while the wine’s individual particles formed an array of shapes and patterns, from featherlike to square. Greenberg took the images to explore the “beauty” of everyday items. He describes his work as “micro photography” in which the worlds of art and science collide.

Drops of Merlot under a microscope

“The extraordinary nature of ordinary objects is revealed when seen through a microscope. Everyday objects take on a new reality when magnified thousands of times, illuminating the hidden secrets of nature,” he said. “There’s an amazing micro world wrapped up inside the ordinary world that we experience through our senses,' he added.

After completing a PhD in biomedical research at UCL, in the ‘90s Greenberg invented high definition, 3D light microscopes used to take his latest series of photographs. In addition to wine, Greenberg has also explored the hidden worlds of flowers, fruit, bones, a human retina and grains of moon sand returned from NASA'S Apollo 11 mission.