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Thursday Thorns: The Report Card
Latest News To Amuse

By Charles Olken

As we head into the Thanksgiving week, or Big Game football weekend for those of us who care such things, we take time to reflect on events of the past week and to bring the most important and unusual to your attention. And we start today with an item that makes us insanely jealous. No one treats us this way. No one tries to beat our subscription system to steal our latest ratings. No, we are not the Wine Spectator and grateful for it.

ITEM: Spectator's Wine of The Year Revealed
“We have advanced the announcement of the Wine of the Year! This decision was made in the interest of fairness to all our loyal readers after a breach of our website”.

GRADE: Incomplete. Fine, you have made an announcement but you haven’t told us the name of the wine. And, to make matters worse, Connoisseurs’ Guide has not even yet compiled its list of our Wines of The Year—due to appear in our December Issue. And without our Best of 2010, there is yet to be a Wine of The Year. And with apologies for sounding snarky and even somewhat sanctimonious, how often have Spectator Wines of The Year caused folks to snicker? But, yes, someone does care enough to break into your website. That does put the Spectator on a level above the rest of us.

ITEM: Cosentino Closes Last Two Wineries
ITEM: Fred Couples and Mitch Cosentino Form Couples & Co.

GRADE: A. Mitch Cosentino is a good guy. He started small, unlike so many of his Napa Valley neighbors who were megabucks rich, and he slowly built, yes with financial investors along the way, a small but decent business making pretty good wine. Back when he and we were younger, much younger, Mitch was a frequent member of our tasting panel. It is sad to see his major empire shut down. It is much better to celebrate his major success with his new label and new partner. Good for Mitch. He was making lemonade even before his lemons were hatched. He may be an old golfer but apparently he has not lost his balls.

ITEM: Jeannie Cho Lee Buys 105,000-Euro Truffle
“A giant white truffle was sold off on Sunday to the Hong Kong-based wine critic for 105,000 euros (144,000 dollars) at a lavish auction near the town of Alba.”

GRADE: A. Take that, Robert Parker.

ITEM: Plonk Wine Merchants Announce Launch of Its “Cutting Edge” Wine Club
      The Los Angeles-based online retailer has announced is “wine of the month club”. For some $100 per month you get four bottles of cheap wine.

GRADE: C. Giving credit where credit is due, you have to like the oxymoronic nature of this businesses name. Spending that kind of money on cheap wine is also oxymoronic. But, hey, there is an entire industry out there of wine of the month clubs based on cheap wine. Most, however, do not ask $100 a month. Better that those folks should subscribe to Connoisseurs’ Guide. Our Best Buys will get them a heck of lot good and not expensive wine for their C-notes.

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