• Rosenblum sells out: One of the best independent California wine producers isn't independent any more. Rosenblum Cellars, which specializes in zinfandel, was bought yesterday by Diageo. The massive multi-national paid $105 million for the winery, which had been owned by by the Rosenblum family since 1978. Kent Rosenblum, a vet, started the winery as a sideline, making just 400 cases his first year. (In fact, Rosenblum still owns a vet practice in northern California).
This is the second of the big three zin producers to go corporate, with Ravenswood Winery selling to Constellation Brands in 2001 (resulting in a surprising drop in quality). Only Ridge Vineyards remains independent. Expect to see the new Rosenblum drop some of its less high-profile wines, like its fun and well-made Chateau La Paws red and white blends, and focus on more expensive zinfandels. No word yet on how much the Rosenblum family will have to do with the winery once the sale is final.
• Bring on Alsace: Gil Kulers at Wine Kulers (love that name) writes about one of my favorite subjects, Alsatian wine. Most of it is a great value, most of it is white, and most of it pairs with sausage."This may shock the steakhouse crowd, which would be lost without its alcoholic, over-oaked cabernet sauvignons," he writes. "After all, how can a measly white wine stand up to all those types of foods, especially heavy dishes featuring Alsace's renowned sausages and game preparations?" That's my kind of wine guy.
• Super Bowl wine: The Wine Curmudgeon, who once toiled as a sportswriter and hopes never to have to do it again, is well aware that there is a football game on Sunday. He'll just be doing something else. But for those of you who do want to pair wine with football, this is the time to break out the jug wine -- the 1.5-liter bottles of grocery store brands such as Meridian, Woodbridge, Glen Ellyn and the like. There's nothing actually wrong with them, especially when people are eating nacho-flavored corn chips.