Wine Columns for the Week of March 28, 2007

With the fading of winter, wine picks and writers' hearts alike are getting lighter in tone and color. But have no fear of perishing this week in a sea of boxed wines, Very Expensive American Chardonnay and Redheaded Sluts. The LA Times throws us a life-saving rubber dingy of journalist rigor with a couple of agreeably edifying articles. The first looks at the ramifications of a possible move by federal regulators requiring wine labels to list ingredients. Given the apparent prevalence - or normalcy - of additives which most would probably find off-putting (from a form of collagen obtained from sturgeons' bladders to coloring agents with names like Mega Purple), many industry figures display a sense of unease. Clark Smith, the head of a "wine fix-it shop," provides a provocative quote:

For all of the posturing about terroir, very little wine sells because it is distinctive. Additives are cosmetics. They are supposed to enhance, improve a wine. [Wine enhanced this way is like] a beautiful woman whose makeup is invisible. It's the clumsiness of the winemaker who is using the additives that is the problem.

In the course of researching that controversial wine additives story, Corie Brown seems to have uncovered a surprising tip for salvaging corked wines. The secret? Saran Wrap...