The marketers of New Zealand wine took an idea started by St. Supery winery in California six years ago and helped turn Sauvignon Blanc Day into a global event, with tastings around the world on Friday, April 24, so that the day stretches into two on social media. Fair enough: Many New Zealand wines are worthy of such attention. Although some of my favorite NZ wines are pinot noir, more than two-thirds of all wine produced in New Zealand is Sauvignon Blanc.

Many people may recognize New Zealand wines among some of the lowest price wines sold in the United States — it’s not hard to find respectable bottles for around $10. Some of this results from efficient bottling and transport (some wines are bulk shipped to California for bottling and distribution.) And, New Zealand benefits from the relatively recent development of its wine industry — mostly within the past  30 years or so.

This week, I tasted two sample bottles from Nobilo. Both were good; one I look forward to enjoying again. Other enjoyable NZ Sauvignon Blancs I’ve had include  ones by Ata Rangi (the 2011 was velvety soft); Wairau River and Cloudy Bay.

New Zealand wine
Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc is a good value at around $12.
The better of the two bottles was 2014 Nobilo Regional Sauvignon Blanc. Pale straw hues, pronounced grapefruit flavor, and a long, mineral finish, this dry wine worked well with spicy foods and strong cheese, and it would match many seafood dishes perfectly. At around $14 a bottle, this represents a very good wine for the price.

The other sample was 2014 Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc. Definitely more complex, this wine’s high acidity and light body belies the expected silky balance. The nose had notes of gasoline (petrol if I follow the standard wine flavor glossaries,) flowers, apricot and bell pepper. Grapefruit dominates the flavor, with some white and black pepper. Still a good value for around $17, the balance of the $14 Nobilo Regional still wins for me.

These are only two of hundreds of good New. Zealand wines available in the United States. One advantage of the Global Economy is greater opportunity to enjoy products from around the world. New Zealand wines fit that category quite nicely.

This post was based in part on sample wines provided by the producers.

 

Homaro Cantu, 38, was found dead Tuesday.
Chef Homaro Cantu, 38, was found dead Tuesday.

The restaurant business is rife with emotional ups and downs, but there have been too many sad stories like this one. The Chicago Tribune reports on the suicide death of Homaro Cantu, 38. He rose to fame in Charlie Trotter’s kitchen and earned his own Michelin star in 2012. But notoriety in the kitchen does not always translate into business or personal success. Read more:

Famed chef Homaro Cantu, owner of Moto, found dead on Northwest Side – Chicago Tribune.

Figuring out the science of wasabi’s heat could be a way to develop new treatments to prevent or reduce pain.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, are studying how the human body reacts to wasabi

Wasabi receptor 3D image
Advanced imaging techniques enabled this 3D picture of the “wasabi receptor” protein. (Source: UCSF.)

— the hot Japanese horseradish typically found accompanying sushi or sashimi. Their latest observations unveil the “wasabi receptor” and exactly how chemicals in wasabi activate the sensory process identify possible channels for novel pain treatments.

That receptor, which they call TRPA1, plays a role in the body’s ability to sense things like environmental irritants, in addition to the heat from wasabi, so the researchers believe that learning how TRPA1 works not only will lead to understanding how basic pain sensations occur but also ways to prevent or reduce pain.

“The pain system is there to warn us when we need to avoid things that can cause injury, but also to enhance protective mechanisms,” said David Julius, PhD, professor and chair of UCSF’s Department of Physiology, and co-senior author of the new study, which appears in the April 8, 2015 online issue of Nature. “Knowing more about how TRPA1 works is important for understanding basic pain mechanisms. Of course, this information may also help guide the design of new analgesic drugs.”

Source: https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2015/04/124956/first-look-wasabi-receptor-brings-insights-pain-drug-development

 

One of my friends posted a picture to Facebook over the weekend showing cleverly arranged waffles, bacon and fruit on plates for his kids. I don’t have kids, but I can have fun, too. Here’s my take on David Honig’s porpoiseful breakfast plate.

Creative side to pancake plate

After a neighbor complained that she could only find “five or six” organic foods in Washington Heights or Inwood, I started collecting data that shows otherwise. In fact, the selection of organic, local and natural items available in northern Manhattan has increased significantly just in the four months since started compiling this directory. Now, healthy and… Continue reading

Green tea health benefits.
Penn State researchers find green tea has potential value in fighting oral cancer. Photo by Nathan Cooke. Used with permission under Creative Commons license.

Researchers at Penn State say they have found another point to add to the growing list of green tea benefits, this time potential anti-cancer effect. Their research shows that a compound in green tea targets mouth cancer cells, without harming healthy cells. Read more at MicrobeWorld.org.

According to a news release from the researchers:

Earlier studies had shown that epigallocatechin-3-gallate — EGCG — a compound found in green tea, killed oral cancer cells without harming normal cells, but researchers did not understand the reasons for its ability to target the cancer cells, said Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science and co-director of Penn State’s Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health. The current study shows that EGCG may trigger a process in the mitochondria that leads to cell death.

“EGCG is doing something to damage the mitochondria and that mitochondrial damage sets up a cycle causing more damage and it spirals out, until the cell undergoes programmed cell death,” said Lambert. “It looks like EGCG causes the formation of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells, which damages the mitochondria, and the mitochondria responds by making more reactive oxygen species.”

(Source: Penn State News Office)

The storm on its way to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast has the makings of a major snow and weather event. The National Weather Service rarely uses language like this, which was included in the forecast Sunday afternoon:

"...CRIPPLING AND POTENTIALLY HISTORIC BLIZZARD TO IMPACT THE AREA
FROM LATE MONDAY INTO TUESDAY..."

Here’s some detail from NYNJPAWEATHER.com, a private forecaster who has been helpful and reliable during past major weather events. While the amount of the snowfall in the New York City area could be anywhere from a few inches up to two feet, the bigger concern has to do with wind and “thunder snow.” Also, surrounding areas look like they will get well more than a foot of snow. If the storm duration is greater than 24 hours, as the current forecast indicates, there will be much disruption, especially on Tuesday.

Click on any area on the map below for details of the projected storm impact.

The New York Times reports that Hershey’s is enforcing geographic licensing restrictions that forbid some British-made versions of candies like Kit Kats from sale in the United States.

As a result of a settlement with the Hershey’s Company, Let’s Buy British Imports, or L.B.B., agreed this week to stop importing all Cadbury’s chocolate made overseas. The company also agreed to halt imports on KitKat bars made in Britain; Toffee Crisps, which, because of their orange packaging, and yellow-lined brown script, too closely resemble Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; Yorkie chocolate bars, which infringe on the York peppermint patty; and Ms. Perry’s beloved Maltesers.

The British chocolates are richer because they contain more milk than sugar and different stabilizers from the additives used in the United States that give the products a longer shelf life.

Star chef David Chang of Momofuku posted this gem to Facebook late last night, and I couldn’t resist sharing. His caption, “My cook thought he spelled it right.”

Not all chefs know how to spell.
Momofuku chef David Chang posted this gem of a misspelling from one of his kitchens.