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Posted: July 22, 2009

Seaweed wine: Seriously

There's a reason why Italy invented the grape

Cathie Beck—The Wine Wench

Hey, I’m as much a fan of the song and the book, “Dandelion Wine,” as the next song - and book-loving person. But I draw the line at drinking it. Neither am I inspired by the thought of sipping peach, orange or, for that matter, any other citrus-inspired vino.

Don’t even get me started on seaweed wine. Seriously.

It would seem that a German marine biologist — Dr. Inez Linke, to point fingers — is making 16 percent proof wine from something called laminaria saccharina seaweed, which sounds to me like a Latin phrase for “laminated sweet pond scum.”

She says that it tastes like fine sherry and is very healthy. When I lived in Russia, the locals tried to convince me that some crappy, black mush in a tin can – canned seaweed — was the healthiest food-elixir in the world. Well, it certainly wasn’t for my mental health, Svetlana.

Dr. Linke isn’t alone. There’s a whole industry gearing its marketing loins for convincing us all that any fruit or weed or vegetable-like plant can be fermented and bottled for our Friday afternoon enjoyment. Florida’s got an association devoted to selling orange-based wine and one orange farmer’s website insists a whole hell of a lot on its quality, taste and viability: “Armed with determination and a dream reminiscent of many Florida pioneers, our family started development of our unique wines in 1991,” the winery’s marketing person wrote. “Realizing the importance of striving for exceptional quality, our Florida winery opened its doors in September of 1997 - only after the secrets of making exceptional wine from fruit other than grapes had been discovered.”

What?

“Producing Florida's only ultra-premium tropical, citrus and berry wines, this Florida wine distributor … is proud to say that our tropical, berry and citrus wines are the only Florida wines allowed to display the Florida Department of Citrus' official mark of superior quality - the Florida Sunshine Tree. They are also the only Florida wine ever allowed” (allowed? Like eating ice cream in the living room?) at Disney’s Epcot International Food and Wine Festival held each year beginning in October.”

Okay. An orange farmer deserves to make a living like anyone else, and if the deceased Billy Mays can make me buy something called OrangeGlow that promises floors clean enough to eat off of, who am I to judge? 

In the meantime, Dr. Linke continues to take her life’s work very seriously. Her seaweed takes a lot of commitment, requiring six months of maturation in water five miles deep before divers harvest it. And she’s also adamant about its tiresome health benefits, declaring, “Marine algae contains many minerals, salts, vitamins and proteins that makes this particular wine extremely healthy and boosts the immune system.”

I wish her well as she works to get Germans to buy it at about $25 a bottle. I understand that she’s getting a following of German connoisseurs and chefs who use it in beverages and gourmet cooking.

But they are German. And there’s a reason why Italy invented the grape.

Word O’ the week

Alge wein (AL jay vine) — German for seaweed wine.
 
One winning wine tasting: Zink Kitchen & Bar

On Tuesday, Aug. 4, Zink Kitchen & Bar will host summer patio Wines. At $15 a person, attendees get to taste eight to 10 wines, accompanied by Zink appetizers. The tasting is part of a monthly series wherein Zink hosts special wine tasting events the first Tuesday of each month. Zink Kitchen & Bar is located at 7801 E. Orchard Blvd., in Greenwood Village. Call 303.779.1559 for further information.

Coming Aug. 12

Sangria-making wine: There’s an art to selecting the right wine for making summertime Sangria. It involves a $10 bill, a liquor store and a good recipe. We’ll visit those terrific, often ultracheap wines – whites included – that make beautiful bases upon which to build an icy, fruity, bubbly pitcher of Sangria.
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Cathie Beck, a/k/a The Wine Wench, can be reached at: TheWineWench@comcast.net. Please forward any and all wine events, wine-related news items directly to her.

Enjoy this article? Sign up to get ColoradoBiz Exclusives. The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not represent ColoradoBiz magazine. Comments on articles will be removed if they include personal attacks.

Readers Respond

Why don't YOU buy a bottle and try it dude. And lighten up while you're at it. By Buddy on 2009 07 23
Instead of putting down the algae wine for the entire article and commenting on how awful it is, why don't you actually buy a bottle and try it? Your closed minded thinking is hardly condusive to being a wine wench, aka someone who knows about wines and is willing to sample them. You sound more like a wine snob to me with your comment about Germans and Italy "inventing" the grape. By E on 2009 07 23

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