The Word Around the World: British Thieves, UK Snobbery and Japanese Wine Baths

 


A trio of interesting stories popped up in the wine world this past week. One wine critic admitted to his struggles with snobbery, thieves made off with millions in Champagne reserved for the queen and one Japanese day spa is going bonkers for wine baths. 
 
A Snob is a Snob is a Snob
Wine critic William Sitwell came clean this past week in The Telegraph, admitting his penchant for high-browery and openly rebuking those who mix their wine with ice cubes and juice.
 
With the denouncement of wine snobbery all the rage these days, Sitwell's had an air of refreshing self-realization to it. 
 
After chronicling a wine drinking outing in which he named-dropped like a boss – Cheval Blanc, Mouton-Rothschild, Haute Brion and d'Yqem – he continued the narrative. 
 
“We felt the need to keep the party going so, so we (went) to The Crown pub. I order some wine,” he wrote. “It tasted filthy, weak, watery, acrid and horrible. 'I can't drink this filth,' I thought.” 
 
Sitwell relented and ordered a pint of Guinness.
 
He then went on to list the difficulties of being a wine snob, not the least of which is being stuck in the awkward position of having to drink wines brought by friends who lack the palate finesse of more refined imbibers. 
 
“I'm getting picky about glasses. How can you get the full pleasure of a riesling from a fat stemless glass,” he asked. “I suppose I could quit drinking. Then again, have you seen now filthy some of the waters are out there?”
 
A Royal Heist
“Go big or go home” seems to be the motto of a band of thieves who swiped more than $2 million worth of Champagne from the warehouse used to supply the Queen with her bubbly. 
 
According to a story in The Independent, the thieves turned CCTV cameras away from the scene of the crime as they drilled a 4-foot by 4-foot hole into the warehouse wall. The paper noted that the hole was such that it avoided a security laser mere inches above the opening.
 
Once inside, they had a jolly good time making off with some pricey sparklers. 
 
The group made a beeline for the warehouse's most prestigious bottles, forming a human chain to pass the bottles from person to person, the paper reported. 
 
Once the heist was complete, the thieves celebrated appropriately, popping open a bottle of Moet and Chandon and toasting to a job well done.
An arrest has yet to be made, though local police continue to investigate the case.
 
Not Your Average Bath
While research shows that the advantages of wine baths are suspect, tourists and locals alike continue to visit Hakone Kowakien Yunessun, a spa outside of Tokyo where patrons are treated to a wine bath fed by a giant replica of a Merlot bottle. 
 
A Vice reporter visited the spa a few years ago and said the red-wine pool was about the size and depth of a minivan. 
 
A Metro (U.K.) video of the spa facility published recently showed patrons of all ages wading in the light-crimson water. 
 
According to the news outlet, the spa also includes sake baths, a green tea pool and a coffee pool, all of which are purported to provide health benefits for those who dare dive into the murky waters of the quirky spa. 
 
“There does look to be quite a lot of children in the pool filled by a giant bottle of red, but the parents don't look too concerned,” the story said. 
 
A Vice photo of the spa facility shows a lifeguard carefully watching over slides which spit their riders out into a pool of green tea. 
 
Photo Credit: Yunessun.com

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