Most wine drinkers know once a bottle of wine peaks it begins its steady decline becoming less and less palatable. Those who drink wine on a regular basis typically don’t have rotting corpses hanging out on their wine racks. But did you know the hugh and antioxidants are in the rind?
Wines are red only because fermentation extracts color from the grape skins. White wines are fermented sans skins. This is why red wine is more antioxidant than white. It’s also why you sometimes get a wonderful white Pinot, albeit confusing.
The world’s oldest bottle of wine, still intact far beyond its peak date, dates back to A.D. 325. It was found near the town of Speyer, Germany, inside one of two Roman sarcophaguses. It’s on display at the town’s Historisches Museum der Pfalz. Now there’s a famous corpse.
Believe it or not (believe it) the art of fine winemaking stemmed from divine intervention. Twelfth-century monks to be exact. In fact, monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux are still making wine in California today.
Although wine was already being made in Europe during Roman times the first people to develop French vineyards were monks from the eleven hundreds. Monastic wine tours are some of the most popular tours in France.
The most famous champagne is named after a monk, Dom Pierre Perignon (1638-1715 AD). An advocate of everything organic, Dom Perignon improved on viticulture and developed techniques that are still used now.
Benisse ce vin.
An Italian study showed women who drank two glasses a day have a higher sex drive. In men wine actually increases testosterone circulating in their bodies by inhibiting the way they excrete the hormone.
Ladies, remember being told to watch out when it comes to drinking calories? Not to worry. The risk of becoming overweight was thirty percent lower in women who drank two alcoholic beverages a day.
There, it’s settled. Wine remains the most potent aphrodisiac to keep our population going. Cheers!
No, the French didn’t invent wine. Le sigh.
While scientists have dated fossilized grape vines at sixty million years old, the oldest archeological evidence of wine was found in modern day Iran. What is widely considered the best evidence of winemaking is now referred to as, The Haji Firuz Tepe wine jar.
According to the ancient Greeks their god, Dionysus invented wine while living in Mount Nysa in an attempt to seduce the lovely nymphs surrounding him. Guessing those were his college years? Not a surprising action from the son of Zeus.
There are conflicting theories to who and what actually invented wine. I’m going to throw out the suggestion it was more discovered than invented. From Greek mythology to biblical stories let’s just say wine remains an enigma both surreal and wonderful.
Egyptians, Persians, and Saxons all pledged honor with a cup of spirits. Toasting was so important to the Romans the Senate made it law all diners drink to Emperor Augustus before each and every meal. In ancient times up until today the toast is and has been a third person expression of goodwill and honor.
It’s been speculated toasting began as a sacrificial libation to the gods, back when blood or wine were offered in exchange for a wish granted or prayer answered. Perhaps this is why we say things like, “To a long life.” and “To your health.”
The term toast came into fashion during the seventeenth century when flavoring drinks with spiced toast was popular. A toast has always been a show of reverence and appreciation.
So raise your glasses!
“May you live as long as you want, and never want for as long as you live.”
Robert Mondavi did it, Mike Grgich did it, and now the newest cult winemaker in Napa Valley, Dave Bos is doing it. I got a chance to sit down with Dave and taste his 2015 "Ode to Fume" but more importantly to learn what the FUME is FUME? The 2015 Ode is a tantalizing, mouth-tingling, white wine that pays homage to both the varietal Sauvignon Blanc as well as those who championed it.
Dave Bos’ 2015 Ode to Fume is a crispy new Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and is a pleasure for every occasion. Dave spent 10 years at Grgich Hills and biodynamically farmed over 350 acres for Mike Grgich. He believed in the true potential of biodynamic farming and started his own business teaching vintners all over California his tricks of the trade. In the process, his Midas touch stumbled across killer vineyards that he couldn’t pass up making wine from. The 2015 “Ode to fume” Sauvignon Blanc is from several noteworthy vineyards in Calistoga.
So what the FUME’ is Fume Blanc? It’s okay, I needed a quick VinCyclopedia refresher too. I’ll give you 30 second elevator version. Are you sitting? Fume’ Blanc is actually a made up word……whaaaaa? I know I feel like I just exposed Santa. But it’s kind of like what Uber did for Taxi’s. So much cooler to take a taxi now that it’s called an Uber. In the late 60’s Sauvignon Blanc was like the kid that sat alone at the lunch table. Nobody understood him. No one accepted him. Misunderstood this varietal floundered until Mr. Mondavi wrapped his arms around the poor little guy and marched him straight up to the cool kids table. Mondavi did so by switching winemaking styles on his Sauvignon Blanc from sweet to dry. He denoted the change to his customers by calling it “Fume Blanc, derived from Pouilly-Fume, which was one of the most popular dry-style Loire Valley wines made from Sauvignon Blanc. Rather than copywriting the name, Mondavi offered to allow anyone to use it to market their dry-style Sauvignon Blanc (even Dave Bos). The difference in style is often an addition of barrel fermentation and/or aging in oak which makes this style of SB a little more luscious, round, and less green than a stainless fermented SB.
So…. essentially today’s wine is an ODE to Fume which was an Ode to Pouilly Fume…Get the picture? Kind of like how Old New York was once New Amsterdam. I think we just all need a glass of this gosh darn delicious ODE that Dave and his wife Jackie made.
If you want to try this faux wine out.....you will have to do so in the next 48 Hours on our site! Cheers! Jenny
The best outing to slow down and take in that overdue dose of rest and relaxation is the beach, a good book, and a bottle of wine. Whether you’re traveling to the coast, or truckin to your final beachy destination be sure to pack one of these tried and true combos. Just click on the links below and sadal up!
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson is the perfect match for this sweet smoky Pinot. It boasts a well balanced acidity allowing for ripe fruit to tease your senses. Devour the now famous true story of how journalist and public figure, Jon Ronson had his identity stolen and his hell raising laugh out-loud adventures getting it back.
Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson pairs deliciously with this cool beach wine. Take Lawson on your White Zinfandel revolution with this crisp zanny rosé made from one hundred percent old vine grapes. This fantastic memoir is gut bustingly hilarious. The cover alone makes it a fantastic beach read because the demented taxidermied racoon in front of your face looks awesome.
Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid is as exotic and poetic as a 2015 Blackbird Dissonance Sauvignon Blanc. This wine lingers on the palate with bright acidity exuding mysterious aromas of peach, apple, and white flowers. Challenge your palate while Mohsin Hamid challenges the concept of love and borders.
With this no hassle bargain to fun and exciting books and wine you’re just mere clicks away from a perfect summer!
Don’t get caught up on how to pronounce this enticing, come-hither kind of wine. Gewurztraminer is a delicious, crisp, white wine with a very distinctive nose of white petal, spices and melon. It has awwwe-mazing minerality which makes it a no-brainer for just about any type of food. It’s typically found in Alsace but our friends at Clif Family get a VERY small batch of it from a famous vineyard called Ferrington.
You can’t help but smile stumbling across this pronunciation ….Really! Say it with me…..(guh-VOORTS-truh-MEE-nur). Wasn't that fun? You will sound like such a pro after our rehearsal and your family will be amazed. Plus the wine is complex and straight up thrilling to drink. Get it now….we have the last remaining inventory of this wine.
If you're still reading, you may want to go purchase the last remaining cases of this wine first! Only 48 hours left wine friends...and the clock is ticking.
The history of Clif Family is almost as exciting as the wine itself. Most of us are familiar with the Clif Bar. However, many of you may not know that the owners and founders of the company live right here in Napa Valley and are making another reputable name for themselves in the wine biz. Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford started the Clif business out of their garage. What is ULTRA impressive to learn, however, is the wide-ranging lifestyle brand Clif Family has grown into, including an expanded line of healthy food products, Clif Family Winery and tasting room and (from one of the best lunches I have ever had in Napa) the Bruschetteria Food Truck.
We often reflect on the course of a year, weather that is personal or business, but often giving the year a rating or a finite review. In wine this is no different; 2007 has been touted as the vintage of the decade in Northern California, leading many consumers and professionals alike seeking this particular vintage for many years to come. The issue; many vintners released these wines and sold through them years ago, leaving the quantity way less than the demand. In my daily activities as a salesperson to the wine wholesale market, I see this first hand. I have a supplier that recently released their 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and I was fortunate enough to be showing the wine during a sales trip last week. While visiting with many restaurant sommeliers they all shared a common thought, “We have a lack of 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon on our wine list, as many of our patrons will pass over other vintages to drink this sought after vintage. Restaurants that have ample storage and purchased a large supply of this vintage have even sold through the majority of this vintage based on demands.
The Vintage has received rave reviews from the likes of Robert Parker of Wine Advocate (96 Points), Steve Heimoff of Wine Enthusiast (95 Points), & James Laube of Wine Spectator (97 Points). The vintage was also a winemaker’s dream with a vintage of not only outstanding quality, but also a decent yield. The year started with an early bud break with no spring rains or frost, which leads to a longer maturation period due to consistent temperatures with no heat spikes. This left the grapes with small clusters of dense concentrated fruit. I have mentioned in previous posts, Great winemakers make great wines in bad vintages, in 2007 the year started with great fruit which is the basis for making great wine. 2007 was the vintage that if you did not make terrific wine then you may have seriously considered firing your vineyard crew or cellar staff. Seriously, it was that difficult to make a subpar wine in ’07.
Given all these attributes and demand it is tough to pass on any 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, as they are drinking well now, but could also be cellared for another 5 – 7 years to reach full potential. This is a wine that I suggest stocking up on as gifts, special occasions, cellaring, and to drink now. The 2007 is ideal for all occasions. While most wineries that have any 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (mostly are library releases) are raising prices significantly on this vintage, as I have seen most raised 100% from the original release prices, Vinformant.com is offering this 2007 RustRidge Cabernet Sauvignon at a significant 30% discount. This will only be available for a limited time, so stock up now!
RustRidge Winemaker, Kent Rosenblum (Yes, that Kent Rosenblum), “The King of Zinfandel” is making terrific wines from the wonderful estate vineyards in Chiles Valley. Needless to say, Kent is a world renowned winemaker and a living icon in the wine industry. His 2007 vintage wines have been rated among the best in the world. The 2007 RustRidge Cabernet Sauvignon is no different; the wine shows wonderful restraint and is a great representation of Chiles Valley which is a Northeastern Sub-appellation of the Napa Valley. This is an ideal location to grow Cabernet Sauvignon given the high elevation of the Vaca Mountain range that engulfs the region; this elevation yields to limited top soils and a phenomenally drained mineral laden volcanic base giving the grapes the right amount of stress to produce top notch fruit. The proximity of Lake Hennessy to Chiles Valley also serves to the micro climate; insultating the vineyards during spring time frosts and cooling the vineyards during the peak heat of summer. With the pedigree of this wine from vintage, to winemaker, to appellation this will be a wine not to miss!
Do you ever have a wine varietal which you just can’t seem to find much within the bottle that you enjoy? Tasting with other wine professionals and novices alike I think everyone has at least one. I feel that it is important to see a wine for what it is and what the winery or winemaker is trying to achieve with each individual style, but that doesn’t mean that I will like it. However, for me, the one varietal that I can't seem to pallet has been Zinfandel. The alcohols can seem intrusive up in to the 16% level. The wines have so much juicy extraction with flavors of prunes, and sweet baked fruit. For this reason when I was given my Zinfandel assignment I held off for as long as possible. On the upside I did see that the bottle was from Maroon Winery and I have always appreciated the classic nature of their Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. I thought to myself, would this Reserve Old Vine Zin be one that I can truly enjoy and welcome with open arms? To my pleasant surprise the alcohol was in check at a modest 14.5%, the color was gleaming and translucent, and the nose had a pleasant balance of toasty oak and dark briery fruit.
After all the time I have spent knocking Zinfandel, maybe I have not given this wine enough promise as of late. This wine was impressive in balance that boasts nice acidity and a more refined complex flavors then the other versions I tried in the past. The wine had great finesse and led to an evening of rack of lamb, which I believed would be the perfect pairing. Wow! Not kidding, when you order this wine venture down to the local butcher and grab a rack… of Lamb. I make a relatively simple lamb especially when the butcher French cuts the lamb. Just rub it with salt and pepper, pan sear it browning each side, then rub it with minced garlic and Dijon mustard, put it in the oven for about 12 – 15 minutes at 450 degrees and then eat delicious medium rare lamb. Serve with a little caramelized onion chutney and a glass (or bottle) of Maroon Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel for full enjoyment.
I had given up on Zin and this was my own fault, as I gave up too soon. I probably have tried less than ten Zinfandel over the past 7 years and this mainly coming from my naive youth in the wine industry. I was trying what could be seen as the wrong zins as many were from those main stream brands and not these lesser known, small production, and handcrafted wineries. Not only will I give Zinfandel another chance, but maybe I will try to get over my paranoia of Viogner as well. So thank you Maroon for opening my eyes.
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