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Stags Leap District, Vineyard to Vintner, April 25 – 27, 2014

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Always a good time, involving 19 wineries in the Stags Leap District, a special open house, one-on-one access, culinary pairings and exclusive tastings.  You will be treated like royalty, away from the tasting room crowds.

For more information, check out their website, www.stagsleapdistrict.com/V2V

 

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Clos Pegase, Napa Memories

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From the Digital Journal, August 21, 2013, “Vintage Wine Estates Purchases Clos Pegase Winery.”  And in the Wine Spectator, “Napa’s Clos Pegase Sold.”

I have a fondness for this winery.  In my early wine sojourns and education, this was an true find.  The fine architecture of the facility, and fine art throughout, made it a special experience.

And the wines were wonderful in my price range, an early entrant into the market for oaky-buttery Chardonnays, especially “Mitsuke’s”, named for the wife of the founder and owner, Jan Schrem.

But the most phenomenal experience came one New Year’s in the early 2000s, when I attended a party inside the caves of the facility.  What a sight!  A long aisle with tables for 8, each with candelabras and lighted candles, totaling probably 15-20 tables.  On both sides of the aisles were aging barrels of wine.  The food was fantastic, everyone was dressed beautifully, and as the evening went on, the noise level elevated with laughter–wine tends to do that to people.

To cap the evening, in a far corner of the caves was a small amphitheater, where a band began to play, encouraging the early dancers.  As the countdown to the New Year took place, the dance floor was in high gear, with hats and duck callers.  Easily one of the most memorable New Year’s Eve celebrations of my life.

I had the opportunity to attend again a few years later.  The candelabras with lighted candles were replaced by ice sculptures on each table.  Turned out the burning candles raised the temperature in the cellar beyond what was acceptable.

The second time was memorable as well, but as is often the case in life, it didn’t capture the same magic of the first time experience in those caves.

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Tim Fish On Best Temps for Wine Drinking

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Tim Fish as Dr. Vinny, blogpost on proper serving temperatures of wine. 

I’m apparently drinking my reds too warm and my whites too cold!

 

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IntoWine, “Top 100 Most Influential U.S. Winemakers”

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Recent post by Michael Cervin published on IntoWine.com.

Some surprises, and of course, subjective calls.  For example, I love both Thomas Rivers Brown and Justin Smith.  To rank one at #84 and the other at #19, begs the criteria.

My first introduction to the website, www.intowine.com.  I will be bookmarking it, as it seems to be a good aggregator of wine information.

 Here is more information on Michael Cervin.

 

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Dr. Vinifera on Opening Older Wine Bottles

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From Tim Fish of Wine Spectator, as Dr. Vinny, June 2013

Quick answer: careful and skillful use of the Ah-So…if it starts to drive the cork down further into the neck, use the waiter’s corkscrew and work slowly.

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Study: Another Reason for Daily Wine, by James Hamblin

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From the Atlantic Magazine, May 2013.

Key Points:

The full study, “Soda and Other Beverages and the Risk of Kidney Stones” is published in Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Kidney stones are a painful and expensive medical problem.  This is a eight-year study involving data from 194,095 patients.

The results: Things associated with decreased risk of stones: caffeinated coffee (33 percent decreased risk), decaffeinated coffee (16 percent), tea (11 percent), red wine (31 percent), white wine (33 percent), beer (41 percent), and orange juice (12 percent).

I love the final conclusion: Meanwhile for healthy people the healthiest diet seems to involve at least seven glasses of wine per week.

Between caffeinated coffee, and my daily wine consumption, no kidney stones dare tread near!

 

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Who Is: Jean Hoefliger

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GM and Winemaker for Alpha Omega

www.aowinery.com

Consulting Winemaker for

  • Audace Wines
  • Sunshine Valley Wines
  • Virage
  • Clark-Claudon
  • The Debate
  • Red Tail Hawk Winery
  • Armanino Family Cellars
  • Decades5
  • Monteverro, Capalbia, Italy
  • Maldonado Vineyard

Formerly,

  • Winemaker, Newton Vineyard
  • Asst Winemaker, Chateau Lynch-Bages
  • Asst Winemaker, Chateau Carbonnieux

From www.premiernapawines.com,

Country born: Switzerland

Education: Winemaking and viticulture degree at the Swiss Federal School of Changins.

Bio: Jean Hoefliger was born and raised in Switzerland. His experience took him from Switzerland to Bordeaux and South Africa, making wine at the esteemed estates of Chateau Lynch-Bages, Chateau Carbonnieux and Meerlust. Completing a winemaking and viticulture degree at the Swiss Federal School of Changins, Jean came to California in 2001 where he spent five years as winemaker for Newton Vineyard. He joined Alpha Omega in 2006.

Winemaking philosophy: Jean’s winemaking decisions are based solely on taste, starting in the vineyards and continuing through fermentation. Jean tries to bring the true character of the vine and the terroir into the wine by making naturally fermented, unfined and unfiltered wines that show elegance, finesse and the capacity to age

Honors / Awards: While at Newton Vineyards, Jean’s Epic Merlot and Puzzle 2002 received 94 points from Robert Parker, and 97 points on the 2003 Unfiltered Chardonnay. Most recently, with his new project Alpha Omega, the AO flagship wine ERA 2006 scored 94 from the Wine Spectator on its first release. The ERA 2007 scored 92 points from Robert Parker and the Proprietary Red 2006 scored 95 points from the Wine Enthusiast and was also chosen as a “Top Cellar Collection” for the year. The Chardonnay 2007 received a 94 in Wine Spectator and the To Kalon 2007 received a 97 from the Wine Enthusiast.

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Who Is: Michel Rolland

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From a recent bio provided by Artisan Wine Depot,

Michel Rolland is arguably the world’s most famous consulting winemaker; he has worked for the absolute best of the best wineries from around the world:

  • Angélus
  • Ausone
  • Pontet-Canet in Pauillac
  • Ornellaia in Tuscany
  • Harlan Estate
  • Bryant Family
  • Araujo
  • Dalla Valle
  • Staglin Family

A New York Times article on Michel Rolland: 

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Tribidrag to Zinfandel, the Nobel History–Jon Bonne’

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From the March 3, 2013 article in the SF Chron, Jon Bonne’discusses the historical lineage of California’s favored grape.

I suggest we keep the name Zinfandel–Tribidrag doesn’t exactly roll off your tongue…

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Recommended Wines

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February 4, 2013, from Jennifer Hagan:  Recent trip to Duckhorn Winery, enjoyed a bottle with a black label called “Discussion” a bourdeaux blend, and highly recommends it.   I called the winery, and they are sold out of the ’08, with the release of the ’09 expected in April, at $125 per bottle.  Based on past history of Duckhorn wines, this will be one to try.

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