Big Win in Massachusetts — and Not Just by the Patriots

This post is by from Pinot Law

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The folks over at ShipCompliant have a great discussion about a very important (and encouraging) decision out of Massachusetts last week. The court (the District Court for the District of Massachusetts) came down on the side of fair distribution laws for out-of-state wineries. The Court essentially found that Massachusetts was favoring in-state wineries over out-of-state competitors, which is a no-no under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.mass.jpg

One of the things that is being lost in the coverage, however, is that the case was won on summary judgment — that means the court looked at the facts in a light most favorable to the defendants (i.e. the wholesalers and the state of Massachusetts) and concluded that the challenging party (in this case consumers and out-of state distributors) had the law on their side. I am no litigator, but I do know that very few cases are won on summary judgment — it essentially means that the facts of the case demonstrated a clear violation of the law.

As noted by ShipCompliant, the case is a great read for an overview of wine shipping law. I also agre that the court does a great job of describing the three tier system:

The wine distribution system is shaped like an hourglass, in that there are a large number of producers (the top) and a large number of consumers (the bottom), but significantly fewer wholesalers (the middle). This structure has the effect of giving wholesalers greater bargaining power with both wineries and retailers in states where it is mandatory to have a wholesaler. Generally wholesalers prefer to carry a larger volume of a particular wine, rather than an equivalent volume of several wines, because it is more profitable for a wholesaler to warehouse, manage and sell a single wine. Many wineries produce both specialty wines in small quantities and higher volume wines.

There is one distinction in this analogy that I would draw: the comparison suggests that all those wine producers at the top of the hourglass will have their wine shipped to all those consumers at the bottom. But that is the problem with the wholesalers in the middle: they have neither the interest or the ability to ship that wine for smaller producers. Only some of that sand is making it to the bottom of the hourglass, and that’s an unfortunate loss for wineries and wine consumers.

Welcome to Massachusetts used under a Creative Commons license provided by freakapotimus.

Custom Wine Cellar in New Jersey

This post is by from Building Wine Cellars by Joseph and Curtis

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We recently had the pleasure of completing a custom wine cellar made of 100% mahogany for a private client in Summit NJ. We were referred to the client by a designer we had worked with on a previous cellar in Westfield NJ.

The basement was unique (it was a 3′ crawl space) which was dug out by hand and raised to 9′ ceilings. We began by consulting with the homeowner and builder about the overall design of the finished space. Once we had an idea as to the finishes and materials of the basement we began to formulate a design and look.

The homeowner was very detail oriented, with African mahogany wood raised panel and coffer ceilings throughout the entire basement. We decided the wine cellar needed to blend with the overall look yet have its own unique footprint in the space. We decided to build the racking out of 100% Malaysian mahogany (which is a lighter species of mahogany than African) to really contrast the other woodwork in the basement.

The homeowner had a very cool idea of adding a cut out in the center of the wine cellar for a hand painted mural of his families Tuscan villa (it really makes the room pop).

The next step was turning a sump room closet which was attached to the wine cellar and turning it into a continuation of the refrigerated climate controlled space. We decided to go with “high reveal display rows” and a custom cabinet was fitted over the sump pump. The end result is a seamless transition which enabled more refrigerated custom wine cellar storage.

The next step was the door. We decided that a Brazilian Mahogany custom wrought iron door would be just the fit. It sits right between 2 windows and 2 half wine barrel cut outs. The cooling system is a split unit which is also wrapped in a mahogany grill cover to match the racking.

The last step was the “rope lighting” for the display rows which adds a perfect way to keep the heat down (led light) yet wonderful ambiance to the wine cellar.

Overall we were very happy to complete the project on time, and as always on budget. The homeowners were thrilled with the space and it was a pleasure working with them. In the end we were happy to help the clients stock their wine cellar and to introduce them to what we feel is the absolute best cellar management system.

Please check back for the next blog article about stocking your cellar and cellar management systems.

Golfing wine

This post is by from handtomouth

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Of all the sportsmen that seem to love buying wine farms or making wine, none seem keener than golfers. Historically, rugby players were the sportsmen you could count on to be involved in this business, and this is still the case, but of late golfers have made a serious effort to lead the category (which probably says more about earnings in golf than anything else).

Of our local star golfers engaged in this 19th hole activity, we can list Ernie Els, David Frost, Retief Goosen and recently Gary Player. Cleary, these men don’t spend much time picking grapes, hauling pipes or rolling barrels. What they do is to find experts to collaborate with, to make the wine for them. These wines, with the famous name imprimatur, sell pretty well (and have captive markets in clubhouses).

Interestingly, all the wines made under the names of these golfers are red wines. I can only imagine this is because the bywords here are luxury and premium. The first of these wines I encountered was the Ernie Els, made by the team behind the Rust en Vrede and Guardian Peak wines. It’s been made since 2000, so now has something of a track record. This wine is rich and modern, but always made from the traditional Bordeaux varieties so that it retains a classical style. You can count on it to impress.
For some reason, I have only recently tried the David Frost, from his own farm in the Voor Paardeberg. A former Rust en Vrede winemaker is in charge of the wine making, interestingly, and of the four red wines in the range, I most enjoyed the “Par Excellence,” despite its name. It’s also made from the five Bordeaux stalwart varieties and is bold in style and tends towards the over-ripe. The other wines, single variety Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, took this too far and were far too big and alcoholic for my taste.

Recently, the Gary Player “Muirfield 1959” 2003 was released, made by the Quoin Rock winery. This is the most probing wine of the lot, since it’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinotage. It’s very rich, both on the nose and palate, where it is remarkably dense – and has an intriguing savoury dimension. Certainly a masculine wine, it continues to roll powerfully over your tongue, perhaps too forcefully, but I have great confidence in the Quoin Rock team so will be intrigued to track its development. Only nine future vintages are planned (to commemorate his nine Majors).

Unused Basement Becomes Stunning Wine Cellar

This post is by from Building Wine Cellars by Joseph and Curtis

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At Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars, we always enjoy the process of taking an unused space in a basement (picture a corner full of toys your kids haven’t played with in six years and a treadmill with laundry hanging on it!) and transforming it into a beautiful, value-added feature in a home.

We recently completed a custom wine cellar/tasting room in a beautiful home in Basking Ridge N.J. that began as just that. We approached the design from the outside in with an arched stone entrance leading to a massive hand made Knotty Alder and wrought iron Tuscan style entry door into the tasting room. We then repeated the stone aesthetic throughout the tasting room with two matching stone arches with custom diamond bin style wine racks on either side of them for “everyday” wine storage and inside the arch gave the customer a humidor cabinet with a display row on top.

An old wine press belonging to the homeowner’s father was brought into the tasting room and sits just adjacent to the entrance of the wine cellar. The dark distressed wood of the wine press and our All-Heart Redwood wine racks created an interesting visual contrast.

A large rectangular rustic dining table with chairs and a pair of vintage wine barrels that have been modified to become tasting tables provided ample space for entertaining. We finished the tasting room off with a mural of Tuscany (our client spent several years in Europe) which occupies the entire back wall and creates a dramatic backdrop for the room.

Opposite the wall with the mural is the entrance to the custom wine cellar. Repeating the wood species of the custom wine racks in the tasting room, we also built the custom wine racks in the cellar from 100% All Heart Redwood. A solid mahogany wine cellar entry door with a full glass panel allows guests to view the wine cellar without opening the door allowing the climate control system to operate efficiently. Although the space for the wine cellar was somewhat limited, we gave our client ample wine storage of nearly 1,200 bottles between the wine cellar and tasting room.

This beautiful custom wine cellar/tasting room has truly become a destination in the home. The owners are looking forward to dinner parties and hosting private wine tastings as well building their wine collection for years to come.

Contact Joseph & Curtis to turn your unused basement into a stunning custom wine cellar.


I’m Back — And so is Virginia

This post is by from Pinot Law

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Hey all. Sorry for dropping off the radar there, but a confluence of events pulled me in several different directions. Needless to say, I am not happy that I was out of the blogging scene for so long, but I promise some new changes that I think you will like.virginia-2008-10-03.jpg

With that being said, let’s address an issue that a lot of people seem to be talking about: Virginia wines. I think a lot of people should read this article regarding the status of the Virginia wine industry.

The central question in the article addresses how the Virginia wine industry can go from “distinctive” to “blockbuster.” The author concludes we can get there, but only if Virginia and its winemakers focus on three areas: more production, marketing and distribution.

Taking each in turn, I think the Virginia wine industry is up to the challenge.

  • Distribution: With the launch of the Virginia Winery Distribution Company (VWDC), small Virginia wineries now have an essential tool in their belt. While the VWDC only permits smaller wineries to ship to retail locations within the state, it will be an essential component for these same wineries to establish a market presence. If you are a Virginia winery that has not yet signed up with the VWDC — and only about 70 have so far — get cracking.
  • Marketing: This is obviously a key component for any business, particularly a winery. What some wineries may be unaware of, however, are the various resources at their disposal. The state of Virginia dedicates a decent chunk of change (from wine taxes) to market these wines, and have set up resources like this. Wineries need to work with their local chambers, local newspapers and anyone else they can get on board to get the word out. And of course, get active with your relevant wine trail, whether you are in the heart of Virginia, down by Thomas Jefferson’s place, near the Mason Dixon line or just outside of DC. Get involved and get out there.
  • Production: I don’t know what I can say here, except that Virginia’s growth in the number of wineries, has clearly led to an increase in production — according to this, Virginia has increased by 35% between 2001 and 2007. I know that our winery is looking to boost production, as are many in the area.

So there you have it my friends. Virginia is coming on strong, and I think the signs look good for the future. See you on the wine trail!

Welcome to Virginia used under a Creative Commons License provided by Joe Shlabotnik.

How to Build a Wine Cellar in NYC (And Fill It, Italian Style)

This post is by from Building Wine Cellars by Joseph and Curtis

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Saturday October 4th Joseph and Curtis Custom Wine Cellars will be at Italian Wine Merchants

108 East 16th Street
(between Park Avenue South & Irving Place)
New York, NY 10003
>>Google Map & Directions

Special Event: How to Build a Wine Cellar in NYC (And Fill It, Italian Style)

What happens to a wine that is not stored at 55 degrees and 70 percent humidity? How long should you hold on to your 1990 Barolo? What should you look out for when you store a wine?

Whether you are a budding enthusiast or a connoisseur, how you store your bottles is essential to the integrity of the wine.

This seminar, the first of its kind, explores wine storage options for the busy New Yorker with limited space. A professional cellar builder from Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars will lead the first half, discussing some options from the wine refrigeration unit to transforming your closet into a wine cellar.

An Italian Wine Merchants educator will also conduct a tasting and provide information on building a balanced collection; it is a nice opportunity to taste wines before they go into your collection. Six wines will be featured including everyday wines, entertainment wines, cellar-worthy, and a rare treat.

Please come and join us for what should be a great day to enjoy some fabulous wines.

If you are interested in attending please call 212.473.2323 x129

Affordable luxury in the world of wine

This post is by from A World Class Wine Blog

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Image from The Wine Lovers

Image from The Wine Lover's

In yesterday’s New York Times, Eric Asimov wrote a wonderful article with the pointed opening line, “Arguments and disagreements rage over styles, tastes and preferences, but I think everybody can agree on one thing about wine: The less spent, the better.”

Amen, Eric!  When the economy is dancing around like a fresh caught crappie, it’s more important than ever to find the diamonds in the rough.  That’s why he wrote about our latest Vouvray.

“The Loire is so versatile, and so blessedly undervalued… Vouvray is a famous name in wine that is often compromised by indifferent winemaking, but Bernard Fouquet’s Domaine des Aubuisières makes terrific Vouvrays. His 2007 Cuvée de Silex ($16.99) is rich and lively with a floral edge that can seem like a touch of honey.”

Click here for a wonderful article on the word Silex and the role of geology in Vouvray.

Click here for the New York Times article of 23 September 2008.

Posted in France Tagged: Loire, Silex, value wine, Vouvray

Mahi Twin Valleys Gewurztraminer 2006

This post is by from In Vino Veritas

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Price: $22.49 @ Blanchards
Recommended by:
Our love of the Gewurztraminer grape

This is the first Gewurztraminer we have tried from New Zealand. We love the Sauvignon Blancs from the Marlborough region and were eager to give this wine a chance. Like the other wines we have tried from this region, Mahi is bold. Not much subtle here. However, it wasn’t so much citrusy as it was flowery. It had a really strong rose flavor. I almost didn’t believe Rob when he took his first sip and said, “rose petal.” I thought he pulled that out his rear end. But it is indeed very rosy. If you’re not into flowery wines, we would skip this one. You can taste the spicy side of this wine when pairing it with spicy food (it went well with the ethnic spices we rubbed on the swordfish). Otherwise, it’s mainly rosy with a bit of citrus. We probably won’t buy this one again, especially given the price. We’ll take our Chateau Ste Michelle over this any day.


RIP, the wild man of the Loire

This post is by from A World Class Wine Blog

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The Wild Man of the Loire, Dagueneau.

The Wild Man of the Loire, Dagueneau.

This has been a tough year … first Robert Mondavi, then Sergio Zenato, and now Didier Dagueneau.

Mr. Dagueneau was killed in a plane crash yesterday in southwestern France.  This was a man who put his personal style first and foremost, and invited the critics to crush him if they wish.  They returned his offer with massive scores and press for his dynamic and unforgettable wines.  He was quirky, opinionated, a risk taker, and simply one of the more fascinating characters in the world of wine.  They are the kind of people that make the wine world interesting.

We express our sympathy to those close to him.  We’ve lost another one of the greats.  Pop a bottle of Silex, if you have it, and raise a glass.

More here.


This post is by from handtomouth

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It’s a bit of a “watch this space” – the re-launch of wine estate Delaire – but I was reminded of the winery again because SABC3 are rebroadcasting their mini-series on the life of mining legend Barney Barnato. Diamonds have been the vector in a number of rags-to-riches life stories (as they have unfortunately caused worlds of pain) and the more notable the diamond, the bigger the story. The new owner of Delaire, Laurence Graff, is known as the King of Diamonds, so this is one big story.
Graff began as a teenage apprentice in a London diamond workshop and wheeled and dealed his way to the top. He now sells rocks to the likes of Oprah Winfrey and David and Victoria Beckham, along with your usual Saudi prince or two, who buy them like candy. Much of his business is done on private yachts and cities like Monte Carlo and Cannes. He’s the kind of guy that understands the world that James Bond inhabits.

So when he bought this piece of Helshoogte real estate, you knew there would be action and that the action would be worth a look. It’s a corner of the Cape with some pedigree. Thelema and Tokara are immediate neighbours, and Zorgvliet is another rich man’s plaything with a state-of-the-art cellar. Today there’s a lot going on at Delaire, from a total revamp of the cellar and vineyards to the building of a luxury hotel and restaurant. It’s a building site at the moment, but there are no flies on this project. Chris Kelly has been appointed as winemaker, and he’s been told in no uncertain terms that his goal is to make a wine that ranks among the world’s best. Kelly has settled on a very ambitious time-frame of ten years to achieve this.

One expects the new Delaire range to be frightfully expensive. Kelly, who was one of the first Cape winemakers to explore the idea of the flagship white blend with the Kumkani VVS (Viognier, Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc) will be heartened by the range of whites he has on the farm – and the prices that flagship white wines are being put into the market at these days. For example, Steenberg have just launched their Magna Carta at R395. Steenberg is backed by the deep pockets of mining magnate Graham Beck, so taking these risks with the market is mitigated. Delaire will be in much the same position to make a few statements, and word has it Graff is not shy to make a few.

Central Coast Tastings: SLO & Arroyo Grande

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Wrapping up our Labor Day vacation in the Central Coast, we decided to squeeze in a few more wine tastings. We focused on those close to San Luis Obispo, where we were staying. Returning to Talley was a must – we went there on our honeymoon and they are a great Pinot Noir producer. I wanted to check out Baileyana, as I’d never been there before and the winemaker, Burgundian native Christian Roguenant, has his imprint on a number of different labels (including Alma Rosa). And Jennifer was jonesing for some sparklers, so we capped off the day at Laetitia, the premier sparkling wine maker in the Central Coast.
Marya Figueroa)

Baileyana tasting room, the historic Independence Schoolhouse, on Orcutt Road in San Luis Obispo. (photo: Marya Figueroa)

We started at Baileyana in the mid-morning and luckily for us the place was empty – the calm before the storm (read: stretch SUV limos and drunkards!). The owners also have a white-wine focused effort called tangent, so both Baileyana and tangent are poured in the same tasting room. We tried one of the tangent wines – Ecclestone, a blend of different white varietals, including Viognier, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and others. It was very refreshing, had a nice medium weight on the palate with lovely apricot and tangerine notes. I was most focused on the Pinot Noir, so I zeroed in on the 2006 Baileyana Grand Firepeak Cuvee. As suspected, it had a more Burgundian profile. The nose had a touch of earth and the palate showed red cherry, dark cherry and some clove. Good structure – still tightly wound, but there was definitely a lot going on. This is a well-made Pinot and one that should do well in the cellar.

We ambled over to Talley Vineyards next. The tasting bar is huge, with four to five sides and at least four people behind the bar. This was good because the SUV limo rolled in right after we did, so there was plenty of room for all. Plus they had a basket of toys for our Miss B to play with – bonus points for any winery that offers toys. Talley offers a number of different wines to try, so the choices can be overwhelming. Luckily they made it easy on us, as this weekend they were releasing their latest Pinot Noirs and had a flight of five different Pinot Noirs to taste. They were all amazing, but our favorites (all 2006) were the Edna Valley, Stone Corral Vineyard and the Rincon Vineyard. The Rosemary’s Vineyard was also delicious but needed some time. The Stone Corral had a restrained bouquet, but on the palate displayed both earth and red fruits and had a great finish, where I detected a hint of coca (no, not a soupcon, just a hint). We also tasted and picked up a bottle of Mano Tinta, a Syrah blend where all the proceeds from the sale of the wine benefit a special fund for vineyard and farm workers. The Talleys have been in the Arroyo Grande community for a long time, so they do a great job of giving back to the community.

Laetitia also had a good lineup of Pinots – five in their current releases. They have even more sparkling wines. Laetitia was actually founded by Deutz, as that Champagne house was in search of one of the best sites to make Methode Champenoise sparkling wines in California. It was sold to Jean Claude Tardivat, who renamed the winery after his daughter. So given its sparkling wine heritage, Jennifer, a huge bubbly fan these days, was keen on trying them. She went for the sparkling flight, while I opted for, you guessed it, more Pinots! She really liked the 2005 Brut de Blancs, while I favored the 2006 Pinot Noir “777″, which had some good earth.

There are a ton more wineries to visit in the region, ranging from Edna Valley producers down to Santa Maria and beyond, but this was all we could squeeze in this time. A good sampling and some great bottles to pack in to our already overstuffed car.

Stephen Vincent Crimson 2005

This post is by from In Vino Veritas

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Price: $11.99 @ Blanchard’s (J.P.)
Recommended by: store advertisement
We’re generally fans of domestic red blends, and this wine’s blend of Syrah (75%) and Cabernet (25%) was too enticing to pass up . . . especially after drinking two orders of sake with dinner. 🙂 It was a good call. This wine started out very fruity (mostly cherry and plum) and peppery with a strong alcohol flavor (it IS 14.5% alcohol after all). It closed with a smooth cinnamon and licorice finish. Nice. It’s worth noting that this wine got better as we drank it. Next time we might decant it for a bit before partaking. However, having finished the bottle, we have no regrets and feel no pain. Cheers.


Dona Paula Shiraz-Malbec 2006

This post is by from In Vino Veritas

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Price: $12.99
Recommended by: gift from Mike
We were delighted when our friend Mike brought this wine over, but we chose poorly when we ordered Chinese food to accompany it. The Chinese food was great, the wine was great, but the pairing didn’t quite work. This wine, with 60% Shiraz and 40% Malbec, will go better with other foods, particularly grilled meats. It has a nice, earthy, cherry flavor with hints of cocoa and tobacco, and it exhibits a long smooth, happy finish. For the price, this is a great wine, and we look forward to trying it again soon!

: 7.5/10

MÄHLER-BESSE Jumilla Taja Reserva 2003

This post is by from In Vino Veritas

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Price: $10.99 @ Gary’s Liquors, W. Roxbury, MA
Recommended by: 90 points by Wine Spectator
Comments: We have been drinking mostly whites this summer, but decided to switch to red tonight. We normally enjoy Spanish red blends, and this one is no exception. It was very good! It is a blend of 50% Monastrell (Mourvèdre), 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Tempranillo, and 10% Merlot. It is a dry wine but has a nice, bold fruity flavor; the variety of grapes integrate with the tannins quite nicely. We would really enjoy this with pizza!


Wine training and Project Laduma

This post is by from handtomouth

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Blessed with wonderful (and wonderfully visitor-friendly) wine regions, the Cape is a fabulous proposition for wine lovers. Our setting can’t be beaten, and as our wines improve in quality there are very few wine regions in the world that can compete on our total package, with the good value of our wines being a certain trump card.

Yet, the one place outside the wineries where our wines could be introduced and enjoyed by locals and visitors – but has historically been neglected or treated very carelessly – is the South African restaurant. I have written before about the ruthless mark-ups imposed on wine by restaurants. These margins come with precious little value added to the bottle. All we can do about over-priced lists is vote with our feet, or complain. 300 percent mark-ups still amaze me, since friendlier wine prices always result in higher turn-around and happier customers.

On another front, restaurants have generally not invested in the training of wait-staff in the nuances and details of the wine that they are serving. Again, it seems a no-brainer: you will certainly sell more if the waiter charmingly explains a wine you may not be familiar with. However, in a competitive industry, where part-time staff come and go, the restaurateur’s argument is that this may well be time and money wasted.

Wines of South Africa, the non-profit international marketing arm of the industry, have come up with an ingenious solution. Spurred by 2010, and to enhance the foreign visitor experience (but with the clear spin-off of making our experience better too), they have launched Project Laduma – the training of 2010 restaurant wine stewards by 2010.

It’s certainly ambitious, but what a great idea. Half of this number represents waiters and waitresses already in the industry and the other half will be a fresh crop drawn from the currently unemployed. Project Laduma is being launched this weekend and you can contribute by buying the Project Laduma wine.

The Laduma wine range has been selected through a blind tasting by the Cape Wine Makers’ Guild and will be sold in restaurants and retail outlets across the country for a limited period at approximately R120 (retail) and R150 in restaurants. Proceeds of all the wine sales will contribute toward the SETA accredited training programme. A total of 17 500 cases will be available for sale, with the hope of raising R4, 5 million for Project Laduma.

Old reds

This post is by from handtomouth

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The winery at Chamonix has a new restaurant, run by a French couple who used to have Mon Plaisir at the bottom of the Hartenberg Road. The new place is also called Mon Plaisir, and all pleasures are heightened by their list of French wines which augments the small list of Chamonix wines. In recent years, the Chamonix wines have really improved, led by their Pinot noir and Chardonnay reserve wines.
On a boeuf Bourguignon day a pinot was calling and the winery list featured the 2007 Chamonix Reserve Pinot Noir at R160. The French wine list featured a “village” Burgundy at R220. (Broadly, “village” is a term that refers to the basic level of Burgundy quality, before you get the “crus” where the individual vineyard is specified). Not that French wine is always better (though French pinot is usually truer to itself than our oaky versions), it is always interesting to taste, so we asked for the “village”.

The bottle that arrived was vintage 2001. Faced with the choice of drinking a fresh 2007 vintage red or a 2001, I will always choose the older. A red wine needs a few years to settle. Tannins knit, polymers join up, acids integrate. Some secondary flavours, called “bottle age,” often develop which add to the complexity of the drink. Besides all that, here in the Cape we so often drink only the young stuff that it is a treat to get older wine to drink.

Wasn’t always like this of course. When cellar maturation was the norm, reds were designed to age – they were pretty tough to drink before a few years had elapsed. Today, the approach to wine-making and style of wine has swung 180 degrees. Reds are built to drink now. Both for rapid commercial turn-over and because the perception is that the market does not like tannin, it likes easy-drinking.
Hence, nowadays, many of our red wines do not age (in the sense of continuing to improve) for much over five years. These wines are less tannic, softer and more approachable in youth, and the corollary is that they do not mature and improve for long. In the old style of wine-making (still practised in many parts of Europe), a red wine is hard and unapproachable in its youth, tannic and leathery. After five years it’s beginning to be drinkable, but it’s only soft and smooth after 10.

“Modern” wines are “pre-integrated” through riper fruit and soft handling and age is often not a prerequisite to further pleasure. The flip is that they will not go the same distance. In many ways, the red that really needs a decade to reach optimal drinking is now a relic of another era. This column salutes the 1975 Zonnebloem Shiraz. A month ago, still a wine to enjoy.

Petit Bourgeois Sauvignon Blanc 2007

This post is by from In Vino Veritas

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Price: $10.99
Recommended by:
manager’s selection at Macy’s Liquors (W. Roxbury, MA)

We usually drink Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand (and some from Napa) and love them, but this wine will force us to think about other regions. Petit Bourgeois is a bright, tangy wine that has no shortage of flavor, yet finishes very smooth. Flavors of pineapple loom large along with a pleasant, forward grassiness. It was a great complement to our yummy veggie sandwiches on a hot summer day. Not our favorite, but we would buy this again.


Man Cave: DIY Network

This post is by from Building Wine Cellars by Joseph and Curtis

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Tuesday June 17 was an interesting day. Besides working on two cellars (one in Bernardsville NJ and the other in Basking Ridge NJ) We received a call from a woman named Becca from the “man cave show”. Becca was looking for some help and expertise with a wine cellar they were making for one of the episodes (season 2 #12) and asked if we would be interested.

We decided to do it after we finished our two projects which consisted of checking out 2 cooling systems. We got to the set around 3:15 and were immediately brought up to speed with the project (which was a finished basement space for the husband. It was being built when we arrived: tuscan finish paint on the walls, new lighting, new tables, couches, chairs etc, flat screen and A WINE CELLAR.

John (the head designer) asked us if we could provide a wine cellar cooling system since they did not have one…I asked John when do you need it by? His respone: 7pm Tuesday…..We went into a full court press calling our suppliers and found one which we were able to pick up at 4:57 (3 minutes before closing) and it was only 30 minutes from the set. Once we got the cooling system it was a mad dash back to the set and then it was action time.

We got a brief introduction with Tony “the goose” Siragusa and Jason Cameron the 2 hosts for the show. We walked each of them through what and how the system worked, how the cooling system would vent, how the condensation would be removed, and of course how the room would be cooled. Jason and the crew (about 7 guys) were taking care of the custom wine racks and the 2 custom french doors for the cellar.

The space was being finished with a tuscan distressed plaster look and was really coming together. Once Ivan the “paint guy” was finished with his shoot it was Joseph & Curtis time! We walked into the cellar and Jason turned to us and said hello and asked us to introduce ourselves and then asked us to describe what we would be doing to the wine cellar. He then asked us to describe how the cooling system worked, and where we would be placing it in the room. Once we hung the system we then spoke about the importance of having a climate controlled cellar and spoke briefly about the custom racks Jason was making.

Jason then thanked us and asked us to stick around for a couple more shots. After a couple more pics with Jason and Tony our work was finished.

Overall it was a GREAT experience and we hope to work with DIY, AND THE MAN CAVE SHOW in the near future.