I’m never one to make big leaps in my life. Yes, about every ten years or so, the lady Beth Fontaine (Tw) and I seem to subconsciously start the process to evaluate our future in the context of our present. Yet, I can’t say that I have ever just done something on a leap of faith, staring at nothing but risk and hoped for reward, but that is the only way that I can explain our rather sudden move back home to Napa Valley. And so we’re both happy to say that now after a month+ into our new lives back in wine country, that we’ve made a fantastic decision:
Wine country, almost by definition; is a gorgeous, relaxing, and delicious set of regions to visit. But how does one choose which region to visit and which wineries to whet one’s vinous whistle? Sometimes you just want a gorgeous setting, with wine that is at least, enjoyable. Other times you might just want the best wine that fits your palate, surroundings be damned. And sometimes you want to go beyond just the wine and have it paired with tasty bites of foodie porn. Fortunately, you now have at least one destination that takes all of these experiences and wraps them into one 3 hour, vino/foodie heavenly wine timeout from reality: the newly launched Jordan Vineyard & Winery (FB, Tw, YT, Fl, P, WL) “Estate Tour & Tasting.”
Sometimes simpler is better. Occam’s Razor, An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything, simple syrup: all things designed around the concept of simplicity, and are proven examples that complexity is not always better. This brings us to the issue of wine bottle closures, specifically, capping an unfinished bottle for the night. What’s the best temporary fastener? It is here that the simplicity of CapaBunga (FB, Tw, P) comes into the fore, in that “why didn’t I think of that??” type of manner.
Take a listen: monastrell wine is on the rise. Yep, I’m making a call, here in Q4 2013, that the monastrell grape will be a major #wine force across the vinous world in the next few years. Wine tends to follow cycles and loops in popularity…Napa cab is here to stay yes, ever since it blew up in the late 60′s and 70′s, but then there was chard right along with it, then zin hit, Italian varietals almost did in the late 80′s and early 90′s, but merlot did, big time. Then sideways pinot took over like a soft-handed monster, and bets on syrah didn’t pan out, while shiraz did (same grape, people). Now, riesling is on the rise, rosé is finally making it big, malbec has been charging for a few years now and
I PREDICT: monastrell throws down a hammer goblet of good quality, price, and sales.
It is with great excitement that I can announce my latest media trip abroad: I am headed back to Spain! Two years ago I had the fantastic pleasure to cover the rich wine, food, and cultural mecca of the Kingdom of Navarra. Now the Lady, Beth Fontaine of Rollerskating With Scissors, and I have the very fortunate chance to dig deep into another part of our favorite foreign food and wine hub: we are headed to the Region of Murcia (FB, YT, Wiki). We will taste the wines of this lesser known Spanish jewel, alongside the tremendous food that can always be counted upon in this Iberian cultural juggernaut. We will be attending 06/23/ – 06/28/13 courtesy of Instituto de Fomento de la Región de Murcia (INFO), and led by our trusty leader from Navarra, Michael Matilla (Kraynick/ARGOS). Follow along, as we tweet and Facebook with #Murcia8 (Tw, FB) & #Murcia (Tw, FB), post photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr, and of course, post here at Vinopanion - WineLog.net.
You might have noticed that I have been a bit MIA the last couple of months. Now I realize that I said that I would be more devoted to my vino bloggie-blog this year and I was…but then life got in the way. I work a pretty busy day job, as many of you know, conducting applied research for cancer drug development at a large biotech. I do all of the wine stuff on the side, which includes ambassador positions, education, consulting, and other writing gigs.
All of that adds up to a pretty fun and busy life, not to mention fantastic quality time with the Lady, of which and whom, I absolutely adore. Recently my side-life got even busier (but healthier), by getting pulled into triathlons by my bro in-law. I competed in my first USAT sanctioned adult race earlier this year, throwing up a 03:45:02 time in what many people consider to be the most difficult Olympic length triathlon, at Wildflower 2013. Whew…that’s a lot of moving parts! But OK enough whining, let’s talk about other people with side gigs, namely, insanely talented winemakers that produce wine under their own, tiny production labels.
So, uh, what the hell are infographics? Wikipedia defines them quite nicely as “graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.” While they’ve proliferated a ton in recent years and in very creative directions due to cool new online and offline tools, as well as very graphic-oriented news and sportscasts, we’ve actually been using them for many years. If you’ve ever looked a transit map, you’ve used an infographic.
Recently, there has been an explosion of very useful and very informative wine-related infographics. Leading the charge has been the super-fun wine folks at Wine Folly (Tw, FB, g+), led by fearless leader Madeline Puckette. They’ve put together a number of fantastic ones, that they also sell as posters, and rightfully so: knowledge can definitely be art. Another one that really popped out to me was directed my way by my buddy Steve; which nicely combines my science side (meta-analysis) with my wine side (flavors of white wine varietals).
Ahh, Chablis! One of the only French Appellation d’origine contrôlée, AOC (official wine appellation) to sport a single grape variety for its wines, Chablis has had a tremendously long and stupendously successful history as a wine-growing region. The first grape vines were planted during the start of the Roman occupation in what is now Burgundy, and Chablis and its pristine Chardonnay grapevines now occupy the northernmost corner of this ancient wine district. It was this historic wine region that we had the joy to explore last November with Pure Chablis (FB, Tw, WL), during a winemaker dinner designed by Boulevard Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Nancy Oakes.
Two Fridays ago we had the fortunate opportunity, courtesy of Petite Sirah I Love You (FB, Tw, WL), to attend their annual gala: the Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah 2013 tasting event at Rock Wall Wine Company. This event, now in its 7th year, is the premiere tasting event for Petite Sirah each year. Filling the Alameda warehouse of Rock Wall to a comfortable capacity, 50+ vintners of the fine dark grape are mixed with 30+ boutique food vendors, making for an extremely fun, chill, and tasty evening!
A longtime winery just outside of Murphys, CA in Calaveras County is up for sale. Chatom Vineyards, established in 1981 by San Franciscan Gay Callan, boasts 13 grape varieties planted on across 65 acres, all in the small and picturesque valley of Esmeralda of the Sierra Foothills. In 1990, Callan built the estate winery and tasting room along Highway 4, nicely situated only 2 miles outside of the wine tourism center of downtown Murphys. The winery makes 3 whites, 8 reds, and one very tasty dessert wine.
More after the jump, including an intro video by First Choice Business Brokers!