There was some action in the cocktail lounge and as I was pouring some burly Napa cab for a group of conventioneers, I felt a light tap on my shoulder. I turned around and the server standing next to me whispered with a sense of urgency that table 127 was looking for some Rothschild… I exchanged a few jokes with the 9 “gentlemen” eager to make the most out of their time away from home and hurried on toward table 127. Continue reading
Château Angélus and Pavie have released their 2012 vintages with prices that exceed those of 2011.
While the majority of châteaux both big and small have so far heeded calls from the trade to lower prices this year, the two Saint-Emilion properties have decided to defy such advice and go up instead. In a move that is evidently inspired by the estates’ recent elevation to “premier grand cru classé A”
Angélus has released 2012 a full 30% up on 2011’ and an enormous 205% on the 2008 price.
Matching its fellow Premier Grand Cru Classé “A”, Pavie also released 2012 at a 58% increase on the 2011.
Both prices have been greeted with derision on Twitter, with some jokingly offering prizes to anyone that manages to sell any and another saying that, “it doesn’t make sense”. Unfortunately it does. Along with the recent classification, properties Saint-Emilion will have been buoyed by critic Robert Parker’s hailing of the Right Bank in his latest overview of the 2012 vintage.
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Rare are those natural beauties who look great the minute they wake up in the morning… I think that a touch of make up can help a woman hide some minor flaws so she can feel great about her complexion. I am turned off by huge amounts of make up, frankly it scares me. Once it is all removed you basically discover a stranger.
Fluffy wine descriptors are the make up of (wine) writers which they use to embellish their description of a wine and to build their credibility vis a vis the readers. I get turned off by such style of writing. I have a pretty good command of the wine lingo and over the years I have learned to use it in moderation. Recently I came across a piece about a wine that sells for $7.99 retail ( so most likely around $5 bucks wholesale) it made me realize the predicament in which the author of the article was in:
- If the writer uses simple descriptions it will give the reader the impression that both the wine and the writer are not very good.
- If the writer uses descriptors and hyperbole that is beyond the average reader’s comprehension it enhances the perceived quality of the wine and the writer once again has fooled both the reader and the editor and manages to keep his job for another week.
- In this article I also realized that the author ran out of (fluffly) steam toward the end since he could only describe the balance as “nice”, the finish as “lovely” and the wine overall as “interesting”
After you read the article ask yourself the following simple questions:
- What are phenolics? (do not cheat / do not use a dictionary)
- When was the last time you had Brambleberries?
- What is medium-high painted viscosity?
- How much oak references do you expect from a $7.99 wine?
Here is an excerpt of the article:
“… (The) wine is a deeply opaque blackish-red color with a deep purplish core going out into a fine bright violet rim definition with medium-high painted viscosity.
On the nose: There are deeply concentrated and powerful notes of crushed black fruit dominated by black cherries, loganberries, elderberry fruit and brambleberries. Following that initial onslaught, there are minty phenolics, licorice extract, white pepper references, herbs, blackberry liqueur and earthy minerals underlying.
On the palate: The wine fills the mouth with a concentrated, powerful and richly spicy nectar of crushed black cherries, plums and boysenberries. Layers of extracted black fruit, phenolics, pepper-laced cherry juice and minerals follow, going into a tremendous midpalate that is just loaded with quality in fruit extract, oak references and star anise-infused berry juice. The finish is lovely and lingering with a nice balance among the concentrated fruit, relatively high alcohol and ripe soft tannins that at no time intrude on the quality or taste of this interesting wine.”
As I mentioned earlier, make up is not for everybody but if you decide to use some (and that’s your prerogative)… be sensible!
Yunnan province in southwest China grows grapes with beautiful names like Crystal, French Wild and Rose Honey. These are believed to be the descendants of vines the phylloxera louse devastated in France from the mid 1860s to the mid 1890s. French missionaries brought these grapes to Yunnan about two centuries ago, and this is the only place where they are now found. It is believed the Chinese also introduced clones of these grapes from Indonesia and Vietnam in the 1950s, as did missionaries from the Shangri-La region in Yunnan’s north. Professor Li Demei at Beijing University of Agriculture considers Yunnan has the best conditions in China for making fine wine. The province is so warm that it does not need to employ the expensive practice of burying vines each year to protect them from the winter cold, as happens in the north.
Vines at Yunnan Red are planted Continue reading