Monday, November 3, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Drink Red Wine, Live Longer?


A new study has been published indicating that resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, is probably much more effective at improving overall health than previously thought. For those of us who enjoy a glass or two or red wine with dinner, this is welcome news.

In an article published today in the New York Times, Nicholas Wade writes, "Red wine may be much more potent than was thought in extending human lifespan, researchers say in a new report that is likely to give impetus to the rapidly growing search for longevity drugs. The study is based on dosing mice with resveratrol, an ingredient of some red wines." full article

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Burgundy Tasting at Superior Liquor on Feb. 23rd

Zephyr Adventures has teamed up with Superior Liquor to promote its newest wine travel destination - Burgundy! Zephyr's six day, five night Burgundy Walking Wine Adventure tour aims to keep travelers out of the van and in the vineyards to learn first hand about the very special wines from this unique region. Boulder's own Allan Wright of Zephyr Adventures will be enticing potential travelers with free samples of Burgundy wines at Superior Liquor on Saturday, February 23rd from 2 PM - 6 PM. He will also be available to answer any questions about this or other wine adventures offered by Zephyr. For more information contact either Superior Liquor or Zephyr Adventures.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Book Review: To Cork or Not To Cork

Although cork has enjoyed a monopoly as the wine bottle closure of choice for several hundred years, the use of cork has recently become one of the most hotly debated topics in wine today. When it comes to cork everyone seems to have an opinion, and usually it is a strong one. Unfortunately, most of these opinions are based on emotion, and few are based on fact. In To Cork or Not To Cork George M. Taber dispels much of the myth, mystery and misinformation surrounding the debate over cork.

Before To Cork or Not To Cork most of the data from studies on closures had been scattered among trade journals, conference notes and private industry. Even in the digital age, it was difficult for those whose livelihood depended it to make informed decisions about closures, and consumers were for the most part left in the dark - sometimes as strategy. Taber's ability to research a topic rivals that of David McCullough. He conducted countless interviews with winery owners, lab consultants, cork industry professionals, winemakers, and inventors and manufacturers of alternative closures. He scoured through numerous studies examining the performance of different closures, and he presents the information in a format which is both incredibly informative and entertaining. In fact, at times To Cork or Not To Cork reads more like a suspense novel than a book on cork taint.

Taber takes his readers on a journey through wine closure history from the time wine was stored in large clay amphorae and sealed with mud, to modern times in which we have primarily used cork to seal glass bottles. Recently, however, in a reaction to problems with cork quality, producers have been experimenting with closures such as the crown cap, screw cap, plastic plugs, technical corks and glass stoppers. The studies Taber cites on the performance of both cork and alternative closures are fascinating and at times complicated, but his clear and concise writing keeps those of us who were not Chemistry majors from becoming lost. His framework of poignant and entertaining anecdotes is the perfect backdrop for a subject that is probably considered mundane by most.

No matter what your opinion on closures is now, it will likely be different after reading To Cork or Not To Cork. I am not suggesting that you will shift radically from one camp to the other, but you will have much more information from which to draw. Like all great debates, each side has its merits and faults. Taber presents research and anecdotal evidence supporting both sides of the debate, and at times you might find yourself leaning toward whatever side is being presenting at the moment. Taber does not tell the reader there is right or wrong in this debate. He leaves the final verdict for the reader to decide. Even the casual wine drinker will find this book enjoyable, but for the connoisseur, collector, winemaker or cellar rat To Cork or Not To Cork is a must read.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

2005 Le Vieux Donjon, Chateauneuf-duPape

Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a great Autumn wine, and I have been drinking quite a bit of it lately. Current releases are from the fantastic 2005 vintage. It seems like in 2005 you couldn't go wrong in the Southern Rhone. No matter what style of wine you wanted to make, Mother Nature cooperated. So, it was of little surprise to see a Chateauneuf-du-Pape among the top three in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of the Year for 2007.

I purchased three bottles of Le Vieux Donjon from Liquor Mart (Boulder,CO) a few months ago as part of a mixed case of Chateauneuf-du-Pape of my choice. By the way, if you live in the area you can get 25% off cases of wine at Liquor Mart through Decmber 31, 2007 by following this link - 25% OFF!!! I was planning on cellaring them for several years before opening a bottle as most CdP's need a few years of rest to come together and start drinking well. However, because it was announced today that the 2005 Le Vieux Donjon was voted the #3 wine of 2007 by Wine Spectator, I could not resist giving it a taste.

As in 2003, 2005 was very warm in the Southern Rhone. The wines tend to be big, muscular, rich and modern. In 2005 Le Vieux Donjon was able to take advantage of these growing conditions and produced a wine with enough fruit to reflect the heat of the growing season, but enough restraint to show that it is a traditional wine at the core.

Tasting Notes: The 2005 Le Vieux Donjon is made from 75 percent Grenache, 15 percent Syrah and 10 percent Mourvedre and Cinsault. It is surprisingly drinkable now, but this one will be a stunner in just a few short years. It has a nose of cherries, raspberries, roasted meats, and white truffles. The palate reveals notes of cherries, strawberries, pepper, olives, licorice and Provencal herbs. It has medium body, but its structure gives it a sense of weight and depth one would not expect from looking at the wine in the glass. Made with traditional winemaking techniques, including cement fermentation tanks and aged foudres, the 2005 Le Vieux Donjon is a great Chateauneuf-du-Pape from a great vintage, and a wonderful representation of the appellation. 92 pts. find it

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

1999 Cardinale Proprietary Red

Winery: Cardinale
Wine: 1999 Cardinale Proprietary Red
Winemaker: Charles Thomas
Appellation: 53% Napa Valley, 47% Sonoma
Estimated Cost: $90

Cardinale, which is one of Jess Jackson's boutique wineries, has always been one of my favorite walk-in tastings in the Napa Valley. The winery is located just north of Yountville on Highway 29. The tasting room is usually uncrowded, and they have a beautiful, large balcony with great views to the north overlooking the entire valley. Recently, however, they changed their format to tasting by appointment only. The tastings are now guided by a wine educator and include artisanal cheeses as well. Such tastings can be very educational, but I usually prefer to taste on my own without the influence of a winery representative telling me what the wine tastes like or what score was given by what critic. Nonetheless, the wines are top flight, the views are fantastic, and $35 is a very fair price to pay for tasting several vintages of wine which sells for $125 per bottle upon release. Click here to arrange a tasting.

Tasting Notes: The 1999 Cardinale Proprietary Red is an elegant red consisting of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot. More recent vintages seem to be made from grapes grown in Napa County, but the '99 Cardinale includes 47% Sonoma County fruit. The wine has a powerful, deep and complex nose. Notes of Black cherries, blackberries, hoisin sauce, chocolate and new leather emerge as it sits in the glass. The mouth feel is elegant, rich and expansive with beautifully firm structure. Enjoy this one with Colorado lamb. Although it seems to be difficult to find at less than $90, keep an eye out for this one on either WineBid.com or WineCommune.com. You might be able to find some in the mid-seventies on either of these two auction sites. 93 points. find it

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2002 Dominus Estate Proprietary Red

Winery: Dominus Estate
Wine: 2002 Proprietary Red
Winemaker: Christian Moueix and team
Appelation: Yountville, CA
Estimated Cost: $125

The 2002 Dominus Proprietary Red is a great wine, maybe even a classic. Dominus Estate is owned and managed by Christian Moueix, who's family also owns ten chateaux in Bordeaux including Chateau Petrus - one of the world's most sought after wines. Christian Moueix oversees the operations of each of the ten properties owned by the Moueix family. I found this wine to be a perfect balance of European elegance and California power. The blend consists of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, and 3% Merlot. The wine spent approximately 18 months in barrels, 40% of which were new. In the glass it is deep ruby/purple at the core and a lighter, garnet red at the rim. Its alluring nose is rich with blackberries, cassis, wet stone, smoke and licorice. On the palate, the '02 Dominus delivers tons of ripe, red raspberries, black cherries, blackberries, crushed rocks and mocha wrapped around a core of firm, finely grained, sweet tannins, which gracefully expand and unfold while contributing to this wine's sixty second finish. The oak is present, but subtle and lends a hand only when asked. The '02 Dominus is evolving at a glacial pace for a Napa red, and its substantial structure suggests that it will be at least another five years before this wine is fully mature. Decanting this complex and concentrated wine several hours in advance of consuming it will greatly enhance its performance. 95+ pts. find it