Wine: August 2008 Archives

What's the Partyline on Cocktails and Politics?

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As Reported by Sam's Wine and Spirits

All eyes on politics! Unless you're living under a rock, the country is in the midst of Democratic and Republican National Conventions this week and next. Brian Rosen (President of Wine and Spirits) reports that young people are on the political scene enthused and hosting their own parties while discussing the issues of their political party.

In fact, Sam's Wine and Spirits has been receiving a high volume of orders and the breakdown across partylines is extremely interesting. See if your political affiliation and drink preference go hand in hand!

Krug Pops Cork on New Era

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krugwinery.jpgBy Robert Farmer

Happily, the more things change in Napa, the more things stay the same in Napa. And so it goes that as one legendary winery changes ownership hands, another emerges from the chrysalis to spread its wings anew.

In September, the Mondavi family will celebrate the renewal of the Charles Krug Winery--officially unveiling an $8 million restoration to the two historic national landmark buildings at the winery while also honoring the patriarch, Peter Mondavi.

Rosé Renaissance

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By Courtney Cochran

Unless you've been living under a rock, the news that pink wine is hot is hardly something new to you.  Still, the array of rosé styles to choose from is impressive - and often takes even the pink stuff's most serious fans by surprise.

Dry Rosé
By far the most common style of rosé, this is the version you see on the shelves of most quality wine merchants come summertime. Fermented entirely or nearly "to dryness," this style of rosé contains little or no residual sugar and tastes stylistically similar to the dry red and white table wines (think Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) we're most familiar with.  They key difference when it comes to dry rosé is in the winemaking style - these wines score their enticing pink color from a process called "saigner," meaning "to bleed" in French. During the saigner process, a touch of color is leeched from the skins of red grapes (all grape juice is more or less clear without skin contact) prior to fermentation, leaving the finished wine anywhere from just barely pink in color to just shy of fully red in hue, depending on the amount of time the wine spent in contact with the grape skins.

Going to the Frogs

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Chateau Montelena.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Egoistic French monarch Louis XIV once famously said, "l'état, c'est moi" ("I am the state," as in, I AM France).  Which came to mind as I was reading about the recent sale of Calistoga's Chateau Montelena to French businessman Michel Reybier, who also owns - among a number of other significant holdings - Château Cos d'Estournel, a well-known Bordeaux second growth.

How French Can We Get?
The great irony behind the purchase?  Chateau Montelena's 1973 Chardonnay was the white wine that bested its French counterparts in the legendary Judgment of Paris tasting of 1976, a watershed moment in Franco-American wine relations.  Along with Stag's Leap Wine Cellars' Cabernet Sauvignon - which placed first in the red category over a slew of top growth Bordeaux - Montelena's Chardonnay is credited with putting American wines on a level playing field with French wines for the first time.   As a result of these wins, the wine drinking world's consciousness began a gradual shift from France towards America (California, really), and it's a shift that's been ongoing ever since. 

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