It’s no secret that while Bordeaux’s temperatures have been rising, California has been struggling for sunny days. I hadn’t thought much of France’s weather conditions, since we have been so focused on Napa given our recent trip until the topic was brought up by Juelle Fisher, Fisher Vineyards, at a recent tasting we had with them. The discussion was that if France endured warmer temperatures similar to typical Napa weather, and vice versa would we experience a stylistic flip-flop in Cabernet from the two regions?
As most of us know, there is a lot that influences the style and flavor of a finished wine: land (most importantly), grapes/clones, viticulture, winemaking, climate, and weather. So would a change in weather conditions change a wine so much that it actually reflects another region all together? I would venture to say no, but it would make an impact. How interesting would it be to see a fully-ripe, higher alcoholic Bordeaux and a restrained, complex and earthly Napa Valley Cabernet? The French (and more likely British) would surely freak out but it is full to imagine.
Yes, the weather situations in both regions are going to present growers and winemakers with problems they have only read about. Each region will have a different approach and different technologies to correct those problems, but I do expect that the 2010 and 2011 vintages from both regions will be a unique spin on the typical styles that is sure to interest the curious wine consumer.
I really don’t mean to, but I rub off on people. It might be my youth, insatiable personality, or the mullet I’m currently working on. But I’m also pretty sure it has something to do with my wine knowledge. I wrote last time about how I have a little wine box – chardonnay, cabernet, and pinot noir. Unfortunately sometimes I think that my little box rubs off on my clients as well. As I have started to venture outside the box, subsequently they do as well.
Recently, I suggested a bottle of Purple Angel to a group for dinner. Purple Angel is a premium carmenere and petit verdot from Chile. We also added some other bottles to the pile including Soda Canyon’s newly released 2009 Cabernet. So what happened with my little experiment? The Purple Angel was popped open at dinner to reveal a complex, but tightly wound wine. Giving it even just an hour to breathe doesn’t do it justice. So the group opened the Cabernet which paired wonderfully with the meal. The Purple Angel was put aside for another day and time.
The next day, one member of the group tasted the Angel. Better. The day after, better still. The wine continued to develop over the next three days and blew the client away – something he was not expecting from a carmenere or Chilean wine.
Lesson learned? Drink what you like, but have the courage to explore once in a while. Oh…and always bring a back up bottle to dinner, who knows what is going to happen!
It’s not often in life that you find a bottle of wine that completely sums up your philosophy. We were fortunate enough to be introduced to such a bottle by one of our customers (thank you Bill!) last week. It’s called simply “I Will Not Drink Bad Wine.” There you go, our philosophy on life (well at least how its related to wine).
I Will Not Drink Bad Wine is produced as both a Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from Napa Valley & Monterey respectively and retails for $25 (Cab) and $17 (Chard). Although the label is catching on its own, the best part about this wine is that it really is that good for the price point. The proper name of the wine is CC:, but we like to call it by its nickname.
After a perusal of their website (which is fun just to visit, click here), I found out that the wine is produced by Betts & Scholl. Betts & Scholl is a partnership project between Richard Betts, Master Sommelier & Wine Director at The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado (just one more reason we love Aspen so much) and Dennis Scholl, a wine collector and enthusiast who splits his time between Aspen and Miami (kind of like us!) Betts & Scholl is dedicated to premium wines from only the best land and best fruit, their wines typically range from $40 – 70 per bottle. So for them, CC: is kind of second label. A second label we’d put up against any value wine in the store though…
The Chardonnay is crisp and clean with the characteristic fruit you should enjoy from a Chardonnay. Produced entirely in stainless steel there is no oak or butter to get in the way. The Cabernet has great fruit and a well balanced – soft but complex – finish. CC: claims the fruit comes from a famous vineyard off of Route 29 in Napa Valley – Hall perhaps, Grgich Hills, Whitehall Lane, even Far Niente/Nickel & Nickel? I guess we’ll never no. But the most important part, is that this wine is definitely not bad.
CC: Chardonnay (I Will Not Drink Bad Wine)