Thursday, February 19, 2009

Now is the time to drink your 2000 Napa Cabernets

In California, 2000 was a difficult vintage for late ripening grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It started with a cool and moist spring, followed by a heat wave in mid June, warm temperatures in July and August, and ended with storms in October. Nonetheless, the 2000 Oakford Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville that we drunk the other day was absolutely delicious.

Oakford Vineyards is a small winery located in the western hills of the Napa Valley just above the town of Oakville. The wine is 100% Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Oakford's estate vineyard as well as from the historic To Kalon vineyard. it was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

It showed a deep garnet color and attractive aromas of wild berry compote. The palate was full-bodied, well-balanced, with lush fruit flavors and spicy notes, followed by an elegant aftertaste. Try it with a Smoked Paprika Rubbed Rib Eye Steak and Sweet Potato Fries. It's so good, you even forget about your meal's carbon footprint

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The rise of the "Mangavino" genre

In Japan and Korea, it is not unusual to see people in wine bars and stores bringing their manga under their arms and requesting the exact same wines that are featured in the story. In France, there is even a special name for this kind of manga where the hero is a super wine taster: mangavino.

One of the most popular titles of the genre is The Drops of God, a manga comic series that has taken Japan by storm and has conquered Korea and China. The hero is a young man that doesn't even drink wine at the beginning of the series. But suddenly, his father, a famous wine critic, dies and leaves an unusual will: the person that will guess the identity of 12 wines based on their description and discover a mysterious thirteen one called the Drops of God will inherit his priceless wine collection. And our hero is not alone in this quest, he must compete with his adopted brother, a successful sommelier. The story is a mystery plot combined with an introduction to some of the most prestigious wines in the world.

I've already read the first volume. The hero is smart, gifted, good-looking, and has quickly learned the art of tasting wines: “ I have in my hands some black cherries, plums, ripe strawberries.... The light fragrance of an orange... An orchard surrounded by red berries... Under my feet, some mint and cinnamon...” as he is tasting a 2001 Vosne-Romanée Domaine Gros Frère et Soeur

At the end of volume 1, he has found some trustful allies but the mystery has thickened. The good news is that there are two more volumes that has been translated in French. The other good news is that I am going to France at the end of the month.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

The silver spoon trick: it actually works!

The other day, I opened a bottle of 2004 Tablas Creek Syrah for dinner, a young wine with lots of fruits and a rather bold attack. So I grabbed a silver spoon from the kitchen drawer and dipped it into the glass. I left the spoon in the wine for a few minutes and then brought the glass to my husband. Without telling him about my little experiment, I asked him to compare the wine (that I called wine A) with the original Syrah (wine B).

His reaction: “Hum, I do like wine A. It's smooth, well-balanced, and full-flavored. But wine B is too strong for me. Well, I don't really like wine B. Is there more of wine A?”