Articles Tagged napa

Red Wine, Purple Teeth & Silver Linings: Premiere Napa Valley 2010

Vinted on March 1, 2010 binned in California wine, wine industry events

Sometimes the best way to convey the essence of an event is via comparison.  Especially when that event might be too noisy and hectic to capture on video.  Or, when you’re video recorder isn’t fully charged, so all you have are pictures, words, and memories.

And teeth stains.

Honestly, I think that my dentist is about to have a windfall…

Such is the essence of Premiere Napa Valley, which recently took place (February 20th) at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, and is the spot where members of the Napa Valley Vintners Association hock ultra low-production amounts (often only one barrel / 5 cases worth) of (presumably) ultra-premium red wine.

Winning lot bidders obtain a unique product available nowhere else on the planet, specially bottled for their restaurant / merchants / stores / etc., along with (presumably) bragging rights at achieving the exclusivity.  In other words, it’s a (very stiff) competition, presenting (presumably) the best-of-the-best from 200 of Napa’s most storied and well-respected producers; a tooth-staining, mouth-puckering wine spectacle orgy of Cabernet-based California goodness.

As for the comparison: PNV is like a cross between Best In Show, the Superbowl, the Emmys, Calligula, and (with a lot of Japanese buyers thrown in for good measure) a Godzilla movie.

It will make sense, in a minute (or two)…

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The 2010 Wine Writers Symposium in 10 Easily Digestible & Tasty Morsels

Vinted on February 19, 2010 binned in commentary, wine industry events

Alternative title: “What I Learned (So Far) At the 2010 Professional Wine Writers Symposium in Napa

  1. Symposium Chairperson and Wines & Vines editor Jim Gordon, may, in fact, be the sweetest and most patient person on the planet (there remains one more day of symposium activities in which to properly test this theory).
  2. The amount of downtime built into the entire week of Symposium activities is approximately 47 seconds.
  3. The amount of raw talent and brain power among the symposium attendees is staggering, but is immediately doubled in terms of IQ points the moment that AbleGrape.com founder, Yahoo search pioneer, and twitter search guru Doug Cook walks into the room.
  4. When you read aloud (over a loudspeaker) a tasting note that you’ve written in which you compare a glass of Syrah to an uncomfortable satin thong, you will piss off famed author, wine educator, and television personality Karen MacNeil [ Editor’s note: this was recently substantiated via personal experience. ]
  5. Both Eric Asimov and Steve Heimoff are practical, warm and charming in person (meaning that I have lost at least two bets and the week isn’t even over yet).
  6. Harlan wines will be poured judiciously at Symposium after-hours gatherings, but only when I am not available that evening to attend any of them.
  7. Journalism jobs, freelance writing gigs, and book deals net you more money than Amazon.com affiliate fees. But not much more.
  8. If you take the ethical standards of critical writing / wine review writing, combine them in number, double that number, square the result, and divide by 0.0002, you will arrive at roughly the number of ethical violations that I might have inadvertently committed.  Before lunch. On day one.
  9. When Alder Yarrow uses the term “folks at our level” and you realize that he is talking about wine blog writing and is including you, you have to suppress the urge of performing a double-head-fake and then blushing.
  10. If you are serious about wine writing, then you should get serious about attending the Symposium in 2011.

Cheers!

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Whence Cometh Napa Cabernet?

Vinted on February 15, 2010 binned in California wine, commentary, wine publications

Today I’ll be starting my week-long Napa excursion (the itinerary of which I’d hoped to have posted today, but since all those West Coast hippies are so damn laid back, as of the time of this writing my schedule still isn’t totally finalized… if I’d been dealing with uptight, anally-retentive East Coast types I would have had this all nailed down within 15 minute intervals weeks ago).

This got me thinking about Napa Cabernet, of which I plan to have tasted so much by the time I leave Napa that I will probably need emergency dental work to deal with the teeth stains as soon as I land back in Philly.

And since I’m heading out there for a writers symposium, it got me thinking about the origin of “Napa Cabernet” – not in terms of the wine, but in terms of the words.  I’m a sucker for words and I own more than my fair share of dictionaries and etymological resources.  I’m geeky that way.

You’d think that this would be pretty easy, right?  A bit of Google searching, or a trip to the handy-dandy unabridged dictionary, and we’d be all set, right?  Surely there isn’t much to the origin of such words, the kind that are so nearly ubiquitous that they instantly call up various mental and sensory images for wine lovers worldwide, right?

Not so fast, Buck-O.  As it turns out, the etymology of both “Napa” and “Cabernet” is far from being etched indelibly in stone…

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Wineries and Social Media: A Totally Unscientific Case Study (Franciscan)

Vinted on January 28, 2010 binned in commentary, wine 2.0, winemaking

A funny thing happened on my way to the 2010 Pro Wine Writers Symposium.

I did some research, and found what I was looking for, just not where I expected to find it.

Since my Symposium fellowship was underwritten by Franciscan, I’m planning on a visit to the winery when I’m in Napa next month.   So I was digging around on the ‘global interwebs’ to get my bearings on all things Franciscan before the visit.  Reasons being that I wanted to get a solid starting point of Franciscan knowledge from which to branch out when I ask them questions and generally get all, you know, in-depth on them (you know how I am); also I’m a total geek and that kind of stuff is fun for me.

Not that I am without some knowledge of Franciscan – I’ve tasted some of their flagship wines, and their website is chock full of background on their Napa legacy (and with a past that featured Agustin Huneeus and one of the first real “Meritage” wines, your bragging rights around having a ‘legacy’ are pretty safe) and their take-it-to-perfectionist-extremes focus on blending.

As for what’s happening now (and I mean, right this second) at Franciscan… not so much.  I didn’t find anything at their website to connect me to the current happenings of the people there.

Nada.

I did find some of that information, though – just not at Franciscan.com, and not without a bit of digging…

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