Gold Seal Champagne For the Thanksgiving Dinner. 1912.

November 21, 2014 Leave a comment
Gold Seal Champagne For the Thanksgiving Dinner. 1912. [1]

Gold Seal Champagne For the Thanksgiving Dinner. 1912. [1]


[1] Theatre Magazine, Volumes 15-16. 1912. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=NwBEAQAAIAAJ&pg=PR23#v=onepage&q&f=false

Rhone wines for the cold weather

November 21, 2014 Leave a comment

The two wines featured in today’s post will warm your heart during this latest polar vortex.  Unlike the 2010 vintage the 2012 Domaine de la Janasse, Terre d’Argile, Cotes du Rhone Villages is remarkably forward, polished, and round in comparison.  The fruit is pure in a sense so I would drink this over the next several years.  It was almost one year ago that I first tasted the 2010 Domaine du Gour de Chaule, Cuvee Tradition, Gigondas.  At that time it was fairly tight but today it show attractive signs of opening up.  The nose has gained complexity with a blend of fruit, orange peel, and floral aromas.  The flavors are equally as good with the addition of minerals, spices, and salivating acidity.  It has the strength you expect from Gigondas.  I recommend you try both of these wines.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Domaine de la Janasse, Terre d’Argile, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $23
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Selections.  This wine is a blend of 25% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 25% Carignan, 5%, and 25% Mourvedre that was aged in a mixture of barriques and foudre. Alcohol 14%.  The color was a dark, grapey ruby.  In the mouth were focused strawberry and blue fruit, not quite dense, but packed in there and generous in flavor.  It showed good, present acidity, with attractive flavors of smoked bacon and baking spiced tannins in the finish.  The long aftertaste was supported by salivating acidity.  *** Now-2020.

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2010 Domaine du Gour de Chaule, Cuvee Tradition, Gigondas – $30
Imported by Neal Rosenthal.  This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache with some Syrah and Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose revealed fresh clean aromas of blue and black fruit mixed with both orange peel and florals.  The minerally black fruit filled the mouth with a lot of flavor.  This wine had strength from the dry flavors of spices, cinnamon, and Kirsch.  It has good structure, salivating acidity, and ripe extract in the long aftertaste.  ***(*) Now-2024.

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Experiment diagrams from the 1890s of John Svedberg’s vineyard at Sterling, Virginia.

November 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Diagram 1. - Arrangement of vines in Svedberg's vineyard at Sterling, Va. [2]

Diagram 1. – Arrangement of vines in Svedberg’s vineyard at Sterling, Va. [2]

John A. Svedberg was born in Sweden but came to the United States where he was both a mechanic and draughtsman for the Navy Department.  He was known for designing nearly all of the engines that propelled the Naval cruisers.  He was also a horticulturalist of high regard and cultivated the grapevine in his vineyard at his home in Sterling, Virginia.  When the Department of Agriculture set out to study the treatment of black rot in grapevines it picked vineyards in Geneva, New York, Ithaca, Wisconsin, and that of John A. Svedberg’s in Sterling, Virginia.  Most of the work was carried out at John A. Svedberg’s vineyard since it was only 30 miles southwest of Washington, DC.  The work involved studying the effectiveness of eight different fungicides.

Diagram 2. - Plan of experiment in Vineyard 1. [2]

Diagram 2. – Plan of experiment in Vineyard 1. [2]

John A. Svedberg’s vineyard was comprised of 6,944 vines with the main varieties being Concord, Clinton, Norton, Virginia, Elvira, Ives, and Missouri Riesling.  When the work started the vines were described as being “in first-class condition”.  For this post I am not interested in describing the experiments that concluded the Bordeaux mixture was the most effective.  Instead, I am interested in the stark, graphic nature of the diagrams.  There were subsequent experiments carried out at the vineyard but only the first one resulted in such interesting graphics.

Diagram 4. - Showing the total number of vines in the treated and untreated plats, and the per cent of vines affected with black rot. [2]

Diagram 4. – Showing the total number of vines in the treated and untreated plats, and the per cent of vines affected with black rot. [2]


[1] “Death of John A. Svedberg.” Date: Thursday, December 31, 1896 Paper: Evening Star (Washington (DC), DC) Page: 12. Genealogy Bank.
[2] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Vegetable Pathology, Bulletin, Issues 1-4. 1891. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=xSwWAQAAIAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

Anniversary drinks at Fleurie in Charlottesville

November 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Fleurie1

Jenn and I celebrated our latest wedding anniversary by spending a family weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The one person I happen to know there is Erin Barbour Scala (Thinking-Drinking).  We previous met in New York City during her days as sommelier at Public NYC followed by The Musket Room.  Having had diverse and fantastic wines with her before I knew there was no other choice than to dine at Fleurie restaurant where both she and her husband are now based.  As Wine Director, Erin’s wine list focuses in on France and Virginia but she is far too curious to neglect the rest of the world as was evidenced by her selections that night.  We were greeted to glasses of NV Rolet, Crement de Jura for ourselves and locally made sparkling grape juice for our daughter.  The Rolet was great by itself, accessible with a nice balance of yeast and fruit.  It left me thirsty for more wine.

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I select the wines we drink at home on a daily basis so it is nice to step away from making any choices.  We gave no direction to Erin as to what we felt like drinking or avoiding.  With Coravin in hand Erin proceeded to pour a utterly fun variety of wines.  To go with our shrimp risotto with carrots and shellfish sauce she poured the 2009 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumes.  It was utterly satisfying and drank spot-on with its balance of maturity, fruit, and supportive toast.  Jenn’s herb crusted halibut was joined by the 2010 Schäfer-Fröhlich, Bockenauer Felseneck, Riesling trocken Grosses Gewächs, Nahe.  The glass was incredibly and persistently aromatic with herbs, stones, and some petrol with great balance in the mouth.  Great stuff! For my venison Erin poured two different red wines.  The 2011 Avennia, Sestina, Columbia Valley is a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc blend with fruit sourced from the Bacchus and Red Willow vineyards.  It was forward and complex with darker, racy fruit that was hard to resist.  Avennia was only launched in 2010 so if this second vintage is an example of their other wines this is a new name to follow.  My second red wine was completely different being the 2010 Cambridge Road, Dovetail, Martinborough.  As Erin pointed out this field blend of mostly Pinot Noir with Syrah is not such an oddity given the affinity for these varieties to perform in cooler climates.  Its oscillation between Pinot Noir and Syrah aromas was rather intriguing.

Fleurie3

With our trio of desserts and petit fours came the King Family Vineyards, Loreley, Monticello. This pure Petit Manseng wine was made in the vin de paille style.  She poured this wine because it shares the same name as our daughter.  It was a touching end to our meal.  If you are in the Charlottesville area or need a break from the city I strongly recommend you dine at Fleurie.  Due to the Coravin you can drink almost anything on the list by the glass.  With a large order of wines soon to be added there will be even more reasons to stop by.

The Catholic University of America used To-Kalon Wine for its altar wine in 1897

November 19, 2014 Leave a comment

In 1897, Vice-Rector Garrigan of the Catholic University of America certified that he used the To-Kalon White Pinot Wine as the altar wine for the past eight years.  Today the famous and historic To Kalon Vineyard is owned by Robert Mondavi, Andy Beckstoffer, UC Davis, and Opus One.  It is currently planted with such varieties as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Fume Blanc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Semillon.

The American Ecclesiastical Review. 1898. [1]

The American Ecclesiastical Review. 1898. [1]


[1] Heuser, Herman Joseph. The American Ecclesiastical Review: A Monthly Publication for the Clergy, Volume 18. 1898. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=uPjNAAAAMAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

A pair of value wines from France and Moldova

November 19, 2014 Leave a comment

It has been joked that I have tasted every wine under $25 at MacArthur Beverages.  While this may not be exactly true, it does highlight the price range I can afford to drink at on a daily basis.  If you scroll back through my tasting notes you might realize that I am able to drink both good and diverse wines.  At the value end the 2012 Domaine Boudau, Clot del Pila Les Cargolines, Cotes du Roussillon is a wine to drink starting this winter.  With chewy and sappy flavors of black fruit this would make a good start before a more serious wine.   I find it amazing that three years have past since I last tasted a wine from Calitate Matur in Moldova.  Back then the 2007 Chateau Vartely, Cabernet Sauvignon, Colectie Rezervata was more akin to an old-school Cabernet Sauvignon whereas the 2012 Chateau Purcari, Rare Neagră de Purcari, Calitate Matur is all new-school.  Chateau Purcari dates back to 1827 but the estate is nothing but modern.  This rather fruity wine offers lively flavors for drinking right now. It is a solid wine that should please the crowds.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Domaine Boudau, Clot del Pila Les Cargolines, Cotes du Roussillon – $13
Imported by ZWine Gallery Imports. This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache. Alcohol 14%.  This wine firms up to reveal good balance with just a bit of air.  There was blacker fruit, good tart acidity, structure, and a slightly salivating finish.  The flavors were a little chewy and left a sappy persistence in the aftertaste.  This wine might soften up with six months in the cellar.  For now it leaves tannins on the gums.  **(*) Now-2018.

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2012 Chateau Purcari, Rare Neagră de Purcari, Calitate Matur $16
Imported by Sarego Imports. This wine is 100% Rare Neagră that was fermented in stainless steel tanks then aged for 12 months in French oak barriques. Alcohol 13%.  There was ripe, freshly sweet fruit with plenty of lively texture on the tongue that was perhaps from some carbon dioxide.  This tangy wine had mouth filling flavors, left a good impression, and is a generally solid wine.  ** Now-2016.

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The contented fellow. 1807.

November 18, 2014 Leave a comment
The contented fellow. 1807. British Museum. [1]

The contented fellow. 1807. British Museum. [1]


[1] The contented fellow. Published by Laurie & Whittle. 1807. Museum number 1861,0518.1173. British Museum. URL: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=512084&objectId=3009025&partId=1

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