Sorry for the delay. Weeks ago I promised another look at a purported solution for cork-tainted wines, soaking them with plastic wrap. I have been tasting mostly Australian wines recently, and so many of those smart Aussies have abandoned corks in favor of screw caps that unambiguously cork-tainted bottles have been rare.
Fred Franzia, the bad-boy California vintner who gave us Two-Buck Chuck, is about to release a $3 Australian white called Down Under Chardonnay. Folks in the Australian wine industry are acting like they just got their pockets picked.
One label consists of the word “evil,” printed upside-down. Another is just called “Bitch.” A classier one presents an Escher-like perspective-defying drawing, and nothing else. Yet another imprints a vellum-textured label, featuring an image of a antebellum woman with a parasol, with a cryptic saying.
Anna Netrebko, the sexy superstar operatic soprano, looks worried as she takes a sip of the white wine in her glass. "I get headaches from California wines sometimes," says the Russian singer, in San Francisco to sing Violetta, the title role in Verdi’s La Traviata.
I have been tasting through more than 200 Australian red wines in the past few weeks, catching up on everything I can squeeze in before the deadline for this year's tasting report. Mostly, I find the results encouraging.
After another long day of tasting Aussie reds, I grabbed a bottle of lovely Grenache to take with me. Instead of venturing out to a restaurant, I stopped by Whole Foods in Napa on my way back to the little apartment I’m renting in Yountville.
After a full day of tasting Aussie reds in the Napa office, nothing sounded better (except for maybe a nap) than a laid-back dinner at Ad Hoc in Yountville. I’ve always liked the restaurant, Thomas Keller ’s one-menu-fits-all spot, and I checked what was for dinner on its web site.
There were dozens of memorable wines among the magnums I sampled at Wine Spectator’s Napa Valley Bring Your Own Magnum party Wednesday night at Tra Vigne in St. Helena. Two stood out for me. I don’t know which was the bigger surprise: the new (to me) Napa Valley Cabernet with lightness, delicacy and grace, or the dusty old Carneros Pinot Noir.
With so many thousands of wines out there, it’s surprising that linguistic confusions come up so rarely. I mean, how often do you look up from the wine-by-the-glass list and order a glass of "the Latour," expecting a white Burgundy from Maison Louis Latour, and end up with a beaker of Château Latour, the Bordeaux red? Hasn't happened to me.
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