A Valentine's poll reveals the best date wines, Arnold Palmer takes a swing at winemaking and a three-star French chef heads to Vegas
Posted: February 9, 2005
Looking for love this Valentine's Day? Be careful which wine you order on a date. In a Match.com survey of 2,300 single men and women across the United States, 62 percent said a date's choice of drink provides insight into their lifestyle, and 52 percent said it reflected their personality. Good news for wine lovers: 72 percent of respondents agreed that wine knowledge makes a member of the opposite sex more attractive. If you order wine from Italy, you're viewed as sexy, by 40 percent of respondents, and stylish, by 37 percent. (Plus, saying Pinot Grigio just sounds so good.) If you order Australian wine, you come across as adventurous, to 62 percent, and fun, to 32 percent. (And who wouldn't, with all those cuddly, exotic animals on the labels?) Of course, that finding just happens to fit perfectly with the marketing aims of the Australian Wine Bureau, which partnered with the Match.com dating service to commission the survey. But if you drink French wine, you're seen as pretentious, by 76 percent, and high-maintenance, by 65 percent. We're just guessing, but is there a red state-versus-blue state difference here? We thought Champagne was still the beverage of romance.
Golf legend Arnold Palmer has been dabbling in wine for some time: He has a small collection (including quite a bit of Château Palmer), he's helped select the wine list for his eponymous restaurant in La Quinta, Calif., and he's been a partner with former Beringer president Mike Moone in Napa's Luna Vineyards since 1996. Now "The King" is following in the cleat-steps of golfers Greg Norman and Ernie Els, who have their own lines of wines. Luna began making private-label Sangiovese and Pinot Grigio for the golfer and his restaurant in 2003. This month, the winery and the World Golf Hall of Famer are going national with the release of a 2002 Arnold Palmer Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2003 Arnold Palmer Chardonnay, retailing for $15 each. Winemaker Mike Drash, who worked with Palmer on blending the bottlings, said it was "no easy task" trying to come up with wines that would live up to a sports icon. The Cab comes from Napa and Sonoma valleys, while the Chard comes from vineyards in Carneros, Santa Barbara and Monterey. Palmer, ironically, comes from Latrobe, Pa., better known as Rolling Rock beer country.
At 100 seats, Guy Savoy's new restaurant in Las Vegas will be one of the smallest and most exclusive in any of the major casino resorts. The Michelin three-star chef's first enterprise outside France will be less than half the size of Mix, Alain Ducasse's new restaurant atop THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, and much more ambitious than the bistros of other big-name chefs, such as Thomas Keller's Bouchon at the Venetian and Daniel Boulud's spot at the soon-to-open Wynn Las Vegas. Still, it's larger than Savoy's Paris restaurant, which seats only 60. Scheduled to open in late-summer or early this fall, Guy Savoy--designed by Jean-Michel Villnott, who also created the look of the Paris venue--will be on the second floor of Caesars Palace's new luxury tower, overlooking a faux-Roman courtyard. Savoy, known for such dishes as artichoke soup with truffles and fish with sweet spices, won't be in the kitchen most of the time. While he has not named a chef yet, his son Franck, manager of Savoy's Les Bouquinistes bistro in Paris, will direct the restaurant. According to a Caesars representative, Savoy himself plans to be in Vegas when his Paris restaurant is closed--most of August and around Christmas and New Year's.
You've heard of people tasting the dirt of a vineyard, but painting with it? Apparently no one told Charlie Pieper, the creator of the Pieper Palette paint line, that dirt belongs on the ground and not on walls. Pieper's new line of paints is called Napa Soils and is created from finely ground dirt samples from various areas in Napa Valley. While a California connoisseur could paint the dining room Carneros or Oakville, the terroir-obsessed can opt for Stag's Leap or Chalk Hill. If you must know what Valley Floor would taste like in a glass, then head to Pieper Palette-distributor Jill's Paint. The Los Angeles paint store boasts a wine bar and daily tastings, and owner Peg McCloud keeps 60 bottles of Napa wines on hand for her customers to sample. Even if you aren't quite ready to take the leap with your house, after one of McCloud's tastings you might be in the mood to paint the town Rutherford Red, or Grape Dust, or….
What gets into Italian winemakers' heads during long-distance flights? First we heard about wine-dyed jeans, a fashion project conceived on the trans-Atlantic red-eye. Now we have the tale of two vintners, who while on a United States—Italy run dreamed up a multivariety, multiregional Italian red, which they named Primovolo ("First Flight") in honor of their high-altitude inspiration. In 1999, Giordano Emo Capodilista from the Veneto estate La Montecchia and Andrea Faccio from Piedmont's Villa Giada first combined their Merlot and Barbera into a joint bottling. In 2000, their friend Sergio Zingarelli, owner of Rocca delle Macie in Tuscany, made it a threesome with his Sangiovese. Each of the wines was vinified separately in their respective home bases before blending and bottling. About 500 cases of the resulting Primovolo 2000 can be found in the States for $45 a bottle right now. Such hybrid wines appear from time to time and often don't hit the mark. But this rich, fruity, juicy red scored 88 points in a recent Wine Spectator blind tasting. So a word of advice to flying winemakers: Chat with your neighbor next time you're up in the clouds. He or she just might be your next business partner.
|Golf icon Arnold Palmer has put his name on a California Cabernet and Chardonnay.