Vice President Dick Cheney took time out last weekend from promoting an overhaul of Social Security to tour Clos Pegase winery in Napa Valley with his wife, granddaughter and friends. While his visit to the location was kept undisclosed until the last minute, it was hard not to notice that something big was up, as an advance team of Secret Service agents spent three days combing the Calistoga winery and setting up the details. Apparently, this was only Cheney's second visit to a California winery; he had been to Sterling Vineyards some 15 years earlier. Clos Pegase co-owner Jan Shrem gave the VP a tour of the Michael Graves-designed winery and its caves, explained the process and history of winemaking and hosted a tasting of Clos Pegase wines, including its Cabernet. But Cheney remains more the consummate politician than a wine nut; when asked what types of wines he prefers, he replied, "I like them all." Nor does his opinion sway with popular-culture trends--while Cheney told Shrem that he saw the Pinot-centric film Sideways, he noted that he particularly likes Merlot.
Ever drunk an Assyrtiko, a Bourboulenc or a Xarel-lo? Then the Wine Century Club might be for you. To join the elite new group, you have to have tried at least 100 different grape varieties--anything from Aglianico to Zweigelt. Deborah and Steve De Long, creators of De Long's Wine Grape Varietal Table, an educational tool that resembles the periodic table of elements, founded the club to promote "the many unsung grape varieties used to make wine" and meet like-minded people. The first meeting was held in Manhattan on March 16 at Lo Scalco restaurant, where a five-course dinner was paired with wines such as Ocone Falanghina del Taburno 2003 and a Nusserhof Südtiroler Lagrein Riserva 2000. These seem practically commonplace compared to some of the really obscure varieties listed on the application form, which is downloadable from www.delongwine.com/century.html. So far, 32 people have earned membership. Though the application works on the honor system, the fine print notes: "Should you lie, may the wrath of Bacchus curse your palate."
|The new LaTour: Kimpton chairman Tom LaTour is serving his own wine to hotel guests.|
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