Monthly Archives: February 2009

Wine Away

wine-awayRed wine can be messy – especially if you have a white couch and narcoleptic friends.  A great solution for these stains is a product called Wine Away.  It is an all-natural cleaner from Evergreen Labs made from fruit and vegetable extracts and smells like lemons and limes.  If you apply Wine Away immediately, the spots disappear.


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Filed under Wine At Home

Novy Nebbiolo and Siduri Pinots

siduri1Adam Lee and his wife Diana are the family behind the Siduri and Novy labels that hail from Santa Rosa, California.  They do not own vineyards; rather, they source grapes from growers with whom they contract.  These contracts allow for some influence on the vines.  Siduri is the label they dedicate to Pinot Noir and the Novy wines encompass Chardonnay, Syrah, Zinfandel and Grenache.  It is also the label they use for “hobby wines”.  Diana has a late-harvest Viognier (which I have not tasted) and Adam’s is the Nebbiolo from Stolpman Vineyard.

Today was my first opportunity to try Adam’s homage to Piedmont from the 2006 vintage.  Anise was the most prominent aroma.  The tannins had a good deal of grip, but they were not aggressive.  It’s body was no fuller than some of the Pinot Noir on offer.  For me, it redefined the potential quality of an Italian grape grown in California.

The most striking Pinot Noir was the 2007 Muirfield Vineyard from the Willamette Valley.  The vintage was made very difficult by rain throughout the harvest and I’ve been underwhelmed by the majority its produce.  Adam and Diana chose to “bleed off” twenty percent of the juice from the first pressing, resulting in a more concentrated wine.  The result is a very complex, earthy Pinot Noir that lingered long on the palate

.Adam Lee and Jeff Birkemeier

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Filed under Producers, Tastings

The Story of Wine

Most wine books provide some historical context for the regions they discuss.  Over the course of my studies, I went from dismissing this information as superfluous, to finding it interesting but not essential and finally to complete fascination.  The history of wine is the history of man.  Wine has played a greater role in the advance of civilization than most any other commodity.  As my knowledge of this subject has increased, I increasingly view the wine in my glass as an inheritance from those who depended on it for their lives.

The text that receives the most acclaim for its exploration of the subject is The Story of Wine by Hugh Johnson, who has been working for nearly five decades and is the most read wine writer in history.  The book is expansive, but is humble enough to preface that no one work can be completely comprehensive.  It details the early years of discovery, the empires who depended on wine for wealth and the journey of the vine as the world expanded.  After reading it once straight through, I find myself referring to it regularly.

The incorporation of history into my classes has been well received.  The background information lends a humanity to the wines that is equally important to giving background information on the individual producer.

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