Oregon,Pinot Noir,Wine,Wine Making,Winemaker,Winery

There’s something so visceral about a new client ~ Aberrant Cellars

Aberrant Cellars, a Willamette Valley wine producer…

Hello Pinot Noir and Pursuing the Profound


adjective: aberrant
departing from an accepted standard.

diverging from the normal type.

This was the birth of Aberrant Cellars… This is brand is a combination of old world, new world, and some modern attitude.

From his Website:

Introducing: Owner | Winemaker: Eric Eide

From humble beginnings in a small town in north eastern Montana, I was taught early on that there are no shortcuts to be had when pursuing greatness- in any endeavor. In winemaking, great vineyards, attention to detail, and hard work will get one started down that path. Once there, it must be followed with conviction, integrity, and a finely tuned palate to propel through the finish line.

“Pursuing the Profound,” then, is our commitment of an unrelenting exploration into the ideal of a flawless craft. We’re honored to have you join us, and for your confidence we aspire to reward your palates in a most captivating manner through our obsession!

Eric loves Latin. There’s a early omen that his wines will have some classical style. Then to choose the word “aberrant,” for a thesis… Well, it’s going to be a fun ride… a true wine geek. Another fun winemaker to get to know, and what stories does this Oregon alchemist produce in the bottle?

The wines arrived

He delivers delicious on my palate

We opened and tasted the 2015 Philtrum Pinot Noir Blanc

  • Very intriguing… a voluptuous mouth feel this wine has. I can see why he’s called it {Love Potion}
  • Next the 2014 Confero Pinot Noir ~ Confero {to bring together}
  • Well, what a combination that could elicit a great story in downtime, whatever that is.

What is the full story?

  • Philtrum- Pinot Noir Blanc
    • Vintage 2015 ~ Willamette Valley
    • Philtrum {Love Potion}: A distinct, and decidedly different, interpretation of Pinot Noir.
  • Confero Pinot Noir
    • Vintage 2014 ~ Willamette Valley
    • Confero {to bring together} is, and will always be, the practice of bringing distinct vineyards and clones of Pinot Noir together from differing sub-regions within the Willamette valley.
  • Virtus ex Pinot Noir
    • Vintage 2013 ~ Eola-Amity Hills
    • Virtus ex {Strength/Virtue of…} Each of these “sub-apps” (above statement) are distinguished from one-another by differing climatic conditions, soil types, and geographical/topographical influences.
  • Carpe Noctem
    • Vintage 2013 ~ Eola-Amity Hills
    • Carpe Noctem: {Seize the Night} There are some activities which simply seem better suited for when darkness falls and our animal spirits are once again awakened from daytime temperance…in addition to those[!], savoring this provocative wine should be placed toward the top of the list.
  • Block B3 Old Vine Pinot Noir
    • Vintage 2014 (Released this fall)
    • Chehalem Mountain Vineyard, Chehalem Mountains ~ Chehalem Mountain Vineyard was developed in 1968 by Richard Erath, from the Original planting on Block B-3 remains.
  • Pinot Noir Gran Moraine Vineyard
    • Vintage 2014 (Released this fall)
    • Yamhill-Carlton ~ In the far NW portion of Willamette Valley, the picturesque rolling hills of Yamhill-Carlyon district benefit from a rain shadow effect from its proximity to the Coast Range Mountains. Additionally, the fast-draining marine sediment based soils, among the oldest in WV, allow for a slightly earlier start to the season…

This is one passionate guy:

  • Love potion
  • To bring together
  • Extensive, imposing
  • Strength
  • Seize the night

If you’re a writer and you need a bit of inspiration…

Go write your romance novel. You’ve got the framework in place.

HANDS – Copyright: vetdoctor / 123RF Stock Photo


Art in Wine,Bordeaux,France,Wine

Bordeaux ~ Albert Smith Work in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux ~ partie douze

After my first story about Albert Smith (1854–1932), called Bordeaux ~ Impressionist Alfred Smith ~ partie onze, I wanted to know more about the Bordeaux artist. I thought, “Shouldn’t there be a museum in Bordeaux where Albert Smith’s works are located?” I mean, he’s a home boy, right? Well, there is…

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux is a fine arts museum, located in the city of Bordeaux, France. It was established in 1801, by the painter Pierre Lacour. Another Bordeaux-born artist (April 15, 1745 to January 28, 1814), Lacour also became the museum’s  first curator. This Museum is one of the largest art galleries in France outside Paris. Located in central Bordeaux at the Palais Rohan, this is a must visit for people who love the cultured segments in life… like wine, food, art, and beautiful music.

Where to find the museum: the Palais Rohan is the name of the Hôtel de Ville, or City Hall, of Bordeaux, France.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts’ painting collection is the largest local one. It has works by both French and Dutch painters:

  • Claude Duthuit, grand-son of Henri Matisse
  • Albert Marquet (1875-1947), Portrait of Matisse, 1899
  • Léonce Chabry
  • Hippolyte Pradelles
  • Paul Sébilleau
  • Alfred Smith

Naturalists include:

  • Alfred Roll (1846-1919)
  • Alfred Smith (1854-1932)
  • Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899)

Academicism include:

  • William Bouguereau (1825-1905)
  • Albert Marquet (1875-1947)
  • Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

A point of interest is that the museum has in its collection several paintings that were stolen by the French, during the French revolution. Sadly, they were never returned to their rightful owners. That’s the down side, the up side is that many, many more people are able to view these pieces of art. The Martyrdom of Saint Georges, by Peter Paul Rubens, is one such example as art relocated.

[This Alfred Smith image “Le Quai de la Grave à Bordeaux, 1884” is on the wharves of Bordeaux and can be found at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux‘s art collection.]

As an Impressionist and naturalist, Albert’s paintings naturally involved the wharves of Bordeaux. Bordeaux, a port city on the Garonne River, is in the Gironde department of southwest France.

I love his oil on canvas landscapes. His use of brown is intriguing, in many of his works that I’ve seen so far. This one is exhibited at the Salon de la Société des amis des arts de Bordeaux, painted in 1890.

A final one today: Après la pluie (After the Rain) It speaks for itself, and yet I note the beige…

Art is a very guilty pleasure as I write this and continue to research.


Books,Champagne,Spirits,Wine,Wine Writer

A Republican and a Democrat bumped into each other this 4th of July for a drink

Interesting concept, huh?

I have a friend in the CIA, who once told me, when the GOP is in the house, they enjoy hard liquor. When the DEMs are in the house, they prefer wine. Meanwhile, I know who has their “House” wine, but can’t tell.

How about celebrating this Fourth of July weekend by taking a quick look at our political parties, and the parties they threw after signing our Declaration of Independence and the birth of our nation? Our leaders all had a relationship to booze; whether they enjoyed it or were dry. Wine, beer, and spirits have played a role in our history, and this 4th of July, we celebrate our right to continue to enjoy the freedom of making and having that choice.

Fun with Presidential Libations

Straight from Regnery Publishing, from Mark Will-Weber’s research and writings, two new books have been published, and we’re all invited to delicious, libation history lessons. The first book that I read of Mark’s was Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt, The Compete History of Presidential DrinkingIt was a well-researched and documented history book, the likes of which hadn’t yet been revealed. Entertaining, enlightening, frightening, and really captivating, it’s a classic one to have in a wine book library, to be sure. It so inspired me to learn more about that time and how it was viewed politically from inside of the White House.

Mark Will-Weber is a seasoned journalist, magazine editor, and book author. Now, two new books by Mark Will-Weber have arrived:


Need cocktail recipes? Each book has at least 20…

Again, Mark Will-Weber has captured the heart and soul of spirits in our nation’s capital. Straight up or with a twist, our politico are every bit as human (and sometimes frail) as the rest of us. Mark’s introductions and quotes from historical references are classic, (sometimes) funny, and very revealing in each instance.

I’ve chosen two, to whet your appetite… The first was very unfamiliar to me. I didn’t study the Presidents in American History. We seemed to be too busy on the East Coast with the settling of America and then learning about the wars. I regret not learning about each president… But then, what teacher is going to encourage their presidential imbibing habits to minors, while presidents made life and death decisions?


The Republican ~ Chester Arthur (1881-1885)

You also may not remember Chester. He didn’t win an election. He became President after James Garfield‘s assignation. Garfield was president for only 200 days… This one is a lesson to be considered, when choosing a VP. If a dandy has been chosen, then don’t be surprised when the party animal takes over. Arthur’s wife Ellen Herndon died suddenly in 1880, before Chester had taken office, so Chester Arthur’s sister Mrs. Mary McElroy came into the White House to serve as First Lady. Both of them had an appetite for splendor, and they spent equally well.

So, his tasting preferences during the Gilded Age? … And let’s remember, this book is filled with historical quotations. This one is under the title of THE WISE PORTRAIT:

“In Recollections of Thirteen Presidents (published in 1909), Congressman Wise wrote of Arthur, the mutton-chopped twenty-first president:

“Arthur was a high liver. He was not by any means a drunkard, but he was a typical New York man-about-town, and showed it in his fat and ruddiness. He ate and drank too much, and died young from the effects of over-indulgence. He loved good company, and his high-ball, and his glass of champagne, and his late supper with a large cold bottle and a small hot bird.”

The Democrat ~ John F. Kennedy

My first thought was Camelot. I, as much as anyone else, was as entranced as everyone else. I also didn’t realize until just now, that both presidents have ties to assassination. Pure Coincidence.

Meanwhile, what was Camelot like, during those years while we were asking ourselves what we could do for our country… amid avoiding the Vietnam War?

Joe Kennedy‘s fortunes are a result of being connected to the Mafia, ergo, they owned the presidency (whether or not we enjoy knowing that). Enough documentaries have emerged from history for us to be informed – as possibilities…  Mark writes:

“… it is hard to envision Camelot-or at least the Jack and Jacky version of it-without daiquiris, the occasional Bloody Mary, or the finest French champagne.”

Very interesting reading, this chapter… I’m going to go light on it, sort of…

After the assassination, we were told that in 50 years we’d all learn what really happened and by whom. To my utter dismay, Barack Obama announced – and it was 49 years after – not yet. I think I needed a drink on that decision, after I had waited 50 years. At least I have enough suppositions.

Jackie’s Daiquiris

Jacqueline Kennedy‘s favorite drink was French Champagne-and not just any champagne but Veuve Clicquot served in an elegant flute glass (something of morbid irony, in hindsight, since this premium vintage from Reims is named for a nineteenth-century French widow). However, Jackie also would occasionally kick back with a daiquiris during summer get togethers at their Cape Cod compound.”

Jack’s Twist

An unusual one-off incident… Ben Bradley, a former managing editor with the Washington Post waiting a long time for this story to surface. Again, its a one-off story:

“…after dinner Lee Radziwell put Chubby Checker‘s record on and gave all the men lessons. The champagne was flowing like the Potomac in flood, and the president himself was opening bottle after bottle in a manner that sent the foam flying over the furniture, shouting, ‘Look at Bill go’ to Walton, or ‘Look at Benji go’ to me, as we practiced with ‘the princess.'”




Argentina,Italy,Provence,Rosé,Wine,Wine of the Week

Wine of the Week ~ A Juicy Cadre of Rosés

Einstein’s brain, upon examination, revealed that he had an extra-ordinary connection network. For each memory, his patterns were like looking at the interconnections of a busy railroad yard. To really begin to gain info about wines, reading their unique stories, where they’re from, who made them and why, tasting them… These are the interconnections of being able to later identify a past wine enjoyed. The following is a journey for this wine of the week. And… This is great for visual learners, like I am.

So, how to differentiate among four different rosés?

Who (wine company), What (color), When (what tie-in), Where (if it matters)

I’m going for color in the what category, since each one is a rosé. And, I found this great color chart on DigitalSynopsis.com. I’ll be using this chart from now on. It’s so defining, when talking aobut he color of rosé.

WHO: 2015 Masi Rosa dei Masi Rosato Delle Venezie


WHEN: Easy like a Pinot Gris… Beautiful salmon pink, leaning toward the rose side of salmon. This fruity and crisp rosé is made from a new grape for me, the Refosco. I’ve only had one other Refosco. Toad Hollow‘s in 2010, with Frankie Williams. It’s a very pleasing wine, on a 90 degree day. when I first started to enjoy it. That’s when I wrote this paragraph. Then I enjoyed it for a few more days. With a 12.5 percent alcohol, it survived well.

On Sunday, I thought, “What movie should I watch with this Masi Rosa Rosato, and draw more lines of connections in my brain to long remember it? (Just stirred the polenta. A Northern Italy food, to go with this Northern Italian wine. It was by sheer kismet that this happened, as I finally decided to go light this night.)

The Trip to Italy... A trip of two actor/writer friends (playing themselves) take off for two weeks of fine wine, gastronomy, and the beautiful coastline of Southern Italy. Steve Coogan has been asked by The Observer to tour the country’s finest restaurants, but after his girlfriend backs out on him he must take his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon. I found it ironic, as they headed into what they referred to as the “Land of Red wine – Barolo, Barbera, and Barbaresco” – that they drank white wine the entire trip. Just a curiosity.

Two men, six meals in six different places on a road trip around Italy: Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi and ending in Capri, spend their entire trip extemporaneously imitating their favorite actors with movie quotes… All the while being fed the best foods possible from top chefs and living in gorgeous hotel rooms. It would be curious to see what they would be writing, because they didn’t write down on thought. All the while, I was sipping my Masi Rose, and taking notes furiously. “One cannot write without taking notes,” I thought more than once. I was enjoying the wine, knowing that it comes from the very deliciously and unusual Refosco grape… This was a movie like no other I had ever seen, just as rare as this grape variety in the states. The landscapes took my breath away. The foods would be to-die-for, for anyone enraptured with gastronomy, and to know that they were off script, and extremely clever… Just friends chattering. This wine would have been perfect for them to have had on their trip… a white RED. Instead, their glasses were filled with straw colored wine. (A little off kilter, but one more connection for me to tie it all back to my time with Masi Rosa dei Masi Rosato.) Super fine wine…

WHERE: Italy

WHO: 2015 The Seeker Rosé Côtes de Provence

WHAT ~ COLOR:  Salmon

WHEN ~ My favorite movie, set in Provence, France, is A Good Year And, The Seeker Rosé from Provence is a natural pairing in my mind. Both are delicious. I’ve watched A Good Year more than any other movie in my life. It could be as many as 20 times. The Seeker Rosé is all that bespeaks Provence ~ cool, crisp, and very elegant… a touch of lavender, a golden hour of delight, a memory to last a lifetime. Just perfect in its balance.

From the movie, a perfect quote: Max Skinner: Forgive my lips. They find joy in the most unusual places. Yeah, this wine is like that!

WHERE: Provence, France for both the wine and the movie… I could use a little of both right now. I’ve had very few wines from Provence. It’s a region that intrigues me and one I’d love to visit. It’s described as the soul of the Mediterranean, and is inherently food friendly.

WHO: 2015 Alta Vista Rosé Malbec

WHAT ~ COLOR: Rosewood For a rosé, this one is rich in the color of rosewood and it’s also dedicated to bold flavors. A joy to enjoy…

WHEN: I too pleasure in this rose, while watching lessons in tangos…

I have to first disclaim… The label; I was so struck by the label. I’m the first one to admit, and have since I started with wine, if I don’t know the producer, I’m next drawn to the artwork of the brand. Think of it this way… A label is representative for what’s inside the bottle. It’s a story that draws you in… This label reads: The Tijereta bird (Tirannus Savana) arrives to our vineyards during spring together with the cool climate, ideal to enjoy this new Rosé of the year.

The Alta Vista Rosé Malbec is soft and sultry… very feminine. High heals and twirls. Delicate in it’s artwork, both inside and out, this is a very tempting wine, much like the national dance of Argentina ~ the tango. And, that’s what this wine did on my palate. Great entry, flavor on my mid palate, and left me wanting more on the finish… Dare to enjoy it…

WHERE: Argentina

This set of Rosés was received from Kobrand Wine & Spirits.


California,Marketing,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Business Innovation,Winery

Q&A ~ Do you wanna come out and play?

Remember those fun days, when you had more friends than you had chores? Hide and go seek, kick the can, dancing in your friend’s living room, and playing a good game of Monopoly were your greatest joys… Then we all grew up.

Today’s games surrounding wine have such solitary and serious goals… “Should I go for my Master Sommelier or a Master of Wine certification? Maybe I should get certified as a member of the Society of Wine Educators, or what about International Wine and Spirits courses?” These are all well and good, if you want to get down and dirty with it…

But what if… you just wanna have fun?

Well, you have something that takes you right back to, “Hey, wanna come out and play?” With your family and friends, you only need a desire to have a great time, one bottle of wine (per five people), and as many glasses as you have family and/or friends, who are playing. Any number over five and you’ll want one bottle per five people. (There are five glasses of wine in each bottle.)

CF Napa designed Q&A for The Rubin Family of Wines. I was in on the process, and it began slowly as one of Ron Rubin’s marketing concepts. (I’m betting that he’s one of those guys who keeps a notepad by his bedside, as epiphanies seem to burst from him in a rapid fire way.) So, we began and it segued from something local, to regional, to worldwide. At that point, Sonoma State University Wine Business School’s faculty was brought in to help with content.

A Series of Bottles 12 Bottles

It had become larger than life. The plan evolved into 12 bottles, each bottle has five different Questions & Answers. Each bottle in a case of wine is numbered from one to 12: No 1 of 12, No 2 of 12, No 3 of 12, etc.  This means that there are a total of 60 different questions and answers in a full case of wine. It’s intended to let players collect all 12 bottles, over time. CF Napa calls it The Trivial Pursuit of Wine, proudly displaying their label on their home page; because it’s so unique.

  • The label wraps around the bottle, the front of it is the Q&A part.
  • The right side has the Questions.
  • The left side has the Answers.

It’s a great concept for a non vintage, red wine coming from California. It’s easy to enjoy as a wine, and doesn’t get in the way of trying to nail down all aspects of… You know… “Guess the vintage, the county of origin, the varietal breakdown, how much alcohol does it have, what’s its AVA… (Although, you might have to answer what an AVA is.)

That’s all well and good for someone wanting that certificate, so he or she can become a wine business pro. Most of us – I have to exclude myself at this point, given my career – just want to enjoy life, have a glass of wine, and hang out with family and friends; maybe even play a game or two over time. This is one of those games.

It’s an exclusive brand to Total Wine & More. If you’re 21 years or older, here’s the link: Total Wine & More. If you don’t have a location near you, you can order on-line ahead of your friends coming over to play. (Make sure you authorize yourself on the site as being 21 or older.)

As a side note, we just received a notice that the Q&A label just earned a DOUBLE GOLD medal in the 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition’s Label Division. Everyone at the winery is delighted. We knew that we had something very special going on…

Q&A ~ Do you want to come out and play? 


Art in Wine,Bordeaux,Millesima,Wine

Bordeaux ~ Impressionist Alfred Smith ~ partie onze

[PHOTO CREDIT:  Portrait of Alfred Smith; painted by Alfred Roll in 1898, from the Cadogan Guides]

When I think of the Impressionists, Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Gauguin immediately come to mind. I wanted to quickly connect an Impressionist to Bordeaux, and this is when I discovered Alfred Smith. With a name like Alfred Smith, one might not think of him as a notable Impressionist… So English sounding, unlike our above Francophiles.

I searched through my art book collection. Nothing. Everyone else named above, plenty. Alfred Smith is without any fanfare in my library.

So, who is Alfred Smith, the Impressionist from Bordeaux; and what did he create?  Quickiwiki… was an instant source and guide.

In 1854, Alfred Smith was born in Bordeaux, to an English family.

In the circle of the time’s who’s who, he followed Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet (June 10, 1819 – December 31, 1877) and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (July 16, 1796 – February 22, 1875). Smith studied with Hippolyte Pradelles (1876), Léonce Chabry (1880), and Amadeus Baudit (1884). Alfred Philippe Roll, a distinguished artist of the time, noticed Smith and helped him by promoting his work.

As it turns out, Alfred Smith is a lesser known Bordelais Impressionist.

Still it’s worth studying him and connecting him to Bordeaux.

Smith’s earlier work seems to have been inspired by Claude Monet’s. In 1880, Smith exhibited at the Paris Salon, earning an honorable mention. Three years later, his painting called Le quai de Bacalan le soir was exhibited at the Salon. (Translates into The Wharf of Bacalan at night.) It’s pictured below.

It took a while to find this painting; when I did I audibly said, “Ahhh.” How alluring and mysterious. I want to be on the Wharf of the Bacalan at night in this hour of diminishing light.

In the 1880s, Smith became the new leader of the Bordeaux school, displacing Louis Auguin. It’s said that Smith had no need to earn a living, so he seemed to dabble and didn’t fully devote himself to painting until 1886.

In 1888, he was given a third class medal at the Salon des Artistes français; and in 1889, he won a bronze medal.

By 1894, Alfred Smith was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. Smith won a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900.


He exhibited regularly at French salons into the 1920s, and many of his works are held in French and Italian museums. Smith was distinguished for the atmospheric evocation of the woods, gardens and cityscapes, with a subtle and nuanced palette. He painted scenes from Bordeaux, Paris and Venice before discovering the Creuse valley. As Smith’s style matured he adapted a brighter palette, displayed in his landscapes of the Creuse valley. He has been called a member of the Crozant School, a broad collection of artists who painted nature around this village of the Creuse valley.

This painting is call le Père Boyreau au printemps [Translation: Father Boyreau in Spring]

In this blog story, we have two great examples of Bordeaux art, which can quickly be related to Bordeaux wines.

The fist one above (Le quai de Bacalan le soir ) is a full bodied image calling for a full bodied wine. Let’s say a Left Bank Bordeaux, because it’s quite substantive and a bit mysterious, just as the wharves at Bacalan are so described in texts.

And the le Père Boyreau au printemps is light and breezy, like being in a spring garden… It’s definitely not a description of the Left (Cabernets) or Right (Merlot) bank wines (perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc?). But, for the sake of adventure, let’s think of it being situated on the southern part of the Left Bank by the Garonne River) in hte  region of Graves. The wines’ attributes from here are comprised of villages including Sauternes, Pessac, Talence, Léognan, Martillac, Saint-Morillon, and Portets. Just imagine sweet and delicate Sauternes, for instance… while sipping in le Père Boyreau’s garden.

Okay, I’m thirsty… for more knowledge and some wine. It’s Wine Time…

With a life devoted to art, Alfred Smith died in Bordeaux, in 1932 at the age of 78. And, today, he is still celebrated at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, which has three of his works: Sous-Bois (1891), Harmonie d’été (1911), and Portrait de la mère de l’artiste (undated).

Credit to Millesima for inspiring me to learn about Bordeaux. this has been a joy to discover.



Ecology,Education,Environment,PR 101,Public Relations,Vineyards,Viticulture,Wine,Wine Country

Thinking About the Mountaintop ~ Justin Style ~ While My Guitar Gently Weeps

There’s not very much to say. It’s all been said by so many.

Still, I just had to briefly weigh in, because this is now a giant PR nightmare for the current owners of Justin Vineyards. What a giant mistake… Sigh…

What anyone in agriculture should consider, in the future

  • Common Sense is good.
    • If you don’t have any, call in a PR expert… Any PR expert.
  • Concern for the environment is even better.
    • Bring in someone like Jim Pratt, of Cornerstone Certified Vineyards, who thinks about what is sustainable and what isn’t.
  • Not stripping land is really the best...
    • What’s going to happen, when the rains come and there’s nothing with roots to hold back the land from slipping away?
    • All I have is common sense, so it might have been easy to see… Might have been.


I learned this from Miss Dumas, Sophomore English Teacher

  • Good, better, best: never let it rest, until the good is better and the better is best…

NEWS HEADLINE: Justin Vineyards owners to donate 380-acre site where oaks were cut down.

Great. Now whomever inherits the land will have to deal with the runoff.

  • The family will also repair grading work and stop construction of a large reservoir
  • The county won’t pursue code enforcement action due to the donation and land remediation

Okay, great; however, I wouldn’t accept the land for AT LEAST a couple of years, while it settles back in, as the soils erode… Just a personal thought. All I can think of is the song, “While my guitar gently weeps,” because I’m a tree hugger.

[Photo taken by David Middlecamp is on The Tribune Website, along with a longer version of the story by Lindsey Holden.]




Verona ~ The Cesari Vineyard of Verona ~ prima parte #IAMarone

As I’ve written about Portugal, To Understand a Wine, Once Must First Understand its People.

Now, it’s my time to learn about Verona, Italy: The customs of its people, its foods and wines, art and music, its landscapes, and its history. This is all for the purpose of understanding Cesari wines and what makes the Cesari family such prominent historical figures. This is a story about a family that has created a wine brand of world wide distinction.

[#1 PHOTO ~ TITLE: Interesting example of Romanesque architecture in Valpolicella – Verona Italy]

Similar to my own thoughts, Gerardo Cesari believed that “Links between history and the land, culture, tradition and quality… do not belong just to one winery or brand, but to the whole community: everyone from the Verona area identifies with the local wines.”

In 1936, Cesari Vineyard was founded by Gerardo Cesari. It was Cesari’s dream to produce an Amarone wine capable of competing with the greatest red wines of the world. At the time, Gerardo believed that a wine area should be defined by its viticultural region, not by its methods of production. And so began the process of making a wine that would truly represent a superior Amarone from Verona, on the world wine stage.

[Photo of Cesari Vineyard is borrowed from their Website, to demonstrate the dramatic commitment to their region.]

From a translation on the Bluarte Website:

Franco Cesari, reflections of life and Amarone

The Caesars were [one of] the first companies to arrive in the United States. We are now present in 56 countries. Passion, hard work, [and] commitment are not abstract words. [They] are the levers of a business system that looks at the result.

In the 1960s, Gerardo was joined by his son Franco Cesari [above], in order to expand into exports. It was Franco, who through hard work and enthusiasm, helped his father to reach his original goal of international respect and worldwide distribution. The Cesari name quickly became synonymous with Amarone around the globe.

[Photo of Deborah Cesari]

According to its exporter OPICI Wines:

The winery continues to evolve while staying true to its regional roots. Franco’s children, Gerardo and Deborah, have joined their father in upholding the pillars of traditional winemaking while introducing innovative technology at their two state-of-the-art cellars.

Their estate holdings include more than 100 hectares [nearly 250 acres] of hillside vineyards located in premier sites in the Valpolicella appellation, including 3 single vineyards, primarily in the historic Classico area.  An additional 10 hectares [25 acres] of 100% estate-managed vineyards under long-term lease are located throughout the Veneto region.  All are primarily planted to indigenous varietals, with a small percentage of international grapes, carefully harvested by hand ensuring that only the best grapes are selected. In recent years, Cesari has adopted environmentally sustainable growing practices. Focused on quality, Cesari extensively ages their wines beyond the DOCG regulations.

The Cesari portfolio is comprised of unique, elegant, and balanced appellation wines renowned for authenticity, respected for regional character, and distinguished for superior quality.

#1 PHOTO: Copyright: catalby / 123RF Stock Photo>

Photos of Franco and Deborah are on the Internet without photo credit.




Wine of the Week ~ 2015 biokult Zweigelt Rosé of the Niederösterreich

Einstein’s brain, upon examination, revealed that he had an extra-ordinary connection network. For each memory, his patterns were like looking at the interconnections of a busy railroad yard. To really begin to gain info about wines, reading their unique stories, where they’re from, who made them and why, tasting them… These are the interconnections of being able to later identify a past wine enjoyed. The following is a journey for this wine of the week. And… This is great for visual learners, like I am.

I really enjoyed tasting a 2015 biokult Zweigelt Rosé of the Niederösterreich, from Austria. I wrote the following, as I went along: A unique, organic rosé wine from Austria that’s sure to make a splash this spring… 2015 biokult Zweigelt Rosé of the Niederösterreich. Then, I got into the particulars, which are below the dividing line. First, we’re going on a journey of interconnectedness.

Last evening, while Jose was watching a Golden State Warrior game,  I searched for a movie I’d enjoy… I fell upon this story and thought… “Helen Mirren in Woman in Gold, it’s got to be worth seeing.”

BRIEFLY: Sixty years after fleeing Vienna, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), an elderly Jewish woman, attempts to reclaim family possessions that were seized by the Nazis. Among them is a famous portrait of Maria’s beloved Aunt Adele: Gustave Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” With the help of young lawyer Randy Schoeberg (Ryan Reynolds), Maria embarks upon a lengthy legal battle to recover this painting and several others, but it will not be easy, for Austria considers them national treasures.(TRUE STORY)

I’ve loved Gustav Klimt’s work since first setting eyes on it. My favorite ~ The Kiss. My art book is the backdrop, for the very last drop of this biokult Rosé.

Woman of Gold

As I as watching this incredible story unfold between LA and Austria, I was fascinated. Austria being the country of origin for Mirren’s character, was repeated over and over again. “Austria,” I thought? Waiting a minute. I just tasted a wine from Austria!” I ran for the bottle. Indeed… Austria.

The wine was still fresh in my mind and on my palate. With very little prior interaction between my brain and Austrian wines, this one just clicked. I’ve always felt that I have a past life in Vienna. Then “Vienna” popped up as another connection. Forever more, until my thoughts leave me, biokult is now going to be associated with poignancy. Poignancy not in a negative sense at all; rather, one of the sadness that happened in world history, and the positive rebuilding. Especially for all of the art that was lost during World War II, and is now being recovered and returned to the families of those, whose art seemed to be lost forever.

My father was a WW II vet. I was born nine months after his return. It’s a part of history that needs to be remembered, so it never happens again. The new wines of Austria are shining examples of how a country rises again, as a phoenix. This Zweigelt Rosé is a shining example of the rebuilding and the rise…

It’s been carefully crafted in a non intrusive, organic way. There are so many rich connections, as well as so many rich flavors. with this wine I celebrated the joy of Maria Altmann having a positive solution for world art recovered and returned to the original family’s ownership.

This is how one remembers a wine tasted… In layers upon layers.


The Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2015 biokult Zweigelt Rosé of the Niederösterreich – Qualitätswein appellation is very appealing as a light and easy to understand rosé. Made of Austria’s most widely grown red grape Zweigelt (pronounced TSVYE-gelt). Zweigelt is a red wine grape originating from a 19th century Austrian crossing of two older varietals, Blaufränkisch and St Laurent. Low residual sugar gives it a very pleasant appeal, and the rose color with slight violet hues is visually alluring. The taste is of light red fruit, strawberry & raspberry, with soft tannins. This is a good food wine, pairing well with pasta, light meals, risottos & cheese…. And a great movie!

About the Winemaker

The Michlits family is one of the most creative and influential organic wine growing families in Austria. Headed by Werner and Angela Michlits, their products and production methods are revolutionary for the region. Not only have they been able to understand and implement the use of non-trimmed vines in the region, but the use of biodynamic methods and the translation of these into new production standards are awe inspiring.

Suggested retail is $13.99 per bottle. Natural Merchants is the importer.



Wine,Wine tasting

Consider Hyposmia ~ the aging palate

Probably not too many people in this lifetime want to admit that their palates are on the wane. No awards are given for fessing up, and it will definitely work in one’s disfavor, but I’ve always been one for telling it like it is, not like it isn’t…

I’ve got to thank Dan Berger for bringing it up years ago in his Vintage Experiences Commentary. I’ve been thinking about this. I even talked to a colleague about it, and he told me to just let it go because I have wisdom to offer… Yeah, right… but it’s just not the same.

I’m always ready to reinvent myself. As one part of me is left behind, I discover another. It’s in the not letting go of the old room that doesn’t allow for one to discover what’s in the new one.

So, let’s discuss… What’s Hyposmia, anyway?

hy·pos·mi·a (n.) A diminished or deficient sense of smell.

The good news for me is that I was born with a hypersensitive sense of smell, so I probably still have a better than “average” ability now. None-the-less, having my sense of smell diminish a bit causes me to wonder what happens to people who are born with an average sense of smell.

Like Alice, I’m off into a new room, exploring new things, and not letting one thing that slips ever-so-slowly away become a negative…

It’s just an opportunity for new things to come my way. For instance, I can go photograph a wine competition and bring back wonderful images, versus having to be the one where after a flight of wine, I’ve just lost it but must trudge on. (This image was taken at the Riverside Wine Competition years ago, thanks to the generosity of Dan Berger and Juliann Savage.)

I have something for my eyes (glasses), and even if someone invests something for my nose, I’m happy to smell a bit less… versus extending the length of my nose and its capabilities. Enough already!

It’s not the changes that happen in our lives that matter. It’s how we handle the changes that counts!

For Dan’s issue, please contact him thorough his Web site for his full story. It’s very enlightening, and he’s brave enough to put it out there. I’m just following his lead. I can’t call it an “opinion” because it’s got a medical name: Hyposmia.

This perhaps might explain to me, however, how Robert Parker can give (for instance) a 2004 Black Coyote Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon a score of 91, and write the following:

  • This deep ruby/purple-colored wine, made at the Judd’s Hill Winery and bottled by Robert Pecota winery, is outstanding. A beautiful, rich wine, it exhibits notes of black currant, licorice, underbrush, and subtle background oak. Medium to full-bodied, still very young and primary but very promising as well, this wine should age nicely for 12-15 years.

Then, another wine critic writes the following, with a score of 84:

  • Wholly absent of the polish and finesse that we associate with Stags Leap Cabernets, this brawny but soft-centered wine is singularly defined by ripeness, and its ongoing toughness and undisguised heat stand out for lack of buffering fruit.

Same bottle, two opinions.

And, thanks to Lewis Carroll for these wonderful images. Where would we all be in life without a little Alice in Wonderland!