Monday, May 28, 2018

Merlot: the little black bird

Named after a little black bird in France, merle or merlau, it was only fitting this dark blue-colored wine grape variety the little bird enjoyed dining on would be referred to as “merlot.”

As early as 1824, the name merlot referred to the second most popular grape grown in the Bordeaux region of France - following after its cousin cabernet sauvignon - a heartier and richer grape than merlot. In Bordeaux, the Left Bank region blends cabernet sauvignon as the dominant wine joining its cousin merlot, and at the Right Bank merlot is the featured wine blend.  
            
This French grape with notes of cherries, violets, and cigar box finally arrived in California in the mid-nineteenth century where it was shown off as a single bottled varietal instead of being traditionally blended with its French cousin cabernet sauvignon.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Label her "Mom"

Humans have been creating images of mothers since men, and of course women, who crudely etched with a jagged rock on the walls of caves. Through the centuries European artists like Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Claude Monet, and Gustav Klimpt to American artists such as James Whistler to Norman Rockwell painted portraits of mothers.                                                            
Dorothea Lange’s camera lens captured the destitution in the iconic 1936 black and white photo of Florence Thompson, known as the Migrant Mother; and Annie Leibovitz shocked the public with her controversial photos of pregnant celebrities posing in the nude.
   
And of course, last but certainly not least the many renditions of the most famous mom of all, the Virgin Mary’s images discovered from the early centuries in Rome and Syria.  
   
Images of mothers continue and today are lovingly and respectfully honored on bottles of fine wine. 

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Thursday, February 01, 2018

Wine-and-chocolate pairing: Love them, love them not!

The verdict is in: Some wine lovers enjoy a bite of chocolate with a sip of red wine, and others do not. Opinions by winemakers and wine writers for loving or not loving these two luxurious “food groups” can be as contentious as ... well ... as the recent presidential election.
There are numerous articles claiming one must stop the “silliness” of pairing chocolate confections with wine, while other reviewers celebrate the union of these rich mates on the palate.
Some critics of wine-and-chocolate pairings even go as far as picking on the red-foil heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolate gooey centers, nuts and chews. (I must admit, I rather love the tacky, nostalgic heart-shaped boxes.)
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