Finishing off 2012 and moving forward into 2013, I am thrilled to have started working with the masterminds behind both Connoisseur Magazine and 2paragraphs. These publications are incredibly versatile and feature everything from wine, luxury, gastronomy, art, and even a little bit of politics thrown in the mix. Both are very well worth following as they are filled with loads of intriguing content contributed from writers all over the world. Click to check out Connoisseur Magazine and 2paragraphs . I am looking forward to an exciting year of writing about what I love most in this world!
The Adventurous Sonoma Coast - Connoisseur Magazine
Burgundy – A Story of Fraternal Twins – 2paragraphs
Cristal Champagne: Holiday Cheer and a Hip-Hop Breakup – 2paragraphs
“Young at Heart” – A Tale of an Old Barolo – 2paragraphs
The Grand Wines of Bordeaux – 2paragraphs
Burgundy can be thought of as a well-bred family of children; each child possessing different appearances, different styles, and different behaviors. Within this regal clan is an undoubtedly salient set of fraternal twins, both dashing in looks and rivaling only each other in superior quality, none other than the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. These regions represent the teenage dream of being that set of all-star athlete fraternal twins that can’t help but excel in just about everything. Every girl wants to date them. Every guy wants to be them. But just like any fraternal twins, even the nearly flawless ones, alongside the uncanny similarities come distinct differences. James Beard award-winning author Jordan Mackay paid another visit to the San Francisco Wine Center to guide a class full of students who caught the Burgundy bug and help them uncover the deep side of Côte de Nuits. Feasting their eyes on the impeccable wine list, the class fervently tasted a few Premier Cru wines followed by an impressive lineup of delightful Grand Cru wines from Clos Vougeot and plenty of Charmes Chambertin. The students were more than pleased to end the class with a glass of 1985 Camus Pere & Fils Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru. Here is a taste of what we learned…
Although both regions produce the two key Burgundy grape varietals, many refer to the Côte de Nuits as the ‘Holy land of Pinot Noir’ while Côte de Beaune is dubbed as the ‘King of Chardonnay’. Having been granted 24 of the 33 Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy, Côte de Nuits is highly dominated by Pinot Noir at about 95%. It is a well-known fact that Pinot Noir from this region tends to be unmistakably deeper colored, heftier, and firmer than those of Côte de Beaune. But why is that? Well to be fair, attempting to fully comprehend the mosaic of soils that underlie Côte de Nuits, or Burgundy in general for that matter, is not for the geologically challenged. But looking at the overall picture it can be noted that the region’s soils are composed of a limestone base topped with mixtures of chalk, marl and red clay with rich alluvial soils found in the lower altitudes. The Côte de Nuits bears a continental climate with little to no influences from the Atlantic; receiving long cool winters, short warm summers, and an unfortunate tendency for hail storms. Apart from general climatic similarities, this region conspicuously differs from the wet and windier conditions of Côte de Beaune. Another perceivable difference between the regions is the much narrower size and sharply sloped terrain of Côte de Nuits in contrast to the soft rolling hills of Côte de Beaune. All aspects combined, Côte de Nuits ends up producing significantly smaller amounts of wine than Côte de Beaune. Now, that sure was a mouthful of comparing and contrasting. But as mentioned earlier, life is such for such high-profile fraternal twins. The bottom line, could you resist dating either? If you even tried to answer with a ‘yes’, Burgundy drinkers would argue otherwise.
As published on 2paragraphs.com
Within various realms such as culture, lifestyle, nature, food, and of course weather, the Golden State is a fierce force to be reckoned with. And when it comes to wine, the story is no different. California currently produces 90% of the entire production of wine here in the US…A quantity so high that if California were to become its own country – one could only dream – it would rank as the 4th largest producing country on the planet. But as if the sheer numbers in production aren’t enough to convince the masses, the constant influx of annual wine tourism in Napa and Sonoma will do the trick.
And despite the global consensus that real California wine is but a handful of decades old, interestingly enough, winemaking here actually dates back as far as the late 1700s as Catholic monks began introducing vitis vinifera vines to the uncharted land. The “Mission Grape”, as the monks called it, was the principal varietal of that era and was primarily produced for religious use.
That remained the case for a long while until the mid-1800s when a Hungarian-American gentleman by the name of Agoston Haraszthy brought European vines to California, christening him as the “Father of California Viticulture.” It was also during this point in history when the infamous Gold Rush brought hundreds of thousands of gold-seekers to California, heavily influencing the increase of the state’s wine industry and introducing both the Napa and Sonoma counties to the wine world. The development of California wine production was on the up and up until it was significantly depleted by the controversial Prohibition of the 1920s. After being almost fully swept from underneath its feet, it took decades worth of valiant efforts from industry pioneers such as the Gallo brothers, Robert Mondavi, and several others to get California back on its legs and running again.
But even with these intrepid wine renegades, for many years the rest of the world still viewed California’s wine industry as the Wild West. It wasn’t until the mid-1970s with the arrival of legendary British wine expert Steven Spurrier when things were all about to change. Seeing the evident potential for high quality wine production in the new world, Steven sourced the very best of California wine that he could find and organized the famous Judgment of Paris in 1976. California’s first chance to catch its real break, a panel of nine French judges blindly tasted Burgundy whites and Bordeaux reds against California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The results shocked the world when Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay and Stag’s Leap’s 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon both topped the scores over their French counterparts. This event was the monumental breakthrough that put California on the right path to becoming one of the world’s finest wine regions.
Today, one can find just about any type and style of wine right here in California. From Napa’s cult cabs, to the elegant Burgundian style wines of the Sonoma Coast, to the mountainous Bordeaux blends of Mendocino, and even the experimental Italian varietal wines, this state has it all. And as one of the world’s leaders in highly-expensed vinification systems that promote meticulous and well-controlled winemaking, the sky’s the limit for California wine.