California’s new wine destination: Monterey
Monterey County is always a favorite tourist destination. But in addition to shopping in Carmel, world class golf, and the aquarium, the area is quickly becoming a wine destination, too.
Top 10 Northwest wine stories of 2011
The industry lost some giants to death, and the heads of Washington’s and Oregon’s industries left their positions. Here are the top wine stories of 2011.
Uncorking China’s Wine Market
Although China’s bustling metropolises and staid Bordeaux may seem worlds apart, the two are becoming increasingly intertwined. Indeed, China recently overtook the traditional strongholds of Germany and the United Kingdom to become Bordeaux’s largest export destination.
For those of you that have wanted to learn how to saber a bottle of bubbly, here’s your chance to learn from Small Screen Network’s Jamie Boudreau. It couldn’t be easier, but there are a few important steps you must take.
First, of course, is safety. Make sure the bottle isn’t pointed at anybody and that you don’t swing wildly with a knife and cut the person you’re supposed to be kissing at midnight.
Next, make sure the bottle is well-chilled, especially the neck. This will make the process easier and reduce the amount of spillage.
Lastly, if this is your first time, try it outside first or have some towels ready.
For weapon of choice, the back edge of a sturdy knife works well.
Jamie also recently opened a cocktail bar in Seattle called Canon and we can say without a doubt that it is most definitely Mutineer Approved.
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12.30.2011 | Brian Kropf
Prevention: Beer and Martinis: As Healthy as Wine?
Many studies have found an association between the moderate consumption of alcohol and increased longevity, and some have found evidence that wine has a more beneficial effect than other alcoholic drinks.
Israel grows as winemaker
For centuries Israeli wine was reserved for religious ceremony, and the less of it one had to drink, the better. But over the past decade or two, the country been producing some very good wines for consumers — wine to drink with food for earthly pleasure, not just the glory of God.
Wine region remains unprotected
Fresh calls for the Margaret River Region (Australia) to be protected by special legislation have been sparked by Environment Minister Bill Marmion’s Christmas present decision on the Vasse Coal Project.
Seven Winemakers to Watch in 2012
What do a war veteran, a tax consultant and a Kiwi have in common? (No this isn’t a bad joke.) They are some of the best winemakers in California right now. Some of these folks were everywhere this year. And some we hope to see a lot more of in 2012. Without further ado, seven winemakers we think are cool, interesting and really good at what they do—in no particular order.
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12.28.2011 | Brian Kropf
What rising memperatures may mean for world’s wine industry
Warming temperatures associated with climate change are already affecting vineyards from France to Chile, often in beneficial ways. But as the world continues to warm, some traditional winemaking regions are scrambling to adapt, while other areas see themselves as new wine frontiers.
Gallo Winery gets AVA expansion
All it took was “Money and time,” said winemaker Merry Edwards, describing the denouement of her lengthy and ultimately unsuccessful fight to prevent expansion of the Russian River Valley viticultural area.
Bitter taste when smoke gets in your vines
Scientists have identified more than 20 chemicals that make smoke-tainted wine taste like leather, disinfectant and other unpalatable flavours in a new research project that aims to limit the damage to the wine industry caused by smoke.
Judge won’t halt liquor privatization
A Cowlitz County judge on Wednesday rejected a request to temporarily halt an initiative to privatize state liquor sales while the courts decide whether it’s constitutional.
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12.23.2011 | Brian Kropf
In this most glorious third installment, we take a look at biodynamic practices in Margaret River, featuring the exceptionally delicious wines of Cullen Wines.
Cullen has established an international reputation for its biodynamic practices in the region, with the Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietal wines highly sought after.
According to Cullen Production Manager Trevor Kent, “I think somewhere like Bordeaux might struggle a bit more with humidity, but we’re lucky to have a good mediterranean climate that allows us to get through the ripening period without too much disease pressure.”
Here are some Margaret River wineries that are either biodynamic certified or employ biodynamic practices in their vineyard. There is a bit of a grey area as many Margaret River vineyards use some biodynamic and organic practices without stating it publicly.
A visit to another Margaret River heavy hitter, Moss Wood, led to some interesting cellar conversations in regarding the use of native yeast vs. commercial yeast with the great Keith Mugford, wine maker at Moss Wood. I pulled him aside after the tasting for him to summarize his thoughts:
You’ve probably heard of “The One”, Master Sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson’s line of stemware that features a single glass for all red wines and a single glass for all white wines.
As awesome as these glasses are to enjoy wine out of, we took things a step further and created an old-school wine harp and created a video record of our achievement. As the footage shows, cats love the golden tones created by the wine harp, but only for short periods of time.
If you have a stockpile of “The One” or other crystal stemware handy and want to build your own ultra harp, beware that tuning this beast takes patience and perseverance. Much thanks to Hunter for being my partner in crime on this one.
From the Mutineer Interview with Andrea Immer Robinson in the May/June 2011 issue of Mutineer Magazine:
Andrea Immer Robinson: “Stemware is a labor of love for me, and it’s something I’m really passionate about because I’ve always stood for simplifying a topic that’s otherwise complicated. What I think has been a great thing about the last 20 years in the stemware world is that it’s become quite engrained that the glass makes a difference. So it’s great that people get it that a glass is important, and you’re seeing that at the mass-market chains. They all have fancy-ish wine stems relative to what they used to. But then it became completely over the top in terms of how complicated it got with needing a different glass with every grape. You needed a pinot Burgundy glass, and now you need an Oregon pinot glass. It’s like “What? are you freaking kidding me?”
Also, I don’t get the whole logic around where the wine is delivered on your tongue. I don’t believe in that at all. Your tongue is sweet, sour, bitter and salt, temperature and texture. Those are all valuable and important in tasting wine, but they do not give you the detail at all. They do not give you the fruit, the aroma and the true flavor, because the flavor has to have the sense of smell involved. So for me, that made no sense. It was also way too expensive, way too complicated.
The hope was to see if it was possible to come up with a single shape that would optimize all wines. If it wasn’t, then obviously I wasn’t going to do anything with that idea. My husband John and I went through the exercise of assessing all the best glasses out there and seeing which characteristics seemed to be associated with the best performance. Then we created a sketch on a piece of graph paper and had prototypes made with a partner we thought we’d be able to work with from France. We spent the next two years testing them again and again with every kind of wine out there; cheap, expensive, every appellation, every grape, old, young and everything in between. We had more time to develop even more conviction and also to make a tweak to the red wine design because the first pass wasn’t quite what we wanted it to be. Then we did a bunch of east and west coast master sommelier and master
of wine tastings with our prototypes versus other commercial stems that people had held in high regard, and they did really well.
The combination of the break-resistance, lead-free, dishwasher safe, superior clarity and pulled stem technology really made them a great partner. All of their glasses are wonderful quality, and they were extremely good about working with us and getting the shapes right. For the consumer, this is something that people can get their heads around and then they can make it fit into their practical everyday lives. I have three kids, and hand washing crystal wine glasses every night, especially with the amount we dirty up on a regular day, is just not gonna happen.”
For a world class wine harp performance, check this out:
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12.20.2011 | Alan Kropf
Two industry leaders are uniting for a single cause — to help A Child’s Right assure safe drinking water for children in Asia and Africa. Members of Cellar Angels will now be able to select A Child’s Right as a funds recipient whenever they purchase wine via the Cellar Angels website. Mutineer Magazine will assist in the program’s promotion and oversee marketing of the opportunity.
Cellar Angels is a unique wine philanthropy company specializing in providing artisanal wines to their members at a discount in the name of their partnering charities. The Cellar Angels member selects which charity the company donates proceeds towards and A Child’s Right is now an option. The two companies were brought together by Alan Kropf, Editor in Chief of Mutineer Magazine.
“Water relief is fundamentally a beverage issue, and I’m repeatedly amazed at A Child’s Right’s effectiveness in bringing clean water to children in urban areas around the world. With Cellar Angels joining Mutineer Magazine to support the efforts of A Child’s Right, we are setting up a sustainable way to raise funds and awareness with long-term potential,” Kropf said.
Mutineer Magazine has been working with A Child’s Right since 2009, producing a list of awareness-building and fundraising projects including the 2nd Annual Mutineer Red Carpet Party in partnership with Amarula Cream, Mutineer Blue Carpet Dinner in partnership with Jordan Vineyard and Winery, Mutineer Holiday Comedy Festival in partnership with Don Roberto Tequila, Mutinous Battle Chai Ale in partnership with New Holland Brewing Co. and the upcoming 3rd Annual Mutineer Red Carpet Party in partnership with Luxardo and Chinaco Tequila. Mutineer’s recent water relief work with A Child’s Right culminated with Kropf’s visit to Kathmandu, Nepal to observe the installation of five water filtration systems funded through Mutineer projects and a special November water-themed issue of Mutineer Magazine which recaps the project.
Cellar Angels works exclusively with acclaimed Napa and Sonoma County artisan wineries to provide its members access to highly sought-after wines at discounts well below retail and then donates portions of proceeds to charity. Once a week, Cellar Angels members receive a private email indicating that week’s offer and exclusive member price, a custom video of the wine and winemaker, tasting notes and food-pairing recipe. The member has just five days to purchase before the opportunity ends.
“There is nothing more important in the production of exceptional wine than water. In fact, there’s nothing more important in life,” indicated Martin Cody, President of Cellar Angels. “Partnering with both Mutineer and A Child’s Right allows us the privilege to help make sure children have access to clean water.”
Eric Stowe, Executive Director of A Child’s Right, states, “Cellar Angels gives ‘wine pairing’ a whole new meaning. Pairing fine wine with charitable giving means that children who formerly drank contaminated water will now drink water that is clean and safe.” He goes on to say, “There’s a very old story about turning water into wine, but turning wine into water is something entirely new!”
To sign up for a complimentary membership and receive the weekly Cellar Angels email, please visit cellarangels.com.
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11.16.2011 | Mutineer Magazine