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The Search is on for the Oldest Bottle of Charles Krug Wine


Charles Krug Winery 150th Anniversary

How deep is your cellar? If it’s deep enough, you might have exactly what Charles Krug Winery is looking for, the oldest bottle of their wine. Empty or full, dating either from pre-Prohibition or the Peter Mondavi Family era which began with the 1944 vintage, they want it. As the winery nears their 150th anniversary, they want to put the bottles on display as part of a history exhibit for first winery of Napa Valley. More information from the winery can be found below:

In time for the 150th anniversary of Napa Valley’s first winery, the Peter Mondavi Sr. Family announces a search for the oldest Charles Krug Winery bottle in existence. Founded in 1861, Charles Krug Winery is the birthplace of the Napa Valley wine industry and has been in the Peter Mondavi Family for nearly 70 of its 150 years.

Peter Mondavi Jr. puts his family winery’s history in perspective: “Charles Krug was founded the year President Lincoln was inaugurated, and the year the Civil War began.” At the time, Napa Valley was essentially the Wild West. Charles Krug first planted Mission grapes on his St. Helena estate but he soon replanted to European varietals which he felt would make better wine. Wines made at the time would have likely included claret, sherry, Madeira, sweet tokay and riesling, the latter hugely popular with many of the German immigrant-winemakers in Napa Valley in the late 1800’s.

Readers are encouraged to scour their wine cabinets, cellars, closets and caves for Charles Krug wine bottles, empty or full, dating either from pre-Prohibition or the Peter Mondavi Family era which began with the 1944 vintage. Bottles deemed contenders will be authenticated by experts in the wine department of Sotheby’s auction house in New York. The Peter Mondavi Family may purchase the winning bottle for display at the winery.

Plans are for an exhibit of historic artifacts from Charles Krug Winery, which will include a towering 9000-gallon vintage redwood fermentation tank and Charles Krug’s original basket press, which he used to crush the first harvest at his fledgling winery. The estate’s Redwood Cellar will house the exhibit. The huge structure with its many-gabled roof and impressive belvedere was built by Charles Krug in 1873 after his original cellar burned to the ground. On the National Register of Historic Places and a California Historic Landmark, the Redwood Cellar was restored recently to hold the Peter Mondavi Family’s reserve barrel aging room. The Cellar will eventually house the winery’s new tasting room and visitor’s center.

If you think you have what they’re looking for, go to their Facebook and tell them about your bottles and post a photo. Don’t have Facebook? Email them at oldestbottle@charleskrug.com. Submissions must be in by December 31, 2011.

2 comments 08.15.2011 |

Mollydooker Wines ‘Label Our Lefty’ Contest


MollyDooker Wine

Want to win a trip to Australia? It’s never been easier. All you have to do is submit a name for Mollydooker’s newest wine and you might find yourself on a flight to down under, where there have been rumors of sightings of Mutineer Magazine’s Alan Kropf in recent months.

See below for more information on the Mollydooker contest.

Mollydooker WineMcLaren Vale, Australia, August 1, 2011— What’s in a name? You tell us. Mollydooker, the fun-filled Australian winery, is on a worldwide search for the perfect name for its newest wine. The winning name will forever be displayed on the label of their new Sparkling Shiraz and will become part of the flavorful family of award winning Mollydooker wines.

“Four years ago we asked our friends to help us name our charity wine”, said Sarah Marquis, who with her husband Sparky, founded Mollydooker. “The winners (who suggested ‘Sip it Forward’) came to our USA release parties as our guests, and we all had a ball.”

“This time we want to make it even more special, so we are opening the contest up world wide, and we will fly the winner and a guest to visit us at the winery in Australia.”
“The new wine is going to be a partner to The Boxer Shiraz, which is our most popular wine,” explained Sarah. “We have kept a tankful of Boxer at the winery, and we will be re-fermenting it to make a Sparkling Shiraz. At $25 it is going to be lots of fun – a wine full of rich, long lasting fruit flavors and tiny fizzy bubbles. We see it as an ideal companion for a party, a BBQ, or any kind of celebration. All we are missing is the name, and we are asking for help with that.”

“We are really looking forward to bringing the winners to Australia,” added Sparky, “we’ll be taking them through the winery and showing them how we make the wine, and they will get to walk in the vineyards where the wine they named was grown. If they come during harvest, they will even be able to sit under the gum trees with us, hand crushing grapes and tasting the juices, and helping us decide when to pick. We live in a beautiful part of the world, and we are looking forward to sharing it with them.”

Contestants can find the guidelines and enter their name suggestions online at online, the contest closes on September 4, 2011 and the winner will be announced on September 15, 2011 (International Mollydooker Day) at the Mollydooker Winemaker’s Dinner at the Palomar Hotel, Washington D.C.

Comments Off on Mollydooker Wines ‘Label Our Lefty’ Contest 08.04.2011 |

The 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference and the State of Virginia Wine


2011 Wine Bloggers Conference

The 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference, held this past weekend in Charlottesville, Va., showcased the fruits of Virginia’s thirty-year drive. The online wine press saw gracious vineyards and tasted fine wines. Through a collegial approach, government support and patience, the Old Dominion now produces distinctive offerings such as Viognier, Cabernet Franc and Petit Manseng.

Its vintners wanted to show the online wine press that the Old Dominion was a worthy wine destination. In that case, mission accomplished. Attendees loved the hospitality, the scenery, the architecture and yes, even the wine.

Now, Virginia needs to take the next step. The Commonwealth presented a very unified viticulture, both on the vine and in image. A Viognier from Loudoun County, west of D.C., might as well be a Viognier from Charlottesville or near the North Carolina border. The wine culture reflects the state’s image: grand, but a bit stuffy and lacking in variety. Its appellations reflect tourism destinations lacking diversity, not distinctive viticultural regions.

And a lack of showcased diversity goes beyond production. The Charlottesville area features the fine Sugarleaf Vineyards, a rare African American-owned estate winery. Why on earth wasn’t it showcased prominently? It’s even absent from the literature for the local Monticello Wine Trail.

The grand old Virginians—one historian I know calls them Professional Virginians—put on a great show, but conference members’ eyes lit when they ventured away from columns and grandness. They became excited discussing Gabrielle Rausse, who came over from Italy in 1976 to establish Barboursville Vineyards, Virginia’s first key vinifera winery. They were fascinated by Jenni McCloud, who established Chrysalis Vineyards as she transitioned from male to female and played a prominent role in the book The Wild Vine, and touched by the solitary nature of DuCard Vineyards, nestled in rural Madison County hollow.

Virginia’s wine image, so steeped in Thomas Jefferson’s imagery, evokes the University of Virginia. The Conference even featured a tour of its Grounds, as they are pretentiously known. It’s a place of beautiful architecture and stagnant tradition.

If UVA represents old Virginia, there’s another school 70 miles away called Virginia Commonwealth University that represents new Virginia. Incredibly diverse for the South, VCU gave the world the musical talents of GWAR and Lamb of God. Muslim women in headscarves and the children of Ghanaian immigrants walk its cobblestoned campus. When college basketball royalty laughed at its inclusion in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, it reached the Final Four and made a star out of its high-energy, scholarly coach. It’s the school for the striver, the dreamer and the artist, and going forward, Virginia wines need a lot less UVA and a lot more VCU.

Shared Tasting Room: Muscardini Cellars & Ty Caton Vineyards


Muscardini Cellars

A tasting room that attracts almost as many tourists as locals, Ty Caton / Muscardini. A multi-shaded puddle of wine. Varietals: Italian, Bordeaux, Rhône, more. Tasting room manager George, his colleague Jennifer, provide more than what should be expected from a wine tasting experience. In Kenwood, Napa, anywhere. During my visit, I sipped much less, MUCH MUCH LESS, than what’s available for an angled glass. The group of three ladies next to me, all a-snicker, disbelief with the bottled sagacity on their palates. One of them said to me, finishing final tears from one of the Cabs, “This is the kind wine I like…and I love this tasting room!

So while I walked around the Room with my inaugural pour of Ty Caton’s 2010 Mendocino County Riesling, the guests exchanged wine experiences with Mr. Mike Muscardini himself, who stopped in for a fortuitous visit. I walked around, with one of the guests, a woman from just down the road (San Francisco’s Marina Disctrict), checking out the merchandise, bottles on the shelves, which of the varietals was most impressive (impossible, as not one of them was even a nano-breath under galactic).  Muscardini’s label, try everything, most poignantly the ’08 Tesoro, ’08 Sangioveses (yes, there’s two), and ’09 Barbera from the Pauli Ranch in the Ukiah Valley. From Ty’s, go after the ’09 Ty Caton Cabernet, ’09 Petit Verdot and OF COURSE Ty’s Tytanium, a viciously vibrant and entrapping blend.  Whatever vintage is open, taste.  All wines, from both alchemical grape sages, theatrically seducing. “Wow,” said the woman from San Francisco.

Ty Caton Vineyards

Mike and Ty host a sequence of well-reputed events, that many in the valley talk about weeks before they ignite, so definitely keep in a wine country’s know. Just the type of tasting room you’d expect from Sonoma’s Valley: Human, relaxed, diversely delicious.  Wanted to stay longer, sip away the Saturday with my new friends on both sides of the counter, but didn’t want to disrupt anything, or steal the space at the counter from incoming guests. I want people to experience all in this room, I thought to myself, obviously the other guests had comparable motions. Walking out, we all took pictures of the room, the bottles, the exterior in Kenwood’s Village Center.  I was one of them, a visitor, tourist, enamored local wine lover. Memorable, each scenic and gustatory ingredient.  Wine, conversation, what we all look for in a wined time.  Sip, sip …

Comments Off on Shared Tasting Room: Muscardini Cellars & Ty Caton Vineyards 07.27.2011 |

Washington State Selects 10 Farmers Markets for Wine & Beer Tasting Pilot Program


Hollywood Farmer's Market

The Washington State Liquor Control Board announced the tentative selection of ten farmers markets throughout Washington to participate in a pilot program allowing wine and beer tasting at the markets. “This pilot is another avenue for Washington’s breweries and wineries to educate customers about their products,” said Sharon Foster, WSLCB Chair. “Because farmers markets take place in a community setting, there are safeguards in place to ensure tastings are conducted with public safety in mind.

The pilot program is a result of Substitute House Bill 1172, and is scheduled to run from September 1, 2011 to November 1, 2012. 47 wineries and 4 breweries qualified to participate, though only one brewery, microbrewery or winery may offer samples per day.

The selected farmers markets include:

Comments Off on Washington State Selects 10 Farmers Markets for Wine & Beer Tasting Pilot Program 07.27.2011 |

Event Reflect: Rootstock, 2011


Rootstock 2011

July 16th. Rootstock, first ever. Finally here, partially thanks to Mutineer’s propelling endorsement. People all around kept on about how fiercely they’d been waiting for this event. And the “wait was rewarded,” one gentleman from Healdsburg said to me. Presence of food, wine, music, even juice.  Yes, Fuze was on the grounds, providing antagonizing vinyl by way of DJ Mini Mex. At first, you may have felt a bit stretched with direction, visual. Confounded. And, part of this is more than likely self-injected from the anticipation. Just to the right, Dry Creek Vineyard, pouring some Sauv Blanc, Cab, Zin among a hive of other emphatically poignant bottles. To the left, the all-so-well known and adored Benziger, pouring some of the event’s more impressionable Sauvignon Blancs, before a march of acrobatically notable reds. Event, underway. Work and play.

Of course, our hosting winery D’Argenzio had its varietals offered, aflutter.  Everything from a Pinot trio, to an ’05 Cab, Petite Sirah, and an erotically set 2007 D’Amarone for dessert. Owner/Winemaker Ray walked around, greeting people in his genuine, warm, hospitable resonance. The day’s emcee, Ziggy the Wine Gal, introducing bands and carrying the crowd through Rootstock’s points and frames. Also sipping the stream of wine-teamed scene in Santa Rosa’s urban wine district, Mutineer Editor-in-Chief/publisher Mr. Alan Kropf. The event presented itself like a non-pretentious jubilee of wine enjoyment, and education. Colony of minds eased, from similar trees.  Sipping, free.

One young lady from Santa Rosa told me, “I’ve never been to a wine thing like this in Santa Rosa…I don’t think there’s ever been one like this, that I know of.” She also went on to say how so many different wine styles were present, attracting consumers and wine lovers, just like so many different musical types attract listeners. I saw this observation as one of the inherent intents of Rootstock. It had to be, as the pairing was encompassingly triumphant. Dancing, tasting, 2pm to 7, fluidly. No rush or race seen. Just connection to tune, and glass.

Tough to taste all the participating wineries, but some made it possible, spitting. Among the over 30 participating producers were, Thumbprint Cellars, Simple Math Cellars, Krutz Family Cellars, Atascadero Creek, and Mounts Family Winery with its wildly irresistible Petite Sirah and Grenache, both ’08.  Just past the Fuze Juice camp, you could swing by Squire Cigars, a gorgeous little corner for aficionados of the cigar’d fold.

As the event descended in intensity and population, people were still snacking, sipping, socializing, bathing in the beats, chords. “I can’t believe it’s already over,” a lady from Mendocino County said to me, sipping her red, nibbling on the remainder of a taco. She also shared with me, “This is how all wine events should be, laid-back, relaxed, a big deal but not a big deal.” I rose from the long white table realizing that I, and many other wine lovers, harbored such ardor.

Mr. D’Argenzio was kind enough to host a little after-party, wined wind-down.  People could be heard, their vows to attend next year, how this was a pleasant surprise of a get-together. And that’s just what it felt like, a large group of friends meeting over some wine, food, and music. What wine should always be. And from those present at this first-ever Rootstock, that’s all one would see. Sip, sip…

1 comment 07.20.2011 |

Event Recap: Vintage Hollywood 2011


Vintage Hollywood

Did I tell you I used to be a foster care social worker? No? That’s so strange; I thought we had no secrets…

Anyway. Having spent untold hours working to improve out-of-home care for anywhere between 300-500 Los Angeles youth, there are certain organizations that hold a particularly soft place in my heart. Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC) is one of those organizations.

From the OPCC website:

OPCC (Ocean Park Community Center) is the largest and most comprehensive provider of housing and services on the Westside to low-income and homeless youth, adults and families, battered women and their children, and people living with mental illness, particularly homeless mentally ill women.  OPCC currently operates 257 emergency and transitional beds in six facilities, and has over 150 individuals living in apartments throughout the region with rental subsidy vouchers obtained by OPCC.

You can imagine how thrilled I was, then, to accept an invitation to the 2011 Vintage Hollywood charity event on June 11 – a major fund-raising gala for OPCC.

Held at the private home of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Kouba, the grassy lot adjacent to the house was spotted with white lanterns and seating, and ringed with tables offering star-quality wine and food, like oysters from Blue Plate Oysterette and Oyster Gourmet; Waterloo & City’s foie gras chicken liver mousse; Mozza’s burrata and pesto with roasted tomato; steak tartare from Bouchon; and desserts from Valerie Confections, Florentino Ice Cream and simplethings. There were only 350 tickets available, so securing the best from the attending 22 wineries and 19 restaurants wasn’t much of a problem. For these perks, guests paid anywhere from $250 (for an individual ticket) to $25,000 (at the “Vineyard Sponsorship” level). In-between, celebrities such as Ben and Christine Stiller, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, Marcia Cross and Thomas Mahoney joined an assortment of donors – from banks to private philanthropists – to support OPCC’s cause.

Again, from the website:

Since 2002, the Vintage Hollywood event has raised more than $1,100,000 to benefit organizations including Children’s Action Network, JDRF, Save the Children and United Friends of Children.

A food and wine event, benefiting one of my champion charities? For me, there couldn’t have been a better pairing.

List of wineries from 2011:

Ampelos Cellars and Vineyard • Arrowhead Mountain • Baxter Winery • Bodegas M • Captûre Wines • Center for Wine Origins • Clos Pepe • David Family Wines • Forlorn Hope Wines • Hitching Post Wines • Kristine Ashe Vineyards • La Fenêtre Wines • L’Aventure Winery • Les Deux Chats Cellars • L’Objet Wines • Malibu Family Wines • Martian Ranch & Vineyard • Peters Family Winery • Skipstone • Terra Valentine • Terry Hoage Vineyards • Tres Sabores

Vintage Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood

2011 restaurants in attendance:

Akasha • Blue Plate Oysterette • Bouchon • Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf • Florentino Ice Cream • The Foundry on Melrose • Jar • La Sandia • Literati Bar and Grill • On Sunset • Mozza • Oyster Gourmet • simplethings • Tavern • BAR Toscana • Valerie Confections • Waterloo & City • Whist • Zengo

Vintage Hollywood

Comments Off on Event Recap: Vintage Hollywood 2011 07.14.2011 |

Anderson Valley Must-Visit: Roederer Estate


Roederer Estate

Want some new sparkling wines to taste, outside Sonoma/Napa normality?  Reserve a tour and tasting at Roederer Estate, sooner than soon.  Panoramic persistence, vivacity, each step on the scenic circuit.  A visitor, assured to appreciate such raptness the isolated vistas, aura.  Initially.  Once the tour begins, your host will take you to the production facility, divulging valuable and endlessly fascinating knowledges of all going into what’s under those corks.  The experience exposes sippers to sparkling’s verisimilitude, vastness.  Looking around, I only saw interest, true connection, fascination.  Not just with what the guide spoke, but with cinematically dim surrounding.  Barrels, bottles, casks.  Hardly anyone snapped a single shot on the tour, terrestrially mystified by their present frame.

The staff, more than knowledge, cordial, generous.  Not a surprise that this spot, up that cruise of an Anderson Valley entrance, has the accolades it does.  From Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, among many others.  From ignition, all were intrigued.  Not just wine education, wine engagement.  The invited become part of the grounds, part of the sequence, the wines.

Roederer Estate

When tasting, you’ll be thrown into the sparklings, with a little Chard.  And, because the Roederer hospitality is so supremely magnanimous, a little Pinot.  Each bottle, diversely delivered in both nuance and palate progression.  A reliable and charismatic go-to, the Brut NV.  Pear, shy apple, with undercurrents of vanilla, caramel, spice.  Then you have the NV Brut Rosé.  60% Pinot, 40% Chardonnay.  “This is what people mean when they say a wine is sexy,” one of the tourists, a young lady from Los Angeles said to me.  Next, the 2002 L’Ermitage.  Easily one of the favorites with those following the host.  This author, included.  Then, L’Ermitage Rosé, 2003.  Even more libidinous than the preceding Rosé.  Like baked apples with a seductive cinnamon caramel coat.  That same new friend of mine, leaned to another tourist and I, whispering “This can’t be real.”

Roederer Estate

Most will feel the same, upon landing.  All directions, resplendent credulous stills.  When the tasting concluded, the cameras leaped from the their holsters.  Everyone, snapping.  Wine and memories, especially at this universally noted winery in Anderson Valley.  A refreshing tangent from regularity.  Bubbles, beauty.  Days like today, what all diving into wine’s time wish for.  Take a long scenic drive to Roederer.  Take your time in appreciating.  Bring the lenses, flashes!  Sip, sip …

Comments Off on Anderson Valley Must-Visit: Roederer Estate 07.13.2011 |

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