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E.B. Foote Winery’s Remembrance


E.B. Foote Winery

When Ray Higginbotham, the winemaker and owner of E.B. Foote Winery, died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2008 and at the young age of 61 years old, his wife wanted to do something to continue his legacy and help others in similar situations. To raise money for Alzheimer’s research, Ray Higginbotham’s wife Sherrill created a Bordeaux-style blend in his memory called Remembrance, a 2007 vintage blend of 60% Cabernet, 30% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc and has already won a list of awards to include a Gold Medal at San Francisco Wine Chronicle Competition. All in all, 800 cases will be sold for $12 per bottle or a case for $120 with 100% of the purchase price being donated to the Alzheimer’s Association for a total of $100,000 being donated and the labels proudly display Ray Higginbotham’s signature smile. With 300 cases left to be sold, Sherrill still needs some help to reach her goal of $100,000.

In addition to Remembrance, the E.B. Foote Winery has been put up for sale. For more information on how to help, the E.B. Foote Winery, or to purchase bottles of Remembrance, visit their website.

1 comment 02.23.2011 |

Event Recap: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Open Tasting


San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

A sea of wine adorers, what I first saw, what I would wade through in doing my tastings.  Wines from nearly everywhere were represented, pouring some of their winners, and other released bottles.  One impressive reality to this daunting event, the presence of food, water, responsible hospitality.  At events like this, as all we in the industry know, it’s far too easy to lose track of tastes, and the result is never lovely on an empty stomach, or dehydrated.  Fort Mason’s designated structure provided a conducive stage, allowing spots for conversation, snacking, sipping; a truly social wine world scene.  Many could be seen taking pictures of friends, bottles, winery reps, the views of the Bay from the windows, Alcatraz.  Some would just sip, watch the oddly fanatical rain pound the Bay’s waves.

Saw some familiar wines, such as T.R. Elliott, Mike Muscardini, J. Lohr, and was introduced to some new ones, such as Sextant, Sequana, Red Feather, and, perhaps my favorite, XYZin.  I was dazed by how many of these winners were relatively younger wines, and how incredible they tasted.  I noticed more blends and less-known varietals than I thought I would.  Many could be heard saying “Wow,” or “I’ve never heard of that before.” It seemed as though with every new lap I took around the floor, I noticed a new pouring station, tasted new wines, made new contacts.  Then I noticed an upper level, could see what I thought to be winery names, signs, people taking pictures of the human ocean just down the stairs.  I had to investigate.  Not just for the wine, and pics, but to see if there would be anymore amazing breads, cheeses, and other deliciously condensed apps.  The upstairs area was quite social, crowded with conversation.  Here is where you’d want to be if you wished to better hear your friends’ assessment of the wine you were on, wanted to engage in reaction, appreciation.  Great area for wine involvement, like the flourishing floor below, just a bit more manageable.

It’s difficult for me, as a journalist, especially a wine journalist, to be relegated to the who-what-why-where-when seat, when there are dozens of each.  Yes, it was a bit overwhelming to the ticket holder, but all the more reason to explore, investigate.  See what’s out there.  A couple of pourers actually could be heard saying such to flustered glass holders.  One said it to me, without me telling him my purpose for attendance, “Education, experimentation, enrichment.”  The Chronicle delivered a masterful event and arrangement of wine stunners, one consistent with the encompassing many hold of wine: an occasion, a good time.  Sip, sip …

Zane Lamprey Breaks Champagne Sabering Record


Issue 5 Cover

Zane Lamprey on the cover of Mutineer Issue #5

Zane Lamprey, as seen on the cover of Mutineer Magazine Issue #5 and as the host of Mutineer Magazine’s National Launch Party in Hollywood in May 2009, just broke a world record. On February 5th, Zane set a new world record by opening 31 bottles of champagne bottles in less than one minute, smashing the previous record of 27 bottles. The stunt, taped live and in 3D by DIRECTV film crews, took place on the Saturday of Super Bowl weekend in Dallas, Texas.

Opening bottles of champagne with a saber, formally known as sabrage, is a technique used for ceremonial purposes and dates back to just after the French revolution when Napoleon’s men would open their bottles of bubbly with their sabers, their weapon of choice. They would do this to celebrate, be awesome, and to impress young, beautiful women.

Conditions have to be just right to correctly saber a bottle of champagne or else you’ll be asking for a mess. The Mutineers know this well after deciding to saber bottles in our hotel room and got slapped with a hefty cleaning fee. On his feat, Zane said “Sabering 31 bottles in a minute, took a lot of practice, and a lot of champagne. Champagne isn’t cheap, especially for 31 bottles…do you think it’s OK if I send Mark Cuban the bill?”

Stay tuned, as Zane attempts to break his current record on his HDnet television show Drinking Made Easy, which airs every Wednesday at 8:30PM E.T.

2 comments 02.16.2011 |

1773 Bottle of Vin Jaune Sells for Record $77,000


$77,000 bottle of Vin Jaune

$77,000. That’s a lot of dollars. It’s also the winning bid for a 237-year-old bottle of wine. The vin jaune (French for “yellow wine”) was purchased by Swiss aficionado Pierre Chevrier on behalf of an amateur wine group. The late harvest Savagnin grapes were harvested by Anatoile Vercel under King Louis XVI and it would then pass through eight generations of the Marmier family in eastern France, where the bottle sat patiently in a cellar. The bottle was only expected to go for $13,500-22,000 but it reached an incredible $77,000.

Comments Off on 1773 Bottle of Vin Jaune Sells for Record $77,000 02.07.2011 |

“Bosch IXO Vino Cordless Lithium-Ion Screwdriver with Corkscrew Attachment” Yes? Yes!


Bosch IXO Vino CordlessIt’s a drill, ok a cordless screwdriver, that opens wine bottles. This is quite ironic, as we frequently use a heavy wine bottle to pound nails into the walls of the Mutineer Mansion. The power tool is described on Amazon.co.uk as follows:

The IXO VINO with exclusive corkscrew attachment – the worlds best selling powertool is now more than just a cordless screwdriver. This small and handy tool can take on a wide range of everyday screwdriving tasks around the home, and can now remove corks.

And it comes in a wine-themed wooden box, so there ya go. If I didn’t open all of my wine bottles using an action figure and karma I’d consider this futuristic item for myself, but I think this product is best suited for people who like opening wine more than drinking it. Or people with raging arthritis. Or old people. Or just people into neat gadgets. Yes, they would all like this as well.

Bosch IXO Vino CordlessBosch IXO Vino Cordless

2 comments 02.02.2011 |

A Good Friend Remembered – James Dalton


2010 Zintastico Jim and Steve

James Dalton and Steve Collum – 2010 Zintastico

It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to a dear friend and a very important part of the Newsome-Harlow family. On Sunday, December 12, 2010, at the relatively young age of 69, friend and grower James Declan Dalton passed from this earth.

It was 1998 when Jim was introduced to local vineyard manager Steve Collum. In the year 2000 with Steve’s help, Jim established a vineyard here in Calaveras county. Beginning in 2003, I started making wine from the Dalton vineyard. Plenty of stuff. Grenache and Mourvedre for the Twisted Oak wines, along with some Petite Sirah for the NH wines. Over the next couple of years I realized that this was a special place and a special guy. In 2006, I took the plunge and committed to two more blocks from the ranch for the NH wines. The Syrah, along with a really cool block of Zinfandel which goes by the name of The Donner Party Zinfandel. Both the 07 and 08 vintages have received high praise (93 points) from national wine publication The Wine Enthusiast. By 2010, I was purchasing the lion’s share of the fruit from Jim’s vineyard and making several wines for two wineries from it. See the full post »

Teenage Mutinous Ninja Turtles


King Estate Ninja Turles

King Estate Winery’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made from 100% recycled tin foils from their Signature Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Muscat, and Chardonnay.

These most mutinous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were made by Marcus L., the Lab Manager who runs the quality control and quality assurance programs at King Estate. Rumor has it there is one of SpongeBob Square Pants floating around as well.

From left to right: Donatello (Don), Raphael (Raph), Michaelangelo (Mikey), Leonardo (Leo)

1 comment 01.25.2011 |

Bear Valley and Calaveras County Wine


CellarPass SnowBomb event

Do you live in the Bay Area? Do you ski or snowboard? Do you like wine? Then you’re in luck.

SnowBomb and CellarPass have teamed up to combine all three into one awesome trip that takes you through the heart of Calaveras County wine country and to California’s seventh largest ski area, Bear Valley Mountain. After a comfortable ride on a chartered luxury bus, spend the day skiing or snowboarding before wrapping up the day with a Calaveras County wine tasting led by the wine-makers themselves. From there, hop back on that comfortable chartered luxury bus and head back towards home. Too easy and a perfect way to spend the day.

Confirmed wineries:

  • Newsome-Harlow
  • Chatom Vineyards
  • Frog’s Tooth Vineyards
  • Solomon Wine Co.
  • Twisted Oak Winery
  • Hatcher Winery
  • And more to come.

    21+ only. For more information, pricing, and to purchase tickets, visit the CellarPass website.

    3 comments 01.21.2011 |

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