Archive | March, 2010

Pisoni Vyd

Expensive viticulture, ribald personality. Can wines truly reflect both? Does PN need to improve over 8 years in btl?

Wine Education Background

     Gary Pisoni is a wonderful incarnation of a colorful, eccentric lineage of wine personalities in California. They go back a long way, and they’re legendary. Agoston Harazthy, who claimed to be a Hungarian Count, and reputedly died in Nicaragua while trying to cross a crocodile-infested stream on a small tree limb. Paul Masson, who delighted in hosting sparkling wine baths for actresses at his Saratoga mountain winery during the waning years of the Victorian age. His successor, Martin Ray, who sold shares in his winery (Mount Eden) to investors, then denied them access to the property, while pricing his wines at three times more than any other examples on the market. Dr. David Bruce, Randall Grahm, Jim Clendenen. Mike Grgich, always ready with a double-entendre, and a staunch claimant to never having owned a pH meter. Or my favorite, Marilyn Otterman (Sarah’s Vyd), who always responded in interviews as two separate people: as herself and as Sarah. Marilyn was such a delight. She always described her wines in the female gender. As in, “My Ventana Chardonnay is always the center of attention at parties. You know, all boobs and hips. Whereas my Estate Chardonnay is more reserved, tall with a Greek nose. She hangs back, and waits for maturity on your part.”
     It’s an extensive thread ~ completely wacked out, and further distinguished by the fact they ALL made (or make) excellent wine. Gary Pisoni fits right in. He reminds me of Mario Batali: tuxedo shirt and madras shorts; catnip for the high-end collector and socialite crowds …

Read this entire post, including information on the World of Pinot Noir festival, descriptions of 6 current-release Pinot Noirs from Pisoni Vyd grapes, and 6 older examples, on the Stanford wine blog.

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Calif & Pac NW class

3-session fine wine class, San Francisco, 19 – 20 – 21 Mar. Two hours each session. Objective; not promo.

San Francisco Vacation

Bruce Cass Wine Lab Weekenders are three-session, fine wine classes at historic Fort Mason in San Francisco with plenty of free time for participants to see the sights, and to partake of the abundant SF culture. Call it a Wine Education Vacation in America’s most romantic city. Trees have been sprouting flowers for three weeks in San Francisco. Grape vines will start pushing buds by the time class starts. Temperatures are in the mid 60ºs; with frequent sunny days and crystalline clear skies ~ a formula for the most magnificent views.


Wine Event Description

     The California & Pacific Northwest Weekender is three seminar sessions each with sophisticated lecture and slides, plus 12-15 high-quality wines in each session adroitly chosen, and painstakingly acquired, to illustrate points from the lecture when tasted side-by-side. Retail value of all the wines tasted is nearly $2,500. Total class fees are $259 single; $479 couple.
     This class will cover all the important growing regions of America’s Left Coast, explaining how they differ in climate and topography, and how those differences show up in the flavor of the wines. Moreover, additional emphasis will be placed on differences in regional lifestyle, which result in price disparities and varied food matches. Handouts will recommend places for visitors to stay and eat when touring these districts.
     Find full course outlines and examples of previous course wine lists on the Wine Lab website. Also find convenient places to stay in San Francisco, entertaining restaurants, and fun leisure activities in the Bay Area. You can even print out maps for San Francisco Wine Bar Walking Tours.

Future Wine Classes

     Weekender wine classes are taught several times each year in San Francisco. After Calif & Pac NW this March, Fundamentals of Taste & Smell will be taught May 21 – 22 – 23. [It will be repeated August 13 – 14 – 15 in Nevada City, about an hour east of Sacramento, up in the Sierra Foothills.] Then a specialty class, comparing the best wines from the Old World with the best from America and the Southern Hemisphere (Europe vs. New World) will be held in San Francisco on Halloween weekend in October. That’s right. Halloween in San Francisco. Everybody should do it once in their life..

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