Up and Down the Wine Roads

A ‘dream vintage’

2012-11-01T19:32:00Z 2012-11-01T19:32:37Z A ‘dream vintage’George Starke Napa Valley Register
November 01, 2012 7:32 pm  • 

Everyone in the wine industry is smiling: The viticulturists, the winemakers, and the marketing people agree that the 2012 vintage is a “dream vintage” both in tonnage and quality. Those parameters should add up to excellent 2012 wines at moderate prices. We shall see.

A potpourri of other news: Bryant Family news: Winemaker Helen Kiplinger has joined the Bryant Family alumni club (other members: Mark Albert, Philippe Melka and Helen Turley) after only a year and a half. Reason, the job was “not a good fit.” You interpret that.

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Happy Birthday, Peter! On Nov. 8, Peter Mondavi celebrates his 98th birthday, as usual, by climbing the stairs to his office on the second story of the Charles Krug Winery’s recently renovated carriage house for a full day’s work. The winery was founded by its namesake in 1861 and is the oldest continuously operated winery in California. This year, the winery is celebrating its 151th year of operation.

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Still on the subject of anniversaries: This past Monday night, Schramsberg Vineyards celebrated its 150th birthday. Schramsberg was founded in 1862 by Jacob Schram. After a series of owners and several years of abandonment, the property was purchased in 1965 by Jack and Jamie Davies who built Schramsberg into a California premium, sparkling wine producer. The anniversary celebration was held in the Davies Grove of ancient redwoods, which was strung with strings of lights to create a special magic to the evening. Some 300 guests, many in 1800’s costumes, dined on a four-course exotic feast created by Restaurant Terra in St. Helena, which included roasted eel (where does one get eels for 300 people?) The dazzling evening will be remembered for the next 150 years.

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The Napa Valley Vintners has announced grants totaling $7 million from the proceeds of Auction Napa Valley 2012. The strategy for this year’s gifts will be focused on community health organizations (Clinic Ole, Queen of the Valley and the St. Helena Hospital) and children’s education.

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Flavor! Napa Valley, the second annual five-day food and wine festival, scheduled for Nov. 14-18, will feature a gaggle of some of the valley’s celebrity chefs; restaurants; a series of tastings and season-inspired feasts; small, hands-on sessions titled Terroir to Table; and an historic wine tasting, appropriately named the Legends of Napa Valley featuring of some of the valley’s cult wines. Flavor! Napa Valley venues include the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in St. Helena, restaurants, farms and artisan food purveyors. The net proceeds of the festival go to support programs and scholarships at the CIA. Visit flavors!napavalley for a complete list of the festival events and various tiers of ticket prices.

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The Meadowood Resort has its ovens at the ready for its annual, signature event, the 2012 Twelve Days of Christmas scheduled for Dec. 7-22. Christopher Kostow, executive chef at the resort’s three-star Michelin restaurant has recruited 12 chefs from across the country and one from Paris to prepare meals paired with Napa Valley’s finest wines. For info about the guest chefs, vintners and reservations, call 707-963-3646, or visit therestaurantatmeadowood.com. Proceeds of the dinners go to the charity, Share Our Strength, whose mission is to eliminate childhood hunger in America by 2015.

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On Dec. 6, The French Laundry in Yountville will host a special fundraising event for Voena children’s choir. French Laundry chef and owner Thomas Keller has called Voena “one of the highlights of our holiday party every year.” Tickets are $585 per person (a portion of which is tax-deductible) and includes an extraordinary seven-course dinner and holiday music by the choir dressed in full Victorian costumes. Tickets can be purchased at Voena.org.

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The January 2103 calendar is filled with wine and food adventures: The month has been designated as Napa Valley Restaurant month. Participating restaurants will offer set-priced lunches and dinners with special wine and food pairing opportunities. Details are at visitnapavalley.com. Then, on Jan. 18-20, the valley will host its third annual Truffle Festival with a gathering of experts to examine, probe and prepare truffle dishes to marry with wines. For details, visit napatrufflefestival.com.

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CABOOSE ITEM: With the elections just days ahead, it is fun to recall some of the political remarks by America’s No. 1 Curmudgeon, H. L. Mencken: “Congress consists of one-third, more or less, of scoundrels; two-thirds, more or less, of idiots; and three-thirds, more or less, of poltroons. In this world of sin and sorrow, there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.”

George Starke may be reached at wineroads@yahoo.com or at 707-942-0733.

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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