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A Trip Report on the Gateway City to Napa

January 31, 2014 12:31 pm - Posted by Jody in Travel
Top Tips for Sightseeing in San Francisco (via ModernLifeBlogs)

There is so much to see and do in San Francisco! It’s really just a matter of how much you can squeeze in during your stay. Here’s my round-up of essential sights should you be lucky enough to find yourself in cool, cultured San Fran. All that…

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Startup: New Wine Brand Named After Ancient Tradition

January 20, 2014 10:59 am - Posted by Jody in Drink

A new wine brand has been launched that combines an old tradition and mystical symbolism. Called Kukeri Wines, its first release is a Mt. Veeder (Napa Valley) 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. The brand’s concept, which has directed its striking label design, is to highlight ancient tradition using the original artwork.

The brand is the brainchild of the winemaker Petar Kirilov, a founder of VinoEnology.com, who wanted to create a label to tell the story of old Thracian tradition.

“Kukeri” is an ancient Bulgarian ritual that may date back as far as 8,000 years to the ancient Thracians – and to Dionysus, the god associated with wine, fertility, and rebirth. It’s performed by men dressed in colorful hand-made costumes, wearing a bold and scary masks as well as large bells (chanove) tied around their waists. The masks symbolize the good and the bad, which co-exist in our world. The Kukers dance around to scare away the evil spirits, to celebrate the beginning of the spring, and to express their wishes for good harvest, good health, land fertility, and happiness.

Petar decided to incorporate into the label design an original artwork crafted by a well-known Bulgarian artist, Anatoly Stankulov.

The Kukeri wine label explodes with rich and vibrant colors, each with a symbolic meaning. Red symbolizes sun, fire and the fertility of nature; Black is the color for Mother Earth; White is the symbol of water and light.

“By developing a brand with a name that combines both old tradition and mystical symbolism,” Kirilov explains, “We have created a unique wine which represents all the good things happening to us every day.”

The first release is 50 cases of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 vintage from a single vineyard in Mount Veeder, Napa Valley and will be priced at $79.00.

Kirilov’s vision is to develop Kukeri Wines to become a boutique brand, which will produce small lots high-quality wines from Napa and Sonoma County.

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Napa 2010 | our own wikileaks on wine

December 4, 2010 12:03 pm - Posted by Jody in Drink

Our spies in Napa tell us that most wineries have now had a chance to assess their harvest and they’re feeling pretty good. This was a year of weather challenges but our inside scoop says that, “even though volumes were low, the grapes have great color, not too much sugar and just the right amount of balance for very elegant wines.”

There is a great debate of course between viticulturalists and winemakers as to whether mother nature or man really makes the wine. Is a great wine the product of nature or nurture, or perhaps a little bit of both? Regardless of which way you lean, there’s no debating the importance of weather on a harvest.

2010 in Napa was a year of great contrasts. It ended up being a long, cool season, just perfect for Bordeaux-style reds.  The majority of the year was marked by dry cool days, however temperatures spiked in August and monsoon-like rains hit in October. The net result is that different wineries had divergent harvesting strategies. This should make for some really diverse wines.

We’ve heard of some wineries leaving plots until the end of November to harvest, while others picked in mid-October. Some were lucky to harvest their grapes before the heat spikes and rain, while others decided to put up with a large loss of crop in order to have more ripened grapes.

The grapes are in and our spies say they’re very elegant & balanced

After all the challenges of the season it appears that winemakers are very happy with the results. We hear that the red grapes tend to have thick skins and lots of tannins, so look for big, bold reds. The whites should be distinguished by the clarity of the fruit and their balance. The odds makers are saying this should be a great year for Chardonnays and Merlots (especially if you like them to be powerful).

And one final note to the naysayers who’ll tell you that Napa needs warm summers to make great wines. The weather office reports that both 1985 and 1991 were cooler years than 2010 and vintages from both of those years were great. So sit back relax, be a little patient and get ready for some really interesting Napa wines in the years ahead.