Mandy, the Famous Scientist : Adventures in the Land of the Grapes

Grape Thief
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Such tastings can be quite exhausting and by the end of the event, I'm usually ready to take a nap. Most winemakers have some story of how they discovered wine. It's quite commonplace in Europe to simply grow up in a winemaking family, but here in the U. Instead they often can recall a specific moment when the world of wine opened up to them, and they recognized the possibility of finding their life's work in it.

When asked how One of the greatest pleasures in the life of the truly wine-curious emerges in the revelatory taste -- that moment when an unknown wine hits the palate and assails the mind with an unexpected intensity of interest, complexity, and pleasure.

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The pursuit of such moments motivates much of my tasting, and various shades of this experience prove the most important rewards of the thousands of hours and thousands of wines I spend on my wine activities. I love Napa and its wines, but the bits of it that are truly dear to my heart tend to be off the beaten path, away from the big shiny wineries that front the main roads, with parking lots big enough for tour buses.

Finding the "down home" bits of Napa has become harder and harder, but thankfully not impossible. It is still easy, with a little sleuthing, to track down tiny producers that cling to their little vineyards, making small quantities of good wine, and selling them for a reasonable price. Often, these last bastions of down-to-earth winemaking and Burgundy is nothing if not consistent. The unbroken line that the region traces back through thousands of years of winegrowing history anchors the soul of the place as firmly as it does its vines.

Families, too, for sometimes dozens of generations, seem rooted in place, as the father's wines give way to those of the son, preserving and slowly evolving the family link to the place.

Anyone who has visited Burgundy and descended into the mold-encrusted cellars understands how everything there is steeped in time and tradition, as if somehow you could strip away a few trappings of modernity like In some quarters, speaking of the greatness to be found in California Chardonnay will earn nothing but sniggers and the complete loss of credibility when it comes to quality wine.

The cognoscenti of the wine world, with few exceptions, have largely written off California's rendition of one of the world's greatest grapes as a failed experiment with excess: too much ripeness and too much oak. Of course, most American wine drinkers care not a whit for what the elite of the wine world think. They never even hear their babbling.

Instead they're content to keep buying the slightly sweet, overly As a child, the lure of archeology cannot be denied. Fantasies of discovering ancient treasures fuel the dreams of many youngsters, as they did my adolescent imagination. These days, such notions have been replaced in my life with interests no less exciting in the wine world. For the curious wine lover, opportunities abound to explore the treasures of the past in the form of old vines, recently discovered and under rehabilitation by vintners around the world.

Mandy, the Famous Scientist: Adventures in the Land of the Grapes

I delight in tasting wines made from gnarled old plants to which no one paid attention for years until someone realized they might make Hey buddy. Wanna taste some Riesling? I must say, I wasn't surprised at this open solicitation in broad daylight amidst the festivities of the International Pinot Noir Celebration. After all, it had happened to me once before -- a mysterious invitation to slip away from the orgy of Pinot Noir for something a little more In fact, I've come to eagerly anticipate the opportunity to check in on the progress of Oregon's least known wine trend.

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In the land of hills awash with fantastic Pinot Noir, Standing at the edge of the Danube on a cold spring day, gazing at darkening clouds above the picturesque church of Spitz that is set against a natural bowl of steep terraced hillsides lined with vines, it would be so easy to imagine that you are actually looking backward through time.

Other than the modern highway snaking past this little village at the northern end of Austria's Wachau wine region, some barely visible power lines, and the occasional hum of aircraft, not much seems to have changed since the 13th century, when countless hands built these stone terraces that now I've learned a lot about many things in the course of meeting with Napa winemakers and writing about Napa wines for more than eight years. But I tell you, few lessons have been beaten into my head more than the dangers of looking for a vacation home in Napa.

If you have the means to buy a nice place in the Napa Valley you are already imperiled. If you start looking, however, you expose yourself to supernatural forces whose breadth and depth have yet to be mapped.

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Much like the famed Bermuda Triangle, the Napa Valley chews you up and The road from Tokaj to Eger, Hungary, tells something of the country's story. An early spring afternoon shows lush, gently undulating farmland stretching to either side of the two-lane blacktop, which unrolls in front of me with stoic determination. It is going somewhere, at least in contrast with the countryside, which seems just as intensely to be nowhere specifically.

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riasnowher.tk: Mandy, the Famous Scientist: Adventures in the Land of the Grapes (): Sandy Lou Miller, Courtney Knighton, Marvin Paracuelles. Mandy, the Famous Scientist book. Read reviews from world's largest community for readers. Excuse me Miss Rabbit, I don t mean to stare, But are those g.

Indeed, for many miles, this slice of green fields dotted with trees and tractors could well be anywhere in the world, at least until the hulking, nearly-empty industrial cities rise from the horizon and place a definitive pin on the map, In some ways the stories aren't all that different. A wealthy businessman falls in love with wine at some point, starts visiting Napa, and eventually dreams of owning a vineyard, to make a small amount of wine, just for fun. A vineyard is purchased, wine made, and everyone lives happily ever after.

I can't tell you how many times I've watched this narrative play out in Napa, and tasted the result.

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Nine times out of ten, the wine that results from such a venture never transcends being merely good, even for those that have spent top dollar on grapes and It's hard to fathom what it must be like to have the world change beneath your feet overnight. When the Iron Curtain fell in , I was a relatively clueless high schooler for whom the news was elating, but only in a purely theoretical sense.

For a whole generation of Eastern Europeans, however, the event wrought an entirely new future. When the wall came down, Zoltan Demeter was a Hungarian student, dreaming of a future as a winemaker. Before , that future in Hungary would have involved working for one of the huge state-run winemaking companies whose primary mission was Alsace, the oft-contested and much-coveted skinny strip of land between northeastern France and its neighbor Germany, is an odd and unique place. Like several other such zones around the world, it has been a part of so many different countries and empires that it enjoys a sort of twilight zone atmosphere, where place names reflect one language, spoken words another, and family histories often both or none of the above.

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Alsace is also a unique landscape sculpted by both rivers and volcanic events, but bearing the unmistakable and essential traces of a more ancient geological past as the bottom of As I stepped through the doorway into the inner courtyard of Weingut Nikolaihof, a stones throw from the Danube, and saw the morning light filtering down through the century-old linden tree, the world narrowed down to this quiet bounded space.

Gravel crunched under my feet, and there was a stillness as I gazed up at the bell tower that spoke of the building's storied past as part of Each of its 14 established AVAs American Viticultural Areas lays claim to a separate identity, characterized by geology, microclimate, and different histories of production. The past of most wine regions becomes physically embodied in its most iconic destinations, whether grand Chateaux, or venerable old cellars.

The future of many wine regions, on the other hand, can be much harder to find. It is often tucked away, or sometimes hiding in plain sight, but usually off the beaten pathways of expectation. One incarnation of Napa Valley's future, or at least a future furtively hoped for by many, can indeed be found in a place most unexpected. Just off of Highway 29, down a back street, a modern sub-division gives way to the valley's ubiquitous vineyards, My appointment with Peter Veyder-Malberg was If you begin in the medieval town of Krems, and turn your back on the Danube to instead follow the Krems river from where it hits the Danube back up a narrow valley, you will eventually find yourself in the village of Senftenberg, gazing up at an ancient church perched on a rocky promontory overlooking the valley, itself overshadowed by the crumbling ruin of a castle.

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If you bring yourself right up to the base of the escarpment, you may find yourself imagining life in this little valley in the 16th century, dark and feudal, punctuated with the pleasures of I may be mangling the quote a little, but I swear I saw someone on twitter the other day say something along the lines of: "It may be possible that there's a wine out there with too much acidity, but I have yet to taste it.

For me, acidity and perhaps more specifically, the perception of acidity -- since they are a little different is a crucial component that can make or break a wine. I love wines that have higher levels of acidity.

They make the mouth water, they give life to the fruit, they It's hard to imagine an age when wine might have literally been seen as treasure. Certainly those of us with the privilege of living in first-world countries take the idea of drinking wine for granted as an everyday pleasure.

There was a time, however, that wine, especially the good stuff, was more valuable than gold in some places in this world.

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So valuable, in fact, that it could be used to buy your way out from underneath the control of an empire. With a mouthful of the finest Ruster Ausbruch swirling around your tongue, it's not difficult to accept the My first tastes of Austrian red wine were without context, and I will admit, not favorable. In tasting through the various portfolios of different importers, I would taste a lot of Riesling and Gruner Veltliner and occasionally find a red or two scattered in the mix.

My impressions were not fully formed, but they weren't encouraging. More importantly I realized that there was great potential in a place and a grape to produce a wine that was quite profound.

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Therefore it When it comes to dessert wines, most people have heard of Sauternes or ice wine location unspecific. Perhaps some have heard of Tokaji, the sweet wines of Hungary. But few have heard of the sweet wines of Austria's Burgenland region. There are several reasons for this. Dessert wine isn't all that popular, Burgenland doesn't make all that much of it to begin with, and those who actually do know about these wines tend to buy as many as they can afford and guard them like buried treasure.

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For purchases where a shipping charge was paid, there will be no refund of the original shipping charge. In an attempt to remove Buddy Love from his subconscious, professor Klump accidentally creates him as a separate person. KTLA Sun. When they start working for a winery, All of us wine lovers inevitably discover, in the course of our explorations, our own secret wineries. It was published by Frank Moore Lupton who started his own publishing company, in E Fri.

The sweet wines of Burgenland are one of Austria's best kept secrets, and And in today's world of Asian fueled wine-auction speculation, even those with casual interest in wine have heard of this famous domaine. Their price and scarcity mean that many wine lovers with modest means may It looks like the California wine industry is officially out of the recession.

As usual, the auction featured unique wines, most from the vintage, which were sold to raise funds for the organization.

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These wines are made solely for the auction in quantities of 5, 10, or 20 cases, and often represent the highest quality wine that each producer can make. For anyone such as myself with no aspirations Great wines are always tapestries of story, with people and place making up the warp and weft of their fabric.

When a family stays long enough in one place, they grow roots that can never fully come free from the soil. Such a connection doesn't take centuries, but merely a couple of generations. When children grow up running through the vines, they may wander away, but are often drawn back inexorably to the place where their roots run deepest.