It takes years to establish great vineyards, but watch China

February 4, 2013

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2011 is so delicious, I decided to sample some of the 2010 and ‘12 also. After a terrific run of top-flight SB in the 1990s and early 2000s, recent Cloudy Bay releases have been less than stellar. I’m sorry to report 2010 and ‘12 are not quite up to the same standard as 2011. Although both earned an 88-point rating, the 2011, 93 points, are definitely one of the better rated I have tried in the price range.

This is an anomaly situation where the best of three vintages right in their drinking window is also the least expensive at $23. For those who want to compare one of the world’s top SBs versus the $20 bottles with the same rating who have deep pockets, you can locate a bottle of 2007 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Silex Loire. Sadly, this will set you back around $110. The price disparity between two 93-point wines is enormous, but in fairness the wine is equally disparate in color, nose, body flavor and finish.

Another must-read from Greg Dal Piaz at Snooth. The article is too long to reproduce and too valuable to synopsize, but I do wish to crow a bit, because many of my recommendations from past articles are validated therein: I can’t begin to impress the value of this wine blog for its wealth of valuable information, from many and varied opinions.

The scenario by Greg has been repeated as long as I’ve followed wine, and it will continue as long as there are new growing regions to exploit. As most of you are aware, Argentina is all the rage today. Just under the radar is the interest in China that is beginning to be exploited.

The Chinese are buying up everything in sight worldwide. As a result, folks are looking at property to plant more vineyards in mainland China. China is very large and diverse in its climate. So, I am relatively sure this market will be fully involved with “expert reviews” in 10 or so years. There is a nascent viticulture already under way, but it takes years to establish great vineyards. Most are well aware that patience is a virtue in Chinese culture, probably because they’ve been on the map longer than the Judeo-Christian written record. According to Wiki: The oldest precivilized Neolithic cultures found in China to date are the Pengtoushan, the Jiahu and the Peiligang, all dated to about 7,000 B.C. All of this history is still in dispute.

The earliest written record is from Sumer, 5,000 B.C. So it depends on your definition of civilization.

How about a Super Tuscan blend without the super inflated prices? Anthony Galloni has sent up another striking Italian docg Carmignano that can be had for $24. I found it interesting one could buy the 2006 and the 2009 for the same price. The ‘06 was in its perfect window, and the ‘09 could use a few years. The Carmignano Il Sasso 2009 is a blend primarily of Sangiovese with small amounts of Merlot and Cab. Sauv. It has a redolent bouquet of cut flowers, red berries, spices and mint. On the palate, fruit flavors lead to a vibrant, minerally finish.

Regarding women serving in combat, I am unsure of the efficacy of that. Therefore, I am proposing a more sanguine and less sanguineous approach to get the ball rolling and to test out the theories being bandied about. How about we start by getting rid of gender equity in sports in high school and college. Give the gals a chance to compete in all sports with the guys on the same playing field. This will allow the ladies to test their mettle without seriously endangering themselves or their teammates in life-threatening situations.

On a serious note, I am in favor of women combat pilots who may, from time to time, need to fight hand to hand, but I think the “in the trenches” issue is a very large problem, and so is the entirely nonprivate life endured in combat. The movies at their most violent, grungy depictions don’t even come close to the reality of battle or trying to endure in the field.

I think in this instance, ladies should be careful what they ask. Please think this through and make yourselves heard, both pro and con, to your legislators.

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