Saturday, December 15, 2007

Always scribble, scribble, scribble, eh?

Today's title is attributed to Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, on his receiving of the latest volume of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire from its author, Edward Gibbon (in full: Always scribble, scribble, scribble, eh Mr. Gibbon?); the remark is considered indicative of the finely tuned intellectual and esthetic sensibilities of the British aristocracy.

OK, I am still busy on the Mitchell Report. Or, more correctly, am busy building a long reference page on why what most people think they know about performance-enhancing substances is very wrong; I've just about now gotten to the Report itself.

Meanwhile, on a completely different topic:

Wines you probably don't know

There are altogether too few types of wine well known in the U.S. Many folk think it a daring triumph to pour a Sangiovese or a Viognier. Some time spent with a reference such as Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes would be a revelation. It's not merely the many hundreds of recognized varietals grown around the world for wine production: it's the number of them that experts consider more or less "world class" varietals, too many of which rarely get vinified more than a few dozen miles from their home vineyards.

Let me just mention a couple that come to mind: Petit Verdot ("one of Bordeaux's classic black grape varieties") and Aglianico ("deep ruby colour, full aromas, intense flavours which make the variety, at least potentially, one of Italy's finest").

One need not go so far to find specimens, either. Escafeld Vineyards in California's Monterey County does a splendid Petit Verdot at a reasonable price (and their other offerings are quite good, too). Meanwhile, in San Luis Obispo County, Dave Caparone makes what I believe is the western hemisphere's only Aglianico. Like all of Dave's wines, it is deep, full, and eminently age-worthy (we are drinking some Caparones 15 years old and still improving). And now one no longer physically truck down to the winery to buy his products.

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