Bing Crosby’s Wine Cellar Preserves 1960 World Series Film

Image copyright Bing Crosby Enterprises
Bing Crosby at a game

Ahh the wine cellar, perfect for storing vintage films lost to time, or so the Bill Crosby estate executors found out when game 7 of the 1960 world series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees was discovered perfectly preserved inside the San Francisco residence.

After Crosby viewed the 2-hour-36-minute game, probably in a screening room in the house, the films took their place in the vault, said Robert Bader, vice president for marketing and production for Bing Crosby Enterprises.

They remained there undisturbed until December, when Bader was culling videotapes of Crosby’s TV specials for a DVD release — part of the estate’s goal of resurrecting his body of work.

He spotted two reels lying horizontally in gray canisters labeled “1960 World Series.” They were stacked close to the ceiling with home movies and sports instructional films. An hour or so later, he found three others on other shelves. Intrigued, he screened the 16-millimeter film on a projector. It was Game 7, called by the Yankees’ Mel Allen and the Pirates’ Bob Prince — the complete NBC broadcast. The film had not degraded and has been transferred to DVD.

Read [NYTimes.com]

Wente’s Day Of Discovery A Success

Day of Discovery Poster

Wente launched their first ‘Day of Discovery‘ on September 4, 2010 with great success! Their motto for the day was “Good wine, good music, good food, good times!” and that is exactly what they delivered. A variety of bands performed all day long from three separate stages. Food and drink were available for purchase and the tasting rooms were open to patrons.

Tickets were $29 in advance and $35 at the door, which may seem pricey if you are viewing this just as a winery event, especially taking into consideration that food and drink were not allowed to be brought in. However, if you view it from the standpoint of attending an all day concert, and especially to Wente’s regular Summer concert series, ticket prices were more than reasonable.

Over all, the event was very enjoyable. The food was prepared nicely and the purchase area seemed well organized. There were plenty of great choices including Burgers, Sandwiches, and Salads, snacks for the kids like popcorn, and a wide array of drinks including Wente’s assorted wines that are always palate pleasing. Tasting room fees were also reasonable ($5 versus places like Napa where you’re likely to pay upwards of $20) and the bands chosen to play were well rounded. Being that this was the wineries first event of it’s kind, with each successive year, I’m sure improvements will be made. For what it’s worth, these are my thoughts on how they can improve:

Wente takes great strides in all aspects of their operations to practice sustainable agriculture. Their website outlines an extensive and impressive list of areas in which they are “practicing what they preach”(http://www.wentevineyards.com/wine/sustainable_agriculture1/). A few tweaks, however, to their ‘Day of Discovery’ would enhance their sustainability, such as using biodegradable cups and utensils. Also, water was provided in the tasting rooms and eventually at the end of the food line, but my guess is that many were not aware of it. Why not encourage patrons to bring an empty, refillable water bottle, and provide refilling stations throughout the grounds, which would greatly reduce the amount of bottles that need to be recycled, as well as those that end up in the garbage?

A bit more information could have been provided on the musical acts themselves at the event. Genre, artist bio’s, and the other details would give those that didn’t have the time to visit all the artists websites the chance to plan who they wanted to see a little better, since many acts perform at the same time throughout the day.

This turned into a very nice afternoon of enjoyable wine, excellent live music from some rising talent, tasty food, and great association. I guess they got their slogan right.

Photo Credits: Charles Communications and Kimberly Charles

Disclosure: I attended this event on a press pass

Ratings: Wily Jack’s Latest Releases

Wily Jack offers 3 Wines

Need a good wine to pair with dinner? Wiley Jack aims to fill those boots. The brand that launched less than a year ago by wine behemoth Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines offers three simple wines for only $8 each. An easy to make recipe is provided for each wine, and additiional recipes can be found on the Wily Jack website. The label is great and was designed by Michael Schwab.

Disclosure: These wines were sent to me as a press sample. Please find my tasting notes below.

2007 Wily Jack Cabernet Sauvignon

13.5% ABV
Notes: Raspberry and blackberry notes with firm tannins and a structured mouth-feel. Tons of fruit on the finish that lingers on your tongue.
Score: 88pts (B+)

Recipe: Grilled Steak with Porcini Red Wine Butter

Serves 4

  • 4 -  8 ounce sirloin or rib eye steaks
  • 2 tbsp EVOO (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil as my buddy Rachel Ray would say)

Porcini Red Wine Butter

  • 1 ounce dried Porcini mushrooms (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot (1 large shallot)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Preparation Instructions

Place dried porcinis in a small strainer and briefly rinse under cold water. Transfer to a non-reactive pan with wine and shallots. Cook on low heat until wine is reduced to an almost syrup-like consistency. After mixture cools, place with butter, garlic and parsley in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cooking the Steaks

Preheat grill to medium high heat.  Lightly coat meat with oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill to your desired doneness, about 4 -5 minutes per side for medium rare. Serve with a spoonful of porcini-red wine butter sauce on top Pair with mashed or baked potatoes or oven baked French fries.

2007 Wily Jack Zinfandel

13.5% ABV
Notes: Somewhat hidden aroma with cherry and mineral notes on the palate. Medium to light bodied with a nice simple finish. A little tart but overall a nice effort.
Score: 84pts (B)

Recipe: Winemaker Jason Becker’s Rosemary Scented Tri-Tip

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons steak sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 5 to 10 cloves minced fresh garlic (to taste)
  • 1 beef tri-tip roast, about 4 pounds
  • salt and pepper

Preparation Instructions

Combine and whisk all marinade ingredients into a small bowl.
Trim fat off tri-tip roast; spread marinade evenly on all sides of roast.  Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4 to 24 hours.
Lightly season roast with salt and pepper, and grill on barbecue pit (preferably charcoal) over medium heat until your desired doneness, about 35 minutes for a tender and juicy medium.  Remove and let sit for 3-5 minutes before slicing.

2008 Wily Jack California Chardonnay

13.5% ABV
Notes: A very crisp and buttery chardonnay with green apple notes on your tongue. A smooth finish with a clean mouth feel.
Score: 86pts (B)

Recipe: Sautéed Salmon with Lemon-Ginger Wine Sauce

Serves 4

Lemon-Ginger Wine Sauce

  • 2 cups white wine
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 stick cold butter, cut in large cubes
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sautéed Salmon

  • 4 8-ounce salmon filets, boneless and skinless
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation Instructions

Sauce: In a non-reactive saucepan on medium heat, reduce the wine with the shallots, bay leaf and ginger until about ¼ cup of liquid remains. Reduce heat to low. Using a whisk, briskly stir in the butter one cube at a time and then strain through a fine mesh strainer into another small saucepan or sauce boat. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep in a warm area.

Salmon: Season the salmon filets with salt and pepper. Pour olive oil into a large sauté pan on high heat and lay the seasoned salmon filets skinned side up. Cook the salmon for 4 minutes on each side.

Ladle sauce over and around the salmon. Serve with steamed rice and vegetables.

Website: wilyjack.com

And the Winner is….

Mike.

Mike just won this book!

Congrats and enjoy the book!

Now, since I’m sure there are some who didn’t get their name in, I’ve decided to give away a book a week for the next 7 weeks. Every week you’ll have a chance to win if you leave a comment below on any post from that week. Same rules apply, one entry per person per week, live in the U.S. of A and like to read about wine (or simply fill decorative book shelves). The winner will be announced next week after Monday and have their choice from the following books:

Wine Spectator’s Ultimate Guide to Buying Wine

The Science of Wine

The Best of the Wine Country

The Emporer of Wine

Noble Rot

The Concise Wine Guide

A Vintners Guide to Red Wine

The Contest

This weeks question: How often do you cook with wine? If you don’t cook with wine, why not?

Single Serve Wine Glasses – Coming to the USA

Single Serve Wine Glasses
Would you buy wine packaged like this?

The glasses, actually recyclable plastic, come pre-filled with 187ml (6.3-ounces) of Shiraz, Chardonnay or rose and have a peel-off foil lid. They cost £2.25 each ($3.37), which makes them more expensive than buying the same wine by the bottle (four glasses add up to £9, whereas the bottle is £4.50).

Read [Wired.com]

Copa Di Vino Image
Copa Di Vino Photo

[Edit] : Reader Meghan H writes: I recently had a single serve wine in Washington at the Gorge Amphitheatre and it was really good!  I had to look it up, and I found your website on my way there.  It’s called Copa Di Vino www.copadivino.com  This product is really, really cool.  The glass is a little different, but is a lot more stable than the UK version looks- you could set it on a table and not worry at all!  I think they’re from Oregon, you should check it out.  (also recyclable)

Thanks for the tip Meghan! Please see photo.

Book Review – Living With Wine

Living With Wine Book Photo
Living With Wine

Most wine lovers at some time have experienced cellar envy. It could be the contents, the location, or the features of the storage medium, but each has the ability to evoke feelings of envy and inadequacy. If you haven’t experienced that yet, then this book is for you!

This heavy coffee table book boosts beautiful photographs taken by Andrew French of some of the most over the top wine rooms you’ve ever seen. Samantha Nestor guides you through the journey from a beautiful closet cellar, to an outrageous room capable of storing more wine than any one could ever drink in two life times. One bottle a night, times 64 years (average lifespan – legal drinking age subtracted from the average life span), with leniency for gifts and sharing, a family of two would only need around 30,000 bottles of wine. Yet one of the cellars profiled has storage for 10 times that amount! Seems a bit excessive to me.

So the question arises, if you have the means, would you duplicate some of the efforts showcased in this book? After all, one of the great lessons in life is not having to learn from trial and error yourself, but letting others do that for you. So this book could be looked at as a guide to creating your own cellar by duplicating an effort, or pillaging the best ideas from cellars throughout the book. Most have hired professional designers to help implement their custom vision or adapt their style to the space allowed. It all comes back to personal preference.

This must have been a fun book to work on; sneaking into Oenophiles homes to take a peak at what only their closest friends get to see, listening to stories of what intrigued them about wine in the first place and how their love culminated into what you see today. The willingness to share prized bottles always impresses me about wine lovers, and I’m guessing Samantha was able to imbibe on quite a few fantastic bottles through this process.

You can purchase the book from Amazon here:

Living with Wine: Passionate Collectors, Sophisticated Cellars, and Other Rooms for Entertaining, Enjoying, and Imbibing

By using that link you help me pay for this site. Thanks!

Full Disclaimer: This book was sent to me as a press sample

Note to regular readers: Sorry for the absence in posting, those close to me know why. I’ll pick up where I left off. If you’ve been craving more regular wine blogging news head over and subscribe to Dr.Vino, who in my humble opinion is currently the best wine blogger out there.

Tasting CÎROC Vodka’s Latest Releases

Ciroc_latest_releasesThe distinguished Frenchman starred at me from across the table as I brought the wine glass up to my nose and took a few short whiffs of the clear liquid. He knew what my response was going to be; he has witnessed it again and again. His name is Jean-Sebastién Robicquet and he is the master distiller behind a wine based vodka named CÎROC, the third most consumed vodka on the market and now only footsteps behind the top two “Luxury” vodkas in the world, Grey Goose and Belvedere, respectively. An impressive feat considering the product was only launched in 2003. What makes this vodka different, and how was it able to achieve success so quickly? Is the “from wine grapes” moniker just good marketing?

I reclined at a table in a private meeting room downstairs at the E&O Trading Co. in San Francisco. Jean-Sebastién and the entourage sat across the table and we began.

First the neutral: a grain based vodka cut to 20% abv. (note: when tasting vodka’s, you can add the identical amount of distilled water to your glass to neutralize the ethanol making it easier to taste through a flight and pick up nuances.) Even though the ABV was cut, the aroma was still overwhelmed by a rubbing alcohol like smell with a sharp finish. This is your typical grain vodka that I’m guessing retails for under $15.

Then we tasted two separate CÎROC vodka’s, each distilled from the two grapes that are fashioned together to create the final product. First was Ugni blanc (pronounced eew-knee – blaunk), a more neutral aroma that was less harsh than the grain neutral, but surprisingly velvety on the tongue with a fantastic finish that seemed to linger. Then the Mouzac (pronounced Moe-Zach), a rare grape only found in two parts of the world, Gaillac and Limoux France, and only 5%-7% of which is used in the final CÎROC blend. This is where the incredible aroma is fused into the spirit, with fragrant notes of citrus, apricot, and crushed rock that finish with a full bodied mouth feel.

Finally the last vodka poured was CÎROC, the final blend of Ugni Blanc and Mouzac.

Incréabla!

The infusion of what Jean-Sebastién likes to call the DNA or soul of the grapes is apparent. The story is written with the alcohol, and water is just used to cut the 96.4% abv product down to the much more manageable 40% abv or 80 proof on the label.

The name, like the product, is a fusion of two names: Cime or Summit, and Roche or Rock, inspired by the town Gaillac in France where it is produced. The blue color on the bottle is a throwback to bleu de pastel, formerly used in Gaillac as a dye that now lives on in the pastels used to paint doors, windows, and various items throughout the town. The rooster on the bottle helps one associate the vodka’s origin. France is the area that occupies what was once referred to as Gaul, and a similar variant on that name is used to describe a rooster.

The latest creation are two flavored Vodka’s, Coconut, which reminded me of Malibu Rum without the bite, and Red Berry, which has a beautiful aroma of fresh strawberries, cherry and raspberry. Both of these options are worth trying and are much smoother than most flavored vodka’s I’ve tasted.

From the early morning grape harvest and cold fermentation, to the steam heated coil stills that provide indirect heat during distillation, CÎROC is made with great care and attention to quality. No wonder the company expects to dethrone the overhyped and overpriced competition within the next few years.

Website: [www.cirocvodka.com]

What the Wine.com API Release Means for Consumers

IMG 011It was announced today that wine.com has released it’s API, which is the framework that allows third party websites to link to it’s extensive online database. This means that some wine related website’s will choose to incorporate information from Wine.com into their site, allowing for more extensive information to be delivered directly to the end user. Think of what Google maps has done for the internet. There are an untold number of implementations of Google’s API on a hoard of different website’s. Wine.com is hoping to do the same thing.

But how many people actually buy wine through online retailers? According to a 2008 study by Vinquest:

U.S. wineries seem to think they sold about 2% of their wine through online wine retailers in 2007. Total sales through this channel were likely in the $200 to $400 million range for 2007

Not much when you look at the overall picture. There is definitely a lot of room for growth in the area. But is this what the average wine consumer wants? Or is it easier just to pick up a bottle from the local merchant or megamart and not have to wait or worry about shipping?

So far it seems the public has spoken.

Ratings, News, and more on Wine & Spirits since August 2003