Monday, December 11, 2006

It Boggles the Tastebuds...

I thought that I was only going to want to drink the Francis Coppola wines for the next month or so, but I got a surprise. I was rummaging in my wine "cellar" tonight, looking for a red to go with my whole wheat pasta, and I found that I was completely out of Coppola wines. (This just was the crowning touch on an already bad day.) I continued to poke around for a red that wasn't too expensive, and came across a bottle of Bogle 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon that I'd purchased on a whim but never tried. I wasn't expecting much, but I was VERY pleasantly surprised. While the wine had a very alcoholic bouquet which made me think the wine would be thin and astringent, it was quite the opposite. The bouquet was completely different from the taste in this case. This wine was smooth and somehow sweet and flavorful yet dry with a big rich but clean fresh autumn berry taste with a hint of leather and tobacco. It was like a Twizzler sitting in a club chair, smoking a cigar. The tannins were soft, and there was no acidity - just smooth even flavor. I REALLY liked this, and it will go on my "must buy" list of wines that I always want to find when I reach into the cellar.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Grapegal's Current Favorite... Coppola Claret

I hate to play favorites... but I have to confess that there is one wine lately I am finding that stands above the rest of its similarly priced companions. It is Francis Coppola's 2004 Claret. I wrote about the Coppola wines a couple of months ago when I tried them in a tasting. Since then, I've been buying them regularly, and when I drink something else, I often find myself wishing I were drinking the Coppola Claret instead.

Claret is the British term for "clear red" - a cabernet-based wine, blended with small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. It smells WONDERFUL and unusual - I'd described it once as "lavender packed in moth balls" but I realize that doesn't sound appetizing. It smells smoky and fruity all at once. The taste is rich and smooth, flavorful, but not overpowering. A totally drinkable wine - well balanced, and in my book, just plain delicious. I couldn't tell you exactly what it is about this wine that I find so appealing... you'll have to try a bottle for yourself. Priced at under $20 (often under $15), it's an affordable pleasure.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Health Benefits of Red Wine

A recent study in Nature magazine reported that a compound in red wine called resveratrol helped mice live longer. The resveratrol seemed to mimic eating a very low calorie diet, which is associated with longer life span, despite the fact that the mice were actually eating a high calorie diet. Will this work with people? Beats me, but I'm drinking a glass of red wine a day just in case. :)

You can find out more info about the study at

To top it off, another study (also in Nature magazine) just reported that the compound in red wine that provides cardioprotective action has been identified. Scientists believe that oligomeric procyanidins in red wines are responsible for heart health benefits. According to the study, people living in Nuoro province, Sardinia and southwest France have higher than normal average life-span. Wines from those areas, scientists found, had a significantly higher oligomeric procyanidin content than wines from other places (including Australia, California, etc).

Does this mean that there will be a sudden surge in popularity of wines from southwest France? I will be very interested to find out!

You can find out more about this study here.