Sunday, December 30, 2012

Andeluna and Phenolic Ripeness

Whenever the public responds to a store selection the way it has to Andeluna, this old codger has to sit up and take notice.  We have been selling the Andeluna Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec here for the past couple months and with great regularity I hear the accolades flowing forth from regular customers and newbies who now think this place is tops because of their Andeluna experience.  So let's take a look at Andeluna.

Andeluna is located in the "Napa" of Argentina, that is, Mendoza, but not near-in but well south of the city in the Uco Valley which hugs the Tunuyan River in that high altitude plateau called Tupungato (blog 11/14/11).  This region, 45 miles long and 15 miles wide at 33 degrees latitude, actually contains the highest altitude vineyards in Argentina which supply the valued "diurnal effect" of great temperature shifts between day and night, balancing the sugars and acids in the grapes in the process. 

"Phenolic ripeness" is one of the hipper oenological terms in the vernacular currently.  It pertains to the ripeness of the fruit flavors and aromas along with tannins and the depth of the red and purple color (anthocyanins) of the wine.  The seeds and grapeskins are most important in the providence of phenolic ripeness.  For the best article possible on the subject go to Matthew Citriglia's handiwork at which is where I got my information for this paragraph.

Back to Andeluna...  H. Ward Lay, of Frito-Lay fame, is the owner of the property; Silvio Alberto is the winemaker; Michel Rolland is the celebrity consultant; and Ricardo Reina Rutini is the local wine aristocrat who somehow has a hand in the production.  Whew!  This is big business.  All four of the aforementioned individuals are giants in their own right.  Alberto is a university professor; Rolland is a "flying winemaker" ala Paul Hobbs; and Rutini represents the third generation of the premier Italian immigrant winemaking family and the prior owners of the Andeluna estate.  With all of the emphasis on personnel, of course, Mr. Lay is an American.  The name, Andeluna, by the way, refers to the way the moonglow reflects on the Andes at that altitude. 

Now back to phenolic ripeness...  Tupungato is the place where everybody and their brother in the wine industry are heading now to put in a stake for vineyard acquisition.  Why?  Because the conditions are so perfect.  With all of the new technology available to adjust this and that to improve the chemical composition of a wine, if the place, itself, is ideal, why not go there?  Our blogs about "Flash Detente" (9/15/12) and "Methoxypyrazine"(9/24/12) both refer to processes that amend traditional winemaking to make ordinary wine better.  If the vineyard conditions are intrinsically fine, as they are at Andeluna, then just make the wine!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Blog, Therefore I Am

Vine & Cheese is one of those stores that does disproportionately well during the holiday season, so blogging doesn't really fit into my schedule at this time.  My strength in school was always research so blogging about wine and cheese here sometimes means doing the spade work first before writing and I don't have that luxury now, therefore what follows are my holiday thoughts at large.

We seem to be living in a world that is vastly different than the one I grew up in in the 1960s and it really is different, except that life itself hasn't changed.  For me life has always been about struggling with adversity.  In school I studied the existentialist philosophers whose ideas seemed to resonate with my reality in that sometimes I felt my reality (existence) superceded that which I was told was essential.  Needless to say, I wasn't the life of the party with that kind of a (bleak?) worldview but I still maintain to this day that life and existence is essentially about struggle. 

The existentialist philosophers I studied were atheists, for the most part, with the exception of Soren Kierkegaard, the Lutheran pastor who obsessed about responding to God's calling (to us) in life.  To be clear, in our estrangement in this world we can still hear the voice of God calling us and now in this current era when we are so consumed by the worldly values of our secular society, the "Other" may still break through our private obsessions to reach us and liberate us.  But it is hard and adjustments need to be made, which means nothing less than acknowledging our human limits, saying "no" to the world and making the acceptance decision for faith in defiance of the world, and then bringing the salvific message back into the world with us.

It is my Christmas wish to all of you that the light of the Lord shines anew upon you and yours this holiday season.