Featured in this issue

F.W.I. -- Flying While Intoxicating: The famous "Flying Winemakers"

Ever wonder how a bottle of wine made in Argentina can have the same winemaker as a bottle of wine made in France? Enter the Flying Winemaker. These highly paid jet-setting consultants are hired all over the world to impart their wisdom and implement their techniques at local wineries in every far flung region that grows grapes. The resulting wines can be glorious, but claims of globalization of taste and homogeneity can also be a by-product of such practices. The most famous (and controversial) of these consultants is the Frenchman Michel Rolland (Ch. Troplong-Mondot, Ch. Angélus, Ch. Beau-Séjour Bécot) who has some 100 clients in 13 countries, but other well known oenologists come from such places as New Zealand, Australia, the U.S. and Italy, sometimes traveling across the globe, sometimes not flying anywhere, but merely trucking it over to the next town. Nice work if you can get it. Now if we can all figure out how to use our frequent flyer miles to cash in on our favorite cult-cabs ...

The Blend’s Monthly Featured Producer: FALESCO

As Italy's top "Flying Winemaker," Falesco's own Riccardo Cotarella consults for over 50 wineries in Italy alone, not to mention a handful in France as well, and has been regarded in wine circles as almost saintly. Robert Parker named him one of the industry's most influential wine personalities, calling him "Italy's answer to France's Michel Rolland . . ." He was Gambero Rosso's winemaker of the year in 2001 and Wine Enthusiast's winemaker of the year in 2002. One extraordinary thing about his wines is that they are consistently good in every price range, from inexpensive to very expensive. At his own winery, founded with his brother Renzo just 50 miles outside of Rome, Cottarella's philosophy is to balance the uniqueness of native varietals with the versatility of international grapes, offering a complete portfolio of bargains and top class wines. Falesco's wines are enormously popular and always receive top accolades from the critics.

Recommended Wine:

Always a winner and a one of the best values in the marketplace. Vitiano is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese (new for this vintage, the bottles state as much on the front label). It spends three months in oak casks and comes out with a deep red color, and lots of black fruit, herb and spice aromas and flavors. It's a medium-full bodied wine that really does deliver much more than your average ten dollar bottle of wine. Vitiano should be drunk within its first few years, when the fresh fruit character is most evident. Merlot, by the way, is Italy's third most planted red grape, behind Sangiovese and Barbera. About $10USD.

Catalog this wine in The Personal Wine Curator cellar software like this:
  • Producer:Falesco
  • Wine Name/Appellation: Vitiano
  • Vintage: 2005
  • Varietal: Proprietary Blend
  • Type: Red
  • Vineyard/Sub-sub:
  • Sub-region:
  • Region: Umbria
  • Country: Italy
  • Body: Medium
  • Drink after: 2006
  • Drink by: 2009

PWC Tips and Tricks

This month we look at the Menu Maker feature. It's an easy way to add a touch of class to any party, whether casual or formal. It's simple, take a look. CLICK HERE.

Did you know: the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold is thought to be a fake?

What's the most money you've ever spent on a bottle of wine? $15? $50? $500? How about $156,450? Well, that's how much Malcolm Forbes spent back in 1985 on a bottle of 1787 Lafite-Rothschild thought to have come from the cellar of founding-father/Francophile Thomas Jefferson. Trouble is, the bottle's pedigree is in serious doubt, and no less an authority than the Jefferson museum at Monticello claims to have no record of such a wine, which in itself would hardly be proof positive except that T.J. was a very meticulous guy and kept detailed records of his wines. Perhaps he used an early prototype of the Personal Wine Curator ...

Garbage In/Garbage Out: Keeping good records of your wines

You're keeping a database of your wines, but are you keeping it consistent? The benefits of having a catalog of your wine collection, or even a journal of what you drink are many - finding a wine in your cellar easily, tracking its maturity so as not to open a bottle too late, remembering a wine to buy it again - but being consistent with HOW you enter your wines is important and when done well can save you time and frustration.

The most common wine data entry inconsistency is probably that of Wine Name. A "wine name" can be anything from a proprietary name (e.g., "Insignia" by Joseph Phelps), a varietal (e.g., "Chardonnay"), or a vineyard (e.g., "Richebourg"), to a combination of relevant factors (e.g., "Pinot Noir, Allen Vineyard"). If you collect a lot of different wines from the same producer (Williams-Selyem is a perfect example), making sure you always enter the wine name the same way is key. Imagine if you listed your ten vintages of Williams-Selyem Allen Vineyard Pinot Noir six different ways (Pinot Noir, Allen Vineyard; Allen Vineyard Pinot Noir; Allen Vineyard; Pinot Noir; PN Allen; Allen, PN). How would ever find them all grouped together alphabetically and chronologically, never mind trying to figure out which Pinot Noir it is, or depending on what info you've left out, whether the wine is a Pinot Noir or a Chardonnay from the Allen Vineyard? If you had ten or more different vineyards and varietals and vintages you'd be pretty lost in no time. Choose your favorite wine naming system and stick with it.

Another common data entry problem is Producer name. Are you listing the winery by its family name (Pichon-Longueville) or are you including the estate title (Chateau Pichon-Longueville). Are you listing the actual producer name (Ricardo Cotarella), or are you listing the winery name (Falesco)? A wine by any other name would smell as sweet, but you'd better call it by that other name all the time, or you may never find it to smell it! Always be consistent, and what you get out of your database will always be as good as what you put into it.


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