Today, May 3rd, is Languedoc Day. The previous Languedoc day was in November. This means we get two a year. That's fine with us at 1000 Corks.
We'd prefer two Christmases, or maybe two Thanksgivings a year, but certainly there's room in the calendar for two Languedoc days. Or three!
So it's time to celebrate. Call up your boss and tell him you won't be in until Friday. And then go get yourself a nice bottle, so you can celebrate the third best holiday of the year!
Or as they say in French, join le adventure. At least we're pretty sure that's what they say in French; but we only took two years in high school. And everyone knows how bad public education is in the United States.
We've built a special mobile web site in celebration. If you're on a cell phone in the United States, just click here to find Languedoc wines near you.
And if you aren't on a mobile phone, that same link will take you to our normal site, where you can see Languedoc wines across the United States, or search locally.
I cannot write about the beautiful Colchagua wine region without first mentioning our accommodations. Posada Colchagua is a cozy inn located in the Isla de Yaquil, between the city of Santa Cruz and several large Colchagua wineries, including Montes.
As well as providing a Chilean-style breakfast each morning and a complimentary bottle of wine on our first night, the inn's owner helped plan visits to the local wineries and answered our questions about the area - this is extremely helpful, especially for guests whose Spanish-speaking skills could use some work.
We visited Viña MontGras, which is a winery that works with Carmenere blends as well as stand-alone Reserva varietals. Our host started the tour by showing us a circular stone patio which featured an image of the sun engraved in the center. The sun, he explained, is the winery's symbol because it carries the most responsibility for creating a good grape, and thus, a good wine.
He went on to explain that if you stood on the center of the sun facing towards the overhanging vines, you would hear an echo when you spoke. It was true! Each member of our group was asked to experience it for themselves before we moved on to the tour and tasting.
After touring the MontGras sample vines, we headed into the tasting room for a wine and hors d'oeuvre pairing. The first pour was the 2011 MontGras Reserva Chardonnay paired with cheese on a cracker, drizzled with honey. 40% of the grapes were oaked for 4 months before bottling, while 60% remained in the tank. The wine was a dry white with a strong pineapple flavor.
Next, the 2010 MontGras Reserva Merlot was paired with a bacon-wrapped prune, a sweet and salty combination that complemented the smooth berry notes of the wine. The 2011 Chardonnay and 2010 Merlot are not yet available in the United States but keep checking back - it's worth the wait.
Finally, the varietal Chile is known for was presented in the 2010 MontGras Reserva Carmenere. Our host explained that Carmeneres usually spend less time in oak in order to preserve the unique identity of the varietal. The wine was paired with chorizo, enhancing the already spicy, pepper notes of this particular bottle. This vintage is readily available in the United States, starting around $9.
I've always thought the world needed more holidays! Not surprisingly the citizens of southeast France agree. So they've given us Languedoc Day this Thursday.
We have no photos of Languedoc, so instead we've included a photo of Long Duk.
We're going to take it off as a paid holiday, and we hope you will too. When you get into work on Friday, if anyone asks any questions - just say, "oh, I was celebrating Languedoc day". If they fire you, it just means you were working at the wrong place anyway!
So, if you still need a nice bottle of wine to celebrate, head on over to our search engine, and type in the hashtag: #LanguedocDay.
Special Report For 1000 Corks by Christopher Vincent
It’s a bit difficult to describe an event, when the whole point is to experience and evaluate more than 300 different wines. Of course, other than the most obvious phrase, “oxidative stress,” the Feria Vinos de Chile was an aromatic education.
The advertisements for the Feria focused on the quantity of different wines that would be offered. More than 50 brands were represented, with most of their varieties, making for a few hundred different wines. The majority of the large Chilean winemakers were represented.
At one of the first displays, the Casa Silva rep had us taste a “ladder” of three different Carmeneres. Each tasted better than the previous one. The third Carmenere had a very bright and even flavor with a few floral elements. This was limited edition from a select plot of the Casa Silva vineyards, “selected because of the characteristics of the sun, the soil, and the climate.” The horticulturist rose up in me, “So what are the characteristics of sun, soil, and climate, that you look for?” “Well, the sun, soil, and climate in that particular place are really good for making an excellent Carmenere.”
The Carmenere was excellent, but, needless to say, this kind of conversation wasn’t going to keep me interested. I quickly fixated on the small separate area reserved for MOVI, a group of small winemakers. At each of these stands, it wasn’t a hired rep, but an owner at the business that described his or her own product to you. I quickly found three winemakers that enchanted me. Each with a unique approach.
La Reserva de Caliboro
Reserva de Caliboro is a vineyard in Maule, which produces several varietals. Their offerings at the Feria were unfiltered blends, based mostly on Cabernet Sauvignon, with some Cabernet Franc and some Merlot. This wine has a strong full flavor with some tannic notes. It has a kind of surprise ending, though.
It packs a real punch in the aftertaste, and is the first wine I think I could right call spicy. The description on Caliboro’s website recommends this vintage go with foods with strong flavors. I agree, but the wine itself is strong enough to stand on its own two feet. Caliboro is available in a few stores in the U.S.
Garage Wine Co.
The production of Garage Wine Co. differs from the others in that the grape isn’t grown by the winemaker. The grapes come from smallholders clustered in the upper Maipo valley. Also unfiltered, the selected varietals I tried had more pronounced aromatic fruity flavors than any wine I can remember. When I say fruity I don’t mean sweet like a fruit punch but rather, it carried all the aromatic flavors of blackberries, currants, and raspberries in a wine with balanced acidity.
I’m no posh judge of wine. I imagine that something this unique isn’t what such folks get excited about. However, I didn’t think that a Cabernet could do that, so the taste was an education, and as a big fan of complex and intense fruit flavors, I did get excited about them.
French-born vintner Jose Luis Martin Boquillard describes his wine as an attempt to marry the unique attributes of the Chilean terroir with French winemaking methods. He described his goal as being to produce a wine that was both sophisticated like the French and expressive of the strong flavors of Chilean wine. And I believe he hit it on the money. A Dutch blogger, Christian Callec, described Clos Andino as “a French kiss on voluptuous Chilean lips.”
Apart from the melodrama, this wine was exquisite. Clos Andino Carmenere and Carbenet are both balanced wines, each with its own strong but not overpowering fruit aroma. In retrospect, although I tasted some excellent wines, the Clos Andino Cabernet Sauvignon alone, fully justified the price of entry.
Love wine and programming? This might be the perfect opportunity.
We're looking for a Python programmer to help us add new features to 1000 Corks.
The right candidate will know most, but not necessarily all, of the following:
- Python. Of everything listed, this is probably the most important to know. But, if you're a great Ruby, PHP, or Perl programmer who can learn Python quickly, that might be okay.
- SQL. We use PostgreSQL. But if you've used MySQL, it should be easy enough to figure out how things work. We also use Redis, so understanding the whole NoSQL movement will be useful.
- All those pesky web technologies: HTML, CSS, AJAX, and other relevant acronyms.
- Linux (we use Ubuntu), Apache, distributed version control (mercurial), etc.
- If you've also done some iOS or Android programming, please let us know.
We're hard at work making sure that 1000 Corks is the best wine search engine. This is a great chance to be part of that team. The founder's last company, Penguin Computing, became one of the largest and most successful Linux server companies in the world and changed the way supercomputing is done.
Our office is in Las Condes, Santiago, Chile. It's easy to get to via Metro.
To apply please send email to jobs at 1000corks dot com with the subject "Python Programmer". (Hopefully that's enough of a clue that you can figure out the email address, but the spam bots can't.)
Your cover letter should be the email body (in plain ASCII text). Attach your resume as a PDF. Please include your recent salary history, and what you would like to make.
This opportunity is open to anyone in the Santiago area, or who can relocate to Santiago, Chile.
Cata y Vino is a two-day wine tasting event in Santiago, Chile, that pairs wine enthusiasts with key winemakers and industry professionals. Combined with gourmet food tastings, an exclusive salon for premium participants, and an extensive wine list, it was a memorable evening.
While a traditional tasting event might include only one or two sparkling wines, Cata y Vino hosted nine producers pouring bubbly. Casillero, Cono Sur, Valdivieso, Santa Carolina, Casa Blanca, Vina Mar, Porvenir, Finca Flichmann, and Norton were all set up to impress the guests on their way into the formal exposition room.
One of my personal favorites is Concha y Toro's Casillero del Diablo Brut Reserva. Unfortunately, it isn't available in the United States, but that's just another of the many great reasons to visit Chile.
I spent the most time with the sparkling wines, but the selection of wines in the exposition room was also impressive. 38 wineries were pouring, representing six Chilean regions. In the salon, wineries poured their finest wines with enthusiasm.
The focus of the event was on wine, but one of the biggest attractions seemed to be the mixed paella served by Trujillo, a company which produces meat products as well as an irresistible cream cheese. After all of that wine tasting, the paella was a welcome addition to the event.