At the insistence of my Muse of Fire I have decided to start a new weekly post. I'm stumped as to what to call it though. Any suggestions? I work in the wine industry to pay the rent and wine is actually one my passions. I love the history and lore that great wine encompasses. As harvest approaches, I long for the smells of fermenting wine, must in the fields and the light of late summer evenings in the Napa Valley. I lived for four years as a young boy in the Napa Valley from ages eight to twelve years old. We lived in a beautiful Tudor style house that I thought was a mansion. It was on an acre of land with apple trees, blackberry bushes, a fish pond, a water tower, an old barn and the Napa creek bordered the back part of the property. I built a tree house in an old bay laurel tree. To this day, whenever I smell a bay leaf I remember that tree house that over looked the creek. I smoked a rum soaked cigar with a friend out behind the barn one day and turned green just before I puked. We used to play hide and go seek in the backyard until it was so dark you couldn't see.
Years later I came back to the Napa Valley to work at the historic Inglenook Chateau in Rutherford as a Special Events Director and Tour Guide. Ten years later I worked for Francis Coppola after he purchased the front property of the Inglenook Estate and renamed it the Niebaum Coppola Estate and later the Rubicon Estate. When I lived in Napa as a child I fell in love with the smell of the wine cellars at Inglenook and Beringer when my parents would take friends and family on a tour of the Valley.
I'm getting ready to fire up the grill and cook up a rib eye steak and grilled zucchini from my garden. I'm pairing them with a Malbec from Colome Botega in Argentina. I love this wine and I love telling the story of the winery. The wine is 85% Malbec, 8% Tannat, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Syrah. As the story goes, Malbec took a trip from Bordeaux in France to Argentina, took off its shoes and decided to move in. Malbec has become the wine of Argentina. I'm not a big fan of 100% Malbecs but this blend is delightful. It cries out for a good steak.
Back to the winery. You can read all about it from the link, but it is the oldest winery in Argentina and was purchased by Donald Hess of the Hess Collection in the Napa Valley. Since he has taken over the winery, he has built a hotel and restaurant next to the winery. The vineyards in the Andes are some the highest vines in the world. At that altitude, the ultraviolet rays from the sun are more concentrated and the grapes must create thicker skins to protect themselves, thus creating richer wines. Hess has also helped the indigenous people of the area by hiring most of the adults in the tribe to work at the winery and hotel and building a new community center and rebuilding the school and many homes.
OK, time to fire up the grill.