Posts Tagged ‘Old’

(Image by Hanson Chiropractic Center)

(Image by Hanson Chiropractic Center)

 

When it comes to the secrets of living to 100, the life-giving properties of alcoholic drinks have featured in the top tips from many centenarians.
There have been many health benefits associated with alcohol, when consumed in moderation, including battling lung cancer, lowering cholesterol and helping with arthritis.

Recent celebrants include Helen Kimsey from Lincolnshire, who celebrated her 100th birthday in February saying that a glass of white wine was her secret. While in March Jim Baines from Norfolk reached his 100th birthday saying that a regular drink of Guinness was the key.

Simone from Paris celebrated her 104th birthday with a glass (or two) of Drappier Champagne. Simone’s daughter, who is herself in her 80s, said that the drink “keeps you young”. Yesterday we revealed that new research has suggested that three glasses of Champagne every week can help boost memory and stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia.

So we have looked back at the tips from a number of centenarians, who have answered that common question on a 100th birthday: “What is the secret to a long life?”

If you want to get your telegram from the Queen, then these are the top tips from those who have been there and done that.

 
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wine950

Somewhere in the manicured farmlands of Napa Valley, a 52-year-old winemaker named Abe Schoener stood in a puny and weed-choked tract of land surrounded by 40 gray and contorted barren vines, which he surveyed with paternal satisfaction. “My view when I started leasing this was, It’s 60-year-old-vine sauvignon blanc,” he said, smiling. “How bad could it be?”
No other winemaker had been willing to find out. Though it’s believed that these could be the oldest sauvignon blanc vines in all of California, their average annual yield — about 30 gallons of wine, or 14 cases — is so paltry that investing in this scruffy vineyard, which is owned by the McDowell family, who threaten every year to uproot the vines and replace them with cabernet sauvignon, would hardly seem worth the effort.

Schoener (pronounced shurner) views this matter, and almost everything else, differently. The most frequently used word in his extensive vocabulary is “interesting” — as in, “I find it interesting that I have absolutely no desire to own my own winery” — and his days seem to be consumed by the desire to evade predictability. “No one else would want to work in this vineyard, because it’s a pain in the ass, but it’s perfect for Scholium,” he said, referring to his one-man winery, the Scholium Project.

 

For the past eight years, Scholium has made sauvignon blanc from the McDowell property, though the wine’s label makes no mention of the actual grape, much less the oldness of its vines. Instead, the bottle simply reads, “Glos,” a reference to the name of the street that the vineyard is on, as well as the Greek word “glossa,” which translates to “word” or “language.” (In a previous life, Schoener taught classics at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md.)

 

Standing beside him on the McDowell property were three of his interns, all of whom have pruned and harvested the vines: Alex, a former chef at the French Laundry; Brenna, a comprehensively tattooed wine director; and Courtney, a wine journalist who, when I asked her what the wine from this vineyard tasted like, sternly informed me, “It tastes like Glos.” (Later I paid $45 for a bottle, which is pale and restrained and unlike any other sauvignon blanc I’ve encountered. I guess that means it tastes like Glos.)

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1500 year old wine press.

1500 year old wine press.

 

Archaeologists have unearthed a huge wine press and rare ceramic church model near the city’s old highway.

Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have unearthed a huge wine press and a ceramic model of a church dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries, the early-Byzantine period.

The huge wine press, the size of a football field, consists of three components, IAA archaeologist Dr. Rina Avner explained.

“A large treading floor paved with ceramic tiles was discovered in the center in which there is a press bed of a screw used to press grapes. Three vats into which the must flowed were revealed along the western side of the treading floor. The collecting vats were carefully designed with slots in their sides that allowed the liquid to flow in a controlled manner and they were treated with hydraulic plaster so as to prevent the must from seeping into the ground.”

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An Sotheby's employee holds a rare Jeroboam of Château Mouton Rothschild from 1953 on Jan. 17, 2012 in LondonPhoto by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

An Sotheby’s employee holds a rare Jeroboam of Château Mouton Rothschild from 1953 on Jan. 17, 2012 in London
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

 

Some are excellent, others undrinkable.

Testimony began this week in billionaire William Koch’s lawsuit against Eric Greenberg, who Koch claims sold him some very expensive counterfeit wine. (Mike Steinberger wrote a detailed investigation of the case for Slate in 2010.) Some of the bottles went for nearly $30,000, which has Koch so miffed that he refuses to settle the case. If you spend $30,000 on a bottle of wine, can you expect it to be better than a $20,000 bottle or a $10,000 bottle?
Not really. Full disclosure: The Explainer has never tasted, and has no discernible prospects of ever tasting, a $10,000 bottle of wine. The wine experts he consulted, however, emphasized that the difference between wines in this price range is not quality, but rather prestige, rarity, and age. Upon opening, some four- or five-figure bottles of wine “justify” their price—at least to experienced wine critics and people who can conceive of paying $30,000 for 1.5 liters of fermented grape juice. (A 1947 Cheval Blanc, for example, blew away Slate’s wine critic.) Other bottles have slid far beyond their peak, losing their volatile fruit flavors to age and, frequently, improper storage. Occasionally, giddy wine lovers uncork an ultra-expensive wine only to find that it has turned to vinegar. As wine enthusiasts say, there are no great wines, only great bottles. However, just like a high-roller going all in at the poker table, some wealthy wine lovers perceive value in unpredictability.

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One of the coolest aspects of wine (aside from helping us feel classy as we get buzzed) is that it draws from a history rich in tradition and historical significance (hell, some historians even think that fermentation might have been one of the factors contributing to the advent of civilization in the first place).

But not all traditions and customs are built to last forever, and wine has its fair share of those that have probably outlived their usefulness (kind of like the Iowa Straw Poll). Here are a few of those wine traditions that need to die, along with smarter alternatives to follow instead.

 

Smelling the cork
You can glean a surprising amount of information from a wine cork, but not much from sniffing it. Corks are traditionally presented so that you can examine them for branding, helping to guard against fraud. Do you know anyone who can sniff out a brand? Probably not. And while a cork sniffy-sniff may tell you if a wine has succumbed to some sort of fault, you’ll smell the same stuff anyway once you get your nose in the glass (which looks way less douchebaggy).

Smarter alternative: Look at the cork instead of shoving it up your nostril; if it shows clear signs of leakage or compromise, then you might have a bad bottle on your hands. Also, you can play some nifty bar tricks with it.

 

Examining a wine’s legs
A wine’s “legs” (called “tears” by the French, presumably because that made them feel more effete) are the rivulets or streaks of liquid that run down the inside of the glass after you’ve swirled the wine or taken a sip.

Read on …

Sonoma's old vines.

Sonoma’s old vines.

 

In Sonoma’s Bedrock Vineyard, I’m surrounded by 124-year-old twisted vines with the arthritic look of stumpy bonsai trees.
The mad mix includes a couple of dozen varieties. Bedrock winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson points out familiar zinfandel, little-known bastardo, nearly extinct castets and some grapes no one’s yet identified.

He makes a pretty delicious red that contains almost all of them.

“Old vine field blends are the only California wines that aren’t ersatz,” he says. “They’re unique. What’s magical is the sum of the parts.”

His dozen or so red and white cuvees from historic vineyards are among the state’s most fascinating wines, high on bold personality, with warmth, intensity, perfumed aromas and layers of flavor. Tasting them, I’m drinking California wine history.

While Sonoma has the largest concentration of old vineyards in the state, they’re in danger of disappearing.

Twain-Peterson, 32, is one of the people on a mission to save them.

In old tan shorts, grey shirt, and a three-day beard, he tours me around this vineyard he owns with his family, filling me in on its backstory. The founders, in 1854, were “Fightin’ Joe” Hooker and two-time shipwreck survivor and banker William “Tecumseh” Sherman, who later became famous Civil War generals.

After root-louse phylloxera wiped out the vines in the 1880s, mining magnate Sen. George Hearst, father of newspaperman William Randolph Hearst, splashed out part of his fortune from the Comstock
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Also read:

 

Old world wines reflect place. New World wines come from grapes. Get set for the Next World— where wines are based on concepts.

 

Make no doubt: what’s in the bottle counts. But so does what’s on it, especially now that the proverbial wine “lake” has grown into a global ocean. And more than ever, the imagery wine suppliers are choosing to project—and which in turn merchants are compelled to embrace—involves words and art that favor a “concept” instead of, or on top of, a wine’s ampelographic information.

The era of wine being labeled predictably is over. The standard formula of “Somebody’s Something from Somewhere” still works, on a boilerplate level. But traditional wine lingo has always been problematic for Americans, most of whom just want something tasty to drink. If the Old World represents wines based on place, and the New World represents wines based on grapes, it is entirely reasonable to frame a third sort of world—one where wines project a concept.

The steady growth of more expressive wine branding is a natural byproduct of both the crowded wine marketplace and modern  consumer culture. Wines labeled Chateau This and Over-There Vineyards are feeling rather…20th century. The material world around us today is fueled by brands that “speak” to people, wearing their attributes as vividly as possible. Detergents are designed to look and sound clean. Electronic gadgets exude utility and efficiency. Athletic products evoke speed, strength and optimum performance. Why should wine be any different?
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