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Posts Tagged ‘luck’

Double Lucky Number 8

April 5, 2021 3 comments

Luck.

An interesting term.

Luck is extremely subjective, personable, and relative. There are many definitions of luck, starting with the cliche one “when preparation meets opportunity” – not sure how that would apply for example, in the case when the brick is accidentally falling off the roof of the building and missing your head by the quarter of an inch. Or when you win the lottery. When you miss your train and meet the love of your life – what kind of luck is that? Okay, let’s not get hung up on the research of the true meaning of “luck” as this is not the goal of this post.

Last year, 2020, can hardly be called a “lucky” year. Quite on contrary, for 99.9% of people living today, this was probably the unluckiest year of their lives to date (who knows what the future hold). Or was it? Yes, we lost the ability to travel, eat out, enjoy the concerts, and socialize with friends. And yet many of us who kept our jobs managed to pay off debt (Americans paid off the record of $83B in credit card debt), invest into their homes (the price of lumber doubled in certain markets in the USA, due to very high demand), and even get well on the path to early retirement. And those of us obsessed with wine even got access to the wines we couldn’t dream of before (thanks to the restaurants not buying those wines anymore), and meet lots and lots of winemakers who happily visited our houses – via zoom. Everything has its silver lining.

A few months ago I got an email from Cayuse, saying that I will be getting a bottle of wine called Double Lucky #8 – a free sample, plus there will be a special zoom with the winemakers to introduce the new wine. Cayuse, and all of the “sister” wines – No Girls, Horsepower, Hors Categorie – are super-allocated (never mind expensive), so the free bottle sounded very lucky.

The wine arrived a few days ago. A beautiful bottle that solicited an array of thoughts. Cayuse wines are better with age – 2017 is clearly too young to be enjoyed now. Also, I love sharing the wine – so what should I do – to open or not to open? I decided that as this will be a unique opportunity to taste this wine together with the winemakers, I should just open the bottle and go with the flow. But also do it in a smart way – open a few hours in advance and decant it – which I did.

I remember reading an article by W. Blake Gray, the wine writer and a critic I respect very much, who mentioned that Cayuse wines might be the best wines made in the USA. Ever since then, tasting Cayuse wines became a dream, which required more than 10 years of waiting to get on the mailing list. Obviously, meeting Christophe Baron was a similar dream, which materialized thanks to pandemic and zoom.

Our zoom session was moderated by Owen Bargreen, the wine critic from Washington, with Christophe Baron and Elizabeth Bourcier, the winemaker, talking about all of the wines produced by Cayuse – well, that is not exactly correct. As introduced by Christophe Baron, it is all the wines produced by Bionic Wines, the new overarching brand, which includes Cayuse, No Girls, Horsepower, Hors Categorie, and Champagne Christophe Baron.

It is all about the rocks (Cayuse is derived from Cailloux which means stones or rocks in French). If I would give you a cliff note on what Christophe Baron does, it would sound something like “he finds the great location, establishes new vineyard, and makes new wine” – really, this is the story behind various Cayuse wines, No Girls, Horsepower…

Everything at Cayuse is done in full respect and harmony with nature – all the vineyards are farmed biodynamically since 2002 – the only biodynamic winery in Washington. As Christophe put it eloquently during the webinar, Mother Nature is the Master, and we are all her servants – it is Mother Nature who produces the grapes, and the winemaker needs to covert those into the wine, hence the utmost respect and attention to producing the wines in full harmony with nature.

We talked about all the wines under the Bionic wines umbrella, how they came to being (remember, new vineyard – new wine), and what is the philosophy behind them all. Almost at the end of the session (the time flew unnoticed, all thanks to the incredible energy and enthusiasm of Christophe), we finally talked about 2017 Double Lucky #8, a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Tempranillo, the same three varieties which comprise No Girls offering. Double Lucky is Elizabeth Bourcier’s project, from start to the finish – her idea, her execution. She wanted to create the wine similar to Cotes du Rhône – simple and approachable from the get-go, a sort of Cotes du Walla Walla if you will. Was she successful? Let’s talk about it.

When I poured the wine at first, it literally jumped out of the glass. I call Cayuse wines “liquid rocks” – Double Lucky was no exception, with granite, iodine, and smoke being prevalent both on the nose and on the palate. The wine was definitely drinkable, though not for the faint at heart – if you like massive wines, you would be pleased. 2 hours in a decanter made the wine more mellow, shifting the balance towards some cherries and herbs. For my palate, the wine continued up and down until it was gone.

Elizabeth shared her winemaking philosophy, which includes whole cluster fermentation and use of the stems, as stems “give the wines freshness” in her own words. I’m rather cautious about both – I guess my palate is overly sensitive to the tannins extracted from the stems – I perceive them as “green” tannins, which are unpleasantly bitter, and thus I’m generally not a fan. So I don’t have a strong opinion on Double Lucky #8, and while the wine is influenced by Cote du Rhône, it will last for the next 10–20 years, unlike Cote du Rhône wines, which typically have only a few years to be enjoyed, so I would definitely mark it as “needs time” right now. One more parallel with Cote du Rhône – those wines are usually inexpensive – and Double Lucky will be the cheapest wine in Bionic Wines portfolio, at $44 when it will be officially released next winter as part of the No Girls wines release. While the wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Tempranillo, there are no exact proportions, as the blend will change every year. I can only guess Grenache makes the majority of the blend, given Elizabeth’s propensity for use of Grenache as she does in her own sought-after wine, La Rata.

I have to tell you that while the zoom is exceptional, it is hard to keep attention all the time. As the result, I don’t know if it was just me, but I didn’t really get the real story behind the intriguing name (Double Lucky) and the meaning of #8. Was that the blend #8 which became the winning one? Was the idea behind this wine associated with some lucky moment? I would love to know, but I have no idea. Hopefully, someone will be luckier than me and we will learn the story behind the name.

Was that a lucky break drinking Double Lucky and listening to Christophe Baron? Oh yes, it was. I wish all of us lots and lots of luck, whether we are prepared for it or not.

Lucky or Grateful?

March 23, 2014 17 comments

MWWC_logoThe Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, or MWWC for short, had been ongoing for a while – and one would think that all the aspiring writers mastered the basics by now and can handle any challenge word with increasing ease. Yet every time I write a post for the MWWC, I hope that the next one will come easier – and it doesn’t happen. This post, with the subject of “luck”, was probably the hardest of all, and I’m trying to finish it in the last 20 minutes before the clock passes the midnight mark. This might be more of a rant than just a regular post, but you will be the judge of it…

Lets forget the wine for a minute and just talk about the concept of luck. If you are looking for one abused, misused and misinterpreted idea, this might it. Just think about all the monikers – “this is your lucky day”, “lucky penny”, “my lucky shirt/socks/rubber duckie”, “luck of the draw”, “lucky moment”, “lucky to be alive”, “lucky star”. Yes, we use them casually and often, albeit I would argue we don’t really think or imply the actual meaning of the word “luck”. Outside finding a $5 bill in the parking lot (may be a good luck for you, bad luck for the person who dropped it), the luck is usually comes to those who puts a lot of effort to get it. Is successful business created by sheer luck, or by sweat, sometimes blood, and lack of the sleep? Is successful marriage the result of luck, or the hard work of both spouses? Are the happy and healthy kids the result of luck, or the result of parents daily work and sacrifices? Yes, luck exists, of course, but its impact on the daily life of the vast majority of people, shall we say, is slightly exaggerated?

Now, let’s look at the wine world. We need to divide it into two parts – there are those who get to make the wines, and those who get to consume them. So talking about those who have to farm the land, grow the grapes, harvest them and then go through all the step from harvest until bottling (never mind selling), how much luck are they expected to get? The only lucky break they can get is the great weather. Great weather makes things a bit easier – but, this is where winemaker’s luck starts and ends – the rest is passion, sweat, tears and hard work. Lots of things can go wrong during all the stages of winemaking, and luck will not help to fix them – but knowledge, experience and tenacity will.

Let’s come to the other side of the table – the consumers. Now, this is where the role of luck is hard to pinpoint. You get the bottle of wine which generally costs $70 for only $25 at WTSO – is that luck? May be, but what if this wine is not your style and you don’t like it – but you got 4 of those bottles just to get a free shipping – is that still the lucky situation, or may be not so much anymore? You built the wine cellar, you got the wine and kept the bottle for 10 or 20 years, now you opened it and tastes great – is that luck? You tell me, as I’m not sure if that should be called a lucky accident, or is it really the result of the great winemaking and your labor of love as an oenophile.

I’m really not sure how often we should feel lucky, and if “lucky” is even the correct word – I think “grateful” is far better word to use. Yes, we should be grateful to the winemakers for all their hard work, as they created the wine which lasts, the wine which can move us emotionally. We should be grateful to our families, which allow us to spend money, time and efforts on this passion, and tolerate us literally go nuts because of the few drops of some strange liquid in our glass which we consider better than the nectar of Gods. Before we even get to enjoy that glass of wine, we should be grateful for our overall lifestyle, which allows for the things so insignificant in the grand schema of things, as glass of wine, to play such an important role in our lives (go explain the importance of wine to the billions which only dream about the glass of clean water). So lucky or grateful? I think the luck is something we try to keep to ourselves, and by being grateful we actually give it back.

So lets drink for being grateful for all the luck we have in our lives, and may it always be with us. Cheers!

Monthly Wine Writing Challenge Reminder

March 18, 2014 Leave a comment

The time left to connect luck and wine in potentially award-winning epistolary exercise is getting very short… You have less than a week to submit your lucky entry for #MWWC8, so get to that keyboard and start pounding, errr, I meant, typing…

the drunken cyclist

Even though I am not the “official” host of Monthly Wine Writing Challenge 8 (#MWWC8), I like to think of myself as the Challenge’s “Goodwill Ambassador.” Thus, consider this a “friendly” reminder to get your butt in gear and get writing! Perhaps this month’s theme “Luck” does not particularly “speak” to you and you are finding it difficult to come up with a post. Maybe you have been incredibly busy hosting your Uncle Cletus who showed up on your doorstep three weeks ago and has been drinking your cellar dry ever since. Then again, you could just be a lazy son-of-a -female-dog and were planning on writing it this weekend (like me).

Regardless of your reason(s), as far as I can tell, there have only been five entries thus far (please let me know if that is not the case and I will be sure to include you here):

The…

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