Month: April 2015

Introducing Duke Bourbon: For the cowboy in your life…

In the world of whiskey, scotch has always been dominant.  Elegant, complex, refined.  Scotch is the drink of royalty, sitting on a throne as servants tend to their every whim.

Prince Charles drinks scotch.

Bourbon, on the other hand, has no such reputation.  It is drunk in dive bars by ruffians playing pool.  It is the representative “rail” whiskey the world over.  It is knocked back in shots, spurring grimaced faces to hiss through their teeth as they swallow it down.

John Wayne drinks bourbon.

Scotch has no place on a dusty trail stamped flat by horses’ hooves.  Only bourbon is as rugged, straightforward, and unassuming as the man who was known as The Duke.

Now, The Duke finally has a bourbon to call his own.  Ethan Wayne, John Wayne’s son, has brought about a bourbon based on his father’s private collection.  Well spiced, yet tempered by sweet vanilla, Duke Bourbon is what John Wayne would have been proud to drink.

Scotch may be the drink of princes, bur bourbon is the drink of Dukes.  After all, :”a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” duke-bourbon-beauty-shot-portrait-web

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“Oenophilia” – Celebrities owning their own Winery!

francis-ford-coppola-francis-ford-coppola-winery-california images6VOYGGPH kyle-maclachlan-pursued-by-bear-washington It is true that celebrities have access to everything but to own their own winery is of course a very unique experience.

One of the well know celebs who has done this transformation with impeccable taste is Francis Ford Coppola and now this trend has been catching on many others in Hollywood.

Brad Pitt and Angelia Jolie are the epitome of a power couple. Among their charity projects and awards, Angie and Brad own a $60 million estate and winery in Provence, near a village of Correns.

Their winery is located at Château Miraval, a 1,200-acre estate in the village of Correns, France. Built in 1841, the French Country manor has 35 rooms and 926 acres of fountains, gardens, and woodlands. It even has a moat.

The couple just released their second award-winning wine this year, a rosé called the Chateau Miraval. The wine, which was was one of  Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines   last year, was released on February 7th and sold out with in 5 hours.    

The Château was also the location of their secret wedding.

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Brangelina aren’t the only celebrities with a wine label. Cliff Richard, Drew Barrymore, Yao Ming, Ernie Els, Antonio Bandaras, Francis Ford Coppola, Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, Zhao Wei and even rapper Lil Jon have one too. David Beckham reportedly gave wife Victoria a vineyard in California’s Napa Valley when she turned 34 in 2008, while former Brat Packer Emilio Estevez and his journalist wife Sonja Magdevski dug up the grass of their Spanish-style Malibu home, planted vines and started boutique wine endeavour Casa Dumetz in 2004.

While the trend of celebrities owning vineyards is no recent phenomenon — back in Roman times, philosophers, playwrights, politicians and generals often owned one for personal use —  it is increasingly possible to throw a stone at any film or sports gala and hit a star with a wine business these days. (In fact, in the last few months alone, this writer has met a banker, restaurateur, interior designer, fashion titan and tyre maker, all with wine ambitions, so this particular dream isn’t exactly celebrity-specific either.)

Some, like Estevez, do it to battle creative burnout. “I write a lot of dialogue out there,” says the writer-director of films such as Bobby and The Way of his Pinot Noir-planted garden in a New York Times article. “I’d [prune] a row and then go back inside to write and then [head] back outside,” he says. “It was a wonderful exchange.” What’s applaud-worthy is that Estevez, as Casa Dumetz’s assistant winemaker (Magdevski is the designated winemaker), doesn’t seem to trade on his fame to market his handcrafted blends. No where on the brand’s website is there even an “Estevez” mentioned; only one instance of a rather ambiguous “Emilio” in Magdevski’s foreword.

There is, of course, a difference between interest and passion, business and pleasure.
In the case of Brangelina, it has emerged that they do partake in back-breaking grape-picking, but leave the actual winemaking to their partners, the Perrin family, owners of the famed Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, who have been enlisted to produce and market Miraval’s three wines — a white, rosé and red. Miraval’s connection to the arts and celebrities is a long one. Its previous owner was well-known jazz pianist and composer Jacques Loussier who outfitted the chateau with a recording studio where the likes of Pink Floyd, Sade, The Cranberries, The Gypsy Kings and Sting came to record music. Sting and his wife Trudie, incidentally, are owners of Il Palagio, a 351-hectare Italian estate overlooking the Tuscan hills which produces olive oil and honey in addition to wine.

“What draws celebrities to the wine business is that wine is a great brand and an easy way to slap their name on something and sell it, a la perfume,” WineLibrary.com’s Gary Vaynerchuk told the Daily Beast. While he wasn’t specific in his critique, one might imagine he refers to the likes of Mariah Carey, whose bubbly Angel Hint of Pink by MC is made by progressive champagne brand Angel, which sells unique bottles at up to US$250,000.

At the opposite end of the wine divide stands Sam Neill of The Tudors and Jurassic Park fame, who both Goodwin and Singapore-based oenologist and wine educator Edwin Soon single out for his abundant passion. Soon further declares Neill’s Two Paddock wines from New Zealand’s picturesque Central Otago region as “very good”. So good, in fact, that actor Liam Neeson buys them by the cases.

Like Estevez, Neill’s wine pursuits seem to have transcended from mere hobby to soul-enriching endeavour. “At the end of the day, I wanted to do something entirely different from what I normally do and this is as different from acting as I can think of,” says Neill during a recent stopover (on his way back from his Irish film set to New Zealand for the birth of a grandchild). “I’ve always loved farming and all that stuff,” he adds.

Though a descendant of wine merchants, Neill’s love affair with the drink only blossomed when, in 1979, the great James Mason, star of iconic films 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, North by Northwest, and Julius Caesar, took him out for a meal in Montreux, Switzerland. The bottle Mason opened was a Gevrey-Chambertin, a great Burgundy Pinot Noir. “I said to James: ‘What wine is this?’” Neill regales. “And his words were as follows: ‘This, my boy, is Burgundy and don’t ever forget it.’

“I’ve never forgotten that, and that’s why I got into Pinot Noir and eventually decided to plant some,” he continues. Two Paddocks, the name he christened his wines, was a deliberate choice. “I wanted the most humble name I could think of. And what we had was two little paddocks with three sheep between them before we planted the grapes,” he says. “Now, I’m always asked why not give up film and make wine. But, one, I love my day job and have no intention of retiring. And two, there is only one person at Two Paddocks who never gets paid, and that’s me.”

“Some stars do it because of the love for wine,” Soon states. Gerard Depardieu, the French actor who has taken up residence in Russia, is another fine example, he tells us. For decades, Depardieu had made wines — first in France’s Nuits-St-Georges, then Condrieu and then at Chateau de Tigné in Anjou — without so much as thinking to put his name on a label, that is, until he paired up with wine magnate Bernard Magrez (owner of Bordeaux’s Chateaux Pape Clément and La Tour Carnet) in 2001. The two are joint owners in La Clé du Terroir, which owns estates in Argentina, Bordeaux, Italy, Algeria and Morocco.

Speaking to Decanter’s Guy Woodward in 2009, Depardieu claimed he felt more comfortable in the field than on a Hollywood film set. “I’d rather work with winemakers than film directors. They don’t talk as much,” he said.

One film director, though, whose name is as synonymous with wine as it is with The Godfather franchise is Francis Ford Coppola, whose Italian-immigrant grandparents made wine in the basement of their New York apartment building.

In 1975, while looking for a small cottage in Napa Valley to use as a weekend family retreat and to make a little homemade wine, Coppola found what turned out to be the Niebaum Mansion in Rutherford, on the famed Inglenook estate. Three years later, he made his first vintage of Rubicon wine, and in 1995 purchased the remainder of Inglenook estate and began restoring it to its historic dimensions.

Believing that wineries could double up as what he calls “a park of pleasure”, Coppola next debuted the nearby Francis Ford Coppola Winery in 2010. Designed by long-time friend and Academy Award-winning production designer Dean Tavoula (whom Coppolo met on the set of The Godfather), the new winery drew inspiration from Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens and other modern family-oriented parks, and houses tasting bars (to sample the more than 40 wines produced onsite), restaurants, a swimming pool, movie gallery, performing arts pavilion and a park with game tables and bocce courts.

“As Inglenook began to emerge more as a kind of upscale place, I felt bad about the families that used to go there,” Coppola told The Globe and Mail. “I built [the Francis Ford Coppola Winery] as a place they could go.”

Actress and new mum Drew Barrymore would agree that wine and family go together. When releasing her new Barrymore Pinot Grigio last year, she said the white, made from grapes grown in Italy’s Triveneto area, was created to honour her family. As such, the label showcases a family crest (based on the sign at her family’s estate in California) and was designed by Studio Number One, the agency famed for creating Barack Obama’s “Hope” poster in the 2008 US presidential elections.

“Wine is all about the journey, the discovery of new places and new varieties. I’m excited about sharing this Pinot Grigio with my friends and family and other wine lovers,” Barrymore, a fan of crisp, fruity white wines, says.

The Chinese equivalent of Barrymore, actress Zhao Wei (who so happens to also be a Singapore Permanent Resident), has also jumped on the wine bandwagon. An enthusiast, she created quite a stir when she snapped up the sleepy Chateau Monlot in Bordeaux in 2011, pledging to maintain yet improve the winery’s status quo. Her first coup came when she managed to coax Jean-Claude Berrouet, ex-technical director at Chateau Petrus, out of retirement to join the winery as an advisor. More recently, Zhao was initiated into the Jurade of Saint Emilion — a brotherhood of wine dating back to 1199AD — after having been invited to join by current councillors of the group.

On the slew of celebrity-backed wine, Soon sums up: “The wine has to stand on its own — in tastings, wines are always tasted blind so judges are not influenced by labels and prices. That said, the link with celebs might appeal to some wine-drinkers who would like to take a bottle to a party that has a talking point.”

It also gives those of us who are everyday drinkers an opportunity to get closer to these otherwise-distant stars. Just imagine popping a bottle of Il Palagio Sister Moon and rolling a sip of its velvety Sangiovese-Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon on your tongue, while Sting’s jazz-influenced Sister Moon plays in the background. Trust us, by the end of the bottle, you’ll feel a pleasant dizziness that’ll put a smile on your face.Now let’s move on the Sting an Trudie Styler who have their own winery 45 minutes south of Florence,Italy.  They grow their grapes “biodynamic and Organic”

The 900-acre estate, known as Il Palagio, also has a 16th-century villa with swimming pool, 12 acres of vegetable gardens, around 80 bee colonies, olive groves, and several small lakes.

Their wines are also often named after Sting’s songs. The first wine they made was called “Sister Moon,” and they also have a wine called “When We Dance.”

In addition to wine, Il Palagio also produces honey and organic olive oil.

 

“The Godfather” director is a true oenophile and has produced over 40 wines from his resort in the heart of Alexander Valley, California.

The winery is named the, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and is located in Sonoma County. The estate has a wine tasting bar, two restaurants, swimming pools, a movie gallery, a performing arts pavilion, and a park area with game tables and bocce courts.

The winery also produces a rosé called Sofia in honor of his daughter Sofia Coppola.

Now if you feel you like to take home a drop of Sting, some Francis Ford Coppola and even Mariah Carey be sure to go our website to purchase them. http://www.melandrose.com

 

Corazon Expressions Tequila: Perfect for Cinco de Mayo

With Cinco de Mayo fast approaching, plans for the perfect barbeque may be derailed by a simple question: what drinks should I serve?  Of course, beer is a must, but what else?  Bourbon is a perfect choice.  But what if you’re serving more Mexican fair to go along with the celebration?  Tequila would be more appropriate.  Now, there’s a way to do both.

Corozan’s Expressions Tequilas.  Three impressive tequilas barrel-aged in ex-bourbon barrels, from esteemed distillers Buffalo Trace, George T. Stagg, and Sazerac Rye, and a special Artisanal Blanco as their bases.  Each bourbon imparts complex flavors to the tequila, turning an already noteworthy drink into something truly remarkable.

corazonblanco__03939.1411552429.1280.1280Corazon Artisanal Edition Blanco Tequila is tequila in its purest form: un-aged and crystal clear.  Powerful agave scents lead the nose towards more subtle citrus and spice notes.  But on the tongue it is more subdued, with more agave and touches of vanilla and spice.  Not overly harsh, the mid-palate brings out some warmer spice and depth, without becoming harsh.  The finish is soft and smooth, ending with clean and refreshing agave flavor.

t7736517hz_1Corazon Buffalo Trace Reposado Tequila starts off life as Artisanal Blanco before aging in ex-Buffalo Trace barrels for ten and a half months.  This short ageing period is only enough to impart a pale-gold hue, but it more than makes up for this in flavor.  Buffalo Trace, a complex and powerful whiskey, is first apparent in the nose, where heavy oak and spice leads before giving way to the tequila’s natural agave.  But on the tongue, the oak is balanced well by the bourbon and tequila’s spice, which intermingle in delightful ways.  It expands during the mid-palate, without becoming overpowering, into bourbon notes of caramel and vanilla.  The tequilla ends superbly with the clean agave flavors balanced by the bourbon’s sweetness in a long and lingering finish.

corazongeorge__80973.1411553515.1280.1280Corazon George T. Stagg Anejo is aged for a longer 22 months, but is only marginally darker than the Buffalo Trace.  The tequila opens with a simple nose, primarily oak with hints of citrus and caramel.  But this is not a tequila for sniffing; it is for drinking.  The agave is balanced well by more caramel, expanding nicely into oak and bourbon sweetness.  It ends cleanly, but richly, far closer to a bourbon than a tequila.

img_794_1Corazon Sazerac Rye Anejo is the darkest of the three (but still very pale), aged for 24 months.  It opens with oak again, but is tempered by curious fruit and butterscotch notes.  It’s higher alcohol content creates more classic tequila spice and heat, with agave holding its own against caramel and subtle citrus.  Though it burns noticeably initially, the finish cools substantially into lasting caramel sweetness.

Whether you enjoy tequila, bourbon, or both, there is something special in each of these fine tequilas.  Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Ruinart Champagne ,Truffled Popcorn & French Movie – Oh La La !!!

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RUINART imagesNPNJI0RTCHAMPAGNE & TRUFFLED POPCORN

Before we start all the fun stuff happening this Friday May 1st at our store, let’s talk about Ruinart is the oldest established Champagne house in Remis, France.

Since 1729, Ruinart Champagne has an authentic Champagne House.  It is also the First Delivery of the “Wine with bubbles” since that time.   At first the sparkling wine was a business gift for cloth purchasers, as Dom Ruinart’s brother was a cloth merchant, but 6 years later Maison Ruinart terminated its cloth selling activities due to success in the Champagne business. Since then, the Maison has kept the standards of excellence of its founders.

Ruinart has had a long standing relationship with the Arts. In 1895, Andre Ruinart asked Czech artist Alphonse Mucha  to illustrate a poster of Ruinart. Today the brand is still closely involved with Contemporary Art and plays a role in numerous international events such as ARCO, the Foire de Bale, the Carre Rive Gauche, London Design, and Miami Art Basel.

The house utilizes talent today: India Mahdavi, created the “Champagne Spoon” bottle stopper in 2006, Christian Biecher, created the “Flower” bottle stopper in 2007, Patricia Urqiola, designed the “Fil d’Or” bottle stopper in 2010 and Maarten

So please be sure to stop by for a great night at Mel and Rose where we will sample Ruinart Champagne,  French Films and Truffle Popcorn on May 1st, 2015 between 6-8 pm

Here is the link for more info:

http://www.melandrose.com/asp_pages/event_detail.asp?event_id=168&page_status=more_details

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