Chateau Mont-Perat v.s. OpusOne Overture

Five wine addicts joined a wine tasting party held on Sunday, November 16, 2008, 2pm-8pm in Tokyo. According to the Wine Enjoyment Guide for a blind test,
http://www.winecountrygetaways.com/fun-wine-tasting.html, it is advised as
1. Twelve to sixteen people is about right for one of these wine tasting parties.
2. One bottle of wine can easily be poured in small amounts for 12 to 16 people.
3. Four to six wines for comparison and rating is about the right number.
4. Set a
theme for the wine tasting.
5. Bag your wines.
6. Pour about 2 oz of wine in each glass.
7. Use our easy
scoring sheet to score the wine. Then repeat with the next bottle of wine.
Our party was a bit different from the above advice, seven people were originally invited, since the seven is a magic number of glasses from one bottle. We don’t believe one bottle of wine is enough more than a dozen people for drinking as well as tasting. Unfortunately, two of the seven couldn’t make that day; one mistook Saturday for the party and the other had got injured by a traffic accident a week before. The five people were taking a bottle of Champaign, and five bottles of red wine. It meant one and one fifth bottle for each person. That was a great opportunity for the wine addicts.
The above picture, from the left to the right, shows the five red wines which we selected:
1. Chateau Mont-Perat 2006, Merlot 80%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%, Cabernet Franc 10%
2. N.V. Opus One Overture 2003?, Napa, CA. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot (that is what I brought from my precious stock.)
3. Brunello di Montalcino Granducato 2003, Motalcino, Toscana, Sangiovese
4. Domaine Philippe Charlopin-Parizot Marsannay, 2005 ,
Fixin, Côte d'Or, Pinot Noir and
5. Gary Farrell 2006,Russian River, CA, Pinot Noir
The theme was to confirm whether the Chateau Mont-Perat, a Bordeaux red blend wine from France, outperforms a Napa wana-be French, Overture.
The other theme in conjunction was whether we could tell the Russian River Pinot Noir from the Marsannay Pinot Noir. The Brunello was added as a wild card that was expected to hinder (in other words, to challenge) our sense of taste.
The result was miserable in terms of our excellence in tasting good wines. We could successfully categorize the two Bordeaux-type wines from the others and identify the Russian river as a Pinot Noir. One fault was the Marsannay and the Brunello were reversed. The Marsannay showed, unexpectedly from pinot noir grape, a strong structure and its rich taste and thus the Brunello was considered as the Pino Noir.
The Brunello worked very well as the hindrance in that sense.
More than worse, the total evaluation results turned out deceptive since the Chateau Mont-Perat and the Overture were reversed also.
I didn’t expect that the French lower pedigree wine represented a typical and expensive Californian strong color and flavor, while the Overture represented a thin and elegant French delicate. So, that means a French wine is becoming more than Californian and vise versa. I together with the other participants lost the game.
Anyway, the party continued till 8pm and we really enjoyed the five bottle of red wines.


Tint of Autumn

November is my favorite month and my birthday month as well.
I haven’t known this: the Latin ‘novem’ means nine and it used to be the ninth month in history. It makes sense when considering that Oct. and Dec. mean eight and ten. January and February intervened before March.

When I visited Quebec City, Canada last September
(see http://picasaweb.google.co.jp/micknerd/QuebecInSept2008) , the temperature was about 5-13 degrees centigrade though, it was a bit early to see “Tint of Autumn.” I missed the best season to visit Quebec at that time.
I like autumn, needless to say, since Japan's muggy and humid summer is getting worse and is going beyond my tolerance. The summer exists to welcome the autumn in my understanding.

Having said that, I traveled Hokkaido, which is Japan’s most famous northern Island (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokkaido) for sightseeing, early November in 2008.
I rented an all -wheel -drive car at Asahikawa Airport, and I hit the road to Furano.

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It was a marvelous drive and that made me FEEL Tint of Autumn in Hokkaido; that is my main purpose to visit there. Larch trees got golden colors, and maples trees were turning off with red colors already. There are not better chances other than in autumn. The mountains and valleys are never more beautiful and temperatures is nice and refreshing, and the air is perfectly clear.

Let us savor the season, autumn.

Today, I was on the way back from Osaka to Yokohama, and stopped over Kyoto, formerly the imperial capital of Japan from 8th century to 19th century.
This chance led me to go Sanzen-in temple in Ohara district (See http://www.artofjpn.com/kyoto/sanzenin.html for further information).
The best way to get there is 1) to take the sub-way from Kyoto Station to a north station called “International Conference Center” (19-minute ride) and 2) to take a bus from the north station to Ohara district (23-minute ride). The total toor took almost four hours for all the sightseeing including the public transportation rides.
Ohara district is well-known in terms of “a reserved and promised place” away from the bustle of Kyoto downtown. In that spirit, which I believe, Sanzen-in temple first build in 985 offered me a circumstance which welcomed me so softly with the November sky which was high and clear enough.

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Here is a Japanese delicate. I’ve never seen such a perfect and elegant mixture of the fresh green moss, the red of maple leaves, the blue sky and the patina atmosphere. Here is something more than peace.
It reminds me of another place and time with a close friend, who loved Yosemite... and passed away recently.