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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tasting with Clark Smith of Grapecraft, June 16, 2008

The Time and Date: Monday, June 16, 2008  2:30 – 4:30 PM
The Event: Tasting with Clark Smith of California's Grapecraft Cellars,
emphasizing "Ageing Gracefully" an exploration of techniques for
building proper structure for cellaring.
The Venue: LCBO Summerhill Scrivener Square Demonstration Kitchen
The Target Audience: wine media.
The Availability/Catalogue: wine are available through the Ontario
agent, H.H. D. Imports, right now on a private order basis.
The Quote: Clark Smith is perhaps the most talked about figure in
winemaking today. His perspectives are sought after by wine schools at
UC Davis, Cal State Fresno and Napa Valley College. He consults
regularly with wineries in Niagara Peninsula. Ten competitions use him
as a wine judge. His po-mo views on wines are at,
which he explains through a calendar mandala and glossary. He is an
advocate of dealcoholizing wines, micro-oxygenation and removing
tannins. He says: I'm not a technology proponent. I'm in favour of
winemaking as a culinary art, not a science. Winegrowing is a type of
specialized cooking, slow food type. Wine is liquid music. The brain
processes them the same way."
The Wines:
-2003 Napa "Faux Chablis' Chardonnay Student Vineyard Napa Valley College.
$27. Dealcoholized to 12.9% ABV by reverse osmosis, citric acidity and yet custardy
-2005 Surly Chenin Blanc Clarksburg. $15. Austere minerals, typical quince nose;
crisp and orange peels.
-N/V Skinflint California Dry Rosé. $14. Dry, pronounced strawberry nose, unctuous,
cherry flavour, relatively hard.
-2005 Cheapskate California "Miser" Meritage. $15. 13.5% ABV. God balance,
good cabby flavours for the price: cedar, blackcurrant, black olives, herbs, violets.
-2005 Winesmith California Cabernet Sauvignon. $23. Heavy and firm plumminess
with a clean and long finish: flowers, graphite, cinnamon, pepper, red berry and dark
-2005 Winesmith California Cabernet Franc. $23. Earthy, generous but grainy:
coffee bean, green pepper, cherry. Softish finish.
-2004 Winesmith Crucible Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. $99. Quite a step up in
quality, and more so in price. Full, ripe and generous at 14% ABV: earthy, blueberry,
cedar, red berry, chocolate and vanilla.
-2005 Winesmith Second Fiddle Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills Fiddlestix Vyd. $55.
13.8% ABV. Dijon clone 115 and Clone 667: austere, cherry, damp earth and mocha .
Burgundian and needs time.
The Food: cheese platter with breads.
The Downside: it is hard to agree and disagree with him since he has
done all the research and we have not.
The Upside: making a connection between wine and music.
The Contact Person:
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 90.

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