Report from a wine festival
This past weekend brought the annual "MoCool" festivities, a non-profit, cooperative gathering of Internet-connected wine lovers who've been getting together at this time every year since the early 1990s in Ann Arbor, Mich., for a session of good wine, good food and good friends.
As I've written at greater length in my online reports (links below), "PIGS Will Fly" was supposed to be the year of the "scaled-back" MoCool, a back-to-the-basics event that would return to the simpler, smaller roots of this 13-year-old tradition in the form of a one-event, one-day picnic for online wine lovers from the Midwest and beyond, called "MoCool" after its full moniker, "MOtown Co-Operative Off-Line Tasting."
It was difficult to detect any real reduction of fun, food, wine or fellowship in the weekend's official and unofficial events. Everyone brought wines in that kind of amiable wine-enthusiast attitude that has nothing to do with snobbery or trying to outdo your peers but everything to do with sharing wines that you really like in company with friends who feel the same way.
Many thanks go, as usual, to all the volunteers who made this venture a huge success. A tremendous amount of work behind the scenes goes into MoCool, and the work of the organizing committee should not go without public thanks and praise.
I've put my brief reports online, along with some photos and my own tasting reports on about 60 wines tasted over the weekend. You can read them by clicking the links at the top of our MoCool Home Page,
"Unofficial" Friday gathering:
Hotel tastings: Mas La Plana, Allegrini:
Saturday Picnic, "PIGS Will Fly"
If you're interested in next year's event, the MoCool Home Page also contains a sign-up form for the organization's E-mail list.
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A MoCool tasting sampler
You'll find more than 60 brief tasting reports online at the links above. To whet your appetite, though, here are a few of my comments on noteworthy wines of the weekend, focusing on wines that may still be available in local retail channels rather than essentially unattainable cellar treasures.
Drew 2001 Purisima Mountain Santa Ynez Valley (California) Grenache - Raspberries, luscious and ripe. Good acidity for balance.
Fairview 2001 Paarl (South Africa) Shiraz-Mourvedre - Grapey, but good earthy notes and acid balance.
Las Rocas 2001 San Alejandro Catalayud (Spain) Garnacha - Garnet. Raspberry and caramel, a touch of sweetness over a crisp acidic core.
Torres 1998 Mas La Plana Penedés Cabernet Sauvignon - Dark garnet. Clean scent, spicy oak. Sweet fruit, smooth but substantial tannins. Fresh, clean but unevolved fruit.
Alois Lageder 2003 Alto Adige (Italy) Lagrein Rosé - Pretty pale rosy pink. Lucious strawberry aroma and flavor, dry and crisp, an exceptionally find rosé wine.
Pape Johannou 1999 Nemea (Greece) Old Vines "St. George" - Dark garnet. Spicy red-berry frult, crisp and "sweet," a good, subtle red wine capable of standing up to international competition.
Panarroz 2003 Jumilla - Fragrant pepper and big, sweet berry fruit. An excellent Monastrell (Mourvedre) from Spain.
Laurence Feraud 2003 "Pelican" Vin de Pays d'Oc (France) Grenache/Syrah - A bomb of raspberry frult with good acidity and spice. Sold under $10, a crowd-pleasing wine of real value.
Something New and Exciting from The California Wine Club!
The California Wine Club has just updated their website with a stunning new design and new features that make being a California Wine Club member easier than ever! Visit
You can now store credit card numbers, shipping destinations and gift recipient information in your own personal member account. The current month's selection is available to preview, as well as an excerpt from the current issue of Uncorked. You can also reorder your favorites, refer a friend and take advantage of "web only" specials.
Send a gift, join a club, rate a wine ... whatever you do check out their new site and let them know what you think!
This week on WineLoversPage.com
Here are links to some of our recently published articles that I think you'll enjoy:
Dave McIntyre's WineLine: Au Revoir, Julia!
Wine Lovers' Discussion Group: What the heck is "Garrigue"?
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index
The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:
PIGS will fly this weekend (Aug. 27, 2004)
Summer sippers and beach novels (Aug. 25, 2004)
Picking wine for a party (Aug. 23, 2004)
Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:
Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Salmon and potatoes (Aug. 26, 2004)
Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:
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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
Monday, Aug. 30, 2004