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06.23.2005

Oh, So THAT's How You Make a Cult Cabernet

Thanks to an e-mail from Hector Hill, a regular Vinography reader, I caught a couple of articles yesterday in the Los Angeles Times about California Cult Cabernets. The Times tasting panel went through a dozen or so top Cabernets (minus Screaming Eagle and a couple of other big names) and then staff writer Corie Brown did a piece about how these winemakers go about making their wines.

I wasn't particularly impressed with the tasting notes, but Corie managed to uncover something so brilliant in his piece that I must reprint it here. Yes folks, it's the L.A. Times 12 step process for making a cult cabernet. Works every time!

1. Build your own high-tech winery, using no pumps, only gravity.
2. Burrow into the side of a hillside to create caves.
3. Hire Heidi Peterson Barrett or Phillip Melka as winemaker.
4. Claim extraordinary characteristics for your soils.
5. Plant vines so close together that they "struggle."
6. Harvest only perfect grapes and sort twice to make sure.
7. Harvest as late as your nerves will allow.
8. Ferment your wine in micro lots.
9. Sell less than 1,000 cases of wine per vintage.
10. Charge more than $100 a bottle for the first vintage.
11. Offer the wines for sale only through mailing lists and at ritzy restaurants.
12. Pretend you've never marketed your wine.

OK. I'm going to get started with step number one. I'll touch base with you in a few years when I'm on to step two. Check out the whole article.

NOTE: The Los Angeles Times has a draconian registration policy for access to their web content last time I checked. Once you register they also send you spam. Therefore I suggest using these login credentials to access the above links.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud