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Article – An Offer he Can’t refuse

November 19th, 2012

Did you know that the French use the expression ‘bonne merde’ to say good luck? This is a colloquialism as opposed to the more proper ‘bonne chance’. Considering that merde is also another word for something beginning with S makes it all the more charming.

I don’t know if that little nugget of information will be relevant to this article, but we will write on and let inspiration find me. I only put it in as I just heard it on the radio, and for all my time in France, I never heard that. I also heard that Jack Nicklaus has just released a new wine, or at least his name is branded on a wine from Terlato Wines. I’m not too sure exactly how dirty Jack gets his hands.

When I find the time, I am a keen golfer but not keen enough to buy some of Jack’s wines. I have no doubt it will be expensive. A few years ago I was in South Africa and visited a number of vineyards. I got to taste some really super wines on the trip. Among these was Ernie Els wines, which were expensive but very good. You can pay extra for a signed bottle.

To be fair to Ernie, he actually owns the vineyard and has invested his money in it over the years. He is a big wine fan and his wines are very well respected. He just won the Open so he should be able to invest a little more. Golfers are not the only famous people who own vineyards.

One of the most famous wine purchases was in California where the Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola purchased a large portion of the famous Napa Valley estate known as ‘Inglenook’. He bought most of it in 1975 with the proceeds from a little film he made that had been quite successful. It was about an Italian family in America that had an interest in the olive oil business.

However, about 94 acres and more importantly the use of the name escaped him, and he had to trade under a different name, and the wines were known as Coppola-Niebaum. The extra name was the original 1800s owner’s but its great reputation was built on the Inglehook name. He spent nearly 35 years trying to acquire it and in 2011 he succeeded and the wines are now known as Inglehook once again. He made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

This is a celebrity owner who has much more interest in his vines than many traditional owners. I have never actually tried the wines so can’t talk about their apparent greatness but I do know the critics love them and they have prices to match.

I know this is the perfect opportunity to talk about Chateau Miraval in Provence, which is owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. I import this wine and while quite niche it is very popular. It was a great wine long before they bought it and remains so afterwards. The whites are among the most famous in Provence and the Reds are very similar to Chateau Vignelaure, once owned by David O Brien, once of Rosegreen.

Their Rose is one of those pale dry wines that make you dream of sunny afternoons on the veranda. It is one of the very best examples of a French Rose you will find. My allocation was cut this year because a certain wedding that may or may not be happening this summer in the vineyard. Suffice to say that I have not received my invite yet. I think Brad is worried that Angie’s head would be turned.

The new Loyalty card scheme is proving very popular. The Silver cards are free, and after 10 stickers ( earned every time you spend €25 ) you get FREE WINE. You also get a Gold card and at the end of that, there is even more FREE WINE, and you move on to the revered platinum card.

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“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

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