Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A blend of Pinot Noir and Claude Monet

The more invested and heavily educated of wine drinkers can sometimes taste a wine and give you the details of how it was made, where it was from, what vintage it was, even to the point of if the barrels were made by a certain cooper. It really is extraordinary to watch (although it is probably a good parlor trick at only certain types of parties).

Similarly it is truly breathtaking to listen to a knowledgeable art historian talk about an artist's masterpiece. They can look at the painting and tell you what brush was used, how many brush strokes were done, the period of history the painting came from, the materials used in its formation, the story of the artist or the depicted scene, the side story behind why there was this symbol placed just so... I find it fascinating.

Then again, I also spent from age 5 until age 10 wondering the halls of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, guided by my godmother, Danielle Rice who at the time was the museum's Director of Education. Every Friday for years I would go from school to the art museum, spend a few hours learning about one style of art or another and then be taken home by Danielle. On our way home we would always stop at Klein's Deli and pick up briny kosher pickle. I was much better at eating that I was at art and it was hard to tell if she was buying me the pickle to make me feel better or to reward me for sticking with the art classes.

Danielle is now the Executive Director of the Delaware Art Museum (a wonderful place to explore one weekend), which brings me back to wine. Danielle also happens to enjoy wine and has found the beverage to be a natural pairing with art exhibit openings and parties that highlight both art and wine.

Danielle notes: “I don’t know much about wine, but I know what I like... Just kidding...that’s what people say about art all the time. Art and wine have this in common: they both require discernment. And discernment is not something that can be learned instantaneously. Both art and wine encourage us to pause, reflect and savor. And there’s nothing more wonderful than seeing something new in a painting or noticing a new flavor in a favorite wine!”

It turns out that there are plenty of art lovers in the wine world (and I am sure the reverse is true as well). Gerret Copeland, who owns Bouchaine Vineyards with his wife Tatiana, is a resident of Wilmington, Delaware and a notable contributor to the Delaware Museum. Copeland was once the owner of a New York Stock Exchange brokerage firm which he then sold. He went on to purchase Bouchaine Vineyards in 1981. Besides having an interest in art and wine, Copeland is also interested in sustainable practices and environmental initiatives. You cannot help but like what he is doing.

When asked about the Gerret and his wife, Danielle says, "We are very fortunate to have the Copeland's involved with the Museum as well as with all of the arts in Wilmington. They are very generous and as a result of their passion for both art and wine we often get the benefit of enjoying Buchaine wines at our special events!"

In my opinion the wines from Bouchaine are pleasant and fruity. I tasted the 2007 Chardonnay and the 2007 Pinot Noir, both from Carneros. The Chardonnay was pleasantly toasty, with a blend of a bright yellow apple dipped in a light caramel. The Pinot Noir was floral and milk chocolaty on the nose with some dry cherry flavors in the taste.

It also turns out that the Delaware Art Museum is very integrated into the social media world. Recently the museum held an Exposed exhibition and for the duration of the exhibit the museum wrote a blog. It was well written and gave a 'real-person' voice to the pieces of art. Danielle also writes her own blog, although like mine sometimes the pressures of everyday life do not allow consistent writing as one would wish.
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