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I suspect that California will eventually conform to federal law. It is probably best to wait until the eleventh hour to file your Ca tax return if you're in this boat. More on that here.
Two bills are pending in the Legislature
that would extend and modify California mortgage forgiveness debt relief to
conform more to the federal law: AB 1779 and SBX6 14. (SBX8 32, a bill passed
by the Legislature on March 16, 2010, would have extended California mortgage
forgiveness debt relief; however, that bill was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger
on March 25, 2010.)
Please note that the Governator did not veto the bill because he is against mortgage debt cancellation tax relief.
The moonset was considerably more dramatic Sunday morning. The rising sun rendered the moon a spectacularly brilliant, firey orange. Unfortunately that other morning aspect of Mother Nature was calling and the window of opportunity passed quickly.
Not sure why the picture seems grainy. Maybe the moisture in the air this morning.
First impressions of the the Vine Cliff were pretty good. A little oak and some ripe bing cherries on the palate with some firm tannins on the back side. Good legs too, but, by the third or fourth sip, the whole thing went south and the oak simply overwhelmed the wine. I began to feel as though I were drinking a lousy wine that somebody tried to salvage by dumping a couple of bags of Texas Smokin' Oak Chips into the vat. Too much oak is akin to infusing the wine with vanilla syrup.
We served the wine with mesquite grilled filet mignon, asparagus garnished with Mrs TWC's hand made hollandaise sauce, and unexploded baked spuds (butter, sour cream, and fresh chives from the Gardens of Casa de las Rocas Grandes). Yes, Gentle Readers, TWC fell right off the wagon and inhaled a fair portion of carbohydrate-laden baked potato.
Vine Cliff was way ahead of the organic curve, having converted to organic, sustainable farming methods two decades ago. Sorry, I have to hold my nose and try not to gag whenever anyone uses the term sustainable. Can't believe I used it my own self.
Since 1990, all of Vine Cliff's vineyards have been managed according
to the principles and practices of sustainable viticulture, with a
renewed emphasis on natural farming. This has meant that no commercial
pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilizers have been used, when
possible, on the vines for more than a decade. Additionally, 10 tons of
organic materials are returned to the soil as compost annually. The
vineyards have native species of grasses planted as ground cover
between the rows of vines. These are never ploughed under but only
cut-allowed to naturally compost and further enrich the soil. The most
ecologically complex and diverse biosystem has been established at Vine
Cliff estate vineyards over the years and has resulted in the
protection of its wildlife and habitat.
I'm getting a bit off track here, this is a sixty dollar wine with 90 points from Wine Enthusiast, hence I thought it fair to put it aside for the morrow. Sometimes you're just off your game. Well, now the morrow has come and the bottle sat open on the bar for about 24 hours.
It helped. The wine still has solid tannins & ripe bing cherries. The oak has mellowed, but is still greatly in evidence and detracts from the wine. There is now some pencil lead (cedar) and the wine remains a bit fumey on the nose (fumey is a technical term that means it has the distinctive odor of alcohol). Lissen up Dawg, the wine is just OK for me. For sixty bucks a wine should rock me right.
WINERY TASTING NOTES:
Aroma: An array of fruits with plum, blue berries, red
currants, cranberries, and baked cherries. Cinnamon spice, bay leaf,
cocoa and white chocolate add depth and complexity.
sweet fruit at entry with plum, cherry and blueberry fruits. The palate
texture is rich, full bodied and powerful. Nuances of mocha chocolate
and molasses add oak complexity which lingers with hints of cedar on
2005 was a very good year for California Cabs and Napa Cabernets in particular. One would suspect that in five, maybe ten years this will be a much better wine than it is today. I've got a couple more put away, I'll let you know how it fares.
Tracy sent me looking around for a Chilean Cabernet called Puerto Viejo, which TWC did not find. Instead, he came across a Carmenère from the Colchagua Valley, Chile.
TWC is fond of Carmenère (also called Grand Carmenèt), which once
was *THE* premier grape of Bordeaux (one of six noble varietals*). Obliterated in Europe over a century ago by the scourge of phylloxera, the grape was assumed to be extinct.
Until the 1990's, the Carmenère vines that migrated to Chile from France a century and a half ago (before the outbreak of the European phylloxera plague) were thought to be simply a Chilean adaptation of Merlot. With subsequent advances in genetic fingerprinting, France's foremost expert on vineyard varietals, Jean-Michel Boursiquot, identified the Chilean vines as the long lost Carmenère grape of France.
Carmenère is perfectly adapted to the inland valleys of Central Chile, which enjoy warm, dry, sunny days and huge nightly temperature swings that slows the ripening of the fruit. Longer hang time means more vibrant and flavorful fruit.
Natura is produced by Emliana, the largest organic grower in South America. It is a blend of 87% Carmenère, 4% Syrah, 4% Petit Verdot, 4% Tempranillo, 1% Malbec. I find that organic wines tend to be mono-dimensional, often flat and uninteresting. And, really, there is no apparent reason for this to be so. After all, good grapes and good wine making techniques go together like Fred and Ginger.
The Natura is a big, bold, full bodied wine that is anything but flat or uninteresting. It is sturdy and not for the shy. And that's *exactly* my glass of red. Those who prefer a lighter, milder wine may well be overwhelmed.
The wine is a gorgeous deep burgundy red in the glass. It is bone dry with smokey black fruit on the palate, a little chocolate, mild black pepper and spice,and a long easy finish.
As Stevie the Spy (who denies he is Harriet the Spy's father) is fond of reminding us: Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances. With no expectations and no preconceptions, TWC snagged a bottle of the Natura for ten dollars (U.S.). It was definitely a chance worth taking. Dionysus smiled.
*The six noble grapes of Bordeaux are: Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, and
Merlot. You will notice, Gentle Reader, that all of these, without exception, are RED. This is why lips that touch white wine, shall never touch mine. TWC used to make an exception for Sandra Bullock but then she married that no-good biker guy. Warned her about that. But she didn't listen.
What has come to be affectionately known as Obamacare is accompanied by some costs. The most amusing of these is the 10% tax on indoor tanning.
I guess the tax won't apply to sun worshipers at the beach because, well, for one thing, sunshine is au natural. We all know natural is where it's at and fake isn't. Besides, Old Sol is a less unkind method of bronzing skin than firing up a UV lined tube and crawling inside. But what if they applied the tax to outdoor tanning? The price for a day at Tin Can Beach would rise from fifteen bucks to sixteen fifty. But wait. That's a bargain, because like the old days at Warner Drive In Theater, that's the cost for a carload.
The tanning tax is a symbol and a precursor. While the skirmish with the health nannies has simmered for a decade or better, the pressure to smother lifestyles deemed unhealthy will ratchet ever upward. The arguments will be the same, but under tax supported health care they will enjoy greater palatability (is that *even* a real word?).
We've heard for years (for example) that murdercycle riders should be forced to wear helmets because, By Gum, the taxpayers have to scrub their brains off the freeways when they split traffic a little too carelessly. Worse, taxpayers have to maintain them in a sort of suspended animation when accidents turn bikers into veggies. These arguments aren't even true but we've heard them often enough to give them some degree of credence.
But I digress and most of you are perfectly capable of connecting the dots.
Rock Roses are pretty much able to survive without water. They are
possibly more drought tolerant than cacti and certainly able to survive
blistering hot, dry summers without much (if any) liquid refreshment.