Big House value : Green card

Diposting oleh Beta Basta on Minggu, Mei 01, 2011

green card. Georgetta Dane was a bright young woman living in Romania. She had just finished her graduate degree in food sciences from the prestigious Galati University, but her prospects were looking grim. Georgetta had two career choices: Work in a meat factory making sausages, or work in an institutional winery making bulk wine. "There is no romance in making sausage," she thought, so she decided to pursue the more romantic option.

But fate, luck or kismet intervened. On a whim, she and her husband, Corneliu, decided to enter a lottery to come to the United States on a special visa that would allow them to work in America and eventually acquire a green card. Out of millions of applicants, the Danes were lucky winners.

They had a young daughter, no family or job in the U.S., and neither one of them spoke a stitch of English. But they took a leap of faith, packed up and ended up in Monterey, Calif., just in time to participate in the harvest at Kendall-Jackson's new winery.

Georgetta's talents did not go unnoticed and she quickly moved her way up from the lab to the winemaking front lines. By 2006, she found her way to the Big House Wine Company of California, where she became head winemaker. And what a portfolio it is. With seven different wines, and more on the way, Ms. Dane has a lot to do, and she would not have it any other way.

One of the things Georgetta loves about her job is the unusually large selection of wine varietals that she gets to play with during the blending process, which is the where she lovingly applies her artistic talent. Georgetta looks at making wines like perfumes, first building a base scent and then using the nuances of each varietal in harmony in order to maximize the aroma. Then she refines the blending formula around the entire palate, first starting with the attack on the front of the palate and ending with the finish. With more than 40 different Mediterranean varietals, such as tempranillo, valdigue, counoise, ruche and primitivo, and more than a few traditional grapes, Georgetta has a large and eclectic palette at her disposal.

The wines are available in both a traditional 750ml bottle as well as a value-oriented, three-liter wine "cask" that offers four bottles of wine for about half the price. Retail prices are approximate.

Eleven, yes, 11 different varietals contribute to the 2010 Big House White Wine

($10/750ml or $22/3 liters). The aromatic nose really does have a perfume quality, including scents of spring flowers and lychee fruit. Flavors of white peaches, dried apricots and nectarines fill the mouth while bright acidity provides a clean, citrusy finish.

When chardonnay is made without the use of oak, it is referred to in the industry as "naked." The 2010 Big House Unchained Naked Chardonnay ($10/750ml or $22/3 liters) is an excellent example of the pretty flavors unadulterated fruit can provide. Bright green apple, ripe nectarine and lemon/lime flavors zip over the tongue on their way to the clean, crisp finish.

Georgetta's approach to wine is "the more the merrier," and the 2009 Big House Red ($10/750ml or $22/3 liters) certainly lives up to her philosophy. With over 14 red varietals in the juice, including petite sirah, syrah, montepulciano and barbera to name a few, it delivers oodles of juicy red fruit flavors, including blackberry, red cherry and cranberries. A touch of vanilla adds depth and elegance on the lingering finish.

Zinfandel grapes from old vines produce elegant wines, like the ones used in the 2009 Big House Beastly Old Vines Cardinal Zin

($10/750ml or $22/3 liters). Made from 80 percent old vine zinfandel grapes from vineyards around California, it delivers sumptuous blackberry, cherry and blueberry flavors on the front of tongue. Dried herbs and spicy pepper notes fill out the medium-bodied finish.

A couple other wines in the Big House portfolio, namely the 2010 Big House The Birdman Pinot Grigio and the 2009 Big House The Usual Suspects Cabernet Sauvignon (both $10) also deserve a mention.

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