Off the Vine: Events mark start of season

September 19, 2012 

Since the autumnal equinox is within arm's reach, hopefully our temperatures will start to fall and provide some much needed relief from the humidity that has beseeched us for what seems like an eternity, but in reality it has only caused our air conditioners and washing machines to do double duty for the last six months.

Some obvious signs that the temperature is about to dip a few notches are the return of two events that take vacation during the hot summer months. "Main Street Live," which has been renamed from the long-standing Get Down Downtown -- kicks off the season this Thursday on Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton. The monthly event features local food and music and benefits local organizations. Then, the first Saturday in October brings the first farmers' market of the season where you can purchase locally grown produce.

So what does all of this have to do with wine? Well, take a tour of just about any winery and you will learn just how important both the local surroundings and the community are to the daily operations, as well as to the finished product that is released from each vintage. The 2009 Mossback Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon is no exception. This wine is a blend of 77 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 23 percent Merlot produced from Russian River Valley fruit that comes from the heart of Sonoma County, Calif.

This Mossback Cabernet has the aroma of chocolate-covered cherries with overtones of freshly crushed black pepper, followed by the flavor of ripe blackberry with a somewhat earthy

finish. Interestingly enough, the term "Mossback" used to refer to a person who worked in the vineyards from sunrise to sunset, and the wineries proprietors -- John and Lane Giguiere -- make wines to this day that encompass this same hard-working philosophy.

The next time you pick up a bottle of wine, take a good look at the label and you will see the name of the appellation where the grapes were grown and, on some bottles, the label names the specific vineyards that were used to produce the wine. It is quite obvious that the wineries are proud of the sense of staying local and that pride can be tasted in the bottle.

Jim Rawe, a family attorney in Bradenton, is an avid collector of fine wines.

His column appears weekly. He can be reached at jimrawe@gmail.com.

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