Saturday, April 23, 2011

Small Eats at Yakitori Kokko

Yakitori and ippin ryori plates at Yakitori Kokko. All washed down by two vibrant Spanish whites: 2009 Rias Baixas DO Albariño "Igrexario de Saiar", Benito Santos and a 2009 Getariako Txakolina DO "Finca Jakue", Talai Berri.

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Yakitori Kokko
508 2nd Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94401

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Coppola Family Buys Out Inglenook

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(in this photo, 1960 Inglenook "Cask" Cabernet Sauvignon from Cask F-9 12½% alc)

"No, I buy you out, you don't buy me out.", The Godfather 1972

Francis Ford Coppola has settled all family business this week. First, he announced recruiting Philippe Bascaules, winemaker at Bordeaux first growth estate Château Margaux. A person with suitable gravitas for an impresario like Coppola to replace both Larry Stone as manager and Scott Mcleod as winemaker of his Rutherford-based winery, Rubicon Estate. Per his agreement with Bascaules, Coppola waited until the 2010 Bordeaux en primeur was all but concluded before making the news public.

And secondly in a move even bolder and quite formidable--considering how its stirs up old Napa ghosts--Coppola made it known that he has acquired the Inglenook label, and, henceforth, Rubicon Estate is being rebranded to Inglenook.

Of course, the foundation of Rubicon Estate is Inglenook's Home Vineyard in Rutherford and the old Inglenook winery itself that still houses the mothballed giant redwood casks where the winery's famous "Cask" Cabernet Sauvignons were aged.

Yet, in all the excitement, what's never been mentioned is that the crème de la crème possession of the old Inglenook estate, the Napanook Vineyard, which lies separately in Oakville, will continue to remain outside Coppola's hands. Napanook was the heart of Inglenook, the main source for its famous "Cask" Cabernets. But today, this historic vineyard is part of Dominus Estate, the Napa winery of Bordeaux titan, Christian Moueix.

Moueix acquired Napanook from the heirs of John Daniel, Jr., who ran Inglenook during its greatest period between the 1930s and early 1960s. Daniel was the great-nephew of Inglenook founder, Gustave Niebaum. After Daniel sold off most of the Inglenook holdings, he ordered his daughters on his deathbed never to sell Napanook Vineyard. Alas, the daughters did not persevere in the wine business. They partnered with Moueix, but after some years the partnership broke off and Moueix came out owning Napanook.

Meanwhile, last time I checked Coppola's Rubicon Estate "Cask" Cabernet Sauvignon was being heavily discounted at Costco, side-by-side Inglenook labels. John Daniel must surely be turning in his grave.