Posts From March 2006
March 11, 2006
Oxbow School 2006 Visiting Artist Lecture Series
Napa, Calif.- Five nationally recognized visiting artists are featured in the 2006 Spring Monday Night Visiting Artist Lecture Series produced annually by Napa's Oxbow School at COPIA. All lectures begin at 7 p.m. in the COPIA Theater at 500 First Street in Napa and are free to the public.
Monday, March 6-Barnaby Furnas tackles life's grand themes head on in paintings with narrative and pictorial action in a subversive world of cartoon carnage populated by rock stars and Honest Abe look-alikes.
Monday, March 20-Marin resident Bill Allan fuses the Bay Area's maverick tradition with a reverence for wilderness and nature. His paintings draw on childhood recollections, family tales, dreams and direct observations.
Monday, March 27-Pastels, monotypes and photogravure are employed by veteran artist and San Francisco Art Institute faculty member Charles Hobson to construct the images in his handmade books and works on paper. His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of Art, the National Gallery and the Getty Center among others. Trade editions of his books Parisian Encounters and Leonardo Knows Baseball have been published by Chronicle Books. His most recent work is, The Mappist produced in collaboration with Barry Lopez. Additional information on Hobson's work is available at www.charleshobson.com.
Charles Hobson's Magritte's Bucket
March 3, 2006
Napa Valley's grande dame Schramsberg's Jamie Davies
In 1805, Francois Clicquot died of a fever, leaving his 27-year-old wife, Barbe Nicole Ponsardin, to run his family's Champagne business.
The widow (veuve in French) knew little about wine production, yet seized the moment, inventing the riddling table that is still used today, and building a company so successful that one of France's finest Champagnes, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin's La Grande Dame, is named for her.
Two hundred years after the widow joined the male-dominated French winemaking world, America's own sparkling "grande dame," Jamie Davies, celebrates her 40th winemaking anniversary.
In 1965, Davies and her husband, Jack, purchased a ramshackle Victorian house, a winery and vineyards established in 1862 by German immigrant Jacob Schram in Calistoga, turning it into Schramsberg Vineyards, producer of arguably the finest sparkling wines in the United States.
"The property just popped out to us, and we said, 'This rundown old lady needs lots of attention,' " says Davies, 71, a petite, soft-spoken woman whose stature belies her internal strength and sharp mind. "We didn't have a wine style then, but we knew we didn't want to be, 'Me, too' winemakers. Some of our neighbors were not improving quality, and they felt their wines were good enough as is. We decided to do something that no one else was doing."
That something was sparkling wine, made with the same labor-intensive methods used in Champagne, called methode champenoise, where still wine made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sometimes Pinot Meunier grapes undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle, creating the bubbles. The bottles are stored for several years, allowing the post-fermentation yeast cells to remain in contact with the wine, giving it a biscuity character and complexity.