Happy New Year 2009! At year’s end 2008, after enjoying family and friends over for the holidays, one will find oneself “celebrating” a New Year with special friends and family all over again. A New Year for Re-birth, Rejuvenation, Salutations, Libation, Reflections, and of course, Resolutions to one’s lifestyle. While experiencing this transformation, one will contemplate the direction of one’s linear spectrum. This New Year, “Harmony and Balance” is my direction in celebrating the Breathe of Life that which feeds the Soul. As for feeding the Soul on New Year’s Eve, the evening adventures and Food and Drink List consists of mouth filling Tapas, Belgian beers, wine, particularly that of Caduceus Cellars 2005 Nagual Del Sensei and Jean Vesselle NV Bouzy Brut Champagne (to toast the midnight celebration) and a plethora of music ranging from the Tarantulas, Stan Getz Quartet~Bossa Nova, Red Hot Chili Peppers, G-Love and Special Sauce, Medeski Martin and Wood, Fergie, and of course, Tool.
The 2005 Nagual Del Sensei of Caduceus Cellars, is a template project of Maynard James Keenan, from the band ‘Tool’. Maynard has lived in Arizona since 1995, making his way to this state from his origin states of Ohio and Michigan via Boston and Los Angeles. As intuition serves, Maynard states “winemaking is in my blood.” True to his ancestry, Maynard discovered that his great grandparents and great uncle tended vineyards and made wine in Northern Italy, now southern France. He feels, “Clearly I and my fathers are one.”
Having tasted the 2005 Sensei earlier this year, it persuaded me to add this powerhouse wine to my list of wines to review! There was more to this wine than I thought I would have ever tasted, sensed, and encountered. Upon opening, the eye sense is full of depth and color. It’s like looking at a bowl of punched black berries, but with clarity and not cloudy. It clearly states it objective, whether by sight or palate. As I continued the tasting process, I found glass in one hand and bottle in the other for observation. Both wine and bottle are Mystere. I pondered the name Caduceus and it landed me interpreting its symbolism, which is universally found in Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, and Hindu Mysticism indicating a symbol of “Harmony and Balance” and “Spiritual Awakening”. A perfect description for both vineyard and wine. Nagual Del Sensei, for interpretation, I related to the wine as it opens in the glass and for future aging, as a “transforming trickster”. In Mesoamerican folk religion, a Nagual is a human form who has the power to magically turn him/herself into an animal form. And Sensei, someone or something reaching a level of mastery in an art form. Hence the name, this wine is an animal and in the years to come, will reach its zenith. Continuing to taste, the smell, touch, and palate stimulations produced an explosive nose feel of chocolates and dark black fruits pressed and punched. On the palate, all black cherries, stewed black currants, gun powder, greens and nuances of black cocoa baking chocolate, intertwined with strong fresh cedar in Dad’s cigar box. The finish is long and lush with notes of espresso chocolate and black berries. The Nagual is rich and bright , however still young, the tannins and profile will land this wine well into the next ten to twelve years and beyond. As I continued, glass and bottle, I saw the 353… more Mystere. Many theories came forth as to the meaning and I reminded myself to enjoy the wine for its explosive harmony and balance. But, the mind wondered with each taste, 353 was the prefix to my childhood phone in Los Angeles, did Keenan live in that area as well. 353 is also a palindromic prime number, with a cousin prime of 349 (349 is his block of grapes in Jerome) and is the smallest 4th power that is the sum of 4 other 4-powers discovered by Norrie in 1911 . My favorite songs on Tool’s Lateralus CD are numbers 3 (The Patient), 5 (Schism) and 11 (Reflection), in which 353 adds up to 11 as does 2 and 9 in 2009. Coincidence?! Well, in the year 353, the Battle of Mons Seleucus occurred where Constantius II defeats the Usurper Magnentius, which occurred in the Hautes-Alpes of Southern France, perhaps where Maynard’s family made wine!
The Mystere of Nagual Del Sensei is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon of Pope Valley (Vacas Mountains Napa Valley), 17.5% Lakeview Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa), and 17.5% Lakeview Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah co-fermented and aged for twelve months in New French Oak and Neutral Oak.
As for “Dish”, it’s a beautiful wine to pair with Osso Buco con Gremolata di Pignoli. And as for New Year’s Table of Tapas, enjoy Pancetta-wrapped Radicchio, a Formaggio selection of Asiago, Bra, Taleggio, Pecorino Toscano, Grana Padano, and Canestrato di Puglia, with plates of eggplant Parmigiana, Insalata di Olive, Prosciutto and grilled Figs, and Clams Oreganto.
For the New Year count-down, entice the palate with a glass of Jean Vesselle NV Bouzy Brut from a three hundred year old family estate in the town of Bouzy located in the Cote de Noirs. The Jean Vesselle is now produced by the elegant hands of Delphine Vesselle, in honor of her late father Jean. With impressive finesse and grace, enjoy the honey suckle blossoms, toasty biscuit notes and crème brulee flavors of vanilla bean in this gorgeous Brut Champagne, and be sure toast the one next to you with sip, hug, and a kiss. Happy New Year!
On the Shelf, find Caduceus Cellars 2005 Nagual Del Sensei at Whole Foods Markets, Enotria~Land of Wine, Basha’s (Sedona), Page Springs & Caduceus Cellars Tasting Room in Cornville Arizona, on-line at vino.caduceus.org, select wine stores and restaurants in and around Arizona. Just ask for it!
“Maynard… You’re in the right place”… James V. Monaci, the Whimsical Sommelier, is General Manager for Picazzo’s Gourmet Pizza and Salads and Wine Consultant for MonaciEnoteca. Catch him cooking at Seasoned Kitchen in Flagstaff, or contact him by phone at 928.274.2228 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
James V. Monaci
7455 N. 95th Ave #921
Glendale, Arizona 85305 U.S.A
Cell Phone: 928.274.2228