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September 23, 2014

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7 things I wrote in my notebook at Vegas Uncork’d Kings of Cabernet

At Jasmine at the Bellagio, May 12, 2012

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Erin Ryan

Sipping and savoring at the Kings of Cabernet at Jasmine.

1. The chemistry between the winemakers and Bon Appetit’s wine guy David Lynch reminds me of a late-night talk show (only this one is actually funny). I did not expect so much heckling from a crowd that also spent five minutes ruminating on “tobacco-ish” aromas and whether limestone can transfer from soil to sip.

2. Randy Lewis says when you start making wine for scores you’re doing the wrong thing. “You should make it because you love it,” he says. That’s all well and good for a guy who wants to keep production around 9,000 cases a year. But he is so damn charming and so damn right.

3. Apparently, Lance Armstrong doesn’t only drink Michelob Ultra. He also makes wine, with 100 percent Cabernet grapes and friends who know what they’re doing.

4. A former racecar driver, Lewis tells us he discovered wine while competing in France, Italy and Spain. “Since I was living in the back of my van, I didn’t have a cellar, so I had to drink. I wasn’t going to leave half a bottle,” he says, belly laughing to the point of having difficulty breathing (which is how he laughs at everything). Lynch comments that he has the best laugh in the wine business.

5. All six of the wines being sampled are the kind of delicious that costs more than $100 a bottle, but after so much fruity heft, most of the guests keep reaching for the light pink, palate-cleansing mystery beverage. There is only so much love one can handle.

6. There are many questions about organic practices and crop diversification for soil enrichment. The winemakers give it to us straight: Sulfur dioxide, which keeps wine from turning brown and vinegary, is not organic. And wine grapes are very expensive to plant and nurture, so ripping them out every year and starting over? Umm…

7. Only one table manages to drink all of the wine. They are also the last ones to try to stand up.

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