September 2004
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Day September 19, 2004

Domaine Clape 1999 Cotes du Rhone

Wow. I hadn’t opened a bottle of the 1999 Clape Cotes du Rhone since release, but at 5 years it seemed like an opportune time. After all, conventional wisdom has Cotes du Rhone wines as “early drinking” quaffers. Well, not from producers like J.L. Chave and August Clape. Clape’s Cotes du Rhone mirrors his Cornas: dense and chewy. At five years, this CdR has a definite violet floral aroma amidst a huge leathery, almost rubber core. The overall impression is “wild” — wild floral and big, unconstrained flavors. The palate remains balanced, however, with a fair amount of tannin and good concentration. No new oak touched this wine, which is fine by me — Clape remains a traditionalist, even in his mass-market wines. As for aging, the wine is still primary, with only hints of secondary aromas, this wine will do fine in the cellar for awhile. And that’s a great thing, because it’s a good value and you can stock up compared to other northern Rhone wines, including Clape’s own far more expensive Cornas.

The continued closing of the American mind

The culture war continues this week, with conservative groups urging a boycott of Proctor & Gamble products because they allegedly “support gay marriage.” The facts of the case are these: the City of Cincinatti has an issue on the ballot this November to repeal a 1993 city charter amendment which forbids the city to enact or enforce laws based on sexual orientation. The 1993 charter amendment (Article XII) forbids the city from taking into account sexual orientation in any claim of “minority or protected status, quota preference or other preferential treatment.”

In other words, Article XII prevents gays and lesbians from petitioning city government for protection against discrimination — in housing, hiring and firing decisions, and so on. Cincinnati is the only city in the U.S., apparently, with such a ban in their city code. The movement to repeal Article XII is motivated by numerous factors; naturally, the gay and lesbian community itself is irate about their basic civil rights and equality; the business community believes that businesses are losing revenue and encountering difficulty recruiting new employees. In addition to Proctor & Gamble, the Mayor, Vice Mayor, 6 city council members, the Chamber of Commerce, 18 business leaders, several dozen religious leaders, unions, General Electric, and the Union Central Life Insurance Company believe it should be repealed. And despite evidence that this is a broad-based, bi-partisan, business & community supported effort, the religious right “thought police” have become involved.