CLAUDINE’S MOSAIC SPHERES
BY Mira Advani Honeycutt
In the beautifully landscaped garden of Clautiere Vineyard, Claudine’s artistic touches are visible everywhere, including the giant mosaic sphere standing guard under the majestic oak tree. This visual could well be a still from a Tim Burton movie.
It all started with a bowling ball and it took off from there,” muses Claudine. When visitors enter the serene garden, they are mesmerized by the colorful “Gaudi-esque” mosaic pillars and spheres, and the mosaic theme follows them inside the tasting room. Yes, Claudine even mosaic’d the dump buckets and are among the most unique buckets you will find in any of the local tasting rooms.
The artistic process begins with a large sheet of glass that Claudine deftly scores and then cuts into triangular shapes. She prefers using glass instead of ceramic chips for her appliqué. “Glass gives me a wider choice of color and texture, and my favorite is the iridescence glass”. To attach these pieces the artist slathers on the adhesive “like frosting on a cake.” The adhesive used is pliable and one that dries slowly. As she explains it, the object responds to the varying temperature, “It can expand with hot and contract with cold temperatures”. The large sphere is six and a half feet in diameter, took about two weeks to make, and with the help of a forklift was installed in its place.
As far as what material the sphere is made of, it will continue to remain a Clautiere mystery as only a handful of people have managed to squeeze the secret from Claudine, usually after a couple of wonderful glasses of Clautiere wines.
“We feel as though angels are smiling down on Clautiere because there’s so much fun and laughter here. The minute you get out of your car, the magic begins.”
When not assisting Terry with wine blending, Claudine is busy metal bending.
By Mira Advani Honeycutt
Visitors to our farmhouse tasting room are mesmerized by the 230-foot curvaceous fence that fronts the property. This is the creation of Claudine, who as a skilled furniture designer, wanted to add her artistic touch to Clautiere’s landscaping.
The creative process starts with pencil and paper, the drawing then enlarged to a graph paper. Once the design has been transferred to a life-size pattern, Claudine is ready to bend and then weld. Each of the twenty three, ten-foot panels are made of 5/16th inch hot rolled steel, that is bent cold by the artist.
Claudine whose inspiration comes from simply being a spirited woman got into welding by sheer necessity. Her house needed furniture, but unlike most people who go to a store, Claudine decided to make her own and started learning the craft. Her first creation? - Two solid steel end tables each weighing sixty pounds each - yikes!! “But as soon as I started playing with steel rods, our fate was sealed,” recalls Claudine. “Metal rods were my medium.”
A symbiosis of art and wine is what visitors love about Clautiere. And the sensuous curves of Claudine’s fence are a component of that total experience. Add to that our award-winning wines savored in the tasting room, vibrant with eye popping color and you encounter a sensory and hedonistic escapade like no other.
Outdoor, lays the beauty of the gorgeous landscape, the whimsical fence and Claudine’s gigantic mosaic balls dangling from the trees (more on that in our next blog).
Watch the video from our talented friend, Michael Rubottom, highlighting the fence that Claudine Blackwell produced for Clautiere Vineyard. The fence stands more then 300 feet and greets you when entering the winery.
By Mira Advani Honeycutt
It all began when Terry and Claudine sat down with their staff, 6 wines and at least 25 cheeses...what an experience they encountered!
The goal was to find the perfect balance that would bring out the flavors of the wine and but not be over-powered by the cheese. Not only was this a very fun and educational process, but, according Claudine, it really worked…
It was shocking to taste the wines and cheeses where one cheese paired beautifully with one wine and was completely incompatible with another. Some cheese could be too cheesy tasting and drown out the flavors of the wine or the cheese wouldn’t bring out the flavors of the wine. But when you come upon the perfect cheese pairing with the perfect wine it’s literally, “magic in your mouth!”
So what is proper cheese pairing etiquette?
“Wine-Cheese-Wine in that order,” advises Terry; “First taste the wine, then, take a bite of the cheese, followed by another sip of wine. A good pairing marries the wine and cheese so it finishes with a balance on the mouth.
Since February is “The Month of Love,” we’re also adding a bonus treat at the end of the pairing by teaming our luscious Port with a rich Chocolate Truffle, guaranteed to transport your taste-buds to the velvety “Land of Yum.”
Clautiere invites you to experience for yourself a unique wine tasting experience truly Like No Other.
Here are some brief descriptions of the wine-cheese parings currently being served at the tasting room.*
(*Warning: Descriptions below may induce moans of anticipatory pleasure. If uncontrolled drooling lasts for more than four hours, please seek immediate medical attention.)
-The pairing menu starts with the 2008 Roussanne; the bright citrusy notes of this wine make a perfect pairing with the nuttiness of Seahive, a cow’s milk cheddar from Utah.
-The next one in the lineup is our 2005 Grand Rouge, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Mourvedre, Counoise, Grenache, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and a touch of Viognier. The dark fruits in this big, bold and unapologetically sensual blend enhance the fattiness in the Ewephoria cheese, a sheep’s milk Gouda from Holland.
-Our 2009 bodacious Syrah, humming with cherries and blueberries, needed a cheese with creaminess and some texture, so we selected Bella Vittano from Wisconsin, a parmesan style cow’s milk cheese soaked in Merlot. The dark berries in the Syrah just pop on the palate after a bite of this creamy textural cheese.
-We picked a two-year aged cow’s milk gouda from Holland to pair with the 2007 Mourvedre, a wine with hints of rose petals and soft tannins. The 2007 BDX, our Bordeaux style blend with firm tannins, is served with Honey Bee, a goat’s milk Gouda from Holland.
The tasting ends with our 2005 Port paired with a velvety, chocolate truffle and clearly show to what heights our Port can scale as the ultimate dessert wine.
Clautiere Tasting Room Wine-Cheese Paring-$10 per person with $5 waived with wine purchase. As always, tasting fee is waived for all current Clautiere Wine Club Members.
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