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Two stories of great success

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In 1977 Larry Ellison, Bob Miner and Ed Oates founded Software Development Laboratories that later became Oracle Systems Corporation. We are all familiar with Larry Ellison and the excitement of his Oracle sailing team being here on our Island.

During his very successful career, Bob Miner owned the Oakville Ranch Vineyards in Napa Valley. Most unfortunately he was exposed to asbestos and in November of 1994 at the age of 52, he passed away from mesothelioma, the type of cancer that it causes. His nephew, Dave Miner was also in the software business, but in 1993 he took over as president of his uncle's winery.

Three years later he decided to start his own wine label, and the Miner Family Winery was born. By 1999 the caves at Miner were complete as a combination of digging machines and dynamite carved a 20,000 square foot cellar into the hillside. These underground hallways are naturally cooled with high humidity and low temperatures that create perfect condition for wine ageing. I have often driven past this very impressive looking winery that sits on the eastern hillsides of the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley, but I never stopped in to check it out. Little did I know 18 months ago, (my last time in the area), what the name Oracle would mean to Bermuda.

The Miner Family makes a full range of wines, but for a start we decided to just get their top-of-the-line Oracle here. Most fortunately we managed to get a good supply of the 2010 vintage, which is one of the finest in Napa history. It was particularly magnificent for cabernet sauvignon and this 2010 Oracle consists of 60 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 20 per cent cabernet franc, 14 per cent merlot, three per cent malbec and three per cent petit verdot. All the fruit came from the Stagecoach Vineyard. It's the largest continuous vineyard in Napa Valley and its rocky, volcanic terroir was making history in the 1800s. Like the Oracle of Greek mythology we hope this wine will be a source of inspiration and revelation. The bottle presentation is spectacular and the price is $96.80. If you buy a six-pack case, it goes down to $87.12 a bottle.

He was born on this date, December 4 in the year 1969, in a housing project in Brooklyn and his young life was a dangerous and violent one. Today he owns record companies, clothing lines, sports bars in the USA and other countries; even hotels. I recently read that his net worth exceeded $500 million. On November 5, 2014, it was announced that he had acquired Armand de Brignac who produce Ace of Spades champagne. It was reputed to be his favourite champagne and so he bought it. His name is Shawn Corey Carter, but his fans around the world know him as Jay Z.

Armand de Brignac is marvellously complex and full-bodied with a fresh and lively bouquet. Its sumptuous, racy fruit character is perfectly integrated with the wine's subtle brioche accents. Its texture is deliciously creamy and the palate has great depth and impact with a long and silky finish. The stunning gold bottle was developed by Cattier for the Andre Courreges fashion house and it made an appearance at the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebration. The Ace of Spades labels are made of real pewter, polished and applied by hand. Although the package is breathtaking you can be assured that the wine within is equally so.

Wine & Spirits magazine writes of “the refinement of the bubbles and impeccable pale colour, a bold and powerful wine that holds its balance, driven by scents of brioche and chalk”. The International Wine Cellar says: “Highly perfumed bouquet displays pear, nectarine, honeysuckle and sweet butter plus an undercurrent of spice, ginger and lemon pith adding energy. Nervy minerality adds lift and cut to the long, gently smoky and subtly sweet finish, which leaves candied orange peel and floral notes behind.”

This was expected to arrive this past Monday but it has been delayed for a week. I took the unusual decision to write about it just because today is the owner's birthday. We expect the price to be $320 a bottle and it will be in our stores shortly.

• This column is a paid for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson is Director of Wine at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George's (York Street, 297-0409). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits is available online at www.wineonline.bm

Sweet taste of success: rapper and producer Jay Z, real name Shawn Corey Carter, has acquired Armand de Brignac, the producer of Ace of Spades champagne
Marvellously complex: Armand de Brignac is full-bodied with a fresh and lively bouquet
Full range: the Miner Family Winery makes a number of wines, including the top-of-the-line Oracle

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Published December 04, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 03, 2015 at 10:10 pm)

Two stories of great success

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