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marți, februarie 28

10 Elite Vineyards Every True Napa Cabernet Lover Should Know

With more than 18,000 acres of Cabernet planted in Napa, the varietal truly reigns as King, but only select vineyards qualify as royalty. Even certain rows and blocks within a small vineyard can become exalted above their neighboring vines just a few feet away. A combination of things contribute to growing the perfect Cabernet – terroir, clone variety, vine spacing, trellising, slope of the hillside, and the microclimate all play their own role. Whatever the mixture, when it comes to producing a take-no-prisoners, palate-stomping Cabernet Sauvignon these vineyards have the right stuff.

To Kalon

If Cab is King, this is where its throne sits. Originally planted in 1868 by Henry W. Crabb, To Kalon is perhaps Napa's most prestigious vineyard. The name is Greek for "highest beauty" and many consider To Kalon on par with the first growth vineyards of France. Elite wineries like Opus One and Far Niente have designated blocks here, along with Mondavi; meanwhile Andy Beckstoffer grows some of his most prized grapes here.

Photo by Lee W. Nelson

"If an American vineyard were ever given the title of 'first-growth,' To Kalon would be in first place."

– Fred Schrader

Ownership of the To Kalon vineyard is split between Robert Mondavi Winery and Andy Beckstoffer, who purchased 89 acres and replanted the vines in 1993. Beckstoffer fought to secure rights to use the name "To Kalon" and sells fruit from the vineyard based on a sliding scale relative to the bottle price, which he stipulates must start at $125. That translates to a starting price of $17,500 per ton and soars to $50,000 per ton for a producer selling a $300 bottle.

Noteworthy producers include: Alpha Omega, TOR, Robert Mondavi (we recently offered a beautiful Mondavi To Kalon Reserve), Carter, Macauley, Chateau Boswell, Morlet, Schrader

Herb Lamb

The Herb Lamb Vineyards occupy a tiny 5-acre plot on a remote hillside just below Howell Mountain. Herb and Jennifer Lamb purchased the 7-acre property in 1987 and planted vines the following year. At an elevation of 800 feet the vineyard faces the northeast and benefits from its own unique microclimate.

Photo courtesy Graileys
Photo courtesy Graileys

Though not nearly as large or old as the To Kalon vineyard, the grapes sourced from here are almost as prized. After 10+years of growing, Herb Lamb says they know the exact "sweet spot" – 13 rows in the center of the vineyard which they use produce a single premium Cabernet each year under the HL label. Karl Lawrence and Colgin were among other lucky producers who sourced fruit from this here for some of their most prized wines.

Noteworthy producers include: Herb Lamb, Colgin, Turley, Trujillo.

Marthas Vineyard

Most people think of the quaint, upscale island off the Massachusetts coast when they hear this name, but Napa natives know better. Tom and Martha May have owned this prestigious vineyard since 1963 and what began as a tongue in cheek joke to name it "Martha's" Vineyard eventually stuck, and today it remains. Located on the western side of Napa, just south of Oakville, this 34-acre vineyard is home to a prized clone of Cabernet known for its clusters of small berries with intense flavor. Soon after buying it they forged a great friendship with the Heitz family that would result in the production of one of the producer's greatest hits.

Robert Ford, Getty Images
Robert Ford, Getty Images

Noteworthy producers include: Heitz

Beckstoffer Georges III

Primary documents show Mr. Thomas Rutherford first planted this vineyard in 1895, and it was soon purchased by Georges de Latour, who used it to supply grapes for their Rutherford Cabernet made by Andre Tchelistcheff. In 1988 Andy Beckstoffer sought to capitalize on that prestige and purchased the 300-acre vineyard, replanting it with select Cabernet clones and using tighter spacing with advanced trellising techniques to take things to the next level.

Photo via Beckstoffer Vineyards
Photo via Beckstoffer Vineyards

Noteworthy producers include: Bell Cellars, Bryter Estates, Hunnicutt, Keating, Schrader

Beckstoffer Dr. Crane

Compared to some of his other holdings, Beckstoffer's Dr. Crane vineyard is rather small at just 25 acres.Located next to an old riverbed in a residential part of St. Helena, the soil here is gravelly, loamy and well-drained. Coupled with a slightly warmer microclimate, the vineyard produces extremely complex and concentrated fruit. After purchasing it, Beckstoffer replanted it with a variety of Bordeaux clones and wines produced from here have garnered numerous 100-point scores over the years.

Noteworthy producers include: Alpha Omega, Realm, B. Cellars, Myriad, Arrow & Branch

Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper

Located in the highly coveted Oakville AVA, where cult producers like Dalla Valle and Screaming Eagle call home, the Missouri Hooper vineyard was planted with Cabernet and Merlot vines after Andy bought it in 1996. Like the Dr. Crane vineyard, it's relatively small compared to his other holdings at just 45 acres, but producers like Alpha Omega, Arrow and Branch, and Bure turn out plenty of 90+ point Cabs from there.

Missouri Hopper Vineyard Winter by Mary Steinbacher
Missouri Hopper Vineyard Winter by Mary Steinbacher

The soil is mostly Bale clay loam, settled over the years from the Mayacamas Mountains and 31.5 acres are dedicated to growing two unique Cabernet clones, #337 which has larger clusters that produce softer, rounder tannins, and #4 which yields smaller berries with a big tannic backbone. Wineries that source fruit from here are limited to purchasing just 10 rows each.

Noteworthy producers include: Alpha Omega, Bacio Divino, Bure Family, Morlet, Hess Collection, Venge Family

Pedregal Vineyard

In 2008 Ramey Cellars secured a long-term lease on this small hillside vineyard is located in the lower portion of the Oakville AVA. In Spanish, "Pedregal" means "rocky" and that's an apt name for the location, where a small mixture of iron rich red soil sits atop basalt rock. Ramey uses fruit from here to supply their high-end Pedregal Vineyard Cabernet.

Noteworthy producers include: Ramey


After purchasing this vineyard in 2009, Peter Michael's winemaker said "I think Peter Michael is now complete" – Facing due west and perched at 600 feet elevation in the middle of prime Cabernet territory, the territory is flanked by top producers like Rudd, Screaming Eagle, Oakville Ranch, and Dalla Valle. In the past, the Showket Vineyard was a coveted spot for producers such as Bevan Cellars, but after the purchase it seems they no longer have access to future harvests.

Noteworthy producers include: Showket, Bevan, Peter Michael


Owned by Gary and Melody Morisoli, this special vineyard sits near the base of Mount St. John in the Rutherford AVA and produces some compelling wines for Elyse, one of our favorite producers. Only two varietals are planted here, Zinfandel and Cabernet, and they thrive in the light, dusty soil.

Noteworthy producers include: Elyse, Amici, V. Sattui, Fifty Rows, Artesa

Stagecoach Vineyard

Posted above the fogline on the eastern side of the valley stretching from the edge of Pritchard Hill to the westernmost part of the Atlas Peak appellation, Stagecoach is the largest contiguous vineyard in the Napa Valley. Owned by the Krupp Brothers, it spans 1,300+ acres, of which 650 are planted mostly with Cabernet. With more than a dozen Cabernet clones planted here, there's plenty to choose from and while other locations on the list are limited by their small size, at least 30 wineries use the Stagecoach name on their wines.

Noteworthy producers include: Arrow & Branch, Arkenstone, Caine, Miner, Chappellet, Paul Hobbs, MacLaren.


Mike Meisner

Mike is the resident content creator for the Last Bottle blog. When he's not spilling wine on his keyboard he can be found wandering the aisles in the warehouse with a Coravin in hand, whispering to bottles "This will only hurt for a second".


There's one big reason that I've never had a cellphone and I'm never going to get one

Philip ReedAssociate professor, Canisius College

It is mildly subversive and perhaps a little quaint when someone clings to their flip phone and refuses a smartphone. Refusing both kinds of phones is viewed as downright lunacy, especially if the person refusing was born after the mid-1970s. But I've never had a cellphone and I'm not going to get one. I have several reasons, and they are good ones.

The first is cost. No cellphone means no monthly bill, no possibility for an upgrade, no taxes, and no roaming charges (whatever those are). In an era of stagnant wages and growing income inequality, it is remarkable that people unthinkingly spend $75 or more per month on something that we hardly knew existed 15 years ago, much less counted as a necessity.

The second is concern for the environment. The manufacture of mobile phones (including raw material acquisition), the power they consume, and the energy used to transmit calls and access the internet all produce significant carbon dioxide emissions. The idea that cellphones are good only for a couple of years is widespread, increasing the number of phones that end up in landfills and leak toxic heavy metals such as copper and lead into the soil and groundwater.

The decisive reason, however, for me to refuse a cellphone is the opposite of everyone else's reason for having one: I do not want the omnipresent ability to communicate with anyone who is absent. Cellphones put their users constantly on call, constantly available, and as much as that can be liberating or convenient, it can also be an overwhelming burden. The burden comes in the form of feeling an obligation to individuals and events that are physically elsewhere. Anyone who has checked their phone during a face-to-face conversation understands the temptation. And anyone who has been talking to someone who has checked their phone understands what is wrong with it.

Communicating with someone who is not physically present is alienating, forcing the mind to separate from the body. We see this, for example, in the well-known and ubiquitous dangers of texting while driving, but also in more mundane experiences: friends or lovers ignoring each other's presence in favor of their Facebook feeds; people broadcasting their entertainment, their meals, and their passing thoughts to all who will bear witness; parents capturing their daughter's ballet performance on their phones rather than watching it live; people walking down the street talking animatedly to themselves who turn out to be apparently healthy people using their Bluetooth.

The cellphone intrudes into the public and private realms, preventing holistic engagement with what is around us. Smartphones only perfect their predecessors' ability to intrude.

The disembodying and intrusive effects of cellphones have significant implications for our relationships to the self and to others. Truly knowing and understanding others requires patience, risk, empathy, and affection, all of which are inhibited by cell phones. Cellphones also inhibit solitude, self-reflection, and rumination (formerly known as "waiting" and "boredom"), which I think are essential for living a good life.

Long before cellphones, human beings were good at diverting themselves from disciplined attention. "The sole cause of man's unhappiness," observed the French philosopher Blaise Pascal in the 17th century, "is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room." This propensity for diversion was notably confirmed in a recent study where subjects preferred to give themselves electric shocks rather than occupy themselves with their own thoughts for 15 minutes.

Pascal believed that the height of human dignity is thought, and that the order of thought begins with oneself, one's creator, and one's end. He linked this kind of thought inextricably to genuine rest and happiness. Avoiding a cellphone allows, for me, space for thinking and so enables a richer, more fulfilling way of life. With fewer tasks to perform and preferences to satisfy, life slows to a pace compatible with contemplation and gratitude.

A cellphone-free life not only helps to liberate the mind, but also the body. The ancient Greek philosopher Anaxagoras presents a different view of human nature from Pascal: "It is by having hands that man is the most intelligent of animals." We can be pretty sure that Anaxagoras was not anticipating the advent of smartphones. On the contrary, refusing a cellphone enables one to use one's hands to carry out meaningful activities (playing the piano, gardening, reading a book) in such a way that one is fully absorbed in those activities, so that they reach their height of meaning.

Without a mobile phone, it is easier to concentrate on what is in front of me: my spouse and children, my work, making dinner, going for a walk. I try to choose my activities thoughtfully, so when I do something, I don't want to be somewhere else. What cellphone users call multitasking does not interest or impress me.

Of course, it's true that cellphones can be used responsibly. We can shut them off or simply ignore the incoming text. But this takes extraordinary willpower. According to a recent Pew survey, 82% of Americans believe that cellphone use in social situations more often hurts than helps conversation, yet 89% of cell owners still use their phones in those situations. Refusing a cellphone guarantees that I won't use it when I shouldn't.

Some people will insist that if I'm going to refuse a cellphone, I should also refuse a regular telephone. It is true that using a landline introduces similar disembodying, mediated experiences as to mobile phones. But there have always been natural and physical limits placed on the use of a regular phone, which is clear from the name "landline." The cellphone's mobility introduces a radical form of communication by making its alienating effects pervasive. I want to protect what unmediated experiences I have left.

The original meaning of "connect" indicated a physical relationship—a binding or fastening together. We apply this word to our cellphone communications now only as metaphor. The "connections" are ethereal; our words and thoughts reach the upper regions of space next to the cell tower only to remain there, as our devices disconnect us from those with whom we share space. Even though we have two hands, I'm convinced that you can't hold a cellphone and someone else's hand at the same time.

luni, februarie 20

In vino veritas -- Terroir

It's All Just Myths, You See

No data, no good
Photo by: Jon Moe
When scientists assert there's no evidence of terroir, Matt Kramer says the proof is on the palate.

Matt Kramer

Comes now yet another book-length agony letter from the wine science establishment declaring how we in the popular press know nothing about wine, and furthermore, how you (and me) in the wine-drinking public don't know a damned thing either.

This is nothing new. Starting in the 1960s and accelerating in the 1970s and '80s, wine scientists in California, Australia and Germany regularly inveighed, in interviews, articles and books, about how they, scientists with data, knew what really happened in winemaking and grapegrowing. What they didn't or don't agree with or like was and is invariably dismissed as "mystical," "magical," "folkloric" or "myth."

Mark Matthews, a professor of viticulture at the University of California at Davis, is the latest in a long line of such wine scientists and makes clear his perspective from the titular get-go with his Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing (University of California Press, 2015).

Wine scientists, we're told by professor Matthews, have data. Data! Facts. Scientific verities. They are the real truths, ones with numbers, not the phony hand-me-down poetry put forth by the Frenchies and their credulous followers, the better to flog (and fog) their wines at high prices to an equally credulous, ill-informed, mysticism-loving wine-drinking public.

In 221 pages, professor Matthews (no relation to Wine Spectator executive editor Thomas Matthews) puts forth that the Augean stable of myths must be cleansed with Herculean ferocity. "The troubling evidence that runs counter to the myths of winegrowing does not appear in the popular press, where there is essentially no reference to the existing viticultural literature and exceedingly limited engagement with its authors," he declares. Pay attention to us!

Professor Matthews examines the myths, as he sees them, of how low yields are conventionally thought to be better than high yields; about the concept of "vine balance"; about so-called critical ripening and vine stress; and above all, about the sheer fatuity of the concept of terroir.

All of these are not just myths, they are (and I quote) … bullshit. "When I told the winemaker at one of Napa Valley's leading midsize wineries," writes professor Matthews, "that I was working on a book that dealt with bullshit in winegrowing, he responded with a chuckle and asked, 'How are you going to know when to stop?'"

Actually, professor Matthews does not know when to stop and, even more important, why he should. The problem, from this writer's perspective, is not that conventional thinking in grapegrowing (the professor's academic specialty) shouldn't be questioned or challenged. Rather, it's a larger matter of wine scientists' abiding belief—dare one call it faith?—in the ostensible truth of data alone. There's a word for this particular perspective: It's called "scientism."

Allow me to digress briefly, as "scientism" is very much at the root of why so many wine scientists have been so wrong about so many features (and achievements) of fine wine—as opposed to bulk or ordinary wine.

This business of fine wine is a vital distinction, as fine wine, unlike ordinary, is all about shadings and nuances, a word wine scientists abhor as having no metric or verifiable basis. (Professor Matthews, for his part, always places the word "finesse" in quotes to underscore the scientific dubiousness of the term.) Ordinary or bulk wine is simpler and, indeed, more available to credible measurement from which one can reasonably extrapolate.

So what is scientism? It's best explained in the recent book Scientism: The New Orthodoxy, edited by Richard Williams and Daniel Robinson (Bloomsbury, 2015). This is no crank tract, given its illustrious contributors, such as Lawrence Principe who holds two doctorates, one in organic chemistry from Indiana University and another in the history of science from Johns Hopkins University. The other eight contributors, including the well-known philosopher Roger Scruton, hold comparable scholarly credentials.

Scientism: The New Orthodoxy notes emphatically, "It must be made clear at the outset … that to express a concern about, or to criticize over-reliance or overconfidence in science is not to oppose science or to diminish its accomplishments."

Scientism, the authors note, involves a "zealous metaphysical commitment and a requisite orthodoxy in method and in thought regarding the nature of the world and how understanding of the world is to be approached."

Their definition of the term embraces four tenets, two of which are pertinent to the present discussion. The first is: "It is a tenet of scientism that only certifiably scientific knowledge counts as real knowledge. All else is mere opinion or nonsense."

"A second tenet … is that the methods and assumptions underlying the natural sciences are appropriate for all sciences. … A corollary doctrine is that the arts, if they seek to be more than myth and self-expression, must somehow be brought under the umbrella of science."

The four-part definition notes, "Scientism exudes and promotes an exaggerated confidence in science … to produce knowledge and solve the problems of humanity."

With this in mind, it brings into focus the fault line of professor Matthews' assertions about, as he titles his book, terroir and other myths of winegrowing. Are his assertions necessarily wrong-headed? Hardly. Some of them are both fascinating and surely worth pondering, especially those in his specialty of grapegrowing. What's more, the illuminations in that field have hardly been ignored in the past or present, even if they haven't necessarily been widely embraced either, which clearly irks the author.

For example, agronomists and viticulturists have been insisting for decades that low yields do not, in the scientific data, correspond to demonstrably higher quality. And within the confines of what such data can establish, such as sugar content, acidity, color, pH and the like, it's true. The numbers from such experimental tests prove it. This is not news and plenty of winemakers and viticulturists already know it.

Viticulturists such as Richard Smart, who holds two doctorates in the field of grapegrowing and is the author of Sunlight into Wine (1991), have campaigned for decades about changing grape canopies to create higher yields with no loss of measurable grape or wine quality.

So why, to the evident frustration of professor Matthews, has the wine establishment not embraced what to him are proven truths?

The answer involves not a gullibility for myths, as professor Matthews repeatedly insists, but rather what might be called the more finely detailed demands of the fine-wine ambition. Here the data frequently fail to prove to the satisfaction of many practitioners the truths proclaimed as proven and universal. I wish I had a dollar for every winemaker and grapegrower I've met in Napa, Sonoma and elsewhere in the world of fine wine who have told me that they had to unlearn everything they were taught by their wine science professors in order to gain traction in their fine-wine ambition.

Too often the nuances sought for fine wine are not necessarily captured by the "facts" established in one or another often-narrow scientific experiment.

Sometimes the narrowly rational and scientifically provable has to give way to the seemingly irrational or to beliefs not easily proved by conventional scientific methods. How else can you explain why so many otherwise rational, educated and intelligent fine-wine producers have embraced low yields even though it means seriously reducing their income?

One of the features of professor Matthews' book—and virtually all of the others of its sort penned by his fellow academic wine scientists—is that it never reports actually tasting wines, let alone trying to correlate tasting experience with academic knowledge. Nowhere in Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing does the author refer to a tasting experience. Such a thing is too subjective and thus inherently suspect.

Knowing this helps explain astonishing statements such as: "It is generally true that grapevines do well in calcareous soils, but it is probably more clear empirically that chalk deposits are good for holding oil reserves, than for flavors imparted to Chardonnay or other grapes."

Does that sound like someone who knows anything about fine wine? Does that sound like someone who has experienced—and accepted as real—the singular sensation of a great Chablis?

Such declarations pepper Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing, nowhere more so than in the chapter "The Terroir Explanation," which is the epicenter of the book's provocative title. Professor Matthews reserves a special scorn for the concept of terroir, which scorn, I might note from my experience, is very nearly a prerequisite for employment in his academic world.

Having written at length about terroir over the decades, I was not surprised to see my work cited, although I have to say that the citations used are both brief and factual; I was hardly in the crosshairs, so to speak. So I have no axe to grind on that account.

Where I do feel free to sharpen such an instrument lies with a substantial difference of opinion about the legitimacy of the concept of terroir and of its essential reality. Simply put, professor Matthews dismisses the idea of terroir as a modern invention, and a cynical one at that.

Noting that the word once denoted an unpleasant taste (which historically was true, at least in the French phrase "goût de terroir"), professor Matthews notes the sharp increase and transformation of the word terroir as a consequence of new French appellation regulations in the mid-20th century: "All concerned capitalized on the value of having an attractive story that included the regional terroir explanation for distinctive wines."

"The second situation that correlates in time with the dramatic uptick in the use of terroir," writes professor Matthews, "is the increase in international competition in the world of wine." The author then elaborates how difficult it has become for many tasters to distinguish between wines of similar types grown in various parts of the world, citing among other examples, the famous confusion between French and American Chardonnays and Cabernets by judges in the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting.

At root lies a disdain for the influence of soil in wine distinction: "Unfortunately, the 'discovery' of terroir in the popular press was not preceded by scientific discoveries of soil-derived flavors, or other validations of putative characteristic flavors from a more broadly defined terroir."

Bottom line: There are no data proving that soil informs wine. Therefore it's a shuck. Terroir is a fake. Distinctions among wines are mere public relations for which the ambiguous word terroir is conveniently invoked. Terroir is a myth promulgated by romanticists such as wine writers and cynical marketing sorts seeking to distinguish their wines from those of the competition.

All I can say is this: Taste some wine. Is a good Chablis really the same as any other Chardonnay grown in a comparably cool climate, never mind whether the soil is chalk or clay or sand? Really?

Does Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Stags Leap District taste the same as that grown on Howell Mountain? Of course it doesn't. Anyone can taste the difference if presented with two well-made examples. Or 10 such examples for that matter. Of course there are reasons: climate, microclimate, elevation, sunlight intensity, wine, rain and yes, soil. Believers in the existence of terroir are the first to mention all of these and more.

Such differences are collectively called terroir. What's so hard to accept about that? What's so difficult in accepting such a notion as both real and legitimate?

Is terroir necessarily ambiguous? Sure it is. Everything about fine wine is ambiguous. That's what makes it so difficult to pinpoint precisely why La Tâche tastes different from neighboring Richebourg. No scientific evidence exists, to the best of my knowledge, that definitively identifies and proves the causes of the difference. Therefore, as wine scientists would have it, any differences we find are invalid as they're not verifiable. So we're seen as dupes. Myth lovers. Irrational fools.

But we're not. Those of us who credit the existence of terroir, of its legitimacy as a metaphor for understanding the natural world know that recognizing terroir is no more—and no less—than a way of being alert. We know that the differences we apprehend with our senses are real and far from illusory—or mythical. We know also that soil plays an informing role, in some sites more strongly and clearly than in others.

Scientism says that such conclusions are inadmissible. No data, no good. ("It is a tenet of scientism that only certifiably scientific knowledge counts as real knowledge. All else is mere opinion or nonsense.") Our collective and profound experience in apprehending and distinguishing such very real differences among fine wines is dismissed as, well … you know what.

It's all myths, you see. You do see that, don't you?

joi, februarie 16

A iubi este un delict?
Categoric NU!

Bogdan Duca

O profesoară, soţie de preot, mamă de trei copii, de 40 de ani, are un "crush" sentimental pentru un elev seminarist de 17 ani.
Fac prostii şi, când decide să se despartă de elev, acesta se sinucide din dragoste....

Femeia este însărcinată cu un al patrulea copil (nu ştim dacă al soţului ei sau al seminaristului sinucigaş).

Ce face legea românească? O arestează pe femeie, care are toate şansele să petreacă până la 15-25 ani de închisoare pentru....relaţii sexuale cu un minor, urmate de sinuciderea acestuia (sinuciderea seminaristului din dragoste fiind considerată circumstanţă agravantă).
Presa bălind în faţa unui astfel de subiect savuros şi anticlerical, dă inclusiv imagini cu victima şi cu femeia acuzată: nu de alta, dar să fie siguri că scandalul va fi suficient de puternic ca să mânjească.

Dar unde este umanitatea şi logica noastră?
Da. Femeia aia a greşit. Da. Nu mai are ce căuta în învăţământul preuniversitar. Da. Are o problemă dificilă de tot în relaţia cu soţul, propria ei familie şi cei apropiaţi ei,

Dar e mamă de 4 copii. Cum să o arestezi? De ce să o arestezi? E pericol public? Crezi că va sări să "violeze" pe stradă?

Avem penitenciarele pline de oameni care sunt condamnaţi pentru fapte ce ar putea oricând să îşi găsească alte forme de ispăşire (amenzi penale, muncă în folosul comunităţii).
Cred că asta e chestia care mă scârbeşte cel mai tare la societatea românească: ipocrizia.... Ţară plină de şobolani care dacă şi-au pus nişte aripi de carnaval, se cred batmani.....

Profesoara de romana, sotie de preot si mama a 3 copii, arestata pentru relatii intime cu un elev minor. Baiatul s-a sinucis

Profesoara de romana, sotie de preot si mama a 3 copii, arestata pentru relatii intime cu un elev minor. Baiatul s-a sinucis
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Poveste socanta, la Piatra Neamt. O profesoara de limba si literatura romana, in varsta de 40 de ani, a fost arestata, pentru ca ar fi intretinut relatii intime, cu unul dintre elevii sai, de la Seminarul Teologic.
Cumplit este ca baiatul de 17 ani s-a sinucis la sfarsitul anului trecut. Femeia, considerata responsabila de acest deznodamant cutremurator, a fost trimisa dupa gratii. Ea este sotie de preot si are trei copii. Anchetatorii spun profesoara in varsta de 40 de ani a intretinut relatii intime cu baiatul care ii era elev in clasa a XI-a.
Relatia nefireasca dintre cei doi a durat mai bine de jumatate de an, din decembrie 2015 pana in iunie 2016. Baiatul caruia i-a sucit mintile era unul dintre cei mai buni elevi ai liceului teologic ortodox "Sfintii Imparati Constantin si Elena" din Piatra-Neamt. Participase la numeroase olimpiade si era apreciat de dascali.
In noiembrie anul trecut, a disparut insa de acasa. In aceeasi zi, un tanar a fost vazut sarind in raul Bistrita. Ai lui s-au rugat cu disperare sa nu fie vorba de el.
profesoara Neamt
Tatal baiatului: "Nicio schimbare in comportamentul lui vizavi de noi. Nu am simtit o racire intre noi. L-am cautat. Noi ne-am consolat ca o fi la vreo manastire ca ii placea sa mearga la manastiri sa cante.”
Mama baiatului: "E cumplit, e cumplit. Nu se poate descrie in cuvinte pentru o mama. E foarte greu.”
Din pacate, dupa o luna, cele mai negre temeri s-au adeverit. Cadavrul a fost gasit, iar bietii oamenii au fost devastati. Apa le-a furat unicul fiu. Inainte sa recurca la gestul extrem, cateva camere de supraveghere l-au suprins pe terenul de sport al liceului, vorbind cu cineva la telefon.
Ultimul lui apel a fost catre profesoara de romana, anchetata acum. Autoritatile au inteles in final ca tanarul minor se iubea cu aceasta femeie. Pentru faptele sale, profesoara de limba romana ar putea sa stea 10 ani dupa gratii.
elev neamt

peromaneste:  Atat de putin se intelege IUBIREA in Romania procurorilor si a mass media?  Punem legea pe pilot automat si nu gandim la spiritul, ci la litera legii?  Cat de adanca ne e caderea?!

Image may contain: outdoor and nature

luni, februarie 13

Why nature restoration takes time: fungi grow 'relationships'

How strong are the 'relationships' in soil communities? From left to right the interaction strength between groups in seminatural grasslands are visualized on recently, mid-term and long-term abandoned agricultural fields. Credit: Elly …more
'Relationships' in the soil become stronger during the process of nature restoration. Although all major groups of soil life are already present in former agricultural soils, they are not really 'connected' at first. These connections need time to (literally) grow, and fungi are the star performers here. A European research team led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) has shown the complete network of soil life for the first time. This Wednesday, the results of the extensive study are published in Nature Communications.
Earthworms, , nematodes, mites, springtails, bacteria: it's very busy underground! All soil life together forms one giant society. Under natural circumstances, that is. A large European research team discovered that when you try to restore nature on grasslands formerly used as agricultural fields, there is something missing. Lead author Elly Morriën from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology explains: "All the overarching, known groups of soil organisms are present from the start, but the links between them are missing. Because they don't 'socialise', the community isn't ready to support a diverse plant community yet."
When nature restoration progresses, you'll see new species appearing. But those major groups of soil life remain the same and their links grow stronger. "Just like the development of human communities", says Morriën. "People start to take care of each other. In the soil, you can see that organisms use each other's by-products as food." In this way, nature can store and use nutrients such as carbon far more efficiently.
Fungi as drivers
"Fungi turn out to play a very important role in nature restoration, appearing to drive the development of new networks in the soil." In , the thready fungal hyphae are severely reduced by ploughing for example, and therefore the undamaged soil bacteria have an advantage and rule here. The researchers studied a series of former that had changed use 6 to 30 years previously. With time, there is a strong increase in the role of fungi.
Earlier, researchers did look at fungal biomass, but that won't show you the whole story. "After six years, about 10% is fungal biomass and 90% is from bacteria. Still, we discovered that already at that stage, about half the carbon - being the food - goes to the fungi. After 30 years, that share has risen to three quarters of the carbon stored. Fungi really are the drivers in natural soils."
From steppe to savannah
The international team compared grassland soils from all over Europe. In the Netherlands, research fields on the Veluwe were included. "Worldwide, you find many types of grassland ecosystems. Think of steppes, tundras, prairies and savannahs."
A unique opportunity, Morriën calls it. Because of the European consortium EcoFINDERS, data for many species of from many different locations could be studied. By labelling the carbon atoms, the research team was able to follow the food flow throughout the whole soil ecosystem. In this way, they could link the organisms to their corresponding functions in the community. Morriën: "This linking has never been done at such a large scale before. Now we can finally get an advanced view of a complete and intricate community." And who knows: "We might be able to help the fungi restore the missing links, which will speed up nature restoration considerably."

More information: Elly Morriën et al, Soil networks become more connected and take up more carbon as nature restoration progresses, Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS14349

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marți, februarie 7

You Say, “Tomato” …

And others say, "tasteless"
Photo by: Jon Moe
Matt Kramer asks if we're training a generation to equate "more" with "better."

Matt Kramer
Posted: February 7, 2017

It's no news that American agribusiness, with the enthusiastic support of university-based agricultural scientists, pretty much destroyed the American tomato. But now at least one horticultural scientist and his colleagues say redemption is at hand.

Big Food wanted a tomato that could be shipped and stocked in supermarkets without damage. Big Ag scientists delivered. Over decades, plant geneticists and horticulturists helped perfect a tomato so impervious to damage that it could be dropped from a height of 6 feet without its skin breaking (the infamous Walter tomato).

The modern American tomato was deemed perfect. Except for one thing: It was tasteless. Yet the tomato industry, and the university scientists who served it, issued a stream of denials that there was anything wrong with the commercial American tomato.

The late Charles Rick (1915–2002), a plant geneticist at the University of California, Davis, who was the undisputed father of tomato genetics, once declared, "I don't think it's right to attribute poor market quality to breeding. That's a bunch of nonsense."

Yet now, in a recent issue of Science magazine, Harry Klee, a horticultural scientist at the University of Florida and the lead author of a study on tomato flavor, effectively begs to differ. The study flatly states, "Modern commercial tomato varieties are substantially less flavorful than heirloom varieties."

"To understand and ultimately correct this deficiency," say the authors of the study, "we quantified flavor-associated chemicals in 398 modern, heirloom, and wild accessions. … We found that modern commercial varieties contain significantly lower amounts of many of these important flavor chemicals than older varieties."

In an article reporting on the study in The New York Times, professor Klee says, "Think of the tomato flavor as a symphony with lots of notes. Over the last 50 years, they've removed one instrument at a time."

Some 26 genes are critical to producing flavorful volatiles, according to the study. The problem? Modern tomato varieties have versions of these genes that produce smaller amounts of the volatiles than heirloom varieties.

The answer? Create a hybrid tomato (by traditional crossbreeding rather than genetic engineering) that restores full-fledged genes that create flavor. "Now we know exactly what needs to be done to make it right. We just have to turn the crank," says professor Klee.

Talk about coming full circle.

Surely you know where I'm going with this. The similarities between tomatoes (which is a fruit, after all) and wine grapes are considerable. With both tomatoes and fine-wine grapes it's a matter of nuance, of trace elements, of an interplay of sometimes infinitesimal yet vital compounds.

True, tomatoes have seen vastly more genetic manipulation than grapes. Still, there's been plenty of cross-breeding with wine grapes over the past century, never mind clonal selection within traditional grape varieties.

Yet would anyone submit that any of the many wine-grape hybrids, such as Scheurebe, Ruby Cabernet, Flora, Baco Noir, Maréchal Foch, Rubired or Seyval, to name just a few, are superior to heirloom grapes? They serve, especially in extreme growing conditions. But they fail to conquer.

With the advent of clonal selections in fine-wine grapes, such as the now-widespread Dijon clones of Pinot Noir named after the Burgundy-based research program that selected and endorsed specific strains, we're now seeing, as we did with tomatoes, a narrowband spectrum of preferred commercial characteristics that compromise "flavor as a symphony with lots of notes."

In wine today we are experiencing a loss, to greater or lesser degrees depending upon the grape variety, of a "symphony with lots of notes" thanks to a narrowing of clonal diversity and an equal narrowing of the definition of ideal ripeness, which means ever-later picking times. ("We pick each clonal block at optimal ripeness.")

Add to that an increasingly common, if furtive, addition of water to the fermenting juice (called "watering back") to compensate for the dehydration of grapes intentionally picked late and the use of post-fermentation techniques such as spinning cones and reverse osmosis machines to reduce alcohol, and you've got a potent mix of forces.

The combination creates a fine-wine equivalent of a supermarket tomato: perfect, yet soulless and contrived.

Professor Klee himself was dismayed that one of his young students preferred a tasteless supermarket tomato over a flavorful heirloom variety in a tasting panel. "Have we trained a whole generation," he asked, "that doesn't know what a good tomato is?"

Good question. Can we now ask the same about, say, excessively overripe Cabernet Sauvignons? Or Pinot Noirs composed of just a handful in flavor-intensive clonal selections?

Is a new generation of wine drinkers now being trained to think that mere flavor intensity—the more, the better—is the determinant of quality? And, moreover, that the very word "nuance" is suspect, even illegitimate? Or worse yet, that it's not even understood as a concept? You tell me.