Daily Wine News: Champagne Check

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-15-2019

(Flickr: ajroder)

(Flickr: ajroder)

Jancis Robinson offers an update on non-vintage Champagnes. “The quality of non-vintage champagne, the sort that makes up 94% of all champagne sales, has never been better… The less good news, however, is that many of the champagne houses are underestimating the increasing sophistication of their customers.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre reads Michael Broadbent’s Wine Tasting (published in 1968) for the first time. “Reading this book for the first time, I was struck by how much the wine world has changed over the past half century, as well as by how much Broadbent, now 92 and retired, still influences the way we taste and appreciate wine.”

Valerie Kathawala delves into the winemaking philosophy of Austria’s Weingut Heinrich in Grape Collective. “The Heinrichs make their wines just as they grow them: hand in hand with nature…”

In Terroir Review, Meg Houston Maker explores the results of a new generation of winemakers in Emilia-Romagna. “Historically Romagna’s wines have been somewhat rustic, and until the 1990s, producers commonly sold their yield to the local cooperatives. More recently, a new generation of winemakers has been bottling their wines, modernizing production, and laboring to create products worthy of export.”

Jim Clarke dishes out some love to German Pinot Noir (aka spätburgunder) in Fortune.

Meininger’s talks to Eric Asimov about the value of wine critism.

The inaugural “World’s Best Vineyard Awards” was held last week, naming Zuccardi Valle de Uco in Argentina number 1.

Wine Reviews: Northeast Italy

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-13-2019

I’m changing things up with a brief trek across some wine regions of Northeast Italy.

First off: I love wines from the Friuli appellation of Collio. I find the best to be super fresh, mineral-driven, spicy, brisk, and there’s a ton of value to find here.

And the Felluga family of Friuli has some solid offerings in this tasting. The Russiz Superiore wines, located in the Collio municipality of Capriva del Friuli, are exciting and delicious wines, and great examples of what I like about this region.

I also tasted some wines from Scaia (the second label of Veneto producer Tenuta Sant’Antonio). They produce a pair of value-driven, accessible wines with broad appeal and light price points.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Australian Grenache

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-12-2019

Alcohol Drink Wine Glass Red Wine Wine GlassIn Wine Enthusiast, Christina Pickard says it’s a new era for Australian Grenache: “…its place in Aussie wine has become undeniable. Its story, however, is still being written.”

Should winemakers have to make styles they don’t personally like (such as buttery Chardonnay), if there is consumer demand for them? In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph gives his opinion. “You and I may not choose to buy and drink them, but other people may have quite different tastes – and be none the worse for that.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague explores the “highly drinkable” white wines of Sicily. (subscription req.)

In Decanter, Jane Anson reports from an exclusive visit to newly launched Domaine de Long Dai and gives the inside story on how the owner of Château Lafite Rothschild created its first Chinese winery. (subscription req.)

Ian D’Agata offers notes on Soave and the still white wines of the Veneto in Vinous.

“Napa Valley Vintners announced this week that it is the first North American wine region to sign on to the Porto Protocol,” reports W. Blake Gray, who calls the move a greenwash in Wine-Searcher.

Michael Alberty highlights a few canned wines from Oregon in the Oregonian.

Experiencing ZD Wines, Take Two

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-11-2019

ZD 50thLast October, I tasted through a trio from ZD Wines. Now we’re back for another round with ZD’s spring/summer releases. The 2016 ZD Reserve Chardonnay was the big winner for me last time, so I was curious to see if the Pinot and Cab would stand out more.

As usual, with Isaac delivering his excellent (and plentiful!) tasting notes in the more customary style for Terroirist, my notes take a different form, woven into vignettes that capture an experience and (I hope) inform as well as entertain.

Before diving in, let me say there’s nothing better than sharing an expensive bottle of wine with folks who’ve never been able to afford such a luxury, and seeing their faces as they reach for another pour. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Average Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-11-2019

wine_pour_glass-651694.jpg!dOn JancisRobinson.com, Richard Hemming MW makes the case for “average” wines. “Because there is great pleasure and satisfaction to be found in the average. Well-made Côtes du Rhône and Muscadet, for example, offer a satisfying, expressive and appetising glass of wine. They remind us that wine provides a simply daily pleasure, that it needn’t always be rarefied or expensive or legendary.”

As his wines’ prices skyrocket, Loïc Pasquet speaks to Remi Marty about where Bordeaux has gone wrong in Wine-Searcher.

In Wine Enthusiast, Tammie Teclemariam pens a guide to skin-contact white wines.

In VinePair, Emily Saladino discovers the beauty of Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo.

In Decanter, Matt Walls gets to know white Hermitage. (subscription req.)

On the Cork Report, Gina Shay offers an introduction to Michigan wine country.

On his blog, W. Blake Gray explains why he thinks that Bordeaux, for once, is evolving faster than Napa.

Stephen Tanzer explores Paul Hobbs’ Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon wines spanning 1999 through 2016 in Vinous.

Daily Wine News: Reconsidering Albariño

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-10-2019

Albariño. (Flickr: juantiagues).

Albariño. (Flickr: juantiagues).

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov and the wine panel discover the beauty of albariño. “While albariño has proved consistently popular…it has rarely received much respect from those looking beyond crisp, cheerful (and preferably inexpensive) whites… Recently, however, several excellent bottles made me wonder whether it was time to take another look at albariños.”

In the Robb Report, David Lynch wants restaurants to do a better job putting together by-the-glass wine lists. “Lots of people seem willing to write off this part of the menu, but I’m not one of them. It’s hard to do by-the-glass well, but, wow, is it impressive—and satisfying—when someone gets it right.”

Leonardo da Vinci’s small parcel of vineyards in Milan was lost until a team of researchers brought it back to life in 2015. Now, 500 years after he died, that ultimate wine of contemplation is ready to drink. Wine Spectator shares the details of have researched utilized DNA technology to replant and revive the old vineyard.

Neal Martin offers his notes on 2015 Bordeaux wines in bottle in Vinous.

In Wine Enthusiast, Paul Gregutt offers a travel guide to McMinnville in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

In SevenFifty Daily, Katherine Cole looks at the story behind Division Winemaking Company, an urban winery in Portland, Oregon.

In Decanter, Aldo Fiordelli reports on the 2016 vintage in Bolgheri. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Prosecco’s Hills Added to UNESCO World Heritage List

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-09-2019

Along the Prosecco Wine Road (Flickr: Lorenzo Benetton alias apolide)

Along the Prosecco Wine Road (Flickr: Lorenzo Benetton alias apolide)

The region of Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene was appointed UNESCO World Heritage status, reports Ellie Douglas in Decanter. “The status was awarded for the landscape ‘characterised by ‘hogback’ hills, ciglioni – small plots of vines on narrow grassy terraces – forests, small villages and farmland,’ according to UNESCO.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss explores how winemakers are experimenting in the Côte des Bar, “Champagne’s laboratory” located in the southernmost region for Champagne production. “A revival of historic grape varieties, organic and biodynamic practices, single-vineyard wines, egg-shaped tanks, amphorae, soleras—it’s all here. Even big companies get in on the fun.”

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Jeff Jenssen gets to know Hungarian white wines beyond Tokaji.

“Burgundy’s Boisset family announced today the planned acquisition of Maison Alex Gambal. The deal, expected to be finalized by mid-September, includes 30 acres of vineyards planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, a winery and current inventory. The sale price was not disclosed,” reports Bruce Sanderson in Wine Spectator.

In SevenFifty Daily, sommelier Zach Geballe details his quest to get Okanagan Valley wines onto his list—and what’s standing in the way.

In VinePair, Jennifer Simonson looks at how Lodi is looking to emerge from Napa and Sonoma’s shadows.

David Schildknecht offers his notes on Rheinhessen’s 2017 vintage in Vinous.

Daily Wine News: A New Day in Napa

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-08-2019

Heitz_Cellars_LogoLast year, Napa’s Heitz Cellar was sold last year to Arkansas agriculture-and-banking billionaire Gaylon Lawrence Jr., who appointed Carlton McCoy Jr. as the new president and CEO. In Grape Collective, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher talk to McCoy about his plans for the future. “Even if you are not a wine geek or a big fan of Heitz, his vision is important for anyone who cares about historic preservation – a winery, in this case – and anyone who is interested in Napa Valley. McCoy feels, as we do, that too many legacy brands have effectively disappeared as fine wines.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre explores the ways wineries are trying to reduce their carbon footprint.

In the New York Times, Michele Bigley travels to Sonoma Valley, where she discovers how locals worked together to rebuild the landscape after wildfires, and why tourists are now returning.

Grignolino was once the darling of Piedmont but has all but faded into obscurity. Now it’s back, says Aldo Fiordelli in Decanter, who tastes the first wines from the producers of a new association dedicated to resurrecting the tradition of oak-aged Grignolino, under the banner of “Monferace.” (subscription req.)

Château Lafite reveals the name of its Chinese wine—Long Dai—and Jancis Robinson offers a look into the story behind the wine. “Domaines Barons de Rothschiild’s new Chinese red, to be offered to the Chinese trade, after many years’ preparation, from September 2019. Roughly 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, 25% Marselan and 1% the local teinturier Yan.”

Tom Wark pays tribute to Mendocino producer Charlie Barra, who died last week at the age of 92.

In VinePair, Christine Clark explains volatile acidity’s role in wine.

Wine Reviews: California New Releases

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-06-2019

To all my fellow Americans, I hope you had a great Fourth of July. I celebrated Independence Day by going to a baseball game with my daughter, grilling out, and cracking open a few interesting American wines. Speaking of American wines, I have a lot of California wines that have piled up in recent weeks, so here goes!

Long-time readers may recognize Santa Ynez Valley producer Kita, whose wines I’ve found exciting, balanced and full of intrigue. Made by Tara Gomez and sourced largely from the Camp 4 Vineyard, which her Chumash Tribe owns, I’ve been blown away by these wines for about five years now, and they continue to excel. Tara and her wife, Catalan-born winemaker Mireia Taribo, also have a new project called Camins 2 Dreams. I tried their Santa Rita Hills Gruner and Syrah for this report, and these wines have so much personality.

I also got to taste the first two vintages of Mount Peak Winery’s Sentinel Cabernet Sauvignon. From winemaker Mark Williams, these are blended from different Sonoma fruit sources, including Monte Rosso Vineyard, and some Napa fruit as well. These are massively hedonistic wines, but they’re undeniably delish. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: The Canned Craze

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-05-2019

(Flickr: Gnawme)

(Flickr: Gnawme)

With canned wine on the rise, Stephanie Cain raises an important question in Fortune: “As much as canned wine brands boast ease of use, they also share bold claims about sustainability over traditional glass wine bottles: eco-friendly packaging, low carbon footprint, easily recyclable cans, and less food and packaging waste. Which raises the question: Is single-serve canned wine really a more sustainable product than a traditional 750-milliliter bottle of wine, which pours approximately five glasses?”

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer advocates for lifting outdated canning restrictions to help the Finger Lakes canned wine industry thrive.

In SevenFifty Daily, Italian sommelier Mirko Pastorelli shares his experience working as a “wheelchair sommelier” and what he’d like to see in the future for those with disabilities in the wine world. “As a wheelchair sommelier, I can share my story and inspire other people in wheelchairs to follow their dreams and enter the hospitality industry. Maybe then, in the next few years, there will be a few others, and with a community all around the world, we can do big things.”

Elsewhere in SevenFifty Daily, Amanda Barnes breaks down what you need to know about Croatian wine.

In Forbes, Tom Mullen explores how key wine regulations are shifting in France in response to climate change.

On Robert Parker’s Wine Journal, R.H. Drexel explores country music group Little Big Town’s new Day Drinking canned wine line.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague shares her top seven wine don’ts. (subscription req.)

On his blog, winemaker Paul Hobbs explores the importance of sustainability in the wine world.