Wine Reviews: International Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 04-29-2017

This week we’ve got a hodgepodge of wines from all around the world.

I recently tasted a Chenin and a red blend from a new project called Lubanzi. These are South African wines brought in by two young Americans, Charles Brain and Walker Brown, who fell in love with South African wines (as I did) while traveling around Cape Town. There are so many great winemakers, old vines, and exceptional wines in South Africa, and at such moderate prices. But we don’t get nearly enough of them here, so it’s awesome to see a crew with passion bringing high-quality, value-driven South African vino to the States.

We also have a Locations wines from Dave Phinney and two different Sauvignon Blanc’s from New Zealand’s Nobilo. Lastly, I really liked a zesty, complex dry Furmint from Oremus. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Truth in Labeling Act

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-28-2017

From Wikipedia.

From Wikipedia.

“Currently, federal standards require that bottles labeled “Texas wine” must contain a minimum of 75% Texas-grown fruit, but state bills put forth… could soon require that, over a phase-in period of five years, 100% of a wine’s volume come from Texas-grown fruit in order to claim the state as an appellation of origin.” In the Austin Chronicle, Veronica Meewes offers an in-depth look at the implications of House Bill 1514, the “Truth in Labeling Act,” and its impact on the Texas wine industry.

In Decanter, Jane Anson looks at Uruguay’s adoption of the Tannat grape and learns about fresh initiatives that could help to get the country on restaurant wine lists.

“Long gone are the days when you could study the Parker scores, print out few shelf talkers, and stock up on the same familiar mix of crowd-pleasers. With such a dizzying range of options now flooding the market, the need to define one’s selection has never been more critical.” In Beverage Media, Zachary Sussman on hand selling wines.

Paul Gregutt considers what makes a good wine label in Wine Enthusiast.

Jim Schleckser on why wine is the next recurring revenue business in Inc.

Warren Schultz looks into cold-hardy grapes like Frontenac, LaCrescent, St. Croix, Swenson Red and others in Modern Farmer.

Trump’s wines were overwhelmingly defeated by Californian equivalents at a blind tasting held last month, reports the Drinks Business.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley reviews Bianca Bosker’s Cork Dork.

In the Chicago Tribune, Michael Austin explores the many faces of albariño.

Daily Wine News: “The New Casual”

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-27-2017

(Flickr: Daniel Gasienica)

(Flickr: Daniel Gasienica)

Jon Bonné reflects on what great wine service looks like today in Punch. “The New Casual remains a tough aesthetic to define, especially when we don’t necessarily know how we want wine served to us anymore. The old rules no longer feel comfortable, but we don’t necessarily know what the new ones are.”

Antonio Galloni offers his thoughts on 2016 Bordeaux in Vinous. “For the 2016s to be successful in the market, however, owners will have to be sensible with prices. That’s why for Bordeaux It’s Now or Never, Baby.”

In the World of Fine Wine, Ella Lister also writes about the 2016 Bordeaux vintage. “The wines have the power, concentration, and tannic strength of the 2010s, but with lower alcohol, and some of the charm of the 2009s thrown in.”

Wine Spectator’s Robert Camuto talks to Chinese wine success story Robert Yang, whose company 1919 has grown from one wine shop to a network of 1,000.

In Wine Enthusiast, Joe Czerwinski on the trend of single-site expressions.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray tries a $1,000 wine, “Rarity,” and finds it lives up to the hype.

Aaron Menenberg profiles Stu Smith of Smith-Madrone.

In Food & Wine, Bianca Bosker takes on the authenticity of terroir, and asks “is terroir real?

WineFolly gives an overview of Mexican wine country.

Daily Wine News: Alternative Packaging

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-26-2017

40ounceIn Bloomberg, Justin Kennedy surveys the scene of unconventionally packaged wine and talks to Patrick Cappiello, founder of 40 Ounce Wine.

Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen explore the history of wine in India in Wine Enthusiast.

“A week after voters in the United States elected a man who had vowed to erect a wall on America’s southern border, I drove across it with San Diego in my rearview.” Robert Draper takes a journey through Baja California’s wine country in the New York Times.

Elsewhere in the New York Times, Sheila Marikar on how “this Mexican wine country is calling to millennials, with modern, design-y wineries and grit that can’t be found in Napa or Sonoma. It’s also cheaper than those areas, and less likely to be trodden by tour bus crowds — more “Choose Your Own Adventure” than Club Med.”

Champagne wasn’t the only region hit by frost. According to Decanter, winemakers elsewhere in France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland are counting the cost of frost damage in their vineyards after several nights of frost.

Is wine art? Jamie Goode seeks a satisfying answer.

Patrick Comiskey recommends white wines for spring in the Los Angeles Times.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, looks at the opportunities and challenges faced by the Spanish wine industry.

In the Sacramento Bee, Michael Dunne profiles GranMonte, a winery in Thailand.

Daily Wine News: Frost Hits Champagne

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-25-2017

Frost and vines. (Flickr: epeigne37)

Frost and vines. (Flickr: epeigne37)

In Decanter, Caroline Henry reports that a “fatal” frost has hit vineyards in Champagne. “Olivier Horiot, a winemaker in Les Riceys, estimated that 40 to 50% of the potential 2017 harvest in the region has been wiped out.”

Batya Ungar-Sargon looks at the passionate responses to Bianca Bosker’s op-ed in the NYTimes, and wonders who Bosker’s book is actually for in VinePair. “For one person I spoke to, there’s actually a tension between the goal Bosker entered her project with — understanding what’s the big deal about wine — and the one she ultimately pursued — transforming herself into a sommelier. That person is Eric Asimov.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre reviews Bianca Bosker’s Cork Dork, and admits he has “mixed feelings” about the book.

Andrew Jefford on Vignobles Marie Maria—the re-booted co-operative in Madiran—in Decanter. “The result is…new vineyards, new techniques and a range of new wines based on single soil types and sometimes single parcels.”

Meg Houston Maker gets a chance to taste small-production lots from Columbia Crest, a high-production winery. “The wines are well crafted: seamless, food-friendly, lit up with acidity and freshness.”

In Food & Wine, one expert pairs wine and bugs. Crickets and Riesling, anyone?

Dorothy Gaiter shares some of her favorite rosés in Grape Collective.

In VinePair, Vicki Denig talks to 9 somms about what they think are the most overrated wines.

David Williams suggests affordable alternatives to Bordeaux and Burgundy in the Guardian.

Daily Wine News: Understanding Potential

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-24-2017

Chardonnay. (Wikimedia)

Chardonnay. (Wikimedia)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov conducts a tasting of Sonoma Coast chardonnays. “As far as wines that come from the coastal region, I feel as if we are just beginning to understand its potential.”

“The owners of the Napa Valley’s Silver Oak and Twomey wineries have purchased Ovid, an estate vineyard and winery in St. Helena’s Pritchard Hill. The price, according to an industry source: around $50 million,” reports Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In the Los Angeles Times, David Pierson looks into why Temecula’s wine region is a hotspot for Chinese investment.

“As in California, where people are often looking to break out of the expected mold of expression, so in Italy, it is almost expected that a percentage of winemaking will deter from the conventional.” Alfonso Cevola wonders: Is the world ready for “what Bonné might call the New Italian Wine?”

Jancis Robinson looks at how wine imports into China continue to increase despite the growth of Chinese wine.

In Meininger’s, Felicity Carter finds beauty in South African old vine cinsault.

7 Napa Wines for People Who Don’t Drink Napa Wine” in Food & Wine.

Marissa A. Ross shares what she learned about French wines from her first trip to France in Bon Appétit.

Dwight Furrow talks to Randall Grahm about the Popelouchum vineyard and his philosophy of winemaking.

Wine Reviews: California New Releases

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 04-22-2017

There’s a little bit of everything in this catch-all tasting of newly-released wines from California: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, white blends, Chard, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Malbec, etc.

For my palate, the most impressive wines hail from Sutro, a single-vineyard Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon project located in Alexander Valley. Just wow.

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

Daily Wine News: Bordeaux Trilogies

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-21-2017

bordeaux-wine-cork-984x500In Decanter, Jane Anson considers how wine lovers could get better value for money by treating Bordeaux 2016, 2015 and 2014 as a trilogy with peaks in different areas, and compares the situation to a run of good vintages in ’88, ’89 and ’90.

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Jon Bonné explores a post-premox world in Burgundy. “Premature oxidation—“premox,” as it’s often called—presented a serious challenge to the region’s reputation… On the whole the wines today are, I would argue, better than ever.”

Jancis Robinson takes a look at the current state of the Chinese wine market in the Financial Times.

“Napa County’s 2016 agricultural production reached a record-breaking value of $737.3 million, with a record-breaking $729.5 million value for grapes leading the way,” reports the Napa Valley Register.

According to the Drinks Business, Silvano Brescianini, vice president of the Franciacorta consorzio, believes the success of Prosecco has “paved the way” for Franciacorta,

Silver Oak has put together an encyclopedic resource on American oak.

Rebecca Gibb picks the best of Bordeaux 2016 in Wine-Searcher.

Wines & Vines checks in on bud breaks across the Northwest.

In Punch, Lizzie Munro gets a look inside the wine cellar of Rekondo, in San Sebastián, which boasts upwards of 125,000 bottles.


Daily Wine News: Bourgogne Passetoutgrain

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-20-2017



“Could there be any wine more ideal than one with the pedigree of red Burgundy and the no-cover-charge approachability of Beaujolais?” In Punch, Megan Krigbaum on Passetoutgrain, a historic but little-known appellation in Burgundy responsible for high-quality, affordable wines made from gamay and pinot noir.

In Fortune, Phil Wahba reports that Sam’s Club has launched its own wine brand to compete with Costo’s wine business.

In Wine Spectator, Matt Kramer on what he calls “the contrarian cellar,” for when you don’t necessarily want a “trophy wine.” “The Contrarian Cellar is real. And feasible. And affordable. All it takes is a willingness to be, well, contrarian. You have to ignore what others are buying and touting and instead pursue the unknown, unfashionable or obscure.

W. Blake Gray gives an overview of Champagne Collet, the oldest co-op in Champagne founded in 1921.

In the World of Fine Wine, Michael Edwards gets a taste of Veuve Clicquot’s new cuvee, Extra Brut Extra Old.

Winemaker Matias Riccitelli tells the Drinks Business that Argentina is now far enough along in its investigation of terroir and development of sites at altitude that it is capable of producing higher quality whites.

In Wine Enthusiast, Anne Krebiehl looks at the benefits of utilizing horses in vineyards.

In Grape Collective, Eric Petrucci gets acquainted with some light-bodied Italian red grape varieties.

Daily Wine News: Riesling’s Identity Problem

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-19-2017



What is “classic” German Riesling? Zachary Sussman continues the never-ending sweet vs. dry debate in Punch. “If there’s any lesson to be drawn from the situation, however, it’s this: no “true” version of the wine exists. Only when we stop worrying so much about what German riesling is supposed to be will we be able to absorb all that it is.”

In response to the news about a hail stone shield planned for the Burgundy region, Tom Wark wonders if Burgundy wine growers are cheating terroir as a result.

According to Wine Spectator, French company Maisons & Domaines Henriot has acquired a majority ownership stake in Beaux Frères, one of Oregon’s most prominent Pinot Noir producers..

Tension over cheap Spanish wine imports continues, reports Chris Mercer in Decanter. “Winemakers staged a protest by destroying Spanish bag-in-box wines at a branch of the Carrefour supermarket near to Montpellier.”

Wine Enthusiast takes a global look at Malbec—from its homeland Cahors to Argentina.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan reviews the cookbook Pinot, Pasta, and Parties by Dee Dee and Paul Sorvino.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray talks to Bianca Bosker about her book on the world of New York sommeliers.

In Bon Appétit, Marissa A. Ross on her love of oxidized white wines.