Daily Wine News: Sancerre’s Basicness

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-17-2018

Sancerre. (Wikimedia)

Sancerre. (Wikimedia)

“Around the turn of the 1980s, along with Chablis, Sancerre was becoming a tour de force in French wine… Because people liked their wines, the easiest thing to do, as French vignerons tend to, was to make a lot more. And so what had been one of France’s thoroughly enjoyable white wines began its path to insipidness.” In Punch, Jon Bonné wonders if Sancerre can move beyond its “basic” reputation.

According to the Drinks Business, canned wine sales in the U.S. are up 43%. Boxed sales are also up—7% more than last year.

In Bon Appétit, Marissa A. Ross talks to Frenchette’s Jorge Riera—“natural wine evangelist and sommelier”—about flavor profiles, price points, and the countries wine lovers should be focusing on right now.

On WineBusiness.com, Kerana Todorov reports on the beginning of the 2018 harvest in Napa and Sonoma.

W. Blake Gray also shares reports about California’s 2018 harvest kick off in Wine-Searcher.

“Jo Pithon, a trailblazing vintner in the Loire Valley’s Anjou appellation, has sold his Pithon-Paillé wine company, including 22 acres of vineyards and a négociant business, to French businessman Ivan Massonnat,” according to Aleks Zecevic in Wine Spectator.

In Forbes, Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jennssen on how Spain’s Navarra region is seeking global wine sales opportunities.

Alex Delaney breaks down spontaneous fermentation and how it affects various beverages in Bon Appétit.

Daily Wine News: The Other Assyrtikos

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-16-2018

(Source: Wikimedia)

(Source: Wikimedia)

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Tara Q. Thomas looks at assyrtiko beyond Santorini. “Suddenly, great assyrtikos are turning up in other locales, from Crete to the winelands near Thessaloniki; there are even versions coming out of California and Australia. What’s changed?

Harvest 2018 is underway in Napa Valley, and Sasha Paulsen shares a report of who’s picking what so far in the Napa Valley Register.

In Wines & Vines, L.M. Archer surveys several growers in the Sierra Nevada foothills, who say they are cautiously optimistic about the 2018 vintage.

With wildfires still blazing, Tom Hyland breaks down what you need to know about the smoke’s effect on grapes in Wine-Searcher.

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning talks with Rupert Symington, co-owner/co-CEO of Symington Family Estates, about the fight to keep port relevant.

On RobertParker.com’s Wine Journal, R.H. Drexel talks to Kevin Jussila, winemaker and owner of Paso Robles’ Kukkula Winery. “I’ve come to visit Jussila because I’ve heard he’s a straight shooter, and I appreciate that quality in winegrowers…”

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague recommends books old and new that offer penetrating perspectives on wine.

In Wine Enthusiast, Michael Schachner highlights Spain’s white wines.

Daily Wine News: Harvest Predictions

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-15-2018

(Flickr: KBJPhoto)

(Flickr: KBJPhoto)

In Wines & Vines, Peter Mitham reports on the expected wine grape harvest in the Northwest. “A preliminary forecast from the Washington Winegrowers Association, which represents growers across the state, puts the 2018 crop at a potential 268,255 tons. This is on par with the 2016 record of 270,000 tons but 17% above last year’s harvest of 229,000 tons. By contrast, Oregon harvested more than 85,000 tons, on par with 2015’s record crop, while British Columbia growers picked a new record of 32,700 tons last year.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Ella Buchan talks to small wineries about how they sell wine without a tasting room.

In Wine-Searcher, Margaret Rand shares her experience of attending a recent Ornellaia auction, and considers the meaning of single-brand auctions.

Virginie Boone offers a “Cabernet Sauvignon-centric itinerary along Highway 29” in Napa in Wine Enthusiast.

SB Nation talks to a sommelier for his opinion on each of the wines (totaling $4,000) that LeBron James recently featured on Instagram.

“The year is 2018, and there are butlers. Who are they and what do they do? And what does it have to do with wine?” In Forbes, Susan H. Gordon explores the value of butlers specialized in wine.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, explores what he calls the “Cabernet Sauvignon boom.”

In Vinous, Josh Raynolds offers a rosé report.

Daily Wine News: Wine and Money

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-14-2018

Flickr: Ren Kuo

Flickr: Ren Kuo

“The biggest wine contaminant (far worse than sulphur) is money.” In Decanter, Andrew Jefford meditates on how money has affected the world of fine wine. “Wine writers (a wealthy minority aside) know all of this from personal experience…They may briefly encounter great wines at a tasting, but they don’t own them, drink them, or develop a relationship of understanding with them in the way that wealthy wine-lovers are able to do. This makes those writers, at best, outside observers of a world to which they will never belong (there’s honour, if little insight, in that).”

In SevenFifty Daily, Tina Caputo reports on the ways California wineries can grow their businesses with cannabis.

German wine brand Brute will use real-time weather data from its vineyard to create an image of a 3D-particle-weather simulation on its labels. The Drinks Business has the details.

Neal Martin offers his thoughts on the 2016 and 2017 Chablis vintages in Vinous.

In Bon Appétit, Victoria James dishes on the pay-to-play practices behind the rise of bad rosé.

In Forbes, Tom Hyland explores the wines of three Alsace producers: Emily Beyer, Zind-Humbrecht, and Trimbach.

Robert Joseph looks at the value of “good, old-fashioned” wine marketing in Meininger’s.

Daily Wine News: The Next Generation

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-13-2018

Cabernet Sauvignon. (Wikimedia)

Cabernet Sauvignon. (Wikimedia)

Wine businesses across the world are facing questions of how and when to pass the business on to the next generation. Rebecca Gibb explores various succession plans in Meininger’s. “With four in five family wineries in the US still in the hand of first-generation owners, the process of planning for the future is a new challenge, which many have failed to tackle…The unprepared are not alone…”

In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman looks at how Oregon and even Washington could feel the burn from the forest fire season.

“Cabernet is what I increasingly consider the greatest grape for red wine. Over the years, the siren call of Pinot Noir has occasionally threatened to lure me away, but I always return to my first true love.” In Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss looks to Bordeaux, the region that “brings out the best of the grape.”

Jenni Avins hops onboard the natural wine and “glou glou” train in Quartz. “Glou glou has also been adopted by a new generation of natural winemakers…These wines celebrate funkiness, acidity, and cloudiness as telltale qualities of a unique agricultural product, rather than masking them as flaws, and otherwise flout the stuffiness of wine culture.”

Dave McIntyre discovers Bolivian wines in the Washington Post. “Tannat is Bolivia’s major red grape. But unlike the tannats of Uruguay, which tend toward the rustic, these are vibrant and polished, with impressive complexity.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Amanda Barnes details what you need to know about Chile’s four new DOs.

Paul Hobbs explores how learning what to pair with wines made from Areni, the indigenous black grape of Armenia, has rejuvenated his interest in food and wine pairings.

Tim McKirdy on white pinot noir in VinePair.

Wine Reviews: HLR Cellars

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 08-11-2018

Credit: HLR Cellars

Credit: HLR Cellars

On the border between Napa and Sonoma Counties, about a mile from Diamond Mountain, sits a lesser-known appellation: the Fountaingrove District. This area of Sonoma (which achieved AVA status in 2015) is where H.L.R. Cellars calls home.

Started in 2012 by Steve and Joan Heller, H.L.R. Cellars grows Bordeaux varieties in their estate vineyards, which are planted at about 1,300 feet in elevation. I had never heard of this producer before, but I’m always on the look for new (to me) producers from Sonoma and Napa, so I was excited to uncork these samples and give them a whirl.

I lined up the wines (a Cab, a Malbec, a Merlot, and two red blends) and single-blind tasted them. As I was typing up my notes, I did a double-take when I was looking at the prices. All of the wines clock in at $45 or less, and they bring a lot of deliciousness, but also a lot of depth, structure and excitement. That’s not always easy to find.

My notes below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Untapped Gold Mine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-10-2018

Vineyards in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. (Wikimedia)

Vineyards in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. (Wikimedia)

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Joshua Greene explores the wines of the Canary Islands. “…with little pressure for change, the Canaries remain an untapped viticultural gold mine: a diverse mix of vines on their own roots at a wide range of altitudes, from sea level to thousands of feet above and still within view of the sea. When you consider the potential of this place, it is breathtaking.”

Eric Asimov explores the wines of Portugal’s Bairrada wine region in the New York Times. “…only in the last couple of years have I become truly excited about the wines of Bairrada, a region in northern central Portugal bounded by the hills of Dão to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Tina Caputo reports on a panel discussion from the recent Wine & Weed Symposium regarding ways to combine wine and weed at the same event.

“Cirelli is working with terracotta amphorae. His wines have a soulfulness that reflects the stunning natural reserve where his vines live.” In Grape Collective, Christopher Barnes talks to Abruzzo’s Francesco Cirelli.

In Quartz, Annaliese Griffin talks to the sommelier and beverage directors that have created their own canned wine lines.

In the Los Angeles Times, Patrick Comiskey reports on the Garagiste Wine Festival, highlighting four winemakers who participated.

Elsewhere in the Los Angeles Times, Anne Harnagel explores the wine regions of Italy and Slovenia by bike.

Daily Wine News: “All-Female” Wine Lists

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-09-2018

(Flickr: :: Wendy ::)

(Flickr: :: Wendy ::)

In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence on the rise of “all-female” wine lists. “Of course, whether such initiatives are a major step forward in terms of championing gender equality in the business is open to debate. It certainly raises a few interesting questions – should positive discrimination such as sidelining male winemakers on a wine list really be used as a marketing hook? Is this a reaction to accusations of sexism in the industry, or merely a cynical way of drawing punters?”

Wines & Vines reports on how Europe is starting to embrace hybrid wine grapes. “Maybe it is time to stop calling them hybrids and start calling them “the disease-resistant varieties,” which is what a catalog from Italy’s largest nursery, Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo (VCR), does.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Christina Pickard looks at how winemakers in Australia’s Coonawarra and Margaret River are devoting their lives to unlocking the magic of cabernet sauvignon.

In Forbes, Lauren Mowery admits that Chablis is her wine of choice for this summer’s “swampy hellscape.”

Wine Spectator’s Robert Camuto finds a “young, hip wine scene” in the Basilicata region in Southern Italy.

What’s next for Portuguese wine? Courtney Schiessl looks at the country’s up-and-coming wine regions in SevenFifty Daily.

In SOMM Journal, Elizabeth Smith pens a short profile of Laura Díaz Muñoz, the new winemaker at Ehlers Estate in Napa Valley.

In VinePair, Adam Teeter offers a guide to the Finger Lakes, “the most exciting wine region on the East Coast.”

Daily Wine News: Mistaken Identity

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-08-2018

Graciano. (Wikimedia)

Graciano. (Wikimedia)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley looks into how winemakers who mistakenly planted mislabeled Mourvedre cuttings are now embracing Graciano, the grape the cuttings really were. “But more than anything, the winemakers went along with it because they liked this new Mourvedre selection. In fact, some liked it better than actual Mourvedre.”

“French wine production in 2018 will be between 46 and 48 million hectolitres, up 27% over 2017 and a 7% increase compared to the average of the last five years,” reports Yohan Castaing in Decanter.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy reports on the efforts winemakers in Champagne are making in the fight against climate change. “Only seven grape varieties are permitted in Champagne. In addition to the three most important, four mostly forgotten grapes—petite meslier, pinot blanc, fromenteau, and arbane—may gain prominence in the future. Lean, green petit meslier grapes, for example, retain huge acidity, even in very hot vintages.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Katherine Cole looks at how some American winegrowers are rejecting the prevailing monoclone model in American viticulture and revisiting older techniques.

In the New York Times, Florence Fabricant highlights Jancis Robinson’s new wine glass line.

Even Aldi is cashing in on the “natural” orange wine trend. In VinePair, Tim McKirdy reports on the new wine, which will retail around $8.

In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman reports on the efforts the world’s largest cork producer, Amorim, is making to prevent cork taint.

In Meininger’s, Rebecca Gibb on the ageability of New Zealand wines, an excerpt from her new book, The Wines of New Zealand.

Daily Wine News: American Picardan

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-07-2018

Picardan. (Wikimedia)

Picardan. (Wikimedia)

In the Daily Beast, Frances Dinkelspiel explores why a small group of American winemakers are planting picardan, a white grape variety from the Rhône Valley. “The winemakers who are growing picardan are not only excited by its taste, but its novelty. In a world dominated by cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, zinfandel, pinot noir and other major grapes, they hope a wine made from picardan grapes will stand out from the crowd.”

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford ponders the notion of purity in wine. “…purity is in fact the common thread which links the ‘natural’ wine movement with the fine-wine avant-garde in classic regions like Bordeaux or Burgundy.  It is a shared ideal, the only point of difference being a degree of dogma regarding sulphur, and what one might call ‘a habit of tasting’.”

Wine Business Monthly and Wines & Vines Magazine will be merging. Tom Wark looks at the history of history of both publications, which have been owned by the same company since 2004.

In Bloomberg, Megan Krigbaum reports that a growing number of sommeliers are rethinking their dessert wines list.

Liora Levin explores the wine landscape of Norway in Meininger’s.

In Grape Collective, Christopher Barnes talks to Giacomo Tincani of La Basia about the uniqueness of wines from the Valtènesi DOC.

In Punch, Jon Bonné offers an insider’s guide to pét-nat.