Weekly Interview: Wayne Bailey

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 04-18-2014

Wayne Bailey.

Wayne Bailey.

Each week, as regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we’re featuring Wayne Bailey, the winemaker and owner of Youngberg Hill in McMinnville, Oregon.

Bailey grew up in Oakland, Iowa, where his father farmed corn and soy beans and raised hogs.

Although Bailey graduated from college with a degree in engineering, he spent most of his career in food and beverage consulting. In 1997, he landed a three-month contract in Burgundy to help a number of vintners with branding and marketing, and that’s when he fell in love with wine.

Bailey was most impressed with the fact that in Burgundy, all the winemakers simply considered themselves farmers. Since he’d always felt a connection to farming, he decided then that one day, he’d own a vineyard.

Since his heart was with Pinot Noir, Oregon felt like the most natural fit. So when he began looking for land, he asked the late Jimi Brooks, then the winemaker and vineyard manager at Maysara Winery, for advice. (As regular readers know, we interviewed Brooks Winery’s Chris Williams earlier this month.)

Brooks steered Bailey toward Youngberg Hill, where Ken Wright had planted vines in 1989 and been sourcing fruit from ever since. In 2003, Bailey purchased the 20-acre site – and he’s been farming it and making wine there ever since.

Check out our interview with Bailey below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Coffee Smelling

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-18-2014

Flickr, puuikibeach.

Flickr, puuikibeach.

Alder Yarrow shares his “notes and scores from the best wines” he tasted at this year’s La Paulee de San Francisco Grand Tasting.

According to Sherry-Lehmann CEO Chris Adams, “Bordeaux has to wake up and smell the coffee.” W. Blake Gray reports in Wine-Searcher.

On his own site, W. Blake Gray lists “Ten things you didn’t know about Freixenet.”

While vineyards and plantations are decreasing in places like France and South America, China now has more vineyard hectares than the United States.” In Grape Collective, Michael Woodsmall explores the future of China’s wine market.

Elsewhere in Grape Collective, Christopher Barnes chats with Mike Brown, co-owner of Gemtree Wines, who recently received a $30 million Chinese equity investment.

In Wine Spectator, Jennifer Fiedler wonders what to pair with General Tso’s Chicken (and other Americanized Chinese food.)

Sarah Trubnick and Carolyn Johnson have opened a new restaurant in Oakland — The Barrel Room – that sounds absolutely awesome.

“Harvard University’s $33 billion endowment is quietly assembling a Central Coast vineyard play.” Paso Robles Daily News has the details.

“As they say here in Washington, if they criticize you from both sides, you must be doing something right.” Dave McIntyre shares some fascinating details from an online chat he did on the Washington Post’s website.

Tom Wark wonders what him and his wife should open when their baby is born.

From BuzzFeed, “Cheap Wine Reviewed By An Irish Brewmaster.”

Daily Wine News: Yum Yums

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-17-2014

Flickr, Noodle93.

Flickr, Noodle93.

“Broc Cellars White Zin from Sonoma is poolside yum yums all the way.” In Serious Eats, Maggie Hoffman asks a roster of all-star somms to name “the best wines for daytime drinking.”

Jameson Fink and Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka exchange some wine, taste together on Skype, and exchange blog control. It’s brilliant.

“A wine list isn’t the typical forum for addressing complex issues of history, heritage and culture… But that’s what’s going on at Shalom Japan, the hybrid Jewish-Japanese restaurant that opened last year in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.” Zachary Sussman has the details in Punch.

In Bon Appetit, Alyssa Vitrano details “Everything You Need to Know About ‘Scandal’ and Wine.”

According to Bill Ward, Gallo’s Hearty Burgundy is a “damn good wine.” He’s serious! So now I’ll have to try it.

In Grape Collective, Jameson Fink chats with Hai Tran, the sommelier at Herons Restaurant in North Carolina, about his experience with the coravin.

Now that “it’s the glorious season of hanging out on fire escapes and in backyards,” Patrick Cappiello advises wine enthusiasts to swap out rich, full-bodied reds for his “favorite springtime wine, Sauvignon Blanc.” The piece is in Playboy, but don’t worry, it’s safe for work.

Mike Veseth writes about “a couple of interesting recent developments” in the world of wine print publications.

“The right beverage pairing can take eating softies to a whole new level, whether they’re made into a sandwich, cornmeal dusted and deep fried, or lightly pan sauteed.” David McCarus explores some wine options for Charleston soft-shell crabs.

Alex Ferguson, who coached Manchester United for 26 years, is putting a bunch of wine up for auction.

Daily Wine News: Cold & Wet

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-16-2014

pizza“As a set, these were juicy, fresh wines rather than plush and syrupy. The best had earthy, mineral qualities not ordinarily associated with many Napa reds. They were wines that I could imagine drinking with gusto throughout a meal.” Eric Asimov praises “Napa Cabernets From a Cold, Wet Year.”

In Punch, Echo Thomas asks Steve Wildy of the Vetri Family of restaurants in Philadelphia to “keep track of the best things he drank over the last seven days.”

“Yes, Madeira is a taste of another time. So what? More than most such antiques, the best versions can perk up your palate in a way that yet any number of more familiar aperitif (or after dinner) wines could never do.” Matt Kramer praises Madeira.

“It’s a familiar scenario. You get back from holiday clutching bottles of wine that tasted delicious in a Tuscan vineyard only to find the flavour has mysteriously vanished.” Now, as Sarah Knapton reports, “researchers at Oxford University believe they know why.” More details over at Wine-Searcher.

“Pizza night is a good time to try different kinds of wines.” In Grape Collective, Jameson Fink chats with Fredric Koeppel of Bigger Than Your Head.

In Wine-Searcher, Richard Hemming profiles Quinta do Noval, a winery that is “once more reaching for the heights it achieved when it made one of the greatest wines in history – the 1963 Nacional Port.”

In Forbes, Cathy Huyghe writes about her presentation at VinItaly, where she talked about the three-tier system and how to sell wine in the United States.

In the Contra Costa Times, Jessica Yadegaran praises white Pinot Noir as a “bracing beauty.” It’s popping up across the Anderson Valley.

Comic Books and Thoroughbreds

Posted by | Posted in White's Wines | Posted on 04-15-2014

post paradeAs regular readers know, I write a free, twice monthly wine column that’s distributed to newspapers across the country.

These columns are hosted by Grape Collective. If you don’t see my column in your local newspaper, please send an email to your paper’s editor and CC me (David – at – Terroirist.com).

In my latest column, I explain why sometimes, trips to wine country are so inspirational that lives are forever changed.

Comic Books and Thoroughbreds, Inspired by Wine

Outside the Bay Area, few wine enthusiasts realize that California’s wine scene is incredibly welcoming.

This is understandable; we see our favorite winemakers on the covers of magazines and struggle to contain our excitement when new wines hit the market. So expecting to meet any big name in the flesh seems as fantastical as expecting to meet Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie on a trip to Hollywood.

But it’s not. And sometimes, these encounters are so inspirational that lives are forever changed.

Check out the rest of the piece on Grape Collective!

Daily Wine News: Diversity Issue

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-15-2014

Antonio Galloni

Antonio Galloni

“What is Napa wine? Cab. What is Finger Lakes wine? Riesling. What is Washington wine? Umm…” In Palate Press, Erika Szymanski ponders “Washington’s diversity issue.”

“The real key to Antonio’s growing influence in the world of fine wine, besides his keen intelligence, is his tremendous work ethic.” Richard Jennings profiles Antonio Galloni.

LVMH has acquired Clos des Lambrays, “one of the oldest and most prestigious vineyards in Burgundy.” Lots of reaction on WineBerserkers.

“Olivia Pope doesn’t just drink red wine. She chugs it. She turns to it for solace and comfort in moments of extreme sadness and high drama.” In Punch, Jennifer Cacicio explores wine’s role on the hit ABC show scandal.

On the Netflix hit House of Cards, the “ruthless” main characters drink lots of Chimney Rock. In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter has the details.

“Call it the Oenophile’s Theory of Vacation Planning: If you like sunshine, good weather, and great scenery, you’ll usually find all three in abundance wherever wine grapes are grown.” In the Boston Globe, Patricia Harris and David Lyon go “off the beaten path” to explore lesser-known wine regions.

In France, the Senate has “unanimously voted in favor of officially making wine a part of French national heritage.”

“Legislation in the California Assembly would allow wineries to offer samples at certified farmers markets and allow underage winemaking students the chance to taste wine.” Andrew Adams reports in Wines & Vines.

In the Wine Business, according to Silicon Valley Bank’s Rob McMillan, fraud is “a repeating story.”

In Wine-Searcher, Katherine Cole chats with Elena Pantaleoni, “a respected leader in Italy’s natural wine movement.”

Kate Middleton has debunked pregnancy rumors by drinking wine. If only all rumors could be debunked in such fashion.

Daily Wine News: Space Launch

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-14-2014

From Philip Togni Vineyards.

From Philip Togni Vineyards.

“Here is a man who was planting Cabernet in Napa Valley before the first American was launched into space.” In the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Bonné profiles Philip Togni.

Lettie Teague’s “favorite spring wine is… refreshing and crisp and even pairs well with so-called ‘difficult’ foods.” But unfortunately, “[Silvaner] remains woefully obscure.”

In a speech at UC Davis, Merry Edwards recently reflected upon her “40-year journey” in the wine industry. Wines & Vines has the details.

In Florida, liquor wholesalers are indistinguishable from the mafia.

According to Michel Rolland, 2011 in Bordeaux is “not a great vintage but a vintage that will give pleasure.”

Elsewhere in Wine-Searcher, Jane Anson looks at Bordeaux’s worst vintages.

In the Chicago Tribune, Bill Daley profiles “Brother Timothy Diener, [who] helped transform the wine industry of California’s Napa Valley… into a global player.”

Bill Ward checks in with some acquaintances in the Willamette Valley for their take Katherine Cole’s recent piece on Oregon’s “Grand Cru” vineyards.

In Wine Enthusiast, Mike Dawson chats with Scribe Winery’s Andrew Mariani “about creating leagues of loyal fans.”

“Ten years ago, you wouldn’t have seen a Virginia wine on any high-brow restaurant wine list north of the Mason-Dixon. Now, it’s another story.” In Yahoo! Food, Julia Bainbridge explores Virginia wine.

Bloomberg West chats with Alex Fishman, the CEO of Delectable.


Six Vintages of Trivento’s Eolo Malbec

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 04-11-2014

Victoria Prandina. Credit: Trivento.

Victoria Prandina. Credit: Trivento.

“Winemaking is an art not limited by age or gender,” says Victoria Prandina. As a young woman charged with crafting an old vine, single-vineyard Malbec, she proves this maxim.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Prandina, who makes Trivento’s “Eolo” Malbec in Argentina’s Mendoza region. She’s a dynamic person and winemaker, and her Malbecs are as structured and deep as they are refined and elegant.

We talked a lot about the vineyard, which sits at 3,200 feet, perched just 30 feet above the Mendoza River in the Lujan de Cuyo appellation. The 49-acre vineyard was planted to Malbec in 1912, but just 9 acres of prime plots are used for the Eolo bottling.

The wine is aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, around 70% of which are new. The oak may help integrate the tannins and smooth the wine out, but I was pleased at the lack of overt or heavy-handed flavor elements from the new oak.

Trivento is owned by Chilean powerhouse Concha y Toro, and Eolo generally retails for around $70. 2005 was the inaugural vintage of Eolo, and 2010 is the current release, so this vertical captured them all. I have to say, I was impressed with these wines. All of them were compelling, evolving and worthy of contemplation and cellar time.

I met Prandina and her colleague, marketing manager Silvina Barros, at Ripple in DC’s Cleveland Park, one of my favorite spots for any wine dinner. My notes from the comparative tasting are below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Connoisseur’s Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-11-2014

41-sommelier“Sometimes diners want to learn, and sometimes they just want a burger and a glass of Silver Oak. Know what? They’re paying the check.” In Wine Spectator, Mitch Frank writes about the “sommelier’s dilemma.”

“We’re drinking Pinot Noir. Not from Burgundy or California but from the Loire Valley, from the fertile hills of Sancerre.” In the Wall Street Journal, Will Lyons writes about “Sancerre Rouge: The Connoisseur’s Wine.”

According to Tyler Colman, Delectable is “the only wine app you need.”

“Fred Swan knew it was time to explore a new career path when even his tech business colleagues began asking, ‘When are you going to quit and get into the wine business?’” In the San Jose Mercury News, Jessica Yadegaran profiles Fred Swan.

“The method is ancient and simple. It just requires a lot of man-hours.” In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre writes about the “technique of making wine from dried grapes.”

“There is still room for Italian wines in the Victory Garden. But you’ll need to bring your shovel and dig in.” Alfonso Cevola explains how to sell Italian wine in America.

In three pieces, Panos Kakaviatos reports from Bordeaux. (Whites over red; Left Bank; Right Bank and bargains.)

“Change is what’s important. Even if it comes one diaper at a time.” Mike Veseth highlightsThe Democracy Series,” a new collection of short videos released by Wines of South Africa.

In Wine-Searcher, Rebecca Gibb reviews “Native Wine Grapes of Italy,” the new reference book from Rome-based winewriter Ian D’Agata.

In New Orleans, wine ice cream is still illegal.

Daily Wine News: Greatest Composers

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-10-2014

Flickr, Norman27.

Flickr, Norman27.

“There’s gotta be a little bit of ego in there — if you decide to write a string quartet as a composer, you’re instantly up against the greatest composers who have ever written — Beethoven.” Foie Gras and Funnel Cakes sits down with Alan Baker of Cartograph Wines.

“Marijuana still grows in the region, but now all the cool kids are talking grapes, not grass.” In Mendocino, according to Katie Kelly Bell, the conversation has shifted “from pot to Pinot.”

“It’s a myth to think that there is some objective measure of wine quality that professional critics can tap into. Yet many critics choose to project this image of wine criticism to their readers.” Jamie Goode wonders if critics should allow personal style preferences to influence their work.

“Kapcsándy has lived a colorful life, but the only sign at the gate of his crowning achievement reads: ‘This is not Goosecross Cellars.’” In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray profiles Lou Kapcsándy.

According to Ray Isle, Portugal is the “most exciting wine country in the world that the U.S. doesn’t know enough about.”

In the Wall Street Journal Asia, Ross Kelly shares some details on Michael Clarke’s plan to turn Treasury Wine CEO around.

In Grubstreet, Alan Sytsma goes behind the scenes at Eleven Madison Park, where “elite, old-school service” has been modernized.

In Wine Spectator, Harvey Steiman tastes the latest vintages at Torbreck and then visits its ousted founder.