Daily Wine News: All About Bordeaux

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-18-2019

bordeaux-wine-cork-984x500In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy offers her impressions of the 2018 Bordeaux vintage. “The best wines are exceptional: concentrated, layered, velvet- and silk-textured, pure and succulent. Tasting barrel sample after barrel sample is usually tough, with puckering palate fatigue, but not this year. The wines combine the mouth-filling plushness of the 2009s with the ripe structure of the 2015s and 2016s, plus a cool, bright energy that made me crave another taste.”

Jane Anson also shares highlights from the en primeur tastings in Decanter. (subscription req.)

In Vinous, Neal Martin attends a vertical of Rauzan-Ségla that spanned more than a century, and charts the course of the Margaux Second Growth from its origins under Pierre de Rauzan to the present day under Nicolas Audebert.

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto shares his takeaways from the 2019 Vinitaly international wine fair.

What’s the best way to organize supermarket products to facilitate consumer purchases? Mike Veseth, the wine economist, considers the best system for wine.

Annalisa Girardi considers the negative impacts of Italy’s prosecco boom in Forbes.

In the Cork Report, Mikhail Lipyanskiy checks out the Hudson River Region.

In the Dallas News, Alfonso Cevola explores a new generation of kosher wine.

Daily Wine News: America’s Black Wine Consumers

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-17-2019

(Flickr: JonathanCohen)

(Flickr: JonathanCohen)

Why is the wine industry ignoring black Americans’ $1.2 trillion buying power? Nneka M. Okona explores the issue in VinePair. “The majority of wine advertising and marketing, and many of the industry’s cultural gatekeepers, don’t appear to recognize the diverse preferences or buying power of the black market. They aren’t invested in exploring “what we like, do day-to-day, or about our culture,” Townsend says. This stands in stark contrast to the world of spirits. Certain brands recognize the buying power of black people, who in turn transform their sales and cement their space in the cultural lexicon.”

“François Pinault, owner of Château Latour and Bernard Arnault, owner of luxury group LVMH, have pledged to donate hundreds of millions of Euros towards rebuilding Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris,” reports Ellie Douglas in Decanter.

In Palate Press, Mike Madaio embraces the obscure with Slow Wine USA. “I particularly appreciate the visionary move away from a points-based system to score wines, instead choosing to focus on sustainable farming practices and the relationship between winery and the place it comes from, or, in their words, the “Slowphilosophy.””

Jason Haas reflects on 30 years of Tablas Creek Vineyard, which his late father Robert Haas founded in 1989.

The Born Digital Wine Awards winners were announced. Here are the winners.

On JancisRobinson.com, Alder Yarrow offers a spring update from California wine country. (subscription req.)

In Food & Wine, Peter Lane on the beauty of Franciacorta.

Daily Wine News: The Next Generation

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-16-2019

Vineyard in Central Otago. (Source: Wikimedia)

Vineyard in Central Otago. (Source: Wikimedia)

“Watching the growth of this young region, it’s interesting to think that the progression might not simply be a case of slow, gradual improvement, but rather a punctuated equilibrium, with periods of stasis followed by short, intense bursts of change.” Southeast on the South Island, the cool hills of Central Otago have emerged as New Zealand’s prime source for pinot noir. In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Jamie Goode reports on four of the most talented growers.

On his blog, Jamie Goode explores the problems with wine lists. “Too often, wine lists fall into two camps. The first, is a high-end establishment with a book-like list of many hundreds of wines, where it’s simply a list showing the name of the wine and the price. Without a good sommelier, this sort of list is not at all user-friendly… The second is the sort of wine list you find all over the place, usually in more non-wine-focused establishments…”

On WineBusiness.com, John Gillespie explores the next generation of wine consumers. (Just don’t call them Generation Z.)

In Decanter, Michaela Morris looks at how a new focus on specific terroir zones and clarity over wine styles is giving a boost to Bardolino. (subscription req.)

Winegrowers in Burgundy set fires in their fields Sunday night to counteract the effects of frost on their vines as a cold front swept the region.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Shwanika Narayan looks at how California wineries are being shut out from China amid the trade war.

China’s Noble Dragon is a long-established brand, and one that is growing in prominence around the world. In a blind tasting at ProWein, the Drinks Business set out to see how it stands up against the best in its class.

Daily Wine News: The Rocks District

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-15-2019

The Rocks District signature cobblestones. (Wikimedia)

The Rocks District signature cobblestones. (Wikimedia)

The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA hasn’t been seen much on front labels. W. Blake explains why in Wine-Searcher. “…almost every wine from TROM-F (not an official acroynm, but boy, it needs one) says Walla Walla Valley on the label. Then there’s this problem: the guy who pioneered viticulture in TROM-F, Christophe Baron of Cayuse, doesn’t like the name. So he doesn’t use it, even though until this year he was the only winery that legally could, as his winery is actually in Milton-Freewater.”

In Bloomberg, Patrick Gillespie reports on how Argentina’s wine industry has brought a boost of tourism to the country during its recession. “The number of foreign tourists in Mendoza, Argentina’s wine hub, jumped 58 percent in February from a year ago, well ahead of the 19 percent increase nationwide, government data published last week shows. Wine exports are up 8 percent so far this year, contrasting with an overall decline in the country’s exports during the same period.”

Jancis Robinson considers wines that have gone “from naff to nice,” including Moët Champagne, Australian Chardonnay, lambrusco and Soave.

On WineBusiness.com, Stacy Briscoe explores Idaho’s growing wine industry.

In SevenFifty Daily, Mark Stock looks at why American winemakers are embracing Melon de Bourgogne.

Mekita Rivas explores the rise of Miami’s wine scene in Wine Enthusiast.

In Bon Appétit, Emily Schultz discovers the beauty of pairing lambrusco and pizza.

Much to Discover in the High Desert Wines of Southern Arizona

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 04-13-2019


Surreal scenery outside Sonoita, Arizona.

As an East Coaster, I didn’t see a proper American desert until I first traveled to Arizona in 2010. Immediately, I became obsessed with this state and all its extreme natural beauty. With few expectations, I also dove deep into the wine scene, and found some dynamic producers making delicious wines.

Many of the wines I enjoyed most hailed from the Southeast of Arizona, the Cochise County area, which abuts Mexico and New Mexico. The state’s only American Viticultural Areas are located here, Sonoita and Willcox. This is also where the modern Arizona wine industry began, when soil scientist Dr. Gordon Dutt founded Sonoita Vineyards in 1983 after an experimental vineyard showed promise. I recently visited the region for the first time and encountered a beautiful land of high desert plains, rugged mountains, wide open space, and exciting wines.

Yes, Arizona is hot and dry. But the diversity in microclimates, soil types, winegrapes, and winemakers tells a much more complex story. Geologic maps of Arizona are dizzying, and the area has an abundance of rocky, sandy soils, limestone, clay, giving winegrowers many great options to work with.

Most of the vineyards in Southeast Arizona are planted around 4,300-5,000 feet in elevation. This leads to serious temperature swings, allowing grapes to ripen in the sun and heat, and maintain acidity as the nighttime temperatures drop. During my visit to Sonoita in February, I woke up to 18 degrees Fahrenheit after driving through snow-covered mountains, their peaks sometimes hidden above the clouds. The day after I left, six inches of snow fell, which goes to show how variable and extreme conditions can be.

To start off my visit, I met Todd Bostock, winemaker at Dos Cabezas, a producer I’ve grown to respect. We met on a cold, sunny day in Sonoita, and I tasted through his wines and chatted about what he’s up to these days at his winery. And he’s up to a lot of awesome stuff.

Pronghorn Vineyard. Credit: Dos Cabezas

Pronghorn Vineyard. Credit: Dos Cabezas

The late Arizona winegrower Al Buhl started Dos Cabezas in 1995. Todd, who started home winemaking early before studying with UC Davis’ extension program, took a winemaking job at Dos Cabezas in 2002. The Bostock family took control over the project in 2006. Todd farms 37 acres in Willcox’s Cimarron Vineyard, which sit at 4,300 feet. This fascinating vineyard is home to seven white grape varieties (from Albarino to Viognier) and 17 red grapes (from Aglianico to Vranec). The 15-acre Pronghorn vineyard, in Sonoita, sits at 4,800 feet and is home to ten different grape varieties.

As such, Dos Cabezas is all about the blends. There’s a lot of vintage variation in this part of the country, and lots of weather difficulties, including early and late frosts, hail, so having access to a wide array of grapes gives Todd freedom to tweak the makeup of his wines each vintage. You can tell a lot about a wine nerd by what empty bottles they keep around on shelves or cabinets. In Todd’s barrel room, I saw a diverse selection and epic bottles, but it was the Chateauneuf wines (from several of my favorite producers) that stood out. And that Chateauneuf ethos of blending all sorts of different grapes comes through in Todd’s wines. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Refreshing Reds

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-12-2019

(Flickr: theloushe)

(Flickr: theloushe)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov and the tasting panel dive deep into Languedoc reds. “We sensed that producers in Languedoc, as has happened in much of the world over the last decade, have backed away from pushing the boundaries of ripeness in the vineyard and wringing out the last measures of fruit and power in the winery. The result was a set of wines that on the whole were far fresher than they might have been 10 years ago.”

“When it comes to leading the conversation about climate change, the wine trade is in an ideal place to take a role,” says Jamie Goode. “Wine is fun, and its consumption is joyous. People like wine. Rich folk buy wineries. Because of this, the stories around wine can be powerful, and can get through the confirmation bias defences of climate change deniers.”

With Eugenia Keegan at the helm in Oregon, Jackson Family Wines (JFW) is guiding the valley’s evolution into an elite, luxury region. In return, the valley is doing the same for JFW, reports Katherine Cole in SevenFifty Daily.

Does great wine terroir exist if no one is there to appreciate it? Cathrine Todd explores the answer in relation to Cariñena in Forbes.

In Vinous, Stephan Tanzer does a vertical tasting of Beaulieu Vineyard’s Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet, California’s first cult Cabernet.

Mike Veseth, aka the wine economist, considers the rising import threat to U.S. wine.

“Sometimes it feels as if my beat here at The Chronicle consists mostly of reporting on wineries getting sold.” Esther Mobley reflects on this week’s big sale (Grace Family Vineyards) in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague looks at how “restaurateur Drew Nieporent changed the way wine is served and understood in this country.” (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Labeling Laws

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-11-2019

(Flickr: Daniel Gasienica)

(Flickr: Daniel Gasienica)

Starting in 2021, wine producers who sell their wines in the EU will have to reveal their ingredients. In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph has a few thoughts on what this might mean wine producers.

In PUNCH, Leslie Pariseau profiles Paul Kalemkiarian, the president of the Wine of the Month Club, who founded America’s first wine club in a strip mall pharmacy.”

On JancisRobinson.com, Richard Hemming reacts to all the recent news stories about the health risks of consuming alcohol. “The point I want to make is this: even if I accept all the supposed health risks of drinking alcohol, then I am still going to drink it. And my reasons behind that decision reveal that the value of wine goes far beyond health.”

“González Byass has acquired Ribera del Duero winery Fournier,” reports Lisa Riley in Harpers UK.

In Wine Enthusiast, Linda Gradstein explores the world of kosher wine.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley reports on “a new era for Grace Family Vineyards.”

In Grape Collective, Christopher Barnes on how English art star Sarah Lucas collided with Austrian natural wine pioneer Meinklang.

The future of weed is high-end wine pairings, according to Jeff Gordinier in Esquire.

Daily Wine News: Changing Reputations

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-10-2019

glass_glasses_restaurant_drink_wine_glass_wine_clear_liquid-989609.jpg!dIn Wine & Spirits Magazine, Luke Sykora checks in with three Sonoma Coast growers—Cobb, Flowers and Hirsch—to taste how their vineyard-expressive Pinot Noir wines are faring with ten or more years of age.

W. Blake Gray reports on changes coming to Red Mountain, Washington’s “grand cru” region, in Wine-Searcher. “In 1985, there were just 60 planted acres and the site was unknown to all but the geekiest of wine fans. Now two extremely expensive projects at opposite ends of the mountain promise to permanently change its reputation in very different ways.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss explores Cabernet Franc from the Loire. “A succession of superb vintages (2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018) has only helped solidify the idea that Cabernet Franc bottlings from the central Loire Valley deserve to be taken seriously.”

Wine Spectator reports that Dick and Ann Grace have sold Grace Family Vineyards, one of Napa’s original cult Cabernet Sauvignon producers. Kathryn Green, a Napa vineyard owner, purchased the Victorian house, a small winery and a 3-acre vineyard as well as the inventory and brand.

“Symington Family Estates and Quinta do Noval have declared the 2017 Port vintage, in the rare occurrence of declaring consecutive vintages,” reports Ellie Douglas in Decanter.

As Italian regions produce more 100 percent Sangiovese wines, winemakers find themselves grappling with a new problem—deposits of quercetin. Michaela Morris reports on the issue in Meininger’s.

Alsace is “closer than ever” to imposing mandatory sweetness guides on wine labels, according to the Drinks Business.

Daily Wine News: The New Natural

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-09-2019

Australia's Delinquente wines. (Source: Frankie)

Australia’s Delinquente wines. (Source: Frankie)

In SevenFifty Daily, Betsy Andrews looks at how a group of U.C. Davis enology grads is upending expectations with their micro-label, minimalist natural wines. “Together, these young producers are changing the traditional Davis trajectory. Rather than working their way up through the ranks by making conventional wine at brand-name wineries, they’re doing their own thing… In the process, they’re upending expectations of natural wines. Using their education to make technically correct, low-input bottles, this group represents an exciting new direction for American wine.”

On JancisRobinson.com, Jason Wilson reports that things are at last looking up for Australian wines in the U.S. thanks, in part, to the natural wine movement. (subscription req.)

Biodynamics is a growing segment of the wine industry, but is it worth the trouble and cost of conversion? Vicki Denig explores the answer in Wine-Searcher.

“Bordeaux goes where the money is. And the money is now with the Chinese.” In the New York Times, Adam Nossiter paints a picture of how a growing number of new Chinese owners are changing Bordeaux’s chateaus.

In Wine Spectator, Suzanne Mustacich looks at the potential of Bordeaux’s 2018 vintage in the U.S. “The wines show great promise. But in recent years, the futures have largely failed to sell-through to consumers, leaving négociants and retailers to hold them until the wines are released. And there’s no indication that this year will be any different.”

Edith Hancock explains why rosé wine is ideal for innovation in the Drinks Business.

In Wine Enthusiast, Nicole A. Taylor writes about the changing perceptions on drinking wine pregnant. “By the final trimester, I had observed that only highly trained somms understand the subtleties serving humans baking babies.”

Daily Wine News: Movers and Shakers

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-08-2019

Napa vineyards. (Wikimedia)

Napa vineyards. (Wikimedia)

The 85-year-old Wine Institute is moving its headquarters to Sacramento from San Francisco, reports the Sacramento Bee.

W. Blake Gray reports at the options following the passing of Napa’s development bill in Wine-Searcher. “Why would the most successful wine region in America – and arguably the most successful in the world – want to restrict agriculture, when its grapes are so valuable?”

Antonio Galloni remembers winemaker Gianfranco Soldera in Vinous.

In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph offers his thoughts on mandatory ingredient listing on wines.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague looks at Americans’ fascination with wine grapes. (subscription req.)

On Robert Parker’s Wine Journal, R.H. Drexel profiles the wines of Pam Starr. “Though all of Starr’s wines are intentional, vibrant and very balanced, I favor the Crocker & Starr Cabernet Francs. They are glorious representations of this underrated variety, and are the very definition of tension, precision of flavors, great structure and a texture that begs for a wide host of foods.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Tammie Teclemariam looks at how smart phones are changing how we drink wine.

In Grape Collective, Marco Salerno delves into Calabrian wine.