Weekly Interview: Michael Richmond

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 02-27-2015

Michael Richmond

Michael Richmond

Each week, as regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we have the pleasure of featuring Michael Richmond of Bouchaine Vineyards.

In March 2015, Michael will be retiring from the wine industry after 40+ years in it. You’ll see below that Michael taken the interview as an opportunity to reflect on his entire career. So we offer the interview to you to enjoy, with minimal edits from our end.

Take a look, below the fold, for a reflection on the life and career of Michael Richmond!


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Daily Wine News: Napa’s on a Run

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-27-2015



In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers tasting notes for the last Wine School on Langhe Nebbiolo and announces what’s up next: Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

“The news will have huge ramifications for a futures system that is already floundering after three vintages…” In the Wall Street Journal, Will Lyons comments on Parker’s big announcement. “Mr. Parker stepping aside…may even have an effect on the style of wines being produced.”

Elsewhere in the Wall Street Journal, Will Lyons says Napa has been on a run lately, with three strong vintages, including a 2013 that’s been described by winemakers as ‘epic’.

“Can a return to winemaking save Kentucky’s soul?” asks Sarah Baird in Eater.

Neal Martin says his approach to en primeur reporting for the Wine Advocate “may be a bit more funky than in the past.”

In Grape Collective, Rachael Doob rounds up a range of reactions to Robert Parker’s recent announcement.

Kyle Schlachter chats with Gary Vaynerchuk about getting back into the wine game and potentially rekindling WineLibraryTV.

Pennsylvania representatives vote — yet again — for privatization of liquor stores. “Governor’s veto likely,” reports Wines & Vines.

In Palate Press, Mike Madaio discovers Pecorino (no, not the cheese) from Marche.

Jane Anson lists “10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste” in Wine-Searcher.

Daily Wine News: Passing the Torch

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-26-2015

Neal Martin, taking over for Parker (Flickr: epeigne37)

Neal Martin, who is now taking over for Parker (Flickr: epeigne37)

“Robert Parker announced Wednesday that he will no longer cover Bordeaux’s en primeur tastings, handing over the reins instead to Wine Advocate team member Neal Martin,” reports Wine-Searcher.

Wine Turtle lists the “103 Best Wine Blogs That You Can’t Miss.”

“What would the perfect wine critic look like? asks Jamie Goode.

In Grape Collective, Bill Ward tracks the evolution of the California Garagistes.

In honor of tax season, Tim Fish picks out a case of value wines under $25 in Wine Spectator.

According to Beltran Domecq, the president of the Sherry wine council, “Sherry producers need to help consumers understand more about the vineyards behind their wines.”

Elin McCoy offers tips on how to find prosecco that isn’t terrible in Bloomberg. “Italians don’t make it easy to distinguish luxury bottles from the merely gaseous. You have to read the label—closely.”

In the Wall Street Journal, author Michael Paterniti goes looking for his lost heritage—with detours through ancient medicine and the cafes of 18th-century Turin—in a bottle of Alessio Vermouth di Torino Rosso.

In Forbes, facts and photos from a record-breaking week in Napa.

Jerry Lockspeiser reviews An Unlikely Vineyard by Deidre Heekin in Harpers.

BREAKING: Robert Parker Steps Back From Bordeaux

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-25-2015

Robert Parker, 2014 Wine Writers Symposium.

Robert Parker, 2014 Wine Writers Symposium.

Earlier today, Robert Parker announced (subscription required) that he’s taking a step back from his Bordeaux coverage. As Parker explains:

As just part of the planned coverage for this year, Neal will review the 2014 en primeur releases from Bordeaux. Meanwhile I plan to review the newly bottled 2012 vintage wines and produce a comprehensive 10 year retrospective on the incredible 2005 Bordeaux vintage.

Parker’s decision makes sense. He’s reviewed virtually every Bordeaux vintage for nearly four decades and could surely use a break. But winemakers in Bordeaux must be nervous. No critic will ever have Parker’s influence. And one must assume that he’s now done with en primeur — and will likely move away from all Bordeaux reviews in the near future.

Daily Wine News: Highs and Lows

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-25-2015

Montalcino landscape (Flickr: Eric@focus)

Montalcino landscape (Flickr: Eric@focus)

W. Blake Gray thinks wine under $10 sucks. “As recently as 2007 I wrote an every-other-week column about wines under $10. I found plenty of delicious wines… I’m glad I don’t have to write this column now.”

Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka provides an overview of what was discussed at this year’s Napa Valley Wine Writer Symposium. “Never forget how many people never think about wine.”

In Wine-Searcher, Tim Atkin highlights his top 10 Brunellos from 2010. “One of the unusual features of the vintage in Montalcino is that it was good everywhere – from north to south, east to west.”

In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth offers notes on the California Chardonnays he tasted at the In Pursuit of Balance tasting.

The Drinks Business rounds up five wines you never knew were ‘natural’.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, deconstructs Italian wine. “Italy is incredible diverse among the regions and…equally diverse within each region. Or at least that’s what I hope because that makes my terroirist soul happy.”

Wine Folly compares the best places to buy wine online.

Early signs suggest that South Africa’s 2015 harvest could be one of the best in recent memory, reports Decanter.

Grape Collective talks to Count Sebastiano Capponi of Villa Calcinaia about Silence of the Lambs, the historical conflicts with the French, and Chianti Classico.

Millennial Wine Drinkers at Restaurants

Posted by | Posted in Commentary | Posted on 02-24-2015

Millennials. Drinking Wine. At a Restaurant.

Millennials. Drinking Wine. At a Restaurant.

Millennials are a popular, nay hyped, topic among those in the wine industry. Wine marketers excitedly chase this demographic with the latest packaging, social media campaign, or on-trend red blend.

As a millennial myself, I tend to roll my eyes when I see wine news interspersed with phrases like, “targeted at millennial consumers,” “aimed at millennial males,” or “courting a new generation of wine drinkers.” Note: all of those are pulled from the last week of industry newsletters. Usually what follows, to my millennial sensibilities, seems insincere and manipulative. I want something that is authentic and truly appeals to me vs. a product and campaign that’s attempting to get more share of my wallet.

Plenty of research studies, both within and outside of the wine industry, are directionally useful to understanding younger wine drinkers. Gallo’s latest Consumer Wine Trends Survey featured a number of findings about millennials. The Wine Market Council has put out a succession of media alerts highlighting its recent annual research, including millennial consumption trends. Or for a more general understanding, the idea and content engine, psfk, publishes frequent opinion pieces covering millennial marketing and case studies. Given the hotness of this topic, the list of sources goes on.

However, in my opinion, the most insightful way to learn and to gain credibility with millennials is to go right to the source. Fill in the holes of millennial truisms with your own conversations & experiences, and with the experiences of others who are on the frontline of working with millennials.

To this end, I had the chance at this month’s Vino2015 to listen to a panel discussion all about Echo Boomers Growing Impact in the wine world. This panel included Jack Mason, wine director at Marta, a Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant modeled on the “rustic tradition of Roman pizzerie.” Jack, himself a 27-year old millennial, provided extremely useful and resonant primary observations on what millennial wine drinkers seek in their dining experiences.

He began, “Millennials are lazy and rebellious. They want to be in the know and they want a unique experience.” Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Terroir vs. Tradition

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-24-2015

The rebel himself (Source: Langdon Shiverick Imports)

The rebel himself (Source: Langdon Shiverick Imports)

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto profiles Laurent Macle, a “rebel” defying Jura family tradition by making Burgundy-style Chardonnays. “The dispute within the Macle family is important because it pits two revered pillars of the wine world against each other: terroir vs. tradition.”

Jancis Robinson finds many similarities between the wine scenes in South Africa and Chile. “In the last few years in both countries a new generation of much smaller-scale, younger, iconoclastic producers has emerged…” On her blog, she explores Chile’s new generation of wine producers.

In Harpers, Matthew Dickinson predicts, “in three years’ time, every wine company with any form of communications strategy will be using YouTube (or similar) to communicate its message.”

In Wine-Searcher, Christian Holthausen presents his insider’s guide to the best wine spots in Paris.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy names “The World’s Next Big Wine Regions.” Virginia made the list!

Jonathan Lipsmeyer makes up with Sancerre.

Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite explain “Why You Should Drink Rosé All Year Long” in Grub Street.

In Forbes, Shellie Karabell offers a look into man leading the Krug family business: Olivier Krug, the sixth generation of the founding family.

In Punch, Mark Johanson looks at the battle over Chilean pisco and Peruvian pisco, and the divergent styles it has produced.

Daily Wine News: Shifting Lines

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-23-2015

Vineyard in the Loire Valley (Wikimedia)

Vineyard in the Loire Valley (Wikimedia)

“If you think you know the Loire — and whether it’s Sancerre or Muscadet, a lot of folks do — the lines are shifting almost faster than anyone can keep up with,” says Jon Bonné in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In the New York Times, Paul Sullivan looks at what makes a good sommelier. “It all starts with the wine list, of course, but in many fine dining restaurants the list is an absurdly long tome for a decision that needs to be made in a few minutes.”

Premiere Napa Valley Barrel Auction raised a record $6 million.

Lettie Teague tells how The Withers winery sprang from a personal venture by executive Andrew Tow in the Wall Street Journal.

According to Reuters, Hungary’s Tokaji wine, dubbed the “king of wines, the wine of kings,” is getting ready for a makeover.

Alder Yarrow offers his thoughts on a lineup of Bordeaux wines from the 2010 vintage he recently tasted.

A case of Château Latour ’45 sold for $32,570 at Bonhams London Wine Sale, reports Guy Collins in Bloomberg.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre focuses on how technology accentuates terroir at Château Pichon Baron in Bordeaux.

In Grape Collective, Rachael Doob profiles Robert Sands, president of Constellation Brands, the biggest seller by volume of premium-category wines price under $15.

Wine Reviews: California Sauvignon Blanc

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 02-21-2015

It’s the dead of winter here in the mid-Atlantic and crisp white wines might not be the first choice when you’re thinking of cracking open a bottle. But if you’re in the mood for seafood and salads, or you’re lucky enough to find yourself on a warm, sunny deck somewhere closer to the equator, California Sauvignon Blanc is a good call.

These Cali Sauv Blancs comprise a diverse crew, showcasing different regional nuances and winemaking signatures, and many of them are available for reasonable prices.

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

Weekly Interview: Kari Auringer

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 02-20-2015

Kari Auringer

Kari Auringer

Each week, as regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker.  This week, we are featuring Kari Auringer, the winemaker at Silver Trident Winery.

Kari began her career not in wine, but in graphic design.  That puts her squarely among the winemakers who, at one point in their first careers, deliberated decided to leave their burgeoning careers and jump into the world of wine. In our interview, she discusses her career move, her drinking habits, and Napa Valley.

Check out the interview with Kari below the fold!

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