Daily Wine News: Love for the Loire

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-04-2016

The Loire.

The Loire.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague endorses Loire Valley wines for their value. “As a longtime fan of Loire Valley wines, I’ve never understood why they’ve remained so affordable. (Not that I’m complaining, of course.)”

Decanter reports that Champagne house Vranken-Pommery Monopole has followed in Taittinger’s footsteps by announcing it will produce English sparkling wine.

According to Wine Spectator, two California men have been indicted in there. French Laundry wine theft.

“But to understand and appreciate the greatness of such wines, you have to understand, as Mr. Salonen suggests, the “rules”: Complexity. Harmony. Cohesion. Nuance. Finesse. Surprise (call it originality if you like).” Elsewhere in Wine Spectator, Matt Kramer on “how to proselytize wine.”

In Vinous, Stephen Tanzer enjoys a vertical tasting of Kongsgaard Syrah back to the 1998 vintage.

Le Pan profiles Napa Valley’s Rosemary Cakebread, founder-producer of the Gallica label.

In Wine-Searcher, Adam Lechmere talks with Edouard Moueix, of Ets J-P Moueix, who explains why a career in Bordeaux was not inevitable.

Ted Loos offers an all-encompassing guide to the best airline wines in Travel + Leisure.

Wine Enthusiast profiles four young, entrepreneurial winemakers from Long Island.

In Wine & Spirits, Fiona Morrison pens a letter from Bordeaux.

Daily Wine News: Grumbling & Assessing

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-03-2016

Bordeaux wine. (Source: Wikimedia)

Bordeaux wine. (Source: Wikimedia)

“Grumbling about high prices is silly. It’s like disapproving of the cost of a Michelangelo… But aside from their taste Bordeaux’s magic lies in its variation and value. Yes, value.” Will Lyons explains why Bordeaux matters.

In the World of Fine Wine, Ella Lister assesses the opportunities and risks surrounding the 2015 Bordeaux vintage, canvassing the opinions of leading producers and shippers on the prices, quality, and style of the wines, and whether they can help save the region’s struggling distribution system.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley looks at California’s new generation of sought-after wines. “Whereas the cult wines represent a single style of wine — ripe, lush Cabernet — these new guys are heterogeneous, making everything from skin-fermented Melon de Bourgogne to Touriga Nacional rosé.”

Andrew Jefford feels the chill wind blowing down the Rhône valley and asks if the vines enjoy it more than the humans do in Decanter.

Elsewhere in Decanter, William Kelley reports on the Mondavi 50th anniversary dinner.

In Wine Enthusiast, Jameson Fink considers wines that come in one-liter bottles.

In Food & Wine, Carson Demmond on “The Beaujolais Effect,” and how producers from other wine regions around the world are using the same technique to make easy-drinking vins de soif from their own native grape varieties.

In the WSJ: “Some Non-Jews Think Manischewitz Wine Tastes Good, Befuddling Jews.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre profiles sommelier-consultant Andrew Stover, who is “promoting “stylish cutting-edge wines.””

Daily Wine News: Praise for NJ Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-02-2016

indexIn Saveur, Alan Richman is impressed by New Jersey wine. “Plenty of New Jersey wines are good. The crucial flaw in wine production here is that growers have yet to determine what grapes are ideal for New Jersey, so they plant them all, seemingly with good intentions.”

“I think Italian wine producers’ biggest problem is that they are still constantly measuring themselves against the French. This is a mistake,” says Jancis Robinson. “They have quite enough to be proud of to stand on their own two feet nowadays.”

Alfonso Cevola ponders whom the Italians are making wine for now.

“Winemakers in the Loire may request emergency government aid after becoming the latest French wine region to report that severe frost has jeopardized the 2016 harvest,” reports Decanter.

“The pace with which South Africa has transformed its wine industry is one of the most dramatic changes to have occurred in recent times,” says James Lawrence in Wine-Searcher.

In partnership with Drync, eBay recently launched eBay wine, “a new destination which features the ability to browse collectible, rare and everyday wines…” Fortune comments on the news.

In the Guardian, David Williams on the natural wine highlights of the Real Wine Fair in London.

The Telegraph on the rise of Welsh wine.

Wine Reviews: Wakefield

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 04-30-2016

The Taylor family kicked off their winery in 1969, after scoring a 430-acre vineyard near the Wakefield River in Southern Australia’s Clare Valley region. These wines are known as Taylor’s in Australia but, due to trademark restrictions, they’re labeled as Wakefield in the Northern Hemisphere.

At more than 1,100 feet above sea level, the Taylor vineyards get plenty of sun but receive the benefit if large diurnal temperature swings. The resulting wines are rich in flavor but structured and vibrant. The St. Andrews wines come from the estate fruit grown in their terra rossa soil, while the Jaraman wines are blended with fruit from other sites. Wakefield also produces two stunning high-end wines, the Pioneer Shiraz and Visionary Cabernet, from the best plots in their vineyards. (I reviewed these wines in November 2015. Spoiler: they are amazing.)

Today, the Taylor’s/Wakefield winemaking team is composed of Mitchell Taylor (Managing Director), Adam Eggins (Chief Winemaker), and winemakers Chad Bowman (who joined in 2003) and Phillip Reschke (who joined in 2013).

I received these wines as trade samples and tasted them sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Frost & Fires

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-29-2016

Frost and vines. (Flickr: epeigne37)

Frost and vines. (Flickr: epeigne37)

Burgundy has been hit by the “worst frost since 1981,” which may have already cut the potential size of the 2016 harvest, reports Decanter. Jeremy Parzen also shares a few photos of the frost on his blog, Do Bianchi.

W. Blake Gray considers why Parker’s 100-point wines don’t sell out anymore. “Parker and the Wine Advocate starting doling out 100-point scores like Oprah gives out free books, and while there is an audience willing to shell out for these mouth-bruisers, we’ve come to learn that they’re a niche like everything else.”

Caroline Henry looks at how some Champagne producers are following the En Primeur model to show off last year’s vintage in Wine-Searcher.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov features the wine list of Freek Mills in Gowanus, Brooklyn, “which has one of the deepest, most narrowly concentrated selections I’ve seen.”

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan talks with cookbook author Dorie Greenspan about French food with wine.

In VinePair, Rachel Signer offers a primer on different styles of sparkling Limoux, and shares Dom Pérignon’s relationship to the wines.

Hannah Walhout explores the tradition of Georgian wines for the Alcohol Professor.

In Vinous, Josh Raynolds finds values from Vacqueyras.

Elsewhere in Decanter, Jane Anson shares a few benchmark wines from Chile.

Daily Wine News: Charm & Challenge

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-28-2016

Rioja terroir.

Rioja terroir.

“The concept of terroir does sound a bit magical…To a wine cynic, it was a red flag to a bull.” Andrea Frost considers the charm and challenge of terroir. “The ability of wine to capture and express landscape and transport the drinker to it is a thing of wonder… It’s enough to make your world smaller, larger and more pleasant all at the same time.”

David Rogers wonders if wine can lose its mojo in Grape Collective. “If we assume that modern packaging, transportation and storage are sound enough for a wine to be tasted “equally” all over the world…it is not a stretch to suggest its quality therefore is determined not only by the physical combination of fruit, soil, aspect, climate and …but also the physiological inputs of human condition and one’s response to our environmental surroundings.”

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy profiles the women changing Bordeaux’s historic wine traditions.

François Audouze, one of the best-known wine collectors and advocates of older wine in France, talks with W. Blake Gray about trust in a post-Rudy world.

Rachel Signer suggests Picpoul wines from the South of France as an affordable alternative to Chablis in the Food Republic.

Suzanne Mustacich questions the likelihood of Americans buying 2015 Bordeaux futures in Wine Spectator.

Joe Roberts explains why you should care about the recently published study on “Wine O’Clock.”

Decanter recommends Bordeaux 2015 white wines, the best being found in Pessac-Léognan.

In Palate Press, Becky Sue Epstein reports on her experience at ProWein 2016.

Daily Wine News: Of Two Minds

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-27-2016

Bordeaux wine. (Source: Wikimedia)

Bordeaux wine. (Source: Wikimedia)

Antonio Galloni offers an in-depth review of Bordeaux’s 2015 vintage in Vinous. “Winemakers are of two minds with the 2015. Some believe the fruit had little tannin, so the wines required more work in the cellar to extract. The much more commonly held view is that the wines were naturally quite rich and easy to extract.”

In the Sacramento Bee, Mike Dunne looks at the rise of Amador County’s reputation.

W. Blake Gray considers the wines of the West Bank in Palate Press. “An optimist could see a real chance for cooperation, with Palestinians growing the grapes to Israeli specifications, and everybody being happy. That, unfortunately, is not what’s going on.”

“A collection of Nazi-era German wines has been discovered in a secret cellar in Russia after a construction worker fell through the floor of the house he was repairing,” reports the Drinks Business.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, reflects on the Portuguese wine industry. “Portugal has great history, great terroir, great wines — but that greatness isn’t always recognized…”

The Telegraph reports that an English sparkling wine beat Champagne in a blind tasting.

Bloomberg highlights winemaking pioneers in Thailand’s mountainous Khao Yai known for sweet, light wines.

John Legend talks wine in Wine Enthusiast.

Daily Wine News: Arguing Over Amarone

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-26-2016

(Wikimedia)

(Wikimedia)

Amarone Families and the Valpolicella Consortium are at odds over the name “Amarone.” But who controls the elite Italian wine name? Robert Camuto investigates in Wine Spectator.

In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence closely looks at the future of Australian wine. “A closer analysis of Wine Australia’s export data suggests that the country’s future isn’t perhaps quite as rosy as one might initially conclude.”

Financial Times’ James Pickford pens a profile of Neal Martin. “Mr Martin, 45, says he was unprepared for the intense media interest in his elevation to the high-profile role, as he assumes responsibility for the Bordeaux region.”

According to the Drinks Business, Robert Parker has given the 2009 Pape Clément 100-points in the most recent Hedonist’s Gazette, after a “fun” tasting of some wines from the vintage.

Steve Heimoff wonders if California is running out of new AVAs. “My own view? The Coast is pretty much nearly out of new AVA candidates, with a few important exceptions…”

Panos Kakaviatos offers an intro to the barrel samples of Bordeaux 2015.

Rosé in a can has arrived, according to VinePair.

Daryna Tobey surveys the history of field blends to understand their popularity today in Eater.

Italy drinks less wine than Germany in historic drop,” reports the Telegraph.

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford is charmed by Sardinia, “Italy’s ‘other’ wine island.”

Daily Wine News: Status of Cult Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-25-2016

Esther Mobley visits Harlan Estate and questions the relevancy of cult wines today. (Source: Harlan Estate)

Esther Mobley visits Harlan Estate and questions the relevancy of cult wines today. (Source: Harlan Estate)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley explores whether Napa’s cult Cabernets are still relevant today. “Have these wines transformed from beverage to currency? At what point does wine stop being wine?… And what are the cults today, in an age that champions populism and transparency?”

“The Drouhins have achieved what many family-run companies find difficult—even impossible—to pull off: They have not only maintained the family business but have expanded and improved upon it, in terms of land and wines, as well as sales.” Lettie Teague profiles the Drouhin family of Burgundy in the Wall Street Journal.

In Eater, Susan H. Gordon on the new generation of winemakers in Bordeaux. “Armed with today’s desire for sustainability; in dialogue with a whole new market of well-educated, value-seeking wine drinkers; and with a contemporary mixture of traditional and modern winemaking techniques, they are reclaiming pride in Bordeaux’s unsung areas and uniting local terroirs with today’s market demands.”

Sophie Barrett has fallen back in love with rosé Champagne.

In Wine-Searcher, Adam Lechmere offers an update on Spanish producer Torres’ Ancestral Vines project, which is working to revive and recognize ancestral varieties.

“For the first time in five years, in 2015 the Bordelais have a vintage worth making a fuss about,” says Jancis Robinson.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre is amused by Maryse Chevriere’s illustrations of wine tasting notes on the Instagram profile, freshcutgardenhose.

Rachel Signer suggests giving darker rosés a try in VinePair.

Wine Reviews: Rosé Season in Full Spring

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 04-23-2016

It’s that time of year again! The trees have blossomed, my email inbox is filling up with “Rosé sale!” offers, and all my favorite wine shops have scooted the pink stuff toward the front of the store.

I drink the pink all year round, but with longer days, more sunshine and warmer weather here in the mid-Atlantic, I crave rosé more than ever. And during spring and summer, I love exploring the new releases from all over the world, made from all kinds of grape varieties and blends. Add in the generally modest price tags, and I arrive at the conclusion: we should all open some rosé right now.

Odds are you, like me, have your go-to favorites. I dig pinks from Bandol, Marsannay, and a bunch of California Rhone-style interpretations. But good rosé increasingly comes from pretty much everywhere people make good wine. If a lot of winemakers and working in a region, odds are someone is producing a kick-ass dry rosé. This has been one of the most encouraging developments in the worldwide wine trade since I began seriously exploring wine about 12 years ago. And I hope the pink parade continues for years to come, because these wines deserve a spot on any table or wine list.

Here are a few examples of some crisp new rosé. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »