Wine Reviews: Gundlach Bundschu & Peju

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-19-2019

This week, I’m back to California, focusing on one producer apiece from Sonoma and Napa.

Peju is a well-known name, and a hot spot for Napa wine tourists. This Rutherford estate, founded by Tony and Herta Peju in 1982, produces a wide range of wines (about 40). I tasted six wines (with wide national availability) from winemaker Sara Fowler.

I also tapped into some new wines from Sonoma stalwart Gundlach Bundschu (a.k.a., “Gun Bun”). This historic estate dates back to 1858, when Jacob Gundlach founded the Rhinefarm Vineyard.  I’ve been enjoying these wines for a long time, and I think Gun Bun wines can show a lot of quality for the price.

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

Winemaker Interview: Remi Vervier

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 10-18-2019

Remi Vervier

Remi Vervier

As our regular readers know, from time to time, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker to probe their winemaking philosophy and to gain insight into how they became who they are. This week, we are featuring Remi Vervier, the Managing Director and Oenologist of Champagne Palmer & Co.

Remi hails from a Burgundian winemaking family. He was born in Macon, and grew up around the family vineyard in Pouilly Fuissé. He returned to the region after his studies to work at Louis Latour, before joining Champagne Palmer & Co in 2010.

Champagne Palmer & Co. was established in 194 by seven growers. Its wines are created from 415 hectares of vineyards, across forty crus. Once vinified and blended, Palmer’s wines undergo extended sur lie aging – far beyond what Champagne’s laws require – which I think helps impart Palmer’s house style, marked by richness and lusciousness.

Check out the interview below the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Evolution & Extinction

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-18-2019

twowineglasseswhitewineIn the New York Times, Eric Asimov reports on how farmer, biologist, and winemaker Mimi Casteel is working to combat climate change and reverse ecological damage with regenerative agriculture in vineyards in the Willamette Valley.

“Extinction is such a final word that it seems strange to use in terms of an entire category of wine, but along with gorillas, the Sumatran elephant and the white rhino we may soon have to add the name Sherry,” says Don Kavanagh in Wine-Searcher. “Looking back across the past five years, Sherry’s decline has been well signposted. Continuous decline in interest has been matched by apathy in the marketplace.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague highlights the wine importers she’s always happy to see when she checks a back label.

Napa County’s wine grape harvest is about 75 percent completed, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers said this week.

It was a catastrophic event that nearly bankrupted the Champagne producer, but almost 120 years later, Pol Roger has opened two bottles unearthed from its collapsed cellars, which caved in at the turn of the last century. The Drinks Business has the story.

In Fortune, Stephanie Cain talks to Champagne concierge Lisa Legrand about what goes into the job.

Daily Wine News: How Scores Changed Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-17-2019

Wine_bottle_rating_signIn Meininger’s, Roger Morris considers how scores changed wine—for the better. “Simply put, ratings points were the prime reason consumer interest in wine, especially in the United States, exploded during the last 25 years of the 20th Century. However much professionals hated them, ratings provided the framework by which both trade and consumers could have a conversation about their thoughts and preferences on styles as well as individual bottles. Those who wanted guidance now had a system to follow, and those of us with independent palates had something to rail against whenever we felt combative.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, David Ferry looks at why Wine Country isn’t attracting millennials.

Clay Risen explores the American craft distillers working to reimagine what American brandy can be in PUNCH. “In a way, the brandy renaissance is a return to history. Brandy made from all sorts of fruit—especially peaches and pears—was among the most popular spirits in colonial America… It’s ironic, then, that the resurgence in American brandy owes much to the return of American whiskey.”

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland talks to Burgundy legend Jean-Nicolas Méo about pricing, climate, Henri Jayer and spreading his wings to Oregon.

In Decanter, Michaela Morris offers insight into Nova Scotia’s developing wine industry. (subscription req.)

The New Yorker published a new “humor” piece about natural wines.

Daily Wine News: Reputations Rising

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-16-2019

Vineyards in Bolivia. (Source: Wines of Bolivia)

Vineyards in Bolivia. (Source: Wines of Bolivia)

John Otis looks at Bolivia’s rising wine scene in NPR. “Bolivia’s wine industry is based in the southern city of Tarija, near the southern border with Argentina. This region has long produced small amounts of artisanal wine, as well as the distilled grape-based spirit known as singani, the national drink. But a growing number of wineries here are improving their techniques, ramping up production and starting to export.”

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy highlights Italy’s white wines that can compete with Super Tuscans and Barolos in terms of collectability.

“Beyond my own appreciation of merlot, and certainly in spite of it, the noble grape deserves a good deal more credit and appreciation than it receives for all the hard work it does in wineries across the world. A perpetual performer, it is prized by many winemakers and largely disregarded by consumers. It is a classic example of the consumer doesn’t know best.” On his Good Vitis blog, Aaron Menenberg makes the case for merlot.

Could the new tariffs placed on French wine cause Bordeaux producers to raise their alcohol levels? W. Blake Gray investigates in Wine-Searcher.

In the World of Fine Wine, David Schildknecht reviews Amber Revolution: How the World Learned to Love Orange Wine by Simon J Woolf.

On Yahoo News, Livia Hengel explores the volcanic wines of Pompeii.

On, Linda Jones McKee highlights eight wineries making a difference in Pennsylvania’s wine industry.

Daily Wine News: Taking on Climate Change

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-15-2019

(Flickr: telex4)

(Flickr: telex4)

In the first of a four-part series on winemaking and climate change in the New York Times, Eric Asimov looks at the ways winemakers are dealing with climate change around the world. “…more disruptions are coming, much faster than anybody expected. The accelerating effects of climate change are forcing the wine industry, especially those who see wine as an agricultural product rather than an industrial beverage, to take decisive steps to counter or adapt to the shifts.”

In 1944, a pioneering group of winemakers sat around a dinner table and came up with a visionary idea to band together. That’s how Napa Valley Vintners was born. In Wine Enthusiast, Virginie Boone talks to multiple generations about the group’s impact.

“Jackson Family Wines has announced the purchase of Balo Vineyards winery, vineyard and tasting room on Highway 128 in the heart of Anderson Valley in Mendocino County…The purchase price was not disclosed, but the property had originally been listed at $4.6 million,” reports Wine Spectator.

In the Buyer, Richard Siddle considers what’s next for New Zealand wine.

In Decanter, Jane Anson examines how some Bordeaux producers are stuck selling in particular price brackets.

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher tell the story of Navarro Vineyards’ Dry Gewürztraminer, “what we consider a unicorn wine.”

Wine-Searcher looks at its most-searched wines to determine American users’ favorite grapes.

Daily Wine News: Fred Dame’s Reign

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-14-2019



In SevenFifty Daily, Betsy Andrews profiles Fred Dame. “Industry people speak floridly of Dame. The praise is earned…he has raised an army of somms.”

In Bloomberg, Edward Robinson reports on how Berry Bros. & Rudd, a 321-year-old wine merchant, works to catch counterfeit bottles.

“The CEO of PG&E has apologized after it was revealed several of its employees mingled with some of its top customers at a wine tasting event paid for by the company while hundreds of thousands of people in California were facing an unprecedented power outage,” reports Ewan Palmer in Newsweek.

In the Robb Report, Sara L. Schneider explores the debate pitting authenticity against fashion in wine that has grown louder in recent years. “To be authentic, does a wine have to be picked at low enough sugar levels so that characteristics of soil and climate come through?… Hot-button issues like native fermentation, alcohol extraction, adding acid and boosting color and flavor with the likes of Mega Purple (a grape-juice concentrate) lurk around every turn.”

Dave McIntyre offers a primer on decanting wine in the Washington Post.

In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence tells the comeback story of Charles Heidsieck Champagne.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague ponders the unexpected surprises of an unorganized wine cellar inventory.

Wine Reviews: Autumnal Selections

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-12-2019

Where I live, in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic, it’s finally starting to feel like autumn, my favorite season. After a hot, humid summer, I’m excited for autumnal weather, food, and wines.

The fall samples have been rolling in these past few weeks, and I’ve curated a selection of wines that would pair well with warm harvest meals, cool nights, and all that watching leaves change kinda stuff.

There’s a nice Mosel Riesling in this report, which I always enjoy around this time of year. Oregon offers up two delicious wines: a Vermentino from biodynamic Applegate Valley producer Troon, who seems to continually ace this variety; and a Brut Rosé from Gran Moraine, whose Pinots and Chardonnays I’ve enjoyed many times.

Chianti Ruffina’s Fattoria Selvapiana (which has been in the same family’s hands since the 1880s) delivers some serious value Sangiovese in this report. These wines show wide appeal, and I could see them fitting well on any big family table. And a zesty, savory Schiava from the Dolomites deserves attention for its food- and budget-friendly vibe.

Lastly, Gonzalez Byass, the large Sherry house, comes through with a few wines that should warm you up as winter approaches.

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

Daily Wine News: PG&E Power Outage

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-11-2019



In Decanter, Jess Lander reports on what the PG&E power outage means for California wineries. “Since Tuesday night, the outage has affected roughly 800,000 customers, extending to several California wine country regions—including Napa Valley, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Santa Cruz—and could last up to five days in some areas.”

Bloomberg also reports on the PG&E California power outage, and how it’s affecting the wine industry.

Elsewhere in Decanter, Jane Anson on how the Bordeaux 2019 harvest is looking: “there is cautious optimism for an excellent vintage with serious quality in the bottle. Promising, but I would think not quite enough to banish the worries of the wider economic clouds.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Matt Kettmann looks at how San Diego became a natural wine haven.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery offers an in-depth look at the story of Pliny the Elder, one of the first wine critics. “Pliny’s writing, much of it informed by a conviction in terroir, recognition of vintage variation and desire to rank vineyards, continues to influence the wine industry today.”

In Food and Wine, Vicki Denig explains why Baja wine should be a bigger deal in the U.S.

“I can think of only two entities in this world that were born in 1949 and became one of the world’s largest wine consumers before the age of 70. One of them is Oz Clarke, the other is the People’s Republic of China.” On, Richard Hemming explores China’s “insatiable” thirst for wine, and whether it’s expected to diminish.

Liv-ex published a new report about the increased demand for Italian wine.

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland offers insight into Italy’s 2019 harvest.

Daily Wine News: White Wines Now Allowed in Ribera del Duero

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

In Ribera del Duero. (Wikimedia)

In Ribera del Duero. (Wikimedia)

“Ribera del Duero’s ruling council has changed its regulations to allow the region’s wineries to make white wines under the main DO for the first time in its history,” reports the Drinks Business.

In Wine Enthusiast, Alexander Peartree explores the exciting diversity of Primitivo, Puglia’s premier grape.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Jenn Rice offers a wine guide to Hawaii.

“In this southern area of Germany where Pinot Noir wines are gaining a following with their balance of juicy fruit, bright acidity and sense of place, another grape is quietly developing a niche market: Gutedel a.k.a. Chasselas.” In Forbes, Cathrine Todd explores the wines from the “outback” of Germany, near the Swiss and French borers.

In Decanter, Elin McCoy meets Christophe Baron of Cayuse Vineyards, and tastes through his northern Rhône-inspired Oregon wines. (subscription req.)

Europeans are also concerned about the industry’s widespread use of pesticides, while winemakers themselves will have to adapt to rising temperatures. From Bordeaux to Riesling and Champagne, EURACTIV takes a look at changing winemaking practices.

“Even California outstrips Italy when it comes to its most-expensive wines, so why is it so hard to find outstanding value?” In Wine-Searcher, Don Kavanagh goes looking for value in Italian wine.