Wine Reviews: KITÁ

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-15-2018

I’ve been a big fan of Tara Gomez’s Kita wines for a few years now, and the new releases are true to form.

These wines are mostly sourced from the Camp 4 Vineyard, a former Fess Parker vineyard located on the eastern edge of the Santa Ynez Valley. (For a full backgrounder, check out this post from last year.) While the wines boast plenty of fruit and ripeness, there’s a vibrant, fresh, complex aesthetic in all of the wines that I find really attractive, not to mention the price points.

I recently tasted through a range of Kita’s wines (their 2017 whites, and some reds from 2015 and 2016) and was impressed yet again. These wines were received as samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: Argentina Under $20

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-14-2018

This week’s wines hail from Argentina and should all retail for less than $20. With plenty of prime grilling season left, there are a lot of delicious reds in here that would fare well with grilled meats and crowds of friends and family.

Included in this report are four wines from Domaine Bousquet, whose wines are line-priced at $13, widely available, and deliver for the price. In the mostly Malbec category, two producers Ruca Malén and Nieto Senetiner, also offer value-driven wines that provide a whole lot of stuffing for the sub-$20 price points.

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

Daily Wine News: The Golden Mile

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-13-2018

Bodega Valdeviñas in Ribera del Duero. (Wikimedia)

Bodega Valdeviñas in Ribera del Duero. (Wikimedia)

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Patricio Tapia covers the so-called milla de oro (golden mile) of Ribera del Duero, along the Ruta Nacional 122 between Peñafiel and Quintanilla de Onésimo, where you’ll find some of the region’s most important names: Vega Sicilia, Arzuaga, Matarromera, Alión and others that are directly responsible for the fame of Ribera.

In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth explores the geology of Gigondas with consultant Georges Truc. “…of all the terroirs I’ve seen, few fascinate me as much as that of Gigondas. As dramatic as the Dentelles de Montmirail are (the jagged, teeth-like outcroppings that rise above the town and vineyards of Gigondas), the story of their creation is even better.”

Jancis Robinson surveys the 2018 growing season in France.

In Wine-Searcher, Margaret Rand checks in a year after Guigal’s expansion into Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

In Wine Enthusiast, Carrie Dykes guides you through offbeat adventures in Virginia wine country.

In VinePair, Tim McKirdy covers Argentina’s under-the-radar wine regions.

In Forbes, Per and Britt Karlsson discover Morellino di Scansano.

Grape Collective’s Marco Salerno catches up with Alice Bonaccorsi of ValCerasa in Mount Etna.

In SevenFifty Daily, Vicki Denig talks to Minwoo Kwon of Frederick Wildman & Sons about how he draws on his finance background to pitch accounts.

Daily Wine News: Hybrid Movement

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-12-2018

(Flickr: KBJPhoto)

(Flickr: KBJPhoto)

In SevenFifty Daily, Peter Weltman looks at the group of American winemakers pioneering non-vinifera wines. “Because the attention paid to hybrid varieties has yet to reach a critical mass, it’s difficult to characterize winemaking with these grapes as a bona fide movement. And yet it’s the most essential work happening today on the path toward defining truly American wines.”

Wine Spectator announces a few changes in California wine reviewers. James Laube is stepping back from reviewing new releases, and Kim Marcus has been appointed lead taster for the state’s Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, and senior editor James Molesworth will become lead taster for Cabernet Sauvignon.

Esquire reports that Barack Obama has resurfaced to talk about wine—specifically, urging Portuguese winemakers to adopt and share climate-friendly practices.

Well that was quick. On Tuesday, it was announced that Lot18 was launching a line of wines inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale. Less than 24 hours later the line of wines was cancelled. “Social media backlash immediately followed the wine’s announcement, and this seems to have been the driving force behind the wine’s cancellation.”

Liv-ex provides a report on Burgundy prices. “Over a one year period, it has vastly outperformed all other regions. The Burgundy 150 Index, which tracks prices for 15 top wines from the region, is up 23.7% over 12 months and 10.7% year to date.”

On, Elaine Chukan Brown presents the first in a three-part assessment of the impact of wildfires on the California wine industry.

Peter Mitham reports on the effects of Nova Scotia’s recent frost on the wine region in Wines & Vines.

In Wine Enthusiast, Marshall Tilden III recommends a few summer reds for when you’re sick of rosé.

Daily Wine News: The Women of Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-11-2018

(Flickr: noviceromano)

(Flickr: noviceromano)

“Alexis Percival, one of the beverage directors and a partner at Ruffian Wine Bar, created this women-only wine tasting group in March, after years of frustration with the outright and subtle examples of sexism in her industry.” In the New York Times, Valeriya Safronova reports on a women-only wine tasting group that meets every other week in New York. “Women who choose wines for restaurants and direct beverage programs at bars have not been immune to the abuse… In the company of female peers, many of the women said, those concerns fall away.”

In Chicago Magazine, Whet Moser profiles the Tribune’s Ruth Ellen, who launched the nation’s first newspaper column on wine. “It debuted on February 16, 1962, the first major newspaper wine column…Her first column, granted, was “So You’d Like to Know Wines! It’s Really Simple; Let’s Start with Sherry.””

“I elicit a particular brand of contempt from men who are that serious about wine. Behind my back they talk about how I’m ruining wine by drinking straight from the bottle on Instagram. To my face they say things like “You don’t know how to taste. But if you take off your shirt, I’ll teach you.” And they never forget to tell me it’s “cute” that I wrote a 300-page book about wine, as if it didn’t require any hard work or skill. But I wouldn’t let that stop me from learning everything I could from this Marcucci character.” In Bon Appétit, Marissa A. Ross pens a personal essay about what she learned about how to make wine—and what she learned about herself—from Umbrian natural winemaker Danilo Marcucci.

In Wine Spectator, Simone Madden-Grey reports on the new Appellation Marlborough Wine certification, launched to protect the reputation of the region’s sauvignon blanc.

In Bloomberg, Daniela Guzman reports on how Chilean winemakers are focusing on expanding shipments to China after the country imposed an additional 15 percent tax on U.S. wines in April in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.

In Punch, Jon Bonné looks at what makes Josh Perlman’s wine list at Giant in Chicago one of the country’s most exciting.

Emma Janzen talks to sommelier Miguel de Leon about chilled reds for summer in Imbibe.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, ponders the future of the Italian wine industry.

Daily Wine News: Rosé Fraud

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-10-2018

Flickr, Noodle93.

Flickr, Noodle93.

According to BBC, up to 4.6 million bottles of Spanish rosé wine have been labeled as French and sold in French cafes, hotels and restaurants

“High prices for Bordeaux 2017 compared with similar prior vintages, and restrained demand from buyers focusing on a few top labels, is leading to wine stocks backing up at merchants in the French port and a squeeze on margins,” reports Guy Collins in Bloomberg.

Ernest J. Gallo, the son of current president and CEO Joseph Gallo and grandson of co-founder Ernest Gallo, has been appointed chief operating officer, and is scheduled to become president and CEO effective May 1, 2020. Shanken News Daily recently caught up with Gallo to discuss his new appointment.

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford reviews Alex Maltman’s recently published book, Vineyards, Rocks, & Soils. “No student of wine should be without this book; every wine writer and sommelier should read it, several times.”

Does Napa Valley have too much Cabernet? W. Blake Gray explores the answer in Wine-Searcher.

Grape Collective talks to Antón Lorenzo, the winemaker of Mas d’en Gil about the terroir of Priorat; especially focusing on Bellmunt del Priorat, where Mas d’en Gil is located as well as their philosophy of viticulture and viniculture.

Tom Wark looks forward to the release of four upcoming wine books.

In Punch, Robert Simonson on the new wave of pink gins that seem to be trying to appeal to the rosé crowd.

Daily Wine News: Madeira, Napa & More

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-09-2018

Madeira wine. (Wikimedia)

Madeira wine. (Wikimedia)

In Saveur, Megan Krigbraum explores the wines of Madeira. “I’ve been to many wine regions, but I’ve never seen a banana tree in one before. Somehow, for the past several hundred years, Madeira has balanced its roles as being a storied wine producer—world-renowned for its fortified wine that’s unmatched in ageability—and a warm-weather escape for mostly northern Europeans…”

How green is Napa Valley? Jancis Robinson explores the answer. “Despite the green credentials now being so widely touted by California’s wine growers and producers, there is still so much more to do…The reality, however, is that the stereotypical Napa Valley recipe of making high-alcohol, highly priced wines from irrigated grapes farmed by third parties using temporary labour is one of the most successful in the world.”

While the overall sale of magnums has been on the decline, U.S. sales of French wine in magnum bottles have risen 16.5%. David Lincoln Ross reports on the trend in SevenFifty Daily.

“Hail and heavy rain have caused at least some damage to several vineyards in Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits, mostly in the communes of Prémeaux-Prissey and Nuits-St-Georges,” reports Yohan Castaing in Decanter.

W. Blake Gray shares what one of the most interesting wines he’s tried this year, made from “wild grapevines climbing up tree trunks over a river.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre looks at the ways our wine consumption in restaurants in shifting.

Michael Austin explores Michigan’s wine scene in the Chicago Tribune.

Lettie Teague on German Riesling in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)

Wine Reviews: Concha y Toro

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-07-2018

Concha y Toro fascinates me as a business enterprise. It’s Chile’s biggest wine producer, one of the largest wine companies in the world, and it exports millions of cases of its Casillero del Diablo wine to countries all over the world. It was those wines, and the Marques de Casa Concha brands, that introduced me to Chilean wines a dozen or so years ago. But corporate success aside, the wines are generally delicious and accessible.

From entry-level all the way up to the incredible (and expensive) Don Melchor Cabernet, Concha y Toro casts a wide net, with brands at different price points, focusing on different regions. I recently received a handful of Concha y Toro wines (no Don Melchor this time, alas) and found what I usually do when I taste these wines: significant quality and value.

I also tasted several Carmeneres from different regions and price points, and was reminded again how fun that variety is. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Shades of Pink

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-06-2018

glassofrose“In these mad times when rosé-mania reigns over summer, the sad fact of the matter is that most rosés are not made for people who love wine.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov finds American rosés worth drinking. “If anything, the best American rosés today are exactly what one would want: brisk and refreshing, subtle and savory, never cloying or fatiguing.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Vicki Denig looks at the ways American winemakers are embracing the northern Italian tradition of macerating Pinot Grigio must with its skins to produce copper-hued Ramato.

In Decanter, Jane Anson talks to Jenny Dobson, the New Zealander considered to have been one of the first female cellar masters in the Médoc and who was subsequently nicknamed the ‘queen of red wine blending’ for her consultant winemaking work in her home country.

In Vinous, Neal Martin turns his attention to Château Latour and offers notes on various wines from 1887–2010.

Dr. Cecelia Muldoon, a physicist with a passion for wine, is researching a way to shed light on old problems. Felicity Carter reports in Meininger’s.

In the Courier Post, Robin Shreeves reports on the current state of New Jersey wine.

In Forbes, Courtney Schiessl on what makes the wine club Winc unique.

Book Review: Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson

Posted by | Posted in Book Reviews | Posted on 07-05-2018

Godforsaken_Grapes_By_Jason_WilsonMany wine nerds have likely heard a similar statistic: about 80% of the world’s wine comes from about 20 grapes. Meanwhile, planet Earth boasts some 1,400 grape varieties used in winemaking, which means there is a whole lot of “obscure” wine out there. Since I’ve been paying close attention to wine, for about a dozen years now, I’ve seen a huge uptick in excitement about wines like Mtsvane from Georgia, Trousseau from Jura, orange wines from Slovenia, etc. Even though I’m still totally happy sipping California Chardonnay, I think this increased attention on lesser known wines has been extremely positive in many ways.

In his new book, “Godforsaken Grapes: A Slightly Tipsy Journey through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Underappreciated Wine,” Philly’s Jason Wilson digs deep into the other 20% of the world’s wine. After focusing on spirits and cocktails for much of his life, Wilson caught a bad case of the wine geek bug, and soon began traveling to Austria, Switzerland, Northeast Italy, and other regions, searching for obscure wines and the interesting people who keep them alive.

In an interview with Wine Enthusiast, Wilson said this about his motivations behind writing the book: “This book is very personal, dealing with my own growing obsession with wine during my late 30s and 40s. I wanted to write about what happens when one goes down the rabbit hole into serious geekdom. I also saw a bigger story. The wine industry is undergoing a massive sea change and the influence of a certain type of ‘serious wine critic’ is on the wane. I wanted to capture this moment.”

The title of the book was taken from a now infamous screed posted by Robert Parker in 2014, in which he complained that a younger generation of wine-lovers (which he called a “group of absolutists”) was engaging in, “near-complete rejection of some of the finest grapes and the wines they produce. Instead they espouse, with enormous gusto and noise, grapes and wines that are virtually unknown.” These “godforsaken grapes” (like Trousseau, Savagnin, Blaufränkisch and others), Parker decreed, made wines that were “rarely palatable.”

A lot of people were ruffled by Parker’s post, but I remember feeling a bit sad. It reminded me of an old metalhead ranting about how bands these days don’t make music like they used to. Blah, blah, blah. This thinking also sets up a false dichotomy, pitting what Wilson calls “serious wines” against the “obscure” or “natural” or “geeky” wines. I’ve never felt the need to pick a side in this fight — Napa Cabs are great, so is Schiava from Alto Adige. The world is big enough for everything. Isn’t there enough tribalism in the world already? It’s just wine — right? Read the rest of this entry »