Daily Wine News: Selling Students’ Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-23-2017

(Source: UC Davis)

(Source: UC Davis)

UC Davis is now able to start selling students’ wine, reports Decanter. “The recent implementation of the Senate Bill 683 law late last year means that the students’ finished product can now be to be sold to local producers, and served by the bottle at special occasions.”

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Jamie Goode reviews John Szabo’s book, Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power. “It is refreshing to see a wine book that focuses not only on place, but also on soil and geology—what vines stick their roots into. The wine world needs more books like this.”

W. Blake Gray gets a taste of Roussin de Morgex, which he says is “the world’s rarest wine grape.”

The Drinks Business considers the many styles of rosé, and looks at the new wave of winemakers “bucking the trend” by using various methods to add complexity to the wine.

In Wine Enthusiast, Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen explore the history of wine in Morocco.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, considers the importance of supermarket wine sales in British Columbia.

The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Austin looks at the quality of Alsatian Pinot Noir.

In VinePair, Laura Burgess debunks the low yield myth, and explains why low yields doesn’t always equal better wines.

Daily Wine News: Define “Luxury Wine”

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-22-2017

(Source: Wikimedia)

(Source: Wikimedia)

What price is luxury wine? Liz Thach, Janeen Olsen, Laurence Cogan-Marie, and Steve Charters analyze wine marketing literature and current pricing structures in an attempt to answer the question.

Liv-ex looks at how the prices of Right Bank 2007 wines have moved since release.

In Decanter, Ellie Douglas highlights a house that Champagne built. Literally. A builder from western Russia’s Ural Mountains has built a house with 12,000 Champagne bottles.

In the Drinks Business, frontman of the band Tool, Maynard James Keenan, talks about making wine in Arizona. “People ask should I be drinking your 2008 Cabernet now or later? I don’t know. We don’t have years of history to draw from and look at specific changes over that last 300 years. We have been absolutely on the edge, and then there’s another edge. We haven’t fallen off yet. But that friction is where that art happens.”

On Tim Atkin’s blog, Matt Walls says “New Zealand has developed a unique national style of Syrah…If Australian Shiraz has traditionally emphasised the variety’s black fruit flavours, weight and depth, then New Zealand Syrah underlines its red fruit register, acidity and fragrance.”

Sean P. Sullivan on the rocks of Walla Walla Valley in Wine Enthusiast.

In Forbes, Cathy Huyghe reviews the new documentary, Decanted. A Winemaker’s Journey.

Wine Spectator’s Matt Kramer challenges himself to find bottles $20 or under that he likes, and finds gems from Beaujolais and Australia.

Daily Wine News: New Wine Clubs

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-21-2017

(Source: Pour This)

(Source: Pour This)

“Today’s market is a new frontier… Rather than rely on the palate of one retailer or on Robert Parker 100-pointers, many of today’s digital newcomers promise personalized recommendations.” In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley looks at “the new generation of wine clubs” for the Bay Area and shares her reviews of 10 different ones.

“It is true that the Loire suffers some disadvantages compared with other established wine regions. It is far from novel…But the Loire’s major problem is the direct result of its being able to produce wines of such vivacity: vintage variability.” Jancis Robinson reflects on the challenges Loire wines are facing.

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford heads to Gaillac and discovers Bordeaux and Burgundy have not always produced France’s most luxurious wines. “From 1397, what is probably the wine world’s first brand – Vins du Coq – was created for Gaillac and given official recognition in the early C16…Then, alas, disaster.”

In Forbes, Tom Mullen reports on the evolving wine labels of Bordeaux. ““Today, we don’t need an image of a château…””

In Wine-Searcher, Wink Lorch explains why high-altitude wines are such a big deal.

In the Smithsonian, Karine Vann explores historic Armenian clay karases, and why a new generation of wineries is seeking them out.

In Wine Spectator, Harvey Steiman reports on more studies that support terroir.

WineFolly offers tips on how to amass a well-balanced, smart wine collection.

Daily Wine News: The Prosecco Problem

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-20-2017

(Source: La Marca Prosecco)

“We have a winner, both in popular and in electoral votes. And the winner is La Marca. Stick a fork in it – it’s done.” (Photo source: La Marca Prosecco)

Alfonso Cevola on the prosecco problem. “Never have I seen a category so overtaken and dominated in the market since the St. Margherita Pinot Grigio phenomenon. In fact the domination is so totally overwhelming that I have tried to advise hopeful producers to bypass the American market.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley catches up with Jancis Robinson about her recent donation of her life’s work to UC Davis, including wine tasting notes back to 1976. “Her scribblings describe a wine world that no longer exists.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre tastes 16 vintages of Château Montrose dating to 1970, and reflects on what one can learn from sampling different vintages of the wine.

In Bloomberg, Colin McClelland looks at how fine wine prices continue to climb. “Prices for fine wines have climbed to their highest levels since October 2011 on speculation that equities near record highs are poised to drop.”

Can wine be radical? Simon Woolf explores the answer in Palate Press.

In the Los Angeles Times, Patrick Comiskey suggests ways to expand your wine options for 2017.

“Western Australia’s Swan Valley area has been declared a disaster zone after some of the worst flooding for decades damaged urban areas and also vineyards,” reports Chris Mercer in Decanter.

David Williams attempts to define “hipster wine” and offers advice on how to spot them in the Guardian.

Wine Reviews: Château du Moulin-a-Vent

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 02-18-2017

I buy, cellar, and drink a lot of Cru Beaujolais. I love the freshness, the food-friendly appeal, the crisp and complex flavor profiles. They perplex me with their seemingly contradictory traits: they age beautifully but can be so crazy expressive in their youth. On a weeknight, when I’m cooking dinner (it doesn’t really matter what I’m cooking), popping a bottle of Cru Bojo makes everything better.

I recently tasted through four wines from Chateau du Moulin-a-Vent. While not inexpensive, these wines delivered exactly what I love about wines from this region.

The estate and brand have undergone seismic changes since 2009, when grocery store chain owner Jean-Jaques Parinet bought the estate. More than 70,000 vines were replanted and the cellar equipment was updated. Parinet, now overseeing 37 hecrates of vineyards, also decided to vinify four different terroirs separately, emphasizing the diversity of expressions within the vineyards.

Two wines hail from 2012, and two from 2011. 2012 was a rough vintage, with yields way down, and while the finished wines managed to get a good amount of ripeness, the wines are dominated by this zesty acidity, with a lighter frame and more tangy-fruited. But these wines, for palates like mine, are a total blast to drink – bright, fresh, complex, lots of juicy red fruit but some fascinating herbal and savory elements even at a young age.

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

Daily Wine News: Pinot, Mataro & More

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-17-2017

Mataro/Mourvedre (Wikimedia)

Mataro/Mourvedre (Wikimedia)

“Despite the frustrating vagaries of the appellation, which make choosing wines difficult for consumers, the true Sonoma Coast shows great promise for pinot noir.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov reviews Sonoma County Pinot Noirs.

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Patrick Comiskey talks to Steve Edmunds about his pursuit of “mataro” (or mourvedre) in California in the 1980s, partially inspired by the wines of Bandol and Domain Tempier.

Jane Anson checks in on 2007 Bordeaux wines 10 years later in Decanter. “No doubt lower down the scale, many wines in this vintage have had their day, so I wouldn’t start rounding up any 2007s you can get your hands on, but if you have been worried about any of the good quality names that you are holding on to, I would relax and find a corkscrew.”

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray reports on how Bolla is shifting its focus away from cheap, expressionless wine.

In VinePair, Linda Gradstein profiles the couple behind Cantina Guiliano, a Tuscan winery that makes kosher wines.

Vinous’ Antonio Galloni finds value and everyday gems in Piedmont.

In USA Today, Lauren Mowery highlights wineries to visit in Calistoga, California.

Elsewhere in the New York Times, a look at the growing trend of cat wines.

Book Review: Wines of the Finger Lakes, by Peter Burford

Posted by | Posted in Book Reviews | Posted on 02-16-2017

WOTFL Book CoverPeter Burford’s Wines of the Finger Lakes is a straightforward guide to New York’s most famous wine region and frankly the only one you need.

Burford—no “expert,” but whose credentials as a resident of Ithaca and genuine appreciator of the region prove more than adequate—organizes his work logically. He begins with some Finger Lakes history, then proceeds to the region’s grape varieties and winemaking processes, and ends with an extremely useful catalogue of key producers. Each section is well researched and limited to the essentials.

Having minimal historical knowledge of the region beyond the name Dr. Konstantin Frank, I found the first section helpful. Burford takes it all the way back to Reverend William Bostwick, who made sacramental wine from labruscas on Keuka Lake in the 1820s. Also featured are the stories of winemaking pioneers like Charles Fournier, Dr. Frank, Walter Taylor, and Hermann J. Wiemer. The Farm Winery Act of 1976 figures prominently, too, having been the kindling for so many winemaking ventures in upper New York.

Part two of Wines of the Finger Lakes is a rundown of prominent vinifera and hybrid grapes in the region. The major players you’d expect are there—Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Pinot Noir, Riesling—but so are rarities like Rkatsiteli, Saperavi, Rougeon, Aurore, Marechal Foch, and Elvira. Novelty and pure variety are clearly reasons enough to visit the Finger Lakes.

For my money, the book’s final section, which covers key wineries, is its greatest asset, and why it’s worth consulting.

Burford prefaces the section, which is organized by the three major lakes, Cayuga, Seneca, and Keuka, with an explanation: “The wineries profiled . . . are a subjective list of those that the reasonably serious wine enthusiast will want to learn about and explore.” I appreciate that Burford is keen to give readers a highlight reel and save them the trouble of wasted tasting fees.

The winery profiles are concise, at only a few paragraphs, yet comprehensive. For each, Burford covers history, land and winemaker information, and a lineup of offerings. He gives you everything you need to know about a winery to decide whether or not you’ll taste there.

There’s not much to criticize about Wines of the Finger Lakes. It’s a pretty basic guide, written in plain English. I do however take issue with Burford’s repeated praise for the wines at Lamoreaux Landing, which on my recent visit I found far from spectacular.

The best recommendation I can give the book is that it has inspired me to start planning another trip to the Finger Lakes, because evidently, on my first go round, I missed so many gems—like the single vineyard Pinots and Rieslings at Bellwether, the award winning sparkling wines at Atwater Estate, or the red-only endeavors of Shalestone.

My Recommendation
Wines of the Finger Lakes is “well worth” your time (you’ll get that joke after you read it) and almost a requirement if you’re visiting the region. Make the most of your trip, as I didn’t, by consulting Burford’s quick and easy guide.

Daily Wine News: Champagne Problems

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-16-2017

Armand de Brignac Champagnes.

Armand de Brignac Champagnes.

According to Wine-Searcher’s Katie Smith, Jay-Z’s Armand de Brignac Champagne isn’t as popular as it once was. “Last year shaped up to be a truly abysmal one for Armand de Brignac…Overall, it is fair to say that both Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot have well and truly waved goodbye to competition from the once almighty Armand de Brignac.”

Stop Trump Wine, a group opposed to President Donald Trump, is pressuring the grocery chain Wegmans to stop selling Trump wine in its Virginia locations.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan looks at the flaws of two recent surveys about sustainability in wine.

Jordan Michelman profiles Teutonic’s owner/winemaker Barnaby Tuttle in Williamette Week. “Somewhere between a Didier Dagueneau “wild man of the Loire” and a total hesher who likes listening to Black Sabbath in the auto shop, Teutonic’s Barnaby Tuttle seems larger than life.”

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning covers the history of Bandol’s Domaine Tempier, and talks to winemaker Daniel Ravier about his philosophy of winemaking and the future of Bandol wine.

The Drinks Business reports that “Pernod Ricard has claimed it is the ‘fastest growing supplier’ of branded wine in the UK after seeing strong growth in its Rioja brand, Campo Viejo and Jacob’s Creek.”

Wine Enthusiast profiles the “South American winemaking pioneers making their mark on Malbec” with “some if Argentina’s most innovative wine projects.”

Amy Zavatto highlights wine regions — including the Finger Lakes and Washington State — that over deliver for value in Beverage Media.

Daily Wine News: Wine & Gender

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-15-2017

womanmanwineJonathan Lipsmeyer looks at the history of wine and gender. “We’d probably do best to excise gender from our tasting notes, and just let the adjectives which drove us to that shorthand conclusion speak for themselves — just as authors from the first twenty centuries of wine writing did.”

Alice Feiring responds to Hugh Johnson’s recent piece on natural wine in Decanter: “I think it’s time for Mr. Johnson to take a break from garden writing for a minute to reconsider his words. Give us the courtesy of a more well-researched response instead of falling down the tweet drain –the second son of the blog–where unsupported feelings have become the norm.”

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy highlights bottles of 2015 Burgundy under $100. “The reputation of this vintage is deserved, especially for the reds. Rich, ripe, hedonistic, succulent, and mouth filling, they have cashmere-like texture and that juicy acidity.”

In SOMM Journal, Allyson Gorsuch visits historic Tokaj and gets a glimpse into the future.

Premium wine in boxes is the fastest growing format for wine, reports Wines & Vines.

Aaron Menenberg talks to Jeff Morgan, co-owner and vintner of Covenant Wines, about why he makes wine in both California and Israel.

According to Decanter, “the annual Cape Wine Auction 2017 has raised a record-breaking 22.3 million South African rand (£1.3 million / $1.67 million).”

Laura Burgess finds value in wines from Oregon and Washington in VinePair.

Daily Wine News: Experiments in Service

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-14-2017

(Flickr: Daniel Gasienica)

(Flickr: Daniel Gasienica)

“Does it make sense to eliminate elements of restaurant wine service if they seem pointless or cause agitation?” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov explores whether offering a taste of the wine at the table should be eliminated from service, as the New York restaurant, Italienne, has done.

“Most Saint-Amour is awful because it doesn’t have to be good.” In Eater, Aaron Ayscough explains how Saint-Amour Beaujolais has suffered because of Valentine’s Day. “Beaujolais has 10 “cru” appellations…but Saint-Amour is the only that sells one-third of its annual production on Valentine’s Day each year.”

In VinePair, Nick Hines shadows Master Sommelier Brahm Callahan. His takeaway? “Being a somm is about service, not stardom.”

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford on “the other Châteauneuf”: Gadagne. “Make no mistake, these are wines of powerful personality, with a force, an energy and an intensity to them that you will not often find among their peers in the ‘named village’ division.”

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto visits Sicily’s Pietradolce, where Michele Faro is dedicated to century-old sites, pre-phylloxera vines and experimental wines.

Virginie Boone looks at the 2013 vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in Wine Enthusiast.

In Palate Press, Henry Jeffreys considers the evolution of Lebanese wine.

WineFolly on the importance of understanding geography in order to understand wine.