Wine Reviews: Yangarra Estate

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 03-23-2019

Yangarra is one of those producers that has kept me interested in Australian over the years.

High Sands Grenache. Credit: Yangarra Estate.

High Sands Grenache. Credit: Yangarra Estate.

I’ve found their wines boast plenty of sunshiny fruit, but I love the freshness, acidity and non-fruit complexity I get in these wines.

Located in the northeast part of the McLaren Vale, Yangarra is a certified biodynamic estate focused on the classic Rhone varieties. Grapevines have been planted on the estate since the late 1800s, but its modern history begins in 1946, when Bernard Smart planted unirrigated, bush vine Grenache. This became known as the High Sands Vineyard (because of its sandy clay soil), and demand for the fruit from this vineyard grew and grew.

Today, Yangarra’s vineyards comprise some 100 hectares, spread into 35 different blocks.

In 2001, Jackson Family Wines purchased Yangarra, and soon after local winemaker Peter Fraser took the helm. He uses wild yeast fermentation and judicious use of new oak, and the resulting wines have a purity of expression that I find really attractive.

I recently tasted through some Yangarra wines, and found across-the-board quality. The ceramic egg and skin-fermented Roussanne, as well as the High Sands Grenache, really stood out and wowed me. I received these wines as trade samples and tasted them sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Shifting Gears

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-22-2019

(Source: Pixabay)

(Source: Pixabay)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley takes a close look at the realignment underway within a certain subset of California wine. “Chances are, you’ve tasted it… The model for these wines is not, as has been the case for many of California’s great Cabernet Sauvignons, Bordeaux. It’s not even really Burgundy. To the extent that there is a French corollary for these — the new translucent reds of California — it’s a region much sleepier and far less prestigious: Beaujolais.”

Eric Asimov finds a similar transformation underway in Australia. In his latest New York Times wine column, he explores the country’s “fresh, crunchy and smashable” wines. “Australia, it turns out, has experienced the same sort of evolution as the United States. Though it achieved international success among critics in the 1990s with powerful shirazes from regions like Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, many Australians came to prefer more restrained European styles.”

In Food & Wine, Megan Krigbaum highlights this year’s top sommeliers, who are redefining wine lists across the country.

In Wine Enthusiast, Betsy Andrews delves into Portugal’s traditional amphorae wines.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy recalls a memorable dinner at Château Lafite, which involved a 1905 Lafite. “At 114 years, it showed the kind of longevity Lafite is known for, demonstrating why perfect storage conditions are so important when buying old wines. With its silky texture, ethereal scents of plums and currants, and a long finish, it suggested to me a long-ago world.”

In Decanter, Jane Anson takes a look at St-Emilion through the 1989 and 1998 vintages. (subscription req.)

Jamie Goode explores the wines of François Lurton, whose father owns Château Bonnet in Bordeaux.

Daily Wine News: Latour 2008 Released

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-21-2019

In Decanter10209863t, Richard Woodard reports that Château Latour is re-releasing its 2008 vintage. “This year’s 2008 Grand Vin release price of £2,550 per six-bottle case represents an 11% premium above the wine’s current secondary market price.”

“According to a 2018 survey conducted by Cribis, part of the Crif Business Information group, just over a quarter of Italy’s estimated 73,700 wineries are managed by women.” Kerin O’Keefe profiles seven women winemakers of Brunello in Wine Enthusiast.

In Barron’s Penta, Geoff Nudel explores the history of Willamette Valley’s Montinore Estate, the nation’s largest producer of biodynamic wine that produces more than 40,000 cases each year.

In Vinous, a punny report on Germany’s 2017 vintage from David Schildknecht: “No Pfalz Sense of Security.”

In Wine Spectator, Augustus Weed reports that Vintage Wine Estates has purchased Laetitia, a Pinot Noir and sparkling wine specialist that helped pioneer the cool Arroyo Grande Valley in the Central Coast region.

In Food & Wine, Julia Turshen talks to Cha McCoy about how wine is the ultimate connector.

Business Insider staff taste seven of Costco’s Kirkland wines and offer their impressions.

Alex Beggs discovers the wonders of wine apps in Bon Appétit.

Daily Wine News: Sonoma’s 2019 Vintage

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-20-2019

Recent flooding at Jordan Winery. (Photo courtesy of Jordan Winery)

Recent flooding at Jordan Winery. (Photo courtesy of Jordan Winery)

In Wine Enthusiast, Jim Gordon reports on how the flooding affected Sonoma’s 2019 vintage.

Why are there suddenly so many natural wine bars specializing in tinned fish in the Bay Area? Esther Mobley looks into what’s behind the trend in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Alder Yarrow checks out the developing wines of British Columbia on (subscription req.)

In Wine-Searcher, Vicki Denig talks with Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay about their newest book, The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste.

In New Jersey Monthly, Josh Friedland writes about a new book that explores wine’s origins, Wine: The Source of Civilization by John Mahoney.

The Napa Valley Register reports that bud break has begun in Napa Valley. Compared to last year, “bud break is about a week and a half later due to the winter rains,” said Allison Cellini Wilson, viticulturist at Cliff Lede Vineyards.

On, Isabelle Legeron discusses the current state of Raw Wine and how to set standards for natural wine.

In Food & Wine, Ray Isle suggests Menetou-Salon, Coteaux du Giennois, Reuilly, Touraine, and Quincy as good Sancerre alternatives.

Daily Wine News: Love Letters

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-19-2019



In Wine Spectator, Aleks Zecevic pens a tribute to riesling. “For me, there is Riesling, and then all other wine grapes. I’d never refuse a Pinot Noir or Chenin Blanc, but drinking Riesling feels like coming home—it fills my heart.”

“Grignolino is in a crossroads of time and mood, where a wine like it can be an attractive proposition. Like Aligoté is to the white grapes of Burgundy, Grignolino, for me, is a red wine that expresses a measure of Piemontese-ness that is different than Barolo or Barbaresco. And it can be drunk young and is within the reach of most people’s budgets.” Alfonso Cevola writes about the joys of grignolino.

In Grape Collective, Valerie Kathawala looks at how Germany’s Jochen Beurer’s ideas are inspiring a generation of young producers to reimagine what’s possible in the “Trollinger Republik.”

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Esther Mobley shares what’s ahead for this year’s Auction Napa Valley. “On Monday it announced that pop music star Katy Perry and food media star (and new Napa vintner) Ayesha Curry would be headlining the 2019 Auction, to be held at Meadowood on June 1.”

In Decanter, Chris Mercer reports that Champagne sales in 2018 edged ahead of 2017 y 0.3% to hit a new record value.

Elsewhere in Decanter, Jane Anson explains what stuck fermentation is.

W. Blake Gray explores the 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano vintage in Wine-Searcher. “It’s their best vintage in years. One wonders if, given the spread of modern viticulture, it might not be the best vintage overall in the history of Vino Nobile…”

Elsewhere in Wine-Searcher, Margaret Rand explores the wines made from Koshu, Japan’s native pink grape.

Daily Wine News: Swiss Wines Worth Discovering

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-18-2019

Vineyards off Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

Vineyards off Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

“The Swiss certainly don’t make a whole lot of wine, only about a million hectoliters — a drop in the bucket compared with France’s 42 million or Italy’s 48 million hectoliters. And Switzerland only exports about 2 percent of its wine. By comparison, Italy and Spain each export about half of the wines they produce.” But we’re starting to see more of it in the U.S.—and that’s a good thing, says Jason Wilson in the Washington Post.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley finds a Lodi vineyard that is likely the oldest existing planting of Cinsault in the world: “…Bechthold, in the southwestern Lodi sub-AVA of Mokelumne River, a 25-acre standing of ungrafted, dry-farmed, organic Cinsault (pronounced sin-SO) vines planted in 1886. These ancient plants produce red wines that are ethereal and diaphanous, clear refutations of any notion that intensity of color is linked to complexity of flavor — and of any stereotype of Lodi wines.”

In VinePair, Simon J Woolf profiles Michael Moosbrugger, president of the Austrian Traditional Winemaker’s Association, or Österreichische Traditionsweingüter (ÖTW) in German, a private organization, to create a hierarchy of Austrian wines. The ÖTW wants to put Austria’s best on par with France’s most storied estates.

In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman reports on how the wine industry is beginning to embrace robotics and artificial intelligence in vineyards.

“What would happen if ingredient and nutrition labels became mandatory for wine?  Would people start buying less of it? More? Would anyone actually care?” Becca Yeamans-Irwin (aka the Academic Wino) considers the effects of mandatory wine label nutritional and ingredient information.

In Wine Enthusiast, Jessica Ritz highlights wines that benefit charitable causes.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague talks to three sommeliers about the art of a polished pour. (subscription req.)

Wine Reviews: California New Releases

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 03-16-2019

Welcome back for another roundup of new releases from California!

I’ve been getting a lot of new wines from California, and this report has a good amount of the staples: Chardonnay, Pinot, Cabernet, Zinfandel. There are a couple value-driven wines that deliver, and some exciting new releases from Sonoma’s Anaba and Lake County’s Hawk & Horse.

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

Daily Wine News: Attention for Aglianico

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-15-2019

Aglianico. (Wikimedia)

Aglianico. (Wikimedia)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov and the tasting panel explore the charms of aglianico. “Among its many charms, aglianico is versatile, able to make wines that are delicious when young as well as those that can benefit from years, even decades, in the cellar.”

According to Bloomberg, Pernod is considering a sale of its wine division, which includes Australia’s Jacob’s Creek and Spain’s Campo Viejo labels.

In Wine Enthusiast, Mike DeSimone offers an introduction to Israeli wines.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Kerin O’Keefe ponders the pros and cons of crop thinning. “Fast-forward to today’s warmer, drier growing conditions, and this now-commonplace practice has contributed to naturally higher alcohol levels and lowered fresh acidity. It’s time to rethink things.”

In Sprudge Wine, Aaron Ayscough on how Aurelien Lefort is championing natural winemaker in Central France.

Neal Martin tastes 2009 Bordeaux 10 years on and offers his praise in Vinous.

Ari Bendersky explores the resurgence of lesser-known American wine regions in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)

Meininger’s offers insight into Austria’s 2018 harvest, the earliest in the modern era.

Daily Wine News: Keeping Score

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-14-2019

Wine shelf talkersLisa Perrotti-Brown MW, editor in chief of the Wine Advocate, talks to Meininger’s Felicity Carter about scores: “I’m not saying you can do away with them, just saying they’re not everything. I’m dead against a shelf talker with a score selling a bottle of wine. It’s incredibly misleading.”

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy shows hybrid grapes some love, and highlights the ones with the most potential right now.

Agustin Francisco Huneeus, 53, president of Huneeus Vintners, was charged Tuesday in the college admissions bribery case filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to W. Blake Gray.

“Its defenders, myself included, could argue for its social, historical and cultural value, but at the most basic level, wine remains as unnecessary for existence as scented candles or indeed wine writers,” writes Richard Hemming on “But if that is true, then is it still possible for wine – despite its inherent expendability – to be a force for good?”

In Wine Enthusiast, I offer a guide to the budding wine and cider scene in Burlington, Vermont.

In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman reports on the consumer groups putting pressure on the TTB to include more calorie and nutritional information on wine labeling.

On his Do Bianchi blog, Jeremy Parzen looks at the reasons why 400 Italian scientists are opposing a newly introduced legislation that would promote and protect organic farming.

“We owe a lot to Listán Prieto, also known as Mission, País and Criolla Chica.” Tim Atkin considers the grape’s importance.

Daily Wine News: Mission’s Journey

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-13-2019

Mission Grapes. (Source: Wikimedia)

Mission Grapes. (Source: Wikimedia)

In PUNCH, Megan Krigbaum explores how the natural wine movement is embracing the mission grape a.k.a. listán prieto a.k.a. país a.k.a. criolla chica. “While the grape long predates most of the varieties we hold in high esteem today, the story of país’s long journey from Old World to New is one we’re only becoming acquainted with now.”

Al Gore tells the wine industry to act on ‘global emergency’ of climate change.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley and Tara Duggan report on how restaurants and wineries in Sebastopol’s Barlow are stuggling to pay bills after the recent flooding.

Wine & Spirits Magzine reports that the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation made a $50,000 donation toward the United Way of the Wine Country Sonoma County Flood Recovery & Wellness Fund. United Way will leverage the funds with an additional matching gift opportunity.

In Travel + Leisure, Ray Isle explains why Washington’s Walla Walla region has grown to become a compelling wine destination.

Condé Nast Traveler explores the growing trend of California wine country loyalty programs.

James Lawrence looks at the maddening business of marketing wine to millennials in Wine-Searcher.

In Decanter, Patricio Tapia argues why Argentina’s Monasterio vineyard, in a remote corner of Uco Valley’s Gualtallary region, is a top candidate to be the country’s first officially recognized ‘grand cru’ area. (subscription req.)