Wine Reviews: International Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 12-03-2016

We’re back with a grab bag of wine samples from all over the world. This report includes a bunch of wines from Chile’s Concha y Toro (always a reliable producer), including the heralded Don Melchor Cabernet. We’ve got some Champagne, a perfect holiday Port, and some exciting wines from Roussillon.

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

Daily Wine News: Cult Bubbly Obsession

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-02-2016

Ultramarine wine label.

Ultramarine wine label.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley on where you can find “the cult sparkling-wine obsession,” Ultramarine. “If you want to buy some wine from the winery, you’re out of luck; Cruse is completely sold out of the current vintage, 2012.”

“Anyone who buys a vineyard has to be a bit of a romantic.” In Wine Enthusiast, Rachel Von Sturmer reveals the hard truth about owning a vineyard.

Rachel Signer checks out LA’s wine scene in Munchies. “As I spent more time in LA—I was visiting from New York, where I live—I found myself on the orange wine trail… I also saw that orange wine was part of an overall revolution in LA’s wine culture.”

Right Price Wine asked 18 wine experts for their tips on how to give wine as a gift for any occasion.

Peter Zusman talks about how to become a wine rep, how much they can make and what it takes to be a success in Grape Collective.

In Decanter, Jane Anson reports on how Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have risen to the summit of the world grape planting league in the past decade.

In Eater, Miriam Porter tells you everything you need to know about vegan wine.

The Wall Street Journal looks at how Britain’s wine production could be boosted by climate change.

In Forbes, Cathy Huyghe is also thinking about giving wine as gifts.

Daily Wine News: An $845 Wine Book

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-01-2016

The $845 wine book in question.

The $845 wine book in question.

In Bloomberg, Kate Krader on the new $845 limited-edition book that dealers can’t keep in stock, The Impossible Collection of Wine: The 100 Most Exceptional Vintages of the Twentieth Century.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan talks with Mark Vogler and Gary Saperstein of Out in the Vineyard, and Mark Lyon — winemaker for Sebastiani Vineyards, as well as his own winery, Eco Terreno — about being an LGBT winemaker. “All three confirmed that winemaking as a profession is “98% straight,” as Lyon told me.  And some LGBT winemakers still aren’t out…”

In an interview with Wine Enthusiast, Kevin Zraly looks back on 40 years of Windows on the World Wine School. “The thing I’m proudest of is how it’s affected people… When I walk into a restaurant or a tasting, I always see someone I know.

In Bon Appétit, Marissa A. Ross explores what she believes to be the wine equivalents of comfort food: full-bodied reds.

In Decanter, Amanda Barnes speaks with UC Davis researchers about how the new full genome map of cabernet sauvignon can help winemakers battle a changing climate.

In Wine-Searcher, Adam Lechmere considers how climate change could help the UK’s wine industry.

Brian Freedman is looking to American sparkling wine this holiday season, and reports on the rise of American bubbly in Forbes.

In the Mercury News, Mary Orlin recommends new wine and drinks books to give as holiday gifts.

Daily Wine News: What Moldova Means

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-30-2016

The Purcari winery surrounded by its vineyards. (Wikimedia)

The Purcari winery surrounded by its vineyards. (Wikimedia)

In Roads & Kingdoms, Will Mawhood visits Pulcari winery in Moldova and reflects on the country’s politics and wine culture. “In Russia, in Ukraine, in Latvia, and Uzbekistan, Moldova means wine, and good wine…if the “east-directed parties” win the presidential election, it will be good for Moldovan wine but just for a few years. Russia will begin importing Moldovan wine again, and a lot of small wineries will see demand rise. But long-term, it will be a disaster…”

In the Chicago Tribune, Greg Trotter talks to Bill Terlato, president of The Terlato Wine Group, about the success of The Federalist brand (which is served at “Hamilton” productions) after losing its flagship Santa Margherita, which made up almost one-third of its business.

In VinePair, Bridget Huber talks to immigrant wine workers about how they feel about a Trump presidency and Trump’s pledge to build a wall.

Western Farm Press’ Harry Cline profiles Steve and Jill Klein Matthiasson and tells the story behind their unique wine dream fulfilled in Napa. ““Most winemakers know the fermentation process well, but it is less common to find those who know the plants — good winemakers are good vine people.”

In the Napa Valley Register, Tim Carl is enjoying Napa’s newfound interest in chenin blanc and appreciates the vintners preserving old-vine zinfandel vineyards.

Stephen Tanzer looks at the last several vintages in Washington and considers what the biggest challenge winemakers are faced with in Vinous.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, explores the controversies brewing over the “Port” wine name.

Mike Dunne shares 10 things that surprised him about Idaho’s wine scene in the Sacramento Bee.

Wine in the Wilderness – Exploring Humboldt’s Lost Coast

Posted by | Posted in Grape Adventures, Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-29-2016

15036224_10154698717797173_6457924708238591057_nNo highways cut through here. Mountains drop precipitously into the Pacific Ocean. Everything is wet and the nights are long and cold. This mountainous coastal region of northern Mendocino and southern Humboldt Counties, called the Lost Coast, is the largest stretch of coastal wilderness in the lower 48 states.

I came here for the waves, the stoke, the mountains, the serene darkness of the forest. And, yes, the wine. They make damn good wine out here.

I visited Andrew Morris, the winemaker and proprietor of Briceland Vineyards, on a rare warm and sunny morning in November. The sun poked through after a terrible downpour that lasted all night (a local told me it rained four inches). My friend and I were forced to bail, soaked and frozen, from our flooded tent and sleep in our car. In the morning, we checked the surf, but the tide was dead high, making it impossible to reach our spot. So we grabbed some coffee and drove over the mountains to see Andrew. The drive east on Shelter Cove Road could be described using any or all of the following words: gorgeous, sketchy, stunning — holy shit, bro, you’re way too close to the edge! — mindboggling, etc.

When rainstorms come early, they can be a big threat to the grape harvest, but the grapes had been harvested more than a month ago. My brother, travelling buddies and I visited the Lost Coast in full-swing rainy season. But we lucked out, and only got one soaking wet night out of five. Even when it’s not actively raining, the Lost Coast is a wet place. The air tasted of mountain stream and I could watch individual droplets drift in the thick fog. Cold mountain streams cut through forests, waterfalls pour down rocks cliffs into the sea, dense fog packs narrow valleys, rich moss and ferns pad the ground while massive redwoods block out the sun. After a soaking wet October, mushrooms flourished in the woods. My brother is a mushroom foraging guru, so I just followed his lead and cooked the mushrooms he said were both safe and tasty. (Hand-foraged mushrooms sautéed over a campfire paired with Humboldt Pinot is an epic palate experience.)

This is an extreme place in every way, and that’s why we came. The weather swings can be extreme. Ditto for the waves, which ranged in size from pumping 10 feet to death-defying 30 feet. My brother and I, lifelong surfing buds, caught some incredible waves, but also spent too much time underwater, getting worked by the cold, chunky surf and currents. Here, the surf is sketchier, the waters sharkier, the roads hairier, and the marijuana smells much, much better. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Northern Rhône Focus

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-29-2016

erraces of vineyards in the French wine region of Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhone Valley. (Wikimedia)

Terraces of vineyards in the French wine region of Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhone Valley. (Wikimedia)

Jancis Robinson ponders the greatness of the 2015 northern Rhône reds. “For Marcel Guigal’s son Philippe, who now holds the reins, there was ‘simply nothing to say’ about the 2015 growing season in the northern Rhône because it was just so perfect.”

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Rajat Parr talks Côte Rôtie.

In VinePair, the use of the terms “female somms” and “female winemakers” infuriates Vicky Denig. “Why, in the 21st century, do we still feel the need to emphasize the fact that these professional industry workers doing their jobs — and doing them very well, at that — are female?”

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford remembers his visit to Donald Trump’s winery in Virginia, and considers boycotts old and new amid an unstable political climate across the so-called free world.

“Montsant and Priorat are Catalonian neighbors… But as the soils and microclimates of Montsant vary from their neighbor, the wines of Montsant are better understood without the reflex comparison.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the most recent Wine School, Montsant, and announces what’s up next: Dolcetto.

In Wine-Searcher, Adam Lechmere talks with Andrew Weeber of the English sparkling winery, Gusborne about growing up in South Africa and how he got into the English wine business.

In Wine Enthusiast, Joe Czerwinski offers advice on buying old and rare bottles from a wine shop.

Christies features an “instant mini collection” vertical of Château Mouton Rothschild which is up to be auctioned on December 9.

Daily Wine News: Signature of Sassicaia

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-28-2016

Bottles of Sassicaia. (Wikimedia)

Bottles of Sassicaia. (Wikimedia)

In Decanter, Jane Anson tastes 44 vintages of Sassicaia in Rome, and reports on which are her favorites. “Sassicaia has the signature of a great wine in spades – the balance, the longevity, and the ability to change and evolve in the glass, giving something new each time you return.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre looks at Philippe Bascaules’ next move: returning back to France to manage Château Margaux while continuing to direct winemaking at Inglenook in Napa Valley.

In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence wonders if Africa can be the savior of the world’s wine producers. “Yes, the planet’s most troubled and yet beguiling continent could be the wine industry’s 21st Century answer to falling wine consumption in both Europe and emerging markets.”

Wine writer Mark Oldman talks about his favorite wine destinations around the world in the New York Times.

According to the Drinks Business, “East Anglian winery Flint Vineyard has revealed the first results of its study on the aromatics of the German white wine grape Bacchus, which suggest it is has less in common with Sauvignon Blanc than is often thought.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague shares strategies to help turn “narrow-minded wine lovers on to something new.”

Mike Dunne embraces wines from the Veneto in the Sacramento Bee.

In the Los Angeles Times, Patrick Comiskey recommends fall-friendly red wines.

Wine Reviews: California Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-27-2016

Winter is on its way, and here in the Mid-Atlantic it’s already cold, windy and dark most of the time. Sure, it’s prime time for burly red wines, but I sip whites all year round. I cook a lot of vegetarian dishes, so I always have chilled white wines around, and sometimes I just can’t handle to density or tannic bite of a young red wine.

I recently tasted through a few Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs from California, and found a lot to like.

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

Wine Reviews: Values from Spain & Portugal

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-26-2016

It’s no secret that Spain and Portugal are home to seriously delicious wines at very reasonable prices. If your annual wine budget is getting maxed out, some of these wines might be a great way to make it through the holiday season.

This week we’re focusing on a few wines apiece from three producers. Senda/Verde is a group of Spanish wines sourced from Bierzo and Galicia, while Bodegas Carlos Serres is a purveyor of solid, inexpensive Rioja. Lastly, Faisão producers good, cheap wines from Vinho Verde and Dão in Portugal.

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

Daily Wine News: Thanksgiving Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-23-2016

Brown_Turkey“Sorry. I’m here to tell you that no single “unity” Thanksgiving wine exists.” In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy chimes in about pairing wine with Thanksgiving, and suggests five rules you “must (almost) always obey.”

In Edible Brooklyn, Eileen M. Duffy makes a case for drinking Georgian wine for Thanksgiving.

The Splendid Table talks to Jancis Robinson about pairing wines with Thanksgiving dinner.

Wine-Searcher reports about which wines people are searching for in the U.S. just before Thanksgiving.

“Sussex sparkling wine has climbed the next rung of the ladder to protected name status, but its application for EU-wide name rights may overrun the timeline set out for Brexit by the UK government,” reports Chris Mercer in Decanter.

In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth offers a harvest report on the 2016 vintage in the Rhône Valley: “France’s Northern and Southern Rhône Valleys share a river, but are very different otherwise. And 2016 delivered two different growing seasons for them.”

There may be wineries making great wines in unlikely places, but does anyone care? W. Blake Gray explores the answer in Wine-Searcher.

The Los Angeles Times looks into the world of wine-themed cruises, including one to… Alaska.

According to Harpers UK, the 2016 Rioja harvest has “proved exceptional in both quality and quantity.”

Daily Wine News will return on Monday, Nov. 28. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Cheers! — Shelby