Wine Reviews: Chablis

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 01-14-2017

God, I love Chablis. I taste a ton of California Chardonnay, and I am a massive fan of more Cali Chards than I can count. But, when I sit down to taste a bunch of Chablis, my mouth starts to water before I even take a sniff.

Unfortunately, I can’t drink Raveneau on the reg. If I won the lottery, I’d be snatching them up by the case. But, while the top echelon of Chablis producers demand serious money, there are a lot of producers of good, and sometimes exciting, Chablis for a reasonable amount of money.

This tasting included wines from all over the quality and classification spectrum of Chablis, from Grand Cru down to Premier Cru, generic Chablis, and Petit Chablis. (However, my favorite was the Premier Cru Fourchaume)

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

Weekly Interview: Ryan Prichard

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 01-13-2017

Ryan Prichard

Ryan Prichard

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Ryan Prichard, the associate winemaker at Three Sticks Wines.

While Ryan was enamoured of wine for quite some time, it was not until recently that he joined the wine industry. Ryan took the famous wine class at Cornell, where he had his wine-”Aha” moment, as he describes. Ryan then started work as a management consultant, but he could not part ways with wine. He would volunteer at local wineries and make his own wines, and even decided to take a winemaking program at UC Davis – all while maintaining his full-time job.

When Ryan finally decided to make the jump into winemaking, he started with an internship at Williams Selyem. He then ran the cellars at a custom crush winery, before spending some time at Medlock Ames in Alexander Valley, and finally landing at Three Sticks Wines.

What an interesting path to winemaking! We’re excited for Ryan and excited to see what he’ll continue to do at Three Sticks and perhaps beyond.

Check out the interview below the fold!

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Daily Wine News: Putin’s Wine Collection

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-13-2017

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visiting Cricova collection of wines. (Wikimedia)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visiting Cricova collection of wines. (Wikimedia)

In Paste Magazine, Molly Hannon takes us on a tour through Cricova, the second-largest cellar in the world and where Putin stores his private wine collection.

James Laube talks with Dave Phinney about the sale of his California wine company, Orin Swift, to E. & J. Gallo in the Wine Spectator. “I want to disprove that just because a big winery buys a small winery, it goes to shit. In fact, it’s the opposite.”

Following in Bordeaux’s footsteps, Burgundy’s wine bureau has approved a project to build a network of wine tourism centers in the region, named the ‘Cités des Vins de Bourgogne’. Ellie Douglas has more details in Decanter.

Wine Enthusiast talks to journalist Bianca Bosker about her new book, Cork Dork, sommelier certification, and the defining moments of her deep dive into the world of wine.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov presents his red winter picks for “20 Wines Under $20”.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague offers advice on how to navigate cruise ship wine lists.

“Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has won a landmark legal case in a Chinese court, affirming TWE’s lawful right to use the Chinese translated trademark name – “Ben Fu ” for its flagship wine brand Penfolds,” reports the Drinks Business.

Fiona Beckett explains why it makes sense to pair what wine you drink with music as well as with food in the Guardian.



Daily Wine News: Aged Two Buck Chuck

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-12-2017

Cases of Charles Shaw wine.

Cases of Charles Shaw wine.

Ever tried a 14-year-old bottle of Charles Shaw Cabernet? In VinePair, Laura Burgess gets a taste of aged Two Buck Chuck and shares her thoughts. “This was a mellow, simple, pleasant red wine, something I imagine Carson serving the servants on Downton Abbey, but not the noble family upstairs.”

In Wine Spectator, Suzanne Mustacich on how Bordeaux winery buyers are seeing great potential in less-famous appellations and buying small estates. “Another attraction at smaller estates is innovation. No one wants to mess with a classified growth’s identity.”

“The Mount Veeder estate bought by the Tesseron family of Château Pontet-Canet in Bordeaux is to bottle its Napa wine under the name Pym-Rae. This is the name given to the vineyard…by the previous owner, the late actor Robin Williams,” reports Decanter.

Most enology graduates are women, so why aren’t there more women winemakers? James Lawrence explores the wine industry’s persistent sexism in Wine-Searcher.

In Vinous, Kelli White profiles Dick Steltzner, who was one of the key founders of Stags Leap.

WineFolly’s Madeline Puckette covers the six most prevalent “impact compounds” in wine.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, explains what Brexit means for global wine markets.

Decanter rounds up images from the latest snowfall in Sicily.

Daily Wine News: Fire & Fraud

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-11-2017

Source: Vergelegen Wines.

Source: Vergelegen Wines.

A wildfire near to Cape Town in South Africa has damaged up to 40% of the 300 year old Vergelegen wine estate, which dates back to 1700 and is regularly named as among South Africa’s best wineries.

“Wines Til Sold Out (WTSO), is facing a class-action lawsuit claiming it defrauded customers by offering wines for discounted prices that were not based on the wines’ true value,” reports Wines & Vines.

In Food & Wine, Hannah Walhout covers the Satèn style of Franciacorta. “This silky bubbly is unusual: sparkling but smooth, dry but distinctly creamy. It’s one of the softest sparkling wines out there…”

In Edible Manhattan, Eileen M. Duffy does a deep dive on three Seneca Lake rieslings by Boundary Breaks, Hermann J. Weimer and Anthony Road.

Tom Wark looks at the current top 15 selling wine books on Amazon.

In the Huffington Post, Joseph V. Micallef delves into the history of Valle de Guadalupe, and how it has become Mexico’s center of fine wine production.

In Wine Spectator, James Laube remembers Debbie Lewis.

Nick Hines dishes out the problems with celebrity wine in VinePair.

Chuck Hayward on Clare Valley Riesling in Wine & Spirits Magazine.

In Palate Press, Roger Morris gives “9 Reasons Merlot Will Rule the World.”

Daily Wine News: Collecting Conundrums

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-10-2017

(Flickr: market208)

(Flickr: market208)

After over 30 years of collecting Italian wine, Alfonso Cevola pens “a very personal, and specific, guide for the 30-year-old collector on a budget.”

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto also reflects on years of collecting wine, and fears that he can’t drink enough wine to keep his cellar current. “…in general, as I’ve gathered more wines, I haven’t dealt with one obvious fact: Most of the wines in my cellar weren’t meant to last decades.”

A weekend storm dumped more than a foot of water on parts of Northern California, causing flooded fields and vineyards. Sonoma County was among the hardest hit areas, with up to 12 inches of rain since Friday.

According to Wine-Searcher, Cameron Hughes Winery was sold this week by a bankruptcy court receiver to the highest bidder: Vintage Wine Estates.

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford meets the duo behind Caves de Pyrene, the British wine importer more closely associated with natural wine than any other.

WineFolly interviews five people in the wine trade about their journey and what it takes to get there.

The Drinks Business features Spain’s top women winemakers.

Starbucks will no longer serve wine and tapas, and is nixing its “Evenings” program, reports Eater.

Daily Wine News: Confronting Questions

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-09-2017

Veeder Peak, Mount Veeder, Napa. (Source: Jackson Family Wines)

Veeder Peak, Mount Veeder, Napa. (Source: Jackson Family Wines)

In the New York Times, David Gelles looks at how Jackson Family Wines is battling climate change with both high-tech and old-school techniques. “Climate change is forcing the Jacksons to confront questions both practical and existential: Can you make fine wine with less water? Will good grapes still grow here in 20 years? What will become of an industry central to California’s identity…”

In a recent biodynamic tasting calendar study, researchers concluded that “the findings reported in the present study provide no evidence in support of the notion that how a wine tastes is associated with the lunar cycle.”

Meininger reports on how various people in the wine industry reacted to the results of the above biodynamic tasting calendar study.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre on the importance of knowing how to read a vintage chart.

Grape Collective talks to artisan producer Fabio Altariva and his son Alessio from Fattoria Moretto about the evolution of Lambrusco.

Wine Spectator reports that Lewis Cellars’ Debbie Lewis has died after a yearlong battle with various forms of cancer. She was 72.

MarketWatch considers how food and wine costs are going to rise when Donald Trump takes office.

In Punch, Jon Bonné lays out the wine stories he thinks will make a difference this year. “2017 is going to be a complicated—but potentially really great—year for wine.”

Wine Reviews: Bordeaux

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 01-08-2017

About a decade ago, when I was a struggling newspaper reporter with a flashy new ID to purchase wine and a measly budget with which to purchase it, I cut my teeth on inexpensive Bordeaux. These wines didn’t need years in the cellar (which I didn’t have) — these were cheap, zesty Sauv Blancs for salads and fish and fresh and Merlot-tinged reds for everything else. I found a lot of fun wines, but even as a wine newb, I was turned off by some of the acidic, weak, and stemmy wines. Flash forward to today, and I think it’s fair to say the overall quality of entry-level Bordeaux has made an impressive leap.

While I still taste some wines I’d much rather avoid, those wines seem fewer and farther between. There is plenty of juicy and fresh blanc and rouge out there. If you’re dropping cash on some grand vin from a respected Chateau, it’s probably a good idea to give your palate a primer on the vintage. 2013 is widely disparaged as a vintage, but some of the wines have a fresh and tangy, early-drinking presence that I find attractive. And the 2014s are overshadowed by the hype of 2015, there are some really good wines that you may be able to snag for less. And wines from less prestigious appellations can give you an idea on what to expect from the serious stuff.

A few weeks ago I pointed out a few bargain-heavy, tasty, accessible Bordeaux reds from the Cotes de Bordeaux appellations. I’m back this week with a case of Bordeaux (white, red and sweet) from Vins de Bordeaux, the region’s trade group.

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

Wine Reviews: Pinot Noir Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 01-07-2017

It’s time for a whole lot of Pinot Noir. Well, it’s always time for Pinot, but I recently tasted through a bunch of them from all over the world, most of which are not very expensive.

This report features a few leaner, zestier versions from Alsace, most of which I think over-deliver for the price. Speaking of good prices, we’ve also got some value-driven Pinots from lesser heralded villages in Burgundy. While not exactly thrilling, some of these $20-$25 bottles are seriously good for the money. Lastly, I’ve included a Pinot from Italy and a few from California that I received after I’d already conducted my California Pinot single-blind tastings for the fall.

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

Weekly Interview: Michel Fauconnet

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 01-06-2017

Michel Fauconnet

Michel Fauconnet

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Michel Fauconnet, the winemaker, or chef de cave, at the famed Champagne house, Laurent-Perrier.

Michel Fauconnet began his winemaking career right where he is now — at Laurent-Perrier – and he has always worked there. He began as a trainee in 1973. Throughout the years, he steadily rose through the ranks and became the winemaker, the chef de cave, in 2004.

The story of Laurent-Perrier, of course, far precedes Michel’s time. Founded in 1812 by André Michel Pierlot, the estate changed hands several times, before Bernard de Nonancourt opened the new era of Laurent-Perrier after World War II.

Check out the interview below the fold!

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