Wine Reviews: Navarra

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-23-2017

This week, I’m delving into a range of wines from the Spanish region of Navarra.

This region, which is located east of La Rioja, is only about 120 miles from north to south and 60 miles east to west, but it shows a wide range of soils and microclimates. With the Pyrenees Mountains to the north and the Bardenas Reales badlands to the south, the average vineyard in Navarra sits at about 1,300 feet in elevation, and growers produce a variety of classic Spanish and international grape varieties.

Most of the wines in this report fall into that “bargain” range of $10-$15, but I found the quality and value to be solid. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: Penner-Ash

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-22-2017

Penner-Ash has earned wide consumer, restaurant and wine media respect for many years, and it’s easy to see why. For decades they have sourced fruit from some stunning Oregon vineyards: their estate vineyard in Yamhill-Carlton, Shea Vineyard, Hyland Vineyard in McMinnville, Zena Crown in Eola Amity Hills. Their wines are what one may call terroir-driven, they are vibrant, complex wines with all sorts of unique nuances.

In a recent blind tasting of American Rieslings (detailed here), Penner-Ash showed quite well with their two Rieslings, a Willamette Valley AVA and one from a Hyland Vineyard-designated Riesling. So I was expecting goodness from the 2015 Riesling, and it delivered.

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

Daily Wine News: Power, Prestige, Failure

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-21-2017

Michelin-logo-1024x768In Purple Pages, Alder Yarrow talks to several people in the wine industry about the recent news that Michelin has acquired a 40% stake in Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Elin McCoy offers: “This is yet another big step away from the power Parker once had as an individual taste arbiter. Ever since he began adding other reviewers more than a decade ago, he has weakened his power.”

Louis Jadot buys historic Burgundy estate Prieur-Brunet,” reports William Kelley in Decanter. “As more and more growers opt to estate-bottle and the market for top-quality grapes becomes more competitive, Burgundy’s négociant houses are increasingly acquiring their own vineyards—a trend Jadot has been leading for decades.”

Elsewhere in Decanter, Jane Anson gets trade opinions on the Bordeaux 2016 campaign, examines why a significant amount of wine failed to sell in a highly rated vintage, and considers a new twist on the en primeur model.

Jessica Dupuy explores how climate change is affecting German Rieslings and what it means for the future of the Prädikatswein system in SevenFifty Daily.

Abbie Stutzer explains what sustainable wine certification in California really means.

In Wine Spectator, Suzanne Mustacich reports: “Winemaking partners Olivier Decelle and Pierre-Jean Villa have acquired the historic Rhône estate Domaine de Boisseyt-Chol in Chavanay, a prime Côte-Rôtie spot, from Didier and Agnes Chol.”

In Meininger’s, Cees van Casteren MW reports on the changing patterns of wine consumption in the Netherland.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague looks at how oak makes or breaks wine. (subscription req.)

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Daily Wine News: Pre-Prohibition CA

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-20-2017

Greystone Cellars in 1889. The building is now owned by the Culinary Institute of America. (Wikimedia)

Greystone Cellars in 1889. The building is now owned by the Culinary Institute of America. (Wikimedia)

In the Daily Beast, Frances Dinkelspiel highlights historic sites and wineries in Napa, Sonoma, and the Bay Area that have pre-Prohibition roots.

In Wine Enthusiast, Paige Darrah talks to Charles Mélia, who left behind his family’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape winery to make wine at his Moroccan winery, Domaine du Val d’Argan, where he prefers to use camels to plow vineyards instead of tractors.

You can thank Instagram for your rosé obsession, says Khushbu Shah in Thrillist.

In the Guardian, Tim Jonze investigates how rosé became the drink of choice for millennials.

Luxury goods conglomerate LVMH has settled a legal fight with auctioneer Acker Merrall & Condit over a bottle of 1947 Krug. In Wine Spectator, Samantha Falewée explains what it means for wine collectors.

According to the Drinks Business, Slovenia’s minister of Agriculture has said that the country is to file a lawsuit against the European Commission over the grape Teran after the EC adopted a delegated act allowing producers in Croatia to put the grape variety on the label, as long as it came from a very specific place.

The New York Times Magazine explores the answer to the question: Is it O.K. to Fire a Muslim Driver for Refusing to Carry Wine?

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray tells the story of Domaine Tariquet.

Joyce Lin provides a primer on ruchè from Piedmont in Grape Collective.

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Daily Wine News: A Reliably Good White

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-19-2017

A glass of sauvignon blanc.(Flickr: kateausburn)

A glass of sauvignon blanc.(Flickr: kateausburn)

Wine Spectator’s Matt Kramer believes sauvignon blanc is the world’s most reliably good white wine. “Why is Sauvignon Blanc so worldwide-reliable? Partly it’s a matter of universally good, and cross-border knowledgeable, winemaking… Everywhere, producers of Sauvignon Blanc know what they’re doing. Not least, unlike with Chardonnay, they also know their limits.”

The Drinks Business reports that the growing number of Champagne houses releasing vintages almost every year could lead to fluctuating prices depending on the quality of the vintage according to Hubert de Billy of Pol Roger.

Brunello di Montalcino estate Poggio Antico has been purchased by Atlas Invest, a Belgian energy investment company, reports Laura Seal in Decanter.

Condé Nast Traveler reports that Norwegian Cruise Line announced a series of “Meet the Wine Maker Cruises”.

In Palate Press, W. Blake Gray on former MTV executive Kashy Khaledi’s wine label, Ashes & Diamonds, which Steve Matthiasson consults for.

Bruce Sanderson remembers Barolo winemaker Domenico Clerico, “the renowned vintner who helped build a new wave of enthusiasm for the wines of Barolo,” in Wine Spectator.

Albiera Antinori talks wine, family and business with Forbes contributor Amber Gibson.

In the Seattle Times, Rick Steves goes on an Alsatian wine tour.

Courtney Schiessl offers a primer on Texas wine in VinePair.

Daily Wine News: Searching For Silvaner

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-18-2017

Bottle of German Silvaner. (Wikimedia)

Bottle of German Silvaner. (Wikimedia)

“The reason is that Franconia’s greatest and most terroir-friendly grape variety is unquestionably Silvaner, and Silvaner … just is.  Its being is pure wine, wine with almost all the adjectives stripped away.  Its perfection is gloriously inarticulate.” In Decanter, Andrew Jefford goes searching for silvaner in Germany.

Elsewhere in Decanter, Chris Mercer announces that 12 cava “grand cru” sites have been chosen by Spain’s government in a new top-level classification designated to promote single-vineyard wines.

In the Atlantic, Matthew Sedacca reports on how Bodegas Torres, a winery in Catalonia, is researching and rediscovering wine varieties long thought to be extinct. “It just so happens that many of these revived regional varieties thrive in hotter, drier climates. So Bodegas Torres is regrowing these ancestral vines to assuage the wine industry’s looming climate-change crisis.”

In Grape Collective, Stuart Pigott explores why hipsters hate Bordeaux, complete with rants about hipster somms. “The biggest mistake most of the hipster somms make is their assumption that fruity wine aromas are fake and obscure the non-fruity authentic taste of wine. For them it only becomes apparent when the fruity “mask” is removed. They fail to grasp that the ripe fruit aromas of wine are actually natural…”

“Domenico Clerico, pioneer of modern Barolo and later defender of tradition, dies at 67,” reports Jeremy Parzen.

Tim Atkin investigates how leafroll virus is affecting the South African wine industry.

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Deanna Gonnella talks to chefs around the country about pairing sparkling wines with food.

Wines & Vines reports that a wet winter in California has lead to an increase in vineyard hiring.

Daily Wine News: Second Chances

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-17-2017

Montepulciano grapes. (Wikimedia)

Montepulciano grapes. (Wikimedia)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov gives Montepulciano d’Abruzzo a second chance. “Perhaps not unexpectedly, the wines in our tasting divided largely into two styles: those that were fresh, fruity and tannic, and others that were overbearing, oaky and tannic… Montepulciano d’Abruzzo may not have much in the way of star power, but you’ll get a good drink of wine.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre explains how trying your hand at blending wine can teach you a lot about the kinds of wines you like.

Jeff Siegel, the wine curmudgeon, asks: “Has the rosé craze peaked?”

Lettie Teague helps spread the word that not all riesling is sweet in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)

In the Guardian, David Williams looks at the protests in the Languedoc-Roussillon and how they are changing French drinking habits and a new president.

Wine Specator’s Bruce Sanderson profiles Luca Roagna, who “crafts pure, expressive wines from vineyards in Barbaresco and Barolo.”

In VinePair, Linda Gradstein profiles Metzuda Winery, which is producing fine wines for ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Antonio Galloni offers a preview of 2017 Champagne in Vinous.

In Wine-Searcher, David Allen reviews Caroline Henry’s book, Terroir Champagne, and says “although the book is brilliant it has a number of flaws.”

Wine Reviews: Venica & Venica

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-15-2017

Venica & Venica’s story begins in 1930, when Austrian-born Daniele Venica purchased a small house and property in Dolegna del Collio, in north-eastern Italy. After the ravages of World War 2, he and his son Adelchi worked together to buy up neglected vineyards.

Today, they maintain estate vineyards spread across a 70-acre estate, allowing varieties of local and international grapes to thrive. Adelchi’s sons, Gianni and Giorgio, have carried on the tradition by producing wines that show freshness, minerality, and demand a spot on a table surrounded by food. I couldn’t find an unexciting wine in the bunch, and a few are shockingly good.

I received these wines as trade samples and tasted them sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Indian Wine Impresses

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-14-2017

Rajeev Samant (Source: Sula Vineyards).

Rajeev Samant (Source: Sula Vineyards).

In Decanter, Jane Anson profiles Rajeev Samant of the Indian winery Sula Vineyards. “If there’s a more impressive man in the wine trade that Rajeev Samant, I look forward to meeting them. A conversation with him is a crash course in Indian economic history, as you would expect, but also in entrepreneurship and self-belief.”

In Munchies, Chantal Martineau reports on how crucial a flock of 200 sheep at Tablas Creek Winery in Paso Robles is to the health of the vines and soil they grow in.

“Global warming may hit wine lovers where it hurts the most – the pocket – as rising temperatures are likely to increase labor costs in Europe’s vineyards,” reports Alex Whiting in Reuters.

Betsy Andrews explores how a collection of library wines helps a winery establish a legacy in SevenFifty Daily.

Richard Jennings finds the Sonoma Coast’s Chamboulé wines are “exceptional” and “profound,” comparing his experience of tasting them to those he’s had with an old Barolo and mature white Burgundy.

Friesling is the new frosé, reports Lauren Sloss in Punch.

Kamal Kouiri talks to Wine & Spirits Magazine about his love for Santorini wines.

In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth on how Domaine Font de Michelle’s vigneron Guillaume Gonnet is returning to his father’s style of Châteauneuf-du-Papes.

Wine-Searcher searches for Bordeaux’s most expensive wines.

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Daily Wine News: Screw Cap Coravin

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-13-2017

(Flickr: Brett Jordan)

(Flickr: Brett Jordan)

Wine Enthusiast’s Leslie Gevirtz reports on the work Coravin is doing to make a screw cap friendly opener. The solution? Another screw cap, which is topped with a surgical-grade silicon seal.

In Munchies, Rachel Signer profiles Krista Scruggs, who is currently working for Deirdre Heekin at La Garagista in Vermont, as well as working on her own natural wine, under the label Rabble Rouser Wines.

In SevenFifty Daily, Lauren Mowery examines no-dosage Champagnes.

Elsewhere in SevenFifty Daily, Maggie Hoffmann explores the rise of wine consulting in the gig economy.

Almost Famous has everything to do with the charms and cautions of today’s wine world.” In Punch, Jon Bonné finds parallels between the movie and today’s wine culture. “To write effectively about either wine or rock, you have to love your subject—to be a fan. But to do it well, you have to step back and be a critic, to not always join the party.”

Lettie Teague looks at how Chambers Street Wines in Manhattan is thriving, both locally and online, in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)

In Beverage Media, Liza B. Zimmerman reports on how restaurants are expanding their by-the-glass options without investing significant money and training.

Nick Hines looks at how climate change is impacting terroir in VinePair.