Daily Wine News: Burgundy 2018

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-05-2019

Vineyard in Burgundy (Source: Wikimedia)

Vineyard in Burgundy (Source: Wikimedia)

In Wine-Searcher, Christy Canterbury MW offers a report on Burgundy’s 2018 wines. “There are excellent and average Burgundies in 2018, and there are a lot of both. Just as producers had to handle their vines and wines strategically, consumers need a master plan when shopping the vintage.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Caroline Hatchett looks at the “slow yet exciting shift” in the way that sommeliers and vintners talk about and describe wine.

Louis Roederer has announced the release of the 2012 vintage of Cristal, the first to be made from 100% biodynamically farmed grapes.

Robert Joseph ponders the secret to making a luxury wine in Meininger’s.

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Corey Warren interviews Jancis Robinson about the new 8th edition of The World Atlas of Wine.

In VinePair, Susannah Chen reports on how Champagne is changing its methods to compact the effects of climate change.

In Decanter, Stephen Brook offers a short profile of Tuscany’s Ruffino.

David Farley talks with Jeannie Cho Lee, Singapore Airlines’ sommelier, about what to drink onboard a flight in Newsweek.

Daily Wine News: Talk About Tariffs

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-04-2019

(Flickr: husbandunit)

(Flickr: husbandunit)

“US trade officials said they were considering imposing import tariffs of “up to 100%” on certain French products, with a provisional list including “sparkling wine made from grapes” and many types of cheese, from Roquefort to Gruyère,” reports Decanter.

US wine retailers have maintained their optimism in the face of the tariffs on wine, finds Jeff Siegel in Meininger’s. “Six weeks into the 25 percent European wine tariffs, there’s a sense in the US that importers will take only the most necessary price hikes, and that those hikes will take place between now and the end of January. Otherwise, they will wait and hope for the best.”

W. Blake Gray explores the appeal of Dry Farm Wines, the wine club that’s the largest buyer of natural wines in the world. “These are not just natural wines. The company has a very specific aesthetic: low alcohol (12.5% or less), clean wines (despite minimal sulfur) and no residual sugar. The special feature is that it lab tests all of its wines, so they are what they claim to be. I’m a rather well-known skeptic, but I believe in Dry Farm Wines.”

In Grape Collective, Andrew Chalk offers tips for visiting English wineries.

On JancisRobinson.com, Tamlyn Currin reviews Wines of the French Alps by Wink Lorch. (subscription req.)

Stephen Tanzer offers his notes on the new releases from Washington State in Vinous.

In Bon Appétit, Liz Riggs explains how drinking wine helped her make peace with her 30s. “If my twenties were about spinning my wheels until I couldn’t anymore; running around trying to find myself in the mess, my thirties are about settling into what I’ve found. What I get at the wine shop is a reminder of the life I’ve built, the life I like.”

In VinePair, Kelly Magyarics talks to Champagne concierge Lise Legrand about her elite access, how anyone can — and should — enjoy a glass with anything from the low-brow to the luxe, and tips for those visiting the Champagne region.

Daily Wine News: Succession

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-03-2019

Vineyards in Sonoma. (Flickr: torbakhopper)

Vineyards in Sonoma. (Flickr: torbakhopper)

“As the wave of growers that came of age in the 1970s retires, the question of how a family can sustain ownership is more relevant than ever. Where family farming is the paradigm, the culture of the region depends on growers’ ability to chart a way forward for their next of kin. It’s called succession planning, and in Sonoma it’s on everyone’s mind.” In SevenFifty Daily, Betsy Andrews looks at how several multigenerational families in Sonoma are tackling succession planning.

Roger Morris admits he’s not a fan of Riesling in Meininger’s: “I’m puzzled by all those folks in the wine trade who love Riesling and would have it served at their funerals, and so can’t fathom why rank-and-file wine lovers don’t care enough for Riesling to drink or buy it with any regularity… Whenever I have repeatedly tried to pair Rieslings with whatever I’m eating, I find myself wishing I had ordered something else.”

“Moët Hennessy, the wine and spirits division of French luxury titan LVMH, has made a big bet on pink, purchasing a 55 percent controlling stake in luxury Provence rosé winery Château d’Esclans for an undisclosed sum,” reports Daniel Marsteller in Wine Spectator. “Château d’Esclans is known for its Whispering Angel brand, which has been a driving force behind the premiumization of the rosé category in the U.S.”

Layla Schlack delves into the history of sparkling wine in Wine Enthusiast.

In National Geographic, Danielle Bernabe explores all that Paso Robles has to offer wine lovers.

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning talks to Steve Edmunds of Edmunds St. John Wines to talk about his decades-long stretch in the wine business and the constant struggle to get his understated wines noticed in a market saturated with big, bold California Cabs.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray pens a love letter to Madeira.

Daily Wine News: Southern Wine Scene

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 12-02-2019

pexels-photo-2945471In VinePair, Chasity Cooper surveys the emerging Southern wine scene. “While the South might not be home to America’s most famous wine growing regions, it has another homegrown asset: the art and culture of hospitality.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre reports on Warren Winiarski’s most recent honor: “…the Smithsonian awarded Winiarski, whose name means “from wine” or “from the winemaker” in Polish, its James Smithson Bicentennial Medal in a ceremony Nov. 21 at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, in a room overlooking the vineyard that produced the winning wine. He is the first winemaker to receive the medal, which honors people for contributions to American art and culture.

How good is Château Lafite Rothschild’s Chinese wine, Long Dai? Elin McCoy gets a taste in Bloomberg.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov recommends 2019’s best books on wine and cider.

Jessica Dupuy also suggests a few wine and spirits books for holiday gift giving in Forbes.

Jancis Robinson shares her recommendations for 35 festive reds to drink this holiday season.

In Wine Enthusiast, Charlie Friedmann explores aged sake.

Wine Reviews: Italy, France, Portugal & Spain

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 12-01-2019

To all the American readers, hopefully you’ve been enjoying Thanksgiving with family, friends, delicious food and wines over the holiday weekend!

After focusing a lot on California wines recently, I’ve tasted through a bunch of samples from Italy, Portugal and Spain, and found some good recommendations to share.

Fattoria La Valentina does a good job with inexpensive wines from the Abruzzi region, while two wines from Alto Adige bring that crisp, zesty, Alpine-style goodness.

From France, Ferraton doles out two solid offerings from the Rhone Valley.

Port house Symington Family Estates has ventured further south into Alentejo’s Portalegre region to source grapes for a new project called Quinta da Fonte Souto. I love this region, so I was stoked to taste the inaugural 2017 vintage of their red and white. They’re both good, but the white is really something else.

And from Spain, we have two value-driven Riojas from Bodegas Beronia, and a beefy Garnacha that would pair well with cold, snowy nights.

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

Daily Wine News: Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-27-2019

(Source: Wikimedia)

(Source: Wikimedia)

In PUNCH, Megan Krigbaum looks at how Thanksgiving’s “it” wines have changed, and talks to progressive wine shop owners about what to drink this year.

Elsewhere in PUNCH, Jamie Feldmar talks to Eric Asimov about how his Thanksgiving wine advice has evolved over the last 16 years.

“You could argue that currently Champagne is undergoing a greater revolution than any other wine region,” says Jancis Robinson. “The most obvious change is in the climate. Virtually all wine regions are experiencing more and more hot summers, but this matters particularly in Champagne where high acids have been treasured in the base wines to be made fizzy. Average acid levels have been falling, and I think you can taste in many champagnes that the grapes were riper than in the past. This is not necessarily a bad thing.”

In Wine Spectator, Brianne Garrett talks to actor Ian Somerhalder about the “alchemy” that went into making his red blend, the parallels between wine and film, and why he still reaches for value wines.

“The term ’natural wine’ is an insult to the humanity of wine,” said Chilean winemaker François Massoc during a discussion with the Drinks Business.

In Forbes, Thomas Pellechia analyzes the ups and downs of the 2019 global bulk wine market.

In Penta, Jake Emen explores the world of concrete-aged wine.

Daily Wine News: Reflecting on 50 Years of Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-26-2019

41CLtyPIQ-L._SX395_BO1,204,203,200_Almost 50 years since it was first published, The World Atlas of Wine has reached its eighth edition. In Decanter, John Stimpfig talks to Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson about what has changed in the wine world over that time.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars founder Warren Winiarski is this year’s recipient of the Smithsonian Institution’s James Smithson Bicentennial Medal, conferred by the National Museum of American History. He’s the first winemaker to ever receive that award, whose past honorees include George Lucas, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Lady Bird Johnson and Stephen Hawking. Esther Mobley shares the details in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In Bon Appétit, Marissa A. Ross considers merlot’s comeback, and also recommends wines for Thanksigving.

With Beaujolais Nouveau Day just passed, Evan Rail looks at other European wine regions that make vin nouveau in VinePair.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray looks at how the quality of dry wines is changing in the Douro Valley. “It’s an enormous difference in a single generation. Twenty years ago, there weren’t a lot of great Douro Valley table wines. The world has only gotten hotter, but Douro Valley table wines have gotten cooler.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre recommends new wine books for holiday gift-giving.

“Jean Gautreau, who turned the neglected Sociando-Mallet winery into a competitor with Bordeaux’s classified growths, has died at the age of 92,” reports Suzanne Mustacich in Wine Spectator.

Daily Wine News: Michelin Acquires Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-25-2019

Flickr: Ren Kuo

Flickr: Ren Kuo

Michelin has acquired Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Valerie Kathawala reports on the details in Grape Collective.

In Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox explores wineries that grow only one grape variety. “An almost existential quest for authenticity and a grape’s truest expression seems to pervade the perspective and approach to winemaking of every varietal-infatuated producer. But there is also a feeling, akin to the idealized notion of marriage so many of us grew up with, that they “get” this one grape more than others do, and it’s their job to not help this grape achieve terroir transcendence, but also explain away some of its less-appreciated personality tics to the rest of the world.”

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan examines why many wine drinkers seem to need their wine to be considered “healthy,” and talks with Georgetown professor of philosophy Rebecca Kukla about the increasing need to cast wine as a health beverage.

Jancis Robinson suggests a good mix of bargain bubbly for the holidays ahead.

Roger Voss looks at how the tariffs will affect Beaujolais Nouveau this year in Wine Enthusiast.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers some last-minute Thanksgiving drinks tips.

Antonio Galloni offers his notes on the late-release 2015 Barolos in Vinous.

In Meininger’s, Caroline Gilby MW reports on how sustainability is impacting the wine industry.

Wine Reviews: Sanford Chardonnay & Pinot Noir

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-23-2019

The first time I heard of California Pinot Noir producer Sanford was while watching a movie in the theater. You may have heard of it: Sideways.

I was living in New York, not yet of legal drinking age, but I had the early stages of the wine bug after a few years of high school in Germany. I distinctly remember having the rare day off work at Kinko’s, so I caught a matinee showing of the film. At this point, I had never visited California, but as I watched Miles and Jack sip wines with Sanford tasting room manager Chris Burrows, I took note — more investigation of this Cali Pinot thing was in order.

sanfordOf course, for decades before Hollywood got involved, Sanford had been a crucial part of the California wine landscape.

It all starts in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when botanist Michael Benedict and his friend Richard Sanford set out to find a cooler climate area where they could ripen (but not over-ripen), wine grapes. After gathering, analyzing and scrutinizing data concerning weather, climate, soils, etc., they decided on an area of the Santa Ynez Valley, a region that would later become the “Sta. Rita Hills” American Viticultural Area. The first Sanford & Benedict Vineyard vines were planted in 1971, and two years later, they planted the first Pinot Noir vines.

Michael Benedict and Richard Sanford split after the 1980 vintage, and Richard sold his interest in the vineyard and founded Sanford Winery. There was a lot of back-and-forth in the following years, as control of the vineyard and the winery shifted hands.

La Riconada Vineyard, which abuts the Sanford & Benedict vineyard, was planted in 1997, and this would also become home to the winery and tasting room. The Terlato family partnered with Sanford Winery in 2002, making investments in the vineyards and winery. They became the majority owner and managing partners. In 2007, they purchased the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, re-uniting the winery with its original site.

Earlier this year I had the great pleasure of meeting John Terlato and Michael Benedict. We tasted through a variety of new and aged Sanford Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, and discussed the special place these wines have in the history of California viticulture.

The wines are currently made by Trey Fletcher (senior winemaker) and Laura Roach (assistant winemaker). Cellar master Auggie Rodriguez has been working at Sanford for more than 20 years, and his father was hired to plant the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in the early 1970s.

With all this history, how do the winery’s current releases stand up? Well, I recently tasted some new Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, and found them vibrant, delicious, and highly satisfying. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Toasting Terry Theise

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-20-2019

Terry Theise. (Photo credit: Skurnik Wines)

Terry Theise. (Photo credit: Skurnik Wines)

In the New York Times Magazine, Joe Appel writes a letter of recommendation for Terry Theise’s wine catalogs. “So much of wine writing tries to “simplify” wine: It is “essentially about pleasure,” or “at its foundation an agricultural product,” or “just fermented grape juice.” Through Theise, you come to see such slogans as abbreviated and disrespectful. His brochures unabridge, guiding us to feel ourselves into existence — to understand what we like less through logical inquiry and more through attunement to our emotional life.”

Sean P. Sullivan highlights five women behind some of Washington’s best grapevines in Wine Enthusiast.

Gallo has purchased the Pahlmeyer wine brand, reports W. Blake Gray in Wine-Searcher. “It’s a very Constellation Brands-like deal, no small irony as Gallo awaits federal antitrust approval for its $1.7 billion purchase of 30 mostly low-end brands from Constellation.”

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto looks at actor John Malkovich’s latest project: producing wine in Provence.

In SevenFifty Daily, Katherine Cole reports on how importers, wholesalers, and retailers are scrambling to soften the blow of the new 25 percent tariff imposed by the U.S. on beverages from EU nations.

In Vinous, Ian D’Agata reports on the 2018 vintage in Campania.

In New Jersey Monthly, Tara Nurin looks at how blaufränkisch is taking root in New Jersey.