Daily Wine News: Pondering Greatness

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-19-2018



Tim Atkin ponders the meaning of fine wine. “I’d like to propose a different take on great wine, one that looks beyond Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Mosel, Champagne, Tuscany, Piedmont and the Rhône and Douro Valleys. It would be wrong to say that what constitutes greatness is totally subjective – no one would include Yellow Tail or Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, for example – but the current definition is surely way too proscriptive.”

Long-standing Domaine de la Romanée-Conti winemaker and cellar master Bernard Noblet is retiring, reports Wine-Searcher. “Along with co-owner Aubert de Villaine, Noblet oversaw DRC’s transformation from an occasionally erratic producer at the end of the 1980s to its current superstar status.”

In Decanter, Jane Anson profiles winemaker Jesse Katz. “Barely into his 30s, Katz was named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in 2014, at the age of 29, four years after he became America’s youngest head winemaker (24 at time of hiring) for Lancaster Estate in Alexander Valley – ironically after a 16-month stint at Screaming Eagle.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Chilean winemaker Rodrigo Soto explains why regionality and terroir is key to Chile’s wine evolution.

Food & Wine chats with Kermit Lynch about terroir and why wine should be described in human terms.

Guild Somm’s Kelli White talks to winemakers in Burgundy, South Australia, Sonoma, and Beaujolais about their whole cluster practices.

What makes a wine successful? Robert Joseph investigates in Meininger’s.

The VeeR VR blog details six ways winemakers and merchants are exploring new business opportunities through virtual reality.

Daily Wine News: Nielsen’s Predictions

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-18-2018

(Source: Wikimedia)

There’s more rosé ahead in 2018, according to Nielsen. (Source: Wikimedia)

From Nielsen, wine trends to watch for in 2018, including alternative wine packaging, as well as more rosé and prosecco.

Bloomberg reports that Nicolas De-Meyer, former personal assistant to Goldman Sachs co-president David Solomon, is accused of stealing more than $1.2 million of rare wine from his boss. “De-Meyer, 40, is accused of using an alias, “Mark Miller,” to sell bottles to a North Carolina-based wine dealer… The seven bottles of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti were stolen in October 2016, prosecutors say, and had previously been purchased for $133,650.”

Rudy Buratti, the chief winemaker at Brunello star Castello Banfi in Montalcino, died from cancer on Jan. 13. He was 56. Bruce Sanderson remembers Buratti in Wine Spectator.

“Australia has filed a formal complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against Canada, claiming its trade policies discriminate against imported wine,” reports Vice.

“Seven southern French viticulturists, including the spokesman for the Gard Winemakers’ Union, were taken into police custody in Montpellier,” reports Oliver Styles in Wine-Searcher. Police have not yet disclosed why they were arrested.

In Punch, Jon Bonné recommends six affordable Bordeaux wines worth the hunt.

Kerin O’Keefe explores the volcanic wines of Italy in Wine Enthusiast.

In Decanter, Anne Krebiehl on the realities of buying a vineyard.

Daily Wine News: Ode to Ontario

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-17-2018

(Source: Pearl Morisette)

(Source: Pearl Morissette)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov finds wines from Ontario to be cool-climate wines of beauty and vision, and is especially impressed by those made by Pearl Morissette. “Many Americans may be surprised by the idea of any vignerons like Mr. Morissette working in Canada. Many think Ontario is simply too cold for making fine wine… In fact, grapes ripen here beautifully. The Niagara Peninsula is more than hospitable to cool-climate varieties like riesling, chardonnay and pinot noir.”

“Despite weather events that meant a tricky harvest last year, Champagne’s growers and winemakers gathered last week to give thanks for what turned into a vintage crop,” reports Caroline Henry in Wine-Searcher.

According to the Drinks Business, “new research into the genetics of ancient grape seeds has hinted further that Savagnin and other grapes still grown today have been in cultivation for 1,000 years or more.”

Jamie Goode notices a growing number of producers using cork for high-end bottlings in New Zealand and Australia. “This would have been unthinkable five years ago, such was the strength of the reaction against cork, with its problems of variability and taint. Since 2000 in Australia and 2001 in New Zealand, there has been a massive swing towards screwcaps unparalleled in the rest of the world.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Sommelier Shelley Lindgren explores Campania’s long-forgotten variety, Tintore di Tramonti.

Becca Yeamans-Irwin, aka the academic wino, explores the relationship between sensory characteristics and emotion in consumer wine preferences.

In the Napa Valley Register, Henry Lutz explores the challenges of direct to consumer shipping.

Daily Wine News: To Cru or Not to Cru?

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-16-2018

Vineyards in Priorat. (Source: Pixabay)

Vineyards in Priorat. (Source: Pixabay)

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford considers the pros and cons of the cru system. “Burgundy’s famous pyramid (regional appellations, village appellations, Premiers Crus and finally Grands Crus) often glimmers, grail-like, as the model to follow, despite the fact that it is too elaborate for most regions.  This is, nonetheless, the route that Priorat intends to follow…France’s Sancerre, by contrast, has often considered the institution of a cru system, but so far has held back.  Why?  What’s at stake?”

In Bloomberg, Erik Schatzker talks to Vinous founder Antonio Galloni about the 100-point system, what he learned from working with Robert Parker, and how Vinous is different than other wine publications.

In Vinous, Antonio Galloni offers his thoughts on the 2015 and 2016 vintages of Napa Valley Cabernet.

“Vintage Wine Estates of Santa Rosa has acquired Tamarack Cellars of Walla Walla, Washington,” reports Bill Swindell in the Press Democrat.

In VinePair, Courtney Schiessl delves into schioppettino’s revival.

The Blast reports that Lady Gaga’s wine “Joanne Trattoria” has been suspended due to a patent issue.

Paul Hodgins highlights 20 “offensive, ugly or just plain weird” wine labels in the Mercury News.

Daily Wine News: Country vs. Region

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-15-2018

Albariño. (Flickr: juantiagues).

Albariño. (Flickr: juantiagues).

In Wine-Searcher, Oliver Styles takes issue with a wine publication calling albariño “Spain’s quintessential white wine.” “Firstly, it isn’t; and secondly, it shouldn’t be…I want to make the case that we should forget nationhood completely when it comes to wine education…let’s stick to regionality, and hopefully not just facile connections.”

“Too many times the Italians apologized for not making their wine bright enough, oaky enough, powerful enough, long-lasting enough, while their French cousins didn’t go there. They knew (and still know) their wine is great. Period.” Alfonso Cevola considers what the Italians are learning—and have yet to learn—about wine from their French cousins. “Young Italians, right now… [are] taking a different look at the world.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Wendy Lee reports on the ambitious plans of the Napa Valley Wine Train’s new owners. “They added new tours, boosting the number of annual train trips from 400 to 1,100 last year, serving 110,000 passengers… They are also exploring a commuter rail service that would transport workers from Napa, where many live, to areas like St. Helena, where affordable housing is scarce. But challenges remain…”

Jancis Robinson shares her impressions of Margaret River’s chardonnays. “What’s great about them is that they have all the tension and precision (as opposed to fatness or, heaven forfend, oakiness) that is currently in vogue…”

Kevin Begos pens an in-depth look at the science of ancient wine for Guild Somm.

Lettie Teague revisits the reliably approachable, affordable, well-aged and well-made reds of Rioja in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre embraces sweetness in wine.

In the Guardian, David Williams recommends several vegan wines.

Wine Reivews: Fields Family

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 01-13-2018

This week I have to rant a bit about some really impressive wines from Fields Family Wines. This Lodi estate and winery was purchased by Russ Fields in 2005, and Ryan Sherman makes the wines.

This producer represents everything I love about Lodi wines — lots of old vines, a wide range of grape varieties, vibrant flavor profiles. But these wines are also leaner, fresher and more minimalist in style than some of the burlier wines one can find from Lodi.

I’ve long been a fan of the Syrahs and Tempranillo from this producer, although I’ve never tasted an unexciting wine, and I’m excited to see what Ryan continues to do with Grenache Blanc and Vermentino. On top of the quality, this wines are a ripping deal considering the price tags.

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

Daily Wine News: London’s Wine Scene

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-12-2018

(Flick: Holland375)

(Flick: Holland375)

According to Jon Bonné in Punch, London has found a kinder, more global approach to wine and he’s convinced it’s time for the Parisian wine scene to evolve. “It hasn’t fully resolved the rift between natural-wine establishments and everyone else…But at least London is trying to bridge the gap in a way that, I think, foreshadows how wine cultures in many cities might move past Paris’ clubby habits.”

Huneeus Vintners is purchasing Benton-Lane Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, reports Wine Business.

Brock University in Ontario has created the world’s first augmented reality lab, which will conduct experiments on wine perception, reports the Drinks Business.

In Saveur, Ilkka Sirén visits winemaker Georges Aladashvili at his Georgian winery, Ruisipiri Biodynamic Vineyard. “But despite that growing in interest the category, when you arrive at Aladashvili’s winery in Ruispiri, you can throw words like “fashionable” and “trendy” right out the window.”

In Decanter, Jane Anson looks at the central role played by women throughout the history of Bordeaux wine and identifies a few key figures.

Fritz Hahn looks at Washington D.C.’s booming wine bar scene in the Washington Post.

VinePair talks with sommelier Victoria James about the New York dining scene, designing a wine program for maximum fun, and more.

W. Blake Gray reviews Beaujolais wines entirely in emoji.

Daily Wine News: Adapting to Climate Change

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-11-2018

(Source: Pexels.com)

(Source: Pexels.com)

In the Harvard Gazette, Peter Reuell reports that vintners may have to plant lesser-known varieties in order to adapt to warmer temperatures. “But even if researchers came to the table armed with information about grape diversity, Wolkovich said the industry — both in the traditional wine centers of Europe and around the world — still faces hurdles when it comes to adapting.”

Wine Spectator’s Robert Camuto visits Marco Casolanetti in the Marche region of Italy to see how his wines with a cult following have developed over 20 vintages. “Oasi is best known for Kurni, a dark, rich and chewy Montepulciano red that has been compared to Amarone for its dense, high-alcohol style… As of its 20th anniversary, Kurni hasn’t changed, despite the movement throughout Italy to lighter, more delicate wines.”

The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Austin ponders why we don’t talk more about one of wine’s charms, its buzz. “It may have been what got some of us interested in wine in the first place — long before we came to appreciate the aesthetic beauty and subtle loveliness of this rarified creation, long before it brought people into our lives and lifted us at some of our most poignant milestone events.”

In Wines & Vines, Kate Lavin looks at how some wine barrels are getting a second life in aging beer.

In the Washington Post, Tom Sietsema checks out the transformation that has brought Cork Wine Bar and Cork Market under one roof.

Thomas Pellechia reports on research about the impact of medals on wine sales and prices in Forbes.

In Punch, Megan Krigbaum gets a look inside the wine cellar at New Orleans’ Bacchanal.

Daily Wine News: Skepticism & Changes

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-10-2018

Ashes & Diamonds in Santa Cruz. (Source: Ashes & Diamonds)

Ashes & Diamonds in Napa. (Photo credit: Emma K. Morris)

In November, the new appellation, Bourgogne Côte d’Or was introduced. In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence considers its potential. “What, if anything, can this new designation bring to the glorious world of Burgundy? Should it invoke a yawn, mild interest or even excitement?… the global wine trade’s response has been more mixed, with some welcoming the initiative, while others have maintained their skepticism as to the appellation’s relevance.”

In Vogue, a look at how Ashes & Diamonds—which has enlisted Steve Matthiasson and Dan Petroski to craft its wines—is changing the Napa Valley vibe.

In VinePair, Jamie Goode thinks winemakers need to think big instead of chasing trends in the cellar.

In the Press, Bryce Wiatrak highlights Ridge Vineyard’s Monte Bello estate.

Elsewhere in the Press, Esther Mobley details “The 52 California Wineries You Need to Visit in 2018.”

Only a few places in the world make truly exceptional Pinot Biancos. Italy’s Alto Adige is one of them, according to Ian D’Agata, who highlights the Nals-Margreid Cooperative in Vinous.

Jennifer Huffman chats with GuildSomm’s Kelli White in the Napa Valley Register.

In Forbes, Katie Kelly Bell shares why Brunello di Montalcino is the wine to collect this year.

In Food & Wine, Maria Yagoda details when it’s right to use the wrong wine glass.

Daily Wine News: To Kalon Troubles

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-09-2018

The To Kalon vineyard in Oakville. (Wikimedia)

The To Kalon vineyard in Oakville. (Wikimedia)

“With To Kalon, it’s never over,” writes Esther Mobley, who reports on the continuing controversies over the rights to the To Kolan name in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Although six parties own portions of this famous property, only one — Robert Mondavi Winery — owns the rights to its name.”

“Constellation Brands Inc missed Wall Street estimates for third quarter revenue on Friday and said wine and spirit sales for the full-year would be at the low end of a previous forecast, sending its shares down as much as 4 percent,” reports Reuters.

48 Hours heads to Napa Valley to investigate the murder-suicide involving Dahl Vineyards’ Robert Dahl in 2015.

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford ponders the possible alternatives for glass wine bottles. “Maybe one day we will drink wine poured from from carbon nanotubes (rolled-up graphene), but for the time being, the main low-weight, low-carbon alternatives to glass are plastic bottles, bag-in-box cartons and cardboard cartons – or rather plastic-coated paper of the kind used in Tetra Pak (aseptic) packaging.”

In the Robb Report, Brett Anderson looks at how Puglia is becoming the new Tuscany.

“Chinese investor Peter Kwok has acquired his seventh vineyard in Bordeaux with the purchase of Château Bellefont-Belcier – a Grand Cru Classé estate in Saint-Emilion,” reports Harpers.

In the Telegraph, Victoria Moore explores why the price of Burgundy has risen more rapidly than wine from any other region in the last six years. (subscription req.)