Wine Reviews: Douro

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-27-2017

Alright folks, let’s dig into the Douro.

Built on centuries of Port glory, recent decades have seen a large spike in the amount of high quality dry reds. Blended from traditional Portuguese varieties like Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and others, these dry reds can be stunning, age-worthy and very reasonably priced considering the quality.

Yes, you can spend a whole lot on dry Douro reds (some are included in this report), but I’m frequently blown away by the high quality, complexity and serious structure of many red blends in the $15-$25 range. I recently tasted through a bunch of Douro wines, including a range of dry reds and a few entry-level Ports.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Rioja Reconsiders

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-26-2017



In the New York Times, Eric Asimov looks at how Rioja is grapping with how to define their wines: by age or by terroir? “Very few regions define their wines by age as Rioja and a few other Spanish wine regions have done… Defining a wine by aging seems out of step with the times. With the ascendance of Burgundy, with its emphasis on place and terroir over age, more and more regions have redefined themselves in Burgundian terms.”

The Drinks Business talks to Carlos Delage, export area manager of Cune, about frost damage in Rioja. “Rioja Alta and Alavesa were worst hit. People have been speaking about damages to their vines of up to 50%.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Jameson Fink recalls memories of working as a wine steward in a Seattle grocery store.

In Decanter, Jane Anson speaks to well-known winemakers about which wine legends of the past and present they would most like to share a bottle with over the dinner table.

John McCarthy profiles Charles Smith, and tracks how he went from rocker to rock star vintner in Forbes.

Grape Collective talks with Giorgio Clai about the rise of Croatia’s Istrian wine and why Croatian wine is playing catch-up.

In Vinous, David Schildknecht reports on the 2015 vintage in Germany.

Joseph Hernandez highlights rosé wines under $20 for Memorial Day weekend in the Chicago Tribune.

Daily Wine News: National Wine Day

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-25-2017

Cheers! (Flickr: .v1ctor Casale.)

Cheers! (Flickr: .v1ctor Casale.)

Happy National Wine Day! Infogroup ranked the top 10 wine cities, with Portland, San Francisco and Seattle at the top.

In Wine Enthusiast, Virginie Boone on Napa Valley’s underdog grapes and the producers that are taking a chance on them. “They show us that there’s more to Napa Valley than one might assume, and that ultimately, if it grows well and tastes good, adoration will follow.”

In Wine-Searcher, David Allen tells the tale of the “Other Judgment of Paris,” when wine writer Andre Simon set a 1949 McDonald’s Cabernet Sauvignon from Church Road Winery in New Zealand against a Château Margaux in 1964. “Had Simon’s tasting had the same effect that Spurrier’s immortalized event is credited with today, surely Hawke’s Bay vineyards would now be planted with nothing but Cabernet Sauvignon.”

According to the Drinks Business, Georges Vernay, the “Pope of Condrieu” who is credited with saving Viognier from extinction, has died at the age of 92.

In Wines & Vines, Andrew Adams considers the past and future of pinot noir after the 20th annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival.

In Beverage Media, Kristen Bieler explores the complexity of rosé.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, celebrates 10 years of his blog.

Tom Wark reflects on his 10 most frequently read posts over the last year.

Daily Wine News: Canned Wine Boom

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-24-2017

underwood wine

The Underwood line of canned wine products.

In the Sacramento Bee, Michael Dunne looks at the rise of canned wines, and finds the man with the largest collect of wine cans on the planet, according to Guinness World Records.

A new study has found that just one glass of wine or other alcoholic drink a day significantly raises the risk of breast cancer, reports Laurie McGinley in the Washington Post.

In Wine Spectator, James Laube remembers L. Pierce Carson, who chronicled the changes in the valley and wine industry at the Napa Valley Register. Carson died May 20 from gall bladder cancer; he was 76.

Wines & Vines covers California Polytechnic State University’s plans for a Center for Wine and Viticulture, “which will include a fully bonded winery as well as a separate building that will offer space for conferences as well as more classrooms and a sensory lab.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Anne Krebiehl MW explores the role yeast plays in fermentation, the risks involved and the debate over wild versus cultured yeast.

In Food & Wine, sommeliers weigh in on wine gimmicks and trends—from blue wine to rosé forties.

In Vinous, Stephen Tanzer checks in on the 2007 Napa Valley Cabernets. “Yes, the wines are ripe and powerful, but as they absorb their baby fat they are gaining in shape and definition. And they are evolving very slowly.”

In the Mercury News, Mary Orlin offers a primer on a grapevine’s bloom.

Daily Wine News: A Fallen Emperor

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-23-2017

Robert_Parker“Robert M. Parker Jr. hasn’t exactly disappeared… Yet, his pervasive influence has receded — markedly… Like all empires, Parker’s turned out to be difficult to defend.” Douglas Hillstrom argues that the “emperor” has fallen. “The final words on Robert M. Parker are yet to be written, but it is not too early to look back and consider his legacy.”

Why doesn’t anyone want dark rosé? Jonathan Lipsmeyer theorizes. “It’s entirely possible that France has convinced the world that pale salmon is what rosé should be, given their market dominance.  Although even Provençal producers have had to render their own rosés paler to meet market demand.  Which begs the question: who’s driving, here?  The consumer or the producer?”

Victoria James explains her unabashed elation for rosé in an excerpt from her new book, Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé.

Robert Camuto talks to Burgundy’s David Duband about his winemaking journey in Wine Spectator.

David Morrison of the wine blog, The Wine Gourd, looks at the variation of grape varieties in Opus One through time.

Miquel Hudin has won the Drink Writer of the Year title at the annual Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards for his contributions to The World of Fine Wine and, reports the World of Fine Wine.

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford takes a closer look at the Languedoc’s Château Puech-Haut.

In the Washington Post, Jim Barnes profiles Mike Carroll, who opened the wine shop Leesburg Vintner in 1988.

Daily Wine News: Impact of Consultants

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-22-2017

Flickr: Ren Kuo

Flickr: Ren Kuo

In the Harvard Business Review, Jerome Barthelemy turns to the Bordeaux wine industry to look at the impact of hiring consultants and when doing so offers the most value. “My study found that wineries with low-quality terroir benefit more from the help of winemaking consultants than wineries with high-quality terroir.”

Jancis Robinson tastes through 2008 white Burgundies and shares her impressions. “In general I found myself wondering how some of the finest Chardonnays made outside Burgundy would have shown in this line-up.”

W. Blake Gray shares some facts that came from the Silicon Valley Bank’s annual Direct-to-Consumer Wine Sales Videocast in Wine-Searcher.

Sophie Barrett visits Arbois and shares a few notes from her trip, including how its vines fared after the frost.

Alfonso Cevola has a few opinions about the wine labels you’re posting on Instagram.

Sam Radford explores the arguments surrounding “international wines” in Grape Collective.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov delves into vermouths.

In Decanter, Michael Edwards gets a taste of the newly released Bollinger Grande Année 2007.

VinePair finds the world’s oldest wine barrel, which still has wine inside it.

In Barron’s, Michael Kennedy, former sommelier at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, picks five wines for summer.

Wine Reviews: Bobal

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-20-2017

Bobal - credit Utiel-Requena dot org

Bobal. Credit:

Here’s a grape and appellation you may not know much about: Bobal from Utiel-Requena.

At some 2,400 feet in elevation, this appellation in Spain’s Valencia region experiences short, dry summers and a climate that combines Mediterranean and continental elements. This is red wine country — about 95% of the 35,000 hectares of vines are planted to red grape varieties, and the Bobal grape counts for about 80% of Utiel-Requena’s vino.

Even though Bobal is one of Spain’s most commonly-planted varieties (behind Airen and Tempranillo), it’s not as well-known, perhaps due to its use as a blending grape with other varieties. Historically, it has been used in the production of bulk wine, usually sourced from flatter, lower elevation vineyards. But in the higher elevation vineyards of Utiel-Requena, producers take this native grape variety seriously, and it’s evident in the glass.

Bobal is a hardy and highly productive red grape with high levels of anthocyanins and resveratrol in its skins. The grapes tend to be dark colored, packed with black fruit and loaded with spice flavors. I’ve found surprising balance in many Bobal wines, stemming from the combination of sturdy tannins and frequently vibrant acidity. And these wines are even more attractive when you look at the price points.

I recently tasted a half-dozen Bobals, and found a whole lot of wine for not much money. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Another Jackson Family Purchase

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-19-2017

(Source: Brewer-Clifton Wines)

(Source: Brewer-Clifton Wines)

Wine Spectator has learned that Jackson Family Wines is acquiring Brewer-Clifton, one of Sta. Rita Hills’ top Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers.

“Beaune has developed a small but growing Japanese expat community, at least 100 strong with another couple hundred living just north in Dijon—not just chefs but winemakers and negociants, all thriving.” In Saveur, Jon Bonné looks at how a Japanese wine community has taken root in the heart of Burgundy.

The Economist shares the results of the Oxford-Cambridge Varsity blind-tasting match. “Given the thousands of potential country-variety pairs, a monkey throwing darts would have virtually no hope of getting a single one right. But 47% of the Oxbridge tasters′ guesses on grape variety were correct, as were 37% on country of origin.”

In Decanter, Jane Anson highlights new Bordeaux wineries to watch.

Tim Atkin considers the future of South American wine. “The thing that really strikes you about the South American wine scene at the moment is the extent to which the best young producers speak the same language and are keen to taste each other’s wines.”

Kate Krader on the trend of breakfast wines and low-alcohol cocktails in Bloomberg.

In Wine Enthusiast, Bryce Wiatrak and Jim Gordon offer tips for traveling to Mendocino and Lake Counties.

In VinePair, Courtney Schiessl explains what “wine product” is and how it differs from wine.

Daily Wine News: Canned Wine Trend

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-18-2017

PUhi5t3Jm3mu8FqkDHGnpLAr2UEFrances Dinkelspiel looks at the rising sales of canned wine, and traces the trend’s origins in the Daily Beast. “While canned wine may be the hot thing to drink this summer, this trend actually stretches back to 2004, when Niebaum Coppola put its Sofia Blanc de Blancs in cans.”

“Hugel, whose opposition to the Alsace Grand Cru regulations has been unwavering since 1983, has finally relented, and is prepared to label its wines grand cru from the 2015 vintage,” reports Margaret Rand in Wine-Searcher.

In Punch, Jon Bonné explores the ambitious producers looking for greatness in Saint-Joseph syrah, and the trouble they face in crafting its identity.

Wines & Vines considers the potential of teroldego in California.

In Palate Press, Simon Woolf finds “rarer curiosities” in the wines of Dalmatia, a region in Croatia.

In Wine Spectator, Suzanne Mustacich reports on recent attacks on cheap Spanish wine by winegrowers in Southern France. “Violent protest by winemakers in the Languedoc is nothing new. It dates back a century. And for more than a decade now, a group called the Comité Régional d’Action Viticole (CRAV) has been attacking targets.”

Ian D’Agata is impressed with the 2016 vintage for Italian rosatos in Vinous.

Maximiliano Morales of reports on floods in the Coquimbo region of northern Chile in Purple Pages.

Daily Wine News: Notes & Observations

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-17-2017

womanmanwineOn the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan reflects on 10 years of selling wine, noting the increase in first-time millennial customers in recent years. “What makes millennials different from my slightly older customers is that they’ll run through completely mixed cases of wine and I don’t see them ordering the same thing twice.”

In Wine Spectator, Matt Kramer says these three words must be present in a “great” wine: transformation, layered, persistence.

Jeremy Parzen offers a few thoughts on the importance of sparkling wine, and wonders why they are still misunderstood today.

Aleksandr Iugov was sentenced to four years in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of two years, for selling fake bottles of prestigious Burgundy estates, including of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Domaine Leroy, reports Wine-Searcher.

In Food & Wine, Mike Pomranz considers the effect of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017, a bill that could lead to higher-alcohol wines.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, ponders the potential of sherry.

In GQ, Jeremy Repanich looks at comedian Eric Wareheim’s California wine project, Las Jaras Wines.

VinePair’s Vicki Denig talks to 10 sommeliers across the country about which wines are generally a safe bet to order on any list.

In Haute Living, Marika Vida-Arnold, wine director of the Ritz-Carlton New York and owner of Vida et Fils Wine Consulting, speaks about 2017 trends in wine and Champagne.