Daily Wine News: Changing Face of Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-06-2015

Vineyards in Reuilly. (Source: Domaine Claude Lafond.)

Vineyards in Reuilly. (Source: Domaine Claude Lafond.)

Claude Lafond, who saved the small Central Loire appellation of Reuilly from extinction, has died at the age of 63, reports Decanter.

Elsewhere in Decanter, Andrew Jefford explores wine culture in China and whether China will one day overtake the USA to become the world’s leading wine-drinking nation.

Alder Yarrow reviews three recently published books, which “each provide some perspective on the changing face of what we know of wine.”

“I’ve decided to give up reading articles on health claims about wine,” says Tom Natan on the blog for First Vine, back from a few months’ hiatus. “Until I hear from reputable sources with better data, I’m happy to go along thinking wine is a pleasant-tasting, buzz-inducing beverage that I drink often.”

Alfonso Cevola thinks every 29-year-old should know these five Italian wines.

In Grape Collective, Christopher Barnes explains why MOVI, the Chilean movement of independent vintners, is important.

“Does Amarone’s uniqueness rely solely on production technique?” wonders Elisabetta Tosi in Palate Press.

In the Sacramento Bee, Stephen Magagnini reports on Amador’s old vines, which survived serious drought and fires this year.

Jancis Robinson interviews Champagne brain Richard Juhlin, who lays into Prosecco and Cava, and praises English sparkling wine.

Daily Wine News: Secrets of Success

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-05-2015

(Pixabay: reidetodos)

(Pixabay: reidetodos)

“In the space of 20 years, Greek wines have gone from inspiring bitter tales of food poisoning to rarefied accounts of sailing excursions.” In Le Pan Magazine, Jean K. Reilly shares the secret of Santorini’s success.

Fox News looks at Virginia’s wine boom. “The best Virginia wines are underpriced compared to what’s out there in the world.”

In Punch, Zachary Sussman considers the changing influence of the wine store, and why it continues to be overlooked.

David Schildknecht assesses the role of the wine critic in the World of Fine Wine. “We’re stuck with individual human agents as critics- though how few or many, and with how much influence, only time can tell. We’re stuck with the limitations of language and quite possibly with scores…”

The Institute of Masters of Wine (MW) hosted their annual Champagne Tasting event last week featuring over 100 cuvées from top Champagne houses. Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka shares notes on the wines they poured.

The year was Napa Valley’s earliest harvest on record, reports Wines & Vines, and most local grapegrowers will finish up this week or next.

Dave McIntyre offers tips on what to do when you encounter a flawed wine in the Washington Post.

Be on the watch for a bottle of Senegal’s first wine.

In the Napa Valley Register, Shanley Kezer thinks the local wine industry should unionize.

Wine Reviews: Tuscan Reds $15-$35

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-03-2015

It’s easy to spend a lot of money on Tuscan reds. On the other hand, it’s easy to be disappointed by moderately priced blends. But, if you know your palate, there are a lot of solid bottles out there in the $15-$35 range. Many of them are ready to drink and food friendly (although shop carefully if you’re sensitive to oak.)

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

Weekly Interview: Marc Hochar

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 10-02-2015

Marc Hochar

Marc Hochar

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Marc Hochar at Chateau Musar.

If you’ve ever tried wine from Lebanon, you’ve most likely had Chateau Musar. You probably do not know its history, however. Chateau Musar’s history stretches back to 1930, when Gaston Hochar planted Chateau Musar’s first vineyards. Gaston had just returned from Bordeaux. And during World War II, Gaston would befriend Major Ronald Barton of Bordeaux’s Chateau Langoa-Barton. Thus Chateau Musar was heavily influenced by Bordelais winemaking in its early history. Eighty years after its founding, Chateau Musar is still run by the Hochar family. The current day-to-day operations are overseen by the third generation Hochars.

Enormous thanks to VinConnect — the U.S. company that enables U.S. consumers to order wines directly from Chateau Musar — for facilitating this interview. Having recently tried a 2003 Chateau Musar Red, and having been extremely impressed, I was personally very excited learn more about the winery.

Check out the interview with Marc below the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Francophilia

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-02-2015

(Flickr: geraldineadams)

(Flickr: geraldineadams)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the most recent Wine School, Chinon, and announces what’s up for next month: Gigondas.

Elsewhere in the New York Times, Beaune in Burgundy seduces Robert Draper. “You cannot really escape the abiding specter of the region’s chief agricultural product while in Beaune, and I’m not sure why anyone would want to.”

Caroline Henry reports on the 2015 Champagne harvest in Palate Press. “The hot summer boosted the ripeness levels, and in the end brought forward the harvest dates by a few weeks, especially in the Côtes des Bar section of the southernmost Aube area.”

“It looks like the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University will offer an Executive Wine MBA at the Upper Valley campus of Napa Valley College in St. Helena starting next April,” reports Wines & Vines.

Panos Kakaviatos realizes “that “objective” evaluations of wine are often a crock of shit. One man’s “precision” and “elegance” is another’s lack of ripeness and a hard finish. And each person is absolutely sure of his conviction, so much so that the other side must have a bad sense of taste.

In the Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth G. Dunn spends a weekend away in Southern England’s wine country on a quick sparkling wine tasting trip.

Lauren Owens discovers Poland’s wine industry is growing. “Presently the number of legally registered wineries is just 78, making it a niche, but it’s over 50% more than last year’s number.”

In the Guardian, Fiona Beckett recommends wines to drink with game.

Justin Kennedy delves into the rise of pét-nat in Bloomberg Business.

Daily Wine News: Jura’s Hipness

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-01-2015

Vineyards in the Jura region of France. (Wikimedia)

Vineyards in the Jura region of France. (Wikimedia)

Over the last decade, the Jura has emerged as an impossibly hip antihero for a new era of wine consumption. But how much of the region’s accepted narrative is actually true, and how much of it have we created by our blind adoration? In Punch, Jon Bonné separates fact from fiction.

Coravin has launched a second-generation model being positioned for household use, reports Ben O’Donnell in Wine Spectator.

Jane Anson tastes Bordeaux 1975 wines and offers a look at “how classic old school Bordeaux can age” in Decanter.

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Joshua Greene reports on the 2014 Côte de Nuits wines from the cellars of Louis-Michel Liger-Belair, Christophe Roumier and Ghislaine Barthod.

Winemakers in Bordeaux are “on the warpath” because of the decision of the French government to approve the controversial high-speed rail line connecting the region with Toulouse and Dax, says Neal Baker in the Drinks business.

According to Wine-Searcher, federal appeals court has upheld billionaire Bill Koch’s claim for compensation from entrepreneur Eric Greenberg over the sale of 24 bottles of fake Bordeaux at a 2005 auction by Zachys Wine Auctions.

Wine Enthusiast rounds up “America’s Best Value Pinot Noirs

In NPR, Alicia Cypress reviews Cathy Huyghe’s new book, Hungry for Wine: Seeing the World Through A Glass of Wine.

Daily Wine News: Champagne in Prison

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-30-2015

Napoléon Bonaparte. (Wikimedia)

Napoléon Bonaparte. (Wikimedia)

Hundreds of Beaujolais winemakers have marched through the streets of Villefranche-sur-Saône to call for higher prices for Beaujolais Nouveau, reports Yohan Castaing in Decanter.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s enemies sought to make prison more of an ordeal by rationing him to just one (!!!) bottle of Champagne daily.

Obama and Putin locked eyes over a glass of rosé, and the Internet obviously held a caption contest.

In Le Pan Magazine, Adam Lechmere looks at what the new additions to The Oxford Companion to Wine signals. “Even with Google, Wikipedia and myriad different sources online, the Companion remains the reference of choice for wine lovers; its 4,000 entries are authoritative, comprehensive and elegant.”

“Virginia wineries sold a record 6.3 million bottles of wine over the past year…according to state figures released Tuesday,” reports Laura Vozzella in the Washington Post. “Wine sales were up by about 108,000 bottles, an increase of about 2 percent in a maturing but still growing industry.”

Former owner of J Vineyards, Judy Jordan, has purchased two vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and one in Napa Valley for a new project called Capra Company, reports Wine Spectator.

Wine globalization is set to continue, says Kym Anderson.

Elin McCoy explains what California’s wildfires means for the 2015 wine harvest in Bloomberg Business.

Daily Wine News: Sherry En Rama

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-29-2015

Tio Pepe En Rama 2015 being taken from the task. (Source: Tio Pepe)

Tio Pepe En Rama 2015 being taken from the task. (Source: Tio Pepe)

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Patricio Tapia explores Jerez Sherry en rama. “Today, bottling Sherry en rama—with minimal filtration—is a trend. Here in Jerez, however, it’s often just how it comes…the wine, poured into thick glasses, is somewhat cloudy, and darker than a Fino you might find in a wine store, but feels fresh and delicious, with an intensely fruity flavor.”

In the Telegraph, Henry Samuel reports that a Bordeaux village inside Sauternes appellation is grappling with cancer rates five times the national average, with a possible link to vineyard spraying.

The Drinks Business with some ridiculous news: “Burger King has released its own red wine brand, Whopper Wine, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of Burger King’s first branch in Spain.”

“Virginia’s Cabs and Chardonnays aren’t household names—but they should be,” says Ted Loos in Travel + Leisure.

Andrew Jefford looks back at the harvest at Raventos i Blanc, and meeting ‘Cava rebel’ Pepe Raventos in Decanter.

Jancis Robinson questions whether Shiraz or Syrah is better.

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter visits Burntshirt Vineyards in North Carolina, whose Grüner Veltliner wine has won several awards.

In Punch, “Five Fall-Ready White Wines Under $25.”

Daily Wine News: California Prices

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-28-2015

Bottle of St.-Joseph wine. (Wikimedia)

Bottle of St.-Joseph wine. (Wikimedia)

“Ask professional wine buyers outside the state what their main holdup with California is, and taste is not the issue. Today, price is the sticking point.” Jon Bonné shares his opinion about whether California wine prices are too high in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov is “grateful for the existence of St. Joseph,” and finds joy in wines that “capture the essence of St.-Joseph, a firm core of minerality wrapped in savory, peppery flavors of smoked meats, olives and herbs, with grace notes of violets and red and black fruits.”

According to Jane Anson in Decanter, “Olivier Bernard, owner of Domaine de Chevalier and Domaine de la Solitude in Pessac Léognan, is to vinify the oldest vine(s) growing in the Bordeaux region for the first time, with the 2015 harvest.”

Alder Yarrow calls the first vintage of Lodi Native Zinfandel wines “a revelation.”

In Vinous, Joel Payne shares the first part of his Austria 2013 vintage report.

Michelle Locke explores “The Quixote Quest of Carlos Falcó” in Palate Press.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre catches up with Virginia winemakers to discuss the 2015 vintage.

Grape Collective chats with “The King of Value,” Daniel Pi of Trapiche in Mendoza, Argentina.

Wine Reviews: Garnacha

Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 09-26-2015

For wine newbs and nerds alike, Spanish Garnacha offers a lot of fun options, many of them for a moderate price. This grape (Spanish for Grenache) has historically been used in blends, but it’s common as a varietal wine, and “Garnacha” is featured frequently and prominently on many Spanish wine labels. A juicy red grape, Garnacha is becoming more widely known among consumers looking for something smooth yet bold and fruity.

Apparently every grape now has to have it’s own “day,” so on September 18, I tasted some Spanish Garnacha on Garnacha/Grenache Day. In an online video tasting sponsored by Snooth, Guillermo Cruz, sommelier at the award-winning Mugaritz in San Sebastian, said customers frequently ask for a bottle of Garnacha by name, which was an uncommon request just a few years ago.

Like any wine from any region, the $10 bottles with screwcaps and kitschy labels are most likely going to be sweet, candied wines without much depth. But perhaps unlike many regions, Spanish Garnacha quality rises quickly with only slight cost increases. There are lots of real, terroir-driven wines out there for $15-$25, which isn’t as easy to find with some other popular red varieties.

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