Daily Wine News: Rethinking Rituals

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-20-2019

(Flickr: Daniel Gasienica)

(Flickr: Daniel Gasienica)

In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph says it’s time to rethink the restaurant wine ritual. “So, what would be so horribly wrong with treating wine and food in the same way? Why shouldn’t restaurants take the same responsibility for bad wine and as for bad shellfish: avoid serving either? And, above all, why not treat complaints about both in the same way…”

In Wine Enthusiast, Jake Emen delves into the wave of indigenous Māori wineries that have recently begun to swell across New Zealand.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray visits Amazon’s wine retail store in Los Angeles, and finds that “Amazon is openly flouting California liquor law.”

On JebDunnuck.com, R.H. Drexel pays a visit to Justin Smith at Saxum Vineyards in Paso Robles, where she had a profound experience with the wines. “I am glad the Downstream wines are priced at $200.00 a bottle. Why shouldn’t a bottle that is largely Zinfandel or Grenache from the United States command that price? If extremely well-farmed and well-made, shouldn’t these wines merit as much as a fine Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir?”

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher sample the world of American wines made with Italian varieties.

What makes a wine collectible? James Button ponders the answer in Decanter.

The Court of Master Sommeliers has named five new Master Sommeliers, reports the Drinks Business, including Germany’s first female MS, Bulgaria’s first ever MS and Japan’s first MS.

Daily Wine News: Napa Must Evolve

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-19-2019

(Source: Visit Napa Valley)

(Source: Visit Napa Valley)

“As Napa’s wine industry continues to confront rising temperatures, increasingly frequent wildfires, intermittent drought and erratic weather, a small but growing contingent of vintners is becoming more vocal about the need to address climate change head-on.” In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley reports on how Napa wineries are confronting climate change by planting new experimental vineyards—without the region’s lifeblood Cabernet Sauvignon.

In the second in a two-part series for SevenFifty Daily, winemaker Dan Petroski and other wine industry experts discuss research on what can be done now to preserve Napa Valley in response to climate change.

Professional women are beginning to out-earn their male colleagues. In Meininger’s, Felicity Carter asks why the wine trade ignores their spending power.

“President Donald Trump suggested he might impose a 100% tariff on French wine to retaliate for President Emmanuel Macron’s tax on multinational technology companies, according to two people with knowledge of his comments made at a recent Long Island fundraiser,” reports Bloomberg.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the planting of the first vines in New Zealand. In Decanter, Rebecca Gibb MW meets with Josip Babich, one of the country’s founding winemakers, to talk legacies and future prospects. (subscription req.)

On the Cork Report, Aaron Menenberg pays a visit to Barboursville Vineyards in Virginia.

In the Wall Street Journal, James R. Hagerty remembers Bunny Becker, who helped make Texas Hill Country a serious winemaking region. (subscription req.)

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre explores the importance of oak in winemaking.

Daily Wine News: Wild Blueberry Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-16-2019

Bluet, a sparkling wine made from wild blueberries. (Source: Bluet)

Bluet, a sparkling wine made from wild blueberries. (Source: Bluet)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov profiles Eric Martin and Michael Terrien, who are making sparkling wine from wild blueberries in Maine under the Bluet label—“a beverage that he hopes will be not only a delicious expression of his home state but also an aid to keeping farmers in business… This ray of hope has attracted the attention of the state of Maine, which, in its effort to preserve agricultural traditions, has given Bluet grants and loans.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley highlights Sonoma natural winemaker Caleb Leisure, the only winemaker fermenting his wines in bona fide Georgian qveri. “Of course, Leisure would love to work with Georgian grape varieties — but there aren’t any planted in California yet, to his knowledge. He hopes to be able to change that… It would be easy for this sort of Georgian wine emulation to fall into gimmickry, but after spending the morning with Leisure I’m moved by his sense of curiosity — about Georgia, about natural winemaking, and most of all about these big clay vessels he’s got.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery puts together an all-encompassing wine lover’s guide to Sardinia.

“Remnants of a large, medieval winery believed to date back to the era of the Crusades have been found underneath a house in modern-day Israel,” reports Chris Mercer in Decanter.

In Wine-Searcher, Don Kavanagh looks closely at blind tasting study done for canned wines. “The first issue I had was that the company offering this purportedly independent scientific study was called WIC Research. Now maybe that stands for “What I Call” Research, or “Wichita Ice Cream” Research, but I’m prepared to suggest that it stands for Wine in Can Research. Almost inevitably, it turns out that the company is a wine-in-a-can marketing research and consulting company. I began to catch a faint whiff of bovine waste.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague offers a skeptic’s guide to canned wines. (subscription req.)

In Vinous, Josh Raynolds reports on 2019 rosés.

Daily Wine News: The Irish + Bordeaux

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-15-2019

bordeaux-wine-cork-984x500In Decanter, Jane Anson learns about how Irish merchants influenced the style of Bordeaux wines we know today. “The Irish, it turns out, were particularly enthusiastic proponents of the art of ‘cutting’ or blending Bordeaux wines with others from more robust areas…While it’s easy to dismiss this as a dark, even embarrassing part of Bordeaux’s history, to do so would overlook one hugely important fact – that it was these very wines that made the reputation of Bordeaux in the markets that were prepared to pay the highest prices of the day.”

“For many winemakers, Shiraz’s downfall became a moment of reckoning; they saw it as an opportunity to talk about terroir and educate drinkers on the climactic diversity of the country.” In Fortune, Shana Clarke reports on why Australia’s new wave winemakers are rebelling against the Shiraz name, and bottling their wines as Syrah instead.

“…as climate change rages on, temperatures rise worldwide, and massive environmental shifts continue to take place, regional typicities are also shifting. So what does that mean for a practice based on “classics” when the whole concept of typicity is in question?” Vicki Denig ponders how blind tasting needs to adapt with changing classic wines in Wine-Searcher.

In Club Oenologique, Natasha Hughes MW looks at how sherry is evolving with a shifting focus on single vineyards, vintage bottlings and more.

Wine Business reports that the first grapes of 2019 have been harvested in Napa at Rodgers Vineyards.

NPR looks at how California’s largest legal weed farms are facing conflict in Wine Country.

In the World of Fine Wine, Stuart Walton reviews The Symposium: Drinking Greek Style.

Daily Wine News: Native Grapes in Cincinnati

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-14-2019

Catawba, a native grape. (Wikimedia)

Catawba, a native grape. (Wikimedia)

In Atlas Obscura, Laima Rastikis profiles winemaker Kate MacDonald, who is working to restore Cincinnati’s place as the birthplace of American wine with heritage grapes. “She believes they may be the wine industry’s salvation in the face of ever-worsening threats from climate change. As conditions and seasons in established growing regions change, so will the viability of existing vines… MacDonald notes that American native grapes are particularly hardy, as they tend to adapt to changing weather patterns and climate extremes.”

­In SevenFifty Daily, Joseph Hernandez looks into the proposed US tariffs on EU goods and how they’ll potentially affect domestic consumers and the wine business.

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto pays a visit to Tavel and discovers some inspiring rosés. “Tavel is a different kind of pink. A few shades darker than the white peach or onion skin rosés, it’s past coral and on its way to being red. The wines have grip and body and can be drunk year-round, even benefiting from aging. But today the wines can be hard to find. In the United States, they are a niche product.”

“Amazon rarely does anything quietly, but it turns out that the company has already run a retail wine and spirits “store” in Los Angeles for six months, without anybody noticing,” reports W. Blake Gray in Wine-Searcher.

In Sip Northwest, winemakers and vineyard owners look ahead to the future of Washington wine.

I’ve freed myself from this paradigm, and I invite you to do the same. Go ahead and get the cheapest bottle of wine with a clean conscience,” advises Jaya Saxena in Eater.

In Wine Enthusiast, Michael Schachner dives into the many sides of tempranillo, and recent noteworthy vintages in Spain.

“A lot of energy is spent (and probably wasted) trying to emulate the success of one particular emerging wine region that started to soar more than thirty years ago and hasn’t slowed down since. That region is New Zealand and the key to its take off is widely seen to be its choice of a signature grape variety to rally around — Sauvignon Blanc.” Mike Veseth, the wine economist, ponders the secrets for emerging wine region success.

Daily Wine News: Behind the Label

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-13-2019

Jenny Lefcourt. Photo courtesy of Jenny and Francois

Jenny Lefcourt. Photo courtesy of Jenny and Francois

In Bon Appétit, Marissa A. Ross talks to Jenny & Francois Selections’ Jenny Lefcourt. “Coming in at 5-foot with a portfolio of some of the natural wine world’s most respected and influential winemakers, Lefcourt is a humble powerhouse. She built her business by lugging bottles of wine from Paris to New York, nearly selling them door-to-door like some 1950’s vacuum salesman while getting her PhD at Harvard. Now, nearly twenty years later, Jenny & François Selections isn’t just a side hustle picked up in Paris, but one of the most successful natural wine importing portfolios in the U.S.”

“Amazon is moving ahead with plans for its alcohol delivery business. The Seattle retailer filed an application with the state this week for an alcohol license which, if approved, would allow it to deliver wine bought over the internet in San Francisco,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy reports on how California native Michael Juergens set out to plant the first vineyards in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan.

In Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Buzzeo explores South African Cabernet Sauvignon.

On his blog, Tom Wark ponders wine and the myth of “natural.”

Tim McKirdy makes the case for age-worthy albariño in VinePair.

In Forbes, Tom Mullen talks with Peter Mondavi Jr. about the future of Napa Valley wines and more.

Daily Wine News: Concrete Craze

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-12-2019

Picture-12In Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox looks at how winemakers are embracing the concrete wine egg. “Whether it’s the actual physical properties imparted to the wine by the strange ovoid, the optics of its otherworldly appearance, pay-it-forward economics, or some combination, chances are, this Seussical creation has landed – or is about to – at the hippest winery near you.”

Vintner Stephanie Honig explains why wine cannabis is good for Napa Valley in SevenFifty Daily. “Napa is deservedly famous for its wine grapes, but this strength is also a drawback. Grapes make up 99 percent of the county’s agricultural crop, and a monoculture is not a good thing. Growing a variety of crops within a region fosters biodiversity and is healthier for the soil and the environment. In Napa County, the best use of the land is agriculture, and cannabis is an agricultural product.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre explores which wine gadgets are most useful, and which ones you can do without.

The purpose of the small pour is for the customer to ensure the wine isn’t corked. But what’s the right response if the customer hates the wine? Robert Joseph offers some thoughts in Meininger’s.

On his blog, Jamie Goode also explores the answer to the question: When is it acceptable to reject a wine in a restaurant?

In Wine Enthusiast, Anna Archibald explores Des Moines’ growing wine scene.

Can Manseng Noir help save Southwest France from climate change? In the Buyer, Peter Dean visits Gascony to find out.

Wine Reviews: Cartograph Wines

Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 08-10-2019

Cartograph dates back to around 2009, when founders Alan Baker and Serena Lourie came to Healdsburg with two barrels of Pinot Noir.

Alan had been making his own wines at CrushPad, the San Francisco custom crush facility. Drawing on his tech consulting experience, he also oversaw CrushPad’s online platform, Crushnet. It was at this facility where he met Serena Lourie (whose background was in healthcare administration, technology and finance), and they came up with the idea for Cartograph. In 2016 Alan and Serena purchased their first vineyard, 10 acres of Pinot Noir near Sebastopol and Cotati.

This was my first time tasting Cartograph wines, and it was a very pleasant experience tasting these wines together and seeing the nuanced differences, but also the stylistic similarities. The Pinot Noirs are fresh and lively, and the fruit has this fresh, red, early-picked quality, while maintaining the juiciness and fruitiness that you’d expect from Russian River Pinot. The inaugural vintage of their Estate Pinot Noir is something special, a really bright, elegant, floral, spicy Pinot. And their sparkling wines are on the leaner, zippier side, while showing solid complexity and depth.

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

Daily Wine News: New Bordeaux Grapes

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-09-2019

Touriga Nacional, one of the new varieties allowed in Bordeaux.

Touriga Nacional, one of the new varieties allowed in Bordeaux.

In Decanter, Jane Anson looks at what the new permitted grape varieties mean for Bordeaux. “For now, most winemakers are taking their time before making any decisions…what is sure is that planting new varieties mean more investment to buy and plant the vines, more tanks for separate vinifications, and more paperwork to follow what happens next. And for now, none of the prestigious appellations have even murmured that they may follow suit. What impact it will really have on the taste of Bordeaux wines in the years to come is up for debate.”

“Rhys Vineyards LLC, based on the California Central Coast but with vines in Mendocino County’s prime pinot noir region of Anderson Valley, has agreed to pay $3.76 million to settle enforcement actions brought by state wildlife and water regulators for unpermitted diversion of rainwater runoff on property of a planned small vineyard in a northern part of the county,” reports North Bay Business Journal.

“Cachapoal Valley-based Valle Secreto winery has taken terroir to a new level by making its own concrete eggs using rocks from its vineyards, which it will use to age a new range of wines called Origen,” reports Phoebe French in the Drinks Business.

Rick Steves offers a guide to wine travel in the Douro Valley in USA Today.

In Vinous, David Schildknecht reports on the 2017 Rheingau and Mittelrhein Rieslings.

In Imbibe Magazine, Emma Janzen covers a few myths about natural wine that Alice Feiring debunks in her new book, Natural Wine for the People.

And in New Jersey Monthly, I get a taste of a mid-19th century Madeira found at the Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University in 2015.

Daily Wine News: Unfiltered

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-08-2019

(Flickr: Chris Pople)

(Flickr: Chris Pople)

In Wine Enthusiast, Shana Clarke looks at what’s behind the rise of unfiltered wine, sherry and saké. “…it’s not just winemakers who are turning away from squeaky-clean cuvées. Sherry and saké producers are also rethinking filtering. By doing so, some feel they’re not censoring the stories they want to tell.”

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss offers a guide to Bordeaux’s premium value wines.

“In the history books, figures like Robert Mondavi, Joe Heitz and Warren Winiarski often get top billing for elevating Napa Valley into the world-class wine region it is today. But any chapter on Napa’s modern history is incomplete without mentioning Adelle “Boots” Brounstein, who died last week at age 92.” Esther Mobley remembers Boots Brounstein in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In Texas Monthly, Jessica Dupuy pays tribute to Bunny Becker, co-founder of Texas’ Becker Vineyards, who passed away on Monday.

James Button explores South Africa’s David & Nadia Wines in Decanter. (subscription req.)

In Forbes, Marisa D’Vari on the beauty of Txakoli.

Esquire tackles the growing world of wine subscription boxes.