Daily Wine News: Community & Hope

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-16-2017

Flickr: Ren Kuo

Flickr: Ren Kuo

“No one would compare the loss of wine with the loss of life. But wine is these communities’ lifeblood — economic, cultural and otherwise.” In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley assesses the long-term economic impact of the wildfires, and reports on the overwhelming sentiment of hope felt in the community of vintners. “That sense of community helped vintners remain optimistic this week, even as they watched with horror as the fires grew, and as many lost their own homes.”

The Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis gathered information regarding the impact of the wildfires in Northern California, as well as information on the effect of smoke on grapes and wine. “Estimates are that close to 90% of the grapes were picked although this number may vary depending on the location. That means that only a small percentage of the 2017 grape harvest may be potentially impacted by the wildfires and smoke.”

In the Mercury News, Mary Orlin provides an updated list of the wineries damaged or destroyed by the wildfires.

“U.S. immigration officials suspended operations in the Northern California fire areas, authorities said Friday,” reports Leslie Gevirtz in Wine Enthusiast.

In Wine Business, Liz Thach looks at how wineries are reassuring customers during a time of crisis.

Vinous offers a list of the charities actively involved in providing support to those most in need after the Northern California wildfires.

E. & J. Gallo Winery will contribute $1 million to fire recovery effort and will match employee donations two-for-one.

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford discovers a biodynamic spirit in Tuscany when he visits Fattoria La Vialla.

Wine Reviews: Troon Vineyard

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-14-2017

Troon Vineyard does it again with these new releases — wow! This winery is based in the Southern Oregon appellation of Applegate Valley, and they produce a range of exciting varietal and blended wines. (I reviewed some different wines from Troon earlier this year.) From a stellar Riesling orange wine, to exciting Vermentinos, Rhone blends, Tannat, etc., the wines show panache, brightness, depth, aging potential.

I honestly haven’t tasted an unexceptional wine from this producer. And the quality-to-price ratio for some of these wines is bonkers good.

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

Daily Wine News: Vineyards Stop Fires

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-13-2017

Photo credit: George Rose via Facebook: "It appears the raging fire just north of Coffey Park near Barnes Road was stopped by a vineyard. Some of the weeds in the vineyard, and the weeds around the pond burned, but basically, the fire ran out of fuel."

Photo credit: George Rose via Facebook: “It appears the raging fire just north of Coffey Park near Barnes Road was stopped by a vineyard. Some of the weeds in the vineyard, and the weeds around the pond burned, but basically, the fire ran out of fuel.”

“Fire crews “use the vineyards to their advantage to ensure that they can stop the spread of the fire or stop the front of the fire from coming through,” said Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox, battalion chief for Northern California.” In the Los Angeles Times, Geoffrey Mohan reports on how vineyards may have kept the wine country wildfire from spreading even more.

Esther Mobley reports on how the wildfires impacted Mayacamas winery in the San Francisco Chronicle. “While one of the property’s historic buildings burned to the ground, the winery itself — a stone building constructed in 1889 — remains intact.”

In the New York Times: “Satellite Images Show 1,800 Buildings Destroyed by Fire in Santa Rosa.”

Is wine an art or a science? Richard Hemming explores his answer in Purple Pages. “Great wine has the rare capacity to move the drinker in a way that science cannot. There may be beauty in science, but it surely doesn’t evoke that gut reaction, that instinctual emotional response which characterizes how we react to great art – wine included.”

In Decanter, Jane Anson meets Dominique Léandre Chevalier, a “rebel winemaker” of Bordeaux and finds out why local wine officials have filed court action against him.

It’s time to give German reds their due, says Anna Lee C. Iijima, who reviews unique styles of German Pinot Noir and lesser known-grapes in Wine Enthusiast.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov debunks five common wine myths.

Bon Appétit’s Marissa A. Ross is thrilled that sweet berry wine, inspired by the character played by John C. Riley, now exists.

Tim Atkin looks at Semillon’s fall from prominence.

Daily Wine News: Relief, Recovery

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-12-2017

Photo tweeted by Esther Mobley: "Heartbreaking scene at White Rock."

Photo tweeted by Esther Mobley: “Heartbreaking scene at White Rock.”

The San Francisco Chronicle has a list of wineries damaged by the wildfires. The list continues to be updated as damage is confirmed throughout the region.

Elsewhere in the Chronicle, Esther Mobley reports on how the fire struck at Gundlach Bundschu, one of California’s oldest wineries. “False news had begun circulating that the winery had burned down; Scribe, too…And by around 5 p.m., Cal Fire helicopters appeared overhead, showering water down on the fires before they could reach Gundlach Bundschu and Scribe.”

Facebook and Google will reportedly donate a combined $1.5 million to Wine Country fire relief.

“Patsy McGaughy of the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) said the group had heard from 100 of its more than 525 members, and none reported fatalities or injuries among their families or employees. However, five wineries owned by members were destroyed by fire, and nine others were damaged.” Wines & Vines reports on the next steps wineries are considering amid flames.

In the New York Times, Tiffany Hsu reports on the several historic wineries and remaining grape harvest in Napa and Sonoma that have been impacted by the fatal wildfires.

In Wine Enthusiast, Jim Gordon recounts his personal experience on the second full day of the Northern California wildfires.

Brian Freedman looks at how the wildfires could impact the California wine industry for years to come in Forbes.

In Punch, Zachary Sussman explores Santorini’s potential beyond beach wines. “Is it destined to remain a one-hit wonder, forever stamped as another sunny Mediterranean wine? Or, as it continues to carve out its own vision of maturity, will it find a way to surpass the novelty phase and successfully embrace a more complex paradigm…”

In SevenFifty Daily, Amanda Barnes reports on the growing movement of Champagne producers going organic and biodynamic.



Daily Wine News: Devastation in Wine Country

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-11-2017

Posted by Esther Mobley on Twitter: "1880s vines at Old Hill Ranch in Sonoma Valley. Gone."

Posted by Esther Mobley on Twitter: “1880s vines at Old Hill Ranch in Sonoma Valley. Gone.”

The San Francisco Chronicle’s coverage of the wildfires in California continues: an interactive map of wine country fires, what is known and what isn’t known about the fires, and possible causes of the fires.

Esther Mobley has been doing an excellent job of tweeting updates and photos from affected wineries.

“Deadly fires ravage California’s wine country, leaving at least 15 dead, more than 150 missing,” reports the Washington Post as of 5pm EST on Tuesday.

NPR reports on “the apocalyptic scenes in wine country” left behind by the wildfires.

Wine Spectator reports that at least three wineries have been lost in the wildfires: Frey Vineyards, Signorello Estate Winery, and Paradise Ridge Winery.

Wine Enthusiast is covering how to help victims of the fires, and the ways in which the wildfires continue to devastate, reporting that Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma also succumbed to the flames.

In the Mercury News, Mary Orlin offers a conflicting report: “the historic Gundlach Bundschu is still standing, according to Katie Bundschu, despite earlier reports of fire damage.” According to Orlin, Scribe Winery is still standing.

Based on social media postings, Wine Business also reports on which wineries have been damaged or destroyed.

Terlato wineries Chimney Rock and Rutherford Hill have gone unscathed in the devastating wildfires, reports Greg Trotter in the Chicago Tribune.

Napa Valley Vintners released a statement on the wildfires in Napa County.

Daily Wine News: Wildfires in Wine Country

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-10-2017

Fire“Massive wildfires ripped through Napa and Sonoma counties early Monday, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people and shutting down major roadways,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. You can find all of the Chronicle’s coverage of the North Bay fires here, including how you can help.

Elsewhere in the Chronicle, Esther Mobley reports on the Sonoma and Napa wineries hit hardest by the fires.

According to Wine Spectator, “Signorello Estate Winery and reportedly Chateau St. Jean were destroyed, and several more wineries are reportedly threatened.”

Elaine Chukan Brown, who lives in Sonoma, reported on the unfolding disaster near her home for Slow Wine. “Numerous iconic wineries and vineyards along the Silverado Trail are still threatened by the fire and thousands of people are unable to return home.”

California Gov. Jerry Brown declares a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

The Weather Channel is offering updated reports on the wildfires and mass evacuations in California’s Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto talks to Roberto Felluga of Marco Felluga about Collio’s identity issue. “The trouble is, with such a wealth of grapes and varied winemaker styles, it’s been near-impossible to define the region to the world.”

Nicholas Gill reports on Copenhagen’s natural wine scene in the New York Times.

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford delves into the history of Languedoc’s Pic St Loup.

In Bloomberg, Rudy Ruitenberg looks at how French winemakers are lamenting the smallest vintage in 60 years.

In the Seattle Times, Andy Perdue profiles winemaker Seth Kitzke.



Daily Wine News: Slim Chances

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-09-2017

Making-It-Easy-Understanding-Cru-Bourgeois_i1140Jancis Robinson comments on Bordeaux Crus Bourgeois wines. “Crus bourgeois come with a sticker that can be read with a smartphone to reveal the background to all wines…I fear the chances of these wines attracting the attention of a counterfeiter are rather limited at the moment.”

Over on SevenFifty Daily, Jancis Robinson shares tips for women in wine during the sixth annual Women in Wine Leadership Symposium.

Liza B. Zimmerman looks at the ways delivery services are changing the way we think about wine in Wine-Searcher.

Save your money and don’t waste it on the new Coravin device designed specifically for screw-cap wines, says Dave McIntyre in the Washington Post.

In Beverage Media, Kristen Bieler looks at how the Navarra region is looking beyond rosado and making quality-driven changes in vineyards and cellars.

Grape Collective talks with Spanish natural wine pioneer Alfredo Maestro about his journey into natural wine.

Josh Raynolds covers the vastness of Australian wines in Vinous.

In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph ponders how wineries might utilize Augmented Reality in the future.

Wine Reviews: Cantine San Marzano (Puglia)

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-08-2017

When I was first legally able to purchase wine, a lot of my early buys hailed from Puglia. These wines were inexpensive, reliably delicious, and they paired with the kinds of food I was cooking at the time (bastardized New Jersey/Italian dishes, mainly).

Puglia is still home to inexpensive, tasty (mainly red) wines, including a lineup from from Cantine San Marzano.These wines are cost about $17 bucks, and a few of them are seriously good for that price. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Paso Robles: Beyond Bordeaux & Rhone Reds

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-07-2017


Derby Vineyard – Paso Robles

Paso Robles built its reputation on big, juicy red wines made from Rhone or Bordeaux varieties. That reputation is well-earned, as there are thrilling Cabs, Syrahs, Mourvedres, and all sorts of blends, coming out of Paso. But, after spending a few days exploring the wine scene in this Central Coast wine region, I came away impressed with wines made from grapes that might surprise you. And a lot of them are really, really good.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape in Paso Robles, and Bordeaux varieties make up 55% of the region’s vineyard acreage, according to the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. And there are Rhone grapes (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise, Petite Sirah), all over the place. Add in Zinfandel, and you’ve got most of Paso’s wine covered.

But to focus solely on those wines (as good as they are) would be to miss out on some really cool stuff. I found several white Rhones that were salty, brisk and delicious (Grenache Blanc, usually blended, seems to do exceedingly well here.) Ditto for Viognier. More producers are releasing rosé, both from Rhone and other grapes, so there are plenty of lively, spicy pinks out in Paso. Then there are wines made from Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian grapes. Chris and Adrienne Ferrara, the husband-wife team behind the winery Clesi, seem intent on proving that they can make exceptional Southern Italian style wines in Paso — I’m convinced.

Paso’s varied soils and microclimates allow conscientious winegrowers to explore all sorts of grapes for all sorts of wine styles. More than 40 grape varieties are grown in Paso Robles, and there is likely room for growth in that department.

These wines were tasted in Paso Robles, sighted, usually with the winemaker.  Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Poorest Harvest in 36 Years

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-06-2017

Vineyards in Valpolicella. (Source: Wikimedia)

Vineyards in Valpolicella. (Source: Wikimedia)

The 2017 EU harvest is “expected to result in the poorest wine grape harvest in 36 years,” reports Reuters.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov, Florence Fabricant, and Justin Timsit conduct a tasting of 20 Valpolicella wines. “Some of the wines seemed modern and highly polished, which made them less distinctive. But the best were quintessential Italian reds, balancing the flavors of sweet cherry fruit with a tart, earthy quality and a welcome bitterness that refreshed.”

A stash of hand grenades from WWII was recently discovered near St-Emilion vineyards. In Decanter, Jane Anson explores how Bordeaux’s Right Bank fared as a dividing line between the German Occupation and the Resistance in Vichy France.

Wine can see us through difficult times and also uncork happy memories. Lettie Teague considers the many ways a wine can resonate in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)

Wines & Vines reports on how UC Davis researchers are studying oral surface interactions to understand mouthfeel perception.

In VinePair, Courtney Schiessl ponders the question: Does sommelier certification matter?

Grape Collective talks with Michael Smith, whose OR winery on Long Island is the region’s smallest.

In Punch, Megan Krigbaum goes inside the wine cellar at Birmingham’s Highlands Bar and Grill.