Weekly Interview: Nicolas Cantacuzene

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 11-21-2014

Nicolas Cantacuzene

Nicolas Cantacuzene

Each week, as regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we’re featuring Nicolas Cantacuzene, the winemaker at Emeritus Vineyards, which produces estate-bottled Pinot Noir from Sonoma.

There are some winemakers who grow up in the wine industry, for whom winemaking is family tradition; and then there are those who leave behind a career and take the leap of faith into winemaking. Nicolas is squarely in the latter group. Though he had the oenophilic advantage of a French upbringing, Nicolas never planned on a wine career until he found himself taking a break from his chemistry studies in Paris – and found himself in love in Sonoma.

Below, Nicolas discusses how chemistry can limit winemaking, punching down the cap with your feet, and what’s so special about Burgundy.

Check out our interview with Nicolas below the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Futures Crash

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-21-2014

1982-bordeauxEven though it’s only November, Will Lyons is wondering if “2014 will be the vintage that brings the whole Bordeaux wine futures system crashing down.”

Tom Wark contends that the American Viticultural Area system is much more “terroir-driven” than the French Appellation d’Origine Controlee.

And after ten years of blogging, Wark is thinking about calling it quits. Say it ain’t so, Tom!

Jeff Siegel, the “wine curmudgeon,” has been blogging for seven years.

“Don’t sweat the wine. Open one of everything. Any good wine will match something on the menu, and most likely will match the majority.” Dave McIntyre reflects on Thanksgiving.

In Vice, Jesse Dart profiles the Cistercian nuns of Monastero Suoro Cisterci, who are “making orange wine for God and the rest of us.”

“The third generation of Ponzis are still in school, but they, too have gotten into the game: Cugini, a non-alcoholic grape juice, has been their project.” In Wine-Searcher, Katherine Cole profiles the Ponzis.

Yesterday, Japan consumed about four times more Beaujolais Nouveau than we did.

Daily Wine News: City Guides

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-20-2014

ParisPunch has launched City Guides, a “full-fledged digital guidebook — complete with “best of” lists, maps and narrative — to finding the best cocktails, wine, craft beer or dive bars in lands exotic and familiar, from San Francisco to New York, Paris to Berlin, Tokyo to Melbourne and everywhere in between.” Bookmark it.

“People that don’t like use of the word natural itself have likely already lost the battle. In relation to wine, the category seems to have already chosen its name.” Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka writes a fantastic essay defending natural wine.

In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth visits Hervé Souhaut, “a relative newcomer which has rapidly become a darling among the hipster set for its pepper- and violet-infused unoaked Syrahs.”

“These wines are at the epicentre of the fine wine trade, explaining why the very idea – whisper it – that premature oxidation might not be limited to white wine is so explosive.” In Decanter, Jane Anson wonders if the premox crisis has moved to red wine.

Steve Heimoff comments on Antonio Gallo’s acquisition of Steven Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar.

The total take at the 154th Hospices de Beaune charity wine auction hit a record over the weekend. Burgundy prices just keep rising.

In the Somm Journal, Ian Buxton visits southwest France to taste Armagnac.

“With wine… there is a question of markets, there is a question of why something is popular; we talk about organic and biodynamic; there are questions of morality — so many issues occurring at once, probably more than any other product.” Christie’s Per Holmberg chats with Pascaline Lepeltier.

“Because of the way barrels are used in winemaking and their shapes,” oak is really the only option for winemakers looking to age their wines in barrel. Tom Natan explains.

Richard Auffrey praises Talia Baiocchi’s new book as “an excellent and reader-friendly introduction to Sherry.”

Daily Wine News: Vinous & IWC

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-19-2014

Antonio Galloni

Antonio Galloni

Both Forbes and Wine-Searcher report on the news that Vinous has acquired Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. (For the official press release, click here.) Alder Yarrow comments on the story.

In Wine Spectator, Matt Kramer contends that Burgundy isn’t “as expensive or challenging as you might think.”

In Forbes, Jenny Nguyen-Barron learns 10 “surprising things” from Union Square Hospitality Group’s wine director, John Ragan.

This year, Laurie Daniel is going with “a wine made from Rhone grapes” for her Thanksgiving meal.

On WineBerserkers, Phil Carpenter chats with six Santa Barbara winemakers worth watching.

Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Complete Wine Course was first released 30 years ago. Tom Wark thinks the book is as important as ever before.”

In Wine-Searcher, Elin McCoy pays tribute to New York’s pioneering sommeliers and salutes some of the young guns.

Steve Heimoff is “heartily in favor” of the proposed Petaluma Gap AVA.

Mike Veseth reviews Stuart Pigott’s Best White Wine on Earth: The Riesling Story.

In Wine Enthusiast, Alexis Korman names America’s best airport wine bars.

Daily Wine News: Moonrock

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-18-2014

Moonrock. From Wikipedia.

Moonrock. From Wikipedia.

“Tasting the vintages I am struck first and most by the site. I can taste the hillside we walked earlier.” Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka spends a day with Maynard James Keenan.

Wine Spectator has released its annual Top 100 list. In the Los Angeles Times, S. Irene Virbila comments on this year’s selections.

The Guild of Master Sommeliers releases a video guide to Champagne.

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford is blown away by a sparkling wine from 1992 Graham Beck.

In Grape Collective, Mary Orlin reports on Robert Mondavi, Jr., latest project: “A line of wine country-inspired flooring and home accents.”

Elsewhere in Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter visits Vaio dei Masi in Valpolicella.

Spear’s, a magazine based in Britain, has released a list of “Best Wine Advisers.” Wink Lorch has the details in Wine-Searcher.

In the Sacramento Bee, Chris Macia reassess Merlot 10 years after “Sideways.”

W. Blake Gray lists “The 8 Wrong Ways To Drink, Serve And Enjoy Wine.”

Bill St. John offers some suggestions for Thanksgiving.

Newark airport has signed on an “Insane List of A-List Chefs to Open Restaurants in Terminal C.”

ReasonTV Interviews Tom Wark

Posted by | Posted in Videos | Posted on 11-17-2014

Last week, ReasonTV interviewed Tom Wark of the American Wine Consumer Coalition about the nation’s outdated liquor laws. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out!


Daily Wine News: Exquisite Mystery

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-17-2014

Clos_de_Tart“Why the wines are so exquisite is a mystery that’s vexed viticulturists and geologists for centuries.” Will Lyons visits Clos de Tart.

“The name may be delightfully easy to spell and pronounce, but it is its distinctively sultry wines that are so memorable.” Jancis Robinson praises the wines of Etna.

“As Niagara Peninsula vintners are quick to point out, their region is on a lower latitude than is Burgundy and other cool-climate regions in Europe.” In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague visits Canada.

Steve Heimoff concludes that “America is more of a wine-drinking country than it has ever been, and real wine-drinking countries don’t need critics to tell them what to drink.”

In the Napa Valley Register, Dan Berger profiles Tom Eddy, “an insider’s hero” in California wine.

“In case you’ve forgotten just how archaic and screwed up the laws concerning alcohol are in this lovely country,” Alder Yarrow can point you to a few recent stories.

In Wine Searcher, James Lawrence chats with Stéphanie de Boüard of Château Angélus.

In the New Yorker, Sarah Larson visits Aldo Sohm Wine Bar.

In the Village Voice, Lauren Mowery chats with Macari Vineyards on Long Island about this year’s harvest.

Wine Reviews: Cali Cabs & Merlots

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-15-2014

Since our last report on California Cabernets, we’ve received a lot of goodies, and some solid Merlots as well. Unsurprisingly, Napa steals the show, but this report features some impressive wines from other regions as well.

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

Daily Wine News: Drug Syndicate

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-14-2014

Flickr, Clearly Ambiguous.

Flickr, Clearly Ambiguous.

“One of the three brothers who transformed Yellow Tail wines into one of the great Australian export success stories has been charged over his alleged involvement in a major drug syndicate.” Nick Ralston reports on the Sydney Morning Herald.

Wine law attorney John Trinidad comments on the news that California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control reprimanded Revolution Wines for tweeting about a wine event.

“While Bordeaux scratches its head over how to rekindle interest in its wines, one young winemaker is taking an almost sacrilegious approach – by making Chardonnay.” Wine-Searcher has the details.

In Wine-Searcher, Adam Lechmere chats with Australian vintner Tom Barry.

“While appellations are inherently imperfect — terroir is made by nature, appellations drawn by man — would it really be better to draw no lines at all?” Mitch Frank defends the decision by vintners in Paso Robles to pursue 11 new American Viticultural Areas within their existing appellation.

In Palate Press, Simon Woolf explains why “wine is more than just a product.”

In Reign of Terroir, Ken Payton visits “Hans-Peter Schmidt, the first winegrower in Europe, if not the world, to have begun experimentation with biochar in his Domaine Mythopia vineyards located in the Valais region of Switzerland.”

Steve Heimoff thinks about minerality.

“As there’s no shower attachment for the bath, and so no opportunity to rinse myself off, I have no option but to dry myself on — and thus ruin — my week-old set of expensive fluffy towels.” Daily Mail reporter Kate Battersby bathes in red wine.

Daily Wine News: Look to Champagne

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-13-2014

IMG_20141112_181156“As with the Champenois, the Burgundians have shown that embracing change doesn’t require casting aside one’s identity or traditions — that a spirit of progress and a willingness to innovate can be the best means of preserving a way of life.” In Wine-Searcher, Mike Steinberger explains why “the rest of France should take note” of Burgundy and Champagne.

Jonathan Lipsmeyer discovers a game that’s “crack for French oenophiles.” Play it. Trust me.

According to Don Kavanagh, “next year’s Bordeaux en primeur campaign could be the last, if châteaux refuse to accept market realities and drop prices.”

Steen Öhman reports on a visit to Domaine Leflaive.

“While it might be tempting for them to make stars of their own wines, Rahn, Armstrong and Cowin all tell me they’d be too self-conscious to do so.” In the Oregonian, Katherine Cole writes about the advent of the sommelier-winemaker.

“It’s inside the foudres and bottles that counts though—as pure an expression of sanguine and iron-driven Syrah as you’ll find.” James Molesworth goes “Back to an Old-School Cornas Cellar.”

Elsewhere in Wine Spectator, Harvey Steiman catches up with Jacques Pépin.

With #TempranilloDay upon us, Tom Natan thinks it’s time for “a special designation for wine holidays dreamed up by marketers that have no historical basis.”

“There’s something about challenging, tough harvests. It makes you dig deep inside and ask what is important.” Alfonso Cevola reflects on “the toughest harvest in years.”

In Serious Eats, Stacey Gibson offers some Thanksgiving wine advice.

Alder Yarrow attends a Champagne tasting put on by the Institute for the Masters of Wine.

Want to drink better coffee? Treat it like wine.