Daily Wine News: Modern Cooperage

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-13-2018

(Source: Wikimedia)

(Source: Wikimedia)

In Wine-Searcher, Katheleen Willcox surveys the latest barrel technology and talks to several winemakers to get a sense of how they’re using the latest innovations (or not) in their quest to use wood for better wine.

Wine Spectator reports that the Taub family’s Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon brand Heritance has purchased Saracina Vineyards in Mendocino from John Fetzer and his wife, Patty Rock.

In WIRED, Matt Simon looks at how wind patterns are contributing to California’s Camp Fire, Hill Fire, and Woolsey Fire.

On WineBusiness.com, Kerana Todorov provides an update on the wildfires from the weekend.

“What really is entailed in a master class about wine? Who is qualified to lead such a class, and how should those classes be structured?” asks Alfonso Cevola. “These are some of the questions I have been pondering of late, in my search for the paths to mastery.”

Lugana, a fresh white wine from the Lake Garda region, has become popular thanks to wine tourism. Elisabetta Tosi charts its rise in Meininger’s.

Andrew Jefford tastes mature wines from the Echézeaux Grand Cru and offers his thoughts in Decanter. (subscription req.)

Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher recommend American merlot for Thanksgiving in Grape Collective.

Daily Wine News: New Nouveau

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-12-2018

Glass of Beaujolais Nouveau wine. (Wikimedia)

Glass of Beaujolais Nouveau wine. (Wikimedia)

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre looks at the American wineries adopting the nouveau wine tradition.

“Wine list design, I must say, from the standpoint of someone who designs things for a living and pays lots of people who do, too, is almost universally awful.” Alder Yarrow offers some tips on how to properly design a wine list.

“So, why does a small, relative whipper-snapper of a region like Napa produce more 100-point wines in a great vintage than Bordeaux does in a comparable vintage? The answer is pretty simple…” Lisa Perrotti-Brown explains on RobertParker.com.

Wine Spectator reports that Napa Valley vineyard owner Al Frediani has died at 96. “The 20-acre Frediani vineyard, tucked away in the northeast corner of the valley on a quiet road near Calistoga, is planted to prized Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Valdiguié (a French variety locally dubbed “Napa Gamay”) and Petite Sirah, which Frediani called by its old winegrowers’ nickname, “Petty Sarah.” Producers including Relic, Conn Creek and Stags’ Leap Winery have purchased his grapes.”

In Wine-Searcher, Margaret Rand looks at the rise of private wine labels.

Is Chilean cabernet sauvignon too affordable? Lettie Teague look into it in the Wall Street Journal. “I would argue that one of the problems facing producers of Chilean Cabernet is that very good wines and grocery-store-caliber bottles are often just a few dollars apart. Maybe a higher price would help lift the best bottles out of obscurity?”

In VinePair, Diane McMartin considers the rise of sommelier brands.

Shayla Martin explores New Hampshire wine country in Wine Enthusiast.

Wine Reviews: California New Releases

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-10-2018

It’s time for another roundup of California new releases, and this one has some beauties.

I found two exciting wines from Paso Robles, from producers doing things a bit differently. Frank Family comes out with some impressive reds. Napa stalwarts Robert Mondavi and Shafer have some exceptional new releases in this report. And The Merlots from Napa’s Chris Carpenter are also something to behold.

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

Daily Wine News: Native Grapes

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-09-2018

Chambourcin, a French-American hybrid grape.

Chambourcin, a French-American hybrid grape.

Lauren Mowery looks at the producers working to save America’s indigenous grapes in Wine Enthusiast. “Naysayers argue that these grapes demonstrate less character and remain limited in appeal and scope. Yet, the growers have often sold their efforts short. They’ve been apologetic, says Heekin, about their wines as compared to their Vitis vinifera brethren… As America’s climate changes, the use of plant material native to the soil or hybridized to thrive in its regions may be critical to the survival of the country’s wine industry.”

In Meininger’s, Jeni Port reports on Australia’s quest for native grapes. “Can an original vinous expression of one nation’s land, people and culture be distilled and created in a lab?”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley catches up with Bob Lindquist about the sale of his winery, Qupé.

Stacy Briscoe reports on the Masters of Merlot seminar, where experts discussed the growing merlot market, in Wines & Vines.

In SevenFifty Daily, NYC sommelier Nicolas Capron-Manieux reflects on his time working harvest at Domaine Hubert Lamy in Burgundy.

Joe Roberts explores Spain’s Somontano wine region. “What makes Somontano such an awkwardly difficult topic in marketing meetings is the same thing that makes many of its wines so good: the place has a great climate growing famous international grape varieties. As winemaker Jesús Artajona Serrano, from Enate (one of the founders of the Somontano DO) puts it, “we are in a small California…””

Liza B. Zimmerman reports on why Mondavi Winery’s proposed Aloft project is upsetting some locals in Wine-Searcher.

Tom Wark reviews Morten Scholer’s new book, Coffee and Wine.

Daily Wine News: French in Oregon

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-08-2018

Vineyards in Oregon (Wikimedia)

Vineyards in Oregon (Wikimedia)

In Wine Enthusiast, Paul Gregutt profiles a handful of French winemakers who have found a new home in Oregon. “These French winemakers praise Oregon’s welcoming winemaking community and open horizons…Perhaps it’s simply the break from the constraints of tradition, but the biggest reward to leave home, and sometimes family, is the boundless opportunity to test and learn in what many call the Burgundy of the Pacific Northwest.”

Robert Camuto profiles Gianfranco Fino in Wine Spectator. “Fino’s 14-year rise in the heel of the Italian boot has been meteoric. He founded his winery with a vision for meticulously producing limited-quantity, high-end Primitivo—the southern Italian equivalent of Zinfandel—in the Manduria region.”

In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman reports on how U.S. courts are changing their focus when it comes to the three-tier system.

Jason Wilson explores Calvados in Vinous. “Outside France, spirits aficionados tend to overlook Calvados when discussing the world’s great brandies, the focus and attention is too often on Cognac and Armagnac. But those among us who love the apple brandy from Normandy know what the uninitiated are missing.”

Jesus Guillen, winemaker of White Rose Estate in Oregon, has died. He was 37.

Alex Russan delves into the science of esters in wine in SevenFifty Daily.

Michael Shaps, owner of Michael Shaps Wineworks in Charlottesville, Virginia, has acquired Shenandoah Vineyards.

Jamie Goode visits Red Newt Cellars in the Finger Lakes.

Daily Wine News: California’s Qupé Sold

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-07-2018

Qupé wines.

Qupé wines.

“Last week, Terroir Life sold Qupé to Vintage Wine Estates, a fast-growing wine company based in Sonoma County,” reports W. Blake Gray in Wine-Searcher. “Importantly, Vintage Wine Estates CEO Pat Roney told Wine-Searcher he plans to keep Qupé founder Bob Lindquist as winemaker.”

Archaeologists have discovered a 2,000-year old bronze pot containing rice wine in China. Katherine Hignett shares the details in Newsweek.

In Wines & Vines, Stacy Briscoe reports on Ashes & Diamond in Napa. “In 2013, Kashy Khaledi, founder and owner of Ashes & Diamonds, left his 20-plus-year career as a creative executive in the music industry in Los Angeles to pursue a latent desire to make his impact in the world of wine.”

In OZY, Joanna Lobo visits Seppelstfield Winery in South Australia, home to the “longest unbroken lineage of single vintage wines in the world.”

Despite adverse weather towards the end of the season, the Languedoc harvest was “excellent with a good quality crops, bringing 2018 in line with previous years and the promise of a great vintage,” the consortium told the Drinks Business.

Tyler Colman teases a preview of Reboule du Rhone, which is back for a second edition.

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning chats with Elia Pellegrini about his transition from soccer to wine and about how his family’s winery distinguishes itself from other Super Tuscan producers.

In SevenFifty Daily, Betsy Andrews profiles sommelier Belinda Chang.

Daily Wine News: Natural News

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-06-2018

(Flickr: piker77)

(Flickr: piker77) Natural

In Wine-Searcher, Oliver Styles responds to a recent piece by Alice Feiring about the natural wine revolution. “…as Feiring herself points out, critics of the revolution (Michel Bettane is singled out here) have been making the same point she does in the piece for a quite a while now – natural wine should not be forgiven its faults because it is natural. It is important because no less a figure than Alice Feiring is saying it.”

In Grape Collective, Camille Lapierre and Jean Foillard discuss the origins and doctrine of natural wine.

Clodagh Kinsella reports on Israel’s flourishing wine scene in the Independent.

In Wine Enthusiast, Susan Hauser talks with filmmaker Jerry Bell Jr. about wine and the inspiration behind his film, “Red, White & Black: An Oregon Wine Story.”

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford shares notes from his recent trip to Bordeaux, including the 2018 vintage and the general use of copper in organic vineyards.

Elin McCoy chats with Vega Sicilia CEO Pablo Alvarez about his new project in Bloomberg.

Jameson Fink offers a few tips about how to navigate RAW WINE New York this week.

Jamie Goode checks out Bloomer Creek in the Finger Lakes and shares notes on the wines he tasted.

Daily Wine News: Discovery & Courage

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-05-2018

italianredwineEsther Mobley meditates on the vast universe of Italian wine in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Italian wine’s heterogeneity is what makes it exciting, though it may also explain why its neighbor to the west is more often represented on top U.S. wine lists…Yet it’s from these fringe regions where Italian wine’s greatest pleasure can most often be accessed: the pleasure of discovery.”

Jancis Robinson shares which Bordeaux vintages you should be drinking right now.

“So don’t write off a tough year like 2018. As we consumers taste these wines, we should try to identify those winemakers who had the courage of their convictions and refused to surrender,” says Dave McIntyre in the Washington Post.

“The month of October was the first time in a very long time Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s eponymous grand cru was no longer the most expensive wine on our database,” reports Wine-Searcher.

Also on Wine-Searcher, Claire Adamson looks into what makes a wine expensive. “Outside of the cost of production, there are a number of things that send wine prices skyrocketing. Prestige and collectability are the big two, with things like age, scarcity, and good old-fashioned trendiness feeding this.”

The Drinks Business reports that Francis Ford Coppola has entered the cannabis game with new brand, The Grower Series.

In VinePair, Mary Winston Nicklin explores Banyuls wines.

Wine Reviews: Troon Vineyard

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-04-2018

I’ve been tasting the wines of Oregon’s Troon Vineyard for a few years now, and their new releases continue this winery’s tradition of excellence.

All Troon wines come from estate grapes in the cool Applegate Valley appellation of Southern Oregon. The winery sits at 1,400 feet above sea level, on a high bench above the Applegate River. Surrounded by the Siskiyou Mountains, the Applegate and Rogue Rivers allow cooling Pacific breezes to flow into the valley in the afternoons, which helps keep the diurnal temperature shifts high.

The Troon team has been transitioning to biodynamics, and the 2018 grapes were farmed organically and biodynamically. They expect their first Demeter certification with the next vintage. The wines are generally picked with brix measurements between 21 and 24, and the acidity really shines through in all of these wines. In the winery, all the wine are crushed by foot, fermentation is done with native yeasts, there’s no correcting for acids or sugars, and the wines don’t see any new oak.

Their range of releases is wide, from Skin-fermented Riesling, to Rhone whites, to Cabernet, Zinfandel, Syrah and Vermentino. In this new batch of Troon wines, I found, yet again, excellent wines at exceptional prices. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: Champagne Lombard

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-03-2018

I had not tasted the wines of Champagne Lombard before, but after going through some of their wines recently, I am now a fan.

Stylistically, these Champagnes generally have a lower dosage (or none at all), and a dry, zesty, bracing appeal. The house makes about 15 different cuvees, and I only tasted six, and was especially wowed by the single-vineyard wines.

The house sources grapes from more than 100 hectares of vineyards. They get Chardonnay from Grand Crus Mesnil-sur-Oger, Chouilly, Avize and Cramant, along with various Premier Cru villages, while the Pinot Noir is sourced largely from the east of the Montagne de Reims. The Grand Cru wines are aged at least 48-60 months before being disgorged, the Premier Cru a bit less.

The house can trace its roots back to Robert Andrieu (grandfather of the current owner), who founded the Société Anonyme de Magenta-Epernay in 1925. Phillipe Lombard took over in 1960 and expanded the winery and cellars in Epernay in 1987. The company is now run by Thierry Lombard.

The Premier Crus are really solid, and a great introduction to the house’s style, while the Grand Crus offer a whole lot of personality and depth. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »