Daily Wine News: What’d You Drink?

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-31-2011

Uploaded to flickr by cliff1066™.

What’d you drink this weekend? Joe Roberts had some great recommendations – and they’ll work all summer long, as his wines were selected as “hot-weather, picnic-&-BBQ wines.” At the Terroirist global headquarters, a few of us got together for a barbecue where we opened up an assortment of wines from across America — including a sparkler from Missouri, a Reisling from Michigan, a Tempranillo from Texas, a Viognier and Cabernet Franc from Virginia, a Sangiovese from Arizona, and several others. Let us know what you opened – even if it was beer!

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague gets together with famed chef Alain Ducasse.

Beringer has launched an ad campaign on Spanish-language TV stations. H/T: Steve Heimoff, who supports the move.

In Bloomberg, John Mariani sits down with Axel Heinz, the winemaker at Ornellaia. They discuss alcohol levels and the last few vintages in Tuscany.

The New York Times reports that wine auctions are taking off.

Wine Spectator reports that “Klein Constantia, one of South Africa’s most historic estates, has been sold.”

Memorial Day Open Thread

Posted by | Posted in Terroirist | Posted on 05-30-2011

Uploaded to flickr by buggolo.

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer — a time to head to beach, relax at the pool, finish up the spring yard work, and fire up the grill.

At the Terroirist global headquarters, we’ll be barbecuing tonight and opening up an assortment of wines from across America — a Reisling from Michigan, a Tempranillo from Texas, a Viognier from Virginia, a Sangiovese from Arizona, and several others.

Last year, the Wine Curmudgeon marked the holiday by writing about how much he enjoys Rosé. This year, James Laube suggested opening up some off-dry Riesling, as it’s “a great go-to wine for those occasions where you have a smorgasbord of food.”

So what will you be having? Let us know in the comments!

Weekly Interview: Melissa Burr of Stoller

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 05-27-2011

Each week, as regular readers know, Terroirist poses 16 questions to a winemaker. This week, we’re featuring Melissa Burr, the winemaker at Stoller Vineyards in the Willamette Valley.

I first learned of Stoller in the spring of 2009, while planning a winetasting trip to the Oregon. We decided to make our visit to Stoller the first stop of the day – and it certainly made for a great start to the trip. Stoller is set on an absolutely stunning piece of property in Dayton, and I was very impressed with the wines.

Melissa was raised in the Willamette Valley, and when she started college, she thought she would major in naturopathic medicine. She soon developed a passion for wine, though, so switched her focus – and after completing her BS degree, studied winemaking at Chemeketa and fermentation science at Oregon State University. Before joining the team at Stoller in 2003, she worked as a harvest hand at several Willamette Valley wineries and as the production winemaker at Cooper Mountain Vineyards. Learn more about Melissa below the fold… Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Nominations Are Open!

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-27-2011

Nominations for the 2011 Wine Blog Awards have opened! The nomination period will run through May 31st. Check out yesterday’s plea.

A new study from VinQuest has concluded that direct-to-consumer wine sales grew by 12 percent in 2010. Steve Heimoff puts the report in context, concluding, correctly, that “distribution remains, and is likely to remain, the chokehold on wine sales in America. Until someone figures out how small wineries can get into the system, there are no magic bullets to ease their plight.”

Alabama lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow local wineries producing produce than 100,000 gallons a year to self-distribute. The wholesale/distributor lobby fears it will “jeopardize the three-tier system and harm major distributors.” Yes, that’s true. But the three-tier system is a relic of prohibition – an artificial, state-mandated middleman doesn’t make sense. Tom Wark also chimes in on this story.

Tyler Colman (aka Dr. Vino) reports on a new study from the American Association of Wine Economists, which “shows wine labels… understate actual alcohol by at least 0.3 percentage points, on average.”  The researchers examined data from a mind-boggling 129,123 wine samples. They also concluded that “increasing alcohol levels” are the result of “winemaker choice.” W. Blake Gray also comments on the AAWE study.

Shanken News Daily highlights some really interesting data from a new study by Chicago-based SymphonyIRI Group looking at wine sales in food/drug/convenience stores. Sales are up nearly 5 percent year-to-date. Barefoot Cellars is the top performer.

A wine tasting was held at this year’s “e-G8 Technology Summit.” Wine Spectator reports that “13 California wines were poured, including Chardonnays from Peter Michael, HdV and Knights Bridge. The red wines included 2008 Screaming Eagle, 2005 Colgin IX Estate, 2005 Harlan Estate, 2004 Sine Qua Non Syrah Ode to E, 2001 Bond Vecina and 1997 Chappellet Signature.” Quite a lineup.

Help! The 2011 Wine Blog Awards

Posted by | Posted in Terroirist | Posted on 05-26-2011

Yesterday, nominations opened up for the 2011 Wine Blog Awards.

These awards were created in 2007 by Tom Wark to identify excellence in wine blogging. And since last year, the awards have been administered by the North American Wine Bloggers Conference.

I read a ton of wine blogs, so I’m super excited about these awards. I’ve been reading several — like the blogs of Tom Wark (Fermentation), Joe Roberts (1WineDude), Steve Heimoff, Alder Yarrow (Vinography),and Tyler Colman (Dr. Vino) — for years now. Others, like Colorado Wine Press, The Gray Report, Wine Diarist, the New York Cork Report, and many, many more are relatively new to me — but they’re now part of my daily reading. (Apologies, in advance, to the many friends I’ve left off!)

This year, there are eight categories: Best Overall Wine BlogBest Writing on a Wine BlogBest New Wine BlogBest Winery BlogBest Single Subject Wine BlogBest Wine ReviewerBest Industry/Business Wine BlogBest Graphics, Photography, Presentation on a Wine Blog.

Wine blogs are nominated by the general public (seriously — you can nominate any wine blog), and the finalists for each award are selected by a panel of judges. The winners are selected based on a combination of the judges’ opinions and a public vote. And they’ll be announced in July at this year’s North American Wine Bloggers Conference.

I’m incredibly honored to have already been nominated in the “Best New Wine Blog” category (thanks, Tom Wark!!!).

Mind showing me some love? Blogs only need only be nominated once to be eligible, but I suspect that “likes” and comments within initial comments are helpful.

Here’s my case: Terroirist launched on November 9, and since then, we’ve had 252 unique posts. That’s 1.8 posts per day. More than 6,000 people now visit the website each month, and it has been featured Fox5 News in Washington DC and mentioned by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and many other highly regarded publications.

When I launched Terroirist, my goal was to fundamentally change what people have come to expect when visiting wine blogs. Rather than offering recommendations, cataloguing tasting notes,  writing about politics, industry news, or viticultural techniques, I sought to offer a comprehensive look at the wine world, on a daily basis. It’s still very much a work in progress. But it’s a fun ride — and we’ll certainly get to where we want to go.

Thanks for your support! And now, for a somewhat relevant song:

Daily Wine News: Italian Whites

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-26-2011

Uploaded to flickr by payhere.

Joe Roberts (aka 1WineDude) highlights a new report from the Center for Wine Economics that looks at the rising sugar levels of California’s wine grapes. While it’s hard to prove a direct correlation, Joe (and the study’s authors) wonders about the link between “Parker Effect” and rising alcohol levels.

Steve Heimoff reads California’s 2010 Crush Report so we don’t have to. It’s fascinating.

Wine geeks have been digging Italian whites for a while now. Eric Asimov spills the secret, paying special attention to Fianos from Campania.

Dave McIntyre declares: “Rosé is the ultimate summer wine: a cold remedy for the heat of the blazing sun, able to lift our spirits from beneath a heavy blanket of humidity. From now through September, our refrigerators should never be devoid of rose.” Agreed!

Dr. Vino reports that New York State Rep. Robin Schimminger has introduced a bill that would require restaurants and retail shops to source all their wine from a “primary source” (aka, a distributor).  Hey, distributor/wholesaler lobby: Why do hate wine consumers so much?

Sommelier Interview: Andrew Stover & OYA

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 05-25-2011

I  first met Andrew Stover about a year ago at a DC-based Sip & Twit event sponsored by WineTwits and Giramondo Wine Adventures. As I did a lot of sipping and tweeting, his table was especially memorable because, well, he was pouring some weird stuff. Not bad-weird, but unexpected-weird. E.g., I tried my first Arizona wine and sampled a Syrah from Idaho. Hmm, interesting…I like it.

Andrew is the Wine Director & Sommelier at OYA Restaurant and Lounge, SEI, and SAX. His wine list, in particular the one at OYA, features the same unexpected-weird selections — a Txakoli from Spain, a Viognier from Maryland, a Chardonnay from Long Island, a Seyval Blanc from Illinois. And a “house specialty” – a red blend from Temecula, CA created by Andrew – that is intended to pair well with some of the dishes on the restaurant’s Asian fusion menu. In addition to his career at OYA/SEI/SAX, Andrew has also launched his own company called Vino50, which “encourages customers to explore local & regional wines” from states outside of California. Learn more about Andrew and his adventurous wine philosophy below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: 2010 Château Pavie

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-25-2011

“One wine. One vintage. Two critics. Two reviews that couldn’t possibly be more different.” Eric Asimov looks at the controversy over the 2010 Château Pavie. Robert M. Parker Jr.  awarded the wine 95-98+ points, and praised its “abundant notes of roasted coffee, blackberries, cassis, full-bodied power and sensational density, texture and length.’’ John Gilman of View From the Cellar described the wine as “absurdly overripe, unpleasant to taste and patently out of balance.” On the 100-point scale, Gilman awarded the 2010 Château Pavie 47-52+ points. More discussion on this disparity on WineBerserkers.

Buckingham Palace served President Obama some incredible wines last night, including a 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands-Echezeaux. Wow.

Gothamist reports that New York lawmakers are once again considering a measure that would legalize supermarket wine sales. To address the concerns of those fighting the bill, the new proposal would let liquor store owners things, to “own more than one store, sell products directly to restaurants and bars, [and] sell a greater variety of products and join cooperatives.” The legislature could vote on this measure next month.

Wines & Vines offers a preview of what attendees can expect at this year’s Wine Industry Technology Symposium, taking place at the Napa Valley Marriott on July 12 and 13. Check the piece out – it’ much more interesting than it sounds!

Shanken News Daily sits down with Boston Beer chairman and founder Jim Koch.

He predicts that we’re “at the beginning of several decades of craft beer growth.”

Dave McIntyre recommends some Rosés. They all sound perfect for summertime drinking.

Daily Wine News: Baltimore Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-24-2011

Baltimore. Uploaded to flickr by ktylerconk.

“In a Canton basement lit by fluorescent lights, a dozen glass jugs of fermenting grape juice share space with a washer, dryer and furnace.” And in that basement, Erik Bandzak, 30, has launched Baltimore’s first winery.

Tennessee is open for business! On Friday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a law opening the entire state to direct wine shipments.

Last week at the Christie’s fine-wine auction in Geneva, a U.S. collector purchased a bottle of “1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti for an eye-popping $123,899, besting the high estimate by more than 50 percent and shattering the world record for the highest price ever reached for a 750ml bottle of Burgundy at auction. Take that Hong Kong.”

In the Financial Times, Jancis Robinson ponders the importance of matching food and wine. Her conclusion? “In the exceptional case of paying three-star prices in a restaurant with a very limited, static menu, then you’re justified in expecting the wine waiter to know each dish intimately and to be able to suggest several perfect matches at different prices. But… in general, the effects of a less-than-perfect food and wine match are overstated.”

On his blog, San Francisco Chronicle wine editor Jon Bonné responds to the various criticisms of  his recent column on Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Jay McInerney writes a really nice piece on Volnay — focusing on the 2009 vintage and the “unlikely” friendship of Guillaume d’Angerville and Frédéric Lafarge.

Daily Wine News: Praising RRV Pinot

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-23-2011

Trust me - this is very good.

Last week, after tasting 40 different 2009 Russian River Valley Pinots, Jon Bonné complained of “too much oak, too much heat, too much overripe fruit” and worried that the appellation was “in peril of becoming lost in the crowd.” Both Steve Heimoff and Charlie Olken are taking issue with Bonné’s column.

In the Wall Street Journal, Will Lyons visits Australia.

“Dilemma: If all three Pinots are equally appealing to me, should I opt for the one with the natural cork, synthetic cork or metal screw-top before I toast to Mother Nature?” The answer, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Green Scale, is the natural cork.

Since 2006, Fidelity founder and current chairman Bill Foley has “easily spent more than $175 million” snapping up wineries, and he can now count nine wineries and 30 labels in his portfolio. In MarketWatch, Matt Andrejczak profiles Bill Foley – at takes a close look at his recent purchase of Chalk Hill Estates.

In Fast Company, a really nice remembrance of Jess Jackson.

In the coming weeks, Pennsylvania lawmakers are expected to begin considering a measure that would allow the state’s beer distributors to also sell wine and hard liquor through a special permitting program.