Daily Wine News: Heart & Hands

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-30-2011

Hermann Wiemer.

In the latest episode of Daily Grape, Gary Vaynerchuk also films a new episode of Wine Library TV! Gary Vee sits down with Evan Dawson to discuss Finger Lakes wine and his book, Summer in a Glass. As regular readers know, we recently reviewed Dawson’s book and recently interviewed Finger Lakes winemaker Tom Higgins of Heart & Hands.

On his blog, Eric Guido writes about Massican Winery. Headed up by Larkmead’s Dan Petroski, Massican is “turning out some really exciting white wines from Napa, but with a northeastern Italian flair.” I agree with Guido – “they are stunning.”

Tomorrow, oenophiles in Virginia and Maryland “can come out of the shadows.” In Virginia, it will finally be legal for restaurants to let consumers bring their own wine. In Maryland, the prohibition on direct shipping will finally end.

Direct-to-consumer wine sales are way up! Tom Wark has the detailsMore thoughts from Steve Heimoff.

In the Wall Street Journal Asia, Kristiano Ang catches up with Julia Sherstyuk, the Singapore-based restaurateur who recently paid a world record $42,758 for a 170-year-old bottle of Veuve Cliquot Champagne.

According to data from Neilsen, “sales of Moscato, Riesling and Malbec have shown ‘explosive’ growth” in the United States in the last two years. Analysts credit the growing purchasing power of both Millennials and the Hispanic population for the sales growth.

On February 24, 2011, I had the good fortune to taste the 1971 J.J. PrümWehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese, courtesy of Doug Cook, creator of the indispensible Able Grape. At the time, Alder Yarrow wrote about the wine, calling it “outstanding.” Tyler Colman (aka Dr. Vino) recently tasted the same exact wine. His impressions are similar.

Zinfandel — California’s Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine Events, Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-29-2011

After having the privilege to attend a dinner last week with Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson at Blue Hill in New York City’s Greenwich Village, I became curious about Zinfandel.

Yes, Zinfandel, the much maligned California grape that is often associated with that gunk called “White” Zinfandel.

Joel founded Ravenswood winery in 1976. And since then, he has been producing well-known, often acclaimed, terroir-driven “Red” Zinfandel. At Blue Hill, we were fortunate to taste through the six single vineyard designated (SVD) Zinfandels that Joel produces. They are really great examples of Zinfandel — fruit driven, bold, rustic food-friendly wines that are made in a serious style. Unlike many of today’s examples of Zin, Ravenswood’s SVDs are not characterized by over-the-top alcohol levels or overripe fruit. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Guthrie’s Conversion

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-29-2011

Uploaded to flickr by obvio171.

Tyler Colman (aka Dr. Vino) gets together with Wells Guthrie of Copain – and learns all about his conversion from “big, full-bodied” wines to lower-alcohol, more elegant ones.

En Primeur is winding down. This week, first-growth châteaus Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild, and several other prominent labels released their 2010 prices. Only châteaus Latour, Lafite Rothschild and Haut-Brion are left.

This summer, Eric Asimov has found himself “fixated on one… fairly obscure German ale that is an ideal hot-weather beer: Kölsch.”

In the Napa Valley Register, Eric Sklar of Alpha Omega explains why HR 1161 would crush consumer choice.

As the number of U.S. wine labels and the quantity of U.S. wine production both increase, the federal government’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is facing many challenges. In Wines & Vines, two interesting pieces on this story.

Wine Spectator reports that E. & J. Gallo Winery is purchasing Edna Valley Vineyard, a prominent Central Coast winery, from Diageo and Paragon Vineyard Company.

Look for China to purchase even more fine wine. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Chinese government “is considering a plan to lower tariffs on some luxury goods.” Right now, China tacks a luxury tariff of 10-30% on imported products like handbags, watches, and wine.

Dinner with Ravenswood’s Joel Peterson

Posted by | Posted in Wine Events, Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-28-2011

Joel Peterson. Courtesy of Ravenswood.

I was recently contacted by a woman who opened her email to me by stating that we hadn’t met. Since I initially figured it was spam, you can imagine my surprise when I read on and found it was an invitation to join Ravenswood’s founder and winemaker, Joel Peterson, for a wine dinner at Boka in Chicago!

I was familiar with Ravenswood, of course, and I knew Joel Peterson was a pioneer of the California wine scene. But I was quite surprised by the quality of many of the wines that were poured.

We tasted through six single vineyard designate zinfandels from 2008, the 2008 ICON (a mixed black blend), and the 2008 Pickberry which is a merlot/cab sauv blend. When I found out that we were dining at Boka, I was a bit surprised, as the chef is known for inventive cuisine that isn’t easily classified by region or style. As it was, the food was as “diverse” as anticipated, and offered a fantastic opportunity to show off the food-friendly nature of the wines. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Culture Clash

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-28-2011

Jamie Goode has identified “a clash of cultures in the world of fine wine.” On the one hand, there’s the “fine wine establishment,” which is dominated by Bordeaux, top Champagne houses, and the like. On the other, there’s the emerging natural wine movement.” Goode wonders if this category threatens the status quo.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Talia Baiocchi makes a great case that “Greece’s unfortunate circumstances may offer the best chance it’s ever had of capturing the U.S. market.”

In just two generations, according to a new study in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, French wine consumption has dropped by 3 billion bottles to just 4 billion — the equivalent of one bottle per adult each week.

For years, Jon Bonné has heard that UC Davis mostly teaches “by-the-numbers winemaking to help graduates get faceless, rubber-stamped production jobs with Big Wine.” He’s now rethinking that assumption.

Andrew Jefford laments the fact that “rosé may be damned forever with faint praise.”

Lettie Teague has lunch with Kyle MacLachlan. While best known for his starring roles in the film “Blue Velvet” and the television series “Twin Peaks,” MacLachlan is also behind Washington winery Pursued by Bear.

Weekly Wine Roundup: Birthday Edition!

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-27-2011

Uploaded to flickr by Will ClaytonLet’s kick off our weekly roundup of what Terroirists have been sipping by wishing a Happy (Belated) Birthday to Terroirist’s Ace of Spades, David White!  I had a beer-soaked weekend with my future in-laws, so I have nothing to contribute. Luckily the rest of the Terroirist cell was busy… Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wines News: A $5.3 Billion Winery

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-27-2011

Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Uploaded to Flickr by BillBl.

Last week, we learned that Terroirist is an official finalist in the “Best New Wine Blog” category for the annual Wine Blog Awards. The final winner will be determined via a 50/50 weighting of the public vote and that of the judges — and voting ends today!

If put on the market, could Chateau Lafite Rothschild command $5.3 billion? The analysts at Liv-ex think so – and believe about 50 Bordeaux estates are worth more than $71 million. (H/T: Dr. Vino.)

When people like Mike Steinberger argue “that California used to do better,” they’re talking about wines from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. A few weeks ago, Steinberger attended a tasting of “some legendary Napa cabernets from the 1970s.” His write-up of the event is great.

In the Los Angeles Times, Patrick Comiskey explains why “this time of year, a bubbly rosé is the go-to drink for picnic or poolside.”

On his blog, Tom Wark looks at the incredible growth of Petite Sirah over the past 15 years – and tries to figure out what’s behind the success story.

Last week, according to the Allied Grape Growers, Constellation Wines offered a record $250 per ton for Thompson Seedless grapes, the most widely planted variety of vinifera grapes in the United States. If you’ve never seen “Thompson Seedless” on a wine label, that’s because the grapes are typically used to make raisins. I suppose this means they’re also blended into large-production white wines. (H/T: W. Blake Gray.)

Again, please remember to vote in the 2011 Wine Blog Awards!

Weekly Interview: Arco Laarman

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 06-24-2011

Each week, as regular readers know, Terroirist poses 16 questions to a winemaker. This week’s featured winemaker is Arco Laarman of Glen Carlou, a winery in the heart of South Africa’s Paarl Valley.

Glen Carlou was established in 1985 by Walter Finlayson, one of South Africa’s most well known winemakers. And since then, it has become one of the country’s top wineries – a few years back, Jamie Good described the wines as “uniformly brilliant.” The winery has been owned by Hess Family Estates since 2003.

Laarman decided to pursue a career in wine when he was just 11 years old. When most kids were “reading about skate boarding and cars,” Laarman was “buying wine magazines.”  That hobby stuck, so after finishing high school in 1996, he joined Kaapzicht Estate to apprentice for one vintage. He ended up staying there for three years, and has been making wine ever since. Check out our interview with Laarman below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Go New Zealand!

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-24-2011

A vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand. Uploaded to flickr by timparkinson.

Pitting top French wines against top New World is nothing new — ever since the 1976 Judgment of Paris, it’s been a popular theme for wine events. In the latest of these taste-offs, a Bordeaux vs. New Zealand event organized by the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association, a $35 bottle of New Zealand Cabernet Sauvignon came in third place, ahead of Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Latour, and Château Margaux. First and second place went to Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Haut-Brion, respectively.

Cyril Penn recently took a tour inside the world’s largest winery. Owned by E&J Gallo, the winery processes 400,000 to 450,000 tons of grapes during harvest.

Jon Bonné recently wrote a long piece on the revival of the Sierra foothills. On his blog, Bonné worries that too many “wineries still traffic in the sort of rough-edged country wines that leave wine regions as mere dots in the wine atlas.”

Lot18 looks like a fun place to work.

In recent months, episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent andWhite Collar have both featured storylines centered on counterfeit wine. Wine Spectator runs through some real-life sagas to predict what’ll next be “ripped from the headlines.”

José Andrés recently led Travel + Leisure’s Bruce Schoenfeld on a “culinary tour of Asturias, Spain.” Wow. (H/T: Eric Asimov.)

Jay McInerney blogs about Jay-Z and Armand de Brignac.

Daily Wine News: Wine & Chipotle

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-23-2011

The Smith brothers. Courtesy of Smith-Madrone.

W. Blake Gray gets together with Stuart and Charlie Smith, owners of Smith-Madrone Winery, and has a blast. In case you’re wondering, the two brothers decided on the “Madrone” addition when they launched the winery 35 years ago because they were “totally crazy for hyphenated French names like Lafite-Rothschild and Romanee-Conti.” Hilarious.

In Zester Daily, a wonderful piece from Patrick Comiskey on Rioja, where “tradition and innovation in winemaking learn to coexist.” (H/T: Eric Asimov.)

On Snooth’s blog, Gregory Dal Piaz investigates which wines pair best with burritos from Chipotle.

At Vinexpo’s “Napa Valley Climate Seminar,” Christopher Howell of Cain blames different viticulture techniques and later picking times – not climate change – for rising alcohol levels in California’s wines.

Acker Merrall & Condit is headed to Chicago. Earlier this week, the New York-based wine auction house acquired Chicago’s Edward Roberts International for an undisclosed sum. Wines for the first Chicago auction, to be held on October 22, will be stored at Domaine Wine Storage.

This summer, Arianna Armstrong thinks you should get acquainted with Gavi. I agree.

Remember to vote in the 2011 Wine Blog Awards! (And if you decide to vote for Terroirist, thanks!)