Daily Wine News: Exploration

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-26-2014

Flickr, *clairity*

Flickr, *clairity*

Alder Yarrow, refreshingly, explains why “it doesn’t really matter what wine you serve with Thanksgiving.”

Jancis Robinson searches for the world’s oldest wines.

“It might seem strange, then, that a growing number of ambitious winemakers across the U.S.—from areas as disparate as California and Oregon to the North Fork of Long Island  and the Finger Lakes—have recently tried to interpret the genre by producing a nouveau of their own.” In Punch, Zachary Sussman writes about the rise of American Noveau.

Wine-Searcher reports that “Vega Sicilia is looking to buy a winery in France or California.”

Elsewhere in Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray chats with Adam Mason of Mulderbosch.

“Carrying grapes out to the nearest road was time-consuming and also risky. So, Maule came up with another solution: airlifting grapes out from inaccessible areas by helicopter.” In his latest letter from Europe, Robert Camuto visits Casimiro Maule in Negri’s Inferno vineyards.

In Wine Spectator, Ben O’Donnell goes searching for $20 single-vineyard Côte d’Or Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Thanks to the Coravin, wine by the glass has gone high-end at hotels around the world.

When a $7 million “Vine Trail” is finished, “people will be able to bike, run and walk between Napa and Yountville on a path that is separated from auto traffic.”

“For those wanting to get an idea of what a Virginia wine tastes like, 2014 will be one of the best expressions of who we are.” Jim Law of Linden Vineyards offers a harvest report to JancisRobinson.com.

For Thanksgiving, Jonathan Lipsmeyer is spending two days with 20 people. Check out what he’s bringing.

Rethinking the Tasting Note

Posted by | Posted in White's Wines | Posted on 11-25-2014

wine-tastingAs regular readers know, I write a free, twice monthly wine column that’s distributed to newspapers across the country.

These columns are hosted by Grape Collective. If you don’t see my column in your local newspaper, please send an email to your paper’s editor and CC me (David – at – Terroirist.com).

In my latest column,I explain why the baffling rhetoric of tasting notes intimidates consumers and stands in the way of wine appreciation. And I urge wine enthusiasts to change the way we talk about wine.

Rethinking the Tasting Note

“This first wine is a fighter; he’s loud. The second wine is pensive; she has a dark side.” This past Saturday, as I led a seminar in Chevy Chase, Maryland, one of the participants offered these tasting notes while comparing two wines.

We were exploring Pinot Noir from California and France. I offered more typical descriptions to highlight the differences — dark, ripe cherries on the Sonoma example versus earthy, tart cherries on the one from Burgundy — and several students pushed back.

At least half the room admitted that they find tasting notes bewildering. Others acknowledged that they scoff at wine descriptors. Many confessed that such notes intimidate them.

At first, I defended the standard wine review. I collect wine, so I pay close attention to people whose palates are similar to mine, like Eric Asimov of the New York Times. And I read reviews from critics like Stephen Tanzer and Antonio Galloni of Vinous to glean information about a wine’s general flavor profile. With Chardonnay, for example, I’m interested in wines that are high in acid and offer aromas of tart citrus fruits. I’m rarely excited by a heavy Chardonnay with notes of ripe tropical fruits, butter, and oak. Basic descriptors like these help describe a wine and its style.

But I could sympathize with my students. Communicating effectively about wine shouldn’t demand an encyclopedic knowledge of rare fruits and bizarre aromas; after all, wine is just fermented grape juice. Thanks to mass-market wine magazines, however, we’ve come to expect gobbledygook.

Check out the rest of the piece on Grape Collective!

Daily Wine News: Raw Revolution

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-25-2014

tiopepe2“Although this attention has been long overdue for the category as a whole, one of the most compelling developments of the nascent sherry renaissance has been the emergence of a new style known as en rama, which roughly translates to ‘on the branch’ or ‘raw.’” In Grape Collective, Zachary Sussman writes about Sherry’s “Raw Revolution.”

“I would drink these wines every day of the week and twice on Sunday. In fact, I drank two bottles of Rendezvous last Sunday.” In Food & Wine, Dan Dunn names “The Best Wineries to Visit in Virginia.”

In Vice, Estela Beverage Director Thomas Carter explains why “Picking a Good Wine Should Be Like Shopping at a Record Store.”

Alder Yarrow tastes through several wines that set the bar for what Portugal can do.

Meanwhile, in the Mercury News, Laurie Daniel discovers that Portugal is producing “a wave of good-quality table wines made from a dizzying array of grapes.”

Andrew Jefford names some of his favorite Chardonnays out of South Africa.

In Palate Press, Mary Cressler is impressed with Sicily’s wine offerings.

“It doesn’t matter if it pairs with the food. Who the hell cares about that? Your racist uncle? Your asshole brother-in-law? Don’t be stupid. Thanksgiving is the one day each year you can use wine to make a point.” Ron Washam offers some Thanksgiving wine advice.

Daily Wine News: Wine Hell

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-24-2014

In Star Chefs, Chris Struck chats with Raj Parr.

Flickr, judepics.

Flickr, judepics.

“Instead of spending time in the vineyards, getting to grips with the culture of a wine region, I’ll be stuck in an air-conditioned office, tippy tapping into my laptop as I work through a flight of 120 Douro reds before lunchtime. Welcome to my version of wine hell.” Jamie Goode worries about “the modern ‘wine critic.’”

“Nobody drinks Sauternes anymore,” and according to Eric Asimov, “that is a shame.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Bonné gives thanks for the Anderson valley.

“No star chefs or highly composed plates here. Restaurants are in the middle of nowhere, like lights dotting a dark country road.” On NPR, Christine Ciarmello visits Anderson Valley, which “is the way Napa used to be.”

In the southern Rhône in 2013, according to Jancis Robinson, “the results are really rather delicious.”

“For those who are willing to be patient and suffer the uncertainty, there are clear rewards.” Lettie Teague heads to Napa Valley to figure out if its Cabs can age.

Elsewhere, Teague visits two New York restaurants that offer only domestic wines.

“It is just not enough to write or not write, based on a whim. Consumers/readers know the difference, and will follow the most informed, informative, and influential communicators over time” In Harpers, Damien Wilson contends that wine bloggers are an endangered species.

In France, the national appellation body is reviewing an application for the Cote d’Or appellation. And that’s causing a rift between winemakers and negociants. Panos Kakaviatos reports.

In VinePair, Adam Teeter argues that “A Ratings System Designed To Help Consumers Is Tearing the $40 Billion Wine Industry Apart.”

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.