Daily Wine News: Remarkable America

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-31-2014

USA“I’d hazard a guess that we’re at a tipping point: In many of these states, winemaking technique and talent have finally combined with a greater understanding of what grows best where (always a long-term project) to create small constellations of ambitious producers creating truly remarkable wines.” Ray Isle has fallen for American wine.

“Aside from sherry, only one Spanish region has achieved an international reputation that lasted through the entire 20th century up to the present: Rioja.” Eric Asimov announces his next wine school lesson.

“A fair amount of overplanting has beset the region in the past few decades and it feels as if it’s not as fashionable as it once was.” But according to Will Lyons, “anyone who is interested in individual wines should explore Coonawarra’s range.”

Jamie Goode visits Mission, the California wine bar in London.

“Mix a wine tasting party with a vape meet…people sharing their favorite wines and juices, connecting with each other in a more personal way than an online forum, and discovering new flavor combinations to take their vaping experience up another level.” In Punch, Jennifer Cacicio explores “The Weird World of Wine and Spirits Vaping.”

In Wine Lines Online, Glen Frederiksen chats with James MacPahil.

In Wine-Searcher, Caroline Henry offers “10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About Perrier-Jouët.”

“The study itself is thoughtfully done, but the Post article misuses its conclusions to forward the idea that cigarette taxes are a way of reducing alcohol consumption.” Tom Natan examines the recent study which reported showed that cigarette taxes reduced consumption of beer and liquor, but not wine.

According to TODAY contributor Edward Deitch, the Spanish wine region of Aragon is worth exploring.

A reminder from Alder Yarrow. The deadline to apply for a fellowship to the 2016 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers is November 1.

Daily Wine News: Darwinian Element

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-30-2014

Flickr, craig.camp.

Flickr, craig.camp.

“There is also a Darwinian element. If a vineyard has lasted through two world wars, Prohibition, and any number of other things, it must be special, or it would have likely been ripped out.” In Town and Country, Jay McInerney profiles Morgan Twain-Peterson.

“They made me want to dive into an ad hoc picnic on a hill in the sunset, or go for a fast, chilly run on a fall morning. They made me want to come home and tell everyone about them.” Sophie Barrett falls hard for the Rieslings of Jochen Beurer in southwest Germany.

“He is the oldest working winemaker in the Napa Valley and at the oldest winery.” Next Saturday, Peter Mondavi Sr. turns 100.

“Since [1989], there has been a tremendous resurgence in quality, and the greatness of the wines has been recognized worldwide — albeit mainly by specialized wine lovers.” In Wine-Searcher, Darrel Joseph explains why Tokaji is so special.

“Cyrus was Sonoma County’s top restaurant when it closed two years ago.” And finally, reports Tim Fish, a “reboot is officially in the works.”

Wine Enthusiast announces its 2014 Wine Star Award Nominees and awards Tony Terlato with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” and names New York State the “Wine Region of the Year.”

“In future generations… perhaps the culture of weed will mature into something akin to the culture of wine, with all its exquisite variation, but also all its madly inflated pomposity.” In Noble Rot, Richard Hemming envisions a world where weed is as legal as wine.

In Forbes, Jeff Fromm offers “Five Marketing Lessons For Brands In The Adult Beverage Category.”

Daily Wine News: Grunt Work

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-29-2014

Jacques-Lassaigne_champagne“Harvest is always a blend of festivity and grunt work, in proportions that vary according to the individual traditions of the domaine. Harvest chez Lassaigne is mainly the latter, punctuated with charcuterie and various interesting non-commercialised cuvées.” Aaron Ayscough helps Manu Lassaigne with harvest.

“You’re going to kill me, dear reader; you really are … the last wine we tasted before lunch in middle earth was a bottle of Savagnin Vert from 2004 that had been kept ouillé for ten years. My notes read ‘awesome.’” Sophie Barrett visits Jean-François Ganevat.

Lyle Fass thinks “unicorn wines are for suckers.”

According to W. Blake Gray, “of California’s 130 AVAs, only 34 have any real meaning to anyone other than the regions’ biggest boosters.”

“American popular culture has always been awash in alcoholic beverages, but seldom has the drink been wine, red wine in particular, and rarely has it been treated so specifically as a beverage primarily for women, served in oversize goblets and consumed like the after-work cocktails of previous eras.” Eric Asimov examines the portrayal of wine in popular culture.

In Playboy, Patrick Cappiello selects Guy Breton’s Morgon “Vieilles Vignes” as his wine of the week.

In Wine-Searcher, Adam Lechmere chats with South African winemaker Bruce Jack.

In Oregon, more winemakers are finding special sites for Pinot Noir. Harvey Steiman has the details.

S. Irene Virbila is impressed with Argentina’s latest offerings.

Need some advice on vintage Champagne? Talk to a stripper.

Alison Crowe shares a true “Wine Country” ghost story.

A Napa Valley Tech Entrepreneur Is Revolutionizing Customer Service

Posted by | Posted in White's Wines | Posted on 10-28-2014

logo_vintankAs 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 profile Paul Mabray, who is revolutionizing customer service for wineries across the world.

A Napa Valley Tech Entrepreneur Is Revolutionizing Customer Service

Earlier this year, the number of wineries in the United States passed 8,000. When the news hit, Napa Valley tech entrepreneur Paul Mabray took to Facebook to remind his followers that “in a world of infinite wine choices, the only differentiator is service.”

This quote has long been Mabray’s mantra. And it’s the guiding philosophy behind VinTank, the company he launched in 2009.

“If your phone rings, you answer. If someone sends you an email, you reply. But with social media, there’s so much noise that some people simply ignore it,” Mabray explained one recent afternoon in Yountville, California.

For Mabray, this is crazy. Every communication deserves a response. So together with programming wizard James Jory, he designed a platform to “hear” every conversation about wine on social media, and for wineries to “listen” to conversations about their brands.

Check out the rest of the piece on Grape Collective!

Daily Wine News: Esoteric Grapes

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-28-2014

Vare Vineyard Ribolla Gialla.

Vare Vineyard Ribolla Gialla.

“In a landscape where most consumers are buying chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, what prompts a California winemaker to produce wines from cinsault, ribolla gialla or chenin blanc?” Laurie Daniel explores this question in the Mercury News.

In Wine Spectator, Harvey Steiman pays tribute to Eric Dunham, a pioneer winemaker in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley who died on Thursday.

In the Los Angeles Times, readers reply to S. Irene Virbila’s recent piece about restaurant wine service and share their biggest pet peeves.

“A glass of wine is a way to relax after a day’s studying for many MBA students. But at Sonoma State University… the business of producing the fermented grape is a growing opportunity for executive training.” In the Financial Times, Jonathan Moules writes about MBA programs designed for the wine industry.

According to Dan Berger, “many wines now taste like one another and less like the varietals from which they come.”

“Given the difficulties of training the explosively vigorous vine and turning its fruit into a civilized wine — another producer curses it as a “bastard of a grape”—one pure Sagrantino per year is enough.” In his latest letter from Europe, Robert Camuto profiles Giampaolo Tabarrini and his efforts to grow Sagrantino, an indigenous red grape in Italy’s Umbria region.

From Wine-Searcher, “Auction bidders are showing no signs of fatigue.”

In Business Insider, Richard Feloni explains “Why Mark Cuban Invested $1 Million In [A] Boxed Wine Company.”

Steve Heimoff has a conversation with a guy in a tasting room.

Michel Rolland’s niece, Virginie Rolland, has launched a wine importing business in New York.

Daily Wine News: Terroir Opportunity

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-27-2014

Flickr, www.kvins.com.

Flickr, www.kvins.com.

“Mr. Johnnes… pointed out that it wasn’t just ‘about going on a fun trip’ but giving sommeliers the opportunity to ‘see the terroir and the culture and meet the people’ behind the wines.” In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague writes about the La Paulée scholarship fund.

Elsewhere in the Journal, Teague finds “A New Generation of Elegant, Well-Priced Chablis.”

In Decanter, Panos Kakaviatos charts the history of Domaine des Lambrays.

In the Los Angeles Times, S. Irene Virbila shares her biggest pet peeves with restaurant wine service.

“Beaujolais Nouveau, in large measure, is just uninteresting wine backed by a massive marketing campaign. Buy some cru Beaujolais instead.” Some sage advice from Ray Isle in Food & Wine.

In Los Angeles Magazine, Jonathan Cristaldi asks five of the city’s hippest somms “to let us in on what they are drinking right now.”

“The real genius of the Naked Wines model is that it fully grasps and harnesses the possibilities of social media, a concept still foreign to most of the wine trade.” Jancis Robinson profiles Naked Wines.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray chats with Raffaele Boscaini of Valpolicella’s Masi.

To dispose of its grape waste, Van Duzer Vineyards is helping a neighbor feed their beef calves.

In the New York Times, John Leland takes a quick look at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar.

In Forbes, Nick Passmore wonders why Chianti is so unappreciated.

“With 27 farm wineries (and 10 distilleries) listed in the various branches of state government that track such things, somehow there’s just never been enough momentum to get a wine and distilleries trail going. Until now.” In West Virginia, there’s now a “Country Roads Wine and Distillery Trail.”

Daily Wine News: Windy AVA

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-24-2014

windgap“Most AVAs, and most wine regions worldwide, are defined by geographical features like mountains and valleys and, in more precise cases, by types of soil. Petaluma Gap would be defined by wind.” In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray chats with Ana Keller about the Petulama Gap Winegrowers’ push for a new AVA.

JetBlue Airways has hired a wine expert to select wines for its flights: Jon Bonné!

Tom Natan wonders if “eating more highly-flavored foods [will] make people want more highly-flavored wines.”

“By common consensus, it seems vines were first planted there in the 1530s by Spanish settlers. One estate can trace its lineage back to 1597.” Will Lyons visits Mexico – and praises its burgeoning wine scene.

Joshua Greene announces the winners of Wine & Spirits 2014 Sommelier Scavenger Hunt.

“Sohm played the role of consummate host, skills likely honed over his many years in the fine-dining business. He floated around the room with enough presence that I could sense him looking after everyone without imposing indelibly on their stay.” In the Village Voice, Lauren Mowery visits Aldo Sohm Wine Bar.

“To remain happy, you have to give yourself over to this repetition, exult in it, in a sense, almost as a deepening of your spiritual practice.” Randall Grahm reflects (a bit) on 35 years in the wine industry.

Ever wonder what makes a wine blog successful? Academia can help you out.

From the AP: “France has reclaimed its crown as world’s biggest wine producer after a poor 2014 harvest saw Italy’s wine production plunge 15 percent.”

VinePair offers “11 of the coolest wine-themed tattoos.”

The Eater crew chats with the bartender at Manhattan’s First Denny’s.

Daily Wine News: Skinny Jeans

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-23-2014

hipstersWilliam Fevre has released a “hipster” Chablis. It’s only being offered to those with skinny jeans, chunky glasses, and a mustache.

Elin McCoy knows that “[Champagne is a place where concepts of brand, blend and house style reign supreme.” But for her, “the most exciting development taking place now in Champagne is the antithesis of all that.” I agree.

“It’s an ideological thing, alcohol level. It’s polemical. Good wine just tastes good. It’s not a political decision.” W. Blake Gray chats with David Ramey.

“Pennsylvania plans to destroy 2,447 bottles seized from Arthur Goldman, a Philadelphia-area lawyer who was charged this year with illegally reselling wine.” An illegal operation, sure. But most of the wines Goldman had on offer aren’t legally available in the state!

“Baiocchi has created a book that’s equal parts travelogue, resource, and recipe collection that’s personal, informative, and, well, easy to read.” In Epicurious, Matt Duckor praises Talia Baiocchi’s Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World’s Best Kept Secret.

“If the usual harvesters had turned into soldiers, there were women, old men, and sometimes even children to take their place. They picked and pressed in the face of German enemy fire to produce a drink which is still celebrated 100 years later.” The Associated Press’ Raf Casert revisits Champagne’s 1914 harvest.

In Beaujolais, at least, Alice Feiring’s work is almost done.

On the blog for Jenny & Francois Selections, Nick Gorevic explains why Emmanuel Lassaigne is his hero.

“Although airline wine consultants don’t think passengers choose an airline for its superior Bordeaux or Champagne offerings, they do think their work is noticed.” In Wine-Searcher, Janice Fuhrman notes that inflight wine has reached new heights.

Daily Wine News: Esprit Calvados

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-22-2014

In the New York Times, Jason Wilson writes a wonderful piece profiling “a serious group of younger producers, who have banded together under the name Esprit Calvados, [to bring] Calvados into the 21st century through innovation and experimentation, as well as by reclaiming traditional farming and distilling methods.”

D-Day. (Flickr: The U.S. Army.)

D-Day. (Flickr: The U.S. Army.)

In New York Magazine, Matthew Giles explains “Why Amar’e Stoudemire and a Bunch of Other Rich People Are Bathing in Red Wine.”

Jamie Goode urges wine producers to “just pick earlier.”

Matt Kramer offers a “trick to instant wine geekdom.”

In Willamette Valley, according to Harvey Steiman, “the French Keep Coming.”

“Wine experts are not purveyors of B.S., but are simply no different from any other experts: we’re just trying to overcome our faulty, ingrained human perception wiring as best we can, and we probably do it better than those who haven’t devoted any real time to it.” Joe Roberts explains why wine criticism isn’t B.S.

Jordan Vineyard and Winery CEO John Jordan hopes to convince Americans that the Republican party offers more than just “no.”

Scientists have concluded that “Champagne tastes better from a normal wine glass.”

“Thanks to regulations imposed by the Turkish government, you are no longer permitted to market or promote your wines within that domestic market. No website. No printed brochures. No consumer wine tastings.” In Forbes, Cathy Huyghe visits Turkey, where it’s illegal to market wine.

Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka surveys the Santa Cruz Mountains with vineyard manager Prudy Foxx.

Daily Wine News: Mission California

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-21-2014

From Wikimedia Commons.

From Wikimedia Commons.

“If you blinked while driving past California’s vineyards this year, you might have missed it.” In the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Bonné looks at this year’s compact and early harvest.

In London, a California wine bar has opened! It’s called Mission.

“Such is the power of the prestigious Priorat name and relative obscurity of Montsant in the U.S. market, which is fine by me.” Josh Raynolds lists some of his favorite wines from Montsant.

In the Seattle Times, Andy Purdue profiles John Patterson, the owner and head winemaker for Patterson Cellars in Woodinville, Washington.

In Great Sommeliers’ most recent “Somms on Vineyards” segment, Eleven Madison Park’s Caleb Ganzer meets with Fred Merwarth, the winemaker at Hermann J. Wiemer.

In Craft, Arto Koskelo concludes that the tasting note is dying.

“For years, boomers over-rewarded big companies that mass-produced and manipulated wines. Now millennials might over-reward companies that make a personal connection.” W. Blake Gray examines millennial drinking habits.

Shiba Sommelier makes Buzzfeed.

If you’re in DC on October 29, check out “50 Years of American Winemaking.”

A four-year-old visits The French Laundry.