Photos from Chateau Thivin

Posted by | Posted in Grape Adventures | Posted on 07-31-2014

Earlier this month, I spent 10 days eating and drinking my way through France. (See here for details on my July 4th tour of Paris’ natural wine bars and retailers.)

On July 9, I arrived in Beaujolais for a visit with Claude-Edouard Geoffrey at Chateau Thivin.

Chateau Thivin traces its roots to the 15h century, when it was built on an ancient volcano. Its “modern” history begins in 1877, when Zaccharie Geoffray purchased the property at auction. (Claude-Edouard, who manages the property today, is Zaccharie’s great, great grandnewphew.) When Kermit Lynch made his first trip to Beaujolais in 1979, Chateau Thivin was Richard Olney’stop recommendation” in all of Beaujolais.

Below are some photos from my visit.


The welcome sign at Chateau Thivin.

Claude-Edouard Geoffrey, the fifth-generation proprietor of Chateau Thivin.

Claude-Edouard Geoffrey, the fifth-generation proprietor of Chateau Thivin.


St. Vincent, the patron saint of vintners, watching over the wines.

St. Vincent, the patron saint of vintners, watching over the wines.

Exploring the differences between Brouilly and Cote de Brouilly.

Exploring the differences between Brouilly and Cote de Brouilly.

Daily Wine News: Fascinating Discussion

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-31-2014

rudy KurniawanOn August 7, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, Benjamin Wallace, Eric Asimov, and food historian Francine Segan will gather at the 92nd Street Y “for a fascinating discussion about wine forgery.” Berman has presided over the trial of Rudy Kurniawan.

“For me, Santa Barbara [is] the most exciting region in the state these days, based on the ways in which many winemakers there are focusing deeply on terroir.” In Grape Collective, Jameson Fink chats with Richard Jennings.

Elsewhere, Jennings names his ten favorite places to wine and dine in the Bay Area.

“There’s something very pleasant about getting lost in Moon’s overflowing banter” Isaac James Baker reviews Patrick Moon’s Virgile’s Vineyard: A Year in the Languedoc Wine Country.

W. Blake Gray names “The Five Best California Syrahs.”

In Wine Spectator, Aaron Romano reports: “After a brief hiatus from the wine business, Sam Sebastiani has returned for a third act with La Chertosa, a small wine brand he hopes will showcase his family’s heritage.”

“Thanks to a new push to seduce American drinkers, more wines from the Canary Islands are showing up in your shop’s Spanish section.” Wine Enthusiast’s Mike Dawson has the details.

Mike Dunne urges his readers to explore Greek wines.

In Wine-Searcher, Adam Lechmere lists “10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About Chateau La Dominique.”

In Palate Press, Elisabetta Tosi suggests that Schioppettino could be perfect for your next BBQ.

Daily Wine News: Early Harvest

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-30-2014

Stags' Leap Winery 1In California, harvest is underway!

“If you can introduce someone to a wine and they really like it and then they go and try to find it and can’t, you feel cool about it.” In Punch, Christopher Ross explores the evolving tastes of those on Wall Street.

“Yet the land, the climate, the language and the culture remain apart.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov explores the wines of Irouléguy.

In Wine-Searcher, Leslie Gevirtz catches up with Coravin inventor Greg Lambrecht.

“LVMH marketing will only help Morey-Saint-Denis, which has historically been eclipsed by Chambolle-Musigny and Gevrey-Chambertin.” Panos Kakaviatos chats with Thierry Brouin of Domaine des Lambrays.

I rarely share press releases, but this wine could be great. “Vintner Jayson Pahlmeyer and daughter Cleo will release the first estate-grown Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay from their Wayfarer Vineyard this fall, 16 years after purchasing the remote, unplanted parcel in the northwestern reach of the Sonoma Coast.”

In the Robb Report, Jennifer Wang contends that apps are almost as essential a corkscrew — and profiles CellarTracker, Delectable, Vivino, Drync, Vinopal, and CellarPass.

James Molesworth returns to Bordeaux to get “to know the vineyards a bit better.”

In the Washington Post, Roberto Ferdman breaks down drinking, state by state.

Daily Wine News: Delicious Penalty

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-29-2014

krug“Even if a wine is good, solid, tasty, might even be delicious, if it isn’t typical, the wine is penalized” Alice Feiring criticizes the wine boards in South Africa and Canada.

NPR chats with Maximillian Potter about “the plot to poison the world’s greatest wine.”

According to Krug’s CEO, the wine world needs to let go of its obsession with Chna.

Fred Swan offers his thoughts on how to improve the Wine Bloggers’ Conference.

“By 2025,” Steve Heimoff “can’t see the Big Critic thing remaining in any form, except memory, or perhaps in the mind of someone who fancies himself a Big Critic but isn’t really.”

At IPNC, Lily Elaine Hawk Wakawaka explored wine perception with Jordi Ballester, a professor at the Université de Bourgogne, Dijon.

In Palate Press, Gary Thomas writes about France’s “counteroffensive” to bring more respect to Cahors.

The former owner of has been charged with stealing more than $500,000 from a dozen clients.

“if you don’t have a bottle on hand, Malibu Farm at the end of the Malibu pier has a good selection of local wines.” S. Irene Virbila celebrates the Malibu Coast AVA.

Daily Wine News: Cute Puppies

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-28-2014

The view at Peay Vineyards (Courtesy: Peay Vineyards).

The view at Peay Vineyards (Courtesy: Peay Vineyards).

If the Sonoma Coast’s 2012 Pinot Noirs were a Buzzfeed article, then according to Jon Bonné, they’d “be a flood of cute puppies riding tricycles.”

In Cornas, according to Andrew Jefford,”the question of stem inclusion [has] exploded with existential force.”

In the Financial Times, Jancis Robinson urges recent grads to pursue careers in wine.

“A great white-wine region is frequently a great source of a good summer red… No place may offer better proof of this theory than the Alto Adige region of northeastern Italy.” In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague praises Alto Adige’s red wines.

In a separate column, Teague deciphers the city’s Italian wine lists.

In Palate Press, Michelle Locke writes about Sicily’s efforts to market its unfamiliar grapes.

“Remarkably, this neglected nation of fewer than four million souls has consistently been among the world’s top 10 wine exporters.” In BBC News, Stephen Sackur explores Moldova’s wine industry.

In Wine-Searcher, “Claire Adamson unearths the stories behind the curious names and labels sported by five wines from around the world.”

The Napa Valley Vintners has put together a fascinating video chronicling “150 million years of the science behind the Napa Valley.”

In Salon, Maximillian Potters shares an excerpt from Shadows in the Vineyard.

Snooth profiles Bill Eyer, the man behind Cuvee Corner.

Weekly Interview: Francis Hutt

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 07-25-2014

francis huttEach week, as regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we’re featuring Francis Hutt, the winemaker at Carrick Wines in Central Otago, New Zealand.

Francis joined the team at Carrick in 2010 as a viticulturist after deciding that he wanted to make wine in Central Otago. In the summer of 2011, he was named the chief winemaker.

Before joining Carrick, Francis spent nearly a decade at Martinborough Vineyard. While there, he worked northern hemisphere harvests in Burgundy at Domaine de l’Arlot and Oregon at Shea Wine Cellars.

Check out our interview with Francis below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Withdrawn Restitution

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-25-2014

rudy KurniawanSome big news in the Rudy Kurniawan case. On Thursday, “a federal judge delayed sentencing.” In addition, William Koch “withdrew his restitution claims” in exchange for a $3 million settlement and a promise that Kurniawan will “fully cooperate… and provide documentation and other information regarding counterfeiting in the industry.” On Wine-Berserkers, Don Cornwell shares some fascinating details.

“The rattlingly good plot in the book is made all the more edgy because it’s entirely true.” In Wine-Searcher, DonKavanagh reviews Maximillian Potter’s Shadows in the Vineyard.

Antonio Galloni explains why ”there has never been a better time to explore Santa Barbara County and all of its dimensions.”

Looking for a good deal on Petrus? “Start reading the auction notices in the provincial French press a little more closely.”

“It feels like you’re just hanging out at a friend’s house, albeit a very hip friend, which is exactly the feel co-founders Noah Dorrance, Baron Ziegler and Steve Graf were going for.” In the Mercury News, Jennifer Graue profiles Banshee Wines.

Fred Swan offers some thoughts on how to “[Get] the Wine Bloggers Conference We Deserve.”

In the latest installment of wine school, Eric Asimov will explore Zinfandel.

On the blog for Berry Bros. & Rudd, Emily Miles chats with Charlotte Sager-Wilde, “one half of the duo behind Sager & Wilde, London’s most talked-about wine bar.”

Food Arts awards Raj Parr a Silver Spoon Award.

Daily Wine News: Glorifying Vineyards

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-24-2014

In Wine-Searcher, Mike Steinberger urges Americans to “move on from [the] tendency to glorify wine personalities and to put a little more focus instead on the most important player on the wine scene: the vineyard.”

A vineyard in South Africa.

A vineyard in South Africa.

“The last night I ate there, the wine directors for Piora and the Momofuku group were in the house, cherry-picking the list. It doesn’t take an expert to get a great glass at Racines NY.” Pete Wells awards two stars to Racines NY.

In Thrillist, Jonathan Cristaldi details “how to not embarrass yourself while talking about wine.”

“As our thirst for distinctive pinot noir evolves in California, so do the regions in which we grow these wines and the ways in which they taste increasingly relevant.” In the Press Democrat, Virginie Boone previews the West of West Festival.

In Wine Spectator, Ben O’Donnell wonders whether Long Island wines can survive Manhattan’s restaurant scene.

James Molesworth finished his recent trip to “Rhône and Provence trip with a stop in Cassis, the charming seaside town that lends its name to the small appellation known for stylish, minerally whites and rosés.”

“Sotheby’s and eBay will partner in a new online auction venture that will see art, wine and other collectibles auctioned through the popular website.” Wine-Searcher has the details.

“We’re both scuba divers. We’re both big skiers. We garden. We’ve raised kids together. We have a whole farm. We have chickens and dogs and all of that.” In Grape Collective, Christopher Barnes chats with Heidi Peterson Barrett.

Elsewhere in Grape Collective, Jameson Fink chats with Debbie Gioquindo, the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess. In a separate piece, she names her favorite places to wine and dine in the Hudson Valley.

Mike Dunne finds some Pinot Grigio worth drinking.

Not Drinking Poison While Visiting Paris

Posted by | Posted in Grape Adventures | Posted on 07-23-2014

Aaron Ayscough at Aux Anges.

Aaron Ayscough at Aux Anges.

Earlier this month, I spent 10 days eating and drinking my way through France.

On July 4th, my trip began with a tour of Paris’ natural wine bars and retailers led by Aaron Ayscough of Not Drinking Poison in Paris. For wine geeks, I can’t imagine a better way to start a trip to France.

Our first stop was at Septime Cave, the wine bar from the team behind Septime and Clamato, two of Paris’ hottest dining spots. While there, we enjoyed two wines: Domaine Belluard’s 2010 Vin de Savoie “Mont Blanc” and Kenji & Mai Hodgson’s 2012 “Heart & Beat” rosé of Cabernet Franc.

Both were absolutely captivating. The sparkler came from Gringet, an obscure grape that’s native to the Savoie region — and barely exists. Aaron described the rosé — which saw 12 months in neutral oak — as “almost comically intellectual.”

Our second stop took us to Aux Anges, a small wine shop run by a young winemaker named Benoit Joussot. The shop’s selection was more conventional than expected — I recognized most of the labels — but we opened a fascinatingly interesting rosé-colored white wine.

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Septime Cave.

The Domaine Le Roc des Anges’ 2013 “Les Vignes Métissées” incorporated 15 local grape varieties (red, gray, and white) — all picked at once and co-fermented as a white wine. The acidity was electric, and if it weren’t for a hint of tart red fruit, it could have passed for a Sauvignon Blanc. It was delicious.

Next, we visited Cru et Découvertes, a gem-filled shop with overflowing shelves. There, we explored sulfur with two wines from La Ferme des 7 Lunes, a small, biodynamic winery in Saint Joseph. We compared the winery’s basic Saint Joseph bottling to its “Chemin Faisant,” which sees no addition of sulfur at bottling.

The differences were striking — and the opposite of what I expected. While the “normal” Saint Joseph showed tart, fresh fruits and focused aromas of meat, pepper, and black olive, the “Chemin Faisant” was darker and murkier, but somehow more compelling.

As Aaron put it, “the sulfured Saint Joseph is like seeing a painting on the clean white wall of a gallery – it’s curated and you know what qualities to look for – while the unsulfured version is like encountering the same painting in the home of collector, where it’s complemented by furniture, a piano, a bowl of fruit, etc.”

Finally, we visited Le Siffleur de Ballons, a popular wine bar and shop from Thierry Brumeau, the sommelier-restaurateur behind L’Ebauchoir, a neighborhood bistro. (Interestingly, Brumeau once worked for Michel Richard in Washington, DC.)

While there, we opened a 2011 Domaine Lise et Bertrand Jousset “Singulière,” a Chenin Blanc made from a small parcel of 100+-year-old in vines in Montlouis. The wine (and cheese we ate there) was awesome.

For those who aren’t familiar with Aaron’s blog, be sure to add it to your list of regular reads. It’s a great resource for discovering natural wines and keeping up with the Paris wine scene. And if you’re visiting Paris anytime soon, be sure to sign up for one of his tours!

Daily Wine News: Redeeming Zweigelt

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-23-2014


“The greatest compliment I can personally pay Umathum may be that he has single-handedly redeemed Zweigelt for me, producing not just a good rendition of the grape, but a great one.” Alder Yarrow visits “The King of Zweigelt.”

Lily Elaine Hawk Wakawaka visits Noel Family Vineyards in Oregon’s Chehalem Mountains.

Curt Dahl chats with Eric Asimov.

“Though the abbey has records mapping monastic vineyards from the Middle Ages, it wasn’t until 1992 that the monks decided to produce and market high-end wines.” In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto visits Frère Marie, the monk-cellarmaster of the Abbaye de Lérins “on the tiny, idyllic island of Saint Honorat.”

“To prepare for the nearly two months of intense labor, the 60-year-old winemaker trains for triathlons.” In the Wall Street Journal, Jason Henry profiles Rob Davis of Jordan Winery.

Tom Wark offers some thoughts on how the Wine Blog Awards “might evolve for the better.”

Napa’s Quixote Winery has been purchased by a Chinese-owned firm for approximately $29 million.

“I’m not making an argument for lowering the drinking age; only one acknowledging that–in a controlled environment–exposure to the world of wine can be an enriching part of growing up.” In the Huffington Post, Sharon Sevrens explains why she teaches her kids about wine.

Mike Veseth details “The Five Pillars of Walla Walla’s Wine Success.”

In Snooth, Gregory Dal Piaz sits down with Jon Thorsen, the Reverse Wine Snob.

Aaron Nix-Gomez shares some fascinating photographs of a German vineyard being prepped in 1928.

In VinePair, Adam Teeter explores the origin of the “light, refreshing mix of soda water and wine” known as the spritzer.