Daily Wine News: Scandalous

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-19-2014

Syrah. (Flickr, McD22.)

Syrah. (Flickr, McD22.)

“Sitting with Delaski, it’s hard not to share in his near-childish delight at what clearly is an adventure of grand proportions with the love of his life and their young son in tow.” Alder Yarrow falls in love with Solminer Wines.

Jon Bonné finds some wines worth drinking in Chianti.

In Grape Collective, Ethan Millspaugh lists the “Top Five Wine Scandals.”

“When the apple market collapsed about 15 years ago in the region around Lake Chelan in central Washington State, a handful of farmers decided to make the transition from apples to grapes.” In the New York Times, Alison Gregor visits Lake Chelan, where “wineries have been popping up as quickly as bubbles in a newly uncorked bottle of Champagne.”

“The corkscrew is the best textbook.” In Wine Review Online, Michael Apstein explains how wine education has changed over the past 35 years.

“One last observation: The Kiwis know how to make a heck of a good cup of coffee.” MaryAnn Worobiec shares some insights from a tour of New Zealand.

In Northern Greece, Michelle Locke “learned to love big reds.”

“There’s a lot of noise surrounding England’s burgeoning wine industry. But what tends to get overlooked is the fact that Britain already produces two world-class beverages: Scotch whisky and cask-conditioned beer, or ‘real ale.’” In the Wall Street Journal Europe, Will Lyons praises England’s “real ale.”

Daily Wine News: Fighting Fakes

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-18-2014

rudy Kurniawan“For collectors like Koch, who recently choked up while extolling the craft of the winemaker to Brian Ross of ABC News, the incentive to end counterfeiting isn’t strictly financial. The current onslaught of impostor bottles detracts from the pleasures of a six-figure magnum.” In Bloomberg, Mark Ellwood writes about the fight against fake wine.

“One can absolutely taste region or vineyard in the many hundreds of California wines made with restraint.” In Grape Collective, Jameson Fink chats with Fred Swan of NorCal Wine.

Elsewhere, Swan names his favorite spots for eating and drinking around the Bay Area.

“Although he seems just as edgy about how his latest vintage is showing, it looks like he’s found a winning pattern.” In Wine Spectator, Harvey Steiman visits Doubleback’s Drew Bledsoe.

“Of all the dramatic visuals the morning after the Napa earthquake—the shattered wine cellars and landslides of fallen barrels—nothing for me was more startling than the live TV images of the historic McIntyre building, crippled and sagging on the grounds of Trefethen Vineyards in Yountville.” Elsewhere in Wine Spectator, Tim Fish explores if this Napa icon can be saved.

Researchers in Denmark have “developed a nanosensor that can mimic what happens in your mouth when you drink wine.” The implications are quite cool.

“When you think of the French Riviera, you tend to think of sun, sand, sex and sophistication.” But just a mile away, “a small community of Cistercian monks works the land to produce wines that can sell for more than $210 a bottle.”

More Civility from Robert Parker

Posted by | Posted in Commentary | Posted on 09-17-2014

Flickr, Spring Dew.

Flickr, Spring Dew.

Last Monday, Ron Washam (the “HoseMaster of Wine”) wrote a satirical essay on In Pursuit of Balance.

Created in 2011 by Rajat Parr and Jasmine Hirsch, IPOB has been somewhat controversial. In showcasing producers who eschew power and in favor of restraint, the organization is exclusionary by design. And many have taken issue with its use of the word “balance.” (Last year, for example, Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman proclaimed that he “[resented] the implication that richer, more full-bodied wines can’t be balanced.”)

On Tuesday, Robert Parker decided to share his feelings on IPOB:

Subject: Hosemaster classic

His latest comedic genius is especially skull-breaking through the wonderful imagery of a Coravin needle in Jim Laube’s head,…capturing the silly nonsense and money-grubbing lunacy of the Pursuit of Balance crowd….how about In Pursuit of Breathing? Even one of the old geezers from my formulative past-Charlie Olken(who has probably forgotten in one day more about California wine than all the “balancers” know collectively)-CO is the founder and pioneer of the long and excellent Connoisseur’s Guide to California Wine….in short, no serious person pays any attention to Raj Parr and his zealots as it is so obvious they are only trying to sell their own wines….aren’t there enough sommeliers to support them? Keep the humor flowing RW….turds that actually or so full of hot air and float to the surface will eventually end up where they belong….history tells us this…..

In summary, Robert Parker believes that “no serious person pays any attention to Raj Parr” and that IPOB producers are “turds.”

Never mind Parr’s various wine ventures, his role as wine director for Michael Mina’s 21 restaurants, or the huge following he has on Instagram and Twitter. And never mind the fact that many IPOB producers (Au Bon Climat, Calera, Failla, Hanzell, etc.) have been praised by Parker in the past.

To quote New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov, “this must be an example of the new civility among wine writers that Bob has recommended.”

Daily Wine News: Bridge Champion

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-17-2014

Flickr, Norman27.

Flickr, Norman27.

“How does someone amass a wine collection worth $15 million? That’s a little more than late-night binge shopping at an online wine store.” In Wine-Searcher, Tyler Colman profiles Roy Welland.

“You probably haven’t heard of Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak.” But as W. Blake Gray explains, “some smart wineries are placing big bets there.”

In Decanter, Yohan Castaing reports that “Chateau de Pommard in Burgundy has been sold to American digital entrepreneur Michael Baum for an undisclosed fee.”

In Castro Valley, California, Westover Winery was fined $115,000 for using volunteer workers. The winery has since gone out of business.

“In the Golan Heights, two drastically different worlds exist side-by-side.” On CNN, Ian Lee visits Pelter Winery in northern Israel.

“I’m amazed that we as an industry let Redbull have all the fun with extreme sports, while we stick to tennis, golf, and polo. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to have a glass of bubbly after touching down to terra firm in the Redbull Circuit?” In Harpers, Ryan Opaz urges wine marketers to make wine exciting.

Tom Wark praises The Essence of Wine, the forthcoming book from Alder Yarrow.

“Seventeen years later, the wine list at Passionfish has grown from 50 choices to about 400 — a roster of some of the most desired wines from around the world, along with enough curiosities to make a Mission hipster green with envy.” In the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Bonné writes a wonderful piece on Passionfish in Pacific Grove.

Life Is Richer With Wine: The Magical Connections We Make

Posted by | Posted in White's Wines | Posted on 09-16-2014

Smiles all around from current and former Terroirist contributors. (Left to right: Isaac James Baker, David White, Scott Claffee, Sarah Hexter.)

Smiles all around from current and former Terroirist contributors. (Left to right: Isaac James Baker, David White, Scott Claffee, Sarah Hexter.)

As 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, by sharing stories from a number of wine enthusiasts, I explain why life is richer with wine.

Life Is Richer With Wine: The Magical Connections We Make

Wine demands to be shared. Enjoying a glass alone is fine, of course. But there’s an emotional component to wine appreciation. That’s a big reason why enjoying a bottle with friends is always more meaningful than drinking alone.

Chicago wine enthusiast Mark Boldizsar recognizes that few experiences are quite as enchanting as sharing a special wine. So last week, he took to the world’s most active wine discussion board, Wine Berserkers, to detail his journey of wine discovery — and ask fellow oenophiles about the doors that have opened thanks to wine.

“As much as I enjoy drinking nice wine, I have to admit it’s only a small part of a larger picture,” Boldizsar wrote. “From my personal experiences, my fondest wine-related memories are of sharing my wines in the good company of other wine lovers.

“In regards to my personal story, I was able to reconnect with a good childhood friend on the basis of wine. Over the past 4 years, we have been fortunate enough to meet up several hundred times (at least once a week). The wine is all well and good, but it’s the side stories, wine talk, and laughter that makes it so enjoyable.”

Shortly after his post went up, other enthusiasts shared their stories.

Many credited wine for their strongest friendships. For instance, California resident Leon Markham thanked wine for introducing him to “some of the smartest, kindest people I know.” Others praised wine for enhancing food and travel.

Check out the rest of the piece on Grape Collective!

Daily Wine News: Calling Bullshit

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-16-2014

From Wikimedia.

From Wikimedia.

“If you think a restaurant’s wine list is too weird for you, you are too old to eat there. Eat somewhere else and stop your bullshit.” W. Blake Gray speaks truth to power.

“If people like me want to learn more about wine and gain deeper respect for those who serve it in restaurants, so what if we earn a lapel pin in the process?” Dave McIntyre comments on the backlash against sommeliers.

“I think the biggest problem with the newer generation of sommeliers is that they skip the classics and move straight towards the geeky and esoteric wines.” In Star Chefs, Chris Struck chats with Rajat Parr.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Bonné visits San Bernabe, one of the largest contiguous vineyards in California.

“Now in their mid-80s, each walks with a cane. They’re practically Sonoma County icons, and yet there’s plenty we don’t know about them.” In the Press Democrat, Peg Melnik spends some time with Barry and Audrey Sterling, the co-founders of Iron Horse Vineyards.

“What comes through loud and clear are his passion for wine and his fascination with its evolution from vineyard to cellar.” In the Los Angeles Times, S. Irene Virbila profiles Greg Brewer.

“If there’s an ingredient list for soda, there needs to be one for wine.” Alice Feiring offers her opinion on wine labeling.

Thrillist names America’s 21 best wine bars.

Daily Wine News: Six Books

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-15-2014

shadowsinthevineyard“These books are well written and the products of much research and scholarship. They will certainly be consulted — and cherished — for years to come.” In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague lists her six favorite new wine books.

“It’s a place where hills stitched with rows of neatly trained vines meet roadside diners and barbecue pits, where stone manors on emerald swaths of land share the landscape with clapboard farmhouses, where scuffed-up livestock auction yards meet sparkling new tasting rooms and distilleries.” In the Washington Post, Domenica Marchetti explore Virginia wine country.

Elsewhere in the Post, Dave McIntyre chats with Rick Collier and Nancy Bauer, authors of Virginia Wine in My Pocket.

In Grape Collective, Kristen Bieler discovers Provence’s dark side.

Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka spends a day in the Douro at Quinta Dos Murcas.

In Wine-Searcher, Jane Anson offers the “Busy Wine Lover’s Guide to Guigal.”

Jamie Goode runs the Marathon du Médoc.

In VinePair, Joshua Malin finds “16 pictures that show how we made, sold, and drank wine over 100 years ago.”

“It’s good for employers, good for the inmates, and good for the public because it could help rehabilitate law breakers and reduce recidivism.” In Mendocino County, inmates are helping with harvest.

In Wine Spectator, James Laube praises “Grange’s Enduring Greatness.”

Daily Wine News: Another Look

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-12-2014

The view from the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Vinci, Tuscany. (Wikimedia.)

The view from the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Vinci, Tuscany. (Wikimedia.)

“I haven’t been to Australia, but I know from professional tastings, from books and periodicals and from speaking with people in the Australian wine trade that Aussie chardonnay has undergone a stylistic evolution similar to California’s.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov takes another look at Australian chardonnay.

“”With so many high-quality and highly rated Super Tuscans available in the U.S. market for less than half that price, its virtually unchallenged market dominance is surreal, if not absurd.” In Wine-Searcher, Jeremy Parzen contends that an “Italian wine is overpriced and overrated [if] it ends in ‘-aia.’” And he finds lots of Super Tuscans worth buying.

“It’s too early for the heavy, full-bodied reds just yet,” so “as autumn approaches,” Will Lyons is turning “away from the spritzy, bright acidity that was so refreshing in summer to heavier, smoother whites.”

In the Mercury News, Jessica Yadegaran visits Turley Wine Cellars new winery and tasting room in Amador County.

In the Wall Street Journal, Jen Murphy takes part in the “inaugural Bottega Gran Fondo, a charity bike ride that Napa chef Michael Chiarello has organized to raise money for the construction of the Vine Trail, a 60-kilometer trail that will span from Vallejo to Calistoga.”

Frank Morgan goes way back in time and discovers that “the most notable Virginia viticulture milestone in the 150 years between Jefferson and the beginning of the modern-day industry… was the establishment of a farming cooperative called the Monticello Wine Company.”

On Forbes.com, Cathy Huyghe profiles Damien Wilson, director of the wine business program at the School of Wine and Spirits Business in Burgundy.

In the New York Times, Danielle Pergament goes searching for “wine, olive oil, and the good life in Uruguay.”

Daily Wine News: Terroir and Drinkability

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-11-2014

On Reuters, Oliver Holmes profiles Domaine de Bargylus, a Syrian winery that’s still producing wine despite the civil war.



“The younger wine drinkers are paying more attention to the broader landscape of wine and are more interested in terroir and drinkability and food friendliness and the story behind it.” Christie’s chats with Dustin Wilson.

Alder Yarrow discovers what “the social media universe thinks of Australian wine.”

“The “anti-bling” policies and the anti-corruption measures of the Chinese authorities are taking a toll on French wine and spirits, with exports down more than 7 percent in the first half of the year.” Wine-Searcher has the details.

“With the addition of Winery 32 to Loudoun County’s “Potomac Cluster” of vineyards, the Mooshers became the latest on a growing list of entrepreneurs who have flocked to the county, transforming the scenic Washington suburban area into a premier wine tourist destination.” In the Washington Post, Caitlin Gibson looks at the growth of Loudon County’s wine industry.

“When I thought about it, it seemed worth the price of roughly one bottle of collectable wine, to be able to sample all the bottles in my wine cellar… to see which ones are at their peak, which can age a bit longer, and which ones must be mourned.” In Palate Press, Becky Sue Epstein tracks “The Rise and Fall and Rise of Coravin.”

“Why does cabernet sauvignon from Napa not taste like cabernet from Bordeaux? Terroir is a much better explanation than a cluster effect.” Even the Wine Curmudgeon believes in terroir.

On Forbes.com, Joe Harpaz wonders if “Sales Of $50 Pinots And Merlots Predict Our Economy’s Future.”

The latest wine app “Scans A Restaurant’s Wine List To Pair Your Dish With The Right One.”

In Wine Spectator, Tim Fish offers a guide to tasting room etiquette.

If you have a moment, check out today’s big news on Luxury Launches.

Daily Wine News: Roederer Awards

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-10-2014

Flickr, vxla.

Flickr, vxla.

On Tuesday, the annual Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards were presented in London.

“Would this have happened without Sideways? Perhaps. But I think all of us involved in making, selling, or drinking California wine should plan on raising a glass this Saturday to the success of this quirky movie. And if you’re feeling subversive, go ahead and make it a Merlot.” Jason Haas looks at “The Enduring Effects of Sideways, 10 Years Later.”

In Wines & Vines, Andrew Adams tastes the effects of wine closures.

“You wouldn’t expect to find wines like that still giving so much pleasure, which shows what perfect storage conditions can achieve.” In northern Italy, a “treasure trove of wines” was discovered in a ham cellar.

Paul Wallbank of Decoding the New Economy sits down with Paul Mabray of VinTank.

“Most wine collectors didn’t start out with a collection. Instead, they discovered that they liked wine. And they began to buy what they liked to drink. So one bottle became three and then a case, then a couple of cases and, before too long, the cases filled a closet and then spilled out.” In Wine-Searcher, Leslie Gevirtz explores the best way to start a wine collection.

Wine-Searcher offers a “Busy Wine Lover’s Guide to La Fleur-Pétrus.”

Wine Enthusiast lists “The 10 Strangest Harvest Superstitions.

In Grape Collective, Charlotte Chipperfield contents that the “TTB needs to come together with winemakers and consumers alike to create new and ultimately more informative labels that are appropriate for wine.”