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.

Daily Wine News: Tannic Bath

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-20-2014

bathtub-tile-design-ideasEric Asimov concludes that “2010 was an outstanding year for Barolo.”

“The young breed of ‘New’ Californians and ‘New’ New Yorkers are bringing vibrancy and energy to the sorting table.” And that makes Alfonso Cevola very happy.

Will Lyons believes the wines of Chêne Bleu “could be the world’s first Super Rhône.”

“The past decade or so has seen an inflation of points scoring from a significant number of prominent critics. It has been a gradual but undoubted trend.” Red To Wine Wine Review explains how score inflation is making the 100-point system less and less relevant.

Tim Atkin thinks that “we are going to see a lot more 100 pointers in the future.” But few of those wines will deserve such praise.

Bill Ward asks some friends to share “an oh-wow experience at a particular vineyard or AVA.” The stories are great.

In contrast to all the recent praise, W. Blake Gray thinks American Wine Story is a “boring documentary without a plot.”

In Punch, Adam Houghtaling takes a close look at the commercials Errol Morris created for Miller High Life between 1998 and 2005.

For more than six months, Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire “has been taking baths in red wine at a spa to help his body rejuvenate.”

Daily Wine News: Social Hobby

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-17-2014

Lafite Rothschild. Flickr, BillBl.

Lafite Rothschild. Flickr, BillBl.

“For centuries, wine cellars have been dark, windowless spaces with bottles stuffed into cubbies, more function than form. But that doesn’t suit a new generation, for whom wine collecting is as much a social hobby as an investment strategy.” In the Wall Street Journal, Lisa Selin Davis looks at the rise of luxury wine “rooms.”

“Should You Let the Sommelier Taste Your Wine?” Lettie Teague explores.

“It takes a certain personality… that listens to inner voices calling them away from the security and comfort of an office cubicle to search for greater fulfillment in helping earth express itself in fermented grape juice.” In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre reviews American Wine Story.

“Instead of glamour, these people all found something far more meaningful: a life’s work that makes them want to leap out of bed each day to get their hands dirty again.” Elsewhere, Lucy Mathews Heegaard reviews the new documentary.

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

The Drinks Business names “10 Chilean winemakers to watch.”

This year, “there’s a sense of cautious optimism” in Bordeaux. Gavin Quinney reports.

“If .wine and .vin are granted to firms outside the wine industry, second-level domain names such as napavalley.wine could be owned by a company that has never seen a vineyard, cultivated grapes, or made a single bottle of wine.” And that’s why industry trade associations are arguing against the deregulation of domain names.

“In the morning, we headed north on the Harvest Highway to the Annapolis Valley, about an hour away, to visit something I never expected to find here – a thriving wine country.” In the Napa Valley Register, George Medovoy visits Nova Scotia wine country.

With a series of beautiful photos, Whitney Adams visits The Restaurant at Meadowood’s Garden.

Daily Wine News: Vines & Soil

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-16-2014

metras“If Yvon Métras wines stand out, that’s in large part because he takes cares of his vines and soil, using a cable-powered plow to get rid of the grass, not chemicals, and on these steep terroir this is not an easy job.” Bertrand Celce profiles Yvon Métras.”

“What became clear as the members of the panel spoke, however, was that Kurniawan’s eventual fate was paved by the suspicions raised about another forger before he even became a suspect.” This past weekend, Levi Dalton attended New Yorker’s much-anticipated panel discussion on fake wine.

In Vanity Fair, Alex Beggs lists “10 Red Wines for 10 of Life’s Biggest Problems.”

“Fatal wood-borne fungal diseases affecting vines have become a national issue in France.” Wink Lorch has the details.

“Italy is not as set up for the tourism side of wine visits in the same way as California. They are in the process of developing this side of the business (wine tourism), but it’s still pretty much a mamma-papa kind of business.” In Grape Collective, Jameson Fink chats with Alfonso Cevola of On The Wine Trail in Italy.

“We’re in the midst of a sherry renaissance, partly because of a gradual shift in the American palate—from sweet and rich to higher acid and savory—that is reflected in both food and drink.” In Forbes, Maridel Reyes gets excited about Talia Baiocchi’s Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World’s Best Kept Secret.

Daily Wine News: Plummeting Sales

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-15-2014

220px-Fallout_shelterSales of Bordeaux are plummeting.

“A bottle of wine might look like a closed system, but inside there are complex chemical transformations that scientists are still unraveling.” In Wired, Nick Stockton explains “Why Some Wines Taste Better With Age.”

“Imagine a world in which you hold ownership of both a physical bottle of wine and a unique digital record that verifies exactly who owned the bottle of wine before you – traceable all the way back to the original producer.” Vinfolio explains why “Bitcoin is going to revolutionize the way that wine provenance is understood in the digital age.”

Tyler Colman wonders why boutique wine shops don’t act like jewelry stores — and hide prices until consumers express interest.

“The truth is that there is a lot of mediocre Kiwi Sauvignon out there and it is doing no favors to an industry that is producing some jaw-droppingly beautiful wine from other grape varieties.” In Wine-Searcher, Don Kavanagh contends that New Zealand offers more than Sauvignon Blanc. (Coincidentally, this was the topic of my latest Grape Collective column.)

Elsewhere in Wine-Searcher, Darrel Joseph explains why Grüner Veltliner is a “big deal.”

In Wine Spectator, Harvey Steiman contends that Oregon Riesling has “started to shine brighter in recent vintages.” He’s right.

“The advantages are clear: reduced packaging and shipping costs results in reduced prices for consumers; low oxidation and spoilage; and possibly most important — no waste at the end of bottles.” In Grape Collective, Michael Woodsmall predicts a bright future for keg wine.

Tom Wark previews – and defends – the new quarterly magazine, 100 Points By Robert Parker.

In Punch, Regan Hofmann explores if New York City restaurants are in “a dark age of cocktailing.”

In the Napa Valley Register, L. Pierce Carson writes a thoughtful obituary for Harvey Posert, the “dean of wine PR.”

New Zealand: More Than Hobbits and Sauvignon Blanc

Posted by | Posted in White's Wines | Posted on 10-14-2014

Credit: Carrick Wines.

Credit: Carrick Wines.

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, I contend that New Zealand offers much more than just Sauvignon Blanc.

New Zealand: More Than Hobbits and Sauvignon Blanc

Americans are fascinated by New Zealand. Thanks to “The Lord of the Rings” — and the tourism board’s “100% Pure New Zealand” marketing campaign — we envision stunning landscapes when we think of the island nation. We picture a playground for adventure, with endless options for hiking, bungee jumping, whale watching, and the like.

When it comes to wine, though, Americans know very little about New Zealand.

If anything, we simply think of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Because of brands like Oyster Bay and Kim Crawford, most wine enthusiasts are familiar with the nation’s signature style, marked by explosive aromas of fresh-cut grass and bracing acidity. Indeed, that single variety accounts for 84.5 percent of the nation’s wine exports. And each year, New Zealand ships nearly 50 million bottles of Sauvignon Blanc to the United States.

Eric Platt, the U.S. representative for Pacific Prime Wines, an import company backed by four, family-owned New Zealand wine producers, is on a mission to show that New Zealand’s offerings are actually quite diverse.

Check out the rest of the piece on Grape Collective!

Daily Wine News: Improbable Darlings

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-14-2014

From Wikipedia.

From Wikipedia.

In Punch, Alice Feiring visits Georgia, whose “wines have become improbable darlings in the natural wine world.”

“De Villeneuve’s survival is a good thing for Provence wine.” Robert Camuto chats with Raimond de Villeneuve, who is in his 20th vintage at Château de Roquefort. Villeneuve lost his entire, 62-acre crop after a hailstorm in 2012 and the resulting damage left him with just half his crop in 2013.

“The grape variety that has, to quote the stereotypical disc jockey, zoomed up the charts most dramatically is Spain’s most famous red wine grape Tempranillo.” In 1990, Tempranillo was the world’s 24th most-planted wine grape. Today, it’s in fourth place. Jancis Robinson comments on this stunning surge.

Dave McIntyre, meanwhile, urges his readers to check out Texas Tempranillo.

“It’s a type of winemaking that relies on the faith of both the place and the eventual drinker that you’re working with a site that is deigned to grow something delicious.” Jon Bonné helps with the “first real harvest” at SunHawk vineyard in Mendocino.

“We are vital partners with many of the wineries. We depend on them for quality items and they depend on us to deliver their product to the end-user.” In the Press Democrat, Bill Swindell chats with Costco’s Annette Alvarez-Peters.

“Grape yield isn’t directly related to wine quality. Lower yields often do mean higher quality, but that’s not because one causes the other.” In Palate Press, Erika Szymanski looks at the science on grape yields.

“Constantia in South Africa is one possibility, as is Australia’s Hunter Valley, but neither is as old as Chile’s best known wine region.” Tim Atkin explains why “there aren’t many New World vineyards with the Maipo Valley’s pedigree.”

In Grape Collective, Jameson Fink interviews master sommelier Evan Goldstein, author of the just-released Wines of South America: The Essential Guide.