Daily Wine News: The New Yorker Tackles Natural Wine—Again

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-19-2019

Bar at La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

Bar at La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

“In the Napa boom of the nineteen-nineties, consumers prized wines that were rich and flawless. Now they’re seeking out wines that are more expressive than correct; wines that are earthy, with visible sediment; wines that taste alive.” In the New Yorker, Rachel Monroe considers the factors that led to the natural wine boom, and the problems with it going mainstream.

What makes a wine taste expensive? Margaret Rand ponders the answer on Tim Atkin’s site. “We’re not talking here about what makes a wine expensive, but what gives it that burnish, that gloss, that announces – whispers, even – money. Some expensive wines don’t taste expensive. They might taste so fascinating, so complex that you know they are expensive – but that’s not quite the same thing. I can think of great Austrian whites that are deservedly very expensive but don’t have that burnish. It’s harder for whites. The taste of money is much more a red thing.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Kathleen Willcox looks at the rise of Italian grapes in American vineyards.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy explains why cider should be the official drink of Thanksgiving.

On JancisRobinson.com, Alder Yarrow reports on the recovery efforts being made in Sonoma after the Kincade Fire. (subscription req.)

In Grape Collective, Valerie Kathawala explores why Domäne Wachau is Austria’s number one winery.

In the Drinks Business, New Zealand-based lighter wines pioneer Dr. John Forrest speaks out against the rise of zero % abv wines.

Daily Wine News: Native American Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-18-2019

glass_glasses_restaurant_drink_wine_glass_wine_clear_liquid-989609.jpg!dKathleen Willcox explores the rise of Native American wines in Wine Enthusiast. “Tribes in California, New Mexico, Utah and British Columbia have created small, successful and critically acclaimed brands… Outside winemakers are also working with Native American growers. It’s not just a socially responsible business plan, but an investment in the future.”

“China is by far the most important market for Australian wine today, worth more than twice as much as the second most valuable market, the US.” Jancis Robinson looks at the influence of Chinese investors in Australia.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague recommends Thanksgiving wines from America’s up-and-coming wine regions. (subscription req.)

Jamie Goode tastes a few wines made in talhas, “the Alentejo amphorae that are back in fashion.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley highlights Gail Wines, “a thrilling new label” to “reinterprets Sonoma Valley terroir.”

In the World of Fine Wine, David Williams reviews Oz Clarke’s Red & White: An Unquenchable Thirst for Wine.

In Wine-Searcher, David Allen reviews Wink Lorch’s second wine book, Wines of the French Alps.

Daily Wine News: Adapting to Change

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-15-2019

(Flickr: telex4)

(Flickr: telex4)

In SevenFifty Daily, Rémy Charest looks at how France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research has developed new, disease-resistant varieties that allow growers to adapt to environmental challenges.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov recommends wines for Thanksgiving.

The audacious but risky Venissa project, a unique vineyard in the Venetian lagoon, was hit by the city’s highest tide in 50 years, reports Robert Camuto in Wine Spectator.

In SOMM Journal, Thomas Molitor reports on how the reputation of the wines of Bosnia-Herzegovina is changing.

In Decanter,Jane Anson explores the history of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and evaluates ten different wines from across the region spanning 25 years. (subscription req.)

Neal Martin offers his impression of the Bordeaux 2018 vintage in Vinous. “The 2018 vintage is very good to excellent in quality. However, it does not demonstrate the consistency of 2005 or 2016, and it lacks the pinnacles that mark 2010 and, again, 2016.”

In Travel + Leisure, Kevin West explores what makes Adelaide, Australia such an exciting food and wine destination.

Daily Wine News: Sylvaner Savior

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-14-2019

Sylvaner_-_panneauIn PUNCH, Megan Krigbaum profiles Stefan Vetter, who helped turned Sylvaner—one of Germany’s most underappreciated grapes—into a cult obsession. “Vetter has been described as humble, shy, full of self-doubt and awkward in a cute, endearing way. When he laughs, it’s almost in a whisper. That this modest winemaker is elevating an equally modest grape with such success is evidence of how little we actually know when it comes to wine’s less-trodden terroirs. It’s just a matter of the right person stepping up to give us a new way to see them.”

In VinePair, Emily Saladino looks at what’s behind the rise of the array of hybrid wine shops-slash-bars popping up nationwide.

SevenFifty Daily announces its 2019 Drinks Innovators, including winemaker Lourdes Martinez Ojeda from Mexico’s Baja region, and Rebecca Hopkins and Cathy Huyghe of A Balanced Glass.

Noelle Hale offers a guide to grape clones in Wine Enthusiast.

In Decanter, Tim Atkin MW reports on the 2018 vintage in Chablis. (subscription req.)

Tom Wark talks to Elizabeth Schneider, author of Wine for Normal People.

On JancisRobinson.com, Louise Hurren compares attitudes to women winemakers in France and China. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Sherry’s Future

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-13-2019

Fino sherry. (Wikimedia)

Fino sherry. (Wikimedia)

Tim Atkin is hopeful for the future of Sherry. “Sherry is beginning to focus on origin rather than its famous method of fractional blending. The solera system is a fine way to achieve consistency, but often occludes nuances of terroir. Back in 1868, Sherry had 134 pagos or specific vineyard sites, compared with around 40 today. But they could become increasingly relevant to fine wine consumers. A Sherry from Balbaina, Macharnudo or Carrascal should be as sought after as a Musigny, a Chambertin or a Montrachet from Burgundy.”

Lana Bortolot is also exploring Sherry’s uniqueness in Forbes.

In Vinous, Antonio Galloni compares the 2016 and 2017 vintages of Barbaresco.

On WineBusiness.com, Linda Jones McKee remembers Missouri wine pioneer Jim Held, owner of Stone Hill Winery, who died on November 8.

The sommelier Anthony Cailan, who was a rising star in the wine world, has resigned from the downtown Manhattan hotel where he worked, after a New York Times report last week in which several women said he had sexually assaulted them.

Grape Collective talks with Tom Gamble of Gamble Family Vineyards in Napa Valley about making wine in America’s most famous wine region.

In Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery offers a guide for where to eat and drink in Adelaide, Australia.

In the New York Times, Ingrid K. Williams spends 36 hours in Barolo.

Daily Wine News: All For Aligoté

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-12-2019

Aligoté (Wikimedia)

Aligoté (Wikimedia)

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray looks at how Aubert de Villaine, proprietor of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, is working to elevate the reputation of Aligoté, Burgundy’s “lesser white grape.”

In Meininger’s, Jim Boyce considers the place of Australian wine in China and concludes that there’s more to its success than the usual explanations.

In VinePair, Kell Magyarics profiles Manuel Choqque, the Peruvian farmer making “wine” from high-altitude heirloom potatoes.

Gian Annibale Rossi di Medelana, the owner of Castello del Terriccio in Tuscany, died aged 78 last Thursday night in Rome, reports Aldo Fiordelli in Decanter.

Elsewhere in Decanter, James Lawther MW goes looking for value in St-Emilion. (subscription req.)

“While it’s customary to casually speak of “good” and “bad” vintages, the wording critics and winemakers use is actually more circumspect. Growing conditions may be “nasty” or “challenging,” but that doesn’t mean the resulting wines are inherently poor.” In Fortune, Jim Clarke considers whether vintages even matter anymore.

On JancisRobinson.com, winemaker Charles Symington offers notes on the Douro and the 2019 vintage. “It is easy for visitors to the Douro to assume that ours is a region where change happens slowly, if at all… However, a closer look shows a region experiencing accelerating rates of change across all dimensions – social, economic, viticultural and environmental. The 2019 harvest marks another milestone in our region’s transition into a new era – both challenging and exciting in equal measure.”

In Forbes, Tom Hyland explores Grignolino, “Piedmont’s alluring red wine.”

Daily Wine News: Scandinavian Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-11-2019

wine_white_wine_glass-499579.jpg!d“Nordic vintners are betting that they can develop what were once mainly hobbyist ventures into thriving commercial operations. The dream is to transform Scandinavia into an essential global producer of white wines, which are beginning to flourish along Europe’s northern rim.” In the New York Times, Liz Alderman reports on how climate change is fueling the wine industry in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

Jancis Robinson explores the many faces of pinot blanc. “These are wines that can continue to develop for five years or more in bottle – and can, like serious white burgundy, go superbly with food.”

On NPR, Michel Martin talks with Marissa A. Ross about sexual harassment in the wine industry.

Leslie Pariseau explores the world of wine clubs in the Los Angeles Times.

In the Seattle Times, Andy Perdue looks at how Red Mountain grew into Washington’s premier wine region.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre explore Jancis Robinson’s new edition of the World Atlas of Wine.

Lina Zeldovich considers what climate change means for wine in Quartz.

In VinePair, Tim McKirdy highlights five lesser-know white wines.

Daily Wine News: In Praise of Blends

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-08-2019

Vineyard_in_Cote_de_Beaune,_BurgundyThe received wisdom that single-vineyard wine is better is a pervasive myth, says Margaret Rand in Wine-Searcher. “Single-site wines get all the plaudits and have all the glamor. They’re at the top of most producers’ ranges. But not always at the very top. Sometimes, even above the swaggering, look-at-me single vineyards, is another, even more swaggering wine – and it’s a blend.”

Before I moved to California to begin my job with The Chronicle, I didn’t know much about Lodi wine — and I honestly didn’t think there was much to know. My only real exposure to the region came while working at an East Coast wine shop; the Lodi wines we sold there were cheap, jammy and sickly sweet,” writes Esther Mobley. “Oh, but how wrong I was. Discovering the wines of Lodi has truly been one of the great pleasures of my job over the last few years.”

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the most recent Wine School: Malbecs from Argentina, and announces what’s up next: American bubbly.

Damien Wilson, of Sonoma State University, has a warning for the US wine industry: wine premiumization can be a path to ruin. He explains why in Meininger’s.

In the Buyer, Justin Keay has an inspiring visit with Alois Lagedar in Alto Adige. “Lageder says global warming has led him to experiment with varieties that would have been frankly quite unimaginable in this Alpine region even ten years ago. He now grows Viognier and Assyrtiko as well as for me some unexpected red varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat, alongside the more traditional local red varieties Schiava (aka Vernatsch and Trollinger) and the more weighty Lagrein.”

In Decanter, Jane Anson reports from a vertical tasting of Château Lafleur, which “doesn’t play by the usual rules of Bordeaux.” (subscription req.)

In Bon Appétit, Emily Schultz highlights Canada’s Okanagan Valley as a wine destination.

Daily Wine News: Natural Wine Bar Boom

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-07-2019

Jean_2_natural_wineIn PUNCH, Leslie Pariseau considers the growth of natural wine bars across the country. “In short order, the natural wine bar has been dreamed up in some incarnation in nearly every major city in America. And while some declare their mission more loudly than others, the question of what exactly a natural wine bar is—and should be—remains open to interpretation. No longer influenced solely by French caves à vins, these places are a product of the evolution of the American wine bar itself, cycling from a restaurant with a renegade ethos into a more self-aware iteration with a mandate.”

“For winemakers in California, a new reality is sinking in. It is the second October in three years in which fires have raged across Sonoma… Wine insiders say disaster planning for employees should also be a greater priority. That’s a logistical challenge for most, as wineries are often small businesses with limited technology to deploy for rapid response communication that’s needed in an emergency. There should also be a greater effort to corral local farmers that have water trucks to deploy those resources to help put out fires.” In Fortune, John Kell looks at how the wine industry is reckoning with the impending effects of California wildfires.

In Decanter, Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson talk about the most memorable wines they have tasted.

As trade war clouds gather, France’s winemakers are looking to revive their connection with China, reports Jim Boyce in Wine-Searcher.

In Wine Enthusiast, Kelsey Ogletree offers tips for becoming a sommelier. “Whether you want to make the leap to professional wine taster or just expand your knowledge, many of the same tricks and tips that pros use can help you on your journey, and not all involve expensive wine classes.”

On Guild Somm, Vicky Burt MW shares some advice for WSET students.

In Forbes, Brianne Garrett explores how black women in wine—and their allies—are banding together to achieve better representation.

Also in Forbes, Sandra MacGregor says Switzerland is the next hot wine destination to visit.

Daily Wine News: It’s Time for Change

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-06-2019

(Flickr: GoonSquadSarah)

(Flickr: GoonSquadSarah)

In Bon Appétit, Marissa A. Ross reacts to Julia Moskin’s recent piece on the sexual assault allegations against sommelier Anthony Cailan. “I can’t believe I still have to say this in 2019, but we have to do better at talking publicly about sexual harassment and assault in the wine industry and beyond… Those of us in leadership positions—shop owners, importers, event organizers, winemakers—need to ensure that our bars, restaurants, wineries, festivals, and other events are inclusive and safe for everyone.”

In VinePair, Emily Saladino highlights the work of Wine Empowered, “a nonprofit providing tuition-free education to women and minorities. Co-founders Victoria James, Amy Zhou, and Cynthia Cheng also aim to transform the predominantly white, male wine industry by creating paths to access for women and people of color.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Layla Schlack explores gamay beyond Beaujolais nouveau.

Robert Simonson charts the rise of the porrón in American bars in the New York Times.

Tom Wark reviews Elizabeth Schneider’s new book, Wine for Normal People.

On JancisRobinson.com, Alistair Cooper considers the evolution of Australian shiraz.

Zinfandel Chronicles’ Tom Lee recommends 10 of the top zinfandels he’s tasted this year.

In Town & Country Magazine, Jay McInerney explores the great divide between Bordeaux and Burgundy.