Daily Wine News: Exploring En Primeur

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-04-2019

Bordeaux wine. (Source: Wikimedia)

Bordeaux wine. (Source: Wikimedia)

Jamie Goode writes about the “privileged access” he got last week in Bordeaux. “It is very hard as a visiting journalist or trade buyer not to be at least subliminally influenced by the grandeur of the top properties, and to feel grateful for the chance – at least for a short while – to feel part of this world. It takes a strong conscious effort to evaluate the wines fairly… This privileged access is nice if you get it, but the problem with it is the unspoken threat: it can be rescinded. You are meant to feel lucky. You are in the club. What happens if you break club rules?”

In VinePair, Tim McKirdy explains Bordeaux’s En Primeur, and explores the “irrational romance of French wine tradition.”

“The perennial champion of expensive wines, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s Romanée-Conti Grand Cru has been knocked off its perch by its close cousin Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru,” says Don Kavanagh in Wine-Searcher, “which has outstripped its rival to hold the title of the world’s most expensive wine.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Kathleen Willcox investigates complaints of nonpayment mounting against the online wine club Wine Awesomeness.

In Wine Enthusiast, Sean P. Sullivan reports on how wine in the restaurant industry is evolving.

Rebecca Gibb looks into the art of Instagram success for wine businesses in Meininger’s. “Pew Research Center figures show that Instagram is favoured by the under 30s; in the 30- to 49-year-old age group, 40% use Instagram but 78% use Facebook; in the 50- to 64-year-old category, just 21% use Instagram but 65% use Facebook. It’s clear that if a wine brand targets Millennials, Instagram is a must-have, but wineries with older audiences may feel their time is better spent elsewhere.”

In the World of Fine Wine, Roy Richards looks back over his 20 years of buying and, more recently, producing in the Languedoc-Roussillon.

Daily Wine News: Make or Break Moment

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-03-2019

bordeaux-wine-cork-984x500“Bordeaux really needs the 2018 vintage,” says Margaret Rand in Wine-Searcher, who explores why price will be crucial for the big châteaux at this year’s En Primeur campaign.

In Wine Enthusiast, Sean P. Sullivan talks to Marc Noël about creating the first coextruded, synthetic wine closure to the market, called Nomacorc.

Tom Wark charts the rise of Willamette Valley’s sub-appellations. “Over the past decade, the percentage of labels approved for use by the TTB that were for wines produced with Willamette Valley grapes and that identify a sub-AVA other than the larger “Willamette Valley” AVA has indeed increased.”

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning chats with Jasper Riddle of Noisy Water Winery about his journey into winemaking and what he sees for the future of New Mexico wine.

A single bottle of 1868 vintage Lafite Rothschild was among the top lots at a ‘one-of-a-kind’ auction of the Bordeaux first growth’s back catalogue, held by Zachys in New York. Chris Mercer has the details in Decanter.

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Joshua Greene reviews The Sober Revolution: Appellation Wine and the Transformation of Franceby Joseph Bohling.

On his blog, W. Blake Gray writes about Australian Grenache—“some of the best Grenache you’ll ever have outside of Château Rayas…”

Daily Wine News: Takes on Tuscany

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-02-2019

(Flickr: noviceromano)

(Flickr: noviceromano)

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Stephanie Johnson explores how Lucca’s growers have a different take on Tuscan wine. “I encountered a fascinating set of characters from different backgrounds who share a commitment to biodynamics even as they produce widely different wines. I also found that, despite the region’s biodynamic wave, Lucca is still a place where some are determined to swim against the tide.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley reports on why Tartine’s Vinny Eng, who was just named sommelier of the year by Food & Wine, is leaving the wine industry for a new start in politics. “Perhaps food has always been political, whether or not everyone realized it. But Eng is emblematic of a growing chorus of justice-oriented food and wine professionals in the Bay Area who make these connections explicit.”

A new project is resurrecting ancient vineyards in Yonne in North-East France that were abandoned around a hundred years ago, according to the Drinks Business.

The cooperage industry is now confronting the issue of climate change. Jim Clarke reports on what is—and isn’t known—about how oak is affected in Meininger’s.

In Wine Enthusiast, Matt Kettmann looks at how growers and vineyard managers are doubling down on high-tech viticultural solutions to save water, cut labor costs, maximize efficiency and increase sustainability.

In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman explores how winery design can help sell more bottles.

Amanda Barnes details 8 up-and-coming varieties from Portugal in SevenFifty Daily.

Daily Wine News: Bats in Bordeaux

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-01-2019

Flying bat.

Flying bat.

Bats, once seen as undesirable neighbors, are now recognized as a grower’s best friend. In Meininger’s, Felicity Carter reports on how Bordeaux growers are encouraging them as part of a raft of sustainability measures.

Tim McKirdy looks at Greek wines’ success in VinePair. “After decades of producing ubiquitous international grapes, the country’s winemakers relatively recently re-embraced Greece’s 200-plus indigenous varieties, and improved vinification processes.”

“The Santa Cruz Mountains American Viticultural Area (AVA) has only 1,600 acres of planted grapes, compared to Napa’s 45,000 acres and Sonoma’s more than 60,000 acres,” says Sheryl Nance-Nash elsewhere in VinePair. “But the area is producing excellent wines — and slowly working its way into the spotlight.”

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray makes a bold claim about Chianti Classico: “larger-production Chianti Classico is a very good wine and a safer bet than tiny production Chianti Classico.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague goes searching for the world’s oldest wine. (subscription req.)

In Vinous, Josh Raynolds explores the wines of Spain’s northern regions.

Dave McIntyre offers a natural wine primer in the Washington Post.

Daily Wine News: Positive Reduction

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-29-2019

In Wine-SearcherAlcohol Drink Wine Glass Red Wine Wine Glass, Vicki Denig explores the positive aspects of reduction in wines. “So what exactly is positive reduction and how does it translate into wine? …the concept straddles a dangerous line, though when executed properly, can lead to phenomenal final bottlings.”

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the most recent Wine School, and announces what’s up next: three Burgundian reds from Mercurey.

“You need nobility of spirit to make wine in Sauternes. There is little earthly reward,” says Andrew Jefford in the World of Fine Wine. “Except that… its creators get to drink it, often: no little reward, since there are few wine pleasures more hedonistically enticing than this. Nobility of spirit is recompensed by the world’s most seductive wine.”

James Molesworth reports from tasting 2018 Bordeaux barrel samples in Wine Spectator.

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford details the Brunellos worth seeking out. (subscription req.)

Ian D’Agata dives into Brunello, with notes on the 2014 Brunello di Montalcino and 2013 Riservas on Vinous.

Grape Collective talks with Barbaresco’s Milva Fenocchio about the challenges of running a small family business and the philosophical decisions behind their agricultural practices.

The 2019 James Beard Award Nominees were announced this week.

Daily Wine News: Love for Long Island

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-28-2019

Photo courtesy of Long Island Wine Country

Photo courtesy of Long Island Wine Country

In Forbes, Courtney Schiessl gets a taste of age-worthy Long Island wines, which she says prove the region’s longevity. “While longevity isn’t the only indicator of quality, the aged wines poured by Long Island’s winemakers made a statement about the region’s place in the greater wine world. Though experience has led to better and better wines over the region’s 45-year history, the quality that exists right now is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Michael Lynne, film executive and owner of Long Island’s Bedell Cellars, died March 24 at the age of 77, reports Wine Spectator’s Ben O’Donnell.

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland talks to Eric Kohler, the current technical director at Châteu Lafite Rothschild, about his work, from his everyday duties, to the challenges he faces, as well as his emotional aspects of dealing with his position at such a renowned company.

The recent Heart’s Delight Charity Wine Auction raised $1.3 million for the American Heart Association, reports Wine Spectator.

Meininger’s explores the ways to reuse wine bottles instead of recycling them.

Jon Troutman and Nate Scherotter, co-founders of new direct-to-consumer winery Empathy Wines, share the details on how they started the business with renowned entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.

Shana Bull explores the touchy subject of wine influencers.

Daily Wine News: Wine Transplants

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-27-2019

Photo courtesy of Southold Farm + Cellar.

Photo courtesy of Southold Farm + Cellar.

In the Dallas News, Alfonso Cevola discovers the wines of Texas Hill Country’s Southold Farm and Cellar, run by Regan and Carey Meador, who sold their farm and vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island after zoning laws prohibited them from continuing.

And on his blog, Alfonso Cevola explores the nebbiolo-based wines of Carema. “More akin to the Valle d’Aosta (or perhaps even the Haute-Savoie), this are mountainous high elevation wines, up to 2,000 feet. The Nebbiolo bio-type is 308 Picotener, which is better suited to Carema than Barolo. In Carema it makes a light colored, highly perfumed wine.”

In Food & Wine, Mike Pomranz looks at how Bordeaux is working to create an environmentally friendly future — moving away from things like pesticides and towards more sustainable practices.

A newly released bottle of 156-year-old Niepoort in a Lalique crystal decanter has become the most expense Port sold at auction, reports Decanter.

Californian producer Lede Family Wines has entered into a “joint partnership” with one of Priorat’s leading producers Mas Doix. The Drinks Business has the details.

In Meininger’s, Ilkka Sirén reports that the natural wine movement has found a home in Helsinki. “Just a couple of years ago nobody in Finland knew about natural wine, but now consumers can’t seem to get enough of it. Now, the Helsinki Natural Wine festival is looking to crown Helsinki the Nordic capital of natural wine—and it just might do that.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Kerin O’Keefe offers a guide to where to eat and drink in Palermo.

Daily Wine News: Unfamiliar Success

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-26-2019

2017-Unfamiliar-Label

(Source: Dirty & Rowdy)

(Source: Dirty & Rowdy)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley tells the moving story of how Hardy Wallace of Dirty & Rowdy was able to save a lost vintage despite a series of family tragedies. “In the span of about a month, Wallace and his family experienced a calamitous combination of virus, blindness, death and fire. It looked as if all of Wallace’s wine from the 2017 harvest — and by extension his small business, Dirty & Rowdy Family Wines — might be ruined. But thanks to technology, creative thinking and a reconsideration of his personal principles, Wallace was ultimately able to revive a lost vintage, an improbable creation that became a roaring success.”

A changing climate has the Bordelais experimenting with grape varieties that can sustain terroir expression. Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Joshua Greene visits vignerons with pre-phylloxera vines that are suddenly a resource for the future. “Planète Bordeaux is developing a protocol to benchmark varieties of Vitis vinifera, to determine which might be best suited to adapting to a changing climate; preference may well be given to local varieties still extant in Bordeaux’s now rare pre-phylloxera parcels.”

Alan Tardi chronicles the renaissance of Italy’s Alto Piemonte region in SevenFifty Daily.

In southern France, there’s evidence of a newfound respect for clairette. On JancisRobinson.com, Malu Lambert suggests the same thing may be happening in South Africa.

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford finds shocks, surprises, and inspiration in South Africa. (subscription req.)

In Wine Enthusiast, Kelly Magyarics looks at how carignan is working its way into the spotlight.

Liza B. Zimmerman considers the new challenges on the radar for the wine industry in Forbes.

Daily Wine News: Discovering Piquette

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-25-2019

Piquette. (Source: Wild Arc Farm)

Piquette. (Source: Wild Arc Farm)

In SevenFifty Daily, Lenn Thompson explores how piquette, a low-ABV beverage made from grape pomace, is finding favor among winemakers such as Hudson Valley’s Wild Arc Farm. “On its face, piquette production is simple—just add water to pomace. But it’s also much more complex than that.”

Jancis Robinson looks at how California’s new wave wines are making waves overseas. “These wines are all injecting fun and innovation into the California wine scene… The only trouble for those of us living outside the US is that many of these examples of the sort of wines described by author Jon Bonné in his 2013 book The New California Wine – A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste (Ten Speed Press) seem pretty expensive.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley reports on a new lawsuit seeking to determine whether Napa’s To Kalon is a place or a brand.

In Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox reports on the war between tradition and technology being fought in Napa Valley. “And while it seems like a classic American conundrum – humanity vs. the machine – it represents a larger battle for the soul of wine, even agriculture itself.”

Who will replace the wine-loving baby boomers? Liza B. Zimmerman explores the possibilities in Meininger’s.

Tim Atkin highlights South America’s top 10 winemakers in Decanter. (subscription req.)

The VinePair staff discusses what makes a good wine bar on a recent podcast.

Daily Wine News: Shifting Gears

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-22-2019

(Source: Pixabay)

(Source: Pixabay)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley takes a close look at the realignment underway within a certain subset of California wine. “Chances are, you’ve tasted it… The model for these wines is not, as has been the case for many of California’s great Cabernet Sauvignons, Bordeaux. It’s not even really Burgundy. To the extent that there is a French corollary for these — the new translucent reds of California — it’s a region much sleepier and far less prestigious: Beaujolais.”

Eric Asimov finds a similar transformation underway in Australia. In his latest New York Times wine column, he explores the country’s “fresh, crunchy and smashable” wines. “Australia, it turns out, has experienced the same sort of evolution as the United States. Though it achieved international success among critics in the 1990s with powerful shirazes from regions like Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, many Australians came to prefer more restrained European styles.”

In Food & Wine, Megan Krigbaum highlights this year’s top sommeliers, who are redefining wine lists across the country.

In Wine Enthusiast, Betsy Andrews delves into Portugal’s traditional amphorae wines.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy recalls a memorable dinner at Château Lafite, which involved a 1905 Lafite. “At 114 years, it showed the kind of longevity Lafite is known for, demonstrating why perfect storage conditions are so important when buying old wines. With its silky texture, ethereal scents of plums and currants, and a long finish, it suggested to me a long-ago world.”

In Decanter, Jane Anson takes a look at St-Emilion through the 1989 and 1998 vintages. (subscription req.)

Jamie Goode explores the wines of François Lurton, whose father owns Château Bonnet in Bordeaux.