Daily Wine News: Rethinking Wine Criticism

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-18-2019



Eric Asimov says it’s time to rethink wine criticism. “I believe that the most valuable thing wine writers can do is to help consumers develop confidence enough to think for themselves. This can best be achieved by helping consumers gain enough knowledge to make their own buying decisions without the crutch of the bottle review… Perhaps a better way of making useful recommendations to consumers is to evaluate producers rather than particular bottles.”

Alder Yarrow explores “Napa’s Royal Cabernets” from Oakville. “Oakville is ground zero for Napa Cabernet, and with good reason. Year over year it produces some of the most tremendous wines in the valley. It’s hard to say that one particular area of Napa truly produces the best Cabernet, but it’s also hard to find someplace that has more claim to that title than the Oakville AVA.”

“Legendary wine importer Rudi Wiest is selling his personal wine collection,” reports Aleks Zecevic in Wine Spectator. “Now, after more than 40 years of collecting and nearly 7,000 bottles amassed, Wiest is ready to part with his collection.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Vicki Denig takes a look at America’s new nouveau-style wine boom.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Maggie Hennessy explores Michigan’s growing wine scene.

In Vinous, Antonio Galloni offers his notes on the 2016s from Domaine Leroy. “Given the tiny production, I expected the 2016s to be even richer than they typically are. Instead, I was completely blown away by the elegance and finesse of the wines. The Leroy 2016s are striking, transparent Burgundies that pulse with energy and the expression of site that Bize-Leroy cherishes above all else.”

In Meininger’s, Simon Woolf summarizes an argument going on withing the natural wine community over the merits of glou-glou. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Rosé…Berries?

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-17-2019

Screen Shot 2019-06-16 at 5.21.08 PMThe rosé trend has now come for our strawberries, apparently. Driscoll’s just launched “Rosé Berries™” that are inspired by the color and flavor of rosé wine—which often tastes of…berries.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan continues to explore the reasons why wine writing is less diverse than food writing, and what can be done to change that.

“South Africa’s wine industry is facing a challenging future and it is desperately searching for a hero – an icon wine,” says James Lawrence in Wine-Searcher. “South Africa, unlike Argentina and New Zealand, lacks a strong USP or overarching brand identity.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Michael Schachner reports that Chile’s red blends are having a moment.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre looks into the issues involved when recycling wine bottles. “Many counties and cities don’t recycle glass, even if they have recycling programs… The recycling industry as a whole is “in disruption…”

In the Daily Camera, Doug Brown pens a profile of Frasca’s Bobby Stuckey, who won the award last month for Outstanding Service from the James Beard Foundation.

James Lawther MW explores what determines freshness in Sauternes in Decanter. (subscription req.)

Grape Collective talks to Luca Baccarelli of Roccofiore about organic winemaking in Umbria and native grapes Grechettto and Sagrantino.

What does it take to launch a wine brand in the U.S.? In Meininger’s, Roger Morris follows the creation of Kin & Cascadia to find out.

Daily Wine News: Armenian Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-14-2019

Vineyards of Artashat in Armenia (Wikimedia)

Vineyards of Artashat in Armenia (Wikimedia)

“Unlike neighboring Georgia, where wine production has continued unabated for millennia, Armenia’s wine culture has ebbed and flowed, and occasionally been drowned by waves of inclement history. Yet a growing number of Armenians are returning home with ambitions to resurrect the country’s wine industry, exploring Armenia’s abundance of literally antediluvian grape varieties.” John Szabo explores Armenia’s wine renaissance in Wine & Spirits Magazine.

Wine Enthusiast announces their annual list of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants.

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland talks to Vietti’s Luca Currado about the sale of his company and protecting his brand and family.

In response to last week’s events, Cathy Huyghe discusses satire and misogyny in the wine industry with Alice Feiring in Forbes.

In the Los Angeles Times, Joe Mozingo investigates how the upscale wine country of Santa Barbara became the epicenter of pot cultivation in California.

In the Drinks Business, Lucy Shaw explores Sardinia’s native grapes.

In Vinous, Josh Raynolds takes a look at several Willamette Valley vintages.

On RobertParker.com’s Wine Journal, Liv-ex’s Anthony Maxwell looks back at some of the times when Robert Parker moved the Bordeaux market.

Daily Wine News: Time to Retire “Natural Wine?”

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-13-2019

(Flickr: Chris Pople)

(Flickr: Chris Pople)

Is it time to retire the phrase “natural wine?” Christina Pickard explores the issue in Wine Enthusiast. “Despite the style’s environmentally responsible directives and positive attributes, some longtime natural winemakers­ are now opting out, requesting that those who sell and support their wines cease referring to them as “natural.”… As natural wine’s evolution marches forward, the need for a new classification or, perhaps more realistically, a certification program, becomes ever more apparent.”

Is oak over in wine? Jamie Goode ponders the complex answer in VinePair. “But, as with any trend in wine – even a correcting one – the pendulum often swings too far. Just because over-oaking is a problem, it doesn’t mean that all oak is bad. Small oak barrels, including new ones, have a role in forming fine wines. Oak can never truly be “over.” We simply need to be smarter about how we use, think, and talk about it.”

On his blog, Jamie Goode addresses why “like what you like” is generally bad advice when it comes to wine.

Chris Yorke, global marketing director of New Zealand Winegrowers, has been named as the new head of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, taking over from the departing Willi Klinger.

Felicty Carter shares three things to know about wine writing.

In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth looks at how Napa Valley’s Colgin Cellars’ model—production, site-specific, finessed Cabernets—is a proven method for success.

On his Good Vitis blog, Aaron Menenberg relives a few memories through tasting a 2004 bottle of Syrah.

Daily Wine News: Rotgipfler & Zierfandler

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-12-2019

Zierfandler. (Photo credit: Weinland Thermenregion)

Zierfandler. (Photo credit: Weinland Thermenregion)

“Why, in the past decade or so, have we all felt so drawn to native grapes? Is it simply the inevitable urge to rip up the global wall-to-wall carpeting of international varieties? Or is there more zeitgeist at work?” In Grape Collective, Valerie Kathawala pens an in-depth look at the wines of Bernhard Stadlmann, the eighth generation of his family to work with Rotgipfler and Zierfandler in the heart of the Thermenregion in Austria. “The Thermenregion is the only place in Austria — the world, in fact — where Zierfandler and Rotgipfler have always had pride of place in the region’s best vineyards.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Mike Dunne has a piece about Shake Ridge Ranch, Amador County’s most highly acclaimed vineyard. “By California vineyard standards, Shake Ridge Ranch is an adolescent, starting to yield fruit only in 2005. In just 14 years, however, it has gained an uncommon stature among the state’s vineyards.”

Will subregions be the future of Provence rosé? Edith Hancock explores the idea in the Drinks Business.

In Wine Enthusiast, Alexander Peartree offers a travel guide to the Finger Lakes wine region.

According to Vitisphere, 12 percent of all French vineyards were organic in 2018, a 20 percent increase since 2017.

In VinePair, Ryan Hughley takes a close look at the sustainability efforts being made at López de Heredia.

Panos Kakaviatos highlights the stars in St-Estèphe beyond the classed growths in Decanter. (subscription req.)

Trump is threatening to put tariffs on French wine again.

Daily Wine News: 900-Year-Old Savagnin Blanc Discovery

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

Savagnin Blanc (Wikimedia)

Savagnin Blanc (Wikimedia)

In the Atlantic, Sarah Zhang reports on findings that show Savagnin Blanc has been continuously propagated for at least 900 years. “Nathan Wales…and his collaborators came across the 900-year-old Savagnin Blanc among 28 grape seeds excavated from nine different archaeological sites around France. The seeds dated back to the medieval period, the Roman era (100 BCE to 500 AD), and in one case, even the Iron Age (500 BCE). The team found six separate pairs or groups of genetically identical seeds, sometimes hundreds of miles apart. The clones had almost certainly spread through vegetative propagation by humans.”

In Forbes, Lauren Mowery talks to Jen Parr about her transition from being a financial software saleswoman in America to a noted Pinot Noir winemaker in Central Otago with Valli Wine.

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Joshua Green comments on the 2017 Vintage Port declaration.

Neal Martin also explores the 2017 Vintage Ports in Vinous. “Clearly, these 2017 Vintage Ports merit a General Declaration. In fact, it would not surprise me if General Declarations do become more frequent, because winemaking techniques have improved so much in recent years. Nowadays not only is there more expertise in the vineyard, but winemaking techniques have been vastly fine-tuned…”

People see what they want to see, says Robert Joseph in Meininger’s. And that could spell trouble for some, including the English sparkling wine industry.

Marian Bull does a deep dive into natural wine for Vox.

On Robert Parker’s Wine Journal, R.H. Drexel reflects on BottleRock 2019.

Daily Wine News: Natural Wine + Wellness

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-10-2019

girl-162122_1280In VinePair, I respond to the New York Times piece about natural wine and self-care. “No alcoholic beverage is healthy. While some of it may be less bad for you than others, no alcohol is inherently good for you. Not triple-distilled vodka, not veggie-based cocktails, not low-calorie beer. Not even natural wine… By spreading the idea that it’s better than all other wines, natural wine enthusiasts are ironically engaging in the same elitist mentality that the movement formed in opposition against.”

Jancis Robinson is also thinking about natural wines. “A very significant proportion of the wine establishment, by which I mean producers and traders of conventional wine, roll their eyes at the very mention of natural wine. On the other hand, there is no shortage of converts to natural wine who, like the Frenchette team, will not sully their or their customers’ palates with wine they do not consider natural. They have a tendency to lecture the world on the iniquities of conventional wine.”

Sophia McDonald explores why mondeuse is gaining popularity among U.S. somms in SevenFifty Daily.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre looks at the ways climate change is reshaping wine. “Germany’s rieslings and the Loire Valley’s cabernet francs are enjoying more reliable harvests, year after year, than they were even a decade ago. English sparkling wine is challenging champagne. Sure, there are other factors involved, such as improved winemaking, but the effects of climate change are obvious.”

For most wines, glass bottles make no sense, says Jamie Goode.

Stephanie Cain considers the death of the wine country tasting room in Fortune.

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Jarvis delves into old vines.

Daily Wine News: Trade War Hurts Winemakers

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-07-2019

In Wine Spectatorwine_bottles_wine_rack_wine_bottle_range_bottles_wines_wine_sale_rarity_storage-1100923.jpg!d, Emma Balter reports on how the trade war with China, Mexico and the E.U. is hurting U.S. wineries.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the latest Wine School ( Soave Classico), and announces what’s up next: rosés beyond Provence.

In Afar, Alice Feiring delves into history of Chile’s natural wine movement.

In the World of Fine Wine, Ella Lister delves into the first-quarter activity at the auction houses and in the wider market, as well as taking a look at the rolling four-quarter numbers and the lots to keep an eye on in the coming months.

Lettie Teague explores low-alcohol wines in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)

In Wine-Searcher, Don Kavanagh looks at the rising price of wine. “The US wine market’s rude health has seen a greater increase in average wine prices than any other major market across the past six years, some distance ahead of Europe, the UK, Hong Kong and even the broader global average. And while the US is the standout performer in this respect, all major markets have seen hefty price rises.”

In SevenFifty Daily, winegrowers and researchers weigh in on site selection, canopy management, and other strategies to manage growth and ripeness.

In Wine Enthusiast, Danielle Bauter offers a wine lover’s guide to New Orleans.

In Vinous, Neal Martin offers his impressions of 2017 Vintage Ports.

Daily Wine News: Pinot Nero Revival

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

Pinot Noir, aka Pinot Nero. (Wikimedia)

Pinot Noir, aka Pinot Nero. (Wikimedia)

Robert Camuto explores Italy’s Pinot Nero revival in Wine Spectator. “A mere 40 miles south of Milan, in the Lombardy region, the rolling hills of the Oltrepò Pavese produce mainly sparkling wines, along with a dizzying list of still wines from native Italian grapes… But with more than 7,000 acres of Pinot Nero and a history with the variety dating to the mid-1800s, the area earns the distinction of Pinot Noir’s Italian home.”

“While the wine-making region of Fronton can’t rival Bordeaux’s chateaus, its producers are at the forefront of experiments with digital tools you’d typically find at Amazon,” reports Marie Mawad in Bloomberg. “Winemakers are flying sophisticated drones laden with custom software that lets them monitor plots for sick plants, predict output and map vineyards down to the size of a grape.”

Constellation Brands will launch To Kalon Vineyard Company in 2019 with celebrated winemaker Andy Erickson at the helm.

In VinePair, Christine Clark profiles Krista Scruggs. “Many winemakers talk about honoring fruit, but Scruggs’ fearless approach is unprecedented in modern wine. Rather than create vintages of a core lineup year after year, Scruggs produces entirely different wines every season, based on what fruit is behaving which ways in the field and winery. She provides context and an almost biographical narrative for her wines, sharing the story of why each wine exists; and, furthermore, why it will never exist quite the same way again.”

New York City’s rosé mansion is back.

Liz Thach breaks down 10 facts about Roussillon wine on WineBusiness.com.

California winery Iron Horse Vineyards dominated the wines served to guests at the dinner hosted by Trump and attended to by Prince Charles, reports Decanter.

And for those who missed it, there’s been a lot of discourse and outrage expressed over on Twitter about a recent post on Tim Atkin’s site…

Daily Wine News: Natural in the Northeast

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-05-2019

(Source: Wikimedia)

(Source: Wikimedia)

“Comparisons to other, old-world wine regions are often seen as Big Compliments, and while those nods can give you some helpful orientation when you’re trying to understand what’s in your glass, it can also just be plain futile. Who cares if a hybrid grape from Vermont tastes like an aligoté from Burgundy? Or a New York cab franc is a dead ringer for a Chinon from the Loire? It’s not,” writes Amy Zavatto in Edible Manhattan. “It is, however, its very own, beautiful, unique thing—right here, right now. And you might say that it’s a large part of what the natural wine movement in the Northeast is all about.”

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, says it’s the beginning of the end of the Old World appellation system. “The AOC system can withstand these market forces, although some regions will find it in their interests to adapt as Chianti did in the face of super-Tuscan success. But a second force is harder to ignore and will be even more threatening in the long run: climate change.”

Amber LeBeau of the SpitBucket wine blog takes a close look at the steady growth in Italian wine sales. “Especially in the $10-20 range, you can often find bottles that way overdeliver on the price. Simply put, Italian wines are nailing the Millennial Math. In the race to capture the hearts of the elusive Millennial market, Italian wine producers have a great head start.”

Is Riesling the world’s most under-rated premium grape variety? David Morrison considers the answer on his blog, The Wine Gourd.

In the Oregon Wine Press, Tamara Belgard profiles the Oregon women turning male-dominated vineyard management on its heels.

Is there a future for half-bottles? Jason Haas considers their potential on the blog for Tablas Creek.

Marissa A. Ross considers the world of co-fermented wines in Bon Appétit.