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.”

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.

Daily Wine News: Licking Rocks

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-13-2014

gravel“Françoise told us about how she used to think that, through taste, she would be able to find a correlation between the rocks and their resulting wines. As she said this, I looked over at Helen who was discretely licking the inside of one of these freshly smashed rocks.” Ted Vance spends time with Françoise Vannier, Burgundy’s resident geologist.

In a wonderful post, Cari Borja profiles and chats with three Bay Area couples who “interact, overlap and share a similar passion for wine.”

“California has better things to spend taxpayer money on than prosecuting wineries who invite some friends over to help them pick grapes.” Alder Yarrow is pissed about California levying Westover Winery in Castro Valley with $115,000 in fines for using unpaid volunteers.

“Over the next 12 months, Rosen will surely appear at gatherings of alcohol regulators where he will get a standing ovation from his peers.” Tom Wark worries that the New York State Liquor Authority’s crazy behavior will be “precedent setting.”

Lettie Teague heads to Napa Valley to find out “when and how some key California winemakers became interested in producing ‘serious Sauvignon.’”

“Sherry covers a dazzling gamut of styles and flavor profiles, from bone-dry fino and manzanilla to raisin-y sweet Pedro Ximénez (a.k.a. PX). And there is much in between, all of it ably described by Baiocchi.” In the Los Angeles Times, S. Irene Virbela reviews Talia Baiocchi’s new book, Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World’s Best-Kept Secret.

“Is Alquimie the most ravishing drinks magazine to publish in the last decade?” Lauren Mowery thinks so. I agree.

Although “we are unlikely to see a widespread move to vintage blending,” it can create complexity and fill gaps in a wine. Dave McIntyre explains.

In Wine-Searcher, Jane Anson offers “The Busy Wine Lover’s Guide to Clos des Papes.”

Daily Wine News: Insanity

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

new yorkOfficials at the New York State Liquor Authority have gone completely insane.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov finds 10 Manhattan restaurants that “cherish” $40 to $60 wines.

“At 80 she has the energy and enthusiasm of someone two decades younger. She’s off to Macchu Picchu this month and has a passion for white water rafting.” In Wine-Searcher, Elin McCoy profiles legendary wine importer Martine Saunier.

Jason Wilson believes “we’re in the midst of a sea change in the overall consumer perception of white wine.” I think he’s right.

“It is believed the flies lay eggs inside the healthy fruit and larvae then feed on the grapes. There is so far no effective treatment.” Across Europe, there is rising concern about an Asian fruit fly that causes sour rot.

On Forbes.com, Cathy Huyghe wonders why we don’t drink more Franciacorta.

Harper’s Bazaar names “the best wineries to visit this fall.”

In Grape Collective, Jameson Fink chats with Dezel Quillen of My Vine Spot.

After harvesting olives in Napa, Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka decided to write about the olive oils of Portugal.

“‘Life is a compromise,’ Mr. Riedel says, before admitting that no one can use his grape range every day.” Will Lyons chats with Georg Riedel.

Four entrepreneurs in France have launched “Fundovino,” a crowdfunding platform for wine.

“As a rallying cry to Riesling lovers worldwide, and to bring to fruition latent love for the grape, this is an excellent book.” Jamie Goode reviews Stuart Pigott’s Best White Wine on Earth.

Daily Wine News: Powdered Tannins

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

Mega-Purple“It hasn’t happened with food; I doubt it will happen with wine.” Mike Steinberger believes that it’s “fantasy to believe that ingredient lists are going to somehow discourage the use of things like gum arabic and powdered tannins.”

“Instructors can usually spot the laypeople because, while enthusiastic and eager to learn, ‘they don’t know what they’re talking about at all,’ says Shayn Bjornholm, a master sommelier and frequent intro-course teacher.” In the Wall Street Journal, Erin Geiger Smith explains “What Amateurs Get Out of Taking Rigorous Certification Courses.”

“Colleen and Nicholas’ nonchalance makes it seem as if they’ve simply followed their whims and the stars have aligned.” In Grape Collective, Emily Spillman profiles Colleen and Nicholas Harbour, a Canadian-American duo who “ditched their careers in Luxembourg finance and moved to Burgundy three years ago with the broad goal of making a new life in the wine world.”

The Drinks Business interviews Jancis Robinson.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan gets a history lesson from Bernard Mante, a producer in Champagne who is growing Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris.

“So if you find yourself worried from time to time that you may not be doing this whole wine tasting thing right, cut yourself some slack. Even when we think we’re getting it right, we’re at the mercy of our own mysterious wiring.” Alder Yarrow ruminates on “the fake tongue illusion.”

Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka praises William Shatner’s Ora.tv interview wine show, Brown Bag Wine Tasting.

Daily Wine News: NYC BYOB

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-08-2014

rdv brown bagIn Wine-Searcher, Tyler Colman solicits BYOB tips from some of New York City’s top wine personalities.

“Since somms are drinkers first and wine obsessives second, the source of their excitment can stray far from the first-growth Bordeaux and premier cru Champagnes you’d expect — anything from funky Belgian sours to vintage Chartreuse has the potential to be a somm’s liquid Viagra.” Jonathan Cristaldi attempts to define “#sommboner.”

“The life of the senses is subtle and rich. Such a life represents a substantial truth, never mind that it can (and should) vary from one person to the next.” Matt Kramer explains why “wine can’t be quantified.”

“It has been reported that the president joined in on Churchill’s notorious benders. Staying up all night drinking brandy and smoking cigars, FDR happily took part in what White House staffers dubbed ‘Winston Hours.’” In Grape Collective, Rachael Doob looks at the drinking habbits of Winston Churchill and FDR.

“Harmed more than any other entity was the wine retailer, who was all but left out of the wine shipping brouhaha.” Dan Berger contends that wine shipping is still a mess.

Jamie Goode discusses the concept of minerality in wine.

“For the producers I visited, admittedly from the top tier, 2013 will be anything but a washout.” According to Harvey Steiman, Oregon’s 2013 wines are “worth a good look.”

From Forbes Travel Guide, “7 Secret Wine Spots You Should Know About In Las Vegas.”

Joe Roberts explains why people hate wine geeks. It has something to do with the Lalique “100 Points” leather briefcase by James Suckling and Salvatore Ferragamo, available for $8,500 USD.

In D Magazine, Lauryn Bodden chats with Jordan’s Lisa Mattson.

Julie Ann Kodmur remembers Harvey Posert Jr.

Daily Wine News: Tipping Point

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-07-2014

Flickr, Spring Dew.

Flickr, Spring Dew.

“Have we reached a tipping point, a moment when producers, sommeliers, wine writers and consumers say they’ve had enough?” Tim Atkin MW believes we have. “All over the world… wines are shifting towards balance and fresher fruit flavors, with less prominent oak and alcohol and a greater sense of place.”

“Despite the bloody conflict and the threat of Islamic extremists, he is determined to produce world-class wines.” In the Associated Press, Diaa Hadid finds winemakers in Syria and Lebanon who are continuing to make wine.

From Arnold Waldstein, a reminder that “people taste as much with their hearts and beliefs as they do with their palates.”

“A coalition of high-end vintners in Napa, which has been working to protect the Napa Valley wine label from counterfeit and other misuse in China and elsewhere, says the U.S. effort to protect American use of European wine names is wrong.” In the Los Angeles Times, Evan Halper and Don Lee explain how the “stew over European food names complicates trade talks.”

“For Legeron, natural wine reminds us we have the opportunity to choose what, as well as how we consume.” Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka reviews Natural Wine: An introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally, the new book from Isabelle Legeron MW.

Ron Washam uncovers some failed Master of Wine dissertations.

To celebrate his 50th birthday, Seattle Times wine writer Andy Perdue opened a vertical of his life.

“Gatekeepers trashed White Zinfandel because a lot of the wines were sweet dreck. But there was never any reason Zinfandel couldn’t be a fine Rosé, and now the geeks have their proof.” Dorothy Gaiter discovers Turley’s White Zinfandel.

“This wine country has everything in place to be a grown-up, but it lacks confidence in its own message and that makes it hard to convince the market to trust it.” In Wine-Searcher, Wink Lorch contends that Chile’s wines have come of age.

Jonathan Lipsmeyer offers “Three Ways To Cheat at Food and Wine Pairing.”