Digging into Adam Lee’s New Clarice Pinots

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-12-2018

Credit: Richard Green Photography

Credit: Richard Green Photography

California winemaker Adam Lee’s next chapter is just beginning. And things are looking good.

After 11 years, Adam and his wife, Dianna Novy Lee, sold their Siduri label to Jackson Family Wines in 2015. Adam agreed to stay on for three years, but he’s also been busy kicking off a different venture.

Named after his grandmother and inspiration, under the Clarice label Adam produces Pinot Noirs from two exquisite sites, Gary’s Vineyard and Rosella’s, both located in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Central California. Having worked with both of these vineyards since their first crop (Gary’s in 1999 and Rosella’s in 2001), Adam knows these vines very well and counts the growers as his good friends. From these sites, he crafts harmonious and delicious wines.

With this new project, Adam is taking a different approach to the marketing and sales. Here’s how it works. Clarice Family Club Members sign up for an annual subscription of $965 (broken into several payments over a few months to make it sting the bank account a bit less). Members get a case of Pinot in October, four bottles of each of Adam’s three wines: Gary’s Vineyard; Rosella’s Vineyard; and a Santa Lucia Highlands appellation wine that is blended from both Gary’s and Rosella’s Vineyards.

Adam also hopes to create something like a social media-savvy “extended wine family,” as he puts it. Members get special access to a portion of Clarice’s website, which will have plenty of wine-related content, and monthly articles from others in the wine business, who will address topics from label design to wine barrels to restaurant sales. There are also members-only Facebook and Instagram groups, where members can connect and share content.

“At Clarice Wine Company, I have decided that ‘selling wine’ isn’t what I like to do,” Adam says. “What I truly enjoy is the friendship, camaraderie, and sharing of knowledge and experiences that wine helps engender.”

Adam sent me barrel samples of the three Pinots he’ll be releasing to club members in October, and, I gotta say, they’re beautiful. Tasters of the finished wines are in for a treat.

He utilizes native yeast fermentation, and more than half of each wine comes from whole cluster fermentation. There’s plenty of juicy fruit, and a good amount of new oak, but the wines maintain a vibrant, lip-smacking style that reminds me of why I first fell for Adam’s Siduri Pinots almost a decade ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Vintage Predictions

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-11-2018

Bottle of German Silvaner. (Wikimedia)

Bottle of German Silvaner. (Wikimedia)

“In the late 1980s, the Princeton economist Orley Ashenfelter found that he could predict the quality of Bordeaux red wine vintages based on characteristics such as the temperature and rainfall during the harvest year… Using just these variables, he was able to account for more than 80 percent of the price variation for vintages in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.” In Bloomberg, Peter R. Orszag looks at one economist’s method to predict a vintage’s quality using only statistics, and explores why it hasn’t yet caught on.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov makes the case for silvaner, “a grape and a wine that has few champions and could use one badly.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Layla Schlack highlights four mother-daughter winemaking teams in Oregon, Virginia, California, and Bordeaux.

Three bottles of 1774 vin jaune from the Jura region—among the oldest in the world— are up for auction, reports Kim Willsher in the Guardian.

New Jersey’s first canned wine, a rosé from William Heritage Winery, makes its debut this weekend. I share the details over at New Jersey Monthly.

Sophia Bennett wonders if gamay could be Oregon wine’s next great grape in the Register-Guard. “I think that pinot noir will always be the grape that’s associated with Oregon, but I also think there’s room for other grapes to find their way here…”

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague tried buying wines based on bottle shape and found few as interesting as the bottles they came in.

Amanda Barnes details what you need to know about Rioja’s new regulations in SevenFifty Daily.

Daily Wine News: Gallo’s Spending Spree

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-10-2018

(Flickr: theloushe)

(Flickr: theloushe)

“Gallo is buying 542 acres of the well-known Sierra Madre Vineyard in Santa Barbara County from owner Circle Vision. Announced today, the purchase by a Gallo affiliate includes the Sierra Madre trademark and 151 acres of vines within the Santa Maria Valley AVA,” reports Jim Gordon in Wines & Vines.

In Wine Business, Kerana Todoroz reports on the highlights from the first International Biodynamic Wine Conference, held Sunday and Monday in San Francisco.

Stephen Tanzer revisits the 2008 Napa Valley Cabernets in Vinous. “They are fun to drink today but they have the energy and balance to go on for another decade or more—and possibly much longer than that. From their aromatic complexity and lively floral and mineral qualities, one would never guess that some of these wines came from a stressful growing season.”

Richard Hemming on “the maddening minutiae” of wine labels on JancisRobinson.com.

In Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery wants you to give moscato another chance.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, looks at how the popular Treasure Wine Estates brand 19 Crimes succeeds by breaking all the wine marketing rules.

Ray Isle offers tips for visiting Lake Geneva in Food & Wine.

In GQ, Eric Wareheim gives “a no-bullshit beginner’s guide to the trendy new (yet very old) world of natural wine.”

Daily Wine News: The Problem With Rosé

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-09-2018

glassofrose“While pale-rosé snobs exist in North America, it seems apparent from the celebration of rosé’s pinkness in the US (Drink pink! Rosé all day!) that the “only pale is good” philosophy hasn’t seeped into the mainstream US market. But pale prejudice has reached the high-end market, as aspirational Americans are suddenly paying more for flavorless, pale rosés than they normally spend on high-quality white wines.” W. Blake Gray on the problem with rosé on Wine-Searcher.

In Wine Enthusiast, Anne Krebiehl sings praise for Austrian reds: “perfect matches for the trends of today. They fit that lighter, food-friendly paradigm of reds that offer toned silhouettes…Their power is more often expressed aromatically than through assertive tannins or overly firm structures, while bright acidity highlights every nuance of fruit and spice.”

In Forbes, Jill Barth reports on the Center for Rosé Research, located in Vidauban, which exists to maintain the high quality of rosé from Provence.

“I’d argue that generally speaking, we don’t want our wines to taste nicer, but truer” says Jamie Goode.

Scott Rosenbaum highlights the “7 Essential Books Every Wine Professional Should Own” in SevenFifty Daily.

Grape Collective talks with Sami Ghosn of Massaya Winery about the political issues faced as a winemaker in Lebanon.

In Wine Spectator, MaryAnn Worobiec shares a report on Australia’s 2018 harvest: “vintners are reporting a mostly uneventful vintage. They say yields are slightly lower than last year’s, but they are pleased with the resulting wines.”

Ethan Fixell explores Colorado wine in Tasting Table.

Daily Wine News: Mindfulness & Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-08-2018

(Flickr: noviceromano)

(Flickr: noviceromano)

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford ponders mindfulness and wine, and points out the similarities between the two. “You can indeed be a mindful wine taster; wine tasting at its most subtle and rewarding is a ‘mindful’ activity par excellence.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Sean P. Sullivan profiles six pioneering family-run wineries of Washington that helped put the state’s wines on the map.

In Meininger’s, Felicity Carter looks at the Global Wine Database, a new system created to help track the vintage, sugar, alcohol levels and other technical data of every wine in it. “Eventually, the database will become a data treasure chest. It will be possible to see which regions are growing or shrinking, how wine styles are morphing and which producers are expanding.”

Tom Mullen reports on the list of participants at this year’s Heart’s Delight Wine Tasting and Auction in Forbes.

“According to a March study released by the Washington DC-based Wine Origins Alliance (WOA)…94 percent of American wine drinkers support laws that would protect consumers from misleading wine labels,” reports Liza B. Zimmerman in Wine-Searcher.

“I began thinking about wine and opera, and some obvious similarities started me worrying about the two subjects running on parallel courses. While things are generally looking up in the wine world, the status of opera, even New York City’s Metropolitan Opera, seems dire. Was I missing warning signals about wine?” Christy Canterbury explores the similarities between wine and opera on Tim Atkin’s site.

In the Daily Beast, Alex Rowell on the history of Islamic wine poetry.

In Beverage Media, Roger Morris offers tips for how to deal with the slow-mover bottles that aren’t selling well.

Daily Wine News: Serious Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-07-2018

(Source: Wikimedia)

(Source: Wikimedia)

In the Washington Post, Jason Wilson considers the trajectory of grüner veltliner in an adapted excerpt from his new book, Godforsaken Grapes. “I spent a good deal of time in Austria, tasting gruner veltliner all along the Danube. As I moved from Kremstal to Kamptal, from Weinviertel to Wagram to Wachau, what struck me most was that the better producers seemed determined to evolve the grape far, far away from the “Groo-Vee” vibe and to climb the ladder toward becoming a truly Serious Wine.”

Jancis Robinson looks at the renaissance of Spain’s garnacha wines. “As part of a new wave of Spanish wines, ambitious, sophisticated Garnachas are proliferating not just in Aragon and next-door Navarra (where Garnacha has long been the key ingredient in dark rosados), but even in Rioja, Spain’s most classical wine region, where Garnacha’s star is rising.”

“I’m often the only person of color at tastings. We represent less than 10% of attendees. How is this in 2018? I know many wine professionals of color. We’re out here, it’s not hard to find us. We just need to be welcomed in.” In Wine Enthusiast, Julia Coney writes about diversity in the world of wine.

National Geographic reports on what could be the earliest known winery, found in an Armenian cave.

On Drink Insider, Terry Lozoff on the winemakers dedicated to elevating the quality of California syrah. “These winemakers… are producing Syrah that is fresh, savory, peppery, terroir-driven and filled with energy – not the weighty, overripe, big alcohol fruit bombs that California Syrah was once known for.”

Alice Feiring debunks the myth that natural wines don’t age.

In SevenFifty Daily, Kathleen Wilcox talks to somms and beverage directors about their revelatory wine moments.

Wine Reviews: New Releases from Virginia

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-05-2018

Having lived in the DC area for about a dozen years, I’ve been able to explore lots of wine country in Virginia, and I’ve seen quite a lot of change in that time. Not just the increase in the number of wineries and wines being produced (about 6.6 million bottles of Virginia wine was sold in 2016), but Virginia has seen more attention from consumers and tourists, newcomers making a scene, and benchmark producers continuing to excel.

I’m very much looking forward to tasting and reviewing the top 12 wines from the Virginia Governor’s Cup Awards soon (as I’ve done on this blog for the past three or four years), but, in the meantime, I’ve received a bunch of Virginia wine samples to highlight. Rosés, steely Chard, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, and more, diversity in Virginia wine is a beautiful thing.

These wines were tasted sighted.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Riesling, Terroir & More

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-04-2018



In the New York Times, Eric Asimov on the “graceful, resonant, delicious” 2016 dry German rieslings. “Rieslings from Austria generally feel firmer, denser and more penetrating, while those from Alsace are altogether bigger and more voluminous. If I can speak generally about dry German rieslings, which can vary considerably depending on which region they come from, they are often far more delicate in texture than the others, precise and jewel-like rather than rich.”

“Compared to the so-called “flying winemakers” of the ’90s and 2000s, Parra might best be considered a “flying terroirist” for a new paradigm that favors place over style.” In Punch, Megan Krigbaum profiles terroir consultant Pedro Parra, who’s now bringing his expertise home to one of the oldest wine regions in Chile. “The more Parra delves into the winemaking side, the more he finds that legends in the industry are still looking for answers as to why wines taste the way they do.”

“The distance between points at the top of the scale may be greater today than ever before…But do the wines that win the big scores really deserve their big numbers? And do those big numbers all mean the same thing when they’re awarded by different wine critics?” Lettie Teague investigates in the Wall Street Journal.

Antonio Galloni offers his 2017 Bordeaux reports in Vinous.

Oregon’s Willamette Valley winemakers rarely turn their famous Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes into sparkling wine. But a few esteemed pioneers, and one mobile bottler, are changing course with bottles that are approaching Champagne-quality levels, reports Paul Gregutt in Wine Enthusiast.

In the Seattle Times, Brian J. Cantwell reports on what’s new and what’s novel in Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine country.

In Forbes, Tom Mullen explores the rise of Swiss wines.

Convenience, pricing and demographic change continue to drive the internet wine market in the US. Liza B. Zimmerman reports on the phenomenon in Wine-Searcher.

Daily Wine News: Veterans Making Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-03-2018

Vincent Van Gogh's "Farmhouse in Provence" (Wikimedia).

Vincent Van Gogh’s “Farmhouse in Provence” (Wikimedia).

In Atlas Obscura, Alexis Steinman reports on a vineyard in Provence where retired French soldiers make wine. “At Domaine Capitaine Danjou, wine is the fuel that keeps the place and the veterans running. How fitting that foreigners who fought for France can spend their retirement engaging in the most French of traditions.”

Terry Theise’s 2017 Germany vintage report is available on Skurnik’s blog. “It was not an easy vintage! But it is a good one, at times a very good one, and at times perhaps a great one, which we will know in the fullness of time.”

On Tim Atkin’s site, Peter Pharos explores the red wines of northeastern Greece and the status of Greek wine worldwide. “It is a sign of the increased sophistication of both the local and the international markets that more attention is paid to native Greek varieties…The establishment of the new Greek wine as a legitimate, if small, player in the international scene, means also that there is more interest and space for new terroirs and wineries.”

Aaron Menenberg explores what role vidal blanc should play in the future of Maryland wine in the Cork Report.

Laura Ziegler profiles Jerry Eisterhold of Vox Vineyards in Missouri, who’s working to save grape varieties native to the Midwest that nobody has cultivated in for more than 150 years.

“The reality is, we’re facing a changing landscape here in the Napa Valley. Wildfire is nothing new in California; in this region, the climate and topography make it a virtual guarantee,” writes Lee Charles Gregory Neal in the Sacramento Bee.

The next big thing in Beaujolais? Pinot Noir and even Syrah, says Jonathan Cristaldi in Food & Wine.

In the Chicago Tribune, Michael Austin on the joys of Pedro Ximenez sherry.

Daily Wine News: Oregon Chardonnay

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-02-2018

Chardonnay. (Wikimedia)

Chardonnay. (Wikimedia)

“The emergence of Chardonnay in the Willamette Valley is less a birth than a rebirth, a renaissance of sorts.” In SevenFifty Daily, Courtney Schiessl on why Oregon producers are now championing the other Burgundian grape, and looks at how they’re finding a growing audience.

In Vinous, Neal Martin shares his report on the 2017 Bordeaux vintage after attending this year’s en primeur tastings.

In Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery breaks down the difference between cool-climate and warm-climate wines.

In Wine Spectator, Matt Kramer ponders whether our taste preferences and willingness to try new wines ever stop changing.

James Lawrence reports on the rebellion that has broken out among producers fed up with Cava’s cheap and cheerful image in Wine-Searcher.

Has the rosé wave hit a wall? W.R. Tish looks at what we can expect from the rosé trend this spring and summer in Beverage Media.

Andrew Jefford examines the uniqueness of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in Decanter.

In Wines & Vines, Linda Jones McKee reports on the late spring start and compressed time period for bud break in vineyards throughout the East.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, finds a surprising and diverse wine scene in Idaho.