Daily Wine News: Napa Valley’s Wine Train Turns 30

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-06-2019

(Source: winetrain.com)

(Source: winetrain.com)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley looks back on 30 years of Napa Valley’s Wine Train. “The Wine Train has revealed Napa at its worst, a window into the region’s cultural crises and shortcomings. In the ’80s and ’90s, it seemed to distill all the valley’s anxieties about encroaching development. Four years ago, it became a stand-in for questions around the wine industry’s lack of inclusivity. And still today it finds itself at the center of an ongoing debate around increasingly dire shortages of housing and labor.”

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov pays a visit to Heitz Cellar, where he finds old-school techniques that call into question some cherished contemporary beliefs about wine. “A visit to Heitz’s winemaking facility in Spring Valley, an almost hidden nook off the Silverado Trail, is like entering a time machine to 1970s Napa Valley, the dawn of the modern era of California wine production. Perhaps even then, the Heitz methods were considered eccentric.

In Wine Spectator, Ben O’Donnell reports on how a newly discovered winery in northern Israel sheds light on how people lived and drank there in the 12th century. “The recent discovery of the largest-yet-found Crusader winery, possibly the hub of winemaking in the northern part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, could shed new light on how the Crusaders worked, lived and played.”

In Wine-Searcher, Caroline Henry reports on the challenging 2019 Champagne vintage.

In Decanter, Jane Anson visits the estate behind the ‘most expensive wine in Bordeaux’ and reports on plans at several estates to resurrect old and rare grape varieties.

Joaquín Hidalgo offers an in-depth report on Argentina’s terroirs in Vinous.

On Wine Folly, Madeline Puckette explores the potential of Chambourcin.

Daily Wine News: Phylloxera Found in WA

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-05-2019

Closeup of phylloxera on a leaf. (Wikimedia)

Closeup of phylloxera on a leaf. (Wikimedia)

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray reports that phylloxera has been found for the first time in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley.

In SevenFifty Daily, Jonathan Cristaldi explores the evolution of cannabis wine. “In the race to capitalize on all the ways cannabis can be consumed, only a handful of companies have set their sights on cannabis-infused wine, and only a few, it seems, have been successful in actually bringing a product to market.”

The harvest has begun in Champagne, according to Meininger’s.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan responds to a recent Washington Post article on climate change, and ponders whether we need a new term for “sustainability” in grape growing and winemaking.

Elaine Chukan Brown writes about her visit to Screaming Eagle for Club Oenologique. “This is a strikingly naturalistic approach in a region often more associated with blockbuster wines and gilded wineries. But then, everything at Screaming Eagle is more nuanced than its reputation suggests.”

In Quartz, Natasha Frost looks at how Burgundy’s recent hottest summers are changing the region’s wines.

In the New York Times, Florence Fabricant highlights four new natural wine bars debuting in New York this fall.

Daily Wine News: Activist Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-04-2019

wine_pour_glass-651694.jpg!dIn Bloomberg, Elin McCoy explores the growing category of activist wines. “As with the broader rise of ethical consumerism, wines that do good, as well as taste good, aren’t just a passing fashion. They represent a serious shift in the industry that’s gone from niche to mainstream over the past few years.”

In Wine-Searcher, Oliver Styles ponders the hopeless hunt for the perfect wine. “…there is nowhere to go from perfection, and so I think that defeats the core of appreciation, of existence: which is to be inspirational. I find perfection to be the opposite of this: sterile. A 99-point wine still has hope.”

In Vinous, Stephen Tanzer offers a report on Larkmead Vineyards’ wines. “Even the two wines I focused on—the Solari Cabernet Sauvignon and the LMV Salon—have evolved dramatically since their initial vintages (2001 and 2003, respectively) and winemaker Dan Petroski continues to fine-tune these wines in search of greater complexity and longevity and more moderate alcohol levels.”

Robert Camuto visits three Rhônes winemakers that are friends, competitors and collaborators and together are pushing the limits in Wine Spectator.

In Wine Enthusiast, Mekita Rivas highlights wine and weed tours in Denver, Sonoma County and the Willamette Valley.

The Philadelphia Citizen shares an excerpt from Jason Wilson’s new book, The Cider Revival.

And for a fun one: a new wine study found that 28% of Brits think “terroir” is a breed of dog, and 30% thought the term is a genre of French horror film.

Daily Wine News: Heating Up

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-03-2019

heat_thermometer_-_shutterstock-1503937363-6790In Bloomberg, Jonathan Tirone reports on Burgundy’s heat wave. “Hotter temperatures over the last three decades have resulted in Burgundy grapes being harvested on average 13 days earlier than they were over the last 664 years…”

“Extreme weather – including frost, drought and hail – has been blamed for a predicted fall in French wine output of 12% in 2019,” reports Chris Wilson in Decanter.

In Wine-Searcher, Vicki Denig delves into the significant changes happening in Finger Lakes wine. “Increases in sustainability, a push towards varieties beyond the usual, new styles of winemaking, and an expansion of commercial presence are unanimously on the horizons…”

Fred Swan responds to Jamie Goode’s recent post about the size of E&J Gallo’s three largest wineries. “Goode didn’t overtly pass judgement. On social media though, a lot of the commentary and shares were quite negative… Vilifying them based on assumptions, because of scale, or because the wines aren’t to the taste of connoisseurs, isn’t reasonable or fair.”

Katherine Cole explores why honey is the next frontier in drinks in SevenFifty Daily.

In Fortune, Shana Clarke explains how the new grapes now permitted in Bordeaux could be the solution to climate change the wine industry is looking for.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre highlights how winemakers Mimi Casteel and Dan Petroski are working to combat climate change.

Daily Wine News: Cinsault, Climate Change & More

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-30-2019

pouring-wine-1952051_1280In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the most recent Wine School, obscure Italian reds, and announces what’s up next: old-vine cinsault from Itata Valley in southern Chile.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley profiles winemaker Shauna Rosenblum of Rock Wall Wine Co., daughter of California Zinfandel pioneer Kent Rosenblum.

Elsewhere in the Chronicle, Mobley offers an early look at California’s 2019 wine harvest.

In Newsweek, Jonathan Nossiter pens “a manifesto for the agriculture and natural wine.”

Nicole Schnitzler offers a wine lover’s guide to Montreal in Wine Enthusiast.

In Town & Country, Karen Lubeck explores Washington wine.

In Forbes, Michelle Williams ponders the future of canned wine.

Guides to workplace etiquette rarely include advice on how to handle ordering and drinking wine in a professional setting. In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague fills in the blanks with some practical guidelines. (subscription req.)

In Barron’s Penta, Abby Shultz reports on how Napa Valley winemakers can prepare the region for climate change.

Daily Wine News: Hudson Valley Hybrids

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-29-2019

Seyval blanc, a hybrid grape. (Wikimedia)

Seyval blanc, a hybrid grape. (Wikimedia)

Carrie Dykes pens a defense of hybrid grapes in Hudson Valley Wine Magazine. “Hybrid wines are the backbone of the Hudson Valley wine industry. Vilified in the 20th century, many hybrid vines were ripped up…Today, a keen perception shift is taking place, either out of necessity—as in Champagne and many other highly regulated regions of Germany, Austria, and Hungary, turning to the use of hybrids to combat the effects of climate change on their production, or out of sheer interest and a realization of the beauty that can be found in these wines.”

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Rachel DelRocco Terrazas reports on the new wave of Mexican wines that are making their way over the border. “While Bichi has generated the most interest in the US, they’re just one part of a growing community of enólogos defining the terroir of the desert southwest in Baja California.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Alex Russan delves into the science of pigmentation, extraction, and color in wine.

In Bon Appétit, Marissa A. Ross turns her attention to Greek Kontozisis Vineyards’ wines: “…it reminded me of how much I love discovering and drinking and learning about varieties I’d never heard of in places I’d never been before. That’s why we all get into wine, isn’t it? To be surprised and delighted by what is in our glass?”

What do Gen Z wine consumers want from the wine industry? Liz Thach breaks it down on WineBusiness.com. “They are adopting wine at nearly the same rate as Millennials, and seem to be mainly positive about it. They are quite different from previous generations…”

In Decanter, Amanda Barnes reports on South America’s new frontier: Patagonia. (subscription req.)

In Wine Enthusiast, Shayla Martin explores Cleveland’s growing wine scene.

Daily Wine News: The 3 Largest Wineries

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-28-2019


One of Gallo’s production facilities

California’s E&J Gallo owns the three largest wineries in the world. Jamie Goode goes on an eye-opening tour of the production wineries via Google Earth. “In 2011, Modesto bottled and shipped 90 million gallons of wine. Livingston produced 160 million gallons and Fresno produced 110 million gallons. They also make their own glass: Gallo Glass produces 2 million bottles a day.”

In Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox looks at how recent changes on Instagram and Facebook will affect modern wine marketing. “So if Instagram is stymieing influencer side-gigs and the sales of wineries, will the multi-billion industry change? Some hope so.”

In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph ponders historical wines. “At a time when populist politicians gain power by promising a return to illusory times gone by, it seems reasonable to worry about fewer young people wanting to learn from the past.”

In Forbes, Lauren Mowery talks bubbles and Finger Lakes wine with Nancy Irelan, winemaker and co-owner of Red Tail Ridge Winery near Seneca Lake.

In VinePair, Celine Bossart profiles sommelier and entrepreneur Tahiirah Habibi.

On the Terroir Review, Meg Houston Maker pays a visit to Vermont’s Windfall Orchard, where Brad Koehler is reviving century-old trees to produce farmstead ciders and perry.

In Newsweek, Josie Zeiger explores Spanish wine country.

Daily Wine News: Succession

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-27-2019

(Flickr: noviceromano)

(Flickr: noviceromano)

Succession planning is one of the major issues facing the global wine industry. In Meininger’s, Felicity Carter looks at how Château de Sales in Pomerol is handling it.

On the Northforker, Lenn Thompson highlights a handful of wine books covering “the unique, the weird, the East Coast wine industry.”

In Forbes, Lauren Mowery talks to the husband-and-wife team behind Fjord Vineyards in the Hudson Valley

In Wine Enthusiast, I explore the growing demand for younger, brighter and lighter wines.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Maggie Hennessy covers lambrusco’s comeback. “It got a reputation in the 1980s as being industrially made and cloyingly sweet. But now it’s back, like the tasteful acid-wash jean, and it, too, wears its acid well.”

On the Drinks Business, Lucy Shaw finds that while New Zealand may only produce a small amount of Pinot Noir, “it punches well above its weight when it comes to quality…”

On his blog, Alfonso Cevola explores the (male) wine writers that inspire and influence him.

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Jarvis delves into the world of cork taint.

Daily Wine News: Rethinking Winegrowing

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-26-2019

(Flickr: telex4)

(Flickr: telex4)

In PUNCH, Leslie Pariseau profiles farmer, biologist and winemaker Mimi Casteel of Hope Well Vineyard in Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills, who is trying to change an entire industry’s mind about the way it grows wine. “Casteel diverges from the natural and biodynamic schools in major ways. And it’s not even so much that she diverges from them, but rather she magpies certain practices, cobbles them together and then leapfrogs so far beyond any one school that she’s not just growing grapes according to a dogmatic formula, but growing the soil itself according to what it needs, in the moment that it needs it.”

“I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about Chianti Classico and its wines,” says Antonio Galloni in his report on 2016 Chianti Classico in Vinous.

In Wine-Searcher, Don Kavanagh explores the rise in interest in Italian wine in recent years.

“AXA Millésimes has acquired a second estate in Portugal’s Douro Valley: Quinta do Passadouro. The sale includes the brand, the cellars and 89 acres that lie close to the vines of the France-based company’s other Portuguese estate, Quinta do Noval,” reports Wine Spectator.

“The WSET Diploma of Wine syllabus now includes information on orange, or amber, wines, signalling mainstream acceptance of the ancient style,” reports Meininger’s.

In the Robb Report, Sara L. Schneider explores wines from Mendocino.

In Decanter, Rosemary George MW makes the case for Petit Chablis. (subscription req.)

Amber Gibson explores the diversity of Washington wine in Forbes.

Wine Reviews: International Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 08-24-2019

This week, I’m back with a catch-all report of wines I received these past few months but didn’t get around to reviewing until recently. (It’s been a busy and enjoyable summer, and I hope the same is true for you.)

Anyway… Smith-Madrone’s Spring Mountain wines are consistently some of my favorite from Napa, and I love their Chardonnay and Riesling in particular. So, since I tasted these wines sighted, I tried to approach them with as much skepticism as possible. That said, the 2016s showed wonderfully. Crystal clear, pristine wines, and both are worthy for serious cellar time. Especially considering the price, I’m still amazed these wines exist.

C.V.N.E. comes through with some moderately-priced Riojas worth checking out. And Italy’s Garafoli provides three wines from Marche that offer some deliciousness and intrigue for the price.

Lastly, Virginia’s Early Mountain delivers a juicy red quaffer that’s perfect for late summer evenings.

All of these wines were received as samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »