Daily Wine News: Hipster Somms

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-21-2016

(Flickr: Daniel Gasienica)

(Flickr: Daniel Gasienica)

Stuart Pigott shares his feelings about the rise of the hipster sommelier in Grape Collective. “Of course, the hipster somms are a special sub-group of the Hipsters as a mind-boggling, jaw-dropping whole… For me meeting a hipster somm was often like a blind date with a stunningly beautiful android that went horribly wrong.”

What are today’s affordable California cult wines? James Lawrence takes a look at the category in Wine-Searcher.

Elvio Cogno, winemaker from Italy’s Piedmont region who worked at Marcarini and his own winery, died June 12, reports Wine Spectator. He was 79 years old.

In Palate Press, W. Blake Gray discovers the pockets of Santa Barbara County growing cabernet.

Some restaurants in San Luis Obispo County are removing Justin Vineyards wines to show their disapproval of Justin’s environmental actions.

Carson Demmond dishes out some useful advice on how to keep your hot apartment from killing your wine in Food & Wine.

In the Huffington Post, John Mariani features Murrieta’s Well in the Livermore Valley, a winery that reportedly “refuses to make wines to wine ratings points.”

In Forbes, Thomas Pellechia talks to winemakers in several countries about the impact of climate change.

New Zealand’s 2016 vintage is up 34% on last year’s crop, but still below the record-breaking 2014 harvest, reports the Drinks Business.

Daily Wine News: Energy & Experiments

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-20-2016

Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Vittoria's only DOCG. (Wikimedia)

Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Sicily’s only DOCG. (Wikimedia)

Alfonso Cevola focuses on Vittoria, “Etna’s little (and formidable) sister.” “’It’s flatter, warmer, not as sexy, and a bit more entrenched in the daily business of winemaking… But there is an energy that emanates from the wine region of Vittoria that feels new and unblemished.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre discovers Mid-Atlantic producers experimenting with small batch series and pét-nat. “The Mid-Atlantic is still defining itself as a wine region…But when we visit local wineries, we should not pass up these experimental wines. They may be the winemaker’s diversion, but they may also be unique and delicious.”

James Molesworth on how a rosé boom in New York’s Hamptons has allowed Roman Roth if Wölffer Estate to improve on his serious reds in Wine Spectator.

Jancis Robinson considers how Torres’ classified ads contributed to recovering indigenous vines in Catalan.

In Vinous, Antonio Galloni checks in on the 2004 and 2005 Barbarescos and reflects on the vintages’ growing seasons.

NPR gets thinking about microbes’ role in terroir.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray reports on the recent protest over tree removal at Justin Vineyards in Paso Robles and how it’s related to an ongoing issue of water rights.

In Palate Press, Simon Woolf explores the preconceptions he once had of Riesling.

Wine Reviews: Hentley Farm

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-18-2016

Hentley Farm is a Barossa Valley player to watch. In the 1990s, founders Keith and Alison Hentschke purchased their 150-acre vineyard in the Seppeltsfield area. Their first Hentley Farm wines debuted in 2002. Two years later, they purchased the adjacent Clos Otto block, which is now the source of their high-end Shiraz.

Their wines display the classic Barossa depth and concentration, but I was surprised at the vibrancy and freshness of some of these wines. While the Clos Otto is truly a stunner of a wine (with a price tag to match) the relative value of the other Hentley Farm Shiraz offerings is very impressive.

The wines are crafted by Andrew Quin, a horticulturist turned winemaker who worked with St. Francis in Sonoma and Jacques Lurton in Bordeaux before returning to make wine in his native Australia.

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

Daily Wine News: Retiring “Champagne”

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-17-2016

Alder Yarrow wants to know why labels like this haven't been retired yet.

Alder Yarrow wants to know why labels like this haven’t been retired yet.

“OK America, it’s time to put on your big boy pants, and start playing responsibly with the rest of the world,” says Alder Yarrow, who believes it’s about time companies like Korbel, Andre, J. Roget, and Cook’s retire using the term “Champagne” on their bottles.

In the New York Times, Florence Fabricant tastes wines with Sacha Lichine, the owner of Château d’Esclans in Provence. “What distinguishes today’s rosés from the often-candied “blush” bottles of the past, he said, is finesse. They are light yet floral, he said, with some richness, and the paler the better, a style that has conferred prestige.”

Steve Heimoff offers his thoughts about millennials and brand loyalty.

Decanter’s Jane Anson looks at the main reasons why Bordeaux châteaux are still holding stock back.

The Drinks Business looks at how the Italian bulk wine market is evolving.

According to Wines & Vines, direct-to-consumer shipments jumped 30% in May and off-premises sales increased by 5%.

Justin Vineyards in Paso Robles is being criticized for clear-cutting oak trees on a site planned to be used for an irrigation pond filled with well water and vineyards, reports the Paso Robles Daily News.

The 2016 Wine Blog Winners have been announced.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy considers what the world’s best wine lists are.

Daily Wine News: Growing Field Blends

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-16-2016

Vineyard in Vienna.

Vineyard in Vienna.

The Drinks Business looks at the rise of quality Gemischter Satz — the traditional field blend wine of Vienna. “Gemischter Satz now accounts for a quarter of Viennese vineyards, with the number growing says Wieninger, who predicts it could increase to up to a third. The grape has even overtaken plantings for Grüner Veltliner, which stand at around 22%…”

In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth explores Long Island wine country. “The wines have made progress in terms of quality, but I can’t say they’ve come as far as other U.S. regions that started around the same time.”

Elin McCoy looks at how orange wines have matured from a “flash-in-the-pan trend to serious summer quaff” in Bloomberg.

Ian D’Agata reports on the new releases from Umbria in Vinous.

Thanks to a few Spanish entrepreneurs, “blue wine” is now a thing. But what is blue wine, exactly? Eater investigates.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague profiles Günter Seeger, a chef who “is as passionate about wine as he is about food.”

Decanter highlights six Sonoma Coast producers to watch.

In the World of Fine Wine, Ella Lister reports on a tasting of the family-owned St-Emilion property, Château Larcis Durcasse that afforded unique insights into its different expressions over 70 years.

Daily Wine News: China’s Gold Rush

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-15-2016

Ningxia wine region (Source: Ningxia Wine Guide)

Ningxia wine region (Source: Ningxia Wine Guide)

“More than 100 of Bordeaux’s estimated 7,000 chateaux are reportedly owned by Chinese tycoons…Now, the chateaux are springing up back home too, with Ningxia…becoming ground zero for budding Chinese vintners.” In the Guardian, Tom Phillips reports on the “gold rush” to China’s Ningxia wine region.

In the Sacramento Bee, Mike Dunne looks into the rise of petite sirah plantings in California. “Whether the additional acreage signals a significant shift from its customary role as supporting actor to star remains to be seen.”

Wonder what the 2016 MW examination papers entailed? Purple Pages shares what the test entailed, including the list of wines tasted.

Researchers have found that the microbial mix found in grape must may predict which metabolites, which shape a wine’s flavor and texture, will be found in the finished wine.

In WineFolly, Madeline Puckette highlights the work of Andrew Beckham, a winemaker in Oregon using amphorae to make wine.

Wine Enthusiast profiles six leading winemakers from Virginia.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, visits leading cork producer, Corticeira Amorim in Portugal and learns about innovations being made to cork closures.

Patrick Cappiello, operating partner and wine director of Rebelle and Pearl & Ash, shares 9 “hipster” Napa wineries to watch in the Drinks Business.

In Palate Press, Erika Szymanski suggests ten rules for defining a cool climate wine region.

Daily Wine News: Difference in Terroir

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-14-2016

Lambrusco (Wikimedia)

Lambrusco (Wikimedia)

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford looks at the difference between the concept of terroir in Burgundy and Bordeaux. “The concept of terroir is France’s greatest single contribution to wine culture.  How strange, then, that terroir is defined in a strikingly different manner in Bordeaux and Burgundy.”

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto checks out the wines of fourth-generation winemaker Christian Bellei, who applies methods learned in Champagne to Lambrusco.

In Harpers, Erin Smith looks at how women are still under-represented in key roles in the wine industry.

Marissa A. Ross considers the pros and cons of boxed and canned wines in Bon Appétit.

According to the Drinks Business, “a group of cat lovers in Denver have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the opening of America’s first wine bar populated by rescue cats.

W. Blake Gray gets a taste of Columbia Crest’s crowd-sourced winemaking project and shares his thoughts.

Virginie Boone offers tips on traveling through the West Sonoma Coast in Wine Enthusiast.

“Bordeaux wine estates pushed prices higher as the sales campaign for the 2015 vintage quickened, with Chateau Haut Bailly increased more than 50 percent and Chateau Cos d’Estournel up more than 40 percent,” reports Bloomberg.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague shares a guide to 20 summer wines under $20.

Daily Wine News: Big Wine & Buzz

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-13-2016

Joseph Wagner (Source: Copper Cane)

Joe Wagner (Source: Copper Cane)

Esther Mobley profiles Joe Wagner — owner of Copper Cane Wine & Provisions who sold Meiomi for $315 million last year — in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Born an heir to one of Napa Valley’s most storied empires, Wagner is blazing a new trail, and the industry doesn’t quite know what to make of it.”

Should Mt. Etna worry about “Big Wine” coming to the region? Alfonso Cevola investigates. “Etna is a sexy flamethrower in the arsenal of today’s wine influencers. It might go the way of Gruner – back to its corner. But I don’t think so. There’s more to it than buzz.”

Decanter explores what makes the wines of Etna so special.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre profiles Rollin Soles, who co-founded Oregon’s Argyle winery and now makes “a new variation” of whole-cluster fermented pinot noir under his label, Roco.

Jancis Robinson considers what makes a good “food rosé” and recommends some of her favorites.

In Palate Press, Roger Morris explores the potential of Brazilian wines.

Liza B. Zimmerman on the advantages of importing wine directly from the producer in Wine-Searcher.

In Grape Collective, Giuseppe Sesti talks to Monty Waldin about how Brunello came out stronger following a very public wine scandal.

Wine Reviews: Palmina

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-11-2016

I’ve known about Palmina’s wines for a while, but this was the first time I tasted them. The verdict for me is abundantly clear: these wines are fascinating and delicious.

Based in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County, Palmina has a singular and precise vision: to make site-specific California interpretations of some classic Northern Italian grapes. But these aren’t your burly, heavily-oaked Cal-Itals. Palmina’s wines share a characteristic elegance, refreshing acidity, and moderate alcohol content. These wines are made with native yeast fermentation and they’re aged in old oak barrels.

Steve Clifton kicked off Palmina in 1995. He started off only making red wines from sites around Santa Barbara County. He expanded to make a few whites, including a Pinot Grigio that may give people dismissive about this grape some cause to reconsider. I cannot remember a $20 California white wine I’ve gotten that excited about in a long time. For the floral, tropical-loving white wine drinker, the Malvasia Bianca is a must-try. Considering these wines all fall into the $20-$40 range, the amount of quality for the price is very impressive.

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

Daily Wine News: On Speaking Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-10-2016

Champagnes Salon & Delamotte

Champagnes Salon & Delamotte.

In Purple Pages, Richard Hemming ponders the problems with wine jargon — words like “minerality” and “freshness” and “legs”. “Using the right terms – especially abbreviated versions – is a shortcut way of boasting your credibility among peers. Which is why conversations between wine people often resembles communication between spies.”

In Vinous, Antonio Galloni shares thoughts on a vertical tasting of vintages from 1959-2007 from Champagnes Salon and Delamotte. “When Salon does not declare a vintage, the wines go to Delamotte, Salon’s sister property and neighbor. Because of that, the Delamotte Champagnes are often mentioned as an after thought. That is a shame, because the Delamotte Champagnes deserve to be appreciated on their own terms…”

“But the most hopeful thing, as I concluded after nearly three weeks here, is that the wines of Burgundy are better than they have ever been,” says Jon Bonné in Punch. “That’s both an obvious statement and a complicated one.”

Tim Atkin hopes for a better future for Spain’s image. “Things have clearly improved a great deal since DH Lawrence described Spanish wine as “the sulphurous urination of some aged horse”, but there are very few fine wines that are traded, auctioned and coveted by collectors…a greater focus on terroir is surely essential in Spain. Top down, not bottom up, is the only viable future.”

According to Wine Spectator, E. & J. Gallo has purchased Orin Swift Cellars, which winemaker Dave Phinney founded in 1998.

In Decanter, Jane Anson works back from the storming of the Bastille and delves into the world of Bordeaux wine before the French Revolution of 1789.

Daniel Burrus explains how technology is transforming the wine industry in the Huffington Post.

In Munchies, Céline Maguet profiles Anjou’s Mosse family.