Daily Wine News: Varying Vintages

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

Toast with red wine“Yet what was most striking about the three 2013 Bordeaux I suggested was not the good-value case they might have made. Instead, it was how the wines were so touched by the characteristics of the 2013 vintage, which by all accounts was a difficult one.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov explores wines from the most recent Wine School, value Bordeaux, and announces what’s up next: Rosso di Montalcino.

Pingus creator Peter Sisseck has implored fellow winemakers in Spain to remember the “art of blending” grapes from different locations alongside a more recent trend for single vineyard recognition. Chris Mercer shares more details in Decanter.

Ray Isle recently spent a few weeks working in wine stores around the country. He shares seven tips on how to shop for wine smarter in Food & Wine.

Alfonso Cevola goes searching for “the secret life of the wild, the feral, the untamed” in Italy, and finds timelessness in several of its wine regions.

In the Guardian, David Williams on why some winemakers are moving away from using “shiraz” on their labels, and putting “syrah” instead.

Shana Clarke reports on how Maureen Downey is using blockchain technology to prevent fraud in the wine industry in SevenFifty Daily.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre reports on this year’s Premiere Napa Valley auction.

Wine Reviews: Colorado Governor’s Cup Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 03-03-2018

I’ve been tasting the winners of Colorado’s Governor’s Cup Awards for two years now, and here’s my third installment.

Like Virginia’s renowned Governor’s Cup, the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board kicked off a similar program in 2011. For the 2017 competition, 46 wineries submitted 325 wines, and the top 12, which I reviewed, are featured prominently as part of a “Governor’s Cup Case.”

Colorado doesn’t crack the top 10 states in terms of production. According to the Colorado Wine trade group, Colorado wineries released about 178,000 cases in 2017. But with abundant sunshine (more than 300 days per year) and low humidity, the raw ingredients are there. And there seems to be quite a bit of enthusiasm and experimentation going on in Colorado.

A few of the “wines” in this case aren’t grape wines. A cider, a mead and a fruit wine are included. Also, one of the wines comes from Sonoma County fruit, which struck me as odd, and perhaps counterproductive, for a competition designed to focus on Colorado’s wine industry. That said, there were some delicious and impressive wines in the mix.

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

Daily Wine News: Staying Power

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-02-2018

(Flickr: Niklas Hellerstedt)

(Flickr: Niklas Hellerstedt)

Ian D’Agata offers a comprehensive report on Sardinia’s wines in Vinous. “Whereas decades ago there were too many overly alcoholic, rustic reds and simple whites with little staying power, that is no longer true today… Of course, old vines are important everywhere in the world, but in Sardinia their presence is paramount.”

In Decanter, Jane Anson examines some of the changes at Château Brane-Cantenac and tastes a decade of vintages of both the first and second wines.

The wine grape harvest in Washington state in 2017 was down 16 percent from 2016, reports the Associated Press.

In the Sacramento Bee, James Conaway, author of Napa at Last Light, shares his grim outlook for the state and the direction of the valley: “I don’t see any hope. It’s too late for it to become an agricultural Yosemite. I hope the pressure to clear hillsides abates, but I don’t have much faith in its stopping.”

Jamie Goode pens a short profile of António Madeira, “a new star from Dão, Portugal.”

What does your wine bottle really say about the wine inside? Tammie Teclemariam dives into what’s behind your wine bottle in Wine Enthusiast.

Are Gran Seleziones really the best Chianti Classicos? W. Blake Gray weighs in on the question in Wine-Searcher.

In Forbes, Leslie Wu talks wine pairings with Master of Wine Tim Hanni.

Daily Wine News: Less is More?

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-01-2018

(Source: Wikimedia)

(Source: Wikimedia)

“We live in the era of the fresh, mineral and tangy, of carbonic maceration and minimal tannin, of unpretentious wines that offer pleasure in watercolor shades,” says Jon Bonné in Punch. “And yet, while I have no desire for Big Flavor to return, I have to wonder: Have we gone too far in our craving for less being more?”

Betsy Andrews explores the challenges—and thrills—of selling spätburgunder in SevenFifty Daily. “Climate change is helping with ripeness and encouraging new plantings. Also, lightweight, quaffable reds now appeal to Americans. On the higher end, improvements in winemaking and vineyard practices are yielding wines that can go up against Burgundy and win.”

In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman looks at the ways the California wine industry is uniting to ensure that worker accommodation doesn’t disappear in the aftermath of October’s fires.

Felicity Carter reports on the revival of Vienna’s flagship style Gemischter Satz in Meininger’s.

In Wines & Vines, Texas wine owners reflect on what has—and hasn’t—worked to grow the Texas wine industry.

“Thanks to a wave of younger, globally conscious winemakers, the rise of smaller appellations, and expanding consumer tastes, Bordeaux has more to offer Americans today than ever before.” Ethan Fixell reports on modern Bordeaux in Beverage Media.

Andrea Frost is joining the growing team at JancisRobinson.com.

Daily Wine News: Considering Quality

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-28-2018

(Flickr: JonathanCohen)

(Flickr: JonathanCohen)

“Has quality moved on since the heady days of the 1960s and ’70s, or even since the ’40s and ’50s, whose rare wines are still legends?” In Decanter, Hugh Johnson considers whether wine quality has improved over the years.

In Punch, Zachary Sussman goes behind the scenes at Frasca Food & Wine, where Bobby Stuckey, Carlin Karr and Matthew Mather oversee one of the country’s most iconic wine programs.

Wine Enthusiast talks to Jo Ahearne, MW about how she ended up making wine on the small island of Hvar off the coast of Croatia.

In VinePair, Jamie Goode delves into wild fermentation. “The wine world is rarely completely black and white, and the topic of wild versus cultured yeasts illustrates this well. Yeasts, cultured and natural, are part of the winemaking toolkit, and it’s up to every winemaker to decide what fits his or her intentions best.”

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, takes a closer look at the 2018 State of the Industry report recently released by Silicon Valley Bank.

California grapegrowers aren’t the only group to have problems finding vineyard workers, reports Linda Jones McKee in Wines & Vines. Virginia shares the problem, too.

According to the Drinks Business, New Zealand has retained its position as the third most valuable wine import in the US, after Italy and France, having achieved a 6% increase in the value of its imports into the country in 2017.

In SevenFifty Daily, Gordon Little makes a case for Australian wine.

Daily Wine News: Celebrating Pomerol

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-27-2018

Pomerol. (Source: Wikimedia)

Pomerol. (Source: Wikimedia)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov discovers wines of grandeur from modest estates in Pomerol. “Even as the wines of Pomerol are celebrated in much of the world, and the best are among the most expensive on the planet, the region operates on an approachable, direct human scale that is rare in Bordeaux’s exalted precincts.”

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford compares and contrasts winemaking methods in the Jura, Jerez and Tokaji. “The urge to classify these wines as cousins if not siblings is almost irresistible – but does this really help consumers?  There is, after all, one colossal difference between them.”

“Despite being identified as a potential quality wine-producing region a decade earlier, Great Southern has long lived in the shadow of its more famous neighbor to the west, Margaret River… But times are changing.” In Wine Enthusiast, Christina Pickard takes a look at Australia’s underdog region.

Antonio Galloni shares his impressions of the 2015 Bordeaux vintage in Vinous.

2018 Premiere Napa Valley raised more than $4.1 million, reports the Napa Valley Register. The top bid was for the 2016 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon— $110,000 for a 20-case lot, or more than $458 a bottle.

In Wine-Searcher, Oregon wine pioneer Harry Peterson-Nedry reminisces about the early days of the state’s wine industry.

On his blog, W. Blake Gray explores whether private label wines are good for consumers.

Daily Wine News: Napa Vineyard Workers

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-26-2018

Vineyards in Napa Valley. (Source: Wikimedia)

Vineyards in Napa Valley. (Source: Wikimedia)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley shares the stories of female vineyard workers such as Maria Echavarria, who crossed into California at age 17 with a 15-month-old baby and has worked in the vineyards at Porter Creek in Healdsburg for 30 years; and Maria Bucio, a tractor diver for Renteria Vineyard Management in Napa Valley.

Elsewhere in the Chronicle, Esther Mobley explores whether Napa is running out of land for vineyards. “Planting new vineyards in Napa today is no easy feat. Ninety-one percent of the county’s acreage is under some form of protection from development, whether zoned as Agricultural Preserve or Agriculture, Watershed and Open Space.”

Jancis Robinson on what research scientists can teach us about wine.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy urges you to move beyond “boring prosecco” and drink French crémants instead. “Think of them as the underdogs of the French wine world, offering sophisticated Gallic flair without the Champagne price tag.”

In Wine Spectator, Lexi Williams looks at a British study that links alcohol with cancer-causing DNA damage, and also shows how the body naturally protects against it.

Dave McIntyre looks at how DNA testing and a heritage vine program aim to help a California zinfandel evolve in the Washington Post.

Brian Freedman reflects on the financial realities behind high-end wine pricing in Forbes.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray reports on 2018 Premiere Napa Valley.

Wine Reviews: Siduri’s 2015 Pinot Noirs

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 02-24-2018

I’ve been a big fan of Siduri Pinot Noirs for many years. I’ve visited several times, collected the wines, and turned on several friends to them.

But this is the first time I’ve received samples to review. And that’s probably because in 2015, Adam and Diana Lee sold their Siduri label to the California wine powerhouse, Jackson Family Wines. The sale came as a shock to me. After the same company had purchased Copain (another one of my favorite Sonoma-based producers), I began to feel a bit nostalgic, like the wines I loved were changing.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. Copain still rocks, and as the newly-released 2015s show, so does Siduri. It seems Jackson Family was looking for several high-end California gems to add to their portfolio, and they chose wisely. In an email to their wine club members announcing the sale, Adam and Diana wrote: “The goals we hold remain the same, but we believe that our ability to reach them has exponentially increased.” If their 2015s are any indicator, I’m encouraged about the future of Siduri’s wines.

hP7jKUVT_FvJ4UFWb9-nGwwz0uAYVGEfAiYMFLQ2DngpX92IBThese single-vineyard designate wines are delicious across the board, but the vineyard-specific nuances makes tasting them side-by-side an exciting and interesting experience. With increased access to vineyard sources scattered around various Northern and Central California appellations (and some in Oregon), Siduri is a great way to explore the different expressions of some stellar vineyards. The wines aren’t cheap ($50 a pop), but they over-deliver for that price. The wines  always brings juicy cherry fruit to the table, but they also show nuance, freshness and liveliness, with lots of complex spicy, earthy, and floral complexity.

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

Daily Wine News: A Lasting Influence

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-23-2018

lynchbook“Its appeal is in part a testament to the vivacity of the writing—it’s a great travel book, a chronicle of Lynch’s peregrinations through rural France packed with vivid anecdotes and tart observations. It also conveys a sense of discovery as Lynch educates his own palate and finds buried treasures in the chilly cellars of Burgundy, the Rhône, and the Loire.” In Town & Country Magazine, Jay McInerney considers the lasting influence of Kermit Lynch’s Adventures on the Wine Road.

In Vinous, Antonio Galloni offers his impressions of the 2014 Barolo vintage. “Many 2014s are diluted and lacking depth, while a number of wines weren’t bottled at all. But the finest 2014s are some of the most thrilling young Barolos I have ever tasted.”

Jeremy Parzen of Do Bianchi translates part of a speech given by Luigi Veronelli in 2004: “I want to explain to the world why Lambrusco is the only wine of freedom.”

Lettie Teague highlights seven wine documentaries worth watching in the Wall Street Journal.

In Forbes, Susan H. Gordon ponders Amarone, “Italy’s great meditation wine.”

In Decanter, Jane Anson speaks to Will Harlan about the launch of Cabernet-based Promontory outside the US, as well as Harlan Estate’s 200-year plan.

In Food & Wine, a slideshow of “the world’s most stunning wineries” that was curated by Ray Isle.

Daily Wine News: The Gems of Central Europe

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-22-2018

(Source: Wikimedia)

(Source: Wikimedia)

“While I love French wines, Italian wines, and Spanish wines— honestly, all the wines—today Central European countries are the ones driving wine, and its culture, forward.” Marissa A. Ross explores the exciting wines coming from Central Europe in Bon Appétit.

In Wine Enthusiast, Anne Krebiehl says Austrian red wines are worth discovering and exploring. “What all Austrian reds have in common is a mouthwatering, lip-smacking freshness. Their genetic makeup and the region’s climate give them wonderful bite and tension.”

Tom Hyland shares his impression of the 2014 Amarone wines in Wine-Searcher. “Unfortunately far too many examples were similar in style, offering heavy sensations of the appassimento technique that dominated their products, leaving one wishing for a more elegant approach to this iconic Venetian red.”

Wine & Spirits Magazine chats with Matt Tunstall at Stems & Skins in North Charleston, South Carolina about natural wines and rogue Rioja.

“It’s clear that it’s not just a gimmick,” says Matt Walls on Tim Atkin’s site, “some urban wineries are making very good wines that are not overpriced…”

VinePair profiles Marko and Ivanka Copic, the Croatian couple that owns Denver’s Purgatory Cellars, where they’re aging wines in amphora in a suburban strip mall.

And in The Kitchn, I suggest light reds like Grignolino, Schiava, and Cabernet Franc as the best wine to drink while eating on the couch—for spilling reasons, obviously.