Daily Wine News: Nomadic Winemakers

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-03-2019

(Flickr: KBJPhoto)

(Flickr: KBJPhoto)

“What’s conventionally thought of as a “winery”—a stately building with a cellar and rolling vineyards—is a pricey prospect, and one that’s only gotten more expensive as real estate prices in places like Napa and the Willamette Valley have soared. In response, some winemakers without access to start-up capital are following a pathway similar to the beer world’s “nomadic brewers”: they hit the road and make wine at other people’s facilities.’” In Imbibe, Jennifer Fiedler explores the growing world of nomadic winemakers.

In Meininger’s, Sophie Kevany reports on the damage Europe’s heatwave had on vineyards in southern France.

More climate change news: Climate change has led more Châteauneuf-du-Pape producers to consider adding white wine to their red blends to improve the balance between acidity and alcohol, reports Panos Kakaviatos in Decanter.

Amber LeBeau ponders the ways in which wineries can utilize Instagram better.

The TTB has launched an AVA Reading Room, a website where you can find links to copies of publicly available AVA documents and rules.

David Morrison looks at the countries that drink wine but don’t import it.

In the Buyer, Richard Siddle explores the big themes that were discussed at the recent MUST Fermenting Ideas conference.

Tom Jarvis offers a complete guide to egg fermentation in Wine-Searcher.

In the Oregon Wine Press, Neal D. Hulkower delves into the meaning of minerality.

Daily Wine News: Big Bordeaux News

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-02-2019

Alcohol Drink Wine Glass Red Wine Wine GlassThe Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur wine producers’ syndicate has approved the use of seven new grape varieties in an attempt to grapple with climate change, reports Sophie Kevany in Meininger’s. “The new varieties approved at the syndicate’s annual general meeting were four reds, Arinarnoa, Touriga Nacional, Marselan and Castets, and three whites, Alvarinho, Petit Manseng and Liliorila.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Nils Bernstein explores the challenges of going organic and biodynamic in Bordeaux. “Bordeaux has long been a pioneer in research and technology, but it also has a reputation of being resistant to change… Bordeaux is confronting the same combination of environmental, societal, and marketing pressures that have forced winemakers around the world to confront their farming and winemaking practices, and the Bordeaux wine industry has launched aggressive research and education campaigns to position it at the forefront of sustainability.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Buzzeo considers Chenin Blanc’s new chapter in the New World, and looks at how it grows in South Africa, California and Washington State.

Jamie Goode has a controversial take: “Wine should never be cheap.”

Chinese consumers are prepared to forgo US wines during the current trade spat, Jim Boyce discovers in Wine-Searcher.

“A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Napa winery The Vineyard House against Constellation Brands over the To Kalon Vineyard trademark,” reports Daniel Marsteller in Wine Spectator.

In VinePair, Tim McKirdy explores the historic Mission grape’s comeback.

Grub Street talks to several wine experts about their favorite beach wines.

Daily Wine News: En Rama Sherry

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-01-2019

A venenciadora pours Sherry drawn from a cask. (Wikimedia)

A venenciadora pours Sherry drawn from a cask. (Wikimedia)

“Sherry’s identity, for the most part, relies heavily on the aging process, unlike most regions where the concept of terroir is the message winemakers want to convey. However, en rama (raw) wines—usually finos and manzanillas that are basically bottled straight from the cask and undergo only the roughest filtration to remove undesirable matter like yeast chunks or dead bugs—are the new storytellers of the region.” In Fortune, Shana Clarke reports on the growth of en rama sherry.

Tablas Creek shares news that they’ve grafted around 250 Muscardin buds into the vineyard, completing the goal of having all Chateauneuf-du-Pape grapes in the ground. And in the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley explains why this is such a big milestone for California’s Rhone wines.

Now is the time to buy German wine, says Jancis Robinson, who explores the 2018 vintage on her website.

In Bloomberg Business, Ryan Haar delves into how wine became part of the trade war.

Edward Marchese talks to Ntsiki Biyela of Aslina Wines, the first black woman winemaker in South Africa, in Grape Collective.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre explores wine flaws.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray looks at what the Supreme Court decision in Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v Thomas means for wine.

Susie Barrie explores the world of Australian sparkling wine in Decanter. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Saving Charbono

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-28-2019

A Turley Charbono bottling from 2003. (Wikimedia)

A Turley Charbono bottling from 2003. (Wikimedia)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley looks at how winemakers are working to keep Charbono (called Bonarda in Savoie and Argentina, and Douce Noir in Italy)—Napa’s nearly extinct heritage grape—alive. “Today there are just 76 acres of this California heritage grape statewide, 45 of them in Napa Valley. Compare that to 21,665 acres of Napa Cabernet. Plus, Charbono grapes sell for a pittance compared with neighboring Cab vines: $3,649 per ton versus $7,854 in 2018. In fact, Charbono is officially endangered, according to Slow Food, which names it as one of just two wine grape varieties in its Ark of Taste, defined as “a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction.””

“As good as Chianti Classico is these days, it rarely seems to be an object of anybody’s desire. With the exception of some excellent Italian restaurants, few wine lists put it in the spotlight. It seldom features on any sommelier’s Instagram feed. Yet a good Chianti Classico is one of the most soulful wines I know.” Eric Asimov wonders why people aren’t drinking much Chianti Classico.

Elsewhere in the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on serious rosés and announces what’s up next for Wine School: Manzanilla sherry.

WineBusiness.com shares a few reactions to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Tennessee case.

In Decanter, Elin McCoy shines a spotlight on Napa’s Silverado Vineyards. (subscription req.)

Alder Yarrow explores wines from Chile’s northernmost wine regions.

In Forbes, Elva Ramirez talks to Dom Pérignon’s head winemaker Vincent Chaperon about his plans for the future.

Daily Wine News: The Supreme Court’s Decision

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-27-2019

2018 Roberts CourtWineBusiness.com reports that the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Assn. v. Thomas: The decision, by 7-2 affirms the Sixth Circuit’s ruling striking Tennessee’s residency requirement. The court ruled that “The provision expressly discriminates against nonresidents and has at best a highly attenuated relationship to public health or safety.”

In Wine Spectator, Emma Balter looks at how the Supreme Court’s interpretation opens the door for future challenges to discriminatory state alcohol laws, notably pertaining to retailer direct shipping.

Vineyard workers have faced extra-early starts as France braces for an ‘unprecedented’ June heatwave that also looks set to sweep across much of western Europe, reports Chris Mercer in Decanter.

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning talks to Ted Edwards about changes in Napa winemaking since he started nearly 40 years ago and how the famous 1976 Judgment of Paris wine tasting changed the course of Freemark Abbey’s history.

Neal Martin compares wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Domaine Leroy in Vinous.

In Forbes, Jill Barth profiles Ansonia Wines’ father-son team, Tom and Mark Wilcox.

SOMM Journal gets a look inside Napa Valley’s first wine history museum, 1881 Napa.

Daily Wine News: Coping With Change

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-26-2019

redwineinglassesIn Wine-Searcher, Vicki Denig looks at tactics winemakers worldwide can use to address climate change. “Dr Bruce Bordelon of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue University…notes that changing harvest parameters and working with alternative varieties are two very big steps that these regions can take to combat the effects of climate change… Bordelon also highlights the opportunity to develop new varieties, particularly hybrids, as a way of addressing climate change and disease resistance issues.”

Russia has tightened controls on Georgian wine imports over quality concerns, amid heightened political tension between the two countries, reports Chris Mercer in Decanter.

California wine sales hit $40.2 billion in 2018, up 3% from the previous year.

“Württemberg, located in the south-west of the country, is warm, making it an ideal place to grow red grapes. However, the world looks to Germany for white wines, and Württemberg’s specialty grape, Trollinger, has fallen out of favour,” writes Clemens Gerke, who explores how the German region is grappling with change in Meininger’s. (subscription req.)

Lettie Teague sets out to find the best Pinot Noirs under $20 in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)

Laura Parker looks at how Australia’s Hunter Valley has evolved over the years in Forbes.

And in Wine Enthusiast, I share how a wine aroma kit helped me learn more about wine.

Daily Wine News: Changes in Champagne

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-25-2019

Glass_of_champagneIn SevenFifty Daily, Tina Caputo considers the tactics Champagne producers are taking to retain freshness while combating climate change, such as reducing dosage, blending high-acid reserve wines, and developing new hybrids.

“Ben Parsons, the winemaker who helped spark the urban winery trend when he founded The Infinite Monkey Theorem (TIMT) in the heart of downtown Denver, has resigned from the company,” reports Tina Eves in Wine Spectator. “…he has stepped down as TIMT’s winemaker to get back to doing what he loves most: working in the vineyards.”

Is bad PR a bigger threat to California’s 2017 vintage than smoke taint? Kathleen Willcox considers the answer in Wine-Searcher.

How much did wineries really make in 2018? Silicon Valley Bank’s Rob McMillan breaks down the numbers.

In the Buyer, Peter Dean delves into what sets the Central-Loire region apart from the rest of the Loire. “Aside from the reality of French politics one of the key reasons that Central-Loire has a different identity to the rest of the Loire Valley is that a proportion of winemakers there see themselves as more affiliated to Burgundy than the Loire.

In VinePair, Mary Holland discovers an unpretentious natural wine scene in Mexico City.

In Vinous, Ian D’Agata explores the distinctive wines from Lazio, the central Italian region where Italy’s capital city, Rome, is located.

Tom Mullen on what makes wines from Mount Etna so unique in Forbes.

Daily Wine News: A New Day for Beaujolais

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-24-2019

A glass of Beaujolais. (Flickr: kohrogi34)

A glass of Beaujolais. (Flickr: kohrogi34)

Jancis Robinson explores the new generation in Beaujolais. “The economic doldrums of the region that resulted when the world fell out of love with Beaujolais Nouveau at the end of the last century kept land prices attractively low for young newcomers with a different, more artisanal concept of winemaking… Beaujolais exports were up 22% last year, with demand particularly strong from what you might slightly carelessly call American hipsters, or at least influential American sommeliers.”

“The new owners of Napa Valley’s iconic Heitz Cellar, the Lawrence family, are fulfilling a long-held goal of the winery’s founders to extend the boundaries of its Trailside Vineyard in the Rutherford subappellation,” reports Augustus Weed in Wine Spectator. “The winery has purchased the Wildwood Vineyard, adjacent to its Trailside property, from wine giant Treasury Wine Estates and plans to combine the two properties.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre considers the growing appeal of canned wines.

Alfonso Cevola is also paying attention to canned wine in the Dallas News.

Meanwhile, in the Los Angeles Times, Jordan Michelman is saying to forget bottles, cans and boxes, and look ahead at the next wine trend: keg wines on tap. “Keg wine has a stigma to overcome: the kegging or bagging of wine has long been synonymous with large industrial estates selling their run-off plonk as a cheap addendum. This reputation is starting to change, however, as the interest in alternative formats has found a willing bedfellow in the boom of natural wine culture…”

In Grape Collective, Valerie Kathawala explores the terroir-driven wines of Emilia-Romagna’s La Tosa

Meininger’s editor-in-chief Felicity Carter discusses the state of the world’s wine industry with Forbes.

In 5280 Magazine, Ruth Tobias makes a case for being more daring when it comes to trying different wines.

Wine Reviews: Alentejo White Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-22-2019

thumbnail (16)When I visited Portugal’s Alentejo wine region last summer, I arrived expecting to taste a ton of red wines — which, surely, I did, as red grapes make up the vast majority of those planted in Alentejo. But I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the white wines (which I wrote about in this column).

Antão Vaz leads the pack in terms of quantity and, I think, quality. This indigenous white variety does well in the hot and arid climate of Alentejo. It’s frequently blended with other indigenous Portuguese varieties like Arinto (for some crisp acidity), along with others like Gouveio,and Roupeiro.

When tasting some of these white wines, I find they pop with regional authenticity. Winemakers craft Antão Vaz and other Alentejo white blends in a variety of styles, from steely, leaner ones, to skin-contact wines made in amphorae, to creamier, barrel-fermented wines. And I think that diversity is on display in the wines I tasted for this report, which I received as samples and tasted sighted.

There are a few red wines included in here, as well as a ringer from the Douro, made by Alentejo-based producer Esporão. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Hybrid Barrels

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-21-2019

(Source: Wikimedia)

(Source: Wikimedia)

In Wine Enthusiast, Anna Archibald reports on the appeal of hybrid barrels—made from a blend of two or more species of oak—and how they are changing wine, beer and spirits. “…hybrid barrels offer unique aging benefits—and it’s less expensive…When it comes to the creation of hybrid barrels with different species of oak, the sky’s the limit.”

In Wine Spectator, Emma Baltzer offers a cheat sheet for the upcoming Supreme Court Decision on Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Zackary Blair et al, potentially the biggest case involving wine since Granholm v. Heald in 2005, which struck down bans against out-of-state direct shipping by wineries. The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on June 24.

“Millennials, many of whom are laden with debt, don’t seem to have as much disposable income as their forebears. And they’re craftier shoppers: if they’re going to spend bigtime on something, they want some flesh on those bones—not just something to show off, but something of inherent worthwhileness. And I have to say in all honesty that cult wines overall are lacking in this inherent quality.” Steve Heimoff wonders whether or not the clock is ticking down on cult wines?

Neal Martin explores the world of affordable Burgundy in Vinous. “Unsurprisingly, a good proportion of them come from more rationally priced enclaves of the region, not least Chablis and Mâconnais.”

A new study has found that ancient Celts living in what is now northern Burgundy probably drank imported Greek wines after adopting a Mediterranean feasting culture. Chris Mercer shares more details in Decanter.

On JancisRobinson.com, Richard Hemming shares the 2019 MW examination questions.

Wines aged in bourbon barrels and wine-flavored beers are appearing more on shelves. Jeff Siegel looks into the reasons why in Meininger’s. (subscription req.)