Daily Wine News: Sherry’s Future

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-13-2019

Fino sherry. (Wikimedia)

Fino sherry. (Wikimedia)

What happened to sherry, and what can be done to fix it? Jancis Robinson offers her thoughts. “…we are also frustrated by what can seem from the outside to be almost wilful self-destruction, or at least Andalucian lassitude. From where I sit there seems to be little generic promotion of sherry. The Consejo Regulador, the governing body in Jerez, holds an annual sherry and food matching competition, but in Jerez, so it doesn’t make too many new converts.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Remy Charest looks at how Aligoté is making a comeback in places like Ontario, Oregon, Washington and California.

“Costières de Nîmes is France’s orphan wine region, but it is growing up beautifully,” says W. Blake Gray in Wine-Searcher.

Can Maryland make an iconic red wine? Dave McIntyre reports on how Drew Baker of Old Westminster Winery is determined to find out in the Washington Post.

Wine Spectator’s Ben O’Donnell goes behind the scenes with the winemakers of Wine Country.

The last in a three-part series on Sonoma in the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague explores the region’s sparkling wines. (subscription req.)

In the Northforker, Lenn Thompson explores the ageability of Long Island wines.

Wine Reviews: Champagne Palmer

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-11-2019

thumbnail (2)It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed some Champagne here, so I’m excited to dig back in! This week, I’m tasting some wines from Champagne Palmer.

Champagne Palmer is a cooperative that formed 70 years ago, a combined effort between seven growers in the Montagne de Reims region. They now source wine from hundreds of growers in more than forty different crus. About half of those vineyards are Grand and Premier Crus in the Montagne de Reims, while their other vineyards are located in the Côte de Sézanne, Côte des Bar and Marne Valley.

Cellar Master Xavier Berdin and his four oenologists use three different perpetual reserves (or soleras) to add depth and spice to their wines. The nonvintage cuvées are aged at least three years, while the vintage cuvées spend six to eight years on the lees.

These wines are relatively new to the U.S. market, so I was excited to taste them. I wasn’t disappointed. Don’t let the CM (Coopérative-Manipulant) scare you away — these are precise, zesty, elegant, complex wines. I found a lot of deliciousness and character in these wines, and I’d feel confident recommending them to any American Champagne lover looking for something new.

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

Daily Wine News: Mission’s Makeover

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-10-2019

Mission grapes growing around Santa Barbara, California, circa 1875. (Wikimedia)

Mission grapes growing around Santa Barbara, California, circa 1875. (Wikimedia)

In the Los Angeles Times, Richard Parks III looks at how the mission grape is cool again thanks to the natural wine movement. “Wine drinkers love a story, and the Mission grape has a good one that goes back hundreds of years in L.A., where Mission grape vines once lined the banks of the river.”

“Here at Wine School, we try to be conscious of good values in wine, and to understand the difference between price and value. But we also believe that the effort to better understand wine sometimes requires spending a little more than is comfortable. That is especially true when the subject is Burgundy.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes about the value of Burgundy after the most recent Wine School, Mercurey, and announces what’s up next: Soave Classico.

Tyler Colman explores why Spanish producers in Rioja and Bierzo are seeking Burgundy-style classifications for their terroir in SevenFifty Daily.

On his site, Tim Atkin ponders the problematic aspects of wine influencer culture, and what it means to be a wine writer today.

On JancisRobinson.com, Richard Hemming attends of vertical tasting of Tio Pepe En Rama bottlings to see how well they’ve aged.

Tom Wark explores “the state of discrimination in wine.”

Wine Enthusiast’s Matt Kettmann highlights four can’t-miss wine bars in Los Angeles.

Daily Wine News: Minerality Myth

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

Rhône_Valley_-_Châteauneuf-du-Pape_galet_stones_in_vineyards“Minerality is perhaps the wine industry’s most overused, underwhelming, and misunderstood descriptors of them all. Though when it comes to the legitimacy of the term, the question still stands: does minerality in wine actually exist, or is it a simple cop-out used to fluff lackluster tasting notes?” Vicki Denig goes digging for the truth in Wine-Searcher.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley on what Amy Poehler’s new Netflix film Wine Country gets right (and wrong) about wine tasting in Napa Valley.

“I find the evolutionary path of red Bordeaux easier to estimate than that of red Burgundy. Pinot Noir is more capricious. It follows its own route, and not necessarily the one initially projected.” In Vinous, Neal Martin ponders red Burgundy’s ageability, and shares notes on wines from the 2000 through 2014 vintages.

In Decanter, Sherry Rose Stolar offers a guide to visiting Brazil wines.

In SevenFifty Daily, Carrie Dykes shares a list of 10 canned wines chosen by a panel of wine professionals.

VinePair’s Tim McKirdy also recommends canned wines for summer.

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Joshua Greene interviews Andrew Caillard, who launched Langston’s Classification, which has been the reference for Australian wine collectors for nearly 30 years.

Daily Wine News: New Wine Evangelists

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-08-2019

winecheersWine Enthusiast’s Layla Schlack highlights the new wine evangelists reaching consumers in a way that’s accessible and welcoming.

Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Patrick J. Comiskey reports on the transformation of California grenache, from big hyperripe wines to cool and crunchy reds you can see through in the glass. “Until recently it was rare for American grenache to display much structural integrity and, when it did, it was usually overwhelmed by overripe fruit, high heat and textural bloat. This new wave of wines possessed fruit and plenty of it… It was as if, now that the tide of ripeness had begun to recede, grenache’s true character was being revealed.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Jess Lander attends the recent Bâtonnage Forum, and reports from a panel discussion about how women’s sexuality is used to sell wine.

In Wine-Searcher, Courtney Schiessl reports on how vintners are hoping the new Sonoma Coast AVA will help provide clarity for consumers.

Elsewhere in Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray turns his attention to Gigondas, “Châteauneuf’s cooler sibling.”

In Grape Collective, Jane Anson tastes through every Château Rauzan-Ségla vintage from 1994 to 2018 and shares her thoughts of them in Decanter. (subscription req.)

In Grape Collective, Christopher Barnes discusses prosecco with winemaker Stefano Gava of Villa Sandi.

Daily Wine News: Canned Sensation

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-07-2019

(Flickr: Gnawme)

(Flickr: Gnawme)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov explores the tremendous growth of canned wines. “Wine in cans accounted for $70 million in retail sales in the United States over the year ending in March, said Danny Brager, a vice president of the Nielsen Company, which tracks sales. That’s up from $42 million in the previous year and less than $10 million three years earlier.”

“A movement toward complete transparency and purity is afoot in Oregon and elsewhere, and at first glance, the answer to the question seems obvious – yes, wine should be precisely what it says it is; why lie? But for many in the industry, the question prompts more questions.” Kathleen Willcox speaks with winemakers advocating for stricter wine regulations in Wine-Searcher.

After attending the Food Writers’ Workshop, Tom Natan ponders the lack of diversity in the wine world on the blog for First Vine. “I asked a couple of people who attended more recent wine bloggers’ conferences. They told me that the attendees are nearly evenly split by gender these days. This makes sense – according to surveys, women drink more wine than men do, so there ought to be plenty of women writing about wine.  But if you look at the racial make-up, it’s as white as I remember it.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Melia Russell looks at how weed tourism is becoming the new wine tasting in California.

Elsewhere in the Chronicle, Tal Kopan learns about the Congressional Wine Caucus, “the under-the-radar, bipartisan coalition of lawmakers work[ing] in Washington to promote and address the needs of the wine industry.”

“Domaine Nicolas-Jay is putting down roots. After five harvests in the Willamette Valley, Jean-Nicolas Méo and partner Jay Boberg have purchased their own pied à terre in a cozy corner of the northern Dundee Hills,” reports L.M. Archer on WineBusiness.com.

In PUNCH, Megan Krigbaum looks at how a group of Dominique Belluard white wines cultivated in the shadow of Mont Blanc became a sommelier sensation.

Daily Wine News: The End of Scores?

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-06-2019

glass_glasses_restaurant_drink_wine_glass_wine_clear_liquid-989609.jpg!dIn the Robb Report, Ian Cauble says it’s time to stop scoring wine. “Above all, remember that wine is about the land, the people who make it, and the friends with whom you enjoy it. A single score never defines the full story.”

“One of the leading wineries in South Africa has a new owner, as the fallout from Terroir Capital founder Charles Banks’ conviction on federal fraud charges continues,” reports Aleks Zecevic in Wine Spectator. “Third Leaf Wines, a new California-based firm, has purchased the renowned Mulderbosch winery in Stellenbosch from Terroir for an undisclosed price. The deal includes the brand, the winery and 136 acres of vineyards.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre attends a Borderless Wine event, during which topics such as the increasing importance of a wine’s story were explored.

Could Italian grape varieties be the next giant leap for Aussie wine? A dedicated band of producers are devoting their best efforts to finding out, seeking the best locations and the right wine styles. Michaela Morris reports on the movement in Decanter. (subscription req.)

Jancis Robinson attends a tasting that explored pairs of Sauvignon Blancs from its homeland in the Loire and its (New) World centre of operations New Zealand.

John Szabo explores a new wave of wine bars cropping up in Budapest in Wine & Spirits Magazine.

In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence ponders organic wine’s “deadly carbon footprint.”

Wine Reviews: California New Releases

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-04-2019

This week, I’ve got another roundup of new releases from all over California.

I recently tasted two wines (an Albarino and a Gamay Noir) from Eighty Four wines. This Shafer side project, based in Carneros and named after the year in which Doug Shafer and winemaker Elias Fernandez began working together, has impressed me in the past, and these two wines continue that trend.

Well-known producer Cliff Lede’s new Sauv Blanc and Cab Sauv have a lot to offer, while Frank Family’s new Carneros Pinot and Chard consistently deliver.

South African-born winemaker Graham Weerts, who now makes his home in Sonoma, produced two solid wines under the Legacy label. And a few exciting wines from Lodi make an appearance in this report as well, including a thrilling, old-vine Carignan.

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

Daily Wine News: Integrity in Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-03-2019

(Source: Pixabay)

(Source: Pixabay)

Sean P. Sullivan explores the importance of a wine’s integrity in Wine Enthusiast. “…to me, wine gets a lot less interesting when it comes from a test tube. It might taste the same. Heck, it might even taste better. But is that really all it’s about? Isn’t wine’s agricultural nature, with its subsequent undulations, part of what makes it so compelling?”

Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook in Napa Valley will expand its winemaking cellars, adding 122 stainless steel vats to its winemaking arsenal in time for the 2020 vintage, reports Chris Mercer in Decanter.

In Bon Appétit, Alex Delaney looks at how the lines of wine, cider and beer are becoming increasingly blurred.

In SevenFifty Daily, Alex Russan breaks down the science of winemaking enzymes.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague explains how to tell the differences between a Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley and one produced in the Sonoma Coast. (subscription req.)

Esther Mobley looks ahead at “a promising new era” for Ram’s Gate Winery in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth reports on how Alex and Graeme MacDonald are crafting stellar wines from their family’s Oakville parcel.

In the World of Fine Wine, Michael Edwards reviews Burgundy: A Global Anthropology of Place and Taste by Marion Demossier.

Daily Wine News: Frost, the New Normal?

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-02-2019

Frost and vines. (Flickr: epeigne37)

Frost and vines. (Flickr: epeigne37)

Is frost the new normal? Jancis Robinson explores our changing climates. “The frost that virtually wiped out the 2019 crop in parts of Anjou in the Loire in early April seems to me to have been under-reported. Similarly with those parts of Burgundy, notably Rully, that have already suffered two fatally severe frosts earlier this month. Part of the problem seems to be that winters are getting milder, so early budbreak is increasingly common, putting young vine growth at risk – particularly in our increasingly unpredictable weather patterns.”

Vicki Denig considers the importance of wine labels in Wine-Searcher. “No matter where in the world or what side of the industry, any given wine consumer’s first interaction with a bottle ironically begins with their eyes. So how much purchasing power does a wine label actually hold for both industry and consumer sales?”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley visits Ungrafted, a new wine bar in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. “Unlike most of their recent counterparts, Ungrafted is not a natural wine bar, even slightly. It does not have a concise, one-page wine list. It’s short on bottles from fashionable regions like Sicily, Spain’s Canary Islands and France’s Beaujolais. It isn’t afraid of dollar signs.”

In the Cork Report, Aaron Menenberg looks at how two Maryland wineries (Old Westminster Winery and Catocin Breeze Vineyard) are using wine education events to build relationships.

Ian D’Agata explores Italy’s 2018 rosatos in Vinous. “My tastings this year revealed simple, barely fruity and frankly too sweet Rosés that, though competently made, hold little interest for serious wine lovers. Even worse – and here Tuscany is among the biggest culprits – are wines marred by obvious aromas brought out by selected yeasts… Italy really is at times its own worst enemy.”

In Atlas Obscura, Anne Ewbank looks at the silver wine labels that hung on small chains on bottles starting in the 18th century.

In Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery considers whether the term “Super Tuscan” is still relevant.