Daily Wine News: Parker, the Brand

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-02-2018

Robert_ParkerIn Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray ponders Robert Parker, the brand. “I miss Parker the person; he was cantankerous at times and would rage about wines with too much acidity, but he was passionate and 100 percent human.”

In the World of Fine Wine, an in-depth look at the state of wine criticism. “How did we get to such a position? Is it irrevocable, or can something be salvaged from the wreckage? The piling up of doubts and recent scandals has certainly damaged the image of the wine world in the eyes of the public, and there is now a groundswell of belief that, at best, wine talk is empty and, at worst, bogus.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Virginie Boone explores the declining numbers of Napa Valley pinot noir. “Needless to say, it’s relatively rare to taste Pinot Noir from anywhere in the Napa Valley further north than Carneros. It’s evasive, but it does exist.”

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Mekita Rivas explores Washington D.C.’s wine scene.

In Decanter, Jane Anson reports on how the 2016 vintage is looking in Pomerol and St-Emilion following a first round of tasting the recently bottled wines. (subscription req.)

Becca Yeamans-Irwin, the academic wino, looks into research about wine tourists and what keeps them coming back for more.

Eric Asimov recommends wines for Thanksgiving in the New York Times. Elsewhere, Asimov offers notes on the most recent wine school, Saumur Champigny, and announces what’s up next: California carignan.

Daily Wine News: Modern Somms

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-01-2018

sommIn Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox looks at how the role of sommelier has been redefined by millennials and the Somm documentary films. “When the film became a surprise cult hit it not only spawned a franchise, it also transformed, for many, what was a stale, stilted service profession into an aspirational career path for people passionate about the confluence of gastronomy, history and culture.”

On JancisRobinson.com, guest contributor offers an update on the Bordeaux 2018 vintage. “The weather too has been exceptional, with a glorious summer extending long into the September and early-October harvest, but the vintage had begun with a bizarrely challenging first half of the growing season. It has ended up, not for the first time, as a year of mixed fortunes.”

Tom Mullen is also talking about 2018 Bordeaux over on Forbes, where he says the “vintage may be poised for greatness.”

St. Francis Winery and Vineyards has purchased an 80-acre vineyard in the Russian River Valley for $9.2 million, reports Kerana Todorov on WineBusiness.com.

Kerin O’Keefe details what you can expect when aging Moscato d’Asti in Wine Enthusiast.

In Vinous, Ian D’Agata explores the ageworthiness of verdicchio.

In the Chicago Tribune, Michael Austin explores the pinot gris and pinot blanc wines of Alsace.

Daily Wine News: Exclusive Appelations

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-31-2018

(Source: Wikimedia)

(Source: Wikimedia)

In Wine-Searcher, Vicki Denig looks at the wineries making moves to create their own appellations exclusive only to them. “For three European estates, the path to creating their own winery specific appellations hasn’t been easy; even unstrategic, perhaps. Though when passion and recognition run high, new paths are carved out – even within the seemingly impossible-to-crack regulations of the European Union.”

“To truly understand Mount Etna wines, it’s crucial for buyers to learn more about the characteristics that distinguish them from other Sicilian wines. It’s also important to look at these wines in a context that extends beyond DOC and more broadly encompasses the unique aspects of the terroir of the volcano itself.” Sarah Bray explores Etna’s unique terroir in SevenFifty Daily.

A Napa vineyard worker was killed Monday in an accident involving a grape harvesting machine, reports CBS SF Bay Area.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague tastes through the category of wines aiming to corner the female market to find out if they’re any good—wines with names like Mad Housewife, Mommy’s Time Out, Sweet Bitch, Little Black Dress, Middle Sister, Sexy Wine Bomb, Hello Kitty and White Girl Rosé. (subscription req.)

Adam Lechmere looks at Portugal’s wine tourism boom in Meininger’s.

In Decanter, Panos Kakaviatos reports on the 2018 Sauternes vintage: “Château Guiraud has confirmed that it will not make a ‘first wine’ from the Sauternes 2018 vintage due to hail damage, while other estates in the area have reported a nervous waiting game in recent weeks as noble rot left it late to make its mark in the vineyards.”

In VinePair, Tim McKirdy offers a global 2018 harvest report.

Daily Wine News: Elegant Amarone?

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-30-2018

Bottle of Amarone. (Flickr: dalecruse)

Bottle of Amarone. (Flickr: dalecruse)

“Think about it – when was the last time you read an article with the words “Amarone” and “elegant” in the same sentence?” In Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland looks at how Amarone producers are working to making more elegant wines.

“More than a dozen New York State wineries on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley are facing federal lawsuits, with plaintiffs claiming that the wineries’ websites violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not being accessible for the visually impaired,” reports Brianne Garrett in Wine Spectator.

“World wine production is expected to jump 12 percent this year, a rebound from 2017 when bad weather sent output slumping to the lowest in more than two decades,” according to Rudy Ruitenberg in Bloomberg.

Robert Joseph ponders how the subscription economy will impact wine in Meininger’s.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan dives into the numbers to see if there are more independent producers in the Rhône Valley and the Languedoc than there were in 2000.

In SevenFifty Daily, Lenn Thompson highlights 10 bottles that will change your mind about East Coast wines.

Wine & Spirits Magazine highlights 14 wineries to watch in 2018.

Anna Lee C. Iijima on the trouble with cellaring wine in Wine Enthusiast.

In Vinous, Josh Raynolds offers his impressions of the 2016 and 2017 vintages of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc.

Daily Wine News: Italy’s Fate

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-29-2018

glass of red wineIn the Washington Post, Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli report on how Italian winemakers are adapting to climate change. “Vintners and farmers are noticing more disease, an accelerated ripening process and, most viscerally, a surge in the number of grapes that are singed by the intensifying summer heat.”

“So, how do I tell the Soave producer to keep on plugging away, we will turn a corner soon? What do I do to convince the Sangiovese farmer in Montalcino to keep the faith? In which way should I counsel the Prosecco producer, or the Barolo winemaker or the small vigneron on Mt. Etna, that this is a temporary moment in time and space and it will pass – go ahead and borrow that €5 million to buy that parcel to expand your production? I mean, really? What do I say? What do we do?” Alfonso Cevola considers the fate of Italian wine in today’s America.

In New York Magazine, Josh Barro delves into America’s relationship with chardonnay. “I am fascinated by products like this, where there is a divergence between stated consumer preference (you say you think mayonnaise is gross) and revealed consumer preference (you eat mayonnaise all the time). So, what explains the split on Chardonnay? Why can’t we admit we like something we drink so much of?”

On RobertParker.com, Erin Brooks talks to winemaker Christian Moreau about life in Chablis.

Amy Sherman explores the rise of cult Napa wines in VinePair.

Sheila Marikar offers a guide to Napa Valley wine country in Fortune.

In Decanter, Jane Anson compares Bordeaux 1989 to Bordeaux 1990. (subscription req.)

Wine Reviews: New Zealand wines from Loveblock & Villa Maria

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-27-2018

This week I’m focusing on two producers from New Zealand: Loveblock and Villa Maria.

Loveblock is a Marlborough-based project of Erica and Kim Crawford. This winery was founded after Kim Crawford was sold to Constellation Brands. Erica describes Loveblock as, “the product of my journey to organics, which started about 15 years ago.” The organic farm is home to vineyards, beef cattle, chickens, etc. The wines really surprised me, showing more focus and intrigue than a lot of Kim Crawford wines I’ve tasted recently. And the wines (priced between $23 and $30) show a lot of quality and value.

I have also included reviews of Villa Maria’s new releases. Recently, I attended an on-line video tasting with Villa Maria winemaker Kathrin Jankowiec, who came from a teaching background in Germany before she decided to take a break and travel the world. She found herself in New Zealand about a dozen years ago, and she was low on travel money. Kathrin scored a harvest job at a small winery, and immediately knew she had found her niche. “I decided this is what I want to do with my life… I’m going to make wine. I’m not leaving New Zealand.”

I’ve always found Villa Maria wines to be reliably good, reliably inexpensive, classic takes on the New Zealand staples. But I hadn’t before tasted the single-vineyard Taylors Pass wines, and I was very impressed.

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

Daily Wine News: The Women Behind the Judgment of Paris

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-26-2018

(Flickr: JonathanCohen)

(Flickr: JonathanCohen)

Many retellings of California wine’s most popular myth omit the women who made the Judgment of Paris happen. Esther Mobley delves into their stories in the San Francisco Chronicle. Mobley also profiles Joanne DePuy, “a Napa divorcee saved the Judgment of Paris.”

A research project into old vines in southern Chile has identified 26 new varieties, previously unknown in the world, and over 60 ‘uncommon’ varieties growing in Bío Bío, reports Amanda Barnes in Decanter.

Jamie Goode tells the story of his journey into wine. “Are there lots of people out there like me, with a latent interest in wine that just needed triggering? Or do people just get sucked into it, irrespective of any latent interest?”

Neal Martin offers a first look at 2016 Bordeaux in Vinous.

Bordeaux’s 2017 harvest was one of the lowest on record. In Meininger’s, Sophie Kevany reports on its impact on demand and pricing.

Do winemakers improve with age? Tim Atkin explores the answer. “One thinks of the Burgundian Henri Jayer, who made great wine into his late seventies, or of Bruno Giacosa of Barbaresco or Auguste Clape of Cornas, both of whom died earlier this year at the ages of 88 and 93. None of these great men had to rage against the dying of the light. They were the light.”

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Joshua Greene embraces Chilean carménère.

Wine Enthusiast rounds up a host of affordable wines for entertaining.

Daily Wine News: What’s to Come

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-25-2018

Alsatian wines at Domaine Ostertag. (Flickr: Megan Cole)

Alsatian wines at Domaine Ostertag. (Flickr: Megan Cole)

Kevin Day looks at where Alsace wines are headed in SOMM Journal. “I expected to hear winemakers place an emphasis on the future of natural wines, but in a region that has been at the forefront of the organic or biodynamic movements for a decades now, that’s old news. Instead, many winemakers — young and old — spoke of restoring dryness to the wines of Alsace.”

Julia Harding explores Keller’s winemaking project in Norway. “Klaus Peter and Julia Keller planted the vineyard 10 years ago… Keller explained, ‘We started this project and thought it was for the next generation and 10 years later we had two vintages where it was possible to harvest ripe Riesling grapes.’”

In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman delves into possible reasons for the silence from the Court of Master Sommeliers over the cheating scandal, and talks to unnamed Master Sommeliers who suggest this may not be the first time this has happened.

Devastating floods hit the Aude region in Languedoc-Roussillon, reports Decanter.

In the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Jordy Hyman profiles the three winemakers at River Run Vintners. “Ryan Stirm, Megan Bell and James Jelks have banded together in an informal co-op to create the wines and the workplace that they’ve always imagined… If anything, these three are working much harder than conventional producers to avoid having to add too much sulfur, tartaric acid, lab-grown yeast or any of the dozens of ingredients commonly used to make sure the wine is palatable.”

On WineBusiness.com, Kerana Todorov reports that the 2018 harvest in the Napa Valley has been “seamless, with neither frost or heat spikes during the growing season.”

Silicon Valley Bank’s Rob McMillan says wine supply is hitting a tipping point.

Deanna Gonnella considers the role of dosage in Champagne, and highlights a few brut nature Champagnes in Wine & Spirits Magazine.

Daily Wine News: A Question of Age

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-24-2018


Source: Pixabay

“Determining which bottles to age and when to open them is among the most puzzling aspects of wine. Misunderstandings can cause misery… Here is the good news about aging wine: Regardless of what many people assume, there is no single right time to open any particular bottle.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers some advice about aging wine.

SevenFifty and SevenFifty Daily recently commissioned a nationwide survey of beverage alcohol professionals. The study was conducted by Wine Opinions, a leading provider of U.S. market research for the wine industry, and it focused on key issues surrounding job satisfaction, salary trends, and career opportunity. Kevin Day analyzes the results.

In Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss takes a look at Crus Bourgeois. “This is the real Bordeaux: wines made with the same care as those from the famed Crus Classés, by families that have often been in the same place for generations.”

Robert Taylor explores the next wave of Willamette Valley pinot noir stars in Wine Spectator.

In Meininger’s, Felicity Carter and Robert Joseph debate whether the wine world is heading for trouble, with Felicity Carter saying yes, it is.

In Forbes, Thomas Pellechia on a new wine bottle model that is flat and easier to ship.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, reviews Carolyn Gilby’s book, The Wines of Bulgaria, Romania, and Moldova.

And the wave of Thanksgiving wine recommendations begins. First up: Ray Isle recommends 12 bargain Bordeaux wines for Thanksgiving in Food & Wine.

Daily Wine News: Drinking Old Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-23-2018

indexOn his Do Bianchi blog, Jeremy Parzen explores the powerful allure of drinking wine that’s older than you. “There is no other agricultural product that we allow to age so long. Can you imagine slathering your sandwich with 30-year-old mayonnaise? Would you stuff your warm tortillas with huitlacoche harvested years earlier? Cheese can rival wine in terms of its ageworthiness. But it still comes in at a distant second when it comes to wine’s ability to age with spectacular results.”

“The Family Coppola has closed on the purchase of Vista Hills Vineyard in Dundee Hills, Oregon,” reports L. M. Archer on WineBusiness.com.

In the Sacramento Bee, Mike Dunne reports on Adam Lee’s new venture. “This past spring, Lee, who had built his standing largely on the range and quality of pinot noir wines he made under the brand Siduri, which the couple founded in 1994 and sold to Jackson Family Wines in 2015, launched a new wine company, Clarice, and with it a daringly novel way to sell wine.”

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Stephanie Johnson discovers some compelling versions of nero d’Avola in Sicily.

Margaret Rand offers a 2018 Bordeaux harvest report in Wine-Searcher.

Constellation seeks to sell U.S. wine brands, according to CNBC.

In Wine Enthusiast, Christina Pickard recommends 12 essential books about natural wine.

New York Magazine’s the Strategist on the best stemless wine glasses.