Daily Wine News: Aged Whites

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-22-2015

Aging white wines (Flickr: Ryan Opaz)

Aging white wines (Flickr: Ryan Opaz)

“You’re drinking a style of wine, but also a cultural history.” In Grape Collective, Bill Ward profiles Dan Petroski, winemaker at Larkmead and Massican.

“If you can find your way to Slovenia, you have the chance to shop at what might be the largest archive of aged white wines in the world…and the average price is just 50 Euros.” In Palate Press, W. Blake Gray tells the post-Communist comeback story of a Slovenian winery.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Bonné looks at how a new generation of Mondavis are branching out.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan ties wine to something seemingly unrelated: opera. Specifically, an opera called “L’Elisir d’Amore” and how it relates to a particular producer in San Gimignano.

Things look bleak for Argentina’s industry, but Tim Atkin remains optimistic about the future ahead.

In Wine Spectator, the improving wines from South Africa impress James Laube.

The United States, not China, is — and will continue to be — the world’s most important consumer of wine, reports Adam Lechmere in Wine-Searcher.

Elsewhere in Wine-Searcher, a 1472 white wine from Alsace — believed to be the oldest wine in barrel in the world — has been moved to a new barrel this week for only the third time in its history.

According to the Silicon Valley Bank report, bottles $20 and up will increase in 2015, reports Wines & Vines.

Higher consumer demand for New Zealand wines could lead to Marlborough being fully planted in as little as five years, reports Decanter.

Daily Wine News: Mount Etna

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-21-2015

Winter on Mount Etna (From Tenuta delle Terre Nere)

Winter in Mount Etna (From Tenuta delle Terre Nere)

“Aspects… place its terroir in a league with the choicest regions in France or California, more so than almost anywhere else in southern Europe.” In the Wall Street Journal, Tom Downey explains how a small group of vintners is pushing the boundaries of winemaking in Sicily’s Mount Etna.

Despite all the hype about growing Sangiovese in California, it’s the more humble Barbera that is thriving. In Wine-Searcher, Dan Berger explores the grape’s rise in the U.S.

According to Tom Wark, “the Old School wine critic is as important as ever.”

One Catholic-owned California winery has made a wine just for Pope Francis: “Cabernet FRANCis.” And according to the Huffington Post, he actually likes it.

Never mind what was important before. What about now? In Wine Spectator, Matt Kramer shares his ideas on “What You Need to Know Now, 2015 Edition.”

BBC reports on the latest house party trend: direct-selling wine to friends, similar to an Avon representative.

On his blog “On the Wine Trail in Italy,” Alfonso Cevola discusses the Burgundization of Barolo. “It feels, on the ground in the Langhe, like an impending change is on the horizon.”

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter tells the story of the couple behind Hilliard Bruce Vineyards and the wines they produce together.

“What’s the next Napa cult wine?” asks W. Blake Gray in Wine-Searcher as he looks ahead to the Premiere Napa Valley auction.

On his blog, W. Blake Gray admits he has been drinking “a lot of box wine” for the last few weeks — and it hasn’t been so bad.

Are Modern Sommeliers Educators? Absolutely.

Posted by | Posted in White's Wines | Posted on 01-20-2015

taste vinAs regular readers know, I write a free, twice monthly wine column that’s distributed to newspapers across the country. These columns are hosted by Grape Collective.

If you don’t see my column in your local newspaper, please send an email to your paper’s editor and CC me (David – at – Terroirist.com).

In my latest column, I praise the educational approach favored by today’s top sommeliers.  

Are Modern Sommeliers Educators? Absolutely.

I was out past midnight one recent Wednesday, despite a meeting early the next morning. When I headed home, my route took me through Washington, D.C.’s popular 14th Streetcorridor, where a few bars and restaurants were still open.

As I passed Doi Moi, a trendy Southeast Asian restaurant, I noticed that virtually every table in the front half of the restaurant was full. Odd for so late on a weeknight, I thought. I then realized that the tables were packed with staffers. The team had assembled, with notebooks and glasses in hand, to learn from wine director Max Kuller. He holds seminars twice each month to teach his team about wine.

Kuller represents a new generation of sommeliers, one that has rejected the exclusivity and stuffiness of yesteryear in favor of an approach that values inclusivity and education. Kuller is more comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt than a three-piece suit. And while his list includes a handful of expensive trophies, it mostly offers offbeat, wallet-friendly wines that work well with Doi Moi’s cuisine. Thanks to regular gatherings, Kuller’s team is familiar with Doi Moi’s full list. And Kuller works hard to make sure his colleagues take the interaction of wine with food seriously.

Spotting the late-night wine seminar was refreshing. Earlier that evening, I dined at La Chaumiere, a French bistro in Georgetown that opened its doors in 1976 and has hardly changed since. 

Check out the rest of the piece on Grape Collective!

Daily Wine News: History Lessons

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-20-2015

Wine, "a marvellous restorative" (WikiMedia)

Wine, “a marvellous restorative” (WikiMedia)

“The exact birth location of winemaking is in some dispute. Various archeological digs point to Georgia, Iran, Armenia, Turkey, and, more recently, Azerbaijan.” On WineBusiness.com, Liz Thach takes a look into the past and future of winemaking in Azerbaijan, possibly the second oldest wine region in the world.

“The idea of wine as an essential component of health is actually as old as wine itself.” In Wine-Searcher, Claire Adamson explores wine’s long medical history.

According to Decanter, Champagne exports will overtake French sales for the first time in 2015.

On his blog, Jamie Goode is disturbed by the “wine writers ripping off wineries” trend.

“Should one buy “bargain” wines and try convince oneself that it tastes better than its price suggests? Or should one splurge with the knowledge that splurging enhances enjoyment?” asks Joe Pinsker in the Atlantic in a piece that addresses numerous controversial scientific studies.

Four L.A. wine gurus offer Italian wine pairings in Los Angeles Magazine, recommending off-the-beaten-path wines made from grapes like Refosco and Greco Bianco.

Steve Heimoff visits Matanzas Creek Winery in Sonoma County and learns the art of blending first-hand.

Jonathan Lipsmeyer visits the La Kiuva co-op in the Valle d’Aosta — “the fascinating Alpine junction between France, Switzerland, and Italy.”

In Grape Collective, Rachael Doob profiles Alyssa Rapp, founder of Bottlenotes.

Daily Wine News: Cult Champagne

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-19-2015

Bollinger Vielles Vignes Françaises 2005 (From Bollinger)

Bollinger VVF 2005 (Bollinger)

In the World of Fine Wine, Essi Avellan MW shares her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to taste every declared vintage of Bollinger Vielles Vignes Françaises, 21 total from 1969-2005.

“Long a vacation destination for travelers on the lookout for European pleasures at typically Portuguese budget prices, the Alentejo is finally taking its bow on the international stage.” In the New York Times, Eli Gottlieb visits the wine routes and cork tree forests of the Alentejo.

“For me, there are no fine products of terroir without oxidation.” In Wine-Searcher, Champagne producer Anselme Selosse shares his winemaking mantra and other wisdoms.

Elsewhere in Wine-Searcher, Argentina’s economic crisis threatens this year’s harvest.

In Romania, “about 30,000 hectares of new, well-designed vineyards have been planted since 2007.” Jancis Robinson explores the country’s growing wine industry in the Financial Times.

Does white wine really turn women into “monsters”? Victoria Moore weighs up the evidence in the Telegraph.

Dave McIntyre offers 5 ideas for how to rejuvenate your palate in the Washington Post.

In Forbes, Master Sommelier Gilles de Chambure gives tips on how to start a wine collection.

Tyler Colman looks at what the Swiss Franc surge means for wine.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague discovers supermarket wine selections are better than expected.

Wine Reviews: Tasty Values from Bulgaria

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 01-17-2015

Bulgarian’s Thracian Valley is home to a wide array of wines that can be as impressive as they are inexpensive. “It’s no longer that crap they used to sell to Russia by the millions,” a Bulgarian vintner once told me.


I recently tasted through the lineup from a relatively new project called Parallel 43, a Virginia-based importer and wholesaler focused on promoting Bulgarian wines. It can’t be easy trying to convince consumers to drink Bulgarian Mavrud, but, for the adventurous and value-minded, there’s a lot to like coming out of the Thracian Valley.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

Read the rest of this entry »

Weekly Interview: Marty Clubb

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 01-16-2015

Marty ClubbEach week, as regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker; and in the past couple of interviews, we have featured Tanya Woodley and Reggie Mace — two relatively new Walla Walla winemakers.

This week, we’re featuring Marty Clubb, the owner and managing winemaker at L’Ecole.  Marty has been been making wine in Walla Walla since 1989, when nobody quite knew that great wine could be made there — except for a handful of pioneers like Marty.  L’Ecole is the third oldest winery in the Walla Walla Valley.

Needless to say, Marty has a unique historical perspective of the Walla Walla Valley that few people have.

Check out our interview with Marty below the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Being Mindful

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-16-2015

Hetaira playing kottabos (Wikimedia)

Hetaira playing kottabos (Wikimedia)

“How often do you actually taste what you are drinking?” asks Lauren Mowery in an exploration of how mindful drinking makes wine taste better in the Village Voice.

“Finding these wines requires looking on the margins. You won’t find bottles from the most prestigious regions on this list. But it’s worth departing from the main highways of wine. In wine and in life, the best discoveries are often on the back roads.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov finds 20 bottles under $20 that are worth the search.

Over 2,000 years before the invention of beer pong, the ancient Greeks played kottabos — a drinking game involving wine. One professor recently tried to recreate the game with her students.

In First We Feast, Jonathan Cristaldi dishes out “10 Dirty Secrets of Wine (That Nobody Wants To Talk About).”

“Bordeaux, it seems, is becoming fascinated by the question, ‘What would our red wines taste like if we could use Syrah in Bordeaux blends – this time legally?” In Palate Press, Roger Morris on how the Bordelais are experimenting with Syrah.

José Madrazo, co-founder of the Contino winery and a driving force in Rioja, has died, reports Decanter. He was 79.

“‘Crisis’ would overstate it, but when it comes to wine bars, San Francisco is in an existential spot.” In the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Bonné visits Union Bar.

In Wine-Searcher, Tim Atkin details “10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About DRC.”

Elsewhere in Wine-Searcher, Australian growers in New South Wales’ Upper Hunter Valley kick off the 2015 harvest.

In Wine Spectator, Tim Fish anticipates highlights of the year ahead.

“72% of wine drinkers agree that wine is meant to be shared,” and other results of the 2014 Gallo Consumer Wine Trends Survey, as reported by Stark Insider.

Daily Wine News: Charlie’s Labels

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-15-2015


(From ChateauLoisel.com)

“Wine needs words, said Hugh Johnson, and he was right. But even more than that, wine needs stories.” Jamie Goode on how we understand the world of wine through narratives.

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto remembers three Charlie Hebdo cartoonists — and the more outrageous wine labels they created — who were lost in the terror attack in Paris.

“These so-called “lifestyle” wines are a category that’s been taking off around the world, with a recent report by Wine Intelligence on Low Alcohol Wines, indicating that across eight important wine-drinking nations, 39 percent of consumers are already buying wines at under 10.5 percent abv.” The New Zealand Herald explores whether lower-alcohol wines are any good.

In Wine-Searcher, Jeremy Parzen argues, “poor information about Prosecco means consumers care less and less about quality differences between the DOC and DOCG wines.”

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan shares some “Resolution-ary news” regarding the recent studies that linked drinking wine and exercise.

Do you live in beer country or wine country? These maps from the Washington Post will tell you.

As A Wine Critic, William Shatner Makes A Good Starship Captain.” Chris Kassel wrote an interesting review of William Shatner’s “Brown Bag Wine Tasting” show.

Sonoma County has some of the steepest rises in vineyard prices, reports Decanter.

Mike Dunne profiles Sera Fina Cellars of Amador County in the Sacramento Bee.

“Don’t fear boxed wine.” In VinePair, Adam Teeter explores the benefits of wine in a box.

In Forbes, Cathy Huyghe calls Concha y Toro “The World’s Most Powerful Wine Brand.”


Daily Wine News: Under and Overrated

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 01-14-2015

50-shades-beauty-2 tm

(Fifty Shades of Grey Wines)

How are the Fifty Shades of Grey wines, “Red Satin” and “White Silk”? Vanity Fair asked a handful of experts for their opinions — and the results are mixed.

“It’s easy to forget the appeal of the untrendy: longtime businesses that deliver good quality.” In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray shares nine under the radar California wineries, including Hanzell, Jordan, Saintsbury, and more. “If you haven’t had their wine in a while – or perhaps ever – it’s time to revisit.”

“Domaine de La Janasse easily ranks among the greatest estates of Châteauneuf-du-Pape,” contends Alder Yarrow after his recent visit to the winery.

“Can this Monbazillac open your mind?” Wine Spectator profiles Bruno Bilancini of Château Tirecul La Gravière and his “delicious cult sweet white wines.”

In Grape Collective, Jameson Fink chats with Michele Faro of Pietradolce about Sicilian vineyards and the appeal of wines from Mount Etna.

How will the rising dollar affect the U.S. wine market? “It’s complicated,” says Mike Veseth, the wine economist.

Looking for great Pinot Noir bargains? Look to Cru Beaujolais instead, advises Katie Kelly Bell in Forbes.

Elsewhere in Forbes, “For Total Wine & More, It Was A Very Good Year.”

According to Decanter, “New Nomacorc owners eye acquisitions after buyout deal.”