Daily Wine News: Vineyard Vandals

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-17-2015

The wine affected by last week's vineyard TK in Bordeaux. (Souce: Liber Pater)

The wine affected by last week’s vineyard vandalism in Bordeaux. (Souce: Liber Pater)

Vandals have destroyed a plot of rare Bordeaux vines intended for Liber Pater wine by cutting 500 vine plants down to the root.

In the Napa Valley Register, Jennifer Huffman shares how Chris Griffith, owner of the Napa-based business, Napa Antique Wine Artifacts, travels to Eastern European to find wine artifacts for buyers in the U.S.

Andrew Jefford chats with Philippe Guigal in Decanter. “You could say that Guigal is the most un-primeur wine producer in the world. “The two key words in our cellar,” says Philippe, “are ‘slow’ and ‘motion’.””

In the New York Times, Ligaya Mishan features rock guitarist, violinist and producer, Rob Moose and his Coravin use. ““It’s cool to drink something that’s the same age as you,” he said. “To think about what stage a wine is at in its evolution: It’s time to look back on what I’ve done, formulate what I hope to do.””

Becca Yeamans-Irwin, aka the Academic Wino, breaks down the results of new study published in the journal Tourism Management about factors that influence wine tourism, with a focus on the North Carolina wine region.

Alison Napjus talks Champagne blending with Piper-Heidsieck’s Régis Camus in Wine Spectator.

In the Wall Street Journal, Moira Hodgson reviews Matt Kramer’s book, True Taste: The Seven Essential Wine Words.

Grape Collective celebrates the wines of Domaine Billard.

In the Sacramento Bee, Mike Dunne suggests drinking Zinfandel this Thanksgiving.

Ray Isle recommends wine for the holidays in CNBC.

Daily Wine News: “Bomb-ass Pinot”

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-16-2015

Guy Fieri makes wine now. (Wikimedia)

Guy Fieri makes wine now. (Wikimedia)

“Perhaps not surprisingly, wine writers who have been deposed as sole arbiters of wine taste are not overwhelmingly thrilled by the rise and rise of the somm,” says Jancis Robinson, with comments on the new TV series, “Uncorked.”

“Guy Fieri makes wine now. His label is called Hunt & Ryde…and this fall he will roll out three varietals, priced between $45 and $75 a bottle: a Pinot Noir, which he describes as a “bomb-ass Pinot,” a Cabernet blend, and a Zinfandel.” In GQ, Drew Magary heads to Sonoma for the first tasting and pens a profile of Guy Fieri.

A portion of the money raised during Sunday’s Hospices de Beaune auction will go to help victims of the Paris attacks, according to Wine-Searcher.

On Winebusiness.com, Dr. Liz Thach and Dr. Kathryn Chang present the findings of the 2015 Wine Consumer Preference Survey.

In Bon Appétit, Kate Thorman wants America to stop being intimidated by wine.

Dan Berger looks at the rise of Pacific Northwest riesling in the Napa Valley Register.

In Eater, Lauren Mowery recommends where to go wine tasting in New England.

In Palate Press, Simon Woolf features the wines of the Wachau’s Nikolaihof.

Panos Kakaviatos explores 33 Clos Vougeot wines from 2013 in wine-chronicles.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre on English sparkling wine, now available in Washington D.C.

Wine Reviews: Value-Driven Douro Reds

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-14-2015

In the $15-$25 range, does it get any better than Douro reds? Sure you can spend a lot more than that on some incredible red blends from this region. But, if you’re looking for bang-for-your-buck vino, the quality of dry reds coming out of Portugal’s Douro region is consistently impressive.

These three wines were received as trade samples and tastes sighted:

Review: 2012 Prats and Symington Douro Post Scriptum de Chryseia - Portugal, Douro
SRP: $25
Deep purple color. Rich plums, tart black cherries on the nose, rich violets and coffee grounds. Medium-bodied, I like the tartness of the wine, balancing with fine yet firm tannins. Juicy black cherries, plums, tart blackberries, blend in some pencil shavings, loamy soil, mixed with deep floral tones. Dusty, some nice sweet herbal notes and roasted coffee. Full and bold, it gets so much livelier with air but can easily develop and calm down in the cellar. Mostly Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca. (88 points IJB)

Review 2011 Quinta de Roriz Douro Prazo de Roriz - Portugal, Douro
SRP: $16
Bright and juicy with tangy red berries, some tobacco and pepper. Juicy and fresh on the palate with some nice grip from the tannins and tartness from the acid. Cherries and red currants, with some darker berry fruit, backed up by clove, pepper and a nice kick of minerals. Showing well now but could probably unwrap some more complexity over the next few years. (88 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Quinta de la Rosa Douro - Portugal, Douro
SRP: $20
Deep purple color. Smells of black cherries, blackberry and raspberry jam, lots of earthy-charcoal notes along with some tobacco and roasted coffee. Full-bodied, tart acid, the fig, blackberry and blueberry fruit tastes crunchy but slightly roasted, like it was tossed on a charcoal pit for a minute. The fruit stays tart and fresh though despite the richness, and there’s a pleasant sense of pine forest and wet earth underneath. Quite good for the price, a solid autumnal bargain for sure. A cold weather sipper by itself or with rich stews. 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz and 30% Touriga Franca. (87 points IJB)

Weekly Interview: Chris Tynan

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 11-13-2015

Chris Tynan

Chris Tynan

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Chris Tynan, the winemaker at Cliff Lede Vineyards.

Cliff Lede Vineyards is a relative newcomer to Napa. It was founded in 2002 by Cliff Lede, a Canadian-born Bordeaux enthusiast, when Cliff purchased sixty acres of estate in the Stags Leap District. In the coming years, Cliff replanted the vineyards of his new estate with the help of David Abreu. And Cliff finished building the winemaking facility in 2005.

Chris joined Cliff Lede in 2012. Before coming to Cliff Lede, Chris worked as assistant winemaker at Colgin Cellars for five years. And even before that, as you’ll read below, he was a restauranteur in New Mexico.

Check out the interview below the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: As Seen on TV

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-13-2015

A scene from the show, "Uncorked." (Source: Esquire TV)

A scene from the show, “Uncorked.” (Source: Esquire TV)

In the New Yorker, Bianca Bosker looks at what it takes to be a master sommelier, and offers a review of the new TV show “Uncorked.”

“Here is the truth: Thanksgiving does not depend on which wines you choose,” says Eric Asimov in the New York Times. Regardless, he recommends fret-free wine options for the holiday.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley gives advice on how to have an anti-wine Thanksgiving. “What if we abandoned wine altogether at the Thanksgiving table this year? The more I thought about it, the better it sounded.”

Elsewhere, Esther Mobley finds the new wine film “Somm: Into the Bottle” ambitious and dangerously selective.

Jane Anson unravels the wine tension between Italy and France and finds a Barolo merchant in Turin who has managed to straddle the divide in Decanter.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague finds wines from Sicily’s Etna region are some of the most interesting being produced in Italy.

In Vinous, Stephen Tanzer reports on the 2012 Washington vintage, declaring it “a consistently excellent and often spectacular vintage for Washington.”

Alder Yarrow offers an introduction to Uruguayan wine.

Dana Nigro suggests offbeat wines for Thanksgiving in Wine Spectator.

Eater explores dessert wine’s savory side, from sherry to Madeira to Port.


Daily Wine News: Wine & War

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-12-2015

Reims cathedral bombed during WWI (Wikimedia)

Reims cathedral bombed during WWI. (Wikimedia)

Decanter looks at Champagne during WWI. “…of all the terrible moments in Champagne’s long history, none was more catastrophic than World War One.”

In Vinous, R.H. Drexel interviews David Grega, Iraq war veteran turned winemaker. “Grega had fought in the Iraq war and had returned with PTSD, TBI’s (traumatic brain injuries) and other injuries…healed himself by becoming a winemaker.”

According to the Washington Post, France cancels diplomatic dinner with Iran over dispute about serving wine with the meal. “The Iranians, according to France’s RTL Radio, insisted on a wine-free meal with halal meat — a request based on Islamic codes that amounted to culinary sacrilege in France…”

According to Wine Spectator’s Bruce Sanderson, for a complete wine education, there’s no replacing the benchmark wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italy, and beyond. “The benchmark wines of the world are what Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is to art, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is to music, or William Shakespeare’s canon is to literature.”

Italy just produced the biggest grape crop ever for Prosecco, but that doesn’t mean prices are likely to drop anytime soon, says Lydia Mulvany in Bloomberg Business.

In SOMM Journal, Liza B. Zimmerman on how Moldova has entered the wine scene and seeks to open its markets to the West.

In the Atlantic, Ed Yong looks at the vocabulary of smell, and wonders why most languages have so few words for smell.

In the New York Times, Andrew Cotto features the wine shop, Heights Chateau.

Punch recommends seven wines under $25 for Thanksgiving.

Daily Wine News: Role of the Wine Critic

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-11-2015

BaroloWill Lyons ponders the role of the wine critic in the 21st century in CapX. “Improvements in viticulture and winemaking, buying and quality control means it is now very hard to find a bad, poorly made wine. The art of the critic, then, is to find an interesting wine at a price that is reasonable.”

Can a Barolo really be as good as a top Burgundy and still be affordable? In Town & Country Magazine, Jay McInerney weighs in.

“Can Instagram really sell wine? The answer is, yes, though perhaps indirectly.” Elaine Chukan Brown — Hawk Wakawaka — explores how social media has impacted wine.

Wines & Vines reports on the results of a survey about media covering the wine industry. “In short, it’s the quality of the rising tide that will help a wine region or the industry as a whole raise its profile, not just the quantity of pitches and invitations, which can too often leave media feeling flooded.”

In the Sacramento Bee, Mike Dunne visits Barboursville Vineyards in Virginia.

W. Blake Gray delves into why the U.S. government is supporting Georgian wine.

What wines do you pair with durian? Ali Wunderman bravely explores in Paste Magazine.

Lettie Teague features Roberta Morrell of New York City’s Morrell Wine Group in the Wall Street Journal.

In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth reviews the first episode of the Esquire Network series “Uncorked.”

Erika Szymanski explores the science of wine aromas in Palate Press.

Daily Wine News: Napa Valley of China

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-10-2015

Chinese vineyards. (Wikimedia)

Chinese vineyards. (Wikimedia)

“The Bordelais completely misread what looked like the beginning of a Chinese love affair with its famous classified growths. In most cases this was not love but speculation pure and simple.” Jancis Robinson explores the “wildly differing but now heavily entwined cultures of Bordeaux and China.”

Victoria Moore expresses her frustrations with wine promotions in the Telegraph. “For years, supermarket wine chiefs have wrung their hands and protested that they hate promotions too…but they can’t, see, because shoppers are addicted to promotions and if we don’t do them they’ll buy their wines elsewhere.”

In the New York Times, Jane Sasseen features the winemakers with ambitions to become the Napa Valley of China.

Tyler Colman explores why Ningxia wine is growing fast in China, and what’s key to making it on the world stage.

In Bloomberg, Stephanie Baker visits a bunker in Bath, England, and finds an underground storage facility with more than $1.5 billion in fine wine.

According to new data from Nielsen, red blends account for more than 13% of the $13 billion that consumers spend on table wine every year. “In a way, red blends are currently the craft beer of the wine category.”

Jessica Yadegaran profiles Paul Zitarelli, mathematician turned Pacific Northwest wine expert, in Seattle Magazine.

Steve Heimoff comments on millennials, social media, and the death of wine wisdom.

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford, tastes and scores four Grange vintages and several other Penfold’s wines.

Daily Wine News: Somm-Speak Inspired

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-09-2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 11.33.32 PM

A @freshcutgardenhose illustration inspired by @terroiristblog.

In VICE’s Munchies, Hillary Eaton features the work of Maryse Chevriere, who runs “@freshcutgardenhose” — an Instagram account that contains a series of cartoons inspired by the strangest of somm-speak.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov samples Chinese wines. “They were all competently made and can stand with pride among the ranks of commercial wines produced and sold all over the world. What they lack is any sense of distinctiveness, or, to use a bit of wine jargon, terroir.”

According to the Seattle Times’ Katherine Long, Washington State University’s new $23 million wine science center is “one of the most advanced experimental winemaking facilities in the world.”

Sophie Barrett ponders the Aube and Champagne. “At this point in time, I believe that wines of the Aube have been in fashion long enough that a backlash has also been born.”

James Suckling announces his “Top 100 Wines in 2015.”

Bertrand Celce witnesses the making of a biodynamic 501 preparation and its spraying on the parcels in Pouillé-sur-Cher.

Jamie Goode shares cautionary advice for emerging wine writers: “be known for something, but be careful.”

In Wine-Searcher, Caroline Henry reports on how Champagne is trying to become the cleanest and greenest wine region of France.

Dave McIntyre believes “Thanksgiving is an excellent showcase for rosé” in the Washington Post.

Exploring the Magic of Monte Rosso

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-07-2015

IMAG2320As I rode through the Monte Rosso vineyard in the back of an open-air Jeep, clouds of copper-red dust rose up around me. The soil was so fine it coated everyone in the vehicle, and it became impossible not to breathe it in and taste it. After sipping some Monte Rosso wines earlier in the day, the flavor of lingering red dust felt familiar.

The sky was clear and bright as I took in the views of rolling hills and gnarled old vines. From an outlook near the top of the vineyard, which sits on the southwest side of the Mayacamas Range but falls under the Sonoma Valley appellation, I could see the San Francisco skyline in the distance. I was in a special place.

“The specialness of the place and the specialness of the wine coincide,” winemaker Michael Eddy told me. Eddy joined the Gallo Family group in 2005 and now oversees and mentors winemakers across the North Coast. I picked his brain about the Monte Rosso vineyard and its wines over a delicious meal in the Louis M. Martini cellar. Today, Monte Rosso is the jewel in large crown of the Gallo Family, the entity that owns Martini and sponsored this trip.

First planted in 1880, the vineyard survived through prohibition while founder Emmanuel Goldstein sent grapes to home winemakers in San Francisco. Louis Martini purchased the property in 1938 and named it Monte Rosso. The moniker makes sense considering the Martini family’s Italian heritage, the vineyards elevation of 700-1,200 feet, and the bright red loam soil.

The Monte Rosso Vineyard comprises 575 acres, of which 230 are planted to about a dozen varieties. The vineyard is most famous for its Cabernet and Zinfandel, but it’s also home to other Bordeaux varieties and some oddities like Folle Blanche (the grape of Cognac). The most heralded plots are the gnarly old vines: 65-year-old Cabernet, 110-year-old Zinfandel and Semillon. In addition to bottling their own line of wines from this vineyard, Louis Martini has sold fruit to producers like Carlisle, Ravenswood, Rosenblum, and Sbragia Family, among others.

Morgan Twain-Peterson, who crafts Zinfandel from Monte Rosso under his Bedrock label, says of Monte Rosso Vineyard: “the terroir here is so strong that I have often mistaken a Monte Rosso Cabernet for Zinfandel — the wines smell and taste like Monte Rosso, far less like the given varietal.”

If I had to come up with a theme for the wines from this storied vineyard, something consistent across vintage and variety, I’d say they have bountiful earthiness, higher than average acidity, and they maintain a sense of elegance despite the density of fruit. Also, they’re all damn good.

My notes on the Monte Rosso wines are tasted are below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »