Daily Wine News: California Prices

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-28-2015

Bottle of St.-Joseph wine. (Wikimedia)

Bottle of St.-Joseph wine. (Wikimedia)

“Ask professional wine buyers outside the state what their main holdup with California is, and taste is not the issue. Today, price is the sticking point.” Jon Bonné shares his opinion about whether California wine prices are too high in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov is “grateful for the existence of St. Joseph,” and finds joy in wines that “capture the essence of St.-Joseph, a firm core of minerality wrapped in savory, peppery flavors of smoked meats, olives and herbs, with grace notes of violets and red and black fruits.”

According to Jane Anson in Decanter, “Olivier Bernard, owner of Domaine de Chevalier and Domaine de la Solitude in Pessac Léognan, is to vinify the oldest vine(s) growing in the Bordeaux region for the first time, with the 2015 harvest.”

Alder Yarrow calls the first vintage of Lodi Native Zinfandel wines “a revelation.”

In Vinous, Joel Payne shares the first part of his Austria 2013 vintage report.

Michelle Locke explores “The Quixote Quest of Carlos Falcó” in Palate Press.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre catches up with Virginia winemakers to discuss the 2015 vintage.

Grape Collective chats with “The King of Value,” Daniel Pi of Trapiche in Mendoza, Argentina.

Wine Reviews: Garnacha

Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 09-26-2015

For wine newbs and nerds alike, Spanish Garnacha offers a lot of fun options, many of them for a moderate price. This grape (Spanish for Grenache) has historically been used in blends, but it’s common as a varietal wine, and “Garnacha” is featured frequently and prominently on many Spanish wine labels. A juicy red grape, Garnacha is becoming more widely known among consumers looking for something smooth yet bold and fruity.

Apparently every grape now has to have it’s own “day,” so on September 18, I tasted some Spanish Garnacha on Garnacha/Grenache Day. In an online video tasting sponsored by Snooth, Guillermo Cruz, sommelier at the award-winning Mugaritz in San Sebastian, said customers frequently ask for a bottle of Garnacha by name, which was an uncommon request just a few years ago.

Like any wine from any region, the $10 bottles with screwcaps and kitschy labels are most likely going to be sweet, candied wines without much depth. But perhaps unlike many regions, Spanish Garnacha quality rises quickly with only slight cost increases. There are lots of real, terroir-driven wines out there for $15-$25, which isn’t as easy to find with some other popular red varieties.

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

Daily Wine News: A Slow Extinction

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-25-2015

The coast in Colares, Portugal. (Flickr: TevesCosta)

The coast in Colares, Portugal. (Flickr: TevesCosta)

The ancient wine region of Colares is fast succumbing to development and decay, even as the world has started to rediscover it. In Punch, Zachary Sussman on what the slow extinction of some of the world’s most compelling wines can teach us about how little we know.

In Decanter, Jane Anson sees the vineyards at the Bardenas national park in northwest Spain, where Bordeaux varieties are growing in desert conditions.

Small genetic differences in a single species of yeast produce distinct mixes of chemicals that contribute to terroir, says Smithsonian, commenting on a newly published scientific report that provides evidence for a microbial aspect to terroir.

The epicenter of last week’s earthquake in Chile was in the wine-producing region of Coquimbo. In the Village Voice, Lauren Mowery encourages you to drink Chilean wine from one of the affected valleys.

In VinePair, an excerpt about one of the largest cases of wine fraud in American history from Frances Dinkelspiel’s book Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California.

The Drinks Business profiles Marc and Elodie Milhade, the pair of young winemakers in Bordeaux putting their faith in Carmenère, bringing the variety, which has all but disappeared in France, back to its birthplace.

James Lawrence shares “The World’s 5 Weirdest Wine Tours” in Le Pan Magazine.

“What matters more, producer or vintage?” In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague attempts to find good wines in bad vintages.

Daily Wine News: Shifting Terroir

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-24-2015

Vineyards in Taurasi (Source: Campania Wines)

Vineyards in Taurasi (Source: Campania Wines)

Ian D’Agata offers his thoughts on Campania’s wines in Vinous. “Truly bad wines from Campania are rare, and that is something I cannot say about other Italian regions such as Puglia or Abruzzo.”

During his two-day visit to New York, the Pope will enjoy wines from New York’s celebrated Finger Lakes region, courtesy of O-Neh-Da Vineyard.

Liza B. Zimmerman on Walla Walla’s shifting terroir in SOMM Journal.

Jonathan Lipsmeyer discovers which grapes are allowed in Bourgogne Rouge — and it’s not just Pinot Noir.

With both wine o’clock and beer o’clock being accepted by the Oxford Dictionaries Online last month, Regan Hofmann takes a look at how our official drinking lingo has evolved over the last decade in Punch.

Wines & Vines looks at weed’s effect on wine sales.

In Eater, “A Guide to New York’s Natural Wine Bars & Neo-Bistros.”

According to Smithsonian, Crimean officials are suing Putin for drinking a 240-year-old bottle of wine.

In Imbibe Magazine, Andy Chabot, wine director at Blackberry Farm, has a few fall wine tips to offer.

1WineDude Joe Roberts comments on “Pennsylvania’s Latest Attempt to Alienate Its Wine Lovers.”

In Wine Spectator, Tim Fish tastes a vertical of Napa’s Schramsberg Vineyards back to 1965.

Daily Wine News: Wine at Starbucks

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-23-2015

A look at Starbucks' new evenings program. (Source: Starbucks)

A look at Starbucks’ new evenings program. (Source: Starbucks)

Elin McCoy tastes all the wines at Starbucks’ new evenings program and offers her thoughts in Bloomberg Business. “A chalkboard behind the bar announces the day’s featured wine-and-food pairing—Malbec with truffle mac and cheese. (Which, I discover, is a terrible combo.)”

In Le Pan Magazine, Alain Julien on Champagne’s forgotten varieties, and how rising temperatures could cause them to thrive.

In Decanter, Jane Anson reports on the 2015 Bordeaux red harvest.

Tim Hall offers a report of 2015 in Champagne in Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages.

In the Sacramento Bee, Mike Dunne profiles George Radanovich, who served in Congress from 1995-2011, and is now making wine for his “1000 Vines” label in Mariposa.

“Bill Leigon, president of Jamieson Ranch Vineyards since February 2013, purchased the Napa Valley wine brand from Colorado-based investment company Madison Vineyard Holdings,” reports Wines & Vines.

In Eater, Levi Dalton on “Unicorn Wine,” a new category of wine taking hold in Manhattan—the once in a lifetime bottles that every sommelier dreams of drinking, and bragging about, before they die.

In Food & Wine, Ray Isle talks with William Shatner about his new wine show, Brown Bag Wine Tasting.

Zach Geballe reviews Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine in Seattle Weekly.

“Legacy of Jackass Hill” takes top prize in 2015 Wine Spectator Video Contest.

Daily Wine News: Bet on Burgundy

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-22-2015

Vineyard in Burgundy (Source: Wikimedia)

Vineyard in Burgundy. (Source: Wikimedia)

Andrew Jefford reports on the 2015 wine harvest from Burgundy in Decanter. “Burgundians are by nature a modest lot, and resist the extravagant early claims to which Bordeaux is prone, but let’s say that it is at least possible than the 2015 vintage in the Côte d’Or will be a very great one. Start saving now.”

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto visits Tuscan legend Paolo De Marchi, who has studied everything from Sangiovese genetics to hornet guts in hopes of understanding Chianti.

Is this a good time to buy Bordeaux?” asks Adam Lechmere in Le Pan Magazine.

In Palate Press, W. Blake Gray explores Portugal’s Tejo region, which changed its name from “Ribatejo” in 2010.

VinePair catches up with Jancis Robinson about wine apps, scores, and her newly released 4th edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine.

In the Oregonian, Dana Tims profiles Jimmy Leyden, the 94-year-old winemaker of Courting Hill Vineyards in Oregon.

Tyler Colman comments on Playboy’s video, in which sommelier Patrick Cappiello tastes boxed wines. “While it makes for a good segment, I wish that P. Cap had used his place of power and influence to praise the format itself.”

After being touted as perhaps the best first growth on the strength of its points and prices two years ago, is Haut-Brion finally moving into the limelight? Rupert Miller investigates in the Drinks Business.

In the World of Fine Wine, Frank Ward considers the affinities between wine and music, and suggests wines to pair with the seven symphonies of David Matthews.

In Condé Nast Traveler, Krisanne Fordham reviews airline wine lists.

Daily Wine News: A Rosé That Lasts

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-21-2015

“There aren’t many wine names as resonant as Domaine Tempier Bandol…”

Jancis Robinson features the wines of Domaine Tempier Bandol. “Tempier’s garrigue-scented pink wine is so popular that it runs out long before the next vintage is available, and yet it is one of the world’s few rosés seriously worth ageing – for decades in some cases.”

“Noël Verset, whose perseverance laboring in the steep, granite vineyards of Cornas, in the Rhône Valley of France, helped the Cornas appellation survive to be discovered by a new generation of wine lovers, died on Sept. 11 in Guilherand-Granges, France. He was 95.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov writes an obituary.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre reviews two new wine books: the 4th edition of Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine and Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack.

Panos Kakaviatos reports on the Burgundy 2015 vintage in Decanter, and for wine-chronicles.

Could California’s wine country be the world’s next great truffle region? Rachel Signer investigates in Eater.

Wines & Vines reports on the first WineJobs summit, which explored trends in winery human relations, hiring and compensation.

W. Blake Gray profiles Mike Grgich, who just turned 92, in Le Pan Magazine.

Lettie Teague profiles wine-label designer Nadira Vlaun in the Wall Street Journal.

In the Sacramento Bee, Chris Macias looks at how California’s wildfires have impacted local wine operations.

In VICE’s food blog, Munchies, “How Uber Is Changing the Way Drunk People Take Wine Tours.”

Wine Reviews: Acinum Wines from Veneto

Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 09-19-2015

Vias Imports — a big player in the U.S. when it comes to Italian imports — has just launched its own label called Acinum. Hitting the nationwide market this month, these wines are solid, value-driven examples of the classic Veneto wines: Prosecco, Soave Classico, Valpolicella and Amarone.

The wines are a result of collaboration between the chairman of Vias Imports, Fabrizio Pedrolli, and grower and oenologist Enrico Paternoster. For those looking for an introduction to the wines of the Veneto, these widely-available bottles would be a good and inexpensive place to start.

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

Daily Wine News: Redefining Rioja

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-18-2015

Autumn in Rioja. (Flickr: thirstforwine)

Autumn in Rioja. (Flickr: thirstforwine)

In Decanter, Jane Anson explores Rioja terroir with fresh eyes and finds there is a fightback in the Spanish region among those seeking to promote its diversity.

“No set of restaurants matches the collective excellence of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group in offering wine lists with better combinations of great values, sheer deliciousness and sympathetic accompaniment to the food on the menu,” writes Eric Asimov in the New York Times.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague thinks Cabernet Franc is the ideal summer-into-fall wine.

Stephen Tanzer shares his thoughts on the 2014 and 2013 White Burgundies in Vinous.

Many California wineries from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz report small berries, short tonnage, says Jane Firstenfeld in Wines & Vines.

According to VinePair, there’s a wine powered car — and it belongs to a prince.

In Wine Spectator, Matt Kramer on the “3 Biggest Modern Wine Mistakes.”

A to Z Wineworks becomes one of Oregon wine’s biggest sellers, reports Molly Harbarger in the Oregonian.

In Food & Wine, Ray Isle explores five vintages of “one of the world’s greatest white wines,” Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune.

In the Drinks Business, “Top 10 Unusual Drinks Ageing Methods.”

Grape Collective launches a new book: Conversations with Winemakers: Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, South Australia.

Daily Wine News: Beaujolais’ New Tale

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-17-2015

Gamay in Beaujolais (Flickr: dyfustifications)

Gamay in Beaujolais (Flickr: dyfustifications)

“At last, Beaujolais is set to tell a new tale. Its wines are no longer just simple pleasures. Today the best are complex and meaningful, on a level with great wines found anywhere else in the world.” In Punch, Jon Bonné on terroir, identity and the next generation of winemakers who will shape Beaujolais’ future.

The winners of the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards 2015 were announce Tuesday night. Decanter and Vinous both report on who claimed a prize.

Joe Roberts, 1WineDude, praises Champagne Jacques Lassaigne’s Blanc de Blancs. “…they might be the purest expression of place available from the Aube…all treated with as little sulfur as possible, and all adored by the way-too-cool-in-its-own-mind cadre of hip sommeliers on both coasts of the USA.”

“So what’s it going to take to get tap wine to truly take off, and as consumers, do we actually want it to?” In VinePair, Adam Teeter wonders if keg wine is fad or the future.

In Wine Spectator, Harvey Steiman tastes the first Cayuse Syrah from Christophe Baron’s new Walla Walla vineyard, inspired by France’s Hermitage.

Panos Kakaviatos reports on Bordeaux harvest for wine-chronicles, and explores whether rains could complicate a potentially excellent vintage.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Napa Valley Wine Train has been sold.

South African winemakers are promoting higher-priced bottles to boost export sales, says Tshepiso Mokhema in Bloomberg.

In Eater, Mariel Wega, wine director at a.kitchen and a.bar in Philadelphia, shares which off-the-beaten-path regions and grape varieties she thinks will be big down the road.