Daily Wine News: Czech Terroir

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-16-2016

Moravian grapes. (Wikimedia)

Moravian grapes. (Wikimedia)

“Gradually, with privatization, Czech wine producers began taking back the ground they had lost under Communist rule. The huge cooperatives were broken up and handed to dedicated winemakers… the use of stainless steel tanks and temperature-controlled fermentation, arrived. Producers rediscovered the concept of terroir.” In the New York Times, Hana de Goeij on the growing reputation for wines from Moravia in the Czech Republic.

Jon Bonné looks at the boom of American pét-nat in Punch. “As much as anything, the embrace of pét-nat is a sign of domestic wine’s tectonic shift away from raised-pinky pretensions to a casual, freestyle era, one that borrows a page or two from the craft beer world.”

In the New Statesman, Nina Caplan explores natural wine and why some critics object to it. “Perhaps our palates will have evolved by the next millennium in favour of funkier wines, because people, like wine, are endlessly perfectible, if never perfect…Sulphur is not the problem. As usual, we are.”

On Tim Atkin’s site, Matt Walls discovers the Ventoux AOC in the southeastern region of the Rhône Valley.

In Vinous, Stephen Tanzer reports on the 2014 red Burgundies.

Tech Crunch profiles Naked Wines and shares the story about what happens when crowdfunding meets winemaking.

Laura Burgess considers the importance of harvesting grapes at the right time in Vine Pair.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley looks California’s place in the wine world.

Daily Wine News: Scribe’s Success

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-15-2016

(Source: Scribe Winery)

(Source: Scribe Winery)

“Scribe is a winery in Sonoma. As I learned upon moving to San Francisco last year, it’s also something of a social phenomenon…Friends who were never really interested in wine, who certainly never — I mean never — would have considered joining a wine club are, it turns out, members of the wine club at Scribe. What code has Scribe cracked?” In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley profiles Scribe Winery, “a winery, a lifestyle brand, an aesthetic.”

“Torres have announced their decision to differentiate their new sparkling wine, launching this year, by not putting the Cava name on it – therefore not signing it up to be part of the Cava DO,” reports Decanter.

In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth reviews writer-director David Kennard’s A Year in Port, which follows A Year in Burgundy and A Year in Champagne.

Jeff Siegel, the wine curmudgeon, wonders where all the value in California wine has gone.

In Wine-Searcher, Felipe Tosso, winemaker for Viña Ventisquero talks to Adam Lechmere about growing grapes in Chile’s extreme desert regions.

Brian Freedman looks at the wave of mergers and acquisitions sweeping U.S. wineries in Forbes.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre offers advice on pairing wine with tomatoes.

Punch asks two sommeliers to share their favorite wines to serve over ice, the best bargain non-Champagne and the two bottles they’d drink forever.

Wine Reviews: Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 08-13-2016

Ready to dig into some Willamette Valley Pinot Noir? My answer to that question will always be a resounding yes.

The majority of these releases hail from the 2014 vintage, a year heralded by many Willamette Valley winemakers as historic in its high quality. With record-breaking quantities of heat and plenty of sun, the Pinot grapes were ripe and the crop was bountiful. Some growers reporting a 40% increase in crop size from the 2013 vintage. But the quality of the fruit is high, and the wines I’ve tasted don’t stray into overripe territory.

“Never seen the likes of it in 25 years,” Doug Tunnell of Brick House Wine Company told WineBusiness.com. “I’m sure we’ll look back at 2014 as a rare gift.”

A stellar vintage like 2014 provides a perfect lens through which to examine Willamette Valley Pinot Noir in the entry level range. And I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of vibrant, juicy, complex and delicious Pinots that cost less than $30. These wines tend to drink best young, but even the basic wines show good structure. A lot of higher-end 2014s will improve dramatically in the cellar, methinks. Some 2013 Pinots in this report showed very well, too.

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

Weekly Interview: Bob Turner

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 08-12-2016


Bob Turner

Bob Turner

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. After an extended break, due in part to a long trip to Bordeaux, we’re back! This week, we’re featuring Bob Turner, the winemaker at Robert Turner Wines. Dave Earnest, the assistant winemaker, also makes a cameo appearance.

Bob Turner enjoyed a full career as a dentist — in private practice and in the Navy — before turning to wine. He is now making some Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Sangiovese that he sources from various sites.

Check out the interview below the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Wrestling with Identity

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-12-2016

Vineyards of Occhipinti in Vittoria. (Source: Occhipinti)

Vineyards of Occhipinti in Vittoria. (Source: Occhipinti)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov highlights the best winemakers in Sicily’s Vittoria, and finds the region’s reds can be every bit as beautiful as the fashionable wines of Mount Etna.

Frances Dinkelspiel offers more updates on the Premier Cru case: John Fox, owner of Premier Cru, plead guilty to what the judge called “a wine Ponzi scheme” and admitted to spending more than $900K on women he met online.

“As the wine world continues to wrestle with the definition of natural wine, [natural wine group] VinNatur has presented its new checklist of permitted and forbidden practices as a new benchmark in defining the category.” Do Bianchi’s Jeremy Parzen shares details about the group’s new guidelines for the production of natural wines.

Grape Collective explores how Charles Bieler went from driving a pink Cadillac hawking a then unknown rosé to spawning the rosé revolution and co-owning the largest brand of American rosé.

Lettie Teague looks at who is betting on California’s Carneros region making a comeback in the Wall Street Journal.

The third vintage of Champagne AR Lenoble “Le Vallon” honey from Le Vallon in Chouilly is to be released in September.

Jen Chaney reviews the new docu-series, “The Wine Show” in Vulture.

According to Anna Lee C. Iijima in Wine Enthusiast, “German wine is having its moment.”

Daily Wine News: Costs of Cheap Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-11-2016

Wine_on_the_WallHow does a $3.50 bottle of wine go from grape to store for so little? In Punch, Megan Krigbaum investigates what actually goes into making such an inexpensive wine, and at what costs.

According to Decanter, Wildfires have spread across the island of Madeira and the north of Portugal, but vineyards are reported to be safe in both so far.

“John E. Fox, the embattled owner of the wine retailer, Premier Cru, will plead guilty to wire fraud in federal court in San Francisco on Thursday, one day after he turns himself into authorities,” reports Frances Dinkelspiel in Berkeley Side’s Nosh.

In the Philadelphia Inquirer, Elisa Ludwig explores the rise of Greek wines. “Maybe it’s a marketing issue – simply a question of awareness and accessibility. After all…Greek yogurt was unknown to many Americans a couple of decades ago.”

Tom Wark pens an open letter to the marijuana industry from the wine industry. “Whatever you do, don’t allow America’s alcohol wholesalers anywhere near your growing and soon-to-be-legal industry.”

“Chilean producers are breathing new life into Pais as they work on trying out different styles that suit its versatile character,” reports the Drinks Business.

In Wine Spectator, Matt Kramer recommends places for wine vacations.

Food & Wine profiles the 2016 Sommeliers of the Year.

CNBC considers wine investing.

Daily Wine News: Worries and Woes

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-10-2016

Ball_point_pen_writingTim Atkin considers the current state of wine writing. “Too much of what is written about wine these days is underwhelming, unoriginal and ill informed, with personal opinion a poor substitute for knowledge and research. And yet the engaging stuff is better written than ever.”

The complicated 2016 growing season in Champagne has been one of the lowest yielding seasons since the 1980s. Decanter reports on how bad weather, rot, and mildew have impacted the vintage.

“Piemonte Nebbiolo, which would allow the Nebbiolo grape to be grown anywhere in the region, would be a big step back for Italian wines. It would go against the push to create subzones in the most esteemed denominations by officially delimiting vineyard areas.” In Wine Enthusiast, Kerin O’Keefe explains why you should be worried about the newly proposed Piemonte Nebbiolo DOC.

WENY looks at what the drought means for the Finger Lakes wine industry.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray shares updates on the conditions of the vineyards impacted by the growing fire in Monterey County.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague profiles wine broker Ben Wallace, who opened CellaRaiders in 2004 and now has a collection of over 35,000 bottles.

In the Sacramento Bee, Mike Dunne profiles Camillo Magoni, winemaker at Casa Magoni in Baja California.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, wonders what jury duty can teach us about wine markets.

Vinous looks back at the 1988-2012 vintages of Sardinia’s Argiolas Turrriga wines.

Daily Wine News: Origins & Revivals

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-09-2016

(Source: Margaret River Discovery Co.)

(Source: Margaret River Discovery Co.)

Decanter reports that Credaro Wines has revealed Margaret River’s origins date back to the 1920s, from an Italian grape variety called Fragola.

In Wine Enthusiast, Michael Schachner explores the wines of the Levante, the sun-drenched, mountainous portion of Spain that starts in Valencia and extends south to Murcia.

Elaine Chukan Brown shares notes from the master class at International Pinot Noir Celebration on Australian Pinot Noir. “Today the focus in Australia is to make site expressive pinot noir, rather than attempting to emulate other regions.”

The Drinks Business looks at how Chilean winemakers are working to revive Carmenere. “The chief change is to cease trying to treat Carmenere as either Merlot or Cabernet.”

SOMM Journal looks at how Cabernet Sauvignons from Alexander Valley have improved in quality and gained a reputation for elegance.

Bloomberg makes a visit to Baja California and is impressed by Mexico’s wine country.

In Crain’s Chicago Business, Anne Spiselman looks at how small wine importers and distributors are taking off and building impressive portfolios.

Wine Folly offers a guide to German reds for summer.

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto finds exotic and exciting grappas at Vittorio Gianni Capovilla’s northern Italy distillery.

Daily Wine News: A Sad Farewell

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-08-2016

North Fork Lagrein at Southold Farm + Cellar. (Source: Southold Farm + Cellar)

North Fork Lagrein at Southold Farm + Cellar. (Source: Southold Farm + Cellar)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov shares the bittersweet story of Southold Farm & Cellar, a small family winery that he says produces “some of the most interesting, creative and exciting wines on the North Fork of Long Island.” Unfortunately, due to zoning laws, their property is now up for sale, and they are not yet sure where to make the 2016 wines.

“Since Sancerre is naturally and historically a good place to grow Pinot Noir, could it become (or has it already become) the one place in France that could give a credible alternative Pinot to the classics made in Burgundy?” asks Roger Morris in Palate Press.

Coravin has launched the Coravin Model One, a new gadget “to cater for millennials,” which also happens to be the cheapest version.

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter talks with Mike Chelini from Napa’s Stony Hill Vineyard about his cult chardonnay.

California Pinot Noir producer, Kosta Browne Winery announced the purchase of Cerise Vineyards in Anderson Valley.

Egypt is hoping to revive its wine industry. “Originally practiced under the pharaohs, large-scale winemaking is slowly rising as the country strives to win over international wine markets.”

Alfonso Cevola continues his interview with sommelier Rebecca Murphy.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre reports on the impression Virginia’s Ankida Ridge Vineyards made at the recent International Pinot Noir Celebration.

Wine Reviews: Summer Grill-Out Reds

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 08-06-2016

It’s the dog days of summer in the mid-Atlantic, and it’s been hot and humid for as long as I can remember. When I’m done pounding H20 all day long, I generally uncork bubbles or white or pink wine.

That said, if you’re firing up a grill, red wines should probably be involved, no matter the weather conditions. I recently tasted through a wide array of California red wines that should pair nicely with summertime meals, parties and grill-outs. From Petite Sirah to Zin blends to Rhone reds, there are some goodies in this report, many of which are reasonably priced.

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