Daily Wine News: Champagne Problems

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-16-2017

Armand de Brignac Champagnes.

Armand de Brignac Champagnes.

According to Wine-Searcher’s Katie Smith, Jay-Z’s Armand de Brignac Champagne isn’t as popular as it once was. “Last year shaped up to be a truly abysmal one for Armand de Brignac…Overall, it is fair to say that both Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot have well and truly waved goodbye to competition from the once almighty Armand de Brignac.”

Stop Trump Wine, a group opposed to President Donald Trump, is pressuring the grocery chain Wegmans to stop selling Trump wine in its Virginia locations.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan looks at the flaws of two recent surveys about sustainability in wine.

Jordan Michelman profiles Teutonic’s owner/winemaker Barnaby Tuttle in Williamette Week. “Somewhere between a Didier Dagueneau “wild man of the Loire” and a total hesher who likes listening to Black Sabbath in the auto shop, Teutonic’s Barnaby Tuttle seems larger than life.”

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning covers the history of Bandol’s Domaine Tempier, and talks to winemaker Daniel Ravier about his philosophy of winemaking and the future of Bandol wine.

The Drinks Business reports that “Pernod Ricard has claimed it is the ‘fastest growing supplier’ of branded wine in the UK after seeing strong growth in its Rioja brand, Campo Viejo and Jacob’s Creek.”

Wine Enthusiast profiles the “South American winemaking pioneers making their mark on Malbec” with “some if Argentina’s most innovative wine projects.”

Amy Zavatto highlights wine regions — including the Finger Lakes and Washington State — that over deliver for value in Beverage Media.

Daily Wine News: Wine & Gender

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-15-2017

womanmanwineJonathan Lipsmeyer looks at the history of wine and gender. “We’d probably do best to excise gender from our tasting notes, and just let the adjectives which drove us to that shorthand conclusion speak for themselves — just as authors from the first twenty centuries of wine writing did.”

Alice Feiring responds to Hugh Johnson’s recent piece on natural wine in Decanter: “I think it’s time for Mr. Johnson to take a break from garden writing for a minute to reconsider his words. Give us the courtesy of a more well-researched response instead of falling down the tweet drain –the second son of the blog–where unsupported feelings have become the norm.”

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy highlights bottles of 2015 Burgundy under $100. “The reputation of this vintage is deserved, especially for the reds. Rich, ripe, hedonistic, succulent, and mouth filling, they have cashmere-like texture and that juicy acidity.”

In SOMM Journal, Allyson Gorsuch visits historic Tokaj and gets a glimpse into the future.

Premium wine in boxes is the fastest growing format for wine, reports Wines & Vines.

Aaron Menenberg talks to Jeff Morgan, co-owner and vintner of Covenant Wines, about why he makes wine in both California and Israel.

According to Decanter, “the annual Cape Wine Auction 2017 has raised a record-breaking 22.3 million South African rand (£1.3 million / $1.67 million).”

Laura Burgess finds value in wines from Oregon and Washington in VinePair.

Daily Wine News: Experiments in Service

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-14-2017

(Flickr: Daniel Gasienica)

(Flickr: Daniel Gasienica)

“Does it make sense to eliminate elements of restaurant wine service if they seem pointless or cause agitation?” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov explores whether offering a taste of the wine at the table should be eliminated from service, as the New York restaurant, Italienne, has done.

“Most Saint-Amour is awful because it doesn’t have to be good.” In Eater, Aaron Ayscough explains how Saint-Amour Beaujolais has suffered because of Valentine’s Day. “Beaujolais has 10 “cru” appellations…but Saint-Amour is the only that sells one-third of its annual production on Valentine’s Day each year.”

In VinePair, Nick Hines shadows Master Sommelier Brahm Callahan. His takeaway? “Being a somm is about service, not stardom.”

In Decanter, Andrew Jefford on “the other Châteauneuf”: Gadagne. “Make no mistake, these are wines of powerful personality, with a force, an energy and an intensity to them that you will not often find among their peers in the ‘named village’ division.”

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto visits Sicily’s Pietradolce, where Michele Faro is dedicated to century-old sites, pre-phylloxera vines and experimental wines.

Virginie Boone looks at the 2013 vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in Wine Enthusiast.

In Palate Press, Henry Jeffreys considers the evolution of Lebanese wine.

WineFolly on the importance of understanding geography in order to understand wine.

Daily Wine News: On Aging & Pricing

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-13-2017

(Flickr: :: Wendy ::)

(Flickr: :: Wendy ::)

In Punch, Megan Krigbaum wonders why older wines are priced the way they are, and talks to sommeliers helming the nation’s top vintage lists and discovers that the process is far more complicated than a simple mark-up.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre does his best to explain how and why a wine’s taste evolves with age. “As with many simple questions, there is no simple answer. Wine is alive.”

R.H. Drexel shares an intimate interview with Robert Parker Jr., in which they talk about 2016, music, books, the world of wine and more.

In Wine-Searcher, Rebecca Gibb explores research that has found oak barrels having a greater effect on the perception of sweetness in wine.

Mitch Frank talks Prohibition, wine, and the American dream in Wine Spectator.

In Decanter, James Button considers the possibilities of Koshu, Japan’s native grape variety, and lists a few Japanese wineries to watch.

“The 2013 Barolos generally possess striking aromatics, silky tannins that are the result of a long growing season, sculpted, vibrant fruit and mid-weight structures.” In Vinous, Antonio Galloni shares his thoughts on 2013 Barolo.

In Grape Collective, Lucia Albino Gilbert and John C. Gilbert cover the impressive women winemakers of Portugal’s new Douro.

Wine Reviews: Crocker & Starr

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 02-11-2017

Crocker-starr-58 copyCrocker-starr-58 copy2016 marked the 20th vintage for Pam Starr under her Crocker & Starr label. They opened a new winery in 2016 as well, so the future is looking bright for this purveyor of pure, delicious St. Helena wines.

The estate vineyard dates back to the late 1800s, but venture capitalist Charlie Crocker purchased the estate in the early 70s and began replanting Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon where Merlot, Riesling, and Zinfandel had put down roots. When the St. Helena AVA was approved in 1995, Charlie tapped the winemaking talent of Pam Starr, who was making wine at neighboring Spotteswoode, and this project kicked off.

Over the past two decades, the estate has grown to some 85 planted acres of Bordeaux varieties. The team transitioned from conventional to organic farming, which Pam credits for providing a sense of “verve” to the wines. They held onto the best older Cabernet Sauvignon vines, but planted Cabernet Franc and other red varieties, and Sauvignon Blanc in some more clay-dominated areas of the estate.

I recently tasted four new releases from Crocker & Starr, all four of which are exciting, absolutely delicious, and age-worthy (even the Sauv Blanc would be cool with three or four years on it). I was really impressed with the flagship Stone Place Cabernet, but also surprised by the depth and purity of the Malbec-dominated blend and the Cabernet Franc.

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

Weekley Interview: David Edmonds

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 02-10-2017

David Edmonds

David Edmonds

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring David Edmonds, the winemaker at Nobilo Wines.

David was born in New Zealand in the very year that the first Sauvignon Blanc vines were planted in Marlborough. He grew up near wine country, vacationed there, and was responsible for the household chore of storing shipped boxes of wine. Wine therefore came naturally to David as a profession. After graduating from college, he worked at Hawke’s Bay, then in California for a few years, before returning to New Zealand to join Nobilo in 2002.

Nobilo Wines has been a pioneer in New Zealand winemaking since it was founded in 1943 by Nikola and Zuva Nobilo, who had fled the war in their native Croatia.

Check out the interview below the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Social Media & Sales

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-10-2017

Does social media actually help sell wine? (Source: Delectable)

Does social media really help sell wine? (Source: Delectable)

W. Blake Gray shares findings of a recent survey by Wine Opinions about social media, critics, and wine. “Social media might not only be less important than 90+ point scores from critics: it seems less important than “wine is on sale for 10% off or more… Wine store employees will be delighted to learn that a “recommendation from retail store staff” is more important than either critics or wine journalists.”

In Punch, Jon Bonné journeys through Australia’s Barossa and McLaren Vale, the regions that built their reputations on big shiraz, and asks: What’s next? “In a larger sense, Australia, like California, is finally grappling with one of its quintessential problems: Technical skill has, since the 1950s, been largely valued over individuality.”

Wine Spectator announced that Tim Fish will now cover Oregon and Washington for the magazine.

Orange Coast Magazine chats with R.H. Drexel about her zine, Loam Baby, her choice to write under a pseudonym, and why wine is her chosen muse.

Jane Anson looks at how a new law in China could hurt vineyard purchases in Decanter.

In the New York Times, Shivani Vora travels to California’s Salinas Valley and enjoys local wineries and a re-energized downtown.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, looks for signs of an Argentine wine export revival.

The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Austin is enjoying the white wines of Rueda even in the depths of winter.

Daily Wine News: Wine Lists Evolving

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-09-2017

A wine list of the distant past. (Wikimedia)

A wine list of the distant past. (Wikimedia)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, a visit to the Morris gets Esther Mobley thinking about the obligations of a restaurant wine list. “As fine dining evolves, the prestige list has started to seem almost gauche… What’s replaced it, largely, is the micro-list — a compact wine menu with lots of white space, privileging uniqueness above all else, often aimed more to challenge than to comfort.”

“The fact that winemakers give direction to nature in the development of their work is no more an impediment to artistic intent than the fact that painters depend on the cooperation of light or musicians on the structure of their instruments. The medium always shapes the message.” Dwight Furrow explores the role of creativity in winemaking on 3 Quarks Daily.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague dives into dolcetto and discovers a “discreet number of truly delicious, affordable reds that definitely deserve a higher status.”

Julia Harding delves into current research surrounding microbial terroir in Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages.

In Forbes, Lauren Mowery explains the importance of visiting Chile’s Old World wineries outside Santiago.

At this year’s Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, a panel of growers discussed the current trends in mechanization and its future. Wines & Vines reports on their discussion.

In Wine Spectator, James Laube says that winemakers in Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Maria Valley and beyond are preparing for the future

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan shares how his taste for wine has changed after undergoing surgery and anesthesia.

Daily Wine News: Why Wine Matters

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-08-2017

(Flickr: kohrogi34)

(Flickr: kohrogi34)

“Over recent weeks, I’ve started to reconsider the ways in which wine still matters, and might even matter more than before.” In Punch, Zachary Sussman reflects on why wine still matters even in fraught times. “Wine reminds me that history’s arc is broader than the last four years, or what might happen in the next.”

Should wineries get vocal about their politics? Tom Wark considers the consequences.

In Le Pan Magazine, Darius Sanai journeys from Champagne to the Mosel, and delves into the historical conflict between the two regions. “The land between Champagne and the Mosel, and in particular the region of Lorraine, changed hands so frequently, it is still in an identity crisis today, a place of Frenchified Germanic names.”

The Italian Trade Agency paid for a Wine Opinions survey, the results of which were shared at VINO 2017 on Monday. “When asked: “When you think of Italian wines, what word or words come to mind immediately,” the overwhelming answer was: “Chianti.””

Tim Atkin ponders the way robots and Artificial Intelligence could impact the wine industry.

On Nomacorc’s blog, Meg Houston Maker talks with Gina Gallo about her palate, her winemaking style, and how she stays balanced.

Andrew Chalk features Oregon’s Adelsheim Vineyard in the Daily Meal.

In Wine Enthusiast, Lana Bortolot takes a serious look at Arizona wines.

Daily Wine News: Vineyard Fermentation

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-07-2017

From Yellow Tail's Super Bowl ad.

From Yellow Tail’s Super Bowl ad.

“Few things more starkly divide the winemaking world than the philosophy surrounding how fermentation takes place,” says Alder Yarrow, who explores New Zealand’s Greystone Vineyards method of “vineyard fermentation” and compares their two Pinot Noir wines: one fermented in the vineyard, and the other in the winery.

According to the Drinks Business, “Australians have reacted with dismay to an advertisement for Yellow Tail wine aired during Super Bowl Sunday.”

Andrew Jefford ponders how price and value factor into the wine rating scale in Decanter, and argues that “all scores from all scorers already take price into account to some extent.”

In Vinous, Antonio Galloni offers his thoughts on 2014 Bordeaux. “As a whole, 2014 is not consistently exceptional, rather it is an above average vintage with many exceptional wines.”

Meg Houston Maker covers the cool climate wines of the Petaluma Gap in the Tasting Panel Magazine.

Forbes’ Cathy Huyghe reports from VINO 2017 about the “10 key trends for Italian wines in U.S. restaurants.”

Wine & Spirits Magazines chats with Matt Tunstall of Stems & Skins in Charleston about rosé bubbly, dry riesling, and pairing Alsatian whites with barbecue.

In the World of Fine Wine, Katherine Houston talks to sommelier Amanda Yallop about the challenges of being a modern sommelier.