A Trip to France and a Brief Hiatus

Posted by | Posted in Terroirist | Posted on 07-05-2014

parisSince November 9, 2010, Terroirist.com has been updated every single (business) day – and more. But after 1,708 posts, it’s time for a brief break. Plus, I’m in France!

Don’t worry. I’ll return to regular blogging on July 17. Until then, follow my travels on Instagram and Twitter.

On July 4th, my trip began with an awesome tour of Paris’ natural wine bars and retailers led by Aaron Ayscough of Not Drinking Poison in Paris. After the tour, I dined at Le Baratin.

Still to come? For food, I’ll be visiting Spring, Clamato, Maison Troisgros, Le Café des Fédérations, L’Atelier du Cuisinier, L’Assiette Champenoise, and Les Avisés.

In Beaujolais, I’ll be visiting Château Thivin, Domaine Diochon, Domaine Michel Chignard, and Domaine Jean Foillard. In Champagne, I’ll be visiting Krug, Frédéric Savart, Vilmart, Didier Gimonnet, Anselme Selosse, and Taittinger.

It should be epic. Be back soon!

Daily Wine News: Carrying Forward

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-03-2014

“The new team has spent extensive time discussing the hallmarks of Mayacamas style in an attempt to hone in on their role carrying it forward.” mayacamasLily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka visits Mayacamas to explore what changes, if any, are ahead.

In Food & Wine, Charles Antin lists “10 Wine Superstars to Follow on Delectable.”

“Moments before I took this photo, the rack on my bike collapsed under the weight and the nearly two cases (22 bottles) of Mailly Grand Cru Champagne” In Grape Collective, Jameson Fink chats with Jeff Kralik, the Drunken Cyclist.

Elsewhere in Grape Collective, Kralik names his favorite places to wine and dine in Philadelphia.

In Winery & Vineyard Management, Christopher Sawyer chats with Helen Bacigalupi about “the past, present and future of her family’s legacy and the renaissance of the Bacigalupi wine brand.”

On Tuesday at the Wine Industry Technology Symposium, many industry leaders learned that social media can, indeed, offer a return on investment.

“Virginia wine has gotten some prominent loving recently from two of DC’s top toques.” According to Dave McIntyre, Robert Wiedmaier and Jose Andres have fallen for Virginia wine.

In Wine-Searcher, “10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know about Marqués de Riscal.”

Daily Wine News: Hail & Fire

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-02-2014

FireFollowing Saturday’s devastating hailstorm, vintners in Burgundy have asked government officials for help. Panos Kakaviatos has the details.

And in Napa County’s Pope Valley, a 2,500+ acre wildfire continues to burn.

Terry Thiese shares his 2013 German vintage report.

“If Wong and Nick and the crew could work wonders with what was dealt them in 2011, this 2012 is a vinous walk in the park.” Dorothy Gaiter profiles one of my favorite wineries, Peay Vineyards.

When it comes to wine auction sales, Burgundy has “basically replaced Bordeaux.”

“If you want a cellar filled with fascinating wines,” then according to Matt Kramer, “there’s no substitute for seeking out the particular.”

“Most people with an interest in history will have heard of the first Battle of the Marne, but it is surprising how few realize that it was fought in the Champagne region.” In Wine-Searcher, Tom Stevenson shares this remarkable story.

Meanwhile, in Palate Press, Daniel Demers goes back in time to when Champagne makers were covered in “honourable nicks” from riddling.

“I am going to create a winery in Los Angeles, on the banks of the Los Angeles river, on the edge of what was once the greatest grape growing region in the whole country.” Abe Schoener’s latest missive is long but worth reading.

In Wine Spectator, Alison Napjus visits Schramsberg Vineyards.

Frank Morgan chats with Paul Wilkins, winemaker at Alta Maria Vineyards.

Panos Kakaviatos is “tired of expensive wine.” Fortunately, there are more fantastic affordable wines than ever before.

In Moldova, CNN travel writer Pat Kinsella got his hands on Putin’s wine.

In the Daily Meal, Jess Novak names the “101 Best Wineries in America.”

Daily Wine News: Devastating Hail

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-01-2014


From Wikimedia.

From Wikimedia.

From Wine-Searcher: “Hail has once more devastated the vineyards of Burgundy, leaving growers worried about their livelihoods.”

W. Blake Gray calls out Robert Parker for (yet another) “cowardly attack on sommeliers whose tastes differ.”

This week, Vivino “will unveil a feature containing the wine lists of approximately 300 restaurants in San Francisco and the South Bay, including wine prices and average ratings from Vivino’s user base. The goal is to help diners stricken with wine-list phobia navigate both pricing and styles of wine.” Jon Bonné has the details.

In mid-June, Peter Liem led a panel discussion exploring the ways in which Champagne and Sherry unwittingly resemble each other. Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka shares her impressions from the event.

For a great look at how social media is upending the wine industry — and creating countless new opportunities — check out Paul Mabray’s recent speech to the Wine Communicators of Australia.

“San Diego, the eighth largest city in the U.S., is famous for its craft-beer scene and year-round perfect weather, its wine and food have never been considered first-rate.” But according to Lettie Teague, “that’s changing fast.”

According to Josh Raynolds, “Finding elegant, lively rosés from California and Oregon has never been easier.” He’s right.

In Grape Collective, Michael Woodsmall profiles Amy Gross, the co-founder of Wine4.Me, an app that “gets scientific about the wines you like.”

Daily Wine News: Academic Excercise

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-30-2014

dom“If this seems impossibly pretentious, well, maybe, but I prefer to think of it as an academic exercise.” Eric Asimov tastes 16 vintages of Dom Pérignon.

“Although the quality of their Pinots has soared, none of Oregon, California, New Zealand and Australia can boast seven centuries of growing the red burgundy grape. But Germany and Austria can, just like Burgundy.” Jancis Robinson is impressed with Austrian Pinot Noir.

“The best versions offer precisely what has made Spanish versions so popular: Riesling-like aromatics, but without a razor’s edge; the freshness of Sauvignon Blanc without the screech.” In California, according to Jon Bonné, Albariño has found a home.

The Drinks Business names the “10 most powerful wine brands of 2014.”

In Decanter, Adam Lechmere reports on Abe Schoener’s plan to build a $2 million winery in central Los Angeles.

According to Bill Zacharkiw, Soave is “the world’s most underrated white-wine appellation.”

“When tasting them, it is impossible to confuse the two wines. Nevertheless, in 1993 the Hungarian government and European Community signed an agreement in which Italy was forced to abandon the use of the name Tocai for its wine and grape.” In Palate Press, Elisabetta Tosi writes about “The Ghost Grape.”

William Shatner has launched a new online TV show: Brown Bag Wine Tasting.

“Ever wish your wine tasted more like coffee?” If so, pick up a can of Friends Fun Wine.

Wine Reviews: Charly Nicolle’s Chablis

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-28-2014

Proprietor Charly Nicolle kicked off his domaine in 2004. He’s been expanding his vineyard holdings piece by piece since 1997, when he acquired one tenth of a hectare from his great-grandfather. Today Domaine Charly Nicolle tends 15 hectares of vines spread across several appellations, including Premier Crus and the Grand Cru Bougros.

Like many Chablis winemakers, Charly learned the ropes from his father, Robert, who runs Domaine de la Mandeliere. Charly still works with his father and the two domaines share a team of vineyard workers, but they each control different vines and make different wines.

Charly Nicolle’s wines are all fermented in stainless steel with natural yeasts. They have a clean feel with lots of verve, minerality and oceanic elements. The wines I tasted hailed from the 2012 vintage, except the 2011 Bougros. “The 2012 vintage is a very good one, rather round and aromatic,” Lucie Thieblemont, the domaine’s commercial director, explained in an email. “It has less acidity than the 2011, which makes it very pleasant to drink now, but might be not so good to keep long.”

The wines are indeed round and aromatic right now, but I’m thinking some of them could age well. All of the wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekly Interview: Elena & Karoline Walch

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 06-27-2014

Karoline Walch, Elena Walch, and Julia Walch

Karoline Walch, Elena Walch, and Julia Walch

Each week, as regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we’re featuring Elena Walch and her daughter, Karoline Walch, proprietors and visionaries at Elena Walch in Alto Adige.

Born in Milan, Elena had been an architect before marrying into a winemaking family in 1985 and moving to the Alto Adige. When she first arrived, Elena says she “became famous in a quick way,” as there were not many women in architecture at that time.

To add to her new neighbors’ curiosity, she then transitioned out of architecture and began to overhaul and make changes at the family’s winery. “Twenty five years ago,” she says, “being a woman in winemaking was very ‘suspicious.”

When Elena took the reins, Alto Adige was making a lot of red wine, namely Schiava. However, Elena started to plant more of the whites – at first, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Bianco. She also drastically lowered yields, made investments in different trellising, implemented higher density plantings, and began using high quality clones.

Over dinner with Elena and her daughter, Karoline (who manages U.S. marketing), their wines all showed beautifully. My favorite was the Pinot Bianco Kastelaz 2012, which comes from the steep hilly vineyards behind the local church. The wine is crisp and clean with depth and lovely floral notes. Elena says, “I find this wine more expressive than the Pinot Grigio, but it is not more loved. It’s like a hidden beauty.” Her Pinot Grigios (as recently called out by Lettie Teague) were also excellent and distinctive. Adding to Elena’s grape resume, she’s also been dubbed the “Queen of Gewürztraminer” by Gambero Rosso after accumulating so many bicchieri.

Get to know Elena and Karoline in the interview below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Its Doldrums

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-27-2014

Syrah. (Flickr, McD22.)

Syrah. (Flickr, McD22.)

“When syrah emerges from its doldrums – and it certainly will – it is more than capable of carrying the flag for the region. It may not supplant the Bordelais varieties here, but I believe it is poised to stand alongside them.” Patrick Comiskey shares his thoughts on Walla Walla Syrah.

“On the Route d’Orange, just past Pierre Usseglio,” James Molesworth visits Bosquet des Papes.

“Outside of California, there’s really nothing like the Napa experience, where you are greeted by young, bright, enthusiastic wine professionals who find true joy in sharing the wines with you.” Jeremy Parzen visits Corison.

“Stewart and Lynda Resnick, Justin Vineyards’ owners since 2010, are some of the world’s savviest marketers of agricultural products.” W. Blake Gray explains in a fascinating profile.

In Grape Collective, Jameson Fink chats with Jon Thorsen of the Reverse Wine Snob.

Blaufränkisch is on Alder Yarrow’s “personal list of grapes that have the potential to truly speak of their site.” In his latest post, Yarrow shares notes from a recent tasting.

“Andrew Wigan, one of Australia’s foremost winemakers and one of the people who took Australian wine to the world, is to retire from his full-time post.” Wink Lorch has the details.

In Wine Enthusiast, Tim Carl ponders Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous claim that ‘wine is bottled poetry.’”

Winerist, the wine and food travel website, has secured a new round of funding.

Daily Wine News: Breaking Bad

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-26-2014

Walter White“I suspect it fascinates us all because none of us are really that far from ‘breaking bad’ either.” Lily Elaine Hawk Wakawaka turns her blog over to RH Drexel for a conversation with Robert M. Parker, Jr. Wine is hardly discussed.

“Piège à Filles would literally be translated as ‘girl trap,’ but ‘panty dropper’ or ‘panty remover’ describes the idea more, er, faithfully.” In Punch, Rémy Charest explores why more and more geeky wines have childishly sexist labels.

“I can’t help admiring producers who don’t rely on someone else to tell them how to make their wine. Most of the bottles I enjoy drinking reflect their origin, as well as the input of the person who grew and fermented the grapes and aged and bottled the result.” In Wine-Searcher, Tim Atkin questions the role of wine consultants.

“How do Champagne, a set of Super Soakers, and one of the country’s best restaurants find a way to intersect in one evening?” Matt Duckor explains.

“Just because you can grow potatoes, doesn’t mean you can sell potato chips. I don’t do consumer marketing. I don’t travel.” In Grape Collective, Christopher Barnes chats with Andy Beckstoffer.

“Before going back to UC Davis to get my winemaking degree, I had been a financial analyst with a record company and done sales and marketing in the publishing and toy businesses.” Frank Morgan chats with Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines.

Jessica Yadegaran profiles Jon Thorsen of the Reverse Wine Snob.

On Thrillist, Jonathan Cristaldi explains “how to not embarrass yourself while talking about wine.”

“If you’re visiting Stellenbosch, I dare say a stop at this winery is an absolute necessity.” Terroirist contributor Isaac James Baker certainly enjoyed a recent visit to Stark-Condé Winery.

Wine Enthusiast names America’s “100 Best Wine Restaurants.”

Daily Wine News: World’s Best

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-25-2014

Gruner Veltliner with Vienna in the background.

Gruner Veltliner with Vienna in the background.

Alder Yarrow lists “ten reasons Austria is the best place to go wine tasting in the world.”

In Wine Spectator, James Laube looks at Bill Foley’s approach to wine distribution.

Town & Country shares some details from Jay McInerney’s BYO party celebrating his role as T&C’s new wine critic.

On the blog for Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty, Scott Gerien explains why the wine industry isn’t supporting the .wine TLD.

In the Wall Street Journal, Frances Robinson reports on the TLD story.

“Too many Cocktail People still live by the cliché that wine is stuffy. And too many Wine People live by the misguided idea that cocktails are gauche.” Jason Wilson attempts to bring the two camps together.

“If I had to give up everything else, I would grow Riesling.” In Grape Collective, Christopher Barnes interviews Kim Engle of Bloomber Creek.

Jim Gordon reports: “Constellation Brands today rolled out the new and improved version of its long-running Project Genome study that personifies wine consumer groups using demographic segments.”

According to the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, “it’s a myth that most Napa Valley farmworkers are illegal immigrants.” W. Blake Gray reports.

In Wine-Searcher, Don Kavanagh reviews Natalie Berkowitz’s The Winemaker’s Hand.

Eater’s Raphael Brion offers some final observations from the Aspen Food & Wine Classic.