Daily Wine News: Striking Styria

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-16-2022

Styria. (Photo via Austrian Wine / Anna Stöcher)

A small fraction of wines from Austria’s Styria region, known for Sauvignon Blanc and high-profile natural wines, come to the U.S.—but that may soon change, finds Valerie Kathawala in SevenFifty Daily.

In VinePair, Jessica Fields breaks down what it’s really like to be a wine influencer. “Following the life of a wine influencer on Instagram affords a gaze into a world of press packages, glamorous trips, and fancy events where the wine flows freely. But behind those scenes, these social media stars say, is a tale of long hours, hard work, and often limited earnings.”

The UK could unseat top wine-producing regions Champagne and Burgundy in France due to the effects of climate change, according to a new study.

On JancisRobinson.com, Elaine Chukan Brown reports on how Walla Walla, the once-sleepy Washington town, has become an enclave for discerning wine and food lovers.

For Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox looks at how tax codes from two centuries ago are still causing French producers to negotiate an economic obstacle course.

The USDA estimates that California crush about 3.5 million tons of wine grapes this year.

In Wine Enthusiast, Emily Saladino answers an important question: Does wine freeze?

Daily Wine News: How to Translate Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-15-2022

On JancisRobinson.com, Tamlyn Currin explores the importance of diversity in tasting notes. “The simple truth, which many wine experts prefer to ignore, is that there is no such thing as pure objectivity when it comes to reviewing wine. This, then, means that, whatever the firmly held assumptions are, there is no such thing as a right or wrong way to communicate about wine.”

Does anyone still need wine writers? Jamie Goode explores the answer. “So, are wine writers less important than they used to be? If by this you mean the old-style wine writer as specialist columnist for a newspaper, then it’s hard to argue that they aren’t. But, as Hugh Johnson once said, wine needs words. Wine needs people to communicate about it, because it is a complex area, and also a deeply interesting area. If it’s reduced to just the taste of a liquid in a glass, we are all doomed. Some people need guidance as to which wines they should by; others have caught the wine bug and are hungry for wine content; others are studying wine and devour educational material. In some cases they look to professional wine communicators; in others, they look to content created by people in the trade, or by wineries themselves; or by keen hobbyists. If you look around the internet it’s amazing how much good content you can get for free.”

The Institute of Masters of Wine published the questions candidates for membership have had to answer in 2022—and the wines they had to taste. In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph considers the exam, and whether wine professionals with no interest in becoming MWs might still benefit from giving it some thought.

Willamette Valley newcomers Dan Diephouse and Jeanne Feldkamp of Corollary Wines have purchased 23 hectares of unplanted land to serve as a ‘living laboratory’ for sparkling viticultural exploration, reports Clive Pursehouse in Decanter.

The Old Vine Project is helping preserve South African vines over the age of 35. In Club Oenologique, David Kermode explores its work and why its ‘Certified Heritage’ seal on bottles is one to watch.

In Vinous, Rebecca Gibb explores Loire Cabernet Franc.

In the Buyer, Rupert Ponsonby says that mead is making a comeback.

Wine Reviews: International Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 08-13-2022

This week’s report encompasses a range of wines that speak to diversity and value.

Oregon Pinot fans are surely aware of Willakenzie, which formed in 1991 and boasts a 420-acre estate in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Five years ago, Erik Kramer joined as winemaker, continuing on the Pinot legacy but branching out into Chardonnay as well.

I’ve known Mendoza’s Trapiche mostly for their widely-available and inexpensive Malbec, but they’ve got some gems in their portfolio as well. Take the Terroir Series, three single-vineyard Malbecs that offer nuance, depth and distinction at a very reasonable price. From vines all planted above 3,000 feet, winemaker Sergio Case is doing something special with these wines. Age-worthy and packed with value, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a few of these apiece and forget about them in the cellar for a few election cycles.

For these hot, humid days, I also have some Cavas from Bella Conchi that offer a lot of fun without breaking the bank. And one rosé from Napa’s Smith-Madrone – only the third time they’ve made this one, but it really rocks.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted, while the Trapiche wines were tasted single blind. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Demand for Diversity

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-12-2022

In Wine Enthusiast, Amy Bess Cook explains why women in wine are hustling to stay afloat. “Women are told, in subtle and overt ways, that we’re worthless. Society’s devaluation of women’s contributions to the workforce is well-documented. In wine, funding affects who gets to be a wine entrepreneur, what winds up in your glass and the industry’s culture.”

In the Washingtonian, Jessica Siman reports on a new DC directory of local women in wine.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre explores why a new crop of wine sellers is putting representation front and center, making working with diverse vintners a priority. 

Jalapeños in rosé? Esther Mobley weighs in on the viral TikTok trend. “My first reaction was one that I suspect many of my wine-lover readers will share: This is blasphemous. Not because I have anything against jalapeño peppers (I love them) but because doctoring your wine at home just goes against the whole point of wine. It would be like scribbling some of your own doodles on a Rembrandt painting. Even if you don’t like Rembrandt, and you think the art looks better with your doodles, it’s just wrong…that’s when it hit me: This isn’t about drinking wine. This is about making a cocktail.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague offers a helpful tip for finding wine deals: email newsletters from wine merchants.

In the Oregonian, Michael Alberty visits Teutonic Wine Company’s tasting room.

In Salon, Ashlie D. Stevens chronicles the wine cooler’s return.

Daily Wine News: Climate Crisis

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-11-2022

“It’s no secret that climate change is breaking records for heatwaves, frosts, fires, droughts, hail and wildfires. Their increasing frequency has left the wine world awash with initiatives, conferences, and research all concerning sustainable viticulture and its many facets: biodiversity, regenerative agriculture and the host of organic, biodynamic and sustainable labels or certifications they embody,” reports Elizabeth Gabay in Decanter. “More than simple posturing, many are concerned with the very real practicalities of saving water and irrigation, managing ground cover and encouraging wildlife, all while making and selling good wine.”

Wildfires are once again raging in southwestern France, as the nation deals with a renewed heatwave and ongoing drought. The winegrowing Gironde department has described the fires as “rampant” in a statement.

Can you still find value in Langhe Nebbiolo? On JancisRobinson.com, Walter Speller explores how long these bargain wines will last.

Three years in, Grace Family owner Kate Green and winemaker Helen Keplinger are drawing a blueprint for Napa Valley Cabernet estate transition, reports James Molesworth in Wine Spectator.

Esther Mobley highlights top Sonoma County wineries in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In Wine Enthusiast, Joe Steinhardt explains what ‘lush’ means when talking about wine.

In the Drop, Janice Williams recommends non-alcoholic wines to try.

Daily Wine News: Haus for Sale

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-10-2022

Photo courtesy of Haus.

“Haus, a popular, Sonoma County aperitif brand seemingly poised for major success, has announced that it will cease operations after wine conglomerate Constellation Brands suddenly pulled out of the company’s fundraising campaign,” reports Jess Lander in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Constellation had offered Haus $10 million in funding, but rescinded the offer when the fortified wine company ran out of cash before the deal could be finalized.”

In Bon Appétit, Emily Saladino talks to Helena Price Hambrecht about the sale of Haus, her influential, direct-to-consumer aperitif brand.

In Wine Enthusiast, Sara Pepitone explores how the fall of the Soviet Union changed wine forever.

In the World of Fine Wine, Stuart Walton looks at the origin myths of wine, many of which still resonate today.

In the Drop, Alisha Miranda on why and how to spit wine. “What’s the protocol? And in the age of COVID, what’s the best way to spit without spreading germs?”

For Robb Report, Rachel Cormack reports on the heatwaves and drought wreaking havoc on French vineyards.

Meanwhile, French wine production is expected to rebound from the small 2021 vintage, but drought may yet derail forecasts, a government report has said.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague highlights wines that entertain as well as impress.

Club Oenologique looks at how winery designs have begun to embrace more nuanced approaches to landscape and architectural concepts.

Grape Collective talks with Davide Dì Bella about the uniqueness of winemaking on Etna, the impact of the volcano, and how the region has evolved over the years.

Daily Wine News: Parkerization

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-09-2022

Robert Parker has long been the wine world’s favorite villain—a critic who used his unprecedented power to flatten wine into an alcoholic, fruity mass of sameness. But “Parkerization” was always much bigger than one man. In PUNCH, John McCaroll delves into Parker’s influence on wine, then and now. “While the distinction between Parker the man and Parkerization can be a bit fuzzy, it’s important to make it. We can certainly see how instrumental he was in forming a lowest-common-denominator wine economy, but by blaming one man for the excess of the global palate, we tell ourselves that it’s over. In a way, it is. The current zeitgeist is not oriented toward wines Parker would like. (Famously, he disliked the Loire, and he’d likely be uncomfortable among the sea of chillable reds.) Yet it’s clear that the tools of Parkerization—the technological wonders that can make wine taste like pretty much anything—and the blunt force of global capital can easily be turned toward new targets.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Diana Hawkins explores the exclusive search for the perfect eco-friendly wine closure. “Plastic has found its way into almost every closure, but as with many questions of sustainability, nothing is that clear cut. Just because a product contains plastic doesn’t mean it should be written off; some plastics are made from fossil fuels, while others come from biological sources. From an environmental perspective, there’s a real difference—biologically-derived plastics can have lower carbon footprints than their peers. Similarly, just because something is plastic free, or mostly so, doesn’t mean it gets a free pass.”

In Wine Industry Advisor, Kathleen Willcox reports on how research on grapevines in space is informing the future of agriculture.

Domaine Drouhin Oregon has acquired Methven Family Vineyards in Willamette Valley’s Eola-Amity Hills AVA, reports L.M. Archer on WineBusiness.com.

Constellation Brands has acquired a minority stake in US wine brand Archer Roose, an ‘accessible luxury wine brand focused on offering consciously-crafted, worldly wines to a new generation of wine drinkers.’

In Penta, Tracy Kaler highlights five wine regions worth living in beyond Napa and Sonoma.

Mark Stock explores the beauty of chillable red wines for Oregon Wine Press.

Daily Wine News: Sail Away

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-08-2022

Wine had a past with sailboats. Does it have a future, too? In Decanter, Jacopo Mazzeo reports on producers around the world looking to minimize their carbon footprint, some by using traditional methods such as using sailboats.

In Meininger’s, Roger Morris looks at why most family wineries won’t survive, and what others are doing to ensure that they will.

In the Financial Times, Noble Rot’s Dan Keeling goes looking for a cheap wine he actually wants to drink. “The quintessential house wine should be a simple pleasure and a bastion of dependability in the Sturm und Drang of restaurant service. The white and sparkling must be crisp, clean and refreshing with texture and persistence; the red full of pure, juicy fruit with supple tannins. Nothing too challenging, too alcoholic or too sweet. It must be characterful and not prone to faults.”

Italian wines are grabbing consumer interest, but it is the wines of Sicily that could be the big winners, says Vicki Denig in Wine-Searcher.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley dishes on the history of the porrón, the glass wine vessel that’s having a moment in the Bay Area.

When professional horse-riding dreams were dashed, Amanda Harlan wound up joining Harlan Estate, the family firm. In Club Oenologique, she talks about the Mascot and more.

The Washington Post offers a guide of where to drink natural wine in Mexico around San Miguel de Allende.

Daily Wine News: Our Recycling Problem

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-05-2022

Uploaded to flickr by Bayhaus.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov reports on the problem with glass bottles, which contribute enormously to climate change, and looks at the companies who have tried—and failed—to shift consumers’ recycling behaviors. “The Environmental Protection Agency estimates only 31 percent of glass in the United States is recycled, compared with 74 percent in Europe and more than 95 percent in Sweden, Belgium and Slovenia…Another company, Good Goods, likewise abandoned a test program of returnable wine bottles after finding consumers were simply not bringing them back. Both Good Goods and Gotham tried various incentives for consumers returning bottles, like small deposits, store credit, even donations to charity,  but nothing worked in the long run.”

In the Financial Times, Tim Hayward says it’s time for the natural wines war to end. “For a small but significant subsector of the hospitality industry, “low intervention” or “natural” wines have become a hill worth dying on. They are made by fabulous young winemakers, they ­conform to hardly any of the tedious conventions that have defined the industry for years and they force us to ask overdue and awkward questions about the industrialised methods and commercial practices of traditional winemaking. We should, of course, all be able to get along with exciting new wines and lovely old ones, but, like everything else, one is forced against one’s will to take sides.”

Six new sub-appellations have been granted in the Okanagan Valley, reports Decanter.

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland explores the beauty of Barolo’s Cannubi.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy looks at the rise of subscription-modeled wine clubs, which show no signs of slowing down.

In TRINK, Gerhild Burkard explores Austrian sekt.

Wine Spectator remembers Count Lucio Tasca d’Almerita, a leader of Sicily’s wine renaissance who helped to bring the island’s wines to the world stage at his family winery Tasca d’Almerita. He was 82.

Daily Wine News: Drying Up

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-04-2022

An irrigated vineyard. (Wikimedia)

Irrigation is largely banned in European vineyards. On JancisRobinson.com, Yishai Netzer and Eran Pick argue that it’s high time to change the rules. “Winegrowers around the world know the changes in the vineyards all too well. Climate change affects everyone, as witness the Po River drying up; major heatwaves in France, Spain and Portugal; huge wildfires in California and Australia; and winters with almost no chill in eastern Mediterranean coastal areas. How will these changes in climate affect the terroir of the classic wines we love so much?”

Reuters looks at how drought is taking a toll on Tuscany’s olive oil and wine production.

In TRINK, Rainer Schäfer explores how certain wines channel our moods and perceptions in different ways, and the German vintner who looked at how different wines serve as a catalyst for different moods.

In VinePair, Julia Coney explores the future of great wines being made in Oregon beyond Pinot Noir. “Although other white and red grape varieties are planted in Oregon, Pinot Noir is the grape that is most planted and well known. Could it be time Oregon plants more grape varieties able to withstand the changing climate?…As the fifth largest wine-producing region in the U.S., Oregon could be a leader in increasing production of lesser-known grapes, setting a trend for other regions experiencing similar issues and skirting expectations that a region can only be known for one type of wine.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Jacy Topps writes about one trip that changed her partner’s view of wine.

Betsy Andrews explores Mendocino County’s new Sparkling Wine Trek in Food & Wine.

In Decanter, Richard Mayson offers an overview of Quinta do Noval, the famed port producer known for its Nacional bottlings.