A farewell (of sorts)

Posted by | Posted in Terroirist | Posted on 08-11-2023

What a run.

When I launched Terroirist way back in the fall of 2010, wine blogging was having a moment — its moment — in the collective wine consciousness.

Alder Yarrow’s Vinography was a daily visit. Joe Roberts was making waves. Tyler Colman and Tom Wark were offering an endless stream of thoughtful commentary. Keith Levenberg rarely posted, but when he did, one couldn’t help but think that his essays belonged in the New Yorker. At the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle, Eric Asimov and Jon Bonné were supplementing their must-read columns with must-read blog posts.

There were so many of us. Hundreds would attend the annual Wine Bloggers Conference and its European counterpart.

Many of those pioneers still write prolifically, but that moment has passed. Several of the best “bloggers” made careers out of it. But many more faded back to other endeavors, like their day jobs and raising their kids. Today, I’m officially joining the ranks of that latter group and bidding farewell to Terroirist.

This isn’t a goodbye to wine and drinks writing; I still enjoy drafting features when I can find the time. But it no longer makes sense to keep the lights on at Terroirist.

So thank you, dear reader, for all the support over the years. I know that many of you have started each and every day with Terroirist — and for your traffic (and emails), I’m forever grateful.

To Shelby, Isaac, and the other Terroirists — thank you for all your work over the years. I look forward to reading your work, wherever it is published.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to solicit offers for Terroirist. If you’re interested in the site or even just the domain, please let me know.


Wine Reviews: International Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 08-11-2023

Thanks to everyone who has been reading my rantings, ravings, and ratings over these years. It has been an awesome ride. I’m here this weekend with another roundup of selections from across the globe, with some wines focused around diversity and value.

I can’t believe it’s been nine years since I spent three weeks in South Africa. Those experiences come back to me in memories all the time, from the wildlife and landscapes, big scary waves, and delightful wines tasted and wineries visited. I’ve kept up with the scene from afar since, and I’ve enjoyed watching a new generation of winemakers making a name for themselves and producing expressive, interesting wines. I think there’s an audience for well-made, diverse South African wines in the U.S. – I count myself among them – so I’m always happy to see what’s going on. This week, I have an update on three different skin contact wines that really deliver.

There are some bold, juicy, grill-friendly but complex reds from Spain in this report as well, all three of which offer solid value. From Tuscany, I have a $15 duo from Carpineto that would be a great summer sipper or a nice choice for a by-the-glass list.

And if you’re looking for value in Bordeaux (not an easy task), the Cru Bourgeois wines fit the bill. These tend to be Merlot-heavy wines and offer a more accessible, but still serious and in-depth take on this classic region. The wines don’t cost a lot and there’s a lot of opportunity to venture out and find different options.

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

Daily Wine News: Pondering the Future

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-11-2023

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov ponders the future of Albariño in Rías Baixas. “Since Rías Baixas became an appellation in 1988, growers and winemakers have been encouraged to produce albariño and plenty of it. The result has been a popular commodity wine: cheap, aromatic, easy to drink and forget. In many people’s minds, that’s all albariño can be,” he writes. “Yet, as is so often the case with wine, ideas about a grape’s potential for complexity and aging become fixed not because of a grape’s actual limits but because few people have tried make anything more of it.”

Meanwhile, Jenn Rice introduces Wine Enthusiast readers to Albarín, not to be confused with Albariño. “Albarín is often confused for Albariño because of its similar name, even though they are quite different. While both are refreshing and acidic, Albariño boasts zesty citrus notes while Albarín features floral notes.”

With options growing for low-carbon shipping and freight, the wine industry is looking for new ways to lessen the climate impact of its global transportation network, says Betsy Andrews, who reports on zero-emission wine shipping developments in SevenFifty Daily.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray takes a look at how the 2023 vintage is shaping up for Napa.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Jess Lander reports on two wineries that decided to make wine from other countries after the devastating 2020 vintage.

In Esquire, Omar Mamoon explores zero-zero wines for summer. “Zero zero wines are wild. They’re alive. They make you feel.”

Lettie Teague offers tips for pairing red wine with fish in the Wall Street Journal.

Daily Wine News: Austrian Reds

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-10-2023

Zweigelt grapes.

They may be overshadowed by the country’s much-celebrated whites but Austria’s red wines can be intriguing, distinctive and delicious. In Club Oenologique, David Kermode takes a closer look at three Austrian red grape varieties that every wine lover should know about.

Concrete egg or oak barrel? Stainless steel vat or clay amphora? In the World of Fine Wine, Benjamin Lewin looks at just how influential the winemaking vessel is when it comes to fermenting and aging fine wine.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray talks to German producer Erni Loosen about his quest making wine in Oregon.

“What’s the secret to being at the forefront of wine innovation for more than 2,500 years of winegrowing? With nine out of its 20 AOPs younger than 20 years old, Languedoc isn’t as beholden to restrictions as other wine regions.” Caroline Pardilla explores the French wine region of Languedoc in Imbibe Magazine.

Tom Wark adds his two cents to the news of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s decision to cancel 40% of their vineyard and grape contracts.

In Barron’s Penta magazine, Jake Emen falls for the island of Madeira and its wines.

In Decanter, Jane Foster explores Montenegro’s wine scene.

Daily Wine News: Old vs. New

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-09-2023

“One of the most glaring issues with the Old vs New dichotomy is historical inaccuracy…For instance, let’s say we adopt the mindset of some European winemakers and define “Old World” as places where Ancient Romans planted vines: France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Portugal. Curiously absent from this list is Greece, which also produced wine during that time, but isn’t presently considered part of wine’s “Old World.” We’re also ignoring recent archeological evidence that the world’s first winemaking equipment was in what we now call Georgia, another country confusingly absent from the “Old World” umbrella.” In Food & Wine, Emily Saladino makes a plea to stop describing wine as “Old World” or “New World.” 

When large bodies of water, like the Pacific Ocean, create temperature inversions in the atmosphere, it upends growing norms for coastal and mountain vineyards. In SevenFifty Daily, Shana Clarke explores the impact of atmospheric inversion layers in viticulture.

France’s wine harvest in 2023 may end up around last year’s level, with above-average production in Champagne and Burgundy compensating for disease in the Bordeaux area, reports Rudy Ruitenberg in Decanter.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Jess Lander gets a look inside Mondavi Winery’s temporary tasting room — with views of the Napa River — during the iconic estate’s renovation.

On WineBusiness.com, Pam Strayer reports on the celebration of life recently held for the late Paul Dolan, former president of Fetzer Vineyards and Bonterra founder.

With the quality of Turkish wines increasingly recognized, the Drinks Business talks to the CEO of Chamlija Wines about the region’s complex history of winemaking.

Shoshi Parks highlights off-the-beaten path wine regions in Smithsonian Magazine.

Daily Wine News: Science of Barrel Aging

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-08-2023

In SevenFifty Daily, Jacopo Mazzeo explores how cellar climate impacts barrel-aged wine, and talks to experts about the myriad ways that climatic conditions like temperature, humidity, and drought can affect the barrel-aging process.

Alder Yarrow catches up with Nicolas Joly. “Joly lives and farms just outside the town of Savennières, in France’s Loire Valley. As a winegrower, he is known for two things: his family’s ownership of the 16-acre Clos de Coulée de Serrant, a walled vineyard so famously old and singular that it merits its own tiny appellation, and for being one of the earliest adherents of and proselytizers for biodynamic viticulture…Joly has attained something of a prophet-like status in the world of biodynamics, helped by the fact that much of the time he seems to speak like a prophet, describing forces at work in the world far outside the everyday consciousness of mankind.”

Yesterday, regulators auctioned off a roughly 1,900-bottle wine collection of Silicon Valley Bank at about 60% of its appraised value, reports Gina Heeb in the Wall Street Journal.

In the Buyer, Sophia Longhi looks at the innovations and traditions driving Argentine wine forward.

MGG Investment Group has set out plans to revitalize Spring Mountain Vineyard after recently announcing its purchase of the historic Napa Valley winery. Martin Green shares some of the details in Decanter.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague explores the art of gifting wine, and suggests a handful of no-fail gift bottles.

On JebDunnuck.com, R.H. Drexel heads to Lodi to meet with the mother-daughter team behind Lorenza and attend a dinner with the Victor Book Club.

Daily Wine News: Moon Mountain

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-07-2023

Monte Rosso Vineyard on Moon Mountain. (Source: Turley Wine Cellars)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Sara Schneider explore Sonoma’s Moon Mountain District. “For all the character and complexity of Moon Mountain District wines, the AVA has largely gone unnoticed — except for one historic vineyard in the heart of the region: Monte Rosso.” 

In Meininger’s, Chris Lost assesses the challenging times ahead for Washington State wine. “Growth over the last 30 years has been extraordinary: from 100 wineries to over 1000, from 4,500 hectares of vines to over 20,000 ha today. In terms of area under vine, it’s not far behind Burgundy. Until recently, this was the sign of an industry in the rudest of health and Walla Walla, the town at the heart of the vineyards was booming. But there has been a feeling for a while that things have grown too far too fast, with an imbalance between supply and demand.”

A warming Champagne means a change of approach, and for Roederer, it meant dumping the non-vintage blend. “All the rules we learnt don’t work any more,”Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, chef de cave of Roederer, told Margaret Rand in Wine-Searcher.

In the New Yorker, Lauren Collins explores the rise of vière in Paris, a mix of vin and bière drunk from a wineglass, whose name, its creators say, started out as a joke.

In Wine Enthusiast, Christina Pickard highlights the best Long Island wineries to visit right now.

Jamie Goode explores the cellars of Cava’s Codorníu.

Jancis Robinson explores the ageability of South African wines.

Wine Reviews: California New Releases

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 08-06-2023

Two from Meyye Wines

This week I’m back with more California new releases, including some well-known names and new-to-me producers.

Justin’s Paso Robles-based wines are widely available and they have a diverse lineup. I have three of their staples this week that would be great for this late summer, vacation-y time. A Far Niente Cab brings a lot of Napa goodness at a reasonable price, and I also have one of the best bargain California Pinots I’ve found to date in The Pinot Project’s offering.

This is my first dive into Meyye Wines, and I’m already a huge fan. Immediately, I knew something was different with this producer. As a wildlife photographer and bird nerd, the intricate labels embossed with local birds drew me in, and the wines include the names of the birds in the Coast Miwok language. And the wine inside the bottle is just as excellent as I was hoping. Winemaker Rob Campbell — a member of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (Coastal Miwok/Southern Pomo) — launched this project after working with Story Winery in Amador County until 2019, realizing his long-time dream to found a winery honoring his heritage.

“I’m intentionally using the Coast Miwok language since the language was considered ‘officially dead’ in the past, but my people are making a concerted effort to restore it,” Campbell says. “In addition to being ultra-premium wines that taste great, it’s my small way of preserving our language by sharing with native and non-native people alike.” These small production wines are available from the winery’s site, and soon some restaurants, and certainly worth checking out.

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

Daily Wine News: Bugs in Beaujolais

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-04-2023

The grape leafhopper.

An insect-borne disease has hit more than 80% of villages in Beaujolais, reports Sarah Neish in the Drinks Business, with producers forced to rip out vines. “Known as flavescence dorée, the disease is spread by leafhopper insects, which suck sap from the vines. It is thought that the pestilence has been able to spread more easily due to the high number of untreated vineyards in Beaujolais — flavescence dorée can be prevented using an insecticide, and applying it is mandatory in the region, but some organic winegrowers are reluctant to spray, despite the product being approved for organic grape production. Their reasoning is that the product will kill other ‘good’ insects in addition to the leafhoppers they are targeting.”

The new Women in Wine survey hopes to to identify both the positives and negatives that women feel about working in the wine industry and set out ways in which conditions and opportunities could be improved. You can take part in the survey here.

In Wine Enthusiast, Hannah Selinger goes behind the scenes of the 2023 State of the Wine Industry Report.

For Travel + Leisure, Ranjan Pal explores winemaking in Kakheti, the heartland of Georgian wine.

In the World of Fine Wine, Dr. Erik Skovenborg explores the link between high blood pressure and alcohol consumption.

Liz Thach has been appointed as the new president of the Wine Market Council, succeeding current president Dale Stratton.

Norm Roby explores the biodynamic winemaking legacy at Troon Vineyard.

Daily Wine News: Shifting Supply

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-03-2023

(Flickr: KBJPhoto)

“In a meeting last month with its growers, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (SMWE), the Northwest’s largest winery, informed growers that the company would be substantially reducing its fruit contracts. Specifically, SMWE plans to reduce its total anticipated grape supply by 40% over the next five years.” Sean P. Sullivan has the details.

In SevenFifty Daily, Samantha Maxwell on what you need to know about Albanian wine. “Between 2000 and 2016, grape production in Albania jumped over 250 percent. In 2022, the country produced 3.03 million liters of wine, 46.4 percent of which was exported, mostly to other European countries, according to Albania’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Exports to the United States have been sporadic and centered in Texas and Michigan, but are expected to increase in the coming years. As Albania’s wine industry continues to grow, some of the country’s producers hope to reach a wider audience through tourism.”

Chris Mercer reports on Italy’s difficult 2023 season in Decanter. “Extreme weather events mean Italy’s 2023 wine harvest could be up to 14% smaller than in 2022…”

In the Drinks Business, Patrick Schmitt explains why regenerative viticulture is gaining traction among major wine producers.

Jane Anson looks at how Bordeaux plans to tackle its overproduction of wine.

In Wine Enthusiast, Jillian Dara on the beauty of aged Sauvignon Blanc.

Maggie Hennessy on “the timeless charm of cheap Chianti” in VinePair.