Daily Wine News: Finnish Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-24-2021

Sea buckthorn berries are used to make wine in Finland. (Wikimedia)

“Before Finland joined the European Union (EU) in 1995, there was a small number of local vineyards producing berry and grape wines. But during EU negotiations, ministers were presented with a choice: Finland could either be an Arctic country and collect energy subsidies for home heating, or a wine-producing country, which comes with different subsidies…And so, Finland gave up the right to produce and sell so-called “wine” made from domestic grapes.” In Wine Enthusiast, Amy Guttman explores Finland’s wine revolution, spurred by a couple who moved to the country from Massachusetts and learned how to make wine using cloudberries, lingonberries, blueberries, raspberries and sea buckthorn.

In SevenFifty Daily, Diana Hawkins looks at what new research about wine headaches means for natural wine. “But even if natural wine producers eschew SO2 for reasons beyond purported health claims, will this new connection between higher BA levels and no/low SO2 usage impact their winemaking decisions?”

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy recommends nine Thanksgiving wines made with sustainability in mind.

In Decanter, Miquel Hudin reports on DO Penedès’ ambitious growth plans to push the region to DOQ status, at the top of Spain’s classification hierarchy.

As the East Coast wine industry grows, so do wine education projects, reports Robin Shreeves in Wine Industry Advisor.

On JebDunnuck.com, R.H. Drexel profiles the four women in Washington state created XOBC Cellars, ” charitable wine brand distinguished for its compelling collection of wines originating in the soils of the Rocks District AVA in Walla Walla, Washington and the storied Wallula Vineyard, unfolding alongside the Columbia River, where some of the state’s finest Cabernet Sauvignons are sourced.”

Norm Roby reflects on the positive changes for the wine industry that have come out of the pandemic.

Daily Wine News: A Savoie Update

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-23-2021

A Savoie vineyard. (Source: Wikimedia)

In the Drop, Wink Lorch explores what makes Savoie’s wines so prized. “The Savoie wine region, which represents only 0.25% of France’s wine production, is coming out of the ski locker. An enthusiastic younger generation is emerging, some descended from two generations of active, full-time winegrowers — before, most were mixed farmers. Others have established their estates from scratch.”

In the Oregonian, Michael Alberty shares how Erich Berg bounced back to become one of the Willamette Valley’s brightest new winemakers, and how he’s using Ricochet Wine Co. to help others bounce back from their own personal challenges.

A Spanish Supreme Court ruling in September stated that DO Valencia wines can no longer use fruit from Utiel-Requena or Alicante, reports Miquel Hudin in Decanter.

In the World of Fine Wine, David Schildknecht reviews Beauty and the Yeast: A Philosophy of Wine, Life, and Love by Dwight Furrow.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague on the best non-alcoholic wines for the holiday table.

Alder Yarrow offers a holiday gift guide for wine lovers.

In Robb Report, Sara L. Schneider recommends Grenache for Thanksgiving.

In VinePair, Laurie Wilson explores the tradition of cranberry wines in New England.

Daily Wine News: $90 Bottles of Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-22-2021

bottles of wineMarketplace reporter Vivien Lou Chen wrote that “average Americans are paying as much as $100 to $200 for a single concert ticket, $90 for a bottle of wine, and $5 a gallon for gas.” Criticism, of course, ensued. (The original tweet has now been deleted.)

In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph reflects on the news that the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas has expelled six members for sexual misconduct. Does this mark the end of a chapter? Or the beginning of the end for the Court?

In the Guardian, Caitlin Cassidy reports on how winemakers in Australia’s Hunter Valley are fighting a proposed coalmining operation in the region. “The Hunter Valley Protection Alliance launched its #NoMinesInOurVines campaign this month, arguing any future coalmines would destroy the $550m industry.” 

“Oregon wine has managed quite a feat over the past five years – it has grown its footprint in the marketplace while simultaneously becoming harder to find in international markets,” says Don Kavanagh in Wine-Searcher. “It’s quite a trick to grow and shrink all at the same time, but Oregon wineries have clearly decided to focus on the US market, which is, admittedly, the largest in the world and right on Oregon’s doorstep.”

Emily Monaco considers the rise, fall, and rise again of Beaujolais Nouveau in the Drop.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre offers a holiday gift guide for wine lovers.

In Vinous, Joaquín Hidalgo explores the diversity of Argentina wine.

Daily Wine News: Finding Freedom

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-19-2021

In Wine Enthusiast, Rachel Tepper Paley looks at how wine professionals with families have found freedom in their pandemic-era pivots. ““Jobs are important, money is important, and we all have to make a living…But I work so hard because I love my family. There has to be a balance there.”

Earlier this week, many in the wine world welcomed the news that the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas expelled six of its members after a sexual misconduct investigation. But for some of the women who have long felt excluded from the court’s ranks, the process and actions didn’t go far enough, reports Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle.

With more departures from the Court of Master Sommeliers, America, W. Blake Gray asks in Wine-Searcher: Why keep it? “Traditional MS-type sommeliers seem most comfortable today in steakhouses, where they can help customers decide between 453 flavors of Cabernet. Do you really need certification for that? Is an MS credential helpful at a restaurant that serves natural wines?”

How are supply chain issues affecting this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau release? Amanda Macias investigates for CNBC.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the most recent Wine School, Greek Reds, and announces what’s up next: California Cabernet Sauvignon from beyond Napa Valley.

Club Oenologique highlights the best new wine and food books to give as gifts this holiday season.

Wine Spectator recommends Thanksgiving reds beyond Beaujolais.

Daily Wine News: Master Somms Terminated

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-18-2021

“Six master sommeliers will lose their prestigious wine titles following investigations into sexual misconduct allegations, pending appeals — notably San Francisco’s Fred Dame, who has been called “the godfather of the American sommelier community,” and two other local figures: Robert Bath, a professor at St. Helena’s Culinary Institute of America, and Matt Stamp, co-owner of Napa restaurant Compline,” reports Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle. “The Napa-based Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas…will also move to terminate the membership of Fred Dexheimer, a wine consultant in Brooklyn; Drew Hendricks, who had been director of business development at Pioneer Wine Co. in Texas until November 2020; and Joseph Linder, a sommelier in Seattle.”

Wirecutter exposes the open secret behind many trendy wine clubs’ mediocre wine selections, which usually consist of white-label and private-label wines. “A lot of clubs selling private-label wines claim they are “rare” or “exclusive,” which is technically true since the label is unique to their subscription service and often can’t be bought elsewhere. But that’s not an indication of quality, nor is it a reason to charge more for wines that may cost significantly less to make.”

As the vocabulary of wine evolves, can it escape the gendered frameworks that forged it? Leslie Pariseau calls for the end of gendering wine in PUNCH.

In Eater San Francisco, Maria C. Hunt explores how pay-per-taste technology is democratizing wine tasting. “While sommeliers can help guide people to wines they’ll enjoy, bias can creep into the process, turning them into gatekeepers. This technology removes that implicit bias and allows wine consumers to serve themselves anything they like.”

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto looks at how a new team is tweaking Montalcino’s legendary Biondi-Santi.

Treasury Wine Estates is acquiring Frank Family Vineyards, including the historic winery, brand and vineyard holdings. The transaction is expected to close in December 2021.

In Wine Enthusiast, Demi Elder delves into the meaning of “austere” in wine descriptions.

Daily Wine News: A Ruchè Revival

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-17-2021

A bottle of Ruchè.

In Wine Enthusiast, Marisa Finetti reports on Ruchè’s revival in Piedmont. “While Ruchè’s deeper history is dependent on storytelling from generation to generation, DNA analysis confirms its roots as a crossing of Croatina, a tannic and rustic black grape, and the near-extinct, Muscat-tasting white grape Malvasia Aromatica di Parma, which likely contributes to Ruchè’s aromatic qualities.”

The ink is dry on the largest private equity purchase of a US wine company in history, as Sycamore Partners buys the Washington-based Ste. Michelle Estates from US Tobacco.

On JancisRobinson.com, Alder Yarrow explores how Arkansas billionaire Gaylon M. Lawrence Jr. is shaking up the Napa winery investment scene.

Tom Wark wants to discuss lowering the drinking age after Representative Todd Rutherford of South Carolina introduced House Bill 4512 last week. If passed, it would lower the legal age in South Carolina for drinking and purchasing alcohol to 18 years of age.

“Global warming has forced wine regions around the world to consider new grape varietals that can better withstand the forecasted rise in temperatures,” says Liz Thach. “One such wine grape, Marselan, appears to be gaining more traction in Bordeaux, China and Napa Valley.

Jamie Goode explores the price of South African wine.

In VinePair, Jamie Rubin makes the case for American Zinfandel. “What is it about Zinfandel that makes it such a darling of industry professionals? For some, it’s the heritage and history of vineyards that have survived the ages. Though none predate the scourge phylloxera, many, planted in the waning days of the 19th century, remain. Others are simply charmed by a grape that is so versatile.”

Daily Wine News: Collecting Conundrum

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-16-2021

(Flickr: market208)

Despite the charms of Washington and Oregon, the best wines to collect if you’re looking to make a profit still come from Napa Valley, says Bruce Schoenfeld in Club Oenologique. “It isn’t often that you find such a disconnect between the major critics and the marketplace. I suspect it’s a built-in bias, held by America’s ‘look at me’ drinkers, for Napa Valley– and against everywhere else in the country. Never mind that Napa is becoming increasingly untenable for growing the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay that made its name, or that the eastern half of Washington State has evolved into one of the most compelling viticultural regions of the new world.”

In the Drop, Roger Morris explores how some vintners are showcasing the range of styles of wine that can be made from the same vineyard.

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland explores the growing importance of Merlot in Tuscany.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov recommends 12 wines for Thanksgiving and beyond.

Wine Enthusiast has also shared their Thanksgiving wine picks.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Stacey Lastoe offers tips for running and biking through Tuscany, Napa, Mendoza, and the Okanagan Valley.

Pink wine was traditionally the unsophisticated sector that the wine industry rarely treated with respect or interest. Today, it is increasingly premium, popular and profitable, as James Lawrence reports in Meininger’s.

Daily Wine News: Future Yields

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-15-2021

“In the Northern Hemisphere, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Austria, Croatia and Slovenia all suffered lower yields in 2021. It is too early to determine the economic fallout for the affected growers, but it could well be dramatic and heartbreaking.” In Wine Spectator, Suzanne Mustacich reflects on how climate change and other factors may affect European producers in the years to come.

In TRINK, Valerie Kathawala reports on a tiny pilot project (V.I.T.E., which stands for Viticulture Integration Training Empowerment) created by immigrants for immigrants that’s taking root in the small wineries of South Tyrol. 

Céline Bossart looks at how sommelier style has evolved in Wine Enthusiast.

Dessert wines are woefully misunderstood, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Lettie Teague, who suggests bringing a selection of red, white, sparkling and fortified dessert wines for Thanksgiving.

In Food & Wine, Mike Pomranz reports on a new study that found superficial factors like corks and heavier bottles swayed wine drinkers’ tasting preferences and perceptions of overall quality.

In Vinous, Eric Guido explores the wines and culture of Emilia-Romagna.

Wine Reviews: Troon Vineyard

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-13-2021

Longtime readers may have seen me praise Oregon’s Troon Vineyard in the past. Well, here I am again to do it again.

I can’t help it – Troon just keeps putting out exciting wines. From old classics to an array of newer blends and styles in recent years, their across-the-board consistency has been pretty amazing. Based in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon, Troon puts out are biodynamic wines with native yeasts and a fresh, spicy but focused appeal.

If your palate tends more toward the leaner side of the Syrah spectrum, and you’re happy with roasted, savory, spicy flavors, this trio of Troon Syrahs is definitely worth checking out. “Syrah may be the ideal variety for our site,” says winegrower Craig Camp. After tasting a lot of these wines over the years, it’s a convincing argument. These three wines offer a good view of their approach to this grape overall, and it was a joy tasting them together and parsing through the nuances. All three of them were aged 20 months in mature French oak.

The Druid’s Fluid wines are based on the traditional blends of the Cotes du Rhone, and deliver just what you’d hope for from their French counterparts: delicious fruit, some spicy accents, and lots of value. The Cotes du Kubli wines are blends from Troon’s Cowhorn Vineyard, and are called such because they’re sourced from the hills around the Kubli Bench, a plateau above the Applegate River. They’re consistently reliable and delicious expressions of Troon’s style.

And, while label aesthetics doesn’t affect what’s in the bottle, it still matters. And Troon has been revamping their design in different ways lately, and I think it’s paying off. From the flowy symbol design of the Druid’s Fluid to the detailed guidebook style drawings of their biodynamic preparations, the bottles really draw my attention. And then the juice itself overdelivers.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted, except for the three Syrahs, which I tasted single-blind. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: New Port Proposal

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-12-2021

The Douro Valley. (Source: Wikipedia)

Albino Jorge Sousa, owner of Port estate Quinta da Boeira, has launched a bid to release young, premium quality Ports in the run-up to Christmas, three months after each harvest, but not everybody is so sure of the idea, reports Barnaby Eales in Decanter.

In Travel + Leisure, Danielle Bernabe highlights the crew of dynamic winemakers reviving centuries-old traditions just outside San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.

Don’t worry about the perfect food and wine pairings, says Rémy Charest in the Drop. “The joy of wine and food is in its infinite possibilities and combinations. It’s really about the journey, not the destination.”

Following last year’s minority investment in California’s Booker Vineyard, the corporation is exercising an option in the agreement to acquire the collection in full,” reports MaryAnn Worobiec. “Constellation’s portfolio now includes the brands Booker Vineyard, My Favorite Neighbor and Harvey & Harriet.”

In TRINK, Christopher Raffelt reports on the future of PIWI—short for Pilzwiderstandsfähige Rebsorten, which translates to fungus-resistant grape varieties—in Germany, Austria, Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

Earlier this week, the TTB named Arizona’s Verde Valley an American Viticultural Area (AVA).

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre offers some tips for pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner. 

VinePair also has a list of Thanksgiving wines to buy this year.