Wine Reviews: Late Summer Selections

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-31-2021

I can’t believe it’s almost August. But there’s still plenty of summertime left, and this week I have a mix of wines to keep the summer vibes going.

There are some diverse white wines in here, from Austrian Gruner and a kicking South African Chardonnay. Plenty of value is on display as well, with some Rioja rosés and a delightful Rioja Blanco. And Napa’s Shafer turns out a really impressive vintage of their Red Shoulder Chardonnay.

I also received several wines from Jumilla Wine, which promotes this Spanish region’s wines in the U.S. These inexpensive wines are branded by the region to show the importance of Monastrell to this sun-roasted region of Southeastern Spain.

I rarely review anything besides wine, but I’m making an exception in this report for these non-alcoholic grape juices from Castello di Amorosa. They harvest some grapes a few days early for acidity, and make juice out of them. Yes, clearly they are sweet, but they’re also well made, smell and taste like their respective varieties, and are yummy.

The juices are sold at their Calistoga location or on their website. I’m glad to see these being made, because they’re interesting and offer the sense a lot to unpack without the alcohol, and would be great drinks to share with friends and family who do not consume alcohol. I tasted these with my six-year-old daughter and we took tasting notes together, and it was a blast. (She’s a big Gewurz juice fan.)

All of these wines (and juices) were received as samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: California Changes

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-30-2021

(Source: Visit Napa Valley)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov reports on the drought in Northern California and looks at how winemakers there are trying to adapt to climate change. “Wineries can be rebuilt, interim facilities found, new vintages made, though the financial cost is steep. But for a winery to lose its vines — sometimes entire vineyards — is to be drained of its lifeblood.”

Dan Petroski has left his job at Napa’s Larkmead Vineyards, reports Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Larkmead has promoted associate winemaker Avery Heelan to replace him. Now, Petroski, who was The Chronicle’s 2017 Winemaker of the Year, plans to focus full-time on Massican, which he began as a side business in 2009.”

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray offers his two cents on the news about Randall Grahm and Gallo teaming up to work on a new wine brand.. “The one thing that makes sense is this: nobody in the wine industry is better at talking to, and getting attention from, the media than Randall Grahm, and that is something Gallo absolutely hates. And nobody is better at selling wine than Gallo, which is something Grahm finally realized he’s not good at.”

Caleb Ganzer, wine director and co-owner of La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels in New York City, was arrested for allegedly setting fire to outdoor dining spaces at other restaurants, reports Wine Spectator.

In the Drop, Janice Williams explores how millennials are embracing homemade wine projects.

Champagne makers have faced a fight to protect their crop from severe outbreaks of mildew fungus in recent weeks, as new figures suggest sales have rebounded in 2021. Chris Mercer has more details in Decanter.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague explores the wines from Pouilly-Fumé. (subscription req.)

Meininger’s tracks the impact of Brexit upon the wine industry.

Daily Wine News: Empowerment

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-29-2021

On, MW student Matthew Gaughan considers wine’s role in economic empowerment. “That chain from farming the vineyard to drinking the wine involves an extraordinary number of people. In countries where a healthy economy offers many alternative work opportunities, that presents a problem…in California, for example, labor shortages can create logistical difficulties for producers, and immigrants have historically benefited from the many employment opportunities offered by the wine industry. Today in poorer countries the wine industry still has the potential to benefit the local economy due to the many links in the chain.”

In Wine-Searcher, David Allen shares some German winemakers’ tales from the devastating floods that hit the Ahr Valley wine region.

In VinePair, Stephanie Cain reports on how wineries are keeping up with the wedding boom. “For wineries and vineyards across the country, that’s meant hectic days for staff but also a refreshing change from a year-plus of no events. It’s a much-needed boost in revenue to recoup some of the losses from 2020. (The Wedding Report estimates the wedding industry as a whole lost $47 billion in sales due to pandemic restrictions.)”

The recent announcement that Cheval Blanc and Ausone would not participate in the forthcoming Saint-Émilion Classification caused shockwaves across Bordeaux and beyond. In Vinous, Neal Martin examins both sides of the argument as the appellation comes to terms with a classification without two of its star players.

Zachary Sussmann highlights the 10 best canned wines to be drinking right now in PUNCH.

Club Oenologique talks to Eleven Madison Park sommelier Watson Brown about pairing wines with vegan food.

In Forbes, Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen explore Rioja wine beyond the reds.

Daily Wine News: Do-Nothing Viticulture

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-28-2021

Photo by Tatiana Rodriguez on Unsplash

In SevenFifty Daily, Mark Stock explores the allure of the “do-nothing farming” method of viticulture. “ome growers simply want to know if truly hands-off winemaking can be done, while others are attracted to Fukukoa’s alignment with nature and near-zero environmental impact. For a few others, hands-off winemaking is the only option; they simply don’t have the resources to afford modern equipment or vineyard preparations…With so few vintners practicing this hands-off farming technique, the question remains: Could Fukuoka-inspired winegrowing ever work on a large (or even moderate) scale?”

In the Drop, James Lawrence reports on how recent disagreements between Cava producers and the region’s regulatory board have left deep fractures.

How well are recent white Burgundy vintages aging? Sarah Marsh offers her thoughts on the 2013-2018 vintages in Club Oenologique.

Marketing professor and wine business researcher, Monique Bell, Ph.D., has released an inaugural study of Black wine entrepreneurs that captures survey data collected in the aftermath of the global pandemic and civil unrest in 2020.

Vitisphere shares news of a landslide that carried away a vineyard in Jura.

For more inclusivity in wine, our language needs to change. Hannah Howard explores wine attributes like personality, pairability and sensory experience in Wine Enthusiast.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery highlights lakeside getaways located in or near wine regions.

Daily Wine News: Craft Sake

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-27-2021

(Source: Sake Brewers Association of North America)

In Wine Enthusiast, Anna Lee C. Iijima explores the growing craft sake movement in the US. “From just five breweries a decade ago, there are now more than 20 nationwide. Small in production, often hyperlocal and distinctly American, these craft breweries bring unique, well-made saké to Everytown, USA.”

A group of Chilean wineries are forming an association to promote organic wine as the demand for organic produce shows a significant post-pandemic upsurge, reports Patrick Schmitt in the Drinks Business.

Which Bordeaux 2020 en primeur wines sold best? Chris Mercer takes a look at sales data in Decanter.

Alex Russan ponders the importance of water to vineyards in Wine-Searcher.

In Grape Collective, Hannah Staab tells the story of Tablas Creek and its role in California’s Rhône movement.

Jancis Robinson explores the evolution of one unique Italian white wine. “Batàr is a wine unique among Italian whites, let alone Tuscan whites. It manages to be both rich and fresh and seems capable of evolving virtually forever. It may be called after Bâtard-Montrachet but to me it reminds me most of a particularly ambitious, full-bodied Corton-Charlemagne, a rather different grand cru white burgundy.”

David Morrison looks at data to find out which country drinks the priciest Champagne.

Daily Wine News: A Look at Labeling

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-26-2021

In the Drop, Felicity Carter delves into the truth about gluten-free wine. “Given all of this, it’s fair to say that some producers may genuinely be confused about whether there’s gluten in wine or not. It’s also possible that labeling a wine as gluten-free is just a cynical attempt to cash in on wellness trends.”

Two iconic wines of Bordeaux, châteaus Cheval-Blanc and Ausone, have withdrawn from the St.-Emilion classification. Suzanne Mustacich considers the decisions’ impact in Wine Spectator.

In TRINK, Valerie Kathawala takes stock of the unfathomable losses caused by the Ahr’s recent flood. “Just about every expert in Germany agrees this story has one villain: climate change. The Ahr suffered a Jahrhundertflut — a once-in-a-century flood — in 1910. The next came just about on schedule in 2016, bringing water levels of 3.5 meters. Now just five years later, what is already being called a Jahrtausendflut — a once-in-a-millennium flood — has brought water levels twice that.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre looks at how Burgundy is banking on the resiliency of older vines to cope with climate change.

Could climate change see Napa’s Chardonnay vineyards replaced by Cabernet? Or even Merlot? W. Blake Gray considers the future in Wine-Searcher.

Recent sales figures from Nielsen show that rosé wine sales have continued to grow. Wine Opinions conducted a survey to find out who’s drinking it.

In Wine Enthusiast, Mike DeSimone explores the changing style of Israeli wine.

Wine Reviews: Italian Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-24-2021

This week, I’m digging into a few Italian wines, and value is largely the theme here. From poolside selections for a dozen bucks to more moderately-priced wines that deliver a lot of depth, there’s a nice mix in here.

The islands are represented, with some delicious Sardinian selections from Surrau. There are some inexpensive offerings from Sicily’s Cantine Ermes, too, which offer a good introduction to their respective grapes.

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

Daily Wine News: Land Grab & Growth

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-23-2021

Napa Valley’s Far Niente Winery. (Source: Far Niente)

“Far Niente, one of Napa Valley’s oldest wineries, has purchased a 133-acre vineyard in southern Napa from Clos du Val Winery — a significant land grab for the region,” reports Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle. “The acquisition shows how invested Far Niente is in owning its own vineyards, which is notable in an era when many larger wine companies are moving away from that so-called estate model.”

How did rosé go from a summer glugger to a big-money business proposition? The answer is surprisingly simple says Kathleen Willcox in Wine-Searcher.

In Wine Enthusiast, Paul Gregutt looks at how grape growing and organic farming unite in Oregon.

Santa Barbara County winery owner Thomas Barrack—ho was a great friend of Donald Trump, and chaired his inaugural committee—was arrested Tuesday and charged with violating foreign lobbying laws, reports Wine-Searcher.

The Ontario government has launched a $10 million relief program to support wine and cider businesses that have been impacted by Covid-19, according to the Drinks Business.

On his blog, Alfonso Cevola does a Q&A with wine writer Zachary Sussman.

In the Drop, Jeff Siegel charts the rise of the American-style red blend.

In New Jersey Monthly, I report on the new rosé proseccos hitting shelves this summer. And in Wine & Spirits Magazine, Stephanie Johnson does the same. “With those millions of bottles flooding retail shelves and by-the-glass wine lists, consumers will have ample chance to decide for themselves whether Prosecco Rosé is a marketing ploy or an appealing new choice in sparkling wine.”

Daily Wine News: Wine Tourism Evolves

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-22-2021

How different will wine tourism look when it fully rebounds? Mekita Rivas asks the experts in Wine Enthusiast.

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher also consider the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has changed wine tastings forever. “Wineries have been headed this way for a while, but many were moving slowly and carefully away from the days of drop-in, stand-by-the-bar, inexpensive tastings. The pandemic forced them to change quickly and dramatically and, based on multiple conversations we’ve had over the past couple of weeks, they are not looking back.”

Meininger’s shares the numerous relief efforts underway to help German winegrowers after historic floods caused severe damage.

Stacey Lastoe examines the psychology behind wine brand loyalty in the Drop.

“Even after selling ownership in his wine company Bonny Doon last year, Grahm has continued making the wines while dreaming up his next big project. Now, he’s formed an unexpected alliance with E. & J. Gallo to produce a collection of California Central Coast wines called The Language of Yes,” reports Aaron Romano in Wine Spectator.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague explores the beauty of Frappato. (subscription req.)

In Club Oenologique, Laura Richards talks to wine pros about the celebration wines they’re opening this summer.

Daily Wine News: Changing Climate, Changing Regulations

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-21-2021

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph questions whether a changing climate is going to force the organic wine movement to relax some of its regulations.

Purchasing may be normalizing, but the way retail and restaurant buyers interact with importer and distributor reps has changed for good. Scott Rosenbaum considers the future of the wine and spirits sales rep role in SevenFifty Daily.

Now that indoor dining numbers have picked up, diners across the U.S. are seeing a mishmash of changes to drinks to-go laws, from permanent legalization to total reversal. It’s leaving hospitality teams relieved and grateful in some parts of the country, and fuming and concerned in others, reports Julie Harans in Wine Spectator.

Long considered a blending grape, Cinsault is ready for its close-up says Henry Jeffreys in the Drop.

David Kermode declares his love for rosé in Club Oenologique. “Although fashion is undoubtedly a factor, the rise of rosé is about so much more than being seen with a glass of it. There has been a sensational improvement in quality, driven by the producers of Provence and replicated elsewhere.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Rebecca Meir explores the meaning of “linear” in wine.

In Vinous, Josh Raynolds offers notes on Old World-style reds and whites from Western Australia.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, highlights five rosé market trends to watch.