Daily Wine News: Where Are All the Natural Wine Bars in America?

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-14-2020

“Over the past five years, natural wine in America has become a trend… it is to the beginning of the 2020s what the craft cocktail was to the onset of the 2010s. But most of the best places to drink natural wine in places like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, even if they call themselves wine bars, don’t behave very much like their French counterparts.” In Eater, Meghan McCarron wants to know where all the great American natural wine bars are. “Maybe the mistake people like me make by mooning over natural wine bars in a city halfway across the globe is that we’re ignoring the drinking culture that is already working here. Beer is much more welded to American identity than wine is; it’s also much cheaper (the opposite is true in France).”

Elsewhere in Eater, Jordan Michelman declares rosé de saignée the undersung star of the Champagne category.

Is To Kalon a vineyard or a brand? Constellation is fighting neighbors who want to put it on the register of historic places. Aaron Romano reports on the ongoing debate in Wine Spectator.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers his notes on the most recent Wine School, Rioja Gran Reserva, and announces what’s up next: Valpolicella.

In Vinous, Antonio Galloni offers his impression of the 2016 Barolos.

Tamara Gane rounds up a list of America’s wine trains in Wine Enthusiast.

In Decanter, Jane Anson delves into the story behind the Sydonios wine glass.

Daily Wine News: Romania’s Wine Identity

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-13-2020

(Credit: Pixabay)

For Club Oenologique, Laurel Bibby explores how Romanian wine is still searching for its identity. “Indeed, while Romania is one of the oldest winemaking countries in the world, a 40-year hiatus during the Communist era when vineyards were collectivised and production massively increased at expense of quality, means that the oldest wineries in the country today only date back to the mid-1990s… but things are looking up for the Romanian wine industry as the demand for wines from emerging regions and indigenous varieties is growing rapidly. Now, winemakers are starting to use their indigenous varieties as a way of coaxing customers in.”

A record-breaking 10-foot-tall bottle of Zweigelt in a Chinese restaurant in Austria began leaking profusely, spilling 200 liters onto the floor. Wine Spectator shares the drop-by-drop account of what went down once firemen came to clean it up.

In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph looks at what it takes to get wine on the shelf in duty free stores.

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy explores great offerings of low-alcohol wines.

In Forbes, Tom Hyland talks to Doug Frost about where he sees the world of wine heading.

On JancisRobinson.com, Richard Hemming ponders the negative aspects of wine in Asia.

In Los Angeles Magazine, LaShea Delaney looks at how Trump’s wine tariffs could be disastrous in California and beyond. “The public is only starting to see the effects of the October tariff. And while smaller wine businesses may be able to cope with a 25 percent tariff with only a rumble of change, a 100 percent tariff has the potential to be seismic.”

Daily Wine News: An Ode to Bonny Doon and the DEWN Club

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-12-2020

From the October 2019 DEWN Club newsletter.

In Food & Wine, Kat Kinsman pens a love letter to Randall Grahm, Boony Doon, and the DEWN club. “Grahm is a marvelous weirdo who makes fantastical wines, and he thrilled me from the first glass… God, what a joy it’s been. Grahm’s biodynamic, experimental, and monomaniacally terroir-driven wines have been a constant exercise in expanding the boundaries of what I understand as wine, and rather than putting me off, they beckoned me in with a crooked E.T. finger.”

In Bon Appétit, Alex Delaney says that winter is the real season for rosé. “During a season that’s more or less an emotional nap, I don’t want a glass of bold, hearty red that doubles as a lullaby. I want a drink that’s going to lift me up. I want a lovely, fruit-filled, tantalizingly acidic, assertive slap across the face. And that’s what rosé gives me.”

“While South Africa’s social policies and citizen treatment were stained by apartheid, many within the country’s wine industry have been committed to social responsibility and development of their communities.” In Wine Enthusiast’s Advocacy issue, Lauren Buzzeo shines a light on several successful efforts being made within South Africa’s wine industry.

In Wine Spectator, Suzanne Mustacich looks at how French winemakers are already suffering from the 25 percent tariffs imposed last year.

Winemaker protests have recently helped to persuade French officials to ditch plans to cut adrift 64 communes, including those in Chablis, from the Burgundy appellation, reports Chris Mercer in Decanter.

California’s winegrowers may have reached a ceiling – the 2019 grape crush was 9.1 percent smaller than the record 2018 crush, and is the smallest overall since 2011. Yet growers are still worried about oversupply, says W. Blake Gray in Wine-Searcher.

An Australian couple quarantined on a cruise ship due to coronavirus had wine delivered to their cabin door by drone.

In the Boston Globe, Ellen Bhang explores a new generation of Australian wines. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: A Sparkling Revolution

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-11-2020

In PUNCH, Zachary Sussman considers how the sparkling wine category has evolved in recent years. “Considering this diversity, one wonders if it’s still possible to consider “sparkling wine” a unified category in the way it once was. Just as it would be silly to generalize about “red wine” as a single entity, rather than a continuum that runs the gamut from fresh carbonically macerated Beaujolais to lean, structured Barolo and everything in between, the world of sparkling wine no longer fits into one uniform bubble (sorry, couldn’t resist).”

In SevenFifty Daily, Katherine Cole looks at the role sparkling wine has played in world wars.

In Wine-Searcher, Vicki Denig looks at how a new generation of wine professionals are pursing a more balanced industry life.

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning explore the wine community in Paso Robles. “Today there are 40,000 vineyard acres in Paso Robles and 200+ wineries, up from just 50 twenty years ago. While the perfect viticultural conditions have provided the base for Paso’s tremendous growth, it is the relaxed vibe and strong social fabric of the community that has turned the area into a magnet for those looking to be a part of a dynamic and growing wine scene.”

What’s the future of AI wine writing? Jeff Siegel takes a closer look.

Tom Mullen explores the volcanic wines of France in Forbes.

Elsewhere in Forbes, Maris D’Vari breaks down what the Master of Wine program entails.

Daily Wine News: Next in Natural

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-10-2020


Where are natural wine’s next frontiers? In PUNCH, Alice Feiring looks at how Andalucía, Spain and Japan are staking a claim within the movement.

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto meets with Robert Anselmi, who “has earned his reputation as Soave’s rebel with a cause.”

With growing consumer awareness of sustainability, more wine producers are looking at how they farm. How easy or difficult is it to go biodynamic? Richard Woodard looks at two examples in Meininger’s.

Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher of Grape Collective, and former Wall Street Journal columnists, donated their papers to the wine library at UC Davis.

In the Los Angeles Times, Bill Addison explores the art of good wine service in restaurants.

Dave McIntyre dives into the intimidating wine list discussion in the Washington Post.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley checks out the wine selection at the Chase Center, the Golden State Warriors’ new home court in San Francisco. “It may not come cheap, but it’s a much better selection — and more fairly priced — than standard stadium fare.”

In Wine-Searcher, Vicki Denig talks with Jamie Ritchie about Sotheby’s new line of wines, covering everything from inspiration to vinification to decision-making and a handful of details in between.

On his Do Bianchi blog, Jeremy Parzen looks at how the 25 percent wine tariffs imposed by the U.S. in October are already started impacting small business across the country.

Wine Reviews: Rhone Syrah

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 02-08-2020

Syrah (and specifically Syrah from France’s Northern Rhone Valley) deserves a lot of credit for igniting my love of wine. As a young wine nerd, I looked up to wines like Hermitage or Cote-Rotie, but I couldn’t afford them. So, I went looking for wines from appellations like Crozes-Hermitage and St. Joseph — juicy Syrah fruit, solid tannins, lively acidity, and hefty doses of meaty, pepper, earthy, savory goodness.

Over the years, I haven’t strayed far from my love of Northern Rhone Syrah. The New World Syrahs that I’ve fallen in love with (California, Washington, South Africa, for example) tend to be ones that I might considering sneaking into a blind-tasting of Northern Rhone wines as ringers. But nothing beats the real Rhone Syrah, so I was excited to taste through a few samples recently, most of which are from the 2017 vintage.

After the heralded 2016 vintage, 2017 had some tough elements. Frost and some hail threw off St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage a bit. A warm, dry summer led to smaller, more concentrated berries with thicker skins, and Syrah harvest started and ended quite early. While yields were lower, the quality of the fruit seems quite high.

I found these wines showed lots of juiciness, darker fruit, and the tannins, while providing structure, seem to have rounder edges. I’m an acid hound, but while this isn’t a zingy vintage, I found enough balance and freshness from the acidity in these wines. Overall, these Rhone wines make me crave a snowstorm, some grilled lamb, and lots of roasted root vegetables.

Three of these wines are all Syrah from the Northern Rhone, while the last is a Syrah-based blend from the Southern Rhone. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Cab Franc Believer

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-07-2020

Cabernet Franc. (WIkimedia)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov profiles Bruce Schneider, currently the consulting winemaker at Onabay Vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island, and a true believer in the potential of cabernet franc. “Why the focus on cabernet franc? It was an early sign of Mr. Schneider’s confidence in his talent for identifying what might not be an obvious winner, but one that could pay off in the long run. Such assurance comes from a family background in wine.”

Is there too much optimism around English sparkling wine? Robert Joseph predicts trouble in the near future. “Make no mistake. I’ve absolutely no doubt that the most business-like makers of the best British wines will cement their rightful place among the leading sparkling wine producers of the world. But I’m just as certain that the UK wine industry will experience the kind of image-denting glut Australia and New Zealand suffered 20 years ago…”

In Wine Enthusiast, Chasity Cooper profiles black women entrepreneurs building their own spaces in the wine world.

Does a wine taste different when a winemaker doesn’t add sulfur to it? Esther Mobley looks at why winemaker Dan Fishman has gradually stopped using sulfur in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In Vinous, Neal Martin offers notes on the Bordeaux 2017 vintage.

Beijing is getting a vast wine museum in partnership with Bordeaux’ Cité du Vin, reports Chris Mercer in Decanter.

In Wine Spectator, Ben O’Donnell talks to rocker Huey Lewis about his unexpected family connection to pioneering importer Martine Saunier and his own journey with wine.

There’s nothing wrong with well-balanced residual sugar, especially when it’s historic, says Walter Speller on JancisRobinson.com. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Fun & Funky

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-06-2020

(Flickr: Chris Pople)

In Food & Wine, Markham Heid explores the growing obsession with “funky” wine. “While some still use “funky” to describe a wine that has obvious or unpleasant flaws, many now employ it as a synonym for “unconventional,” or as a sort of catch-all adjective for those hard-to-pin-down qualities that make natural wines unique and appealing. For fans of these wines, the right type of funk is an indicator of authenticity and low-intervention bona fides—like the erratic bulges on an heirloom tomato, or the pits and discolorations on an organic, orchard-picked apple.”

How much terroir expression do you really want in your wine? On Tim Atkin’s site, Margaret Rand ponders the answer. “Fashion changes, winemaking changes, everything evolves. The flavours that certain terroirs gave us 20 years ago, 50 years ago, may be different from the flavours those terroirs give us now. Winemakers say that certain vineyards give a flavour of herbs, or honey, or whatever. With a different climate (which is part of terroir) those signature flavours can change, too.”

Wildfires may have spared many Australian winemakers, but smoke contamination is a growing problem for them, report Mike Cherney and Jon Emont in the Wall Street Journal.

In Wine Enthusiast, Virginie Boone looks at the success of Sonoma County’s sustainability efforts. “Ultimately, sustainability in this industry involves land, people and business in harmony. Thanks to the help of a few inspirational advocates with an understanding of each, Sonoma was able to reach 99% of its goal in 2019.”

How can wine companies reach Millennials and Gen Z—dubbed “wine’s lost generations”—to get them to drink more wine? Don Kavanagh explores what can be done in Wine-Searcher.

In VinePair, Gabrielle Pharms highlights drink brands that are giving back through charitable and sustainability-focused initiatives.

Daily Wine News: Behind the Scandal

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-05-2020

Flickr: jenny downing

In SevenFifty Daily, Courtney Schiessl does a deep dive into the 2018 Master Sommelier exam cheating scandal, and looks at how candidates and sommeliers are still fighting for change. “More than a year and three tasting exams later, 9 of the 23 candidates have regained their titles. But the specific details of what happened, including the justification for rescinding one of the wine industry’s most coveted and toughest-to-achieve titles, have never been released by the CMSA… For both consumers and those in the trade, what does the 2018 Master Sommelier exam information leak and invalidation mean for the future of the CMSA—and for the wine industry as a whole?”

In Wine Enthusiast, Sarah E. Daniels looks at the ways climate change is altering wine as we know it. “With better wine from regions we know and new wine from previously uncharted areas, it may appear the wine world is becoming better off. In truth, however, this is a thin silver lining to ever-worsening viticultural challenges.”

In Wine Spectator, Bruce Sanderson says that Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s 2018 vintage is unlike any in recent memory. (subscription req.)

Margaret River winemakers are predicting the 2020 vintage will be the region’s greatest on record, according to Danielle Costley in Decanter.

Mark Stock explores the evolution of Michigan wine in the Manual.

In Vinous, Josh Raynolds delves into the compelling wines of Paso Robles.

Rachel Arthur explores the concept of “cognitive off-loading” as it relates to wine in Beverage Daily. “In the case of wine, gone are the days of needing to remember which brand of style we like — we can merely look up the photo of the bottle we took the last time we enjoyed it.”

Daily Wine News: Lebanese Wine Renaissance

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 02-04-2020

Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. (Wikimedia)

Alice Lascelles explores the Lebanese wine renaissance in Food & Wine. “Since the mid-2000s, new winemakers have started to emerge who are set on creating a style they feel is more “Lebanese,” less driven by a European-influenced sensibility. By using different grape varieties, techniques, and, in some ways, a lighter stylistic touch, they are creating wines with an emphatic sense of place.”

In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence reports on how Trimbach—an Alsace producer famously against the new grand cru classification system—is now embracing it. “I think we’ve reached a decisive point in our firm’s history,” says Anne Trimbach. “Modern consumers aren’t interested in buying wines with nondescript labels like ‘Cuvée M’. Terroir in Alsace is increasingly important, both for us and our customers. People want to learn about the vineyard differences and, therefore, referencing Mandelberg now makes commercial sense.”

In the Washington Post, Laura Reiley reports on new research that suggests winemakers switch the grapes they’re planting in order to avoid “climate catastrophe.”

In Decanter, Jane Anson visits the Macán winery in La Rioja— Rothschild and Vega Sicilia’s joint project—to taste a vertical of the estate’s flagship wine from 2009-2016 and looks at the history of the unique partnership. (subscription req.)

Lauren Buzzeo talks to South African winemaker Ntsiki Viyela of Aslina Wines in Wine Enthusiast’s first-ever advocacy issue.

In the Drinks Business, Edith Hancock looks at the change afoot for Sangiovese in Italy as winemakers embrace fresher styles.

In Forbes, Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, the World Wine Guys, interview Rachel Martin, who started her own California wine brand, Oceano, after working for her family’s Boxwood Estate Winery in Virginia for 15 years.