Daily Wine News: New Directions

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-30-2023

England built a reputation on Champagne-style sparkling wines, but could a lurch towards Prosecco derail its progress? James Lawrence takes a look in Wine-Searcher.

In the Wall Street Journal, Tom Downy reports on the growing contingent of Japanese winemakers vinifying wines in New Zealand that taste nothing like the classic local varieties.

In Club Oenologique, David Kermode explores the “ephemeral nature” of unfiltered sherry.

Orin Swift winemaker Dave Phinney speaks to the Drinks Business about the advantages of the California AVA, how Merlot can recover from “the Sideways effect,” and why there is a mummy on one of his wine labels.

In the World of Fine Wine, Rod Phillips argues that the years post-French Revolution were a time of era-defining progress for French wine.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley explores why Meyye Wines winemaker Rob Campbell uses Coast Miwok — an Indigenous language that was almost lost — on his wine labels.

“…the range of spaces popping up across New York City described as “wine bars” calls the definition of what a wine bar is into question,” says Hannah Staab in VinePair.

Wine Reviews: Summertime Specialties

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-28-2023

I hope you all are enjoying your unofficial start to summer. If you’re traveling far, best of luck! And if you’re sticking close to home, I hope you’re enjoying some great wine, food, and time with loved ones.

The summer vibes are kicking into gear and, as such, I have a handful of diverse wines that would fit well into a mixed case of summer wines. With the coming heat and humidity here in the Mid-Atlantic, I need some sparkling wines in the mix. And I have some delicious, interesting bubbles in this mix, too.

Australia hasn’t appeared for a while, so I want to highlight several summer-friendly wines from Bird in Hand. It had been several years since I tried wines from this South Australia producer, and I had forgotten how expressive and dynamic they were.

Reds are welcome as well, and needed for grill-outs, but I like to stick with juicy, less dense reds over the coming summer season. Rioja comes in great for these situations, and Beronia puts out classic Rioja goodness at very reasonable price points.

I recently attended a virtual tasting with winemaker Paul Warson, a man with a serious resume, spanning renown producers and regions from Los Angeles, Santa Ynez, to Napa. In addition to his own project, he makes wines for Moraga Estate, which is a unique place and project. Located in the Bel-Air hills, this small production winery follows the traditional Bordeaux estate lineup, making an estate red and white from Bordeaux varieties. Paul seems like a great fit: “It’s fantasy land here,” he said. “I consider myself incredibly fortunate.” Yes, if you’ve heard of this winery, you probably know it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch. News and politics aside, the wines are structured, very worthy of cellar time, and undeniably high-quality.

And some value-driven bubbles and white wines round out this report. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Sherry-Lehmann Investigation

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-26-2023


The New York Times investigates problems at Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits. “It owes the state $2.8 million in unpaid sales taxes. Dozens of wholesalers have told the state liquor authority that Sherry-Lehmann is delinquent on payments. Many have stopped delivering. The problems, however, go deeper. Sherry-Lehmann has failed to deliver well over $1 million of wine to customers who paid in advance…In addition, customers of Wine Caves, a storage business run by Sherry-Lehmann’s owners, have repeatedly tried and failed to get their wine out of storage…”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley profiles geologist Brenna Quigley. “Over the last few years, her reputation has soared within the wine industry, to the point where it’s a point of pride — and a marketing boon — to be able to say that Brenna Quigley did your vineyard’s geologic analysis. The 32-year-old is inarguably the state’s premiere wine geologist.”

In the World of Fine Wine, Roger Morris asks whether, rather than seeking formal classifications for natural winemaking, we shouldn’t instead borrow a more appropriate designation from the world of fine arts.

A former Wine Spectator employee has filed a transgender discrimination lawsuit against the magazine, reports Kerana Todorov in Wine Business.

Aleks Zecevic looks at what the fall of the Berlin Wall meant for wine in Wine Enthusiast.

Is Montefalco Sagrantino Italy’s most underrated red wine? Tom Hyland thinks so in Forbes.

Dave McIntyre reports on how wineries are adapting to a post-pandemic world in the Washington Post.

Daily Wine News: Ethical Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-25-2023

A worked hand harvesting grapes. (Wikimedia)

“There is a small but significant difference between sustainable and ethical production. The former, which is the current buzzword, concerns itself with environmental factors. And of course, it’s imperative that we question producers about the impact of their carbon footprint (and what they are doing about it). But we should also be looking at the societal impact too. After all, wine is a pleasure to drink, so why would we want to taint it with unpleasant practices?” In Club Oenologique, Aleesha Hansel explains what’s at the heart of ethical winemaking.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov talks about how the diversity of wines has transformed since he started covering the industry. “These days, I am getting a lot more disgruntled people who think that no wine is worth more than $5 and that anything more is for gullible elites. Wine is very intimidating, so it tends to reflect a political divide.”

Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates warned that inflation was squeezing demand for its commercial-grade wine and driving up packaging costs, sending its shares nearly 8% lower.

Sustainability has become mainstream and is a crucial factor in wine production and sales. But how can credible sustainable customer engagement be achieved? Michael Bernecker shares his thoughts in Meininger’s.

On JebDunnuck’s site, R.H. Drexel catches up with Jessica Gasca, winemaker and owner of Story of Soil in Santa Barbara County.

Charlie Leary explores the historical importance of color and clarity in wine on Time Atkin’s site.

VinePair selects their best rosé wines of 2023.

Daily Wine News: Frost Damage

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-24-2023

(Source: Matthew Spaccarelli?Wine Enthusiast)

In Wine Enthusiast, Christina Pickard talks to New York winemakers across the state about the unprecedented frost they experienced last week. “In the early hours of May 18th, temperatures across the northeast plummeted below freezing—breaking all records and putting New York State crops at risk. New York is the third-largest wine producing region in the U.S., and the damage is still being assessed. Still, many are already calling it the worst freeze the state has seen in decades. The freeze came after an April that saw record highs, with four consecutive days over 80°F.”

In Decanter, Maiah Johnson Dunn also looks at how Finger Lakes winemakers were affected by  the frost. “It may take time for the full impact to be known, but early reports suggested the damage has varied by hectare, with loss ranging from zero for a lucky few to 100% for some.”

On PennLive.com, Paul Vigna assesses the damage for East Coast wineries in the aftermath of last week’s late season frost.

With their hunt for alternative grapes, Steve Matthiasson and like-minded winemakers show that California can do so much more than it’s known for, reports Robert Camuto in Wine Spectator.

In the World of Fine Wine, Sarah Marsh explores the wine scene in the northern part of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.

David Williams picks pét-nats for summer in the Guardian.

In Axios, John Frank looks at the state of Colorado’s wine industry.

Daily Wine News: Long Charmat

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-23-2023

In SevenFifty Daily, I look at the growing movement behind “Long Charmat” sparkling wines in Italy, Brazil, and beyond, where winemakers are leaving Charmat-method bubbly on the lees for longer periods of time in the effort to make more complex and robust wines.

“The UK government announced plans to scrap European Union regulations on wine production following Brexit, allowing makers to pick from a wider range of vines and create new blends,” reports Joe Easton in Bloomberg.

After the despair of a difficult 2021, a sizeable 2022 crop that has prompted a more optimistic outlook among the producers of Sauternes and Barsac, finds Simon Field in the World of Fine Wine.

In Club Oenologique, an unscheduled rosé during a trip to Lebanon reminds Nina Caplan that the most profound pleasure in wine relates to people and place.

In Grape Collective, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher conduct a big rosé tasting and share their thoughts on the category — and some of the big names within it.

Alejando Iglesias reports on the 2023 Chile harvest in Decanter. “There are no easy vintages – and that was especially true in Chile this year.”

Sarah Abbott explains why it’s time to get excited about Georgian wine in The Buyer.

Daily Wine News: Cool Grenache

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-22-2023

Grenache (Wikimedia)

In Wine Enthusiast, Matt Kettmann explores the rise of cool-climate Grenache on California’s Central Coast. “here, chilly temperatures, foggy mornings and windy afternoons starve the grape vines of the sunshine they crave, forcing grapes to ripen extremely late in the harvest season. That extended growing period, and the specialized farming strategies required to get the grapes that far, create a version of Grenache that these vintners believe is unlike anywhere in the world.”

In Bloomberg, Elin McCoy shares notes from her Bordeaux En Primeur experience and highlights her 12 top picks. “The pace is hectic, as everyone tries to taste as many wines as they can in a short space of time and hey, also party hard and share gossip. Bordeaux always supplies plenty of both.”

In the Drinks Business, Louis Thomas reports on the highs and lows of this month’s Sicilia En Primeur.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley shares the story of the McBride sisters, who run what is possibly the largest Black-owned wine company in the U.S., and who recently bought their first-every vineyard in Napa’s Carneros region.

Jancis Robinson looks at the role tourism has played in boosting Portuguese wine.

In Wine Industry Advisor, Simone Madden-Gray looks at how wine packaging is evolving.

In VinePair, Hannah Staab highlights 10 American wine regions that deserve more recognition.

Wine Reviews: Summertime California Selections

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-20-2023

The unofficial start of Summer is on the way, and I hope you and yours have some fun times planned. As the weather warms up and the picnic, camping, or backyard grill-outs take shape, I want to highlight some recent releases from California that would be great for the season.

Rombauer, known by many for their buttery Chards and rich Cabs, brings a new addition to their lineup for the first time in almost 10 years. They’ve worked with Pinot aficionado Adam Lee (who started Siduri), and they settled on the Santa Lucia Highlands – a region where Adam’s Pinot experience really shines. And they really hit it out of the park with this inaugural vintage – a cool, vibrant wine that reminds me of why I fell in love with Adam’s Pinot Noirs many years ago.

Lodi’s Lange Twins is an interesting outfit that puts out a mix of classic varieties and some fun Italian red varieties. Their history goes back to the 1870s, when Brad and Randall Lange first planted Cabernet in the Lodi area, and the winery carries on that tradition today, crafting some delightful wines from lesser-known sub-appellations in the Lodi region.

And for those warm nights with cold seafood, Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blancs offer a distinct take on this grape and such brightness — and  their 2021 options are delightful. A few other wines round out this mix.

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

Daily Wine News: Weed Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-19-2023

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov explores weed wine. “For decades, winemakers with a taste for marijuana have surreptitiously made weed wine, in which cannabis is added to grapes as they ferment, extracting the active components (along with flavors and aromas) to achieve a doubly intoxicating beverage…While cannabis-infused wines or beers are sold commercially, it’s in name only. These beverages are made with drinks that have been dealcoholized. But noncommercial weed wine production, for winemakers and their friends, persists, especially with older winemakers who developed a taste for it during the many years when marijuana use was largely a clandestine affair. And it is now legal in California, so long as they don’t sell it.”

This week, growers in the Northeast battled a sudden overnight frost, threatening this year’s grape vintage. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports on how Finger Lakes wineries fared.

Lettie Teague delves into the affordable category of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo in the Wall Street Journal.

In the Guardian, Fiona Beckett explores Greek Assyrtiko. “It first took off on the island of Santorini, but the grape is now being planted all over the country…”

Wine-Searcher catches up with India’s only Master of Wine, Sonal Holland.

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen highlight chillable reds in the Robb Report.

Daily Wine News: Finding Flora

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-18-2023

Flora makes up 55% of the blend in the Schramsberg Crémant Demi-Sec.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley delves into the history of the Flora grape, used by Schramsberg Vineyards to make sparkling wine. “Flora was one of many brand-new grape varieties bred at UC Davis in the mid-20th century by one of its legendary viticultural professors, Harold Olmo. To create Flora, Olmo crossed two European grapes, Semillon (a white grape found mainly in Bordeaux) and Gewurztraminer (a white grape found mainly in Alsace). Like many other genetic crossings, Flora was intended to inherit desirable traits from each of its parents — in its case, the honey-like notes of Semillon and the intensely floral aromas of Gewurztraminer.”

Winemakers in Provence are on red alert after hailstorms blazed a trail of destruction across the region over the weekend, reports Martin Green in Decanter.

In SevenFifty Daily, Sophia McDonald highlights seven new AVAs being proposed in nontraditional winegrowing states like Ohio, Vermont, and Tennessee.

What does the future hold for the wine world? Food & Wine’s Ray Isle asks around.

In the World of Fine Wine, Rod Phillips explores the quality of Pinot Noir in Canada.

A groundbreaking biofungicide, developed by UK firm Eden Research PLC, has gained regulatory approval in New Zealand to help fight botrytis in its Sauvignon Blanc, reports Sarah Neish in the Drinks Business.

In Vinous, Eric Guido explores the “boundless diversity” of Paso Robles wine.