Daily Wine News: Natural Wine’s Exclusionary Nature

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-07-2021

In Wine Enthusiast, Margot Mazur explores what makes natural wine exclusionary to some. “Not all winemakers can jump right into organic or biodynamic agriculture, use only wild yeast for fermentation and not add sulfur to stabilize their wines, they claim. Each region has its own climactic difficulties, and winemakers often buy grapes from individual growers. For those winemakers and others, a transition to minimal-intervention or “natural” winemaking is a process. Such barriers can do more to exclude them than to preserve the natural wine vision.”

“The most accessible type of wine language, even when it’s just in the realm of “this wine tastes like lemons,” is already asking a lot of our brains. It requires us to think in abstractions, connecting the taste of a wine in a glass to the memory of what an actual lemon tasted like. Once you add “a classic and modern concept” to the mix, forget it.” In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley on why wine language drives her nuts.

The way wine is served at restaurants is changing, wine educator Kyla Peal tells Bon Appétit. “Like many of my colleagues since the pandemic, I’ve had to reimagine how I fit in the current landscape of an industry to which I’ve dedicated many years.”

Once the undisputed darlings of the fine wine scene, the ultra-expensive, ultra-polished Super-Tuscans face a new challenge as the wine world’s focus shifts to authenticity, says Walter Speller in Club Oenologique.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan ponders the future of wine retail. “Pre-covid, the general rule was that most decisions about food and wine were made within an hour of people having a meal… But we’re almost certainly headed into a summer of reopening and more people going to the office. People will also eat out more, and buy their wine there to have with dinner at restaurants. Will there also be more last-minute shopping for wine and groceries, tipping back to less online wine sales?”

In the Drinks Business, Colin Hay defends the use of itinerant en primeur tasting samples, with one or two caveats, arguing that the practice should now be normalized.

In VinePair, Betsy Andrews explores the new category of rosé proseccos.

Daily Wine News: Influencers + Sexism

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-06-2021

https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/11/23/15/00/picnic-1853380__340.jpg“The wave of disparagement has exposed some disturbingly sexist dynamics that have long existed in wine. The contempt for influencers… feels particularly ironic coming within an industry where women sommeliers report that customers repeatedly sexualize them.” Esther Mobley looks at the wine influencer backlash in the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s good reason that the social media influencer market hasn’t been as robust for wine as for fashion or beauty. Few wineries invested in digital sales before the pandemic, relying mostly on sales to restaurants and through tasting rooms… But some California wineries have been increasing their investment in influencer marketing anyway, largely in response to a lingering problem: Wine has struggled to gain traction with younger drinkers.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Nicole MacKay looks at how some modern wineries are designed in ways that reflect the company’s values, particularly as they coincide with organic and ecologically conscious winemaking.

In Wine Spectator, Tim Fish reports that David Bruce, a pioneer in winemaking in the Santa Cruz Mountains and an early advocate of California Pinot Noir, died April 28. He was 89.

Marie Gallo, the daughter-in-law of a co-founder of E.&J. Gallo Winery, the world’s biggest winery and Modesto’s largest private employer, has died. She was 86.

Lettie Teague explores how contentious the word “hate” is when talking about wine in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)

In Bon Appétit, Alex Beggs offers tips for wines to drink during post-vax hangouts.

In the Robb Report, Sara L. Schneider highlights Brughelli Wine.

Daily Wine News: $1 Million Space-Aged Pétrus

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-05-2021

“Christie’s said Tuesday it is selling a bottle of French wine that spent more than a year in orbit aboard the International Space Station. The auction house thinks a wine connoisseur might pay as much as $1 million to own it,” reports the New York Post.

Alder Yarrow explores what’s new in Napa. “Of the 122 wineries that had joined the [Napa Valley Vintners Association] since 2015, roughly 85 names were entirely new to me, and another dozen I had heard of but never tasted. As you might expect, some of these wineries were, in fact, brand new, while others had only recently gotten around to becoming members.”

“What is wine worth to you?” asks Alfonso Cevola, who has an epiphany about wine’s value. “In my experience, some of the unlikeliest of wines have been most memorable. Over a period of 50 years, 40 of which I have been accumulating wine to store and age (and bring out when the moment calls for it), I have to say I’ve been going through a metamorphosis in regards to my thinking about the value of wine.”

Now is the time to buy prime vineyard land, says Tom Wark. “The belief is that Napa Valley vineyards is a rich man’s game. That’s true. But in thirty years we will look back at the millions paid for Napa vineyard land and think, “what a bargain.””

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers a guide for aspiring wine lovers—what to invest in, what to avoid, and how to learn more about what you like.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, takes a look at China’s wine market strategy. “The Chinese economy is booming, recovering from the pandemic sooner and stronger than any other country, although the pace of recovery seems to have slowed. The wine economy in China is still struggling, however, with high inventory levels remaining due to last year’s lockdowns.”

Food & Wine highlights five great American wine regions to explore on a road trip.

Daily Wine News: Minerality & Salinity

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-04-2021

In the New Yorker, Adam Leith Gollner ponders the meaning of minerality in wine. “Lately, you can find a wine characterized, in all seriousness, as having “mineral flavors sexed up by a flinty nuance on the end,” offering “a granite quarry’s worth of minerality,” or compared to “sucking on a pebble.” The term’s popularity has likely been aided by its ambiguity.”

And in Wine Enthusiast, Amy Beth Wright explores the meaning of salinity in wine. “Salinity in a wine is often associated with the proximity of vineyards to sea, sand and salt air. Many such wines originate from grapes grown near or within coastal regions. But salinity doesn’t necessarily rely upon exposure to sea breezes or reflect the presence of salt in the wine or soil.”

Pushed along by the pandemic, the new wine-buying experience is hospitable, democratic and even cool. In PUNCH, Hannah Selinger explores wine retail’s great awakening. “As the concept and shape of retail shifts, so too does the power dynamic of access. Traditionally reserved for high-performing restaurants, allocated wines have begun appearing in retail shops in unprecedented numbers.”

In Club Oenologique, Panos Kakaviatos offers the first reviews of Bordeaux 2020 from en primeur tastings.

Lettie Teague offers a primer on the rosé prosecco category, and highlights the ones worth buying in the Wall Street Journal. (subscription req.)

In SevenFifty Daily, Caroline Shin explores the “overwhelmingly white image of alcohol culture” and highlights 12 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders whose influence rings through all three tiers of the system.

Vermentino is now the most-bottled grape variety in Maremma.

Daily Wine News: Tasting Notes and Other Fallacies

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-03-2021

(Photo source: clappstar on Flickr)

“’We don’t have the equivalent of eye glasses or hearing aids for taste buds,” says Virginia Utermohlen Lovelace, PhD, a taste researcher who worked for many years at Cornell University’s Division of Nutritional Sciences. But Lovelace’s research, and the research of her colleagues, “shows that there are significant differences in the way the general population tastes and perceives different flavors”. There are essentially four different kinds of tasters, and some flavors that are perceived by certain groups of tasters completely elude others.” In Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox takes a look at the science of taste and tasting notes.

Are subscriptions the new wine clubs? Erin Kirschenmann explores how wineries are considering new ways of providing wine to customers in Wine Business. “Overall, that study showed 15 percent of U.S. adults have joined a new subscription service in the last year…In a COVID era, subscription boxes can be an interesting way to bring in new customers who wouldn’t be able to visit your tasting room in person.”

An Australian company has launched what is claimed to be the world’s first “purple wine.” Called Purple Reign, the wine is a Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend infused with organic, plant-based botanicals. Richard Woodard has more details about the concotion in Decanter.

In Wine Enthusiast, Chadner Navarro looks at how adventurous beer drinkiers have helped the natural wine scene flourish in Denver.

Also in Wine Enthusiast, Stacy Briscoe reports on how northern California winemakers are shifting their practices amid the drought emergency.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre explores the importance of the “epiphany bottle.”

Expect prices of coffee, wine, toilet paper and other grocery items to rise in the post-Covid-19 era, says Soo Kim in Newsweek.

Daily Wine News: Price vs. Quality

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-30-2021

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov explores the correlation between a wine’s price and quality. “While I can easily gather a dozen $30 bottles that will be exponentially more interesting wines than the same number of $10 bottles, I would have a hard time doing the reverse… The relationship of price to quality in wine is tricky for many reasons. Among them: Who wants to spend more money than necessary on anything?”

Also in the New York Times, Eric Asimov looks ahead to the next Wine School: Txakolina.

As vineyards get hotter, are growers on the right track chasing smaller yields? James Lawrence takes a look at the impact of climate change in Wine-Searcher.

In Club Oenologique, Panos Kakaviatos offers first notes on Bordeaux 2020.

In the Buyer, Justin Keay talks to three Australian winemakers about how they’re handling the major crises of 2020 and 2021.

In Wine Enthusiast, Olatunji Olaigbe celebrates the tradition of palm wine in Nigerian cultures.

David Schildknecht offers his notes on Rheingau and Mittelrhein 2018s in Vinous.

The Oregon Wine Press remembers “Willamette Valley legend” Bob McRitchie.

Daily Wine News: Regional Terroir

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-29-2021

Grapevine rootstock. (Photo source: Wiemer)

In Wine Enthusiast, Kathleen Willcox explores how wineries and local nurseries shape regional terroir. “Increasingly, winemakers try to source ingredients from closer to home in a bid, they say, to create more authentic and delicious wines. Their reasons are many, and range from concerns over the spread of pests and disease, to logistics and a desire to develop their region’s terroir… Winemakers also see an opportunity to shape the future of their regions through unofficial, but highly effective, partnerships with local nurseries on experimental plantings.”

Jamie Goode ponders the ways in which the industry uses place to sell wine, and why sometimes we shouldn’t do it. “For fine wine, like many, I’m a firm believer in wines being sold by place. At the bottom end, less so. Here, the brand promise (the place as a collective brand) often fails. It is a hollow promise: the wines can be perfectly good, but they simply don’t taste of place. Nor should they have to.”

Debbie Gordon dives into the regenerative agriculture happening at Tablas Creek Vineyard.

In Wine Spectator, Shawn Zylberberg reports on the comparative tasting of space-aged and land-aged 2000 Pétrus.

In Bloomberg, Angus Whitley looks at how Australian wine consumption in China has dropped dramatically after the government impost tariffs of more than 200% last year.

In Club Oenologique, Adam Lechmere talks to Peter Vinding-Diers, one of the first flying winemakers, about yeast, dogma, and the dangers of a university education.

Victoria Flexner profiles California winemaker Katy Wilson.

Daily Wine News: Lebanon’s Future

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-28-2021

Vineyard in Lebanon. (Source: Wines from Lebanon)

In Eater, Farrah Berrou explains why we should all be drinking more Lebanese wine. “Many of Lebanon’s family-run micro-wineries that were born after 2000 are now on their second or even third generation… New stories like these are absolutely worth telling, but paradoxically it’s the older one that continues to lure writers and readers and, most importantly, compel people to purchase a bottle of Lebanese wine. But the industry’s need for support should not be the sole reason for writing about it. Lebanon’s wine producers need spotlights and profiles, but not only when their vineyards are on fire or their offices have caved in on them.”

Bracing for another fire season, Napa and Sonoma viticulturists decide whether to replant or revitalize many vineyards that burned in 2020. Stacy Briscoe has the story in SevenFifty Daily.

“After 21 vintages of making wine from far-coastal Marin County, Pey-Marin Vineyards is coming to an end,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle’s Esther Mobley. “Wineries rarely close down entirely; more often, when an owner wants out, they sell. But Jonathan Pey, who founded Pey-Marin Vineyards with his late wife, Susan, in 1999, said that the extreme conditions of west Marin farming have simply gotten too punishing, in part due to climate change.”

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray talks to Rob McMillan, who predicts a boom in wine sales over the next 12 to 18 months.

European vintners are finding toeholds in the U.S. just as some of America’s oldest wineries are ready to cash in. Elin McCoy looks at the recent acquisitions in Bloomberg.

Should vineyards let nature take its course? Most wineries strive to exist in harmony with nature, but some have overstepped the mark, says Adam Lechmere in Club Oenologique.

In Wine Enthusiast, Hannah Selinger explores the diversity of English wine.

Daily Wine News: Still Life

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-27-2021

Jancis Robinson looks at how regions like Champagne and England, both associated with sparkling wine production, are making serious still wines. “Most still English wines then were a bit too meager, and obviously made from less-than-fully-ripe grapes. But all this is changing. On my last visit to Champagne, in 2019, several producers showed me with pride the still wines they had been working on.”

Alfonso Cevola ponders influencers, deciders, and the changing of the guards in wine. “And for those wines, that for whatever reason, don’t pass muster? That never get consideration from the (outgoing) deciders or the (incoming) influencers? What about them? Well, those wines usually age out of inventory in warehouses and retail back rooms, and eventually end up on a close-out rack somewhere in Kankakee or Cuyamungue. Not everything is subject to the influence of the deciders or is decided upon by the influencers. Not every wine, crosses the finish line or gets a medal.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Christina Pickard explores the grower-winemakers that are redefining Tasmania. “Growth on a small island comes with challenges, but one thing is certain: Tasmanian wine has never been better.”

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss and Kathleen Buckley report on how the 2021 frost could impact harvest, distribution, and the price of French wine.

Wine Business reports on how snow and freeze events are impacting vineyards in Missouri, Ohio, and beyond.

In VinePair, Maia Parish looks at why Colorado winemakers are betting on Riesling.

On the blog of Tablas Creek, marketing director Ian Consoli explains why virtual wine club events are good for everyone.

In Vinous, Josh Raynolds explores the diversity of wines from Rioja.

Daily Wine News: Proof of Terroir

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 04-26-2021

A study from the Catena Institute of Wine has found chemical evidence that the soils in which a vineyard grows leave an indelible stamp on the wine. Shawn Zylberberg looks at the details of the terroir study in Wine Spectator.

Six months on from the California wildfires that struck Napa Valley, Adam Lechmere looks at the lasting impact on the region’s winemaking, and especially the problem of “smoke effect.”

In the Robb Report, Jeremy Repanich looks at how Portland Trail Blazers’ CJ McCollum is using his proximity to Oregon’s best vineyards to develop his palate—and his own label.

In a new study, UC Davis researchers discovered a wealth of potentially health-enhancing compounds and sugar molecules called oligosaccharides within chardonnay wine-grape pomace.

“The total value of winery direct-to-consumer shipments in March came to nearly $500 million or 16% more than in March 2020,” reports Andrew Adams in Wine Business.

Cava’s growing export ratio has shown resilience during the pandemic as new regulatory steps aim to strengthen its image. In Meininger’s, Barnaby Eales gives an up-to-date overview.

Dave McIntyre offers tips for how to “go green” with your wine choices in the Washington Post. (subscription req.)

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan considers how Covid-19 is impacting tasters of all kinds.