Daily Wine News: A Comeback in Napa

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-13-2022

(Source: Realm Cellars)

“Edgy Napa winery Realm Cellars, known for its high-end Bordeaux-style bottlings with Shakespearean labels, has purchased Houyi Vineyard and Nine Suns Winery in Pritchard Hill, the crown jewel of Napa Valley,” reports Jess Lander in the San Francisco Chronicle. “The acquisition caps a decade-long ripening at Realm, which has staged an astonishing comeback after facing bankruptcy in 2011. Today, the winery owns vineyards in three of Napa Valley’s most prized subregions for Cabernet Sauvignon production: Stags Leap, Coombsville and now Pritchard Hill.”

Jancis Robinson says farewell to “Mr. Pinot,” Josh Jensen, 78, founder of Calera and champion of Mount Harlan AVA, who has died after a prolonged period of ill health. “The California wine scene is the poorer for his loss.”

With climate heating up grand cru vineyards in Burgundy, will the once-ignored Hautes-Côtes regions come into their own? Vicki Denig investigates in Wine-Searcher.

On Tim Atkin’s site, Andy Neither makes a plea for better British wine lists. “Part of it may be English people’s worry about mispronouncing a foreign name and looking stupid. It’s not a worry that seems to trouble many Americans, for example, though maybe when you run the world rather than being a clapped-out, post-imperial power, you can afford not to give a toss. But our cultural cringe before the mythical figure of the snooty French wine waiter still casts a shadow.”

Food & Wine announces its 2022 class of Game Changers.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov highlights 12 rosés to drink this summer—and all year long.

In Travel + Leisure, Alison Fox offers an introduction to the meanings of sustainable, biodynamic and organic wine.

Daily Wine News: Cheers to 50 Years

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-10-2022

(Source: Visit Napa Valley)

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Jess Lander and Esther Mobley celebrate the 50th anniversary of Napa’s “class of 1972,” featuring some of the region’s most transformational wineries, including Caymus, Montelena, Silver Oak and Cakebread. “Never before, and never since, has there been such a concentrated surge of influential institutions in the American wine industry.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Betsy Andrews is also marking the 50th anniversary, looking at how the rise of Napa Valley has been shaped by ambition, terroir and money.

Miquel Hudin looks back on the original SOMM film, which debuted 10 years ago. (If you follow this news roundup regularly, you probably know the answer is not well!)

The Wall Street Journal’s Lettie Teague is digging Côtes du Rhône.

Clay Risen pens an obituary for Sean Thackrey, who “dismissed conventional wisdom about varietals, terroir and scientific management and won a cult following in the process,” in the New York Times.

Could truffles be California Wine Country’s next luxury product? Matt Kettman explores in Wine Enthusiast. “…small harvests are now being reported annually in California’s Sonoma and El Dorado counties, and there’s an ongoing attempt to resurrect America’s first black truffle farm in Mendocino County, where the fungus was unearthed in 1987.”

In Wine-Searcher, David Allen looks at how alternative approaches to making Sauvignon Blanc are reaping very different rewards.

On JebDunnuck.com, R.H. Drexel shares highlights from this year’s BottleRock.

Daily Wine News: Tradition vs. Sustainability

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-09-2022

Will tradition prevent the wine industry from embracing sustainability? In VinePair, Mailynh Phan looks at how far the industry has come, and how far it still needs to go. “When we look at the question of who must act first, ultimately, as producers, we’re responsible for the bottles we make and for what happens to them after they are emptied. It’s time for the industry to move on from unsustainable traditions and to help educate consumers on sustainability.”

MLB discovers a “secret, hidden gem” at Balletto Vineyards in Sonoma: a baseball field among the vines.

NBC News’ Wilson Wong considers the future threat of spotted lanternflies to California wine country.

In SevenFifty Daily, Courtney Schiessl Magrini talks to winegrower Christopher Howell about how he is rebuilding after the devastating Glass Fire in 2020 and using library releases to manage availability.

Brad Pitt is suing his ex Angelina Jolie, who he says “contributed nothing” to the success of their Miraval wine business and intentionally sold her stake to a “stranger with poisonous associations and intentions,” reports People.

In PUNCH, Leslie Pariseau talks to sommeliers and retailers across the country about the hottest wines right now.

In Wine Enthusiast, Demi Elder delves into the meaning of “supple” in winespeak.

On WineBusiness.com, Linda Jones McKee reports on the new challenges Texas vineyards are facing this year.

Daily Wine News: Amador County

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-08-2022

Old vines in Amador County. (Source: Amador County Wine)

In SevenFifty Daily, Laura Burgess explores why many of California’s best-known winemakers are flocking to Amador County. “For those who know it, Amador County is a slice of California teeming with opportunity—and not only for the well-funded. Rather, Amador and its wines offer an uncommon degree of value to everyone from farmers and winemakers to distributors and casual connoisseurs. This is a region worth knowing, and many of California’s best winemakers are already zeroing in on its terroir.”

A small Ukrainian winemaker whose vineyards sit on the edge of territory newly occupied by Russia has won gold in the prestigious Decanter World Wines awards. The Guardian has the details.

New World Shiraz has a reputation for richness and ripeness. But seek out cellar-worthy renderings from cooler climates, and you’ll find opulence giving way to elegance, says Natasha Hughe in Club Oenologique.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray reports on how winemakers in Montefalco are tackling tannins in Sangrantino-based wines using new vilification methods.

In Wine Enthusiast, Marisa Finetti reports on Las Vegas’s evolving wine culture.

Jeff Siegel delves into the hush hush of Mega Purple in the wine industry in the Drop. “Adding them in California neither breaks state or federal laws or violates most appellation regulations. Nevertheless, concentrates like Mega Purple seem to be the wine business’ deep dark secret — pun fully intended.”

In Food52, Andrew Triska explores German and Austrian Sekt.

Daily Wine News: Grapping With Tragedy

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-07-2022

“Can wine help us make sense of tragedy? In the short term, it cannot; we push our glasses aside. Those tragically lost must be mourned and grieved over; this process cannot be hurried. There are no explanations for tragedy, though justice must take its course, and prevail. The excavation of truth may take decades.” In Decanter, Andrew Jefford grapples with recent tragedy. “Wine, though, also happens in long time, time long enough to melt, to re-make and to re-melt all borders and partitions…Wine, too, is a celebration of the uniqueness of place, and specifically of places at peace; this touches our souls as well as refreshing our bodies.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Maria C. Hunt talks to Ann Noble, an enology professor at University of California, Davis, who organized wine descriptors into the first Wine Aroma Wheel.

The caricature of Bordeaux is of a cautiously conservative region. But, during three weeks of intensive tastings and visits while preparing his Bordeaux 2021 en primeur report for the World of Fine Wine,  Simon Field finds a decidedly adventurous and progressive winemaking culture.

On Wine Anorak, Lisse Garnett explores Turkey’s wines with Master Sommelier Isa Bal.

In Atlas Obscura, Alex Mayyasi explores non-grape wines made from blueberry, cherry, pumpkin and more.

Kareem Massoud, winemaker at Paumanok and Palmer Vineyards, talks about Long Island wine.

In the Drop, Janice Williams recommends some picnic wines for summer.

Daily Wine News: Troubling Times

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-06-2022

What’s troubling vintners these days? Jancis Robinson talks to winemakers about climate change, labor shortages and more.

In Grape Collective, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher share a recap from the Association of African American Vintners’ 20th anniversary celebration.

Chinese wine drinkers have, until now, been influenced by traditional European preferences for dry red and white wine. But, as in the US, sales of sweeter versions of both colors are growing, as Lin Liu reports in Meininger’s.

In Travel + Leisure, Valerie Stivers and Hank Zona look at how Vermont became New England’s natural wine destination.

In VinePair, Jason Diamond explores the beautiful pairing that is anchovies and wine. “Despite my enthusiasm, the anchovy has had a rough go in the U.S…But besides restaurants that focused on Spanish or Mediterranean cuisine, finding places that would serve you a plate of anchovies wasn’t always easy — until the last few years, when anchovies became the new olives at spots with terrific wine menus.”

Château La Gaffelière withdraws from the next St-Emilion classification, reports Martin Green in Decanter.

In Forbes, Liz Thach on why Abruzzo is moving from a low cost to ultra-premium wine strategy.

Daily Wine News: Protecting the Future

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-03-2022

Grapevine rootstock. (Photo source: Wiemer)

UC Davis is building a new $5.25 million greenhouse to safeguard an important grapevine collection from red blotch disease and other pathogens.

In the 19th century, Clos de la Perrière was mentioned alongside Musigny and Chambertin as a great vineyard of Burgundy. Now, says Eric Asimov in the New York Times, the wines are excellent and getting better.

In Wine Enthusiast, Virginie Boone remembers California winemaker Sean Thackrey, who died on May 30. He was 79. Alder Yarrow also pays tribute to Thackrey on Vinography.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre explores California’s two new AVAs: SLO Coast and the West Sonoma Coast.

Carmelo Anthony is in the wine game, reports Wine Spectator. The 10-time NBA All-Star, What’s in Your Glass? host and current Los Angeles Laker has launched his own wine brand, VII(N) The Seventh Estate, in partnership with third-generation Rhône winemaker Stéphane Usseglio.

Nicolette Baker explains why you don’t see much Pinot Noir in blends in VinePair.

A former Amazon executive is set to launch Winechain, an NFT wine platform, later this year, reports Decanter.

Daily Wine News: Wine Tasting Notes

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-02-2022

In Decanter, Chris Losh looks at what goes into penning a wine-tasting note. “Why is it so hard to write a decent tasting note? Because it clearly is. When researching this article, pretty much the only things that everyone agreed on were: i) it’s difficult, and ii) hardly anyone does it well.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Jess Lander remembers Jonathan Waters, Chez Panisse wine director for 32 years, who died after a bicycle accident over the weekend.

“The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has taken another loss in a long-running legal fight over the direct shipment to restaurants of wines that the state monopoly declines to carry in its stores,” reports Harold Brubaker in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Commonwealth Court found the agency liable for damages, interest, and lawyers’ fees in a case brought by two wine merchants over the agency’s failure to allow direct shipment of such “special order” wines to restaurants — instead of to a state store — as a 2016 law required.”

In Club Oenologique, Adam Lechmere explores the West Sussex wineries that are “channeling Napa Valley in England.”

Longtime fans of Merry Edwards, the lauded Russian River Valley Pinot Noir label that’s now part of Roederer’s portfolio, won’t be disappointed, says James Molesworth in Wine Spectator.

On JancisRobinson.com, Alder Yarrow remembers California winemaker Sean Thackrey.

Oh, and one Florida winery is making wine out of avocados.

Daily Wine News: Bubble Up

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 06-01-2022

“Prosecco is about to give the world’s pét-nats a serious run for their money. Yes, you read that right: Prosecco…Cloudy, chunky, and a little bit wild, ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to sui lieviti. Or, more formally: Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Sui Lieviti DOCG Brut Nature. It’s a mouthful in every sense of the word. A surprising, dynamic, interesting, flavorful, fun, and most importantly, delicious mouthful.” Alder Yarrow explores the new designation on his blog.

In VinePair, Hannah Staab looks at why Spanish winemakers are exploring the still side of Cava. “With Cava’s whirlwind rise to popularity, winemakers are taking a step back to consider the region’s indigenous grapes and potential beyond bubbly, creating a unique category of exciting still wines.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague offers tips on where to find Champagne-quality sparkling wine in California.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley remembers winemaker Sean Thackrey, who died on Monday of cancer. He was 79. “From his home in a Bolinas eucalyptus grove, Thackrey made some of California’s most singular and unconventional wines, informed by his lifelong study of ancient art and literature.”

Jennifer Fiedler explores the rise of American field blends in Imbibe Magazine.

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto checks in on Louis Lucas and Steve Clifton’s Nebbiolo plantings in Santa Barbara, California.

In Travel + Leisure, Lydia Mansel explores the wineries around Charlottesville, Virginia.

Daily Wine News: Cutting Costs

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 05-31-2022

As supply-chain issues bite, wineries are looking at innovative ways to cut costs—and help the environment in the process. Kathleen Willcox delves into their efforts in Wine-Searcher.

Can Beaujolais be a serious ageworthy wine? Long considered Burgundy’s lighter, poorer relation, the wines of Beaujolais—particularly its crus—are finding increasing favor among the cognoscenti, says Jamie Goode in Club Oenologique.

In Wine Enthusiast, Chadner Navarro explores the Portuguese Avesso grape, a Vinho Verde blending grape that’s become a popular varietal wine.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Sean P. Sullivan explores Pinot Noir’s place—or lack thereof—in Washington State. “As of 2017, the variety makes up less than 1% of current plantings, and much of the fruit is used for sparkling wine. To date, most attempts to make still Pinot Noir have been more dalliance than full embrace, and the results, at best, more intriguing than illuminating. The state’s distinct lack of success with Pinot has been particularly dissonant given Oregon’s well-deserved accolades.”

Is the future of Alsace red? On JancisRobinson.com, Benjamin Roelfs looks at the transformation of Pinot Noir in Alsace and suggests we look out for Syrah d’Alsace.

Wine producers in Turkey have relied on tourism for sales, but conditions in the country are pushing them to rethink exports, reports Barnaby Eales in Meininger’s.