Daily Wine News: Swiss Wine’s Future

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-11-2021

Vineyards off Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

In TRINK, Ellen Wallace explores the future of Swiss wine. “The new generation is making its mark, bringing to Swiss wine an appreciation of local and regional roots while placing it in a larger context. New ideas and technologies, and a pointed focus on sustainability are the hallmarks, enriched by world travels and training abroad, and an openness to crossing language and cultural lines within the country.”

Is it time to retire the wine descriptor “rustic”? In PUNCH, Danny Chau says the ambiguous term may have to die for its true tenets to survive. “With no fixed meaning in the context of wine and spirits, rustic’s tone shifts dramatically depending on who wields it.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Anna Archibald delves into the surprisingly long history of arsenic in wine.

Also in Wine Enthusiast, Dylan Garret makes the case that the worth or value of a wine ought to be properly defined by the enjoyment it brings. “It’s time to step back and reevaluate how we define value. While there’s a thrill to sipping something rare or tasting the unique history found in often expensive, older vintage wines, it’s the experience that matters, not the bragging rights over how much you paid for it.”

But, as Tom Wark argues, “it should also be pointed out that it is equally legitimate to derive pleasure from a wine due to what it cost and what that cost represents.”

As the world’s politicians gather for COP26 in Glasgow, Jamie Goode is working on a three-part series for the World of Fine Wine, investigating wine’s carbon footprint and how it can be reduced with an inventory of vineyard and winery emissions. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

In the Drop, David W. Brown explores the history of sulfites in wine and the many reasons why people argue about them.

Daily Wine News: Pushing for Pelaverga

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-10-2021

A bottle of Verduno Pelaverga, a rare, dark-skinned grape variety native to Piedmont.

In PUNCH, Zachary Sussman explores the category of Pelaverga, the chillable Piedmont reg that blew up in the 2010s thanks to a single producer.. “Pelaverga, it turns out, has range. Some versions come across more piercing and linear, with grippier tannins, while others skew silkier and softer, but a common thread runs throughout: purity, acidity, tangy red fruit and the grape’s hallmark floral and white pepper aromas.”

Winemaker Lenz Moser has returned to Austria to team up with one of the country’s fastest rising stars, Markus Huber, to create a new wine they believe will help re-invent Grüner Veltliner, reports Richard Siddle in the Buyer.

In National Geographic, Nina Caplan takes a roadtrip through Burgundy, where she finds “holy history and heavenly vintages.”

Devin Parr looks at how a new generation of wine pros is reinvigorating Sicilian wine in VinePair.

On his blog, Jamie Goode catches up with Jay Boberg and Jean-Nicolas Meo of Nicolas-Jay, a winery who has, in a very short time, become one of the stars of the Oregon wine scene.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, explores the ever-evolving Prosecco market.

In Vinous, Neal Martin discusses wines from Irancy and Saint-Bris.

Wine Enthusiast put together a list of the 50 best wine retailers in the US.

Daily Wine News: Environmental Impact

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-09-2021

Regular and small bottles. (Wikimedia)

Has the time for small wine bottles finally come? In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph wonders why, in an age of wine-in-moderation and $200 bottles of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Napa red, half bottles and single-serves are still the underclass of the wine world.

UK merchant Berry Bros & Rudd has said it plans to start removing capsules across several wines in its ‘Own Selection’ range as part of a wider goal to reduce the merchant’s environmental impact, reports Lisa Riley in Decanter.

In Wine Enthusiast, Rebecca Ann Hughes delves into a recent dispute between Italy’s Prosecco producers and Croatian Prošek. “Prosecco producers fear the similarly named wine might jeopardize their global marketability, but wineries in Croatia aren’t sure what the fuss is all about.”

Hail, frost and mildew meant the 2021 growing season was the toughest in years, but quality is high and reserve wines will ensure there is no Champagne shortage, reports Alison Napjus in Wine Spectator.

In the Drop, L.M. Archer profiles Oregon’s veteran-owned Dauntless Wine Company, which offers a path for veterans to find opportunities in the vineyard after stepping off the battlefield.

In Wine Enthusiast, William Johnson rounds up other veteran-owned wine brands to support in advance of Veteran’s Day later this week.

In Wine Industry Advisor, Melanie Young looks at how sommeliers have re-envisioned wine lists after COVID shutdowns.

Daily Wine News: Sustainable Tourism

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-08-2021

Is sustainable wine tourism the next big thing? As Roger Morris points out in Meininger’s, environmental viticulture and solar-powered wineries are not entirely compatible with encouraging visitors to fly and drive long distances to visit them.

In Club Oenologique, Chris Howard explores the three evolving styles of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc coming out of New Zealand.

“It’s official,” reports Oliver Styles in Wine-Searcher. “Europe’s 2021 vintage is way down on previous years, sparking fears of shortages, with French wine especially hard hit.”

Jancis Robinson looks at how terroir expert Pedro Parra and Tuscan wine consultant Alberto Antonini are focusing on the unique terroir of Australia’s Barossa Valley in a new wine project.

In Decanter, Charles Curtis explores sparkling wine’s role in the New York State wine scene and recommends a few bottles to try. (subscription req.)

In Wine Enthusiast, Layla Schlack writes about how travel shaped her experience of two extremes of the winemaking world—natural and conventional approaches—and her understanding of it. “Maybe it’s because the wines I tasted in both places were excellent, but I’ve never felt any conflict between these approaches.”

In the Drop, Janice Williams highlights five wine memoirs to read.

Wine Reviews: Ramón Bilbao

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-07-2021

There are plenty of heralded wine regions I have yet to visit, far more than I will likely see in my lifetime. But Rioja is high on that list. One day I hope to visit the cellars of Lopez de Heredia and explore the larger region, but until then, wine offers that ability to travel through the senses.

For years, Rioja wines have consistently delivered for me, and I have so many fond memories of serving these wines to friends and family at gatherings, especially around the holidays and colder months. A few years back, I befriended a reddish-colored, malnourished alley cat, and helped her out over a long winter with a steady diet of canned tuna and chicken scraps. I named her Rioja.

Anyway, I recently tasted through some interesting wines from Rioja’s Bodegas Ramón Bilbao that are worth highlighting. The bodega’s namesake opened the winery in 1924. He passed away just five years later, leaving the bodega to his son Enrique. The company has grown and expanded over the decades, especially lately, and has spread out to make wines in Rueda and Rias Baixas. In Rioja today, they have more than 200 hectares of vineyards, and source grapes from some 900 more. Featured today is a solid lineup, from entry-level up to the flagship Mirto, whose first vintage was 1999. Across the board, these wines are very well done and worth checking out if you, like me, enjoy Rioja.

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

Daily Wine News: Texas Crossroads

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-05-2021

From Wikipedia.

The Texas wine industry is at a crossroads, says Amy Beth Wright in Wine Enthusiast. “Is it time for winemakers to usher in a broad consumer audience? Or are Texas winemakers’ efforts best focused on resolving the challenges that create inconsistencies while working to define a world-class wine region?”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre reports on a recent petition by Aleesha Hansel, a British wine writer for Decanter magazine and several other publications, to abandon the use of heavy wine bottles. “…the petition calls for writers — such as me — to include bottle weight in our wine reviews so readers will know which wineries are walking the climate walk by using lighter bottles.”

Also in the Washington Post, Fritz Hahn and Thomas Floyd highlights a bounty of Virginia wineries within an hour’s drive of D.C.

In Wine-Searcher, Tablas Creek’s Jason Haas responds to W. Blake Gray’s recent piece about his skeptism of regenerative agriculture in wine, and instead argues that regenerative organic certified agriculture is the farming you’ve been looking for.

Dozens of bottles of rare Yquems and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, worth a total of around $1 million, have gone missing from Atrio restaurant’s cellar in Spain, reports Wine Spectator.

World wine production is expected to fall to one of its lowest levels on record after bad weather hit European vineyards. In the midst of the shortage, demand is expected to recover to near levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) said in a statement.

Eric Asimov’s guide to Thanksgiving wines is here.

Daily Wine News: Embracing Wine Flaws

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-04-2021

In the Drop, Rachel Signer says we should learn to embrace wine flaws. “Why is it that we demand our wine be totally free of flaws, when nothing in nature is without imperfections?…Flaws can make a wine less enjoyable, I admit. But it’s also unrealistic to expect winemakers to turn out perfect bottlings, all the time, every year, unless we accept that they might very well manipulate the wine to make it look perfect.”

In the New York Times, Ceylan Yeginsu reports on how climate change is affecting wine production, and a way of life, in Jura. “The last year the region had favorable weather conditions was 2018, which wine experts say produced some exceptional wines. Yet with high demand and a limited crop, prices have increased, and certain labels, like the 2018 Pierre Overnoy Arbois-Pupillin Poulsard, are hard to find. This has put tremendous pressure on winegrowers to sustain production, and many are struggling to stay afloat. Four revered French winemakers ended their lives this year. One of them, Pascal Clairet of Domaine de la Tournelle, was an iconic figure of organic viticulture in Arbois, producing some of the edgiest award-winning natural wines in the past 20 years. His death shocked the region.”

In Meininger’s, Robert Joseph on the future of vineyard automation. “Vineyard automation is coming, like those trucks and robot-carers. Maybe not on the steepest slopes of the Mosel or Rhône, or the tiniest plots of the Côte d’Or, but just about everywhere else. Dismissing it is like trying to turn back the tide.”

Burgundy’s charitable wine weekend and auction the Hospices de Beaune makes its physical comeback this month. In Club Oenologique, Adam Lechmere reports on what to expect, especially in light of a challenging vintage.

Trefethen Family Vineyard in Napa has installed a system to capture carbon from fermentation, reports Aaron Romano in Wine Spectator, and the owners hope to inspire others to do the same.

After moving to Austria in 2012, Simon J Woolf discovered that “authentic Austrian wine culture revolves around two key pillars: the spritzer, or G’spritzter in dialect – white wine cut with sparkling water – and the Buschenschank or Heuriger – a simple tavern run by a winery, classically just serving its own wines and simple snacks.”

Daily Wine News: Fire Coverage Lawsuit

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-03-2021

Calistoga Ranch was leveled by the Glass Fire.

“Entities that own Calistoga Ranch, the Napa Valley luxury resort that burned to the ground during the Glass Fire in 2020, sustaining more than $100 million in losses, have filed a lawsuit against their insurers and claims adjuster, according to court records,” reports Kerana Todorov in Wine Business.

In Wine Enthusiast, Misbaah Mansuri reports on how the New Zealand wine industry is being affected by surging demand, production shortages and supply chain woes.

In Wine Spectator, Shawn Zylberberg similarly reports on how wineries—both small and big—are dealing with global supple chain issues.

A wine press dating back 2,700 years was recently discovered in northern Iraq.

In Wine-Searcher, Liza B. Zimmerman looks at what wineries are offering visitors in order to get them back and spending.

On Wine Anorak, Treve Ring highlights Therianthropy Wines, a rising garagiste collective from Niagara, Ontario.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley recommends a handful of the best California Cabernets for $20 or less.

In Vinous, Joaquín Hidalgo offers notes on the latest cellar-worthy wines from Argentina.

In Imbibe Magazine, Emma Janzen recommends a handful of field blend wines.

Daily Wine News: Judgment vs. Taste

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-02-2021

You don’t have to like Bordeaux, no matter what old white men say, says Alder Yarrow. “Preference is not the same as critical judgment, and more importantly, it is possible to have your preferences and critical judgment diverge. Just ask half of the Napa winemakers who make massive 15.2% Cabernets by day and go home to drink Gevrey-Chambertin and Chinon.”

Kathleen Willcox reports on how small family-owned wineries are adapting to modern markets for Liquor.com. “The ongoing pandemic, and the manner in which it changed the way the entire world recreates, travels, and makes purchases, has accelerated those changes. It took an alarming pattern and cemented it into a (perhaps permanent) economic reality…That bright spot—finding new methods of initiating sales that depend, essentially, on a producer’s relationship with a buyer—is just one of the ways family wineries are learning to survive, and sometimes even grow, in a challenging and ever-shifting marketplace.”

On Tim Atkin’s site, Margaret Rand ponders the terroir of opera and wine. “It is terribly easy to discard aspects of terroir; less easy to know, except with hindsight, which bits we want and which bits we don’t. We don’t want rusticity? Fine. But if you take out all the rusticity, will you end up with sterility? Great operas, and great wines, have to live anew each year: they are not museum pieces. So what we call the signature of a great terroir is nearly always terroir-plus-winemaker. And it is the winemaker, like the opera director, who decides what the terroir is saying.”

In Vinous, Antonio Galloni heads to Santa Barbara and offers notes on the area’s 2019 and 2020 vintages.

In the Drop, Sarah May Grunwald reports on how a new generation of Italian winemakers is discovering the benefits of chestnut wood barrels.

In Wine-Searcher, the CEO of the online wine auction site WineBid looks back on 25 years of changing wine tastes.

On the blog for Tablas Creek, Jason Haas shares the ways in which Covid made the winery a better business.

Daily Wine News: Kevin Zraly

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 11-01-2021

(Source: KevinZraly.com)

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov profiles Kevin Zraly, who most famously ran the wine program at Windows on the World, the celebrated restaurant atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center, from its inception in 1975 until it was destroyed on 9/11. “For 50 years now, Mr. Zraly, 70, has helped Americans make sense of wine. Not only has he educated countless consumers, but he has instructed some of the most influential American wine professionals, who went on to teach multitudes themselves…If good wine lists and sommeliers are now expected at serious restaurants, it’s in no small part because of Mr. Zraly.”

In the Financial Times, Jancis Robinson explores issues relating to diversity in the wine world, and highlights the up-and-coming professionals working to make a difference.

As the terroir focus in South America continues to sharpen, the spotlight is increasingly being cast on individual vineyards, says Amanda Barnes in Club Oenologique.

In Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Buzzeo reports on the winemakers on a mission to protect South Africa’s oldest vines.

Grape Collective chatted with Nyetimber’s Brad Greatrix about the challenges and joys of producing wine in the south of England.

As world leaders gather in Glasgow for COP26, the wine industry is being encouraged to sign a petition against weighty wine bottles. While welcoming the initiative, Robert Joseph wonders if this is the best way to save the planet in Meininger’s.

Emily Monaco explores the rise in popularity of alternative, eco-friendly packaging—like boxed wine—in the Drop.