Daily Wine News: A Curious Market

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-03-2022

In SevenFifty Daily, Roger Morris looks at how importers are embracing niche regions and lesser-known grape varieties. “Curiosity drives much of the discovery process for new wines and new wine regions, both for ardent consumers and trade professionals. It seems we are all hard-wired to constantly be asking, “what’s new?” and “what’s next?””

On Jeb Dunnuck’s site, R.H. Drexel highlights Xavier Arnaudin, owner and co-founder of Union Sacré in Paso Robles, who “co-owns and operates California’s only entirely Alsatian house. He pursues the types of wines he’d like to drink and share with others, irrespective of where they come from or how recognizable they are to the average American consumer.”

The Champenois have reacted quickly to the changing market and some of the side effects that climate warming is having on grape growing in the appellation, announcing sweeping reforms to the way in which the reserve system operates, reports the Drinks Business.

Elizabeth Gabay explores what makes a premium rosé in Decanter.

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto makes the case for chilled red wines.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray explores the story—and recent resurgence—of Champagne Charlie.

Ray Isle is thinking about Beaujolais in Food & Wine.

Daily Wine News: Plastic Problems

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-02-2022

Miquel Hudin on the problem with alternative wine bottle formats. “This is what terrifies me about a push to using plastics in any form for wine bottles. In all these interviews I was told that these soft plastics, such as the liners or bottles, can indeed be recycled. The catch is that the mechanisms just aren’t there and I have considerable worry that they never will be…There seems to be more interest in finding new ways to bring plastic into consumer purchases with absolutely no thought given as to what to do about the resulting waste.” 

With so many of the world’s finest wines grown on limestone and its relatives, it’s no wonder that many winemakers see it as the dream soil for viticulture. But is its exalted reputation justified? Alex Maltman explores limestone’s important in the World of Fine Wine.

Jancis Robinson talks to winemakers about how the pandemic has changed their outlook on winemaking and/or vineyard work.

In TRINK, Nils Kevin Puls explores the rosé experimentation happening in Germany and Austria.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a funding bill this past week that would provide an additional $5 million for the USDA to continue research into how wine grapes are affected by wildfire smoke exposure.

A hot and dry summer means grapes in Sonoma County are coming off vines far sooner than expected. Lucy Simon reports on California’s 2022 harvest kickoff in Food & Wine.

In the Drop, Janice Williams offers tips for finding age-worthy birth year wines.

Daily Wine News: Appreciating Old Vines

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-01-2022

Old vines in Lodi, CA. (Source: Lodi Native)

On JancisRobinson.com, Tamlyn Currin on the importance of old vines. “We don’t always appreciate the importance of old vines and old vineyards when it comes to the climate crisis. It’s not all about romantic stories and the history that they represent. Old vines play a vital role when it comes to the long-term future of the wine industry in the face of rapid climate change and the reality of increasingly extreme climate events. A number of winegrowers have told me that their old vines cope much better with heatwaves, drought, frost, flooding and disease pressure than their young vines or vines from modern clones do.”

In wine regions across Europe, spring was dry and summer has brought record temperatures, shrinking the potential harvest and sparking wildfires. Wine Spectator looks at how heat is affecting European vineyards.

In the World of Fine Wine, Jim Clarke reports from Snake River Valley in Idaho, an under-explored, but increasingly exciting corner of the Pacific Northwest’s winemaking scene.

Can new strategies breathe life into some of Napa’s most storied wine brands? Zach Geballe explores the answer in VinePair. “…Beaulieu Vineyards, Louis M. Martini, and Robert Mondavi Winery…have now moved into a new and different phase, each initiated after a recent acquisition by a major beverage conglomerate. While each has a slightly different history and strategy, all are looking to find ways to connect their legendary pasts to the future of luxury wine and hospitality in Napa Valley.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre finds that American rosé just keeps getting better and better.

In the Drop, Pam Strayer explains why Europeans and Americans have a different definition of organic wine.

Longtime Wine & Spirits Magazine editor Tara Q. Thomas is moving on.

Wine Reviews: California’s Lobo Wines and Hawk and Horse

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-29-2022

I’m back to California this week with two producers who have some delightful new releases worth sharing.

I’ve been a fan of Lake County’s Hawk and Horse for years, so I was excited to taste their 2019 offerings. Especially considering the winery didn’t produce any wines in 2018 due to wildfires. Luckily, they’re back to form with their consistent, small-lot Bordeaux reds, which are sourced from the winery’s 18-acre estate vineyard, sitting at 1,800 to 2,000 feet with some steep slopes. The rocky, red volcanic soil and terroir here offer a signature fresh acidity that complements the dark fruit and pronounces spice tones very well. If you haven’t ventured far into Lake County wines, this is a great biodynamic producer to get to know.

Earlier this year, I tasted Napa’s Lobo Wines for the first time, and I’m back to check out their new 2019 vintage releases. I’m finding a lot of consistency in quality and deliciousness from this producer. Napa wines are never cheap, but this producer really offers a lot of interesting wines with fun flavors and styles for very reasonable prices.

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

Daily Wine News: Expensive Rebrands

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-29-2022

Napa’s most historic wineries are staging a comeback. Will multimillion-dollar rebrands work? Jess Lander takes a look in the San Francisco Chronicle. “In the decades since pioneering wineries like Heitz, Robert Mondavi Winery, Charles Krug Winery and Clos Du Val got their starts, Napa has evolved from a sleepy agricultural town to a glamorous, world-renowned travel destination with more than 500 wineries. Somewhere along the way, these brands got lost in the shuffle, slipping from the pedestals they had occupied throughout the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s…Over the past several years, many of these wineries have…[been] embarking on head-to-toe rebrands with costly remodels, label redesigns, price increases and a renewed focus on wine quality. But such transformation comes with its own challenge: preserving some semblance of their humble roots while also standing out among an increasingly homogenous Napa.”

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the most recent Wine School, chilled red wines, and announces what’s up next: dry German Riesling.

Magnums of rosé have become the ultimate summer-ready wine format, but they’re also the ideal bottle size for serious cellar fodder, says David Kermode in Club Oenologique.

In Wine Enthusiast, Jim Gordon explores the Italian-American heritage at the root of Mendocino County’s wineries.

On JancisRobinson.com, Ferran Centelles visits three important producers of Rueda, and makes a case for aged versions of the wines.

On his blog, Jamie Goode tries 69 different qvevri wines from Georgia.

In VinePair, Julia Coney highlights California Chenin Blanc.

Daily Wine News: Homogenization

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-28-2022

(Flickr: Marco Verch Professional Photographer)

“The job of a winemaking consultant was not always so common. It used to be that every winery, pretty much, employed a regular winemaker: a full-time employee who worked for just one company…That started to change around 1995…” In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley on the homogenization of Napa Valley wines. “This economic reality has driven a situation where more of Napa’s wines are becoming concentrated in the hands of fewer winemakers. It’s led many observers to wonder: Is that making all of Napa’s wines taste the same?”

In the latest volume of TRINK, Valeria Kathawala offers an insider’s guide to Württemberg Riesling. “Hidden here are some of the greatest terroirs for Riesling anywhere, still far too little known…It has taken a long time for the region’s growers to be taken seriously. But in a way, Württemberg’s relative international anonymity and built-in customer base has been a useful cloak under which to work, quietly but purposefully. Now these growers are ready for the global spotlight.”

Wine Enthusiast publicly announces new tasters for Italy, reassigns iconic California beats, and will begin reviewing hard sellers and ready-to-drink beverages.

Of all the areas where Rhône varieties have been imported, South Africa is increasingly reputed. In Club Oenologique, Malu Lambert digs deep into its terroirs.

On MarthaStewart.com, Sarah Tracey explores frizzante wines.

In Epicurious, Danny Chau explains how to make vinegar with leftover wine.

In the Drop, Vicki Denig offers a guide to dessert wines.

Daily Wine News: Napa’s Past & Future

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-27-2022

Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley highlights eight power players reshaping the future of Napa Valley wine.

The San Francisco Chronicle also explores Napa’s “Disneyland” wineries—Castello di Amorosa, Del Dotto, Hall and Raymond—and takes a closer look at what makes them so popular with some people and so cringeworthy for others.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray participates in a class of ’72 tasting of California greats. “The year 1972 was huge for California wine. At least eight wineries opened in Napa Valley alone – almost as many as in the previous decade. It was an era for dreamers; also, prime agricultural land was affordable…Six wineries from the class took part [in the tasting]: Chateau Montelena, Burgess Cellars, Diamond Creek Vineyards and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars from Napa Valley with Jordan Vineyard and Dry Creek Vineyard from Sonoma County.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Kerin O’Keefe explores Piedmont reds that aren’t Nebbiolo. “Made with indigenous grapes Ruchè, Pelaverga, Freisa, Grignolino and Vespolina, a few of these lithe reds have genetic relationships with noble Nebbiolo. While they share spicy sensations, they also boast their own distinct aromas, flavors and histories.”

In SevenFifty Daily, Jacopo Mazzeo delves into the science behind non-alcoholic beer and wine production.

In the New York Times, Florence Fabricant highlights Lautus, a line of dealcoholized wines from South Africa.

Treasury Wine Estates has expanded its footprint in the Yarra Valley in Australia by purchasing the 55-hectare Beenak Vineyard from Accolade in a deal worth AU$7 million, reports Decanter.

Daily Wine News: Aussie Culture

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-26-2022

Hunter Valley in Australia. (Wikimedia)

In VinePair, Siobhan Reid explores Australia’s “hottest” wine region, Orange. “Enter Orange, a cold-climate wine region located under four hours’ drive west of Sydney, just beyond the peaks of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. The only wine region in Australia (and possibly even the world) that’s defined by elevation, Orange is home to over 60 vineyards, all situated at a minimum altitude of 1,968 feet above sea level.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Christina Pickard looks at how orange wine is changing Australian wine culture.

Of all the areas where Rhône varieties have been imported, South Africa is increasingly reputed. Malu Lambert digs deep into its terroirs in Club Oenologique.

In Grape Collective, Lisa Denning talks with Charlie Holland, Gusbourne’s winemaker for the past decade, to find out more about the winery and the exciting future of English Sparkling wine.

“Split case fees – an additional charge historically levied by US wholesalers to supply less than a case of wine or spirits – have long been legal and costly for small retailers. The Albany, New York-based State Liquor Authority (NYSLA) is now debating decreasing that cost, ideally, in order to help retailers save money,” reports Liza B. Zimmerman in Wine-Searcher.

A recently renovated vineyard estate, which produces Sangiovese wines, is on the market for $5.395 million in Santa Ynez, California, reports the Drinks Business.

A new winemaking regimen, revamped cellar, fine-tuned viticulture and a replanting project are pushing this Napa Cabernet house into new territory. Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth visits Ehlers Estate and tastes recent vintages.

Daily Wine News: Inflation Hits Napa

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-25-2022

(Source: Visit Napa Valley)

Napa wine tasting fees are more than twice as expensive as six years ago. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Esther Mobley looks into why that is. “Alabor shortage means employers are paying higher salaries. Supply chain hold-ups have resulted in escalating costs for goods like glass bottles, the price of which doubled in some cases. Serial wildfires have shot up insurance rates…and their threat requires constant maintenance of defensible space, another costly line item. Now, inflation is adding to all of those troubles.”

Following extreme weather conditions this year, Pomerol has had its request to temporarily reverse a ban on irrigating vines approved, reports Georgie Hindle in Decanter. “Winegrowers were told that the exception was obtained to ‘deal with extreme situations’ and were asked to ‘use it only when absolutely necessary.’”

A South American producer believes the blockchain can make it possible for wineries to demonstrate their organic credentials, rather than going through a certification body. Meininger’s has the details.

In Food & Wine, Oset Babür-Winter on how Scribe Winery is rediscovering the potential of the Mission grape.

Jancis Robinson checks in on 2011 Burgundies.

The yield limit for the 2022 Champagne harvest has been set at 12,000kg per hectare, the highest in over a decade, the Comité Champagne has announced.

In Wine Enthusiast, Kerin O’Keefe explores the red blends of Bolgheri.

Daily Wine News: Merroir Terroir

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-22-2022

The Golden Gate Bridge over the San Francisco Bay. (Flickr: James St John)

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Esther Mobley recently tasted the Perliss Estate Vineyards’ Corvus Pacificum, a $275 Cabernet Sauvignon from an esteemed Napa Valley winery that contained just a little bit of seawater from the San Francisco Bay. “Vineyard owner Anthony Perliss got the idea to make Corvus Pacificum after reading about the ancient Romans, who tended to mix water into their wines… The Romans likely prized the seawater for its preservative properties, Perliss proposed, “but it probably also helped with a softening, a mellowing of the wine.” That flavor enhancement is what inspired Perliss to give it a try.”

On JancisRobinson.com, James Lawther reports on Bordeaux’s labor shortage.

Elsewhere on JancisRobinson.com, Alder Yarrow looks at how the demand for California’s wine grapes is pushing prices to historic highs.

In Wine Enthusiast, Alexander Peartree explores the native grapes of Puglia.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov recommends 20 wines under $20.

In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague highlights good value white wines for summer, from Albariño to Soave.

Travel + Leisure spotlights the wines of Virginia’s Loudoun County.

In the Drop, David W. Brown explains how to protect your wine collection in the event of a divorce.