Daily Wine News: Confusion Abounds

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-18-2020

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray reports on the confusion surrounding California governor’s order for wineries to close. “California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all of the state’s more than 4000 wineries to close on Sunday, along with all bars and pubs, as part of a lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19. He seemingly meant “tasting rooms,” but he wrote “wineries”…. As for the governor’s order saying that “wineries” should close, the California-based Wine Institute has interpreted it to mean “tasting rooms”, but calls to the governor’s media office seeking confirmation have not been returned, nor has the word been updated.”

In response to the coronavirus crisis, Napa Valley winery Clos Du Val launched a virtual wine tasting program to bring the winery experience to guests in the comfort of their own home.

In Wine Enthusiast, Emily Saladino reports on how bars and restaurants are reckoning with the coronavirus pandemic.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss looks at how French crossbreed Alicante Bouschet became Alentejo’s new variety of the moment.

In Forbes, Thomas Pellechia ponders the lasting effects of the global coronavirus pandemic on wine tourism.

Brian Freedman highlights 29 bottles of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir to look for in Food & Wine.

Mark Stock explores the burgeoning world of Japanese wine in the Manual.

Daily Wine News: Drinking Wine, Alone

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-17-2020

“Under orders to socially distance ourselves, isolate and even self-quarantine, communal activities cannot be taken for granted. And what’s more communal than drinking wine?” Eric Asimov writes in favor of drinking wine alone during these trying times in the New York Times. “…coronavirus has put us in a different situation now. The concern is not drowning sorrows at the hotel bar or the isolation felt even in the middle of a crowded party. The question is about drinking when literally alone, at home, when doing one’s best to comply with the new protocols of a public health crisis.”

Rob McMillan explores how the coronovirus pandemic will affect wine sales. “This is NOT a situation that will impact long term wine demand. This is a short term demand shock.”

With the entire nation in isolation, Wine-Searcher’s Tom Hyland talks to members of the Italian wine industry to find out how they’re coping with the coronavirus crisis.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announces closure of all Fine Wine & Good Spirits state stores indefinitely.

In Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss explores the winemakers in Southwest France working to revive rare, native grapes like Fer Servadou and Petit Manseng.

In Decanter, Sarah Jane Evans on Interpretación, the new project from Vega Sicilia’s former technical director. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Coronavirus Continues

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-16-2020

(Flickr: Kudosmedia)

In Forbes, Liza B. Zimmerman talks to Rob McMillan about how the coronavirus is affecting the wine market.

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto shares what the shutdown in Italy has been like, and looks ahead to what he hopes for the country’s future. “The world will soon need inspiration. Italy needs to tap into its well of imagination and creativity and can help show the way. And emergency or no, it is always better to drink and eat well.”

In the Dallas News, Alfonso Cevola reports on how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting local wine retailers.

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov offers notes on the most recent Wine School, Valpolicella, and announces what’s up next: pairing wine with roast chicken.

In the New York Times, Dave McIntyre explains why you should take a second look at Bordeaux for more contemporary and affordable wines.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan tells the story of the couple that started Maremma’s Bulichella winery.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray profiles Pierre LaBarge, and looks at what he learned during his year of working at cult producer Sine Qua Non.

In Oregon, Erath Winery has closed the doors to its Dundee Hills tasting room. Knudsen Vineyards will resume control of the property to open their first-ever tasting room this summer, reports Michael Alberty.

Wine Reviews: Lodi, California

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 03-14-2020

I’ve been a fan of wines from Lodi for a long time, and it’s been interesting to follow them for these past ten years or so.

Lodi wines are all about diversity, as the wines in this report show. With old vines, diverse soils, and tons of different grape varieties, winemakers have a lot to work with. There are small lot, old vine, bright and vibrant styles, and large production, jammy, fun styles, and everything in between, really. In addition to all the classic California staples, I enjoy wines made from Spanish, Italian, German and Austrian grapes, too.

And Lodi’s wine trade group has been working hard to promote these wines in the wine community for many years. I think a lot of it has paid off. With an engaged social media presence, a well-done blog, and fascinating projects like the Lodi Native Zinfandels that I first wrote about in 2014, I’m still excited about this region.

I recently had a chance to catch up with Elaine Chukan Brown as she and some other Lodi wine folks were touring the country. I had a great time hearing her passion for the wines of Lodi and the people who make them. I also received some Lodi samples recently, which I included in this report. The wines were all tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: The Good & The Bad

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-13-2020

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray surveys the good news and bad news about how the coronavirus is impacting the wine industry.

VinePair is offering live updates of how the coronavirus is impacting the drinks industry.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley looks at how the coronavirus is taking a hit on the Napa Valley winery corporate retreat business.

The Bordeaux en primeur tasting week has been postponed amid growing concerns about the spread of coronavirus, reports Chris Mercer in Decanter.

“Champagne house Maison Louis Roederer has purchased Diamond Creek, one of Napa’s Valley’s legendary boutique Cabernet Sauvignon pioneers,” reports James Molesworth in Wine Spectator. “It’s the second recent high-profile California acquisition for Roederer, which purchased Sonoma Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc star Merry Edwards in May 2019. The deal includes the 80-acre property, winery and brand.”

In Vinous, Joaquín Hidalgo looks at the transformation the Chilean wine industry is undergoing. “The entire country is debating the prospect of a new constitution, which would represent an inflection point between one era and another. These changing times affect the wine industry as much as any other, since, like all cultural products, wine is a reflection of its political, social and economic context.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Virginie Boone highlights some of the side projects Napa winemakers have.

Simon Field explores the growing category of German rosé in the Buyer.

Daily Wine News: Finding Flaws

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-12-2020

In PUNCH, Leslie Pariseau explores what the tableside dance between guest and sommelier when a wine is first being poured reveals about wine today. “This 20-second transaction, ripe with subtleties and minor confusions, has always been fraught. But over the last decade, it’s been further complicated by a paradigm shift not only toward the relaxing of wine service, but by stretching the definition of “flaw,” and to whom these perceived flaws register.

How much do you need to know about wine in order to enjoy it? Robert Joseph explores the answer in Meininger’s.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, shares notes on wine and the coronavirus and the potential economic risks to the industry.

“Here is what you can do to help the wine industry fight through the looming recession: Keep buying wine,” says W. Blake Gray on his blog. “This is true for most industries. But wine is more vulnerable than most.”

Mark Johanson explores Uruguay as a wine destination for CNN Travel.

In Wine-Searcher, James Lawrence talks to Ornellaia’s estate director Axel Heinz about what Italy’s current lockdown means for the estate’s wines.

Emma Balter considers the state of rosé in 2020 in VinePair.

Daily Wine News: California Bubbles

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-11-2020


After decades of emulating French tradition, California has forged a new, improvisational approach to the category. It’s now home to some of the most innovative sparkling wines anywhere, says Zachary Sussman in PUNCH. “It’s the unregulated sense of possibility and improvisation that is perhaps the defining feature of California’s new perspective on sparkling wine.”

“Spitting is critical to wine tasting, yet it’s something we don’t teach consumers. It’s also disgusting. How do we reconcile these things in the age of coronavirus? “ asks Felicity Carter in Meininger’s.

Tara Q. Thomas reports on Roussillon’s Rancio Sec in Wine & Spirits Magazine.

In Food & Wine, Mike Pomranz looks at what Italy’s coronavirus lockdown means for the country’s wine and cheese producers.

In Wine Enthusiast, Anna Archibald explores St. Louis’s wine scene.

Alentejo’s unique amphora wines received their own DO in 2010, but they’re still unknown by most wine lovers. Simon Woolf meets the producers of this historic style in Decanter. (subscription req.)

Beth Demmon considers what’s next for American cider in SevenFifty Daily.

Mark Stock explores what makes Muscadet the ultimate oyster wine in the Manual.

Daily Wine News: Bleak Outlook

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-10-2020

In the New York Times, Jamie Tarabay and Michelle Elias report on how the Australian wildfires and the effects of smoke taint are impacting the country’s wine industry. “Nationwide, the industry is expecting losses in sales of about $110 million, or 170 million Australian dollars… The irony, winemakers note, is that had the grapes been harvested and stored in a warehouse that burned down in the fires, they would have been insured for that and compensated.”

“As climate change increases the threat of wildfires in wine regions around the world, smoke taint has moved its way up the ladder of major concerns,” reports Lynn Alley in Wine Spectator. “Researchers at Canada’s University of British Columbia in Kelowna, where fires have been problematic in recent years, believe they have a potential solution in a product used in cherry farming.”

Do judges of different ages, sexes and nationalities score wines the same way, or is consistent judging an impossibility? One competition organizer has some preliminary evidence. Felicity Carter looks into the issue in Meininger’s.

Monbazillac winemakers can no long add sugar to their wines in poor vintages. Don Kavanagh considers what that means for the future of the wines in Wine-Searcher.

In Food & Wine, Bridget Hallinan takes a look at “Uncorked,” a new wine drama available to stream on Netflix starting March 27.

In the Sonoma Index-Tribune, Cheryl Sarfaty reports on how coronavirus trip cancellations are impacting Wine Country hospitality businesses.

Wine Enthusiast editors offer a global guide to some of the best bottles of Chardonnay.

Daily Wine News: A New Age for Argentine Wine

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 03-09-2020

Malbec grapes.

Jancis Robinson explores Argentina’s wine revolution. “Just back from my first trip in five years to Argentina, the world’s fifth-biggest wine producer, I am convinced that Argentine wine producers are very, very good at many things and very, very bad at one aspect of wine production.”

According to CNN, 1,000 liters of ready-to-be-bottled red wine leaked into the water pipes of the northern Italian town of Castelvetro after a malfunction at a local winery, causing red wine to flow from faucets.

In Wine-Searcher, Vicki Denig profiles Jurassien vigneron Marc Soyard, the only person who makes wine in the Coteaux de Dijon appellation.

Beca Grimm delves into the science of weed-infused wine in Wine Enthusiast.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre takes a look at the new lab-created “molecular” wines. “Still, count me as an intrigued skeptic. We may need this technology in a post-apocalyptic world, when agriculture is difficult if not impossible, and I can see it being useful in space travel. But in a time when we are turning away from processed foods with added “natural colors” and “caramel color,” the natural cred for this product escapes me.”

In Decanter, Elin McCoy reflects on the cultural values that lurk behind a wine’s label. “No wine exists in a vacuum. Each one is a microcosm of society: people, communities, agriculture, ideas, politics. Things we take for granted – wine’s future, its connection to a particular place, its diversity, availability and more – seem to be under threat in 2020. If we want wine to survive and make the world a better place, we need to ask hard questions and put our money where our values lie.”

Antonio Galloni offers his thoughts on the 2017 Bordeaux vintage in Vinous.

Wine Reviews: St. Helena

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 03-07-2020

Sandwiched between Calistoga and Rutherford, the land that now falls in the St. Helena appellation has been at the center of Napa Valley winemaking history since the late 1800s.

In the St. Helena appellation, which dates back to 1995, there are some 6,800 acres of vines, the most of Napa’s AVAs, spread among some 400 different vineyards.

While my favorite Napa wines tend to come from some of the mountain appellations, I’ve loved many a St. Helena wine over the years. So, I was excited about the opportunity to taste several wines from different, respected St. Helena producers, many with long, storied histories.

The diversity of styles and price ranges can be significant. When buying Napa wines in particular, I always try to get a sense of the producer’s style or the vineyard, and which ones speak to me most, before putting down that hard-earned cash. While quality in the wines is high across the board, knowing your personal Napa wine preferences goes a long way.

I was excited to taste wines from producers I know and love like Corison, Ehlers, Pellet, as well as some others I wasn’t familiar with. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »