Daily Wine News: VermentiNO

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-02-2023

Vermentino. (Wikimedia)

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto highlights a Vermentino from the South of France, and gets into why it can’t actually be called that on the label. “All seemed to be going fine until the just-bottled 2022 vintage, when an Italy-instigated, European Union rule took full force; it banned the use of the name Vermentino on wines from outside of Italy (except for three countries that negotiated exceptions: Australia, the U.S. and Croatia).This, by some twisted logic, is supposed to protect the names of Sardinian appellations with the “Vermentino” embedded in them: Vermentino di Gallura and Vermentino di Sardegna,” he writes. “Vermentino deserves to be more widely planted and enjoyed. Sardinian versions of the wine are different from Corsican, Ligurian and those of Napa or Continental France. The more good Vermentino that’s out there, the more its international profile will be raised.”

The central question when it comes to climate change and wine is whether we are looking at a “predictable march toward a warmer world”or “a radical rise in uncertainty arising from more extreme weather—hot and cold, wet and dry,” says Michael Summerfield in the World of Fine Wine.

Is California considering getting into domestic cork industry? “…there are whispers that wine companies in California are making moves to establish their own domestic cork production industry, with the likes of E & J Gallo rumoured to already be actively purchasing raw oak material,” reports Sarah Neish in the Drinks Business.

Elin McCoy highlights great Burgundy wines under $70 in Bloomberg.

Antonio Galloni offers his notes on new released from Coastal Tuscany in Vinous.

In the Robb Report, Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen explore the importance of acidity to a wine’s flavor and agreeability.

VinePair highlights Muscadet, which it calls a “quintessential summer white wine.”

Daily Wine News: Organic Demand

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 08-01-2023

(Photo from Nonfiction Wine)

Is organic production becoming a prerequisite for fine wine? In the Drinks Business, Arabella Mileham looks at the rise in consumer demand for organic wines.

In the New Wine Review, Virginie Boone tells the story behind the cult California sparkling wine Ultramarine. “What seemed to light up so many of Ultramarine’s admirers wasn’t just its ability to stand next to France’s best independent sparklers, though it certainly did that. It was that Ultramarine achieved the clarity and brilliance of the best site-specific Champagnes, but used those traits to showcase its distinctively Californian attributes.”

Two years after the death of her husband, Benjamin, Ariane de Rothschild — and the couple’s daughters — is expanding the wine empire he started, reports Suzanne Mustacich in Wine Spectator. “…in the two years since, they have been moving that empire forward. They may be the least-known branch of the Rothschild family in the wine world, but they are making a mark.”

Do we need new grape varieties? A recent panel of experts at UC Davis recently discussed the question.

In Food & Wine, Ray Isle goes into everything you need to know about pét-nat.

In the Wine Independent, Lisa Perrotti-Brown profiles Argot Wines.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray reports on the ongoing fight for interference-free wine shipping by looking at two in Rhode Island and Iowa.

Bordeaux is drowning in downy mildew, reports Meininger’s.

Daily Wine News: Covered Labels

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-31-2023

In her column on Greek reds, Jancis Robinson highlights a unique challenge Greek wine faces: “Greek authorities, unlike any others I have come across, have decided that if they give any funds to a wine promotional activity, that activity has to be strictly for the country or region. Any identification of an individual wine, they have decreed, could be interpreted as promoting a brand…And apparently, when wine professionals are invited by Wines of Greece on an official trip, to the island of Santorini for example, any bottles opened for them have to be completely masked. What a logistical nightmare!”

Is Austrian sparkling wine finally on the rise? In Club Oenologique, Sophia Longhi explores the growing reputation for Austrian sekt.

Disease and structural inadequacies have put Italian wine producers on edge in the lead-up to the 2023 vintage. Davide Bortone shares his report in Wine-Searcher.

Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher ponder the beauty of vacation wines in Grape Collective.

In Wine Enthusiast, Nils Bernstein offers tips for pairing wine with uni.

In Vinous, Rebecca Gibb compares recent Sancerre vintages.

In SevenFifty Daily, Emily Cappiello talks to industry experts about how to build a premium by-the-glass program that sells.

Wine Reviews: California Wines to Beat the Heat

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-29-2023

Apparently, August 4 is National White Wine Day. And considering the seemingly endless heat across most of the country, the timing sure seems right.

It’s 96 and humid where I am in the Mid-Atlantic, and I know it is a lot worse in other regions. I honestly can’t even think about red wine at the moment, so let’s dive into some delicious California white wines.

From a shockingly good $15 Chard to Chalk Hill and Carneros, this is a Chardonnay heavy sampling, but there’s a lot of diversity in here. Chalk Hill delivers three intriguing offerings, and I have a few from well-known names like Sonoma-Cutrer and Ferrari-Carano. If you haven’t heard of Lange Twins   or Bouchaine, these two producers make some well-balanced Chardonnays at reasonable price points. Bouchaine’s winemaker Chris Kajani makes more than a dozen Chards, and his skills show.

To top things off, I have two unique white wines from Napa’s Mira Winery. I’ve long been a fan of their reds – the Malbec and Cabernet Franc are exquisite – but these two wines are new to me: a skin-fermented Cabernet Franc (OK, so it’s not technically a “white wine”) and a Sauvignon Gris that’s perfect for high-end summer sipping.

These wines were received as samples. The Chardonnays were tasted single-blind, while the Mira wines were tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: 1-Liter Grüners

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-28-2023

Zachary Sussman explores the new generation of 1-liter bottles of Austrian Grüner Veltliners in PUNCH. “Unlike other oversized formats—notably, the magnum, which producers often use to enhance the aging potential of serious, cellar-worthy wines—the point of the crisp, clean grüner liter is implicit in its conveniently crown-capped packaging. The first wave arrived on U.S. shores in the 1990s and early 2000s…Today, the classic 1-liter bottle of grüner remains a stalwart of the contemporary retail landscape. What’s changed, meanwhile, is the wider world of wine.”

In Wine Business, Pam Strayer looks at how the wine industry is preparing for California’s new bottle recycling bill. “Starting January 1, 2024, wineries will be required to begin reporting to CalRecycle the wine bottles, cans and bag in box items they produce on a monthly basis. Two months later, they will be required to pay monthly fees based on their container production.  Then, by July 1, 2025, all wine containers must display mandated labeling packaging showing a California Redemption Value (CRV) code.”

Burgundy wine prices have fallen so far in 2023, with some grand cru names down more than 20%, suggests Liv-ex data.

Wall Street Journal wine columnist Lettie Teague followed the most recent dietary guidelines for women, who are advised to drink one glass of wine or less per day, and reports back on her experience.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Napa resident and wine reporter Jess Lander offers her go-to winery recommendations for the region.

Eric Asimov shares his recommendations for places to drink wine in Madrid in the New York Times.

Marisa Finetti explores Chiaretto di Bardolino, “a true terroir-driven Italian rosé,” in Wine Enthusiast.

In Shondaland, Chelsea Greenwood highlights celebrity wine brands.

Daily Wine News: Beauty of the Unknown

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-27-2023

In Club Oenologique, Nina Caplan argues that wine should be more about conversation and enjoyment than correct answers or superior tastes. “Making wine is science. Drinking it is not. The amount of time a given wine has spent in a barrel is an unalterable fact, my ability to detect that oak is a skill, but my judgement on whether that oak is well integrated and how good the result tastes is entirely subjective. Confusing facts with opinions is not, unfortunately, restricted to the wine world, but a social activity such as wine tasting that revolves around a very complicated technical process may be especially ripe for misunderstanding. This, surely, is why a liquid that is both a chemical and a metaphysical source of happiness ends up causing so many arguments.”

Patrick J. Comiskey delves into the muddled heritage surrounding Cabernet Pfeffer in Wine & Spirits Magazine.

Despite falling sales and challenges from other regions, Champagne plans to make the 2023 vintage even bigger, reports Caroline Henry in Wine-Searcher.

In the Buyer, Janet Harrison shares highlights from a recent trip to Brazilian wine country.

Danielle Callegari explores Sangiovese from Lake County, California in Wine Enthusiast.

Chilled red wine is the drink of the summer, says Kate Dingwall in InsideHook.

Fittingly, VinePair offers a visual guide to the chillable, light-bodied reds of Spain.

Daily Wine News: Zalto Mania

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-26-2023

(Photo credit: Zalto)

In Club Oenologique, Victoria Daskal looks at how Zalto became the wine lover’s glass of choice. “The Zalto brand arrived 20 years ago, ushering in a lighter, thinner, straighter, sleeker glass design. And, despite feeling terrifyingly fragile, the glass was dishwasher safe. What was most remarkable about Zalto was its bold claim to have a single glass for all wines: the Universal…It’s clear when searching for a new wine glass, whether for business or personal pleasure, that there are more options to suit settings, palates, and budgets than ever. Zalto has undoubtedly played its part in that…”

In Decanter, Charles Curtis delves into the thorny subject of sustainability in the context of Champagne and its producers.

In Wine-Searcher, David Allen pays tribute to Sauternes’ Marquis Alexandre de Lur Saluces, who died earlier this week at the age of 89. “Alexandre de Lur Saluces took over the running of his family’s famous estate, Château d’Yquem, from his uncle Bernard de Lur Saluces in 1968. Alexandre went on to manage Bordeaux’s sole Premier Cru Supérieur for a period of 36 years. Throughout this period Alexandre determinedly maintained the estate’s position as the pre-eminent wine of its appellation and arguably of all Bordeaux.”

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Susannah Smith explores the next generation of wines from Western Macedonia.

Ava Dossier explores Colorado’s Grand Valley AVA in Wine Enthusiast.

In Vinous, Angus Hughson offers his thoughts on the 2023 Penfolds Collection.

Ken Gargett also has notes on “exciting releases” from Australia’s Penfolds in the World of Fine Wine.

Daily Wine News: Cork Taint Declining?

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-25-2023

Sean P. Sullivan has noticed a recent decline in cork taint in the wines he tastes, and looks into the reasons why that might be.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray offers an in-depth summary of the fall of Sherry-Lehmann. “…the biggest problem is this: in May, the New York Times reported that four former employees said they believe Sherry-Lehmann was selling rare bottles owned by customers and stored in Wine Caves to other customers. That is reminiscent of the downfall of the Berkeley wine shop Premier Cru. In 2016, Premier Cru owner John Fox pled guilty to one count of wire fraud. Fox admitted that he ran a Ponzi scheme out of his store, selling wines he didn’t actually have.”

In the Drinks Business, L.M. Archer explores traditional sparkling wines from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Marchesi Frescobaldi to acquire Oregon’s Domaine Roy & fils in US expansion.

Longtime Livermore Valley vintner Mitchell Katz died from injuries sustained in a collision with another vehicle.

In SevenFifty Daily, I talked to buyers and sales reps about how to get the most out of the sales rep relationship.

In Vinous, Joaquín Hidalgo explores the new wave of white wines from Argentina. “Some pockets of Sauvignon Blanc are presenting remarkable intensity. The leap in the native Torrontés quality has been impressive, now offering a floral alternative to output from Alsace.”

Jeff Porter looks into Lambrusco’s reemergence in Wine Enthusiast.

Daily Wine News: Climate in Chablis

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 07-24-2023

Chablis. (Source: bourgogne-wines.com)

“Chablis has long been known for the tense character of its wines that come from being a place where that single variety has historically struggled to barely get ripe. Just like their peers outside the wine world, the young vignerons of Chablis are acutely aware of climate change and are taking steps to adapt.” In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray looks at how a younger generation of winemakers is shaping the future of Chablis.

Merriam Vineyards has waited two decades for Merlot to make a comeback. In the San Francisco Chronicle, Jess Lander says the California winery’s commitment to the grape is finally paying off.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre ponders the magic of Mediterranean wines.

Grape Collective catches up with Varuzhan Mouradian of Van Ardi Winery about the renaissance of Armenian wine.

Meininger’s explores the growth and diversity of the Texas wine industry.

In VinePair, Hannah Staab delves into the unique bottles from Piedmont. “You might notice these bottles’ slightly angular shape or the word “ALBEISA” embossed across the neck. Well, there is a long history behind these glass vessels that can be traced back to the 18th century.”

In Wine Enthusiast, John Capone explores the many faces of Tocai Friulano.

Wine Reviews: Italian Values

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-23-2023

Credit: Consorzio Tutela Vini Montecucco

I’m continuing the Italian theme from last week’s rosato collection, and focusing on some value-driven Italian goodies.

Varvaglione has three different takes on the Primitivo grape, each one expressing a unique style and approach, with that overall Puglia Primitivo signature. Each tier of these Primitivo wines has a lot to offer for the price point.

I’ve spoken about the Tuscan region of Montecucco before, and will do so again, because the wines have a ton of personality, depth, and value. These Sangiovese-based wines, sourced from a high percentage of organic vineyards on the slopes of Mount Amiata, deliver their own unique regional take on the grape. The wines tend to fall in the $20-$35 sweet spot and provide plenty of value.

I also have some $15 goodies from Tuscany’s Carpineto and Abruzzi’s Masciarelli.

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