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03.05.2015

Siduri Wines: Rewarding the Search for Flavor

About a month ago, after twenty years in business, and arguably at the peak of their business, Adam and Diana Lee sold Siduri Wines, and their sister project Novy Family Winery to Jackson Family Wines for an undisclosed sum. Siduri began in 1994 when Lee and his wife, betting on the security of Adam landing a job at Lambert Bridge winery, used some of their savings to buy some fruit from people who responded to their ad in Wine Country Classifieds looking to buy some Pinot Noir. Within four years, they had moved into an industrial park on the... continue reading

02.28.2015

Vinography Unboxed: Week of February 22, 2015

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week's trove of bottles included one of the sexiest, most impressive wines from Livermore that I've ever had: the Lineage bottling from Steven Kent winery, whose wines have been impressing me for the last couple of years quite consistently. There were also a couple of standout Chardonnays as well, from Thomas Fogarty Winery and Whitcraft Winery, both of which were fresh, bright, and... continue reading

02.27.2015

Vinography Images: Frost and Fog

Frost and Fog HOPLAND, CA: Frost and fog envelope Mendocino County's Bonterra Vineyards in the middle of winter. INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops. To set the image as your desktop wallpaper, Mac users should follow these instructions, while PC users should follow these. PRINTS: Fine art prints of this image and others are... continue reading

02.27.2015

The Glory of 2013 Napa Cabernet: Tasting Premiere Napa Valley

Each year, the Napa Valley Vintners Association pulls out all the stops to host its annual fundraising event known as Premiere Napa Valley. Not to be confused with its star-studded charity auction in the spring (known as Auction Napa Valley), Premiere Napa Valley is a more focused event. All the bidders are ostensibly in the wine trade (retailers, distributors, etc.), while other attendees include the media and winery staff, and the proceeds from the auction of 225 unique lots of wine go to help fund the Vintners Association. The auction action at Premiere always serves as something of a... continue reading

02.21.2015

A Dose of Claret: Visiting With 2010 Bordeaux

I have two confessions to make, the first slightly more gauche (among wine lovers) than the last. Here goes. I don't have much interest in Bordeaux. While I've not yet tasted all the greats (I have yet to run into an open bottle of Petrus with my name on it) I've certainly tasted enough of the First Growths on down to the bourgeoisie to understand the nature of a proper claret. When I could still buy the once-modest Pontet Canet for less than $50 (a thing I find myself surprised to be able to say given my relative youth)... continue reading

02.20.2015

Vinography Images: The Cool, Cool River

The Cool, Cool River HEALDSBURG, CA: Spring arrives early in Northern California's Wine Country with warm temperatures bringing the vineyards to life in March, 2014, in Healdsburg, California. With little winter rain and warming temperatures, 2015 looks to be a repeat of 2014. INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops. To set the image as... continue reading

02.18.2015

Come Drink With Me in Santa Barbara: March 8, Les Marchands

There are cool wine stores. There are amazing wine bars. And then there is Les Marchands, the epitome of both and the epicenter of everything good about wine in Santa Barbara. Since I'll be in town for the World of Pinot Noir event, the kind folks at Les Marchands thought to have me in for a little event featuring my book, The Essence of Wine, and some of the local wineries that I feature in the book. Come join us for a talk and reading, and more importantly a tasting of some fantastic wines on Sunday, March 8th at... continue reading

02.17.2015

Imported Bulk Threatens 60k Acres of California Vines

In the early 1990s, while working in what was essentially the research and development arm of Silicon Valley Bank, Rob McMillan began looking into industries that were historically 'under-banked' and might represent an opportunity for his employer to stake a claim and build a significant presence. 'The first idea I came up with was mortuaries', chuckles McMillan. 'I presented all the data to the managing committee, and they only had one question for me: "Who's going to want to work for you?"' Fortunately for the California wine industry, McMillan was sent back to the drawing board with the instructions to... continue reading

02.14.2015

An Apogee of Red: Drinking with the Douro Boys

You could call them the First Growths of Portugal, but they call themselves The Douro Boys -- the scions of five great winemaking families in Portugal and the proprietors of the most famous wine estates in the Douro Valley. Together, they make some of Portugal's most sought after, highly-rated, and expensive wines, and since 2003, they have loosely banded together to promote each other, and their region on the world stage. While my recent visit to Portugal didn't include a trip to the Douro, I did get a chance to sit down for a tasting of all their wines,... continue reading

02.13.2015

Vinography Images: Fog & Mustard

Fog & Mustard RUTHERFORD, CA: The vineyard mustard and fog set a chilly winter scene along the Silverado Trail in February near Rutherford, California. INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops. To set the image as your desktop wallpaper, Mac users should follow these instructions, while PC users should follow these. PRINTS: Fine art prints... continue reading

02.08.2015

Come Chat with Me at the Wine Book Festival: Feb 20, St. Helena

If I had some extra time in my day, I'd probably spend it doing all the things that are on my "get around to it" list. But then if I had some extra extra time in the day, I'd spend it reading books. And many of the books in the pile of "to read" these days are wine books. There are a lot of them out there, and a lot of great ones at that. For anyone who is interested in books on wine, there are few better places to be than the Wine Book Festival hosted by the Napa... continue reading

02.07.2015

Vinography Unboxed: Week of February 2, 2015

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week's bevy of bottles brought some wonderful nostalgia to my dining room table in the form of some wines from Turkey. I visited Turkey in 2011 and fell in love with some of the wines there. In particular I swooned repeatedly for wines made from the indigenous grape Kalecik Karasi, which I describe as the Trousseau or Poulsard of Turkey. I was thrilled,... continue reading

02.06.2015

Vinography Images: Sonoma Coast Sunrise

Sonoma Coast Sunrise FORT ROSS, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Fall arrives at Flowers Vineyard & Winery, located in the Fort Ross-Seaview wine appellation, near Fort Ross, California. Located one hour north of San Francisco, Sonoma County is the largest wine producer on California's North Coast and is visited by more than 7 million tourists each year. INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full... continue reading

02.06.2015

Reintroducing Photographer George Rose

It's that time of year. When I introduce my newest photography collaborator here on Vinography, who will bring you stunning wine related images every Friday for the next year. For some of you photographer George Rose needs no introduction. You might be staring at his photos as your desktop background or screen saver already, since I've featured his images a couple of times over the last few years. For those of you who haven't met George, he's an accomplished wine marketer in addition to a master behind the lens. As a photographer George Rose traveled a long and winding road... continue reading

02.03.2015

In Pursuit of Balance 2015: New York, San Francisco, Houston, Japan!

There are public wine tasting events, and then there are public wine tasting events. Many consist of massive mob scenes where hundreds of wines get poured by hundreds of winemakers to thousands of attendees. There's nothing wrong with such events. Indeed, I regularly encourage my readers to attend these massive tastings for the singular reason that they represent an incredible opportunity to educate one's palate and discover new favorite wines. But on the other hand, there exists another kind of wine tasting event. One that offers, shall we say, a more curated view of the wine world, with higher quality... continue reading

02.01.2015

California Chardonnay According to David Ramey

"Some people say, 'Why shouldn't California Chardonnay be something else entirely, instead of like the whites of Burgundy' and there's no reason why it can't be," says winemaker David Ramey. "If you can reinvent the wheel, go ahead and do it. But the techniques of Burgundy evolved over thousands of years," he continues. "Someone once said that tradition is the result of experimentation that has succeeded. When it comes to California Chardonnay, I find myself fairly ecclesiastical on these matters. Trying to reinvent the wheel is just an ego quest." If anyone could have succeeded in such a quest... continue reading

01.30.2015

Vinography Images: Frostwatch

Frostwatch A jackrabbit bounds between rows of winter vines coated in frost on a particularly chilly morning in Sonoma's Alexander Valley. INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops. To set the image as your desktop wallpaper, Mac users should follow these instructions, while PC users should follow these. PRINTS: If you are interested in owning... continue reading

01.29.2015

World of Pinot Noir Festival 2015: March 6-7, Santa Barbara

Everyone's definition of idyllic varies, but for many people it doesn't get much better than standing on the cliffs above the Pacific ocean on a warm evening, watching the sun go down with a glass of Pinot Noir in hand. If that sort of thing gives you the warm fuzzies inside, then you're a shoe-in for attending an event called the World of Pinot Noir, held every March in Santa Barbara. Over two days, Pinot Noir producers from all over the world, along with the people who like to drink what they make, descend on Santa Barbara, turning it into... continue reading

01.24.2015

Vinography Unboxed: Week of January 18, 2015

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week's samples included a most unusual trio of rosés. Now I'm generally not a fan of most California rosés, which tend to be made by simply bleeding off juice from a red wine early in the fermentation process and then fermenting that to something slightly less than dryness. They tend to be a little sweet, a bit bitter, and a lot clumsy. These... continue reading

01.24.2015

In Conversation with the Intrepid Wino

In the era of social media, we often get to know people long before we meet them in person. Anyone highly active on Twitter, for instance, likely has dozens or even hundreds of people that they have gradually gotten to know in little 140 character chunks, sometimes over years. That's the way I encountered James Scarcebrook for the first time. But then on a rainy, cold day in Austria's Wachau valley, lost while looking for Domaine Wachau, I ran into a stranger wearing a backpack who was also lost, and searching for the same winery. "Hey, are you Alder Yarrow?"... continue reading

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Most Recent Entries

Siduri Wines: Rewarding the Search for Flavor Vinography Unboxed: Week of February 22, 2015 Vinography Images: Frost and Fog The Glory of 2013 Napa Cabernet: Tasting Premiere Napa Valley A Dose of Claret: Visiting With 2010 Bordeaux Vinography Images: The Cool, Cool River Come Drink With Me in Santa Barbara: March 8, Les Marchands Imported Bulk Threatens 60k Acres of California Vines An Apogee of Red: Drinking with the Douro Boys Vinography Images: Fog & Mustard

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

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Wine Blogs I've Newly Discovered

Wines of the World The Grape Belt A March in the Vines Social Vignerons Terroirs (BR) Tanglewood Wine Talk Wagon Wine The Wine Sisters' Blog

Want more? Check out blogs and podcasts from around the world on the complete list of wine blogs.

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud