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02.05.2016

Ridiculous Recommendations about Wine and Pregnancy

In news that will be welcomed by women everywhere in America, the only time you should drink a glass of wine is when you're actively taking birth control pills. Say what?!?! What crackpot organization would suggest something so ridiculous, you ask? Merely the American Center for Disease Control, also known as the CDC. In a move that is shocking the wine drinking world, not to mention a large portion of the female gender, the CDC is indeed putting its foot down and suggesting contrary to recent scientific studies that any amount of alcohol, regardless of the personal history of the... continue reading

02.05.2016

Vinography Images: Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds SANTA YNEZ, CA: A grape vineyard on Happy Canyon Road is viewed at sunrise near Santa Ynez, California. Because of its close proximity to Southern California and Los Angeles population centers, the Santa Ynez Valley has become a popular weekend getaway destination. 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... continue reading

02.03.2016

I'll Drink to That: Brad Hickey of Brash Higgins Winery

Episode 335 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently. It features Brad Hickey, who is the winemaker of the Brash Higgins winery in the McLaren Vale of Australia. This is an interview in two parts, really. In the first half of the program gentle giant Brad arrives in the bustling metropolis looking for restaurant work, but is unsure at times how to open a bottle of Champagne. As he proceeds, after a few embarrassments but several encouragements, he steadies his confidence as well as his skills and takes up a Big Ticket Wine Buyer Job at a Prestigious... continue reading

02.03.2016

The 25th Annual Zinfandel Experience Tasting: February 27, San Francisco

I'm not exactly sure how long a particular event has to have been going on for it to be credibly labeled an institution, but whatever that length of time, the annual festivities put on by ZAP, the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers society in San Francisco would certainly qualify. For 25 years lovers of Zinfandel have been descending upon San Francisco in early Winter to celebrate their favorite grape. While there are now many Pinot Noir festivals, several Cabernet happenings, and more than one event focused on Rhone grape varieties, there has only ever been one Zinfandel Experience. And while... continue reading

02.01.2016

Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 2/1/16

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the Interwebs. I post them to my magazine on on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren't Flipboard inclined, here's everything I've strained out of the wine-related muck for the week. Enjoy. Wine prices could go up after California wildfires leave tons of grapes unusable First I've heard of significant smoke taint damage, and from a UK paper ?! Italian Police Seize 9,200 Bottles of Fake Champagne Worth $380,000 Not just DRC and Lafite anymore. The Story of Carrie Nation: The Infamous Ax-wielding... continue reading

01.30.2016

Vinography Unboxed: Week of January 24, 2016

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 offered a bit of a short stack of Sonoma wines, ranging from some usual suspects, such as Dutton Goldfield and Hirsch Vineyards, both of whose Chardonnays are excellent this week. I've also got a Gewurztraminer from Gundlach-Bundschu (try saying that three times fast), which is usually a dependable bottling from them, but I have preferred previous vintages to this one. I haven't... continue reading

01.30.2016

I'll Drink to That: Paul Roberts of Colgin Cellars

Episode 334 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently. It features Master Sommelier Paul Roberts of Colgin Cellars. Paul Roberts could obviously address any number of wine related topics. This is someone who has worked at the highest levels of restaurant service, who was the first person from Texas to pass the Master Sommelier exam, who has bought wine in several different regions of America, who has worked in retail, who has owned his own small wine label, and who has been in charge of managing some of the most lauded wineries in California. He has also travelled... continue reading

01.29.2016

Vinography Images: Forward and Back

Forward and Back HEALDSBURG, CA: Rolling hills of Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines at Medlock Ames Winery in the Alexander Valley are the backdrop to a reflection in a car rear-view mirror near Healdsburg, California. After several very dry years, vintners all over California are looking forward to a wetter 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... continue reading

01.28.2016

Martha Stewart's Wine Cellar is a Disaster

She may be the queen of organization, but Martha Stewart really needs some help when it comes to the wine cellar for her Winter House. Stewart made a blog post today with photos of her wine cellar reorganization project in progress that will have any wine professional cringing. For starters her wine racks are big open shelves, two bottles deep, with a grooved plastic layer for the bottles to nestle into. This kind of racking system has two main problems. The first is that, by virtue of being two bottles deep, the bottles in the back row are easily hidden... continue reading

01.27.2016

I'll Drink to That: Vicente Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga of Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta

Episode 333 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently. It features Vicente Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga, the owner of Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta in Rioja and Pazo de Barrantes in Galicia, Spain. Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga's father purchased one of the most historical bodegas in Rioja and one of the key wineries in the history of Spain when he bought Marqués de Murrieta. This is the winery where a lot of what we think of as Rioja was created. It is also the winery that Dalmau would find himself running while still in his 20s, after his father died unexpectedly. Clearly, Dalmau... continue reading

01.27.2016

2016 International Alsace Varietals Festival: February 20, Boonville

With all the fanfare surrounding Cabernet and Pinot Noir coupled with the obsession this country seems to have with Chardonnay, it's sometimes hard for people to remember that California produces a lot of other different kinds of wine. It's even harder, it seems, to get people to drink some of it. Enter what may be the most unique wine festival in California, from one of its most beautiful and least visited wine regions. Some of the most under-appreciated and least consumed wines in the state are those made from grapes like Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Riesling. There... continue reading

01.25.2016

Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 1/24

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the Interwebs. I post them to my magazine on on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren't Flipboard inclined, here's everything I've strained out of the wine-related muck for the week. Enjoy. Pinot Noir: Moon, Sun, Mars A nice piece by Meg Maker Interest in Italian Wines Increases - Just And it's still under-sung. This California Vineyard Is Using Drones to Make Better Wine Resulting in a multi-spectral wine? Grower Profile - Ulises Valdez A nice profile from Kelli White A Pinot Noir... continue reading

01.24.2016

I'll Drink to That: Paul Grieco of Terroir

Episode 332 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently. It features Paul Grieco, Riesling impresario and proprietor of Terroir Wine Bar in Manhattan. Paul Grieco is often known for outlandish behavior, whether it be suggesting Lord Voldemort and other extreme baddies would be more chill if they drank a glass of Riesling, or championing the obscurest of obscure grape names, or for a personal wardrobe on the floor that ranges from camo shorts to zoot suits. But what this interview gets at is the personal Paul, underneath the layers of salesmanship. In this interview, which is a kind... continue reading

01.23.2016

12 Years of Wine Writing and (Who's) Counting?

Welcome to my silk anniversary. As quietly as it usually does, the anniversary of beginning this blog slipped by last week without much fanfare. I've never understood the rationale for the traditional anniversary gifts except perhaps the first woody one, which originated from the custom of a husband carving a piece of furniture for his new bride as she moved into the home. But silk ain't a bad thing for a wine writer to be celebrating. I'm all for silky, as long as it's not accompanied by a lumberyard of new oak. Twelve years ago I was just a... continue reading

01.23.2016

Premier Cru, Premier Fraud?

In the early 2000s, when my aspirations to own wine began to move beyond the small rack of a dozen bottles in my kitchen, a winemaker friend of mine suggested I explore the offerings of Premier Cru. A cold, nondescript wine store in the town of Emeryville across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, Premier Cru was known for having a great selection of French and Italian wines. In 2011 it relocated to Berkeley but still what it lacked in charm or customer service, it made up for with great prices, often as much as 30% lower than the... continue reading

01.23.2016

Vinography Unboxed: Week of January 17, 2016

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 included a couple of killer Pinots from pioneer Hirsch Vineyards out on the Sonoma Coast, their 2012 San Andreas bottling and their reserve bottling which is pretty hard to come by. There was also a very nice white Rhone blend by Anaba, a Rhone-focused winery in Sonoma that I've really enjoyed over the years. One of my favorite little wineries in Napa,... continue reading

01.22.2016

Vinography Images: Lake Effect

Lake Effect PENTICTON, CANADA: Hillside vineyards in the Naramata Bench wine region near downtown Penticton in British Columbia, Canada. Located across the U.S. Border in the northeast corner of Washington State, the Okanagan Valley is marked by an 83 mile long Okanagan Lake and has become a major Canadian retirement center and vacation destination. 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... continue reading

01.21.2016

I'll Drink to That: Greg Harrington of Gramercy Cellars

Episode 331 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently. It features Greg Harrington of Gramercy Cellars in Washington State. This may in fact be the longest episode of I'll Drink to That! ever, as it clocks in at a full two hours. That might seem like a lot of time, but if you come to number 331 with an interest in wine and restaurants, the moments fly by in discussing a career that has been very successful more than once. Greg's many years as a sommelier serve as a background to many colorful restaurant stories, from dinner with... continue reading

01.18.2016

Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 1/17

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the Interwebs. I post them to my magazine on on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren't Flipboard inclined, here's everything I've strained out of the wine-related muck for the week. Enjoy. The quirkage of wine bottle corkage Mary Orlin offers a corkage 101. Fire sweeps through Overberg wine plot in half an hour Tragic loss. Top Bordeaux wine maker guilty of misusing £450,000 in EU subsidies I'm sure this is not the first time this has happened. Tuscan wine makers back cull... continue reading

01.16.2016

I'll Drink to That: Martha Stoumen of The Living Wines Collective

Episode 330 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently. It features Martha Stoumen of The Living Wines Collective in California. Martha Stoumen is one of a handful of winermakers working in a winery arranged along cooperative lines in California, with each member contributing resources to the project, both in terms of working time and funds. Theirs is a small operation today, but it offers a glimpse of a different winery model for California, a state that is often arranged as an every-label-for-itself world. But it isn't just in the winery that what Martha and her friends are up... continue reading

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Most Recent Entries

Ridiculous Recommendations about Wine and Pregnancy Vinography Images: Storm Clouds I'll Drink to That: Brad Hickey of Brash Higgins Winery The 25th Annual Zinfandel Experience Tasting: February 27, San Francisco Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 2/1/16 Vinography Unboxed: Week of January 24, 2016 I'll Drink to That: Paul Roberts of Colgin Cellars Vinography Images: Forward and Back Martha Stewart's Wine Cellar is a Disaster I'll Drink to That: Vicente Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga of Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta

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

Wine Snark Wine Dabbler The Daily Barrel Houston Wine Guy The Vine Daily South Carolina Wine Joe A Weakness for Wine

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