Text Size:-+
09.22.2014

From the Quiet Garden: The Wines of Pichler-Krutzler, Wachau, Austria

Winemaker Erich Krutzler has carried a lot of baggage in his life. At 46 he is still a relatively young man, but when he smiles from under his mop of slightly graying bangs, you can see the miles he has traveled in the corners of his eyes. Even leaving aside the difficulty of purchasing vineyards in the very limited market of Austria's Wachau valley, beginning a wine label wasn't going to be easy for Krutzler. For starters, there was the long shadow of Blaufränkisch to step away from. Krutzler was partners with Roland Velich when he began the MORIC... continue reading

09.20.2014

Tallying the Damage from the Napa Quake

The 2014 harvest is under way in California, but in Napa, instead of enjoying a beer in between loads of processed fruit, many winemakers are rushing back to their offices to speak with accountants, lawyers, and insurance adjusters. On Thursday 11 September, while the country was remembering a national disaster of larger proportions, the Obama Administration officially declared southern Napa County a Federal Disaster Area, clearing the way for federal funds to flow to the region. When the largest earthquake to hit California in 25 years strikes a few days before the beginning of harvest, all hell breaks loose... continue reading

09.19.2014

Vinography Images: A Sea of Blue

A Sea of Blue A tumbling sea of blue grapes moves through the destemmer at harvest in Sonoma County. 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 an archive... continue reading

09.19.2014

Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 14, 2014

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 one of the best Xinomavros in existence. What's Xinomavro, you ask? A lovely, dark grape from northern Greece that can do great things in the right hands, and this is a prime example. If you haven't tried it, go out and get yourself a bottle! Winemakers in California seem to be backing away from the oak barrels when it comes to... continue reading

09.17.2014

The Taste of Something New: Introducing Solminer Wines

Many things motivate the ambitious wine lover, but the curious joy of discovery often ranks highest among the forces that drive us to drink widely. Few things compare to the electric thrill of opening a completely unknown bottle or taking up an inscrutable glass only to be rewarded not just with something tasty, but something fantastic. This feeling remains one of the main reasons I continue to dutifully work through all the unsolicited wine that comes to my door. Because for all the mediocre and totally uninspiring wines I get, there are gems. This is the story of one of... continue reading

09.12.2014

Vinography Images: Swift Work

Swift Work A worker moves quickly through a vineyard during harvest in Sonoma County. Vineyards throughout the state are full of workers at the moment, who are bringing in the 2014 vintage. 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... continue reading

09.09.2014

Social Media Answers the Question: Where Did Australian Wine Go Wrong

The other day I found myself contemplating the question of how Australian wine lost its footing after being so popular for so long, and what it could do to recover. I'm not close enough to the wine trade to have my finger on the pulse of what people say when they're perusing the aisles of wine stores and are pointed in the direction of Barossa Shiraz by a clerk. Clearly they're not as amenable to that suggestion as they have been in the past. Australian wine sales have fallen significantly in the US (and in the UK) over the past... continue reading

09.07.2014

Hourglass, Napa Valley: Current and Upcoming Releases

There is no single recipe for greatness when it comes to Napa wine, but starting with a great plot of land can take you a long way. The only problem is, a lot of people don't necessarily know a great plot of land when they see one. Sometimes these plots of land can be hidden in plain sight until the right person comes along to notice. When Jeff Smith's father moved the family to St. Helena in 1964, he wasn't thinking about wine, he was thinking about real estate development. He was also thinking about the tiny trickle of... continue reading

09.06.2014

Drought Problems? Just Have an Earthquake

Folks in Napa and its surrounding areas are still cleaning up after the earthquake that struck the region two weeks ago. The piles of toppled barrels are being picked apart barrel after barrel to salvage those that remain intact, and repairs are being made to homes and wineries that suffered damage. The after-effects of a disaster like this are usually quite predictable. Losses are tallied, tears are shed, and people move on. But something unusual is going on in Napa in addition to all the typical fallout from a serious earthquake. Things are getting wetter. A lot wetter. According to... continue reading

09.05.2014

Vinography Images: Just One

Just One A single red grape shows nestled among its green siblings on a vine in Sonoma County. 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 an archive quality,... continue reading

09.02.2014

Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 1, 2014

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 nice red wines from Napa and Sonoma. Anakota is a brand owned by Jackson Family Estates, and represents one of their terroir-driven, single-vineyard projects, notably made by winemaker Pierre Seillan, who also oversees the remarkable Verite wines, which are some of the best reds made in California each year. These two wines don't rise to those heights, but... continue reading

08.24.2014

Earthquake Rattles Napa Harvest

This morning shortly after 3:20 AM Pacific Time, the strongest earthquake to hit Northern California since the devastating 1989 Loma Prieta quake struck in American Canyon, just south of Napa. Latest measurements are somewhere between 6.0 and 6.1 on the Richter scale. "All our 2013 red barrels are on the ground, don't know how much wine is lost yet" tweeted Steve Matthiasson of Matthiasson Vineyards this morning. The photo he shared (above) shows many barrels intact, but undoubtedly the damage from the quake will add up quickly. Sommelier and writer Levi Dalton was in the middle of a trip to... continue reading

08.23.2014

NIMBY Versus Vineyard in Malibu

Welcome to America's newest wine appellation, the Malibu coast. Just don't plant anything, especially not grapes. Only a matter of weeks after its approval by the federal government, the country's newest AVA may be the subject of local legislation that will not only prevent further vineyard planting in the area, but may also force some vineyards to be ripped out. In a classic case of Not In My Back Yard politics, the LA County Board of Supervisors in conjunction with the California Coastal Commission drafted a new Land Use Plan for the Malibu area that specifically outlaws new vineyard... continue reading

08.22.2014

Vinography Images: Precious Droplets

Precious Droplets Water beads on the tips of a freshly unfurled grape leaf in Sonoma County. As the 2014 harvest gets underway in the midst of a record drought, water continues to be a topic of serious conversation. 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... continue reading

08.20.2014

MORIC: The Apogee of Blaufränkisch

"I am hardcore," says Roland Velich, describing his winemaking while lounging in the mid-century modern comfort of his living room, where the decor, the casual angle of his body and the informality of this tasting seem to belie this claim. But putting my nose in the outsized Burgundy glass I hold in front of me, and smelling an intoxicating perfume of crushed juniper, forest berries, and wet loam, I recognize, as I have every time I have had a chance to taste his wines, the fruits of an obsession that can easily bear up to that characterization. Like others... continue reading

08.19.2014

2014 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend: August 29-31, Healdsburg, CA

Most people, when they come visit me in San Francisco and ask to be taken to wine country, assume that they're going to Napa. But at least half the time, that's definitely not where we end up. My well meaning friends aren't the only ones who seem to forget that Northern California has many different "wine countries." Napa casts a long shadow, as it were. I've got a bit of love for every piece of wine country we've got here in California, but there's a special place in my heart for Sonoma County, both because it is the place of... continue reading

08.19.2014

The (Still) Dismal State of California Chardonnay

It is the best of times, and it is the worst of times. In 2013, California celebrated its largest grape harvest in history, with just shy of 4.7 million tonnes crushed according to official government statistics. Chardonnay, still reigning supreme as the single most popular grape variety grown in the state, made up a full 16.1% of that total, representing a volume of wine roughly equivalent to the total yearly production of Hungary. This is no doubt the consequence of the wine's popularity at tables throughout the nation. The single best-selling wine in restaurants around the country has for... continue reading

08.16.2014

What a Way to Go: Wine At the End of Your Life

At lunch the other day, my companion shared the wonderfully poignant story of his aging father, the man who inspired his lifelong love of wine. He related how, as his father approached his final days, he would ask his son to "go to the cellar and get something good." Far too many great bottles of wine are denied their purpose: to be shared with those you love, or at the very least, to be enjoyed in contemplation of everything they represent, whether that be decades of careful cellaring, or the whim of a passionate purchase. I can understand the urgency... continue reading

08.15.2014

Vinography Images: Into the Tank

Into the Tank Grapes are dumped into the destemmer on the way to the tank in this harvest photo from Sonoma County. Harvest is well underway throughout Northern California, one to five weeks earlier than usual, according to most reports. 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,... continue reading

08.13.2014

72 Pinot Noirs on a Sunny Afternoon: Tasting at IPNC 2014

I go to a lot of wine tastings, and have come to really appreciate those that are produced well. It may not be immediately apparent how easily a large public tasting can be screwed up, but it doesn't take much to turn such an event from a pleasure to a chore. Quite consistently some of my favorite wine tasting experiences have been at the International Pinot Noir Celebration, in McMinnville, Oregon, in the heart of the Willamette Valley. Both afternoons during this event, the "Al Fresco" tasting takes place, in which half of the attending wineries pour a wine... continue reading

Buy My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Free Tasting Tool

Use Vinography's free aroma card to help you learn how to better identify the flavors and aromas in wine. In seven languages!
Find out more

Most Recent Entries

From the Quiet Garden: The Wines of Pichler-Krutzler, Wachau, Austria Tallying the Damage from the Napa Quake Vinography Images: A Sea of Blue Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 14, 2014 The Taste of Something New: Introducing Solminer Wines Vinography Images: Swift Work Social Media Answers the Question: Where Did Australian Wine Go Wrong Hourglass, Napa Valley: Current and Upcoming Releases Drought Problems? Just Have an Earthquake Vinography Images: Just One

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month

 

Wine Blogs I've Newly Discovered

Avvinare Desert Wine Guy Matthew's World of Wine and Drink Shiba Sommelier Wine 4 Your Life VA Wine Princess Wine, Dine, DIY

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

Food Blogs I Love

What Katie Ate News for Curious Cooks Ideas in Food Chez Pim 101 Cookbooks Cooking with Amy An Obsession with Food Deep End Dining

Other Great Food Sites

Zester Daily Foodieview Recipe Search Engine Fork & Bottle Epicurious

Useful Wine Links

Find wines to buy and drink at Wine Searcher Find wines to buy and drink at Vinquire Find wine release dates Find local wine events in your area

Collaborative/Community Wine Reviews

Boozemonkey Vinobilia Cruvee Project Vino Vinix WineApe Snooth WineChatr.Com Adegga Belmaati eBacchus Yvinos (Spanish) WineDemocracy Vino2Vino VinoRati (English and French) Bottle Talk WineMega.Com Nirvino Scrugy WineFans.Net WineFetch OpenBottles WineLog.Net Cork'd Logabottle.com Cellartracker.Com TastyDrop BottleCount WARPA

Wine Publications

Wines and Vines Sommelier Journal The World of Fine Wine Quarterly Review of Wines The Wine Report The Wine News Decanter Magazine The Wine Advocate Wine Enthusiast Wine Spectator Food & Wine Wine & Spirits

Online Wine Shopping Tools

Hunt down a place to buy a specific wine you're looking for. Wine Searcher Wine Zap

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud 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 World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.