Text Size:-+
10.23.2014

Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets

It sounds like the beginnings of a joke: how do you hook a wine writer? The answer, it turns out, at least in my case, involves offering to put on the most comprehensive tasting of Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet ever held. When the Santa Cruz Mountains Winery Association made the offer, I suspect they knew I would have a hard time refusing. Just in case it was a trap, I brought my friend Elaine with me (you can read her writeup of the event here). As it turns out, the event was a trap, and a cleverly designed one... continue reading

10.21.2014

US 2014 Vintage - Early, Fast, Eventful

It has become my habit each year to check in with winemakers across the United States as harvest concludes in order to get a sense of the vintage as a whole. Without fail, the assessments I receive from the far-flung winegrowing regions of the country generally sound like descriptions of something completely different from what we have experienced here in California. If nothing else, these reports serve as an excellent reminder of the dangers of generalising about the character of any one harvest, especially in a country as large as America. Despite their differences in 2014, most of the winemakers... continue reading

10.17.2014

Vinography Images: Big Shadow

Big Shadow A California Live Oak casts a big shadow in the morning sun near a vineyard 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... continue reading

10.16.2014

Come Explore The Essence of Wine with Me in Healdsburg: October 30th, 2014

Healdsburg is one of my favorite little wine country towns. Located at what I like to think of as the intersection of the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley wine growing regions, it's a great little retreat for anyone looking to dive into a quiet wine country weekend. The town is home to a bunch of fabulous restaurants, as well as one of the coolest community gathering places I've ever seen. It's called SHED, and it's part cafe, part market, part meeting hall, and 100% fabulous. An old school grange meets modern gourmet design and social... continue reading

10.11.2014

Vinography Unboxed: Week of October 5, 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's brief foray into the samples pile included a lovely Pinot Blanc, or as they would call it, Weissburgunder, from Germany, as well as a nice Mosel Riesling. Spring Mountain Vineyards in Napa shows off a gorgeous Sauvignon Blanc, while Lang & Reed represents with an excellent Cabernet Franc. Finally, I continue to be impressed with Stark Wine Company, whose Mendocino Syrah was... continue reading

10.11.2014

Another Idiotic California Law Screws Wineries

Last week I wrote about the perverted horrors of Proposition 65, the law ostensibly created to protect Californians against toxic chemicals but which inadvertently makes most wineries vulnerable to frivolous lawsuits. The legislators in Sacramento are generally well disposed towards one of their state's largest industries, so while that particular legal snafu was awful, I assumed it would be a relatively rare problem in a legal landscape quite favorable to wineries. But then I read about the plight of Westover Winery in Castro Valley who, faced with $115,000 worth of fines from the California, actually had to go out... continue reading

10.10.2014

Vinography Images: Vineyard Reflections

Vineyard Reflections A young vineyard reflects in standing water following a rain storm 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, limited edition... continue reading

10.06.2014

The Fake Tongue Illusion and Wine Tasting

The degree to which the mechanics of our own perception continue to be a mystery to us gives me no end of delight. Of course I equally enjoy the insights from our progress chipping away at this mystery, one experiment at a time. While not done with the kind of rigor normally applied to neuroscience, the wine world has offered up several bits of evidence on how our brains and our sensory organs, in particular our sense of taste and smell, can easily be fooled. From putting red food coloring in white wines, to drinking from black glasses and... continue reading

10.06.2014

2014 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting: October 21, San Francisco

There are wine tastings, and then there are wine tastings. The annual Wine & Spirits Magazine Top 100 Tasting is quite possibly my favorite big public wine tasting each year in San Francisco. Why? Because the quality of wines poured at this event is always second to none. Some of them are wines that many of us rarely get the chance to taste, because they are either too expensive or too difficult to find. Many others are simply just great examples of their particular region or grape variety. Paired with freshly shucked oysters and tasty bites from what the... continue reading

10.04.2014

Cool Beauty: Tasting the Wines of the Western Sonoma Coast

I'll admit it. I'm an acid freak. More than anything else in a wine, I'm looking for the juiciness that I get from well-balanced wines that lean towards the lower side of pH. There's nothing quite like that zip and crackle of a wine that gets your tastebuds tingling and your mouth watering. With care, mouthwatering wines can be made just about anywhere. Farming well and then paying close attention to the harvest in order to ensure the grapes retain enough acidity to balance their sugars remains the best way to make excellent wine in my opinion. But that... continue reading

10.03.2014

Vinography Images: Shaggy Companions

Shaggy Companions Old trees offer a modicum of shade to a vineyard in the summer heat. Moss laden oaks accompany many vineyards 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... continue reading

10.01.2014

2014 Pinot on the River Tasting: October 26, Healdsburg

Now is a wonderful, if slightly manic time to be wandering around wine country. Harvest is, for many, complete, and wines are bubbling and burbling their way through fermentations. It's the time of year that wine country really becomes wine country. As the afternoon sun angles low, life gets pretty idyllic around Sonoma, and the timing is good to relax with friends and a nice glass of wine. Which is why, I suppose, around this time of year we are treated to the opportunity to attend The Pinot on The River Festival . Now in its tenth year of... continue reading

09.27.2014

Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 21, 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's samples included the inaugural releases from a new project out of the Thomas Fogarty Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. Known primarily for their Pinot Noir, which has become exceptionally good under the careful hand of winemaker Nathan Kandler, Fogarty has now embarked on a new Bordeaux varietal program under a label called Lexington. Their initial wines look quite promising... continue reading

09.26.2014

The Essence of Wine is Ready to Buy!

It is with great pleasure that I announce the official publishing and general availability of my book The Essence of Wine. It arrived at the warehouse a few days ago and is now available for purchase here on Vinography for $75 plus shipping costs. The road to get to this point has been a long and occasionally tedious one, but I'm thrilled to have completed this odyssey of self publishing, and with a product of which I am very proud. The book is gorgeous and everything I hoped it would be. I hope you'll agree. BOOK SIGNINGS! I'm going... continue reading

09.26.2014

Vinography Images: Spring Carpet

Spring Carpet A carpet of green sits under vines after a wet winter in Sonoma County as the sun sets into the fog. 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... continue reading

09.23.2014

California Law and Wine: Ups and Downs

California is by most measures, the eighth largest economy in the world. And of the state's $2.05 Trillion domestic production, wine makes up more than $51 Billion, or about 2.5% of the economy. As we might expect, the California state legislature, therefore, pays some serious attention to the wine industry. Occasionally they do quite well by the industry. Such as the recent and incredibly sensible bill that would allow students who are not yet of drinking age, but who are enrolled in wine studies classes to actually taste wine without fear of arrest for them or criminal charges for their... continue reading

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 Blaufršnkisch 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

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

Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets US 2014 Vintage - Early, Fast, Eventful Vinography Images: Big Shadow Come Explore The Essence of Wine with Me in Healdsburg: October 30th, 2014 Vinography Unboxed: Week of October 5, 2014 Another Idiotic California Law Screws Wineries Vinography Images: Vineyard Reflections The Fake Tongue Illusion and Wine Tasting 2014 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting: October 21, San Francisco Cool Beauty: Tasting the Wines of the Western Sonoma Coast

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.