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09.03.2015

Warm Up: Côte Rôtie

Some time around 200 BC, Romans moved into the northern Rhône and brought vines with them, making the Rhone Valley one of the oldest places with a French wine heritage. The wines of Côte Rôtie were being shipped to England by at least the 1700s, and enjoyed some international popularity in the 18th century. Côte Rôtie, roughly translating to "Roasted Slopes" receives a lot of sunlight, but also submits to the risk of fog and possible damage by the fierce and relentless mistral wind. The mistral wind is a pretty serious force of nature. When you combine the mistral... continue reading

09.02.2015

I'll Drink to That: Philippe Guigal

Episode 291 of I'll Drink to That has been posted, and it features Philippe Guigal, of E. Guigal Wines in France's Northern Rhône Valley. This was a surprising interview because Guigal is so familiar a name. We figure that we know what is going on with Guigal. We assume that we have heard these stories before. But that is where the surprise came in: all kinds of information came out in this interview that seemed fresh. Particularly, if you have an interest in the wines of the Northern Rhone, you must listen to this interview. You may not think... continue reading

08.31.2015

I'm Teaching at Brooks University

Are you going to be anywhere near Oregon's Willamette Valley on Sunday, September 13th? If so, you may want to audit my class! No grades will be assigned, and drinking is mandatory, or at least tasting. Brooks Winery is having its annual wine club members party, and it turns out that I'm the entertainment. Or perhaps more accurately the edutainment. I'll be giving a talk on the pleasures of wine tasting based on my book, The Essence of Wine, and I'll also be leading a tasting of Brooks wines while simultaneously interviewing winemaker Chris Williams. It will be something... continue reading

08.31.2015

Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/30

I read a lot of stuff about wine on the Internet. People frequently ask me for recommendations. But there's just so much out there and only so much room in my head. In part that's why I've been curating a wine magazine on on Flipboard for the last year or so. But for those of you who aren't Flipboard inclined, I've decided to post a round-up here of what's caught my eye over the past week. Enjoy. Here's why wine tastes different when you're on a plane Business Insider talks with MS Andrea Robinson about wine on planes. Does... continue reading

08.29.2015

I'll Drink to That: Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine

Episode 290 of I'll Drink to That has been posted, and it features Christy Canterbury. Christy is an MW who writes on wine topics for various publications, does speaking engagements related to wine, consults for restaurants and retail, and participates in wine judging competitions. She is based in New York. This interview covers a lot of ground, as Christy has worked in several different areas of the wine business. She recalls, for instance, the major push by retailers into high end wines that followed the last big financial downturn. Why the move into the expensive wines from retail when... continue reading

08.28.2015

Vinography Images: Ready to Go

Ready to Go NAPA VALLEY, CA: Clusters of ripe Carneros chardonnay are nearly ready to be harvested near Napa, California. The annual grape harvest, in full swing at the moment, has become a favorite time of the year for visitors to Wine Country, boosting global sales of more than $12 billion. 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... continue reading

08.27.2015

Warm Up: All About Nebbiolo

As one of the more fickle wine grapes to grow, committing to the production of Nebbiolo can be a true labor of love. Nebbiolo has a long growing season; it will flower early but ripen late, increasing the time during which things can go wrong. It needs lots of sunlight and usually will get the south slopes with great exposure; but it also needs wind protection, and prefers a certain elevation. If it rains heavily after the grapes turn red, the quality can tank. Nebbiolo is picky about the climate and soil types it will grow in, but when... continue reading

08.26.2015

I'll Drink to That: Danilo Nada of Nada Fiorenzo

Episode 289 of I'll Drink to That has been posted, and it features Danilo Nada, who works with his father Bruno at Nada Fiorenzo in the Treiso area of Barbaresco. When it comes to Barolo there is some awareness in the market that Serralunga is different from La Morra, and that both are different than Verduno. But in Barbaresco the tendency is to lump everything together, and think just Barbaresco, forgetting Treiso and Neive. However, those areas possess significant differences. One of the people who can explain those differences well is Danilo Nada. Danilo is a former sommelier, and... continue reading

08.26.2015

Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/23

I read a lot of stuff about wine on the Internet. People frequently ask me for recommendations. But there's just so much out there and only so much room in my head. In part that's why I've been curating a wine magazine on on Flipboard for the last year or so. But for those of you who aren't Flipboard inclined, I've decided to post a round-up here of what's caught my eye over the past week. Enjoy. Agustin Huneeus: Importance of place on wine An interview with the head of the empire. Wine Rises From Ashes of Chilean Quake... continue reading

08.22.2015

Vinography Images: Night Sorting

Night Sorting HEALDSBURG, CA: The 2015 grape harvest continues to gain speed as vineyard workers pick under lights in the early morning hours in Healdsburg, California. Despite some of the warmest and driest weather in recorded history, a water "State of Emergency" exists for all of California, though it is expected to have little effect on this year's harvest. 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... continue reading

08.22.2015

Small is Beautiful: The Champagnes of Savart

The famous designers Charles and Ray Eames, in the employ of the then young company named IBM, once created a groundbreaking piece of film suggesting the relative scale of the universe in "Powers of Ten". It begins with footage of a picnic and zooms out to a galactic scale before zooming back in to an atomic level. This 10 minutes of film put in perspective some truths about our universe that were all but impossible to grasp in the abstraction of numbers or words. The same might be said for the Champagnes of young Frederic "Fred" Savart. If you... continue reading

08.22.2015

I'll Drink to That: Karl duHoffmann of Anchor Brewing

Episode 288 of I'll Drink to That has been released, and features Karl duHoffmann of Anchor Brewers and Distillers and Orchard Hill Cider Mill in New York. Anchor Brewers and Distillers is the parent company of Anchor Steam Beer, among other things. Karl duHoffmann remembers in this interview discussing sales with an up and coming domestic whiskey brand, when they asked him how much of their whiskey he could sell. His response was that within a year they wouldn't have enough product available to meet requests. And that is what ended up happening. Which shows you that Karl has... continue reading

08.19.2015

Warm Up: Jerez de la Frontera

The wine legacy of Jerez is linked directly to the region's strategic location. Jerez sits on the Atlantic, just in front of the Straight of Gibraltar, and over the millennia the region has attracted many merchants. During the height of seafaring years, the city of Cádiz became extremely important as one of the major ports in Europe. Ships passing into the Mediterranean would pass by Cádiz and could resupply; ships passing out of the Mediterranean could stop and trade their wares. Ships heading west to the Americas could stock up for the Atlantic journey before heading out, without entering... continue reading

08.19.2015

I'll Drink to That: Antonio Flores of González Byass

Episode 287 of I'll Drink to That has been posted, and it features Antonio Flores of Sherry producer Gonzalez Byass. Flores is the chief oenologist and master blender of sherry at González Byass, in the Jerez region of Spain. Over the course of many IDTT interviews, something of a pattern has emerged: old world wine stories are family stories, new world wine stories are pioneer stories. In the old world, what is happening today is often a continuation of what happened before. Because a grandfather planted vines, the grandson has old vines today, etc. In the new world, there... continue reading

08.18.2015

California 2015 - Vintage of Fire

Harvest has begun in earnest in California, but so far it is overshadowed, quite literally in some cases, by what is shaping up to be one of the worst wildfire seasons the state has seen in decades. As I write this, some 12,000 firefighters are battling more than 14 wildfires across the state that have already consumed more than 100,000 acres (40,000 ha) of land. The largest of those fires, the so-called Rocky Fire in Lake County just north of Napa County, destroyed 43 homes and is 95% contained after burning 69,438 acres. It also came close to destroying... continue reading

08.17.2015

Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/16

I read a lot of stuff about wine on the Internet. People frequently ask me for recommendations. But there's just so much out there and only so much room in my head. In part that's why I've been curating a wine magazine on on Flipboard for the last year or so. But for those of you who aren't Flipboard inclined, I've decided to post a round-up here of what's caught my eye over the past week. Enjoy. What's the Cheapest Wine Worth Faking? Leslie Gevirtz, writing for Le Pan, tells you which empty bottles to buy on eBay. How... continue reading

08.15.2015

A Selection of Georgian Wines

If you've never had a wine from the Republic of Georgia, then you've never really tasted history. By most estimates, Georgia is the birthplace of winemaking, which is to say that this region (the area where Georgia, Turkey, and Armenia connect on today's maps) houses the earliest archeological evidence of winemaking yet known. Wine production is 8000 years old in Georgia, and has been a central part of the culture ever since. The country is home to more than 500 indigenous grape varieties, and is the source of today's increasing interest with making wine in clay amphorae -- the... continue reading

08.15.2015

I'll Drink to That: Summer Wolff of Indie Wineries

Episode 286 of I'll Drink to That has been released, and features Summer Wolff of Indie Wineries. Indie Wineries is an importer, mostly focused on Italian wines although with some domestic and other international selections. Summer is the founder of the company as well as the European Portfolio Manager. People in other lines of work often express a lot of enthusiasm for entering the wine business either as a sommelier or as a wine importer, and really everybody who has those sorts of daydreams should probably listen to this interview, because it is basically the story of someone who... continue reading

08.15.2015

Vinography Images: It's Ripe!

It's Ripe! HEALDSBURG, CA: Pinot noir grapes ripening at McMurray Ranch near Healdsburg, California. The combination of drought and exceedingly warm temperatures are pushing the California grape harvest earlier and earlier. 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... continue reading

08.12.2015

I'll Drink to That: Winemaker Gerhard Kracher

Episode 285 of I'll Drink to That has been released, and features Winemaker Gerhard Kracher of Weinlaubenhof Kracher, in Austria's Burgenland region. Curious about the differences between Welschriesling and Riesling? How about Scheurebe and Chardonnay? Or making a sweet wine from red grapes instead of white? This interview hits all of that up, while also setting the scene of a family winery in the Burgenland. If you have wanted to know why Kracher offers two lines of wines, or releases the same grape variety with different numbers attached, this is a helpful primer. But the real star of this... continue reading

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Most Recent Entries

Warm Up: Côte Rôtie I'll Drink to That: Philippe Guigal I'm Teaching at Brooks University Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/30 I'll Drink to That: Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine Vinography Images: Ready to Go Warm Up: All About Nebbiolo I'll Drink to That: Danilo Nada of Nada Fiorenzo Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/23 Vinography Images: Night Sorting

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

South Carolina Wine Joe A Weakness for Wine Wines of the World Vinolent Wine on VI Georges' Nose Knows The Wine Stalker Wines of the World

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