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~ January 2007 Archives ~



The Wines of Clos de los Siete, Tunuyan, Argentina

Fifty miles south of the city of Mendoza the valley of Tunuyan feels less like a valley and more like a vast, kneeling supplicant to the immediate, looming bulk of the Northern Andes mountains. Though the valley floor is massive -- sweeping away from the jagged, snow capped peaks in every possible direction as if it were trying to get out of the way of their falling bulk -- you never get the sense that it is very flat. No matter where you stand, the world seems to be constantly tipping up towards (or down away from, as the case... continue reading


The Great Winery Boom of 2006

In case you haven't noticed, dear reader, there are a lot of Big Wine Headlines that never make their way here onto Vinography. In addition to my desire to present you with the sorts of stuff that I would want to read were I in your place, I also try to filter out a lot of the stuff that is more industry marketing than real news. There's been a lot of hype in the last 12 months about the growing market for wine in America: how Americans are drinking more wine than ever; how Americans are drinking more wine than... continue reading


The Science of Sparkle

It still comes as quite a surprise to me just how much high-tech investigation goes on about the bubbles in Champagne. Physicists and material scientists can't be blamed, however, for preferring discussions of laminar flow and fluid dynamics in the context of a glass of sparkling wine rather than, say, diesel outboard motor exhaust in freshwater lakes. A few months ago I brought you the latest findings on why and how bubbles actually form in Champagne. This month, courtesy of Harold McGee and his blog, News for Curious Cooks, we now know more about how the shape of the champagne... continue reading


Schubert Wines, Martinborough, NZ: Current Releases

Martinborough, New Zealand started its life with the supremely inglorious sounding distinction of being the sheep capital of the North Island. At that time New Zealand wasn't a country, it was either a budding colony or an ancient tribal homeland, depending upon who you talked to and what color skin they had. In either case, it was the site of the nation's first sheep station -- a place where ranchers came to shear, sell, and otherwise transact for their livelihood. In 1879, the station, which by that time had been joined by many more throughout the islands, was purchased by... continue reading


The Flu That Ate My ZAP Coverage

Those of you who have gotten used to my usual coverage of the ZAP Zinfandel Tasting each year will have to temporarily look elsewhere. While thousands of wine lovers are busy tasting through the latest vintages of Zinfandel here in San Francis.co, I'm home wrapped in a fleece blanket coughing and shivering. I came down with something on Tuesday that has hit me like a ton of bricks and is doggedly persistent against my usual regimen of sleep, zinc, vitamin C, and fluids. A fellow wine writer suggested that he had found Argentine Malbec could cut through the congestion and... continue reading


Sato no Homare "Pride of The Village" Junmai Ginjo Sake, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan

Wine strikes me as the child of the sun -- an essence coaxed from an alchemy of solar energy and the lifeblood of the vines -- its flavors, an expression of the dance between upward straining tendrils and the sky. Sake, on the other hand, would be the child of the earth -- forged from water drawn from the depths, from rice whose modest growth hugs the wet soil that gives it life, and from the mysterious koji mold that prefers darkness to light. Sake and wine seem to embody two distinct essences of life, each with different relationships to... continue reading


WBW#30 Has Been Announced: New World Syrah

The next edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, the blogosphere's virtual wine tasting party, has been announced. It will be hosted by the web's first wine podcaster, Tim Elliot over at Winecast.Net. For this, the 30th monthly tasting, Tim would like all participating parties to taste and review new world Syrah. Or Shiraz, as the case may be. Tim is going easy on all of us and will even accept blends if they are a majority Syrah. Shouldn't be that hard to find, so you can spend your time finding a GOOD one. Syrah is one of my favorite varietals for... continue reading


Vinography Images: Sunset, Camelot Highlands

Sunset, Camelot Highlands "We drove all over this vineyard looking for the right vantage point to show the differences between this Santa Barbara county vineyard and the Sonoma vineyards that we had been spending most of our time photographing in the days before. We picked this spot right at the edge of the property where we could see the vineyard rippling into the distance and then spent a couple of hours enjoying wine and cheese while we waited for the sun to go down. As the evening light settled in, I started shooting and didn't stop until it was... continue reading


Unison Vineyard, Hawkes Bay, NZ: Current Releases

The equation of one hand, one vine, one wine serves as a cornerstone to many wine lovers in search of the best wines in the world. Without getting into a thorny argument about whether smaller producers actually make better wine on the whole than larger ones, it is impossible to deny the romance of a small family-run winery where one or two people literally make the wine from field to bottle. Both in name and in action, Unison Vineyard in the Gimblett gravels region of Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, embodies everything that picky wine lovers are looking for when they... continue reading


Hot Damn! Wine Makes You Sexier

It's both awfully strange and predictably true that we all find out some truths about life too late to put them to use ourselves. I suppose that's where the saying "youth is wasted on the young" comes from. Many of my own discoveries would really have served me much better as a teenager and young single twenty-something. For instance: I can't tell you how many of my thirty-something friends have been trying for months to get pregnant. Months!? Who knew it was so difficult? How many nerve-wracking hours did I spend as a young man worried about accidentally getting a... continue reading


WBW#29 (Biodynamic Wines) Roundup Has Been Posted

Nearly forty bloggers from around the world participated in this month's virtual wine tasting event known as Wine Blogging Wednesday. For those of you unfamiliar with the event, it is hosted by a single blogger who chooses the theme, and then on the appointed Wednesday, anyone who wants to participate posts a review of a wine meeting the theme. January's event theme was biodynamic wines and was hosted by Jack and Joanne over at Fork & Bottle. Jack is a friend of mine and has been a devotee of biodynamic wines for a long time, so the theme didn't come... continue reading


The New White Rioja: Progress or Perdition?

As of 2007, the white wines of Rioja will never be the same. For some, this means "there goes the neighborhood!" For others, this means there is such a thing as progress. I personally think it's a little bit of both, but I lean heavily towards the progress end of the argument. Here's the deal. Up until an announcement this week by the OIPVR (Organización Interprofesional del Vino de Rioja -- the governing body for the Rioja appellation), white wines in Rioja that were able to put the appellation on the label had to be made from Viura (Macabeo), Malvasi­a... continue reading


Vinography Images: Hilltop Vineyards, Sonoma

Hilltop Vineyards, Sonoma "This photo was taken on Cougar Mountain in Sonoma. At the end of a long day of shooting in the opposite direction, I turned around to find this beautiful setting with the perfect light. Sometimes it seems that luck plays a big part in getting the right image. On the other hand, anyone who spends long hours in search of the right image will inevitably find moments where everything comes together. I love the lush green tones in this image and the fact that the vineyards are a very subtle part of the overall landscape. The... continue reading


2001 Domain Marcel Deiss "Burlenberg" Pinot Noir, Bergheim, Alsace

Alsace, the oft-contested and much-coveted skinny strip of land between northeastern France and its neighbor Germany is an odd and unique place. Like several other such zones around the world, it has been a part of so many different countries and empires that it enjoys a sort of twilight zone atmosphere, where place names reflect one language, spoken words another, and family histories often both or none of the above. Alsace is also a unique landscape sculpted by both rivers and volcanic events, but bearing the unmistakable and essential traces of a more ancient geological past as the bottom of... continue reading


2005 Segue Cellars "Segue" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma

People have asked me many times if I ever think about making wine. Its something that I would love to do eventually, if only for the opportunity to learn a lot of things about wine that just can't be learned from books or purchased bottles. I'm sure I'd also appreciate good wine even more after struggling to make something passably mediocre in my first attempt. Eventually I know I will need to make wine because, honestly, how can I sit here and criticize the efforts of winemakers without knowing what they go through? This lack of hands-on knowledge must... continue reading


Menu For Hope Prizes Announced!

I didn't win anything, but maybe you did! I'm pleased to announce the wine blog winners of the Menu For Hope III raffle prizes. The names listed below are the names that you put into the First Giving system when you donated. Instructions on how to claim your prize are found after the list of winners, which is what you're really wishing I'd get on with, right. OK, so without further ado... WB01 Dinner with Eric Asimov sowalsky WB02 Vinography: Sommelier for a Night Jennifer J WB03 Wine & Cheese of Sonoma County Ty & By WB04 Russian River Pinot... continue reading


Vinography Quietly Turns Three

No parties or fanfare this time around. Just too darn busy to celebrate, but today marks the beginning of my fourth year as a wine blogger. I've said on other occasions how astonishing it is to see what Vinography has become in the last three years, going from a small personal project to record my wine and food experiences for friends, to a publication which accords me the status of legitimate journalist. The last three years have been busy ones. Nearly 1200 posts, over 5600 comments from readers like you, thousands of wines tasted, hundreds reviewed individually, and many more... continue reading


Ingredients and Arguments: Government to the Rescue

I've long been a fan of full disclosure when it comes to labeling wine. I think the consumer should know exactly what the percentages of grapes are, where every single bit of them were grown, what vintage they come from (if they come from one different than the year on the label), if there have been any things added to "improve" the wine, like the infamous Mega Purple additive, and finally whether or not the grapes are "naturally" bred or whether they contain fish genes or other such GMO nonsense. All of these things I believe should be disclosed in... continue reading


ZAP Zinfandel Festival, San Francisco: January 24 -27

It's hard to believe another year has gone by. It seems like only a few short months ago that my teeth finally lost their blue color after a long day tasting hundreds of California Zinfandels. But it's actually been 12 months, and now it's time again for ZAP, the annual festival celebrating the ultimate California wine in all its glory. Quite possibly THE most popular wine tasting event to occur in San Francisco each year, the ZAP festival draws crowds of thousands to Fort Mason to taste recent vintages of Zinfandel from hundreds of producers. Honestly, it's always a bit... continue reading


Craggy Range Winery, Hawkes Bay, NZ: Current Releases

New Zealand is certainly a land of surprises. A relatively compact landmass, it seems to possess every possible topography and climate. Tropical rainforests, glaciers, arid plains, high deserts, rich low country farmlands, coastal beaches, and alpine foothills, to name just a few. While the country may perhaps be known best for its cool-climate winegrowing, it should really come as no surprise that its winegrowing regions mirror the diversity of its larger geography. The fact that the country has a growing region with a climate like Bordeaux or Rioja, however, still remains somewhat under the radar for most wine lovers. The... continue reading


Vinography Images: Rolling Fog

Rolling Fog "Most of us don't have the right combination of early-morning discipline and luck to experience the magic of fog in the vineyards the way that Michael has captured it here. There is something magical about the rows of vineyards (in this case, waiting for their winter pruning) emerging like silent ghosts out of the mist. At times like that, the world almost appears to be rendered only in shades of grey and silver." -- Alder Yarrow INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking (Mac users, click and hold) on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save... continue reading


Vinography Wins Best Drinks Blog Award

I'm thrilled to report that Vinography has won this year's Best Drinks Blog Award at the 2006 Food Blogging Awards. This is the third year in a row that Vinography has won this award. With a track record like that, I'm sure for some people anything I say here will sound perhaps like hollow thanks, but I honestly I'm just as blown away as I was the first time. It gives me such great pleasure to know that the hard work and time I put into this site is appreciated by those who read it and the larger blogging community.... continue reading


How Secure is YOUR Wine Cellar?

I've written about the generosity of wine lovers before. I'm continually amazed at the large sums of money that people are willing to pour into glasses for sometimes complete strangers who profess a love or an interest in wine. What's even more remarkable, is how many of these folks have literally thousands upon thousands of dollars of wine in their cellars behind unlocked doors. Of course, it's a pretty big hassle to figure out some security system just for your wine cellar, but in the last few years there seem to be an increasing number of wine thefts. The latest... continue reading


Escarpment, Martinborough, NZ: Current Releases

There's something quite romantic about a wine region whose every hill bears a name given long ago, and whose byways and thoroughfares are often labeled in the same tongue, describing where they will take you or the quality of the journey you'll have along the way. Just outside of the quaint little Victorian farming community of Martinborough, New Zealand the roads quickly devolve to country roads that twist and turn down and up and around the water-shaped landscape. A few miles from the neat little town square one can quite accidentally find themselves on Te Muna road, which after a... continue reading


Why Waiters Should Know Wine

Before I continue, I want to go on record as having acknowledged how lucky I am. I live in San Francisco. We have great restaurants that are generally very friendly to wine lovers. We have liberal and pervasive corkage policies, and the wine lists in the average restaurant are good. Heck, even the wine lists in the average Thai restaurant are pretty good. In our finest restaurants the lists can be phenomenal. In more and more restaurants I am also finding a proper selection of good stemware -- a big plus. Things are good for wine lovers in San Francisco,... continue reading


The Value of The Label

You can file this under the heading "Yeah, well we all knew that anyway," but I find it fascinating to get a bunch of economists confirming our suspicions. Not only have these folks figured out that THE most important thing in determining the value of a wine at auction is its label (i.e. the name, brand, reputation, region and vintage) but they've done one better. They've actually proven that when people tasted the wine before they bid on it, no matter what the label said, they paid less for it! Let me repeat that for full effect. The power of... continue reading


2003 Bibich Debit, Skradin (North Dalmatia), Croatia

In my last post here on Vinography I mulled, tongue-in-cheek about the impact of wine on the hallowed halls of civilization, and in particular on the English language. Fun and games aside, wine and language are just as inextricably entwined through history as wine and culture. Lest there be any doubt, one need look no further than the northern coasts of Dalmatia, which has been making wine from a grape with a strangely (to English speakers) familiar name for two centuries. Actually the winemaking traditions in Croatia go back well before the Roman Empire, though it was the Romans who... continue reading


Wine Builds Civilization

Those who might claim that wine connoisseurship is merely a rarified and unproductive pursuit of the leisure class take notice! The love of wine is contributing to society in meaningful ways, and I'm not talking about improving the health of laboratory mice. Thanks to an e-mail from fellow blogger Steve, over at The Wine Collector about a post on Mark Squires bulletin board, we now have proof that the love of wine is actually contributing to the strength and diversity of that most precious of resources: the English language. Look up the word 'beefy' in the Fourth Edition of the... continue reading


Respectfully Asking for Your Vote

Well readers, it's that time of year. The closest the wine and food blogging world gets to Oscar season. Today marks the launch of the 2006 Food Blogging Awards, and Vinography has been graciously nominated as a finalist in the Best Blog about Drinks category. The voting has started and I'd love it if you would show your appreciation for Vinography by heading over to the site and casting a vote. While you're there, I strongly encourage you to vote for the other categories, or at the very least, explore them to learn about some incredibly high quality blogs that... continue reading


Vinography Images: Vineyard One

Vineyard One "There's always a period of adjustment to any new shooting location. It takes me a little bit of time to really see the vineyard, sometimes minutes, sometimes days. And then there's the light. This image was made on my first day of shooting in the vineyard. I arrived in the late afternoon just as the light was about to slip behind the mountain and had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to shoot. Finally, though, I noticed the shadows on the road, and had time for just a single photo before the mountain cast a... continue reading


Felton Road Winery, Central Otago, NZ: Current Releases

Go as far back in human storytelling as you like, the myth of the evil twin or the dark child and the light child can be found. The lore of the mirror image, the inverted personality has manifest famously in all our imaginations, from Cain and Abel to Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I think we all have a side of ourselves that balances out our normal personality, a side that is as different from our outward faces as night is to day. That side may show its face only once in a blue moon, but I think it lurks... continue reading


Wine Blog Pioneering: The New York Cork Club

Just to warn you in advance, this is a shameless plug. But it's an interesting one, I promise. Every few months there's a new development in the wine blogging world. The last major one was a rash of mainstream journalists starting wine blogs. The latest occurrence comes at the hands of a blogger who is no stranger to good ideas when it comes to wine blogging. Lenn Thompson, the founder of the popular blog event, Wine Blogging Wednesday, has recently signed on as....founder and advisor, I guess you'd call it, to a brand new commercial venture: a wine club focusing... continue reading


New Zealand Restaurants: Impressions and Recommendations

Some readers have asked about the food and restaurants in New Zealand, and really there's only one, maybe two restaurants we ate at that I'd bother reviewing, so I'll just do a little post here and sum things up. OVERALL IMPRESSIONS The quality of ingredients at top dining destinations in New Zealand is very high, though most of the ingredients are local and don't involve any expensive stuff flown in from elsewhere for the sake of culinary art, with the exception of some Japanese products like tobiko, etc. In general the meats (in particular venison and lamb) were fantastic, and... continue reading

But Wait, There's More!

This page only has the last sixty entries in this category. If you're interested in digging farther into my archives, you'll want to use the complete list of archives to access my articles by month.

Calendar of Postings

June 2016

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Most Recent Entries

The Wines of Clos de los Siete, Tunuyan, Argentina The Great Winery Boom of 2006 The Science of Sparkle Schubert Wines, Martinborough, NZ: Current Releases The Flu That Ate My ZAP Coverage Sato no Homare "Pride of The Village" Junmai Ginjo Sake, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan WBW#30 Has Been Announced: New World Syrah Vinography Images: Sunset, Camelot Highlands Unison Vineyard, Hawkes Bay, NZ: Current Releases Hot Damn! Wine Makes You Sexier

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

Archives by Month


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