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~ June 2007 Archives ~



Sonoma County Showcase & Tasting: July 12-15, Sonoma County

Ah, Sonoma. I guess these days with all the hype around Pinot Noir, it's not quite accurate to describe Sonoma as underrated, but it certainly remains under-visited and under-explored by your typical wine country tourist. This is partially due to the fact that Sonoma is more spread out and less of a single destination than Napa, but let's face it, it's also due to the fact that Sonoma is just not as big of a name as Napa. Sonoma can't compete with Napa's brand equity. For the die-hard wine lover, this is most certainly a blessing in disguise. Sonoma has... continue reading


Stop The State Fair Madness

We interrupt your normal levelheaded Vinography programming with the following outraged rant. Listen up wine industry folks, this whole state fair thing has gone on long enough and it just needs to stop. If I hear one more winery boasting that their Zinfandel won a gold medal at the Butte County fair, and silver at the Cal State Expo, I think I'm going to be sick. And listen up wine consumers, while I explain to you how utterly ridiculous and meaningless these awards are, and how you should never use them as part of your decision for purchasing a wine.... continue reading


Vinography Images: The Hidden Mountain

The Hidden Mountain "This image was shot with a special lens that tilts and shifts, a feature that changes the relationship between the front piece of glass and the back piece of glass. Essentially it gives me the ability to set a shallow focus for the image right where I want it. In this case, I was focusing on the two mountaintops. I love the way the back mountain is peeking through the fog and the light."-- Michael Regnier INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking (Mac users, click and hold) on the image and selecting "save link as" or... continue reading


2001 Enrico Santini "Montepergoli" Rosso, Bolgheri, Tuscany

When I think of Italy as a wine producing country, I tend to think to think of it as ancient. It is the home of thousands of indigenous varieties of grapes, and people have been making wine for centuries, sometimes in the very same spot for dozens of generations. This is certainly true in many of the most established and famous of Italy's wine regions. What I tend to forget is that there are other wine regions which are relatively new, in which the standards for what is good and what is not are still being defined by every new... continue reading


Aw, Hail!

Brothers and sisters, gather round and hear me! I stand before you today, as I have many days before, with the demand that you elevate yourselves for a moment out of the toils and troubles of your daily lives. I know. I know. We are not accustomed, in this day and age of endless work, constant travails, and countless other demands on our time, to stepping away from all of this in order that we might contemplate the beauty and the terror of the world in which we live. For many of us, a sacred glass of wine, enjoyed in... continue reading


Lang and Reed Wine Company, Napa: Current Releases

All of us wine lovers inevitably discover, in the course of our explorations, our own secret wineries. These are the wines that we hold close to our chest, revealing them to those with whom we share only our choicest of morsels, which often include such things as parking spaces, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and great movies and books. As I'm in the business of sharing great wine with readers all the time, I can't really afford to hold much back. But I'd be lying if I told you I had reviewed or written about all my most favorite wineries around the world.... continue reading


Vinography's Wine Aroma Card Now in Spanish and Italian

When I published the Vinography Aroma Card in November of last year I had no idea that it was going to be such a hit. I had been thinking of doing it as a little project for years after getting fed up with seeing all these aroma and flavor guides set up as round wheels in a way that made absolutely no sense to me. I guess I wasn't alone in that frustration. Apparently no one else in the world has a round wallet either. The original card has been downloaded thousands of times since it was posted in November,... continue reading


Steinberger on the Physiology of Taste

Sometimes we forget that the world is moving along under our feet, sweeping its way around the Sun and that the human race is learning all sorts of stuff every day as we go through our ordinary lives. It's hard to observe, for instance, scientific progress being made. I know that I tend to forget that some of the things that we "know" about the world are still being figured out. Take for instance, the mysterious and complex world of taste and aroma. Nobody has exactly figured out why wine tastes as good as it does, or why certain people... continue reading


Pinot Days Festival: June 29 - July 1, San Francisco

It hardly seems like a year ago, but it is time yet again for San Francisco wine lovers to bathe themselves in Pinot Noir, courtesy of Pinot Days. Started a couple of years ago by a few Pinot Noir fanatics, Pinot Days has quickly become the largest public tasting for the varietal in California, and a healthy competitor to the ZAP festival (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) if only for the title of biggest, baddest wine tasting event in San Francisco. Starting on Friday June 29th, Pinot Days offers the opportunity to attend a winemakers dinner and charity auction followed by... continue reading


Vinography Images: Sprawling Tree

Sprawling Tree "At the end of a long day of shooting, we took a break by this old tree, but I couldn't stop shooting. It seems the only time I can get a break is when we leave the vineyards. There's just too much beauty while I'm there. This shot is really about the tree, but the rows of vines are always present even though they are very subtle." -- Michael Regnier INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking (Mac users, click and hold) on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the... continue reading


WBW#35 Has Been Announced: Spanish Value Wines

The 35th monthly incarnation of the blog world's first virtual wine tasting event has been announced. This month's Wine Blogging Wednesday will be hosted by Michelle and Kevin who run the blog My Wine Education, which is sometimes known by its more catchy URL: wine-girl.net. Apparently Michelle and Kevin took a Spanish wine course some time ago and were smitten by the variety, quality and value of Spanish wines, and they have been panting with anticipation at being able to host Wine Blogging Wednesday, and to suggest the theme of value priced Spanish wines. Value means different things to different... continue reading


2001 Domaine Joseph Roty "Fontenys" Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy, France

I'm a sucker for curmudgeons and iconoclasts in the world of wine. Perhaps these eccentric winemakers play into my romantic notions of the mystery of wine, which I pray never to lose despite my increasingly rational and commercial view of the wine industry. There's just something seductive about a winemaker who does things his own way no matter what anyone says. Joseph Roty's family has been making wine in roughly the same spot in Burgundy for 11 generations, which means that they've had plenty of time to settle into their own ways of doing things. While some winemaking families can... continue reading


San Francisco Wine Bar: The Hidden Vine

The atmosphere of wine bars can vary as wildly as the flavors and aromas of wine, ranging from pub-like and raucous to modern and reserved. Somewhere in between is a zone that is distinctively cozy, and it is here that the little nook known as The Hidden Vine can be best described. If there weren't a sign outside saying it is a wine bar, patrons walking down the stairs from the entrance off Cosmo Place in Nob Hill might think themselves mistakenly entering the drawing room of a private club. Plush chairs, coffee tables, and ornate paisley carpet are ensconced... continue reading


Phoenix or Lead Balloon?: Copia Reinvents Itself

Copia, for those who don't know, is a multi-million dollar food and wine center in Napa California that was co-founded by Robert Mondavi and was destined to be a showcase for California food and wine -- the epitome of the Napa lifestyle. Actually, that's not quite grand enough. Copia wanted to be the epicenter of a revolution in food and wine for America, a beachhead on the forefront of an epicurean era. But it never quite turned out that way. I feel about Copia the way I might feel about a teenage son or daughter that, despite all my best... continue reading


WBW#34 Roundup Has Been Posted: Great Washington Cabernets

This past Wednesday marked the 34th edition of the blogosphere's virtual wine tasting event known as Wine Blogging Wednesday. In a remarkable feat of endurance and dedication, the host for this month's event, Catie, who runs the blog Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman, has already posted the roundup of reviews. What is Wine Blogging Wednesday and what is a roundup? Each month a theme is chosen by a host blog, and wine lovers around the world drink and then review a wine according to that theme. They post these reviews on their individual blogs, and then the host writes up... continue reading


Wolf Family Vineyards: Current Releases

Napa is increasingly the province of large established wineries with pedigrees that are as long as either their mailing lists or the lines at their tasting rooms on summer weekends. This, of course, is not exactly a fantastic thing, especially when it is accompanied by rising prices for wines bearing the appellation designation. Luckily, as in many other places around the country, Napa is also seeing a resurgence of small, family-run vineyards. The rise of such vineyards alongside the consolidation and increasing corporatization of the wine industry may at first be counterintuitive. How is it that both can be happening... continue reading


Rumors of My Conversion...

....to the 100 point scoring system have been greatly exaggerated. I gotta say folks, I'm tickled pink at how many of you e-mailed to point out the inaccuracy of the story in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday which mentioned Vinography as one of the major wine blogs that utilized the 100 point scoring system. Not to worry, I haven't changed my system, and I'd like to use this opportunity to remind new readers how and why I use my 10 point scoring system. When I started to review wines, I decided that I really had no idea what the difference... continue reading


Vinography Images: The View From The Top

The View From The Top "One of the greatest things about working in mountain vineyards are the vantage points they provide of the vineyard itself. As you can imagine, the landscape of perfectly flat vineyards doesn't afford much in the way of visual interest. I enjoy the many views I am able to explore in places like Hawkeye Mountain Vineyard here in Sonoma." -- Michael Regnier INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking (Mac users, click and hold) on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to... continue reading


2004 Spring Valley Vineyard "Frederick" Cabernet Blend, Walla Walla, WA

I'm ashamed of the city I live in. Really. I'm normally so proud at the wine sophistication of San Franciscans. Collectively we support dozens of great wine stores that carry an amazing range of wines, hundreds of restaurants with corkage policies, and we provide a home base for some of the best wine tasting events in the country. So imagine my surprise when I walked into a very large and very prominent wine store (which shall remain nameless) today looking for a bottle of Washington State Cabernet, and there were only two extremely inexpensive ones on offer. That's not what... continue reading


Inside Auction Napa Valley 2007

Napa Valley throws a blow out party once a year. It's called Auction Napa Valley, and it's a four day marathon of fun for a good cause. Put on by the Napa Valley Vintner's association, "Auction," as it is referred to has about as much mystique as Napa can muster. Which is to say that it doesn't quite hold the public rapt and starry-eyed as much as The Oscars™, but it's as close as most California wine lovers can get to the holy grail of wine parties without being given the keys to Robert Mondavi's personal wine cellar. This was... continue reading


San Francisco Wine Bar: Bacchus

There are no achievement awards for San Francisco wine bars, other than my reviews here on Vinography, but if there were, Bacchus Wine and Sake Bar would certainly get the award for "Smallest Wine Bar." This little postage stamp of a bar in Russian Hill is as close to a secret neighborhood wine bar as you can get. With no publicity, no parking, no signage, and only six seats at the wine bar and a couple more in the window, it only needs to add a bolted door with a secret password to become a modern day speakeasy. Luckily for... continue reading


California's Best 2005 Cabernet: Tasting Auction Napa Valley 2007

This weekend is both one of the best weekends to be in the Napa Valley and also one of the worst. Just try driving anywhere on Highway 29 if you don't believe me, but before you test out my claim, please pack 1-2 days worth of food and water -- I don't want to be responsible for your needless death of starvation or dehydration while you're stuck in traffic until Monday. If you happen to have already made to to the little hamlet of St. Helena, or if you're fortunate enough to live in Napa and are not one of... continue reading


Vinography Images: Rolling Hill Vineyards

Rolling Hill Vineyards "There's something mysterious that rows of vines do to the landscape. When they cover the rolling hills, they bring a smoothness to them that is instantly familiar to anyone who has been in a small boat in the open ocean. Rolling vineyard covered hills remind me of deep water swells frozen in time, and this image does a great job of capturing that 'movement'"-- Alder Yarrow INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking (Mac users, click and hold) on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on... continue reading


The Elevation of Wine Symposium: June 14th, Lake County, CA

There are a million and one wine events to go to out there, so I try to restrict my postings to basically just the largest public tastings or those events that offer the most impressive opportunities for wine lovers. Every once in a while, though, an event comes along that doesn't quite fit well into any category, yet represents an intriguing opportunity for those interested in experiencing something less mainstream in the world of wine. The Elevation of Wine bills itself as the first ever symposium dedicated to high-altitude viticulture and winemaking. This is as surprising as it is intriguing,... continue reading


Bio-Organa-What? Perspective on The Modern Wine Drinker

I very nearly passed this over as a blog topic. I found it barely newsworthy, but Arthur, one of my regular readers pinged me about it the day after the story broke and I've been thinking about it off and on ever since. I've come to the conclusion that we all need the opportunity to occasionally regain perspective on the world of wine, and this recent news story provides just such an opportunity. The story to which I refer was a little snippet from Decanter's news service which offered the results from a recent study of British wine drinkers (arguably... continue reading


Syrah Around The World: Tasting at Hospice du Rhone 2007

Better late than never, as they say. It's taken me quite a while to find the solid three or four hours required to transcribe the scribblings of a full day's worth of wine tasting at the recent Hospice du Rhone event. Writing up the large tastings I go to is the most painstaking and difficult aspect of my coverage here on Vinography, and these days, time is a precious commodity around the Vinography household. Hence the several weeks between the event and my scores for the 250+ wines I tasted during the 2007 Grand Tasting. For those who have not... continue reading


Golden Glass Tasting: June 9, San Francisco

I'm guilty. Guilty of loving Italian wines more than the wines from some other countries, and often even wines from my own state. I simply find it thrilling that there are literally thousands of indigenous varietals being made into such a wide variety of wines, by so many people who are totally focused on making high quality wine. Which is why I'm always excited to go to Italian wine tastings, and which is why YOU should be excited about going to The Golden Glass. Now, I have a particularly misadventurous relationship with this tasting, held every year at Fort Mason... 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

April 2016

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Most Recent Entries

Sonoma County Showcase & Tasting: July 12-15, Sonoma County Stop The State Fair Madness Vinography Images: The Hidden Mountain 2001 Enrico Santini "Montepergoli" Rosso, Bolgheri, Tuscany Aw, Hail! Lang and Reed Wine Company, Napa: Current Releases Vinography's Wine Aroma Card Now in Spanish and Italian Steinberger on the Physiology of Taste Pinot Days Festival: June 29 - July 1, San Francisco Vinography Images: Sprawling Tree

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