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~ November 2007 Archives ~

 

11.30.2007

Announcing A Menu For Hope 2007

It's that time of year. The giving time. And I need your help. Increasingly, popular bloggers are overwhelmed with opportunities to use their blogs as platforms for the promotion of the worthy causes that are especially visible during the holiday season. Here at Vinography we have chosen to throw our energy and time into a single cause year after year, both because it is specific to the wine and food blogging community, and because it is increasingly effective in raising an awful lot of money for people in need. A Menu For Hope was started by my friend Pim in... continue reading

11.30.2007

Book Review: North American Pinot Noir by John Winthrop Haeger

Review by Cole Danehower. If I were a grape, and someone wanted to write a book about me, I'd pray that someone was John Winthrop Haeger. Haeger's singular work, North American Pinot Noir, is a model of precise scholarship translated into cogent and flowing narrative. Thankfully devoid of the purple prose syndrome so prevalent in writing about Pinot noir (for example, Oz Clarke calls Pinot "seductive, sultry, steamy, sinful if possible," while Serena Sutcliffe says that "to unlock the flavors and smells of fine Burgundy is to attain a hedonist's nirvana."), the volume should serve as the prototype for sober,... continue reading

11.29.2007

Vinography Images: The Sun and The Fog

The Sun and The Fog "This is one of the coolest vineyard photos I've ever seen. The sun breaking through the fog above the ghostly forms of this vineyard evokes Middle Earth or some otherworldly landscape. I'd never in a million years guess that it was shot in Sonoma County" -- 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 your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image and drag... continue reading

11.28.2007

WBW#40 Has Been Announced: Que Sirah Sirah

Some grapes just don't get no respect. Petite Sirah might easily qualify as a member of that club. This grape reminds me of some hulking brute with a heart of gold. He's the giant who doesn't know his own strength or recognize the coarseness of his bearing, but is a steadfast and soulful friend. Call him the Beast. Petite Sirah is sometimes tough to love. It's a tannic brute of a wine, that at its worst never becomes more than an exercise in bludgeoning your palate with the taste of stems. But when those tannins are kept in check, it... continue reading

11.27.2007

Jack Tastes Old...Wines

The generosity and collegiality of wine lovers remains one of the tiny miracles of wine for me. I am constantly impressed by the willingness to share their treasures that bonds so many lovers of wine together. Some people seem to get a particular joy from providing others the opportunity to try wines that they would not normally be able to enjoy. In my experience, one should always have a policy of providing friends with the chance to share their best bottles with someone who appreciates them. It's an important service, and one that I'm proud to perform. I happen to... continue reading

11.25.2007

Tasting Our Way towards Terroir

If you want to get into an argument with a die hard wine lover, just bring up terroir -- the nebulous, mythical, and increasingly subjective notion that wines express the place and circumstances of their making. This "somewhereness," to borrow one of my favorite terms for the concept, has been used as a justification for nearly anything you could think of in the world of wine, both good and evil. A couple of years ago, I decided that talking about terroir was like talking about God. It is best done behind closed doors and with people whom you are sure... continue reading

11.24.2007

2006 HdV "De la Guerra" Chardonnay, Carneros

California's Carneros AVA (American Viticultural Area) is unusual in many respects. It's most well known eccentricity is that it exists divided between two other AVAs -- Sonoma County and Napa Valley. One of its other oddities, at least for me, is the fact that the best wines from this region are invariably made by producers who do not actually have wineries there. Many have argued with me on this point, but I maintain that, overwhelmingly, this is true. There is perhaps one striking exception to this belief of mine, and it's name is HdV, or Hyde de Villaine Wines. Not... continue reading

11.23.2007

Book Review: What to Drink With What You Eat, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg

Review by Jennie Schacht. If you have ever anguished over what to serve with your perfectly poached salmon, or what to prepare for your dinner guests toting wines they brought back from South Africa, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have advice for you. 2007 International Association of Culinary Professionals "book of the year" winner What to Drink with What you Eat: The definitive guide to pairing food with wine, beer, spirits, coffee, tea—even water—based on expert advice from America's best sommeliers is the current sine qua non of wine and food pairing, with 230 pages listing over 1500 pairing suggestions... continue reading

11.22.2007

Thankful

Today is, of course, the uniquely North American holiday known as Thanksgiving, and as wine lovers, we have a lot to be thankful about. That we have a lifestyle that affords us the possibility of drinking wine at all is a pretty good place to start. And then there are the other luxuries that are implied by such a lifestyle -- a roof over our heads, abundant food, family, friends, and a society which makes the enjoyment of these things possible. I am also personally thankful for the the opportunity to have enjoyed so many wonderful moments with the people... continue reading

11.22.2007

Vinography Images: Spring Vineyard

Spring Vineyards "This image is from the Grizzly Ridge Estate in Sonoma County which is particularly beautiful because of its trees. I was last wandering through this vineyard in the spring when the wildflowers were in full bloom." -- 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 save the image. Mac users can also just click the image and drag it to your desktop. To set the image as your desktop wallpaper,... continue reading

11.21.2007

Be a Wine Writer. And Be a Good One.

The wine world is made of dreams. Some people dream about drinking wine. Some people dream about making wine. And others dream of writing about it. For all those that have ever toyed with the idea of writing about wine, and for those who have dabbled in it, I have a small anecdote to share from my college days. I was taking a fiction writing class one Spring, and our teacher managed to convince a good friend of hers to substitute teach a bunch of us eager, bright-eyed college students for one class session. The first thing Kurt Vonnegut said... continue reading

11.20.2007

WBW#39 Roundup Has Been Posted

Mmmm.... reasonably priced Burgundy. Fantasy or simply just a chore to find? A nice bottle under $25 is certainly possible to find, especially if you look outside the fabled Côte d'Or region. And that is precisely what this month's Wine Blogging Wednesday asked its participants to do. For those unfamiliar with Wine Blogging Wednesday, it is a virtual tasting party, where a host blog chooses a theme, and then on a designated Wednesday, bloggers from around the world post wine reviews based on that theme. The latest incarnation of this event (the 39th such tasting) was hosted by the Brooklyn... continue reading

11.19.2007

Vinography Aroma Card Now Available in German

When I published the Vinography Aroma Card one year ago 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 a year ago. Today... continue reading

11.17.2007

Don't Throw Out All That St. Emilion!

I know it's too late for some of you. You've already thrown out all that St. Emilion wine that used to be Grand Cru at one point, but which was turned into worthless, unclassified Bordeaux eight months ago. But for those of you who haven't divested yourself of all that pedestrian plonk, I have some good news. It's now back to being great wine again. It's certainly incredible, isn't it, how quickly our wine can go from great to lousy and back again? It's almost like the Wine Spectator rated it an 88 one day and then a few months... continue reading

11.16.2007

Book Review: Decantations, by Frank Prial

Review by Derrick Schneider. Frank Prial’s New York Times wine articles educated and entertained subscribers for more than 25 years. His small piece of the Dining section whisked readers into historic chateaux, through renowned vineyards, and into hearing range of the business’s most interesting people. Food and wine lovers no doubt looked forward to his articles, but they were ephemeral works destined to be the next day’s birdcage liner. Devotees can now trawl through the Times’ online archives to find them, but they might prefer to pick up Decantations: Reflections on Wine by The New York Times Wine Critic which... continue reading

11.15.2007

Vinography Images: Sticks and Tree

Sticks & tree "Deep in Sonoma county I discovered this fantastic, chunky tree. I love the way it fills the frame and you can only see the hints of the vineyard behind -- little matchsticks on a green carpet." -- 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 save the image. Mac users can also just click the image and drag it to your desktop. To set the image as your desktop... continue reading

11.14.2007

The Dream of Low Emission Wine

You can't turn your head these days without catching sight of some new effort to build sustainability, greenness, and environmental consciousness into just about everything. As a Northern California hippie child and card carrying Sierra Club, Greenpeace, World Wildlife Federation, and Natural Resources Defense Council member, I couldn't be happier about it. I have to chuckle though at the speed with which business has seen the opportunity to turn green practices into PR and profit (once they finally realized it was good for both). The wine industry is on the same bandwagon, of course, with some wineries making the leap... continue reading

11.12.2007

2004 Caymus "Special Selection" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa

To say some wines need no introduction is both a truism and also a disservice. There are indeed some wines, that through hard-won success, have built themselves into a globally recognized brands. These wines have names so well known that they can become synonymous with luxury, greatness, or even a type of grape. Yet the power of a brand also means that many people only know it superficially, sometimes even second hand. Caymus Vineyards may need no introduction, because the phrase "Caymus Cabernet" is legendary at this point. Like Silver Oak, Caymus is a name that will be instantly recognized... continue reading

11.11.2007

PinotFest 2007 Tasting: November 17, San Francisco

You can't get enough Pinot Noir can you? I know, I know, YOU enjoyed the grape long before that silly movie made it trendy, so don't worry about defending your desire. It's GOOD to want to drink Pinot all day, every day. And it's even better to drink really high quality Pinot Noir. Which is why you might consider taking a couple hours next Saturday to attend one of the higher quality Pinot tastings in San Francisco. There are a lot of different Pinot Noir festivals and tastings popping up everywhere in San Francisco, but one of those that has... continue reading

11.10.2007

Book Review: Educating Peter, by Lettie Teague

Review by Jessica Yadegaran. If wines were movies, what would be your Citizen Kane? After all, one man's genre-defining epic is another man's Roadhouse. That's the premise of Lettie Teague's Educating Peter: How I Taught a Famous Movie Critic the Difference Between Cabernet and Merlot or How Anybody Can Become an (Almost) Instant Wine Expert. Teague, an executive editor at Food & Wine magazine, spent a year weaning her dear friend Peter Travers off fatty Chardonnay and into the nuanced arms of Riesling and Pinot Noir. Entertaining and easy to read, it is an ideal ride for the budding wine... continue reading

11.09.2007

Money Alone Will Not Save European Wine

The European wine industry, especially the French wine industry, needs a serious shot in the arm. It has needed one for more than a decade. A few days ago, the European Union tried to give it one, but thanks to the characteristic myopia of international politics, it might as well have just taken a few hundred million dollars and flushed it down the toilet. The EU recognized, correctly, that European wine isn't particularly competitive (read: doesn't sell) on the world market once you get outside of the luxury price range ($25 and above). Unfortunately, the majority of European wine made... continue reading

11.08.2007

Vinography Images: Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains "This image was taken in the midst of the winter fog in Sonoma. It reminds me of a more placid version of some of the terrible landscapes of smoke we have seen on the news recently. This scene, while 'smoky' in its own way, is almost the opposite of fire, with its cool dampness of a winter's morning" -- 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 save the image.... continue reading

11.07.2007

Iron Horse Vineyards, Green Valley, Sonoma: Current Releases

Spending my summers in Sonoma County starting at about the age of five, I have soft-focus memories of wine tasting with my grandparents from an early age. Driving around Sonoma in my Grandfather's Buick was always a treat for me, mostly because of the automatic windows and the particular spot on the glove box that would magically make the horn beep if I hit it just right. I didn't have much of an eye for the scenery at that age. Neither did I pay much attention to the wine tasting. The adults would disappear into some big building and I... continue reading

11.06.2007

As The Wine World Turns

One of the things I like about the world of wine has to do with the people. On the whole, they're great. Wonderful folks are drawn to making wine, and spending time with them is one of the great pleasures of my "job" here at Vinography. I enjoy folks in the wine world so much, in part, because of how down-to-earth everyone is. Yet for all the salt-of-the earth folks, the wine world has it's own small cult of celebrity. And occasionally, just occasionally, we get to watch them in all the glory of scandal, sniping, and good old fashioned... continue reading

11.05.2007

New Ways of Pairing Wine

It was about time for something new in the world of wine, don't you think? I don't know about you, but I've seriously grown tired of eating good food and drinking nice wine. There's always just been something missing in that equation. I have a bite of wagyu beef, a sip of fantastic Cabernet, and I feel all empty and incomplete, not to mention the fact that the wine just doesn't taste quite as good as it could. Last Friday, I found out what I was missing. It turns out that my wine (and yours) has never quite tasted as... continue reading

11.03.2007

Book Review: The Science of Wine: From Vine to Glass, by Jamie Goode

Review by Tim Patterson. Jaime Goode is one of the best popular science writers in the English language, and fortunately for us, his subject is wine, not cosmology or tropical diseases. Trained in biology, a former scientific editor, his Wine Anorak website (and accompanying blog) is a major presence in internet wine and the original source for many of the ideas explored in this fascinating, mind-opening book. The Science of Wine isn't a textbook on grape growing or winemaking, though it covers a lot of that ground. Its chapters are focused on key concepts and controversies in the serious wine... continue reading

11.03.2007

2003 Meyer Family Cellars Syrah, Mendocino

There are some California appellations that need no introduction, others that will ring a bell for experienced wine lovers, and only a select few that nine out of ten people will likely never have heard of. Up until a few years ago, the Yorkville Highlands was one such appellation. These days, it's hard to tell whether it still languishes in obscurity or is gradually making its name known to lovers of California wine. Every time I meet a winemaker or winery marketing person from the area, however, after telling me where their grapes are grown, they always briefly pause,... continue reading

11.02.2007

Hananomai Junmai Ginjo, Shizuoka Prefecture

By W. Blake Gray Winemakers generally have more interesting stories to tell than sake master brewers ("toji"). Naturally, I'm here today to tell you about an exception. You get spoiled interviewing winemakers, some of whom discovered an innate ability after half a lifetime spent doing something else entirely, and many of whom have time left over for hobbies. So Sean Thackrey can talk about being an art dealer, or Robert Foley can talk about his guitar heroics. For the most part, sake toji choose that profession at an early age. They generally have boring personal lives (and they have difficulty... continue reading

11.01.2007

Vinography Images: Stark Vines on a Hill

Stark Vines on a Hill "We're approaching winter in wine country. More and more vines will start looking like this soon, and eventually these canes of last year's growth will be pruned away to make year for next season's crop." -- 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 save the image. Mac users can also just click the image and drag it to your desktop. To set the image as your... 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.

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Most Recent Entries

Announcing A Menu For Hope 2007 Book Review: North American Pinot Noir by John Winthrop Haeger Vinography Images: The Sun and The Fog WBW#40 Has Been Announced: Que Sirah Sirah Jack Tastes Old...Wines Tasting Our Way towards Terroir 2006 HdV "De la Guerra" Chardonnay, Carneros Book Review: What to Drink With What You Eat, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg Thankful Vinography Images: Spring Vineyard

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

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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.