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~ December 2007 Archives ~



Happy New Year From Vinography

Happy New Year! Here's wishing you a year of new wines, new experiences, happiness, and health for you and your family. Here in Japan it's already 2008. Along with three million of our closest friends, Ruth and I visited the Meiji Jingumae shrine in Tokyo to ring in the new year (literally) by ringing the bells at the temple. Seeing the crowd control alone is worth the experience: Wouldn't police action be so much better if it were always accompanied by such lovable characters? That's a picture up the main walkway to the shrine, and there are about 40,000 people... continue reading


Tamanohikari Shuzo "Yuki Hiryo Shiyo Bizen Omachi 100%" Junmai Daiginjo, Kyoto Prefecture

I go to Japan to do three primary things. See beautiful crafts and architecture, eat amazing food, and drink sake. One of the tricky parts of the latter is that unlike anywhere else in the (Western Alphabet) world I can't read the sake list if there is one, which most of the time there isn't. Nor can I look at the label of the bottle that has been brought to me and understand what it is, who made it, or where it comes from. And because my spoken Japanese is somewhat limited, there's only so much I can pry out... continue reading


Book Review: Sweet Wines by James Peterson

Review by Jennie Schacht. In the world of wine, the sweet ones get short shrift. But veteran cookbook author James Peterson doesn't mind. His book, Sweet Wines: A Guide to the World's Best with Recipes, covers the territory that wine writers often leave behind. Peterson's discussion of the wines, accompanied by his own evocative photographs, covers this complex subject clearly and succinctly. After a context-setting introduction, he takes us on a geographic voyage through the thirteen most important countries producing sweet wines, describing major regions and the wines for which they are best known. Sidebars point to interesting details, top... continue reading


Vinography Images: Row of Lights

Row of Lights "Happy Holidays from Vinography. We hope that wherever you are, you are enjoying this holiday season with people you love and good wine in hand." -- Alder Yarrow and 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, Mac users should follow these instructions, while... continue reading


Merry Christmas from Vinography

Christmas Day is just about over with here in Japan, but it's just beginning in the US. In case you're wondering how it's going to turn out, I can tell you it will be a good one, so get ready to enjoy it. Christmas in Japan, like most things in this country, is done a little differently. As a holiday, it's much closer to Valentine's Day than any other holiday -- it's all about couples. In particular unmarried dating couples, who spend the holiday snuggling, going out for fancy meals, and giving each other (often expensive) gifts. Which ain't a... continue reading


J Vineyards, Russian River Valley: Current Releases

There was a time (think: late Seventies, early Eighties) when a lot of people would have put money on California being the next Champagne. It seems quite improbable now given California's reputation for Cabernet and the relative paucity of sparkling wine producers in the state. Yet there are many California winery names that have become synonymous with sparking wine (Korbel, Chandon, Iron Horse, and more) and which have been producing sparkling wines for decades, and continue to do so. This is not the story of one of those brands. This is the story of the next generation. In the early... continue reading


The Current State of Wine Blogging

This may or may not be of interest to most of you readers, but at the invitation of my friend Tim who runs the blog and podcast called Winecast, several top wine bloggers got together for an hour long conference call last week to talk about the state of wine blogging in the world today. We discussed the beginning of the wine blogs, what's happened since then, and what role wine blogs might play in the future of wine journalism. The conversation was wine geekery at its finest, and some interesting navel gazing from the point of view of the... continue reading


Last Chance To Win! Raffle Extended Thru Sunday

The Menu For Hope charity raffle has been extended through the weekend. The great news for us is that we've broken last year's record and raised over $80,000 for the UN World Food Programme. But there's great news for you too. There are a lot of fabulous prizes that have not been bid up heavily. In fact, there are dozens of prizes that at the moment present you with a 1 in 2 chance of winning! Our leader Pim has the lowdown on her site -- a list of all the prizes ranked by how many bids there are on... continue reading


In Search of Some Good Sake

Well folks, it's 5:21 in the morning and I'm eating ramen under the blinking neon lights of Minato-Ku, Tokyo. Vinography has hopped off to Japan in search of a little R&R and some good sake. Like most of our trips, this will be primarily an eating and drinking trip studded with occasional forays into the cultural and the commercial. We've had reservations for weeks at some of our most anticipated restaurants, but couldn't seem to get into any of the recently Michelin three-starred restaurants, either because they are closed for the holidays or because they were instantly booked when the... continue reading


Book Review: Hip Tastes by Courtney Cochran

Review by Jessica Yadegaran. Millennials, there's much to celebrate. Not only did wine out sell beer last year, but you are officially the fastest growing segment of the wine consumer market. Good times, indeed. So if you're young and trendy " or both " and looking for a solid introduction to wine, you've found it in Courtney Cochran's Hip Tastes: The Fresh Guide to Wine. Cochran is the brains behind the uber-popular San Francisco-based Hip Tastes events, where 20-somethings relish PB & J and Tater Tot pairings for their wine against a techno beat. She's infused her first book with... continue reading


Sweetening The Pot: A Fabulous Prize For You

There's only about 24 hours left in the annual Menu For Hope charity raffle and we've just beaten last year's fantastic results. That's right, we've raised more than $62,000 for our friends in Lesotho! Thank you to everyone that has participated. But wait, there's more! Just to see if we can entice a few more of you to bid, or even bid again, we're taking it to the next level. Some of you might be aware that my friend Brett, who runs the blog In Praise of Sardines is a chef, and will be opening a restaurant named Contigo here... continue reading


Vinography Images: The White Tape

The White Tape "Sometimes I wonder if I would enjoy taking pictures in Vineyards so much if there weren't any fog. The mystery it imparts to the vineyard landscape of stark vines and trees is fascinating to me. I was findimg my way through this vineyard in Sonoma when I saw something shining bright in the grey dampness -- some white tape wrapped around a post." -- 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... continue reading


WBW#41 Has Been Announced: Friuli Whites. Yum.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: Italian white wines are some of the most exciting wines in the world to me right now. I certainly owe some of that fascination to my good friends Jack and Joanne who run the web site Fork & Bottle, with whom I've had a chance to drink more than a few stellar examples of the form. It will come as no surprise then, that their choice as hosts of this month's Wine Blogging Wednesday, is to have all participating bloggers drink white wines from Italy's Friuli region. Officially known as Friuli-Venezia-Giulia,... continue reading


Menu For Hope Update: New Prizes, Progress, and Please Enter

As most of you know, the annual Menu For Hope charity raffle is entering its second week and is starting to pick up some steam. This event, held by food and wine bloggers for the last three years, raises tens of thousands of dollars for the UN World Food Programme. We do this by getting bloggers (and non-bloggers) to donate fabulous prizes that you can win for a mere $10 donation to our charity cause. 100% of which (after costs for infrastructure), I might add, go directly to the poor farmers of Lesotho that we have chosen to support. You... continue reading


WBW#40 Roundup Has Been Posted: P.S. We Love You

Doesn't it seem to you like folks with the name "Junior" and "Little Joe" always end up having bad attitudes? When you're called "little" anything for most of you're life it's not surprising that you might have something to prove to the world -- a little chip on the shoulder about playing second fiddle to someone or something else. Personally, I think Petite Sirah has got the same sort of complex. Always being known as the "Little Syrah" (no matter how you spell it) has got to suck. It's no wonder that this little grape packs a big wallop of... continue reading


Book Review: At Home in the Vineyard by Susan Sokol Blosser

Review by Tim Patterson. Oregon's Sokol Blosser Winery prides itself on a number of "firsts" it has scored over the years, for everything from its wine to its architecture. Now co-founder Susan Sokol Blosser has written the first account of the rise of Oregon wine by a pioneering industry insider, and it's a good one. When Susan and her husband, Bill (the whole scheme was his idea) planted their first vines in 1971, they had none of the relevant skills and experience—no background in growing grapes, making wine, or running a business. They, and a lot of other people in... continue reading


Vinography Images: Moving Through The Vineyard

Moving Through The Vineyard "This image was made at Hawkeye Mountain Vineyard in Sonoma. This shot was an attempt to capture a bit of my experience as the photographer that day. As I work in the vineyards I move really quickly through the landscape, trying out different vantage points along the mountain, and trying to keep up with the fast-moving fog. This image captures a bit of that rush to discover shots in every direction." -- Michael Regnier INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking (Mac users, click and hold) on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save... continue reading


2005 Storrs Winery Petite Sirah, Santa Cruz Mountains

I don't know who said it, but in the last few years I've heard it uttered that the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA is quite possibly the most underrated wine growing region in California. I'm not sure if I'm confident or encyclopedic enough in my knowledge of California wine to affirm that statement, but in my experience there's definitely something to that claim. The winegrowers and winemakers of the Santa Cruz mountains suffer from the same obscurity that a lot of winemakers in other AVAs do throughout the state, simply by virtue of not being in Napa or Sonoma. I also... continue reading


What's In a Name? The AVA Creation Process 2.0

I don't think I've ever had so many e-mails asking me to specifically write about a certain topic here on Vinography. In the past few weeks I've gotten a raft of requests to address the issue that we may refer to in the future as Calistogate 2007. Regular readers may remember the news that the government indefinitely suspended the process by which new AVA's (American Viticultural Areas) were created. They did this because of a quagmire surrounding the imminent approval of a new AVA in the Napa Valley covering the Calistoga area. The idea being that Calistoga would become the... continue reading


A Menu For Hope 2007: Win Some Wine Prizes!!

How would you like to go a luxury wine vacation all the while knowing that you're enjoying Napa luxury because you helped to feed some hungry kids in Lesotho, Africa? That, my friends, is the beauty of the charity event called A Menu For Hope. This is the fourth year of A Menu For Hope, the grassroots charity event for wine and food bloggers that started in response to the horrible Tsunamis of 2004. Last year's event raised more than $60,000 for the UN's World Food Programme, which set the stage for this year's remarkable event. Because of our success... continue reading


Book Review: Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy

Review by Bill Rohwer. With dozens of wine regions, hundreds of grape varieties, and several overlapping classification systems, Italian wine is not a subject for the faint of heart. The authors of Vino Italiano certainly have the credentials to write an authoritative account. Joseph Bastianich co-owns (with Mario Batali, who lived and cooked in Italy for some years) five Italian restaurants and an Italian wine shop in New York City, as well as owning two Italian wineries, one in Toscana, another in Friuli; David Lynch is the wine director at one of these restaurants and a prolific wine writer.... continue reading


Vinography Images: Directional Rows

Directional Rows "This image was made at Couger Mountain Vineyard in Sonoma, and for me it's all about the starkness of the vines and the trees in the fog. Winter remains my favorite time to shoot in the vineyards, if only for its ability to turn landscape into sculpture." -- 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... 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

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Most Recent Entries

Happy New Year From Vinography Tamanohikari Shuzo "Yuki Hiryo Shiyo Bizen Omachi 100%" Junmai Daiginjo, Kyoto Prefecture Book Review: Sweet Wines by James Peterson Vinography Images: Row of Lights Merry Christmas from Vinography J Vineyards, Russian River Valley: Current Releases The Current State of Wine Blogging Last Chance To Win! Raffle Extended Thru Sunday In Search of Some Good Sake Book Review: Hip Tastes by Courtney Cochran

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