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~ February 2008 Archives ~

 

02.29.2008

The Great Sipping Sound of Hong Kong

Mark my words: China is the next big thing when it comes to wine. Wine consumption that is. I've had more than a few Chinese wines that make it clear that they've got a long way to go when it comes to making decent table wine, but when it comes to drinking wine, China is moving up fast in the ranks of wine consumers. As China mints more millionaires every week, international business hubs like Hong Kong and Shanghai are exploding as centers for spending the newfound wealth of the nation's richest citizens. Increasingly, a share of that cash seems... continue reading

02.28.2008

My Life as Lawbreaker, Caught in the Crosshairs

You all remember WineGate, right? The brouhaha of eight weeks ago surrounding Wine.Com's actions against its competitors and consumers in general? Well just when it was starting to fade into memory, the infamous Mr. Wolf, recently immortalized in the New York Times as the upright spokesman for the WSWA (Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America -- the bad guys), released a press release and sent a letter to state governments all across America. Perhaps not so coincidentally, this letter was released on the same day that the Specialty Wine Retailers Association -- the good guys -- were having their annual... continue reading

02.27.2008

2001 Benanti "Pietramarina" Bianco Superiore, Etna DOC, Sicily

I try to avoid getting into discussions about terroir for the same reasons I avoid arguing about religion: no one has any proof, but everyone seems to have strong opinions. I tend to share my own opinions only amongst those whom I have pre-screened as like-minded when it comes to issues of how and whether wines can actually taste of the place from which they come. Regardless of whether you are a believer or not, and independent of what elements of its origin you truly believe can be expressed in a wine, perhaps you can agree with me that at... continue reading

02.26.2008

What Wine Goes with Recession?

If the election buzzphrase in the early 1990s was "It's the economy, stupid!" in 2008 that might be revised to, "it's the stupid economy!" Everyone is in a tizzy these days, and rightfully so. America is going through a rough patch that many believe is the culmination of decades of bad financial habits on a national level, not the least of which is our tendency to spend beyond our means on the level of the individual and the government. Housing prices plummet, foreclosures rise, the dollar weakens, consumer confidence wavers, and of course, all business sectors are beginning to think,... continue reading

02.24.2008

The Best Cabernet in Napa: Tasting Premiere Napa Valley 2008

One of my favorite events each year involves the opportunity to sample some of the best wines that Napa produces in a given vintage. At Premiere Napa Valley, an auction that serves as the world's most expensive "bake sale" to support the efforts of the non-profit Napa Valley Vintners Association, journalists like me get a chance to sneak a taste of hundreds of unique wines that are purchased by the nation's top wine retailers at staggeringly high prices. This year, as every year, 200 member wineries each crafted a unique auction lot of wine that in most cases represents the... continue reading

02.23.2008

New York Wine Expo & Tasting: March 7-8th, New York

Regular readers know that I regularly post about large public wine events here on Vinography, which I believe are some of the best ways to educate one's palate and learn about great new wines. Unfortunately for many of my East Coast readers, most of the major wine events of this sort tend to take place on the West Coast. Strangely, while it is rife with store-based tastings, winemaker dinners, and private tastings, New York generally does not play host to large public tastings in quite the same way. Until now. Wine lovers that live in or near New York should... continue reading

02.22.2008

All You Can Drink Wine Bars? I'm Moving to Germany!

OK. Not really. But Germany now seems to be the dream destination for either those who enjoy an evening with wine, or those with a serious binge drinking problem. According to a New York Times Travel section piece earlier in the month, an enterprising Berliner named Jurgen Stumpf has opened four wine bars in which patrons rent a glass at a price of one Euro, drink as much wine as they want throughout the evening, and simply pay what they think they owe at the end of the night. In paranoid and parochial America, this sounds completely insane -- a... continue reading

02.21.2008

Vinography Images: Rainy Tree and Vines

Rainy Tree and Vines "I shot this a couple of weeks ago in Sonoma on a typical rainy winter day. This time of year the vineyards are greening and the trees are still skeletal without their leaves. I liked the way this trees branches reached down towards the vines." -- 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

02.20.2008

Book Review: A Wine Miscellany by Graham Harding

Review by Jessica Yadegaran. Did you know that the world's oldest single vine is in the Slovenian city of Maribor? Or that the Italian Ministry of Justice supports a Roman jail's production of Novello wines to the tune of $600,000? And how about this: the world's largest wine list belongs to Bern's Steak House in Florida. The restaurant stocks half a million bottles and employs ten wine waiters. Gems like these make up Graham Harding's A Wine Miscellany: A Jaunt Through the Whimsical World of Wine. Harding, chairman of the Oxford Wine Club and director of a specialist wine importer,... continue reading

02.19.2008

Napa, at the Threshold of Spring

Today I am reminded why this is my favorite time of year in Napa. While the vines slumber, the rest of the valley moves visibly towards Spring. Already, the mustard lies heavily layered amongst the rows of vines, whose recently pruned silhouettes look like clutching fingers trying to escape their plush yellow beds. Piles of vine canes, the subtractions of last years growth, lie tied and sometimes burning in bundles at the edges of vineyards, and wispy plumes of smoke rise and fade in the still air. At this time of year, there seems to be no mid-day. The light... continue reading

02.18.2008

The American Wine Blog Awards Have Begun

You, dear reader, are here because you "get it." You understand (or if not you still hope to understand) what is the point of a wine blog in the first place. You're out there (here?) enjoying finding out about wine and exploring your passion in a new medium. Chances are, if you're like many readers, this is only one of several wine blogs that you read, or at least check in with from time to time. We wine bloggers thank you for your continued support, and in that spirit of support I would like to urge you to participate in... continue reading

02.17.2008

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture

Many of us drink wine as a portal to a sense of place and time -- to be transported through flavor and aroma to a patch of land and the cumulative effects of a season under the sun in our glasses. No matter what your definition or personal religious stance on the concept of terroir, it cannot be denied that the best wines convey some sense of locality. Sake, on the other hand, tends to defy our traditional notions of terroir. Of course, there's certainly an analogue to wine's sense of place -- the specific spring water, the particular strain... continue reading

02.15.2008

WBW#42 Roundup Has Been Posted: 7 Word Wine Reviews

I seem to recall from back in college that a wacky English professor once held a class called "Generative Devices," which was all about imposing strange constraints on the creative process in order to generate more interesting results. What sort of strange constraints? How about writing a whole novel without using the letter "e"? Writing wine reviews without the letter "e" would be tough, as there's a lot of cherry, berry, and other such aromas that would be sorely missed. However, there are other ways to creatively constrain the process of writing wine reviews. One such constraint was the theme... continue reading

02.14.2008

2004 Swanson Merlot, Oakville, Napa

People travel all sorts of roads to get to Napa Valley. Napa is a refuge for those who can afford to pay for their dreams (with both time and money), and is therefore a place that many choose to reincarnate themselves as winemakers or winery owners after quite storied careers elsewhere. It is also a place that some families begin new legacies for their younger generations. The Swanson family comes to wine, rather uniquely, through what some might consider the antithesis of Napa's California cuisine: frozen TV dinners. Yes, Swanson Frozen TV Dinners. If that four word phrase doesn't ring... continue reading

02.13.2008

Oops, I Ordered Screaming Eagle.

Have you ever ordered the wrong wine accidentally at a restaurant and ended up paying the price? If you eat out enough and order wine off the list, chances are this has happened to you at least once. However it takes a certain amount of carelessness to accidentally order a $2000 bottle of wine accidentally instead of one that costs $110. But that's precisely what a New York diner did a while back, and they recently wrote to the New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni, to ask what was the appropriate thing to do in this situation. Specifically, what... continue reading

02.11.2008

Wine Marketing Techniques That Need to Stop

OK industry folks, listen up. You've all got products to sell. You need to make a living and feed your kids. But there are good ways to market wine, and there are stupid ways. It's time to end the stupidity. California Wine Month, Year, Decade, Day, Afternoon Which brilliant lobbyist or bored politician came up with this idea? For years I've been trying to figure out what the hell the idea behind this non-event actually is. So let me get this straight. The governor puts his signature on a piece of paper (which he probably doesn't even read). Then a... continue reading

02.10.2008

Spring Mountain Vineyard, Napa: Current Releases

Friends and acquaintances often ask for recommendations on where to go in Napa, and I always tailor my response to my understanding of how serious they seem about wine. The majority of such petitioners are just looking to have a bit of the "Napa experience" and so I send them to a mix of my favorite wineries on the valley floor that are easy to find, and that produce wines in various styles and price points. For those who are serious about wine, and want to spend the entire day tasting some of the best wine they can, I always... continue reading

02.08.2008

La Paulee Grand Burgundy Tasting: March 1st, San Francisco

Every budding wine lover faces what can often seem like a daunting mountain to climb. There are so many wines in the world to learn about and experience, it's not hard to feel overwhelmed. It's also quite common to feel a certain sense of frustration, the kind characterized by an ambition that far outstrips our own means to fulfill it. Many of the wines that passionate wine lovers wish they could taste are simply out of reach -- too rare, too popular, and too expensive. When I was first starting out in my journey down the roads of wine, the... continue reading

02.07.2008

Vinography Images: The Mustard

The Mustard "This image was shot just a week ago in Sonoma. The vineyards have recently been pruned, and as usual for this time of year, the mustard flowers are starting to burst forth between the rows." -- 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... continue reading

02.05.2008

The Best Zinfandel in California: Tasting at ZAP 2008

I never cease to be amazed at the power of Zinfandel. At the last major Pinot Tasting in San Francisco, I thought to myself that maybe, just maybe, Pinot Noir had unseated Zinfandel as the most exciting grape for the Bay Area wine drinking public. But who was I kidding. I simply just didn't remember the extent of the reveling hordes that descend on San Francisco's Fort Mason Center for the event known as ZAP. When I emerged for a breath of fresh air from the trade and media portion of the tasting, the line to get in to the... continue reading

02.04.2008

Why Do Wines Go On Sale?

I get a lot of e-mails from readers, most of which are cheers (and a few jeers) but surprisingly (and perhaps thankfully) I don't get a lot of general questions about wine. I, like every wine writer, definitely get the occasional "I found this bottle in my attic of 1979 Gallo Chablis, is it worth anything?" but not that many people write in with interesting questions like this one I got yesterday:I've been a regular reader of your blog, and thought maybe I could suggest to you this question that has sort of nagged me for awhile. So here goes......... continue reading

02.03.2008

Book Review: Love by the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher

People fall in love with wine every day, and many never realize that it is happening. They just wake up one day and they can't imagine a life without it. Frankly, the same is true when we're talking about the people that we love -- unless there's a bolt from the blue, much of the time we never even realize just when, exactly, we started loving the person that we end up spending the rest of our lives with. The mysterious pull that wine and love have on our souls is similar enough that it comes as a surprise to... 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

The Great Sipping Sound of Hong Kong My Life as Lawbreaker, Caught in the Crosshairs 2001 Benanti "Pietramarina" Bianco Superiore, Etna DOC, Sicily What Wine Goes with Recession? The Best Cabernet in Napa: Tasting Premiere Napa Valley 2008 New York Wine Expo & Tasting: March 7-8th, New York All You Can Drink Wine Bars? I'm Moving to Germany! Vinography Images: Rainy Tree and Vines Book Review: A Wine Miscellany by Graham Harding Napa, at the Threshold of Spring

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

Archives by Month

 

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.