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~ January 2010 Archives ~



Dark and Delicious Petite Sirah Tasting: February 19, Alameda, CA

I've referred to it in the past as "the beast." Possessing tannins that need to be tamed through intelligent winemaking, Petite Sirah can truly be a monster of a wine. One of the least-well -known red grape varieties that are commonly grown in California, it does not command legions of rabid followers like those who attended today's ZAP Zinfandel festival, or the loyal drinkers of Cabernet, or even those who swear by Syrah, from which it takes its misleading name. In the right hands, however, Petite Sirah can be a stunning wine -- deep, resonant, and rich. Petite Sirah has... continue reading


Vinography Images: After the Rain

After the Rain It's been awful wet these past few weeks in wine country so I thought I'd share this image from Andy Katz. Perhaps this weekend we'll get a little sun. -- Alder Yarrow INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking 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 to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops. To set the image as your desktop wallpaper, Mac users should follow these... continue reading


Get Paid to Travel the World, Tasting Wine

File this under things I always meant to do but have never gotten around to.... Every year an organization called the Geoffrey Roberts Trust picks several people to give about $5000 to so they can travel someplace in the world to eat, drink, and write about it, or do something that makes a positive difference in the culinary or beverage world. Yes, you heard that right, you could get $5000 towards some fabulous culinary or wine adventure provided you had a good reason to go other than simply wanting to see how much Barolo you could drink before falling over.... continue reading


Book Review: A Year of Wine by Tyler Coleman

Review by Brooke Cheshier. When I first slipped into A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip for Each Season, I worried it would be too formulaic. I am drawn toward in-depth histories (anything by the Kladstrups), poetic memoirs (Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher's Love by the Glass springs to mind), and basically any book that feeds me my wine knowledge indirectly, though story, instead of through instruction. Since I evidently don't like to know I'm receiving an education, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about what was basically a one-year manual for... continue reading


Six Years of Vinography

Have you ever forgotten your own birthday? It just occurred to me yesterday that while I wasn't looking last week, the 6th anniversary of this blog's beginning came and went. It's hard to believe that so much time has passed since I first started tapping away here in my corner of the wine web. The last six years have been a wonderful exploration of my own passion for wine, and a fabulous experience of interacting with a growing body of readers. While Vinography has garnered many accolades and awards, I am most proud of the quality of thought and writing... continue reading


Garagiste Winemakers of Chile: Introducing MOVI

If I were Hugh Johnson or Jancis Robinson, I could clear my throat and begin my story with a distinguished pronouncement about how I've watched several wine regions around the globe evolve from their infancy to later stages of maturity. But I lack the perspective of someone who's been a professional observer of the industry for decades. While I may not be able to tell you how, exactly, I do know that wine regions evolve over the course of their history, and that Chile finds itself in a particular stage of evolution that most regions probably encounter after a few... continue reading


Vinography Images: Between the Rows

Between The Rows I haven't been to Napa in Months, but I'm headed up there in a few weeks and looking forward to sights like this. This time of year the mustard makes for gorgeous scenery, growing up between the rows and catching every ray of light in sight to create a backdrop of glowing yellow for the dark rain-sodden vines -- Alder Yarrow INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking 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... continue reading


Marketing and Branding Do Not a Winery Make

For anyone who hasn't been paying much attention or who doesn't really care, the wine industry going through a rough patch, especially here in California. Actually "rough patch" is a bit of an understatement, but more on that later this week. For now, I'd like to focus on a single, early casualty of the times. As reported in the Press Democrat last week, Roshambo winery will be closing its operations down permanently, and its founder, Naomi Brilliant, will be attaching the winery's name (and attitude) to a little farming operation she has started up on her family's land in the... continue reading


Winners of the Menu For Hope VI Charity Raffle

You folks are phenomenal. Thank you so much for your support. With your generous donations of both prizes and bids for them, we raised $70,900 for the UN World Food Programme. That's a truly remarkable amount of money, and a testament to the passion and generosity of you, my readers, and the blogging community as a whole. If your name appears in the list below as one of the winners, I will be contacting you over the weekend with instructions on how you can claim your prize (I will put you in touch with the folks that offered it, and... continue reading


Jemrose Wines, Bennett Valley, CA: Current Releases

Some people like to go to flea markets, where they will spend hours wandering around the stalls hoping to stumble on something wonderful. I spend hours wandering through huge public wine tastings in much the same way, and every once in a while I stumble across a winery that I've never heard of nor seen before, whose wines pull the needle off the record and bring me up short in breathless surprise. When I first tasted the wines from Jemrose in just such a fashion, they immediately impressed me, not just because they were so high quality, but also because... continue reading


Vinography Images: The New Green

The New Green For the most part in the Northern Hemisphere, the vines are sleeping -- their long bare canes waving in the winter wind. Soon those will fall under the deft hands and sharp blades of workers who will leave the vines ready for the new growth that will burst forth in the coming months. Andy Katz gives us a preview of what is to come -- Alder Yarrow INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save... continue reading


ZAP Zinfandel Festival 2010: January 28-30, San Francisco

It's that time of year again. I know of no other event that seems to bring out the inner wine lover in so many San Franciscans more than the annual ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) Festival. It never ceases to amaze me how many people turn out with such enthusiasm for this single varietal festival. Don't get me wrong. I love Zinfandel -- unabashedly so. But I tend to forget how many other people do too. Especially those that live in San Francisco. Of course it's not just San Franciscans that turn out for this one-of-a-kind weekend. People come from... continue reading


2001 Renaissance Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, North Yuba

Every time I review a wine from some little producer whose wines I adore, I experience a pang of regret, because I know that by writing about these wineries and their wines, I only make them more expensive and harder to acquire for myself (and others). I do occasionally get e-mails from ticked off wine lovers bemoaning the fact that I've divulged one of their secret sources for great wine. But that's just an occupational hazard for me, and doesn't outweigh the joy of being able to say things like this: Listen up people. There is some seriously amazing wine... continue reading


Book Review: In Search of Bacchus by George M. Taber

Great travel writing should do more than simply paint a picture of distant locations and suggest how they may be experienced. At its best, the travelogue should transcend its itinerary and offer a deeper, more meaningful narrative than one might expect to experience themselves should they find themselves in the writer's footsteps one day. George Taber's new book, In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism, ultimately fails to satisfy. That the book should be so ordinary and uninspiring was a huge surprise given the tremendous enjoyment I got out of the author's previous two works,... continue reading


Boston Wine Expo 2010: January 23-24, Boston

Wine lovers in Beantown, listen up. Right about now you may be wondering just what you're doing freezing your keisters off in the depths of yet another winter. But January provides at least one good reason: the Boston Wine Expo. There are very few reasons that I'd venture out to Boston in the middle of winter, but let me tell you, the Boston Wine Expo is almost enough of a reason for me to jet on out there from San Francisco. Almost, but not quite. However, if I lived anywhere within 100 miles of the Boston, I would be at... continue reading


Vinography Images: Fall Leaves

Fall Leaves One of the things that I miss most about where I grew up in Colorado is the Fall colors. The Aspen trees as shocks of gold in clearings between the dark firs always bring a smile to my face. The closest I get in California these days are the changing of the leaves in wine country. This image captures so well the beauty of the light and the leaves and the carpet of gold and red that can give me a little solace in Autumn. -- Alder Yarrow INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image... continue reading


La Paulee 2010 Grand Burgundy Tasting: March 13, 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


How Wineries Will Fail in the 21st Century

As some of you know, I'm in the process of helping to write a book. It's not my book, per se, but I'm one of a group of authors that are helping to create a massive global wine atlas that will cover the world's major wine regions. I'm the guy in charge of Sonoma and Marin counties. I've spent the last couple months doing a lot of tasting, a lot of digging through my past tasting notes, and a lot of reaching out to wineries to verify addresses, etc. And what I've experienced in the process is quite shocking. The... continue reading


2007 Potel-Aviron Fleurie Vielles Vignes, Beaujolais, France

Should one of your New Years' resolutions be to broaden your wine horizons without breaking your wine budget, one of the places worth exploring would certainly be Beaujolais. Much maligned, or at the very least avoided -- and rightly so -- by many wine lovers whose experience with Beaujolais consists of a glass of banana-scented Nouveau in November, the region actually produces some truly wonderful wines that can be tremendous values. The Beaujolais region has seen a renaissance of winemaking in the past decade, with many serious, small producers trying to make wines that have much more in common with... continue reading


Menu For Hope Closed at $77,900!

You people are awesome. Thanks to your help as donors, bidders, and all around generous humanitarians, as of midnight on 12/31/09 when the Menu for Hope raffle closed, we raised $77,900 for the UN World Food Programme. Every single cent of that money is going to poor farmers in Africa, and you deserve a round of applause. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now, the waiting begins. Check back here on Vinography or on Chez Pim on January 18th for the announcement of the winners! Hope your 2010 is off to a wonderful start. Thanks to you, mine most certainly... continue reading


Errazuriz Winery, Chile: Current Releases

The Aconcagua valley presents the first time visitor with a surreal vista. From the flattened floodplain of the valley floor, mountains rise steeply on either side but only their rocky peaks are visible. Starting only a short distance down from their spires, and extending all the way to valley below, the mountains are wreathed in a bumpy, dense green outgrowth that makes them look like they've been carpeted with a dark Astroturf on a grand scale. How someone figured out that they could grow avocados on slopes so steep I'd love to know. But once upon a time they did,... 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

Dark and Delicious Petite Sirah Tasting: February 19, Alameda, CA Vinography Images: After the Rain Get Paid to Travel the World, Tasting Wine Book Review: A Year of Wine by Tyler Coleman Six Years of Vinography Garagiste Winemakers of Chile: Introducing MOVI Vinography Images: Between the Rows Marketing and Branding Do Not a Winery Make Winners of the Menu For Hope VI Charity Raffle Jemrose Wines, Bennett Valley, CA: Current Releases

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