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~ March 2010 Archives ~



The Champagne and Sparkling Wine Conference: April 16-17, New Orleans

Chances are, you don't drink nearly enough Champagne. I don't either, and I try to make an effort. Chances are you don't know as much about Champagne and other sparkling wines as you do about red, white and rosé. Most people don't. And if you're like most people, you haven't been to New Orleans lately. There's a simple fix to all of the above, and it's called the Independent Champagne and Sparkling Wine Invitational. And just like it sounds, it's a conference (and more importantly, a tasting event) dedicated solely to bubbles. I don't know about you, but to me,... continue reading


Tasting the Artisans of Barossa Wines

I've just spent a couple of days in Australia's Barossa Valley, with its rolling hills of ancient rock worn down to nubs by the sands of time. I arrived in the first real rain of Autumn, the moisture a welcome relief for most everyone in the drought stricken region, and doubly so for the fact that almost all the fruit had been harvested. I came to the Barossa for two reasons. The first was to see some of the classic producers and lay my hands, or at least my eyes, on some of the oldest and some of the most... continue reading


Yarra Yering Winery, Yarra Valley, Australia: Current Releases

The greatest wines of the world are undeniably a product of place, embodying the particular constellation of elements that can be captured by the seeking roots and waving leaves of a grapevine. But some very special wines are as much a product of intense passion and vision as they are of a specific terroir. Someone must choose the land, must drive the posts, must plant the vines, and of course, make the wine. These actions can be done with ordinary dedication or with extraordinary insight, and their results vary accordingly. As I journey through my adventure as a wine lover,... continue reading


Pebble Beach Food and Wine 2010: April 8-11, Pebble Beach, CA

Once upon at time, there was but one major event for food and wine enthusiasts looking to experience some of the top chefs and wines of the United States. The Aspen Food and Wine Classic was the ultimate experience for epicures and wine lovers who could afford to attend the multi-day showcase of taste. Other events equally focused on bringing together fine food and wine and the people who love them have followed. Strangely, for many years none of these events took place in California. Eventually, though, some people realized the travesty represented by this fact, and started an event... continue reading


Castagna Winery, Beechworth, Australia: Current Releases

The little house with a peaked roof pokes up over the crest of the hill, and the vineyards in the back yard spill off to the north and west, like a silk wrap that is slipping off the shoulder. Despite the few acres of vineyards clustered around the newish looking house and barn, with a small patch of garden out back, you wouldn't necessarily know that this was a winery from the dirt lane that connects the small farm with the paved country lane at the bottom of the hill. Indeed, as you open the iron gate at the... continue reading


Some Initial Tastes from Australia

As many of you know, I'm currently tasting my way around Australia. I spent my first three days visiting the Yarra Valley, Beechworth, Heathcote, and the King Valley in the Victoria region surrounding Melbourne. I'm currently finishing up a couple of days in the McLaren Vale outside of Adelaide, and will soon be on my way to the Barossa to complete my tour of South Australia. The weather has been spectacular, the people I've met, fantastic, and the wines, well, that's more complicated. I've had some ordinary, unremarkable, and downright lousy wines. But I've also had some wines that have... continue reading


Wines of Portugal Tasting: April 5th, San Francisco

I'm currently traipsing around Australia and was very interested to meet a winemaker who was excited about the new section of his vineyard that he had planted with grapes like Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz, and others that he planned to use to make a dry red wine in the style of those made in Portugal. Such wines (when they are good) are currently some of the best value red wines on the market today, which is why if I weren't in Australia I would be attending the Wines of Portugal Tasting coming up on April 5th. Known primarily for producing... continue reading


Off to Australia to Taste Some Wine

I'm headed to Australia for almost two weeks to explore the side of the continent I haven't been to. That is, if I can actually get on the plane. Currently I'm stuck in San Francisco thanks to delays and may not make my flight from LA tonight. Ugh. But assuming I do manage to leave the country, I'm headed to the wine regions of Victoria and South Australia, thanks to the help of the folks at Wine Australia and Tourism Australia who are paying for the trip. More specifically, I'm headed to the Yarra Valley, the King Valley, Beechworth, and... continue reading


2010 Rhone Rangers Tasting: March 27-28, San Francisco

I love watching the green buds burst forth on the trees this time of year, hard on the heels of the cherry blossoms. Yes, it's California, so the barest hint of any season gets me excited, but especially Spring. And with Spring in San Francisco comes lots of wine tasting events, and a few really good ones. The Annual Rhone Rangers Tasting in San Francisco is certainly one of the Spring highlights for wine lovers in the Bay Area. Held at Fort Mason, like all the other big tastings, Rhone Rangers offers the change for wine lovers to taste through... continue reading


Brittan Vineyards, Willamette Valley, OR: Inaugural Releases

Expressed briefly, making a great wine is rather quite simple. You find the right piece of ground; you put the right grapes in; you tend them well and harvest them at the right time; and then you smash them together and nudge the product gently away from its tendency towards vinegar. For some people, the most important step is finding the right piece of ground, and for anyone looking to start a winery, it is certainly the first step. It's really important. If you get it wrong, the rest of the stuff doesn't matter. At least, that's the way that... continue reading


San Francisco Vintner's Market: April 10-11, San Francisco

Sometimes you hear an idea and wonder to yourself, exactly why it's taken someone so long to come up with it. And the really good ones make you think, "now why didn't I come up with that?" That's exactly what I thought to myself when I found out about the upcoming San Francisco Vintners Market. It's a farmer's market, but for wine. Simple as that. Walk around, taste a bunch of wines, and buy the ones that you like. So incredibly straightforward it took years for someone to come up with the idea. But now all you gotta do is... continue reading


Where Malbec Comes From: Tasting the Wines of Cahors

One of my greatest pleasures as a wine lover (OK wine geek) is learning about a wine region by tasting a lot of wines. While I prefer to taste on location, there's just no way I can possibly get to all the different places I'd like to learn about until I become independently wealthy or permanently retired (and wealthy). Which really means there are a lot of wine regions I'll never get the chance to visit. Luckily a lot of smaller wine regions are realizing that one way to improve the market for their wines internationally is the "wine roadshow"... continue reading


Vinography Images: The Golden Oak

The Golden Oak One of my favorite features of Northern California vineyards are the majestic oaks that shade many of them, breaking the regularity of the vine rows with their grand reaches -- 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


El Dorado Winery Association Tasting: March 20, San Francisco

One of the trends in the wine industry I'm happiest about involves the increasing initiative that wine regions are taking in making themselves visible to the public. Such activities by individual AVAs, or American Viticultural Areas, produce two important results: increased awareness of the individual region, and increased awareness of the difference between regions for consumers. I'm in full support. Public tasting events are one of the chief ways such wine regions are producing this visibility. These events are not only a lot of fun to go to, they are a wonderful education. While visiting the region is the best... continue reading


An Open Letter to Warren Buffett, Wine and Spirits Distributor

Dear Mr. Buffett, Congratulations on your purchase of Empire Distributing, and roughly 25% of the wine and spirits distribution business in Georgia and North Carolina that came with it. And welcome to the wine and spirits world -- we need more enlightened business people in this industry. I can't say that I've followed your career with precision, but I've read a decent amount about you, and try to read the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report every year. After all, I'm one of your shareholders, and I learn a lot from you and Charlie Munger. In everything I've read, you strike me... continue reading


Wine, Health, Science and Journalism: A Study in Headlines

I consume a lot of wine news. When I say a lot, I mean literally almost everything that's published for free on the Internet about wine "passes by my desk" courtesy of Google Alerts, Technorati, a massive collection of RSS feeds, and more. Increasingly I get the opportunity to see how wine stories develop and spread through the Web's news outlets, and it's quite amazing to watch. Recently I've been watching with fascination as the mainstream press does its usual unraveling of some recently released research results focused on wine drinking in women and weight gain. Specifically, I've been giggling... continue reading


If Your Wine is Organic, Don't Tell Consumers

Apparently, organic wines taste better but consumers don't think they're worth as much money as conventionally produced wines. At least, that's a plausible interpretation of a study conducted by a UCLA professor and her graduate student that was recently published in Business and Society, the official journal of the International Association for Business and Society. Professor Magali Delmas and PhD candidate Laura E. Grant conducted an analysis of 13,426 wines from 1,495 California wineries for eight consecutive vintages from 1998 to 2005. The two tracked correlations between the scores of the wines, their prices, whether they were made from certified... continue reading


Vinography in the Saveur Blog Awards

I found out earlier this week that Saveur Magazine had quietly launched a set of awards to bring attention to the universe of food blogs. They happen to have a wine blog category and Vinography is one of the nominees. The others are Wine Camp, Lenndevours, Good Wine Under $20, and Enobytes -- all friends, and familiar company. None of us makes a living tapping away in our respective little corners of the internet, so, apart from the enthusiasm of our individual readers, such awards are among the few bits of official validation we receive for our efforts. If you... continue reading


Italy's Best Wines: Tasting the Tre Bicchieri 2010

I pride myself on my broad tastes in wine. I like wine from everywhere, and don't believe I have a specific bias towards one region or another. However, each year, that claim is shaken a little as I emerge from what is one of the best wine tasting events held in San Francisco, The Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tasting. For those unfamiliar with the Gambero Rosso, it is essentially an organization focused on the promotion and evaluation of Italian food and wine. Each year the organization publishes a guide by the same name. The Gambero Rosso is the Italian Wine... continue reading


Book Review: Continued Surveillance by Jake Lorenzo

Review by Tim Patterson. Wine writers love Jake Lorenzo's stuff; many wish they could write like him, or more precisely, get away with writing like he does. It's not so much the sheer literary quality of Jake's "mostly true stories of the wine business," the book's subtitle; it's the vantage point and the audacity. Jake Lorenzo is the rare wine writer who views the wine world from inside the industry, not as an outside observer dispensing judgments and scores. Better yet, he freely admits that he and his friends love to get hammered--common enough among wine writers, but rarely the... continue reading


Wine Writers and Social Media: The Panel Video

As some of you know, I spent the week before last at the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in Napa. I published a recap of some of the highlights last week, but as some attendees pointed out, there was a glaring omission: the panel that I moderated that dealt with wine writing and social media. I left it out with the hopes that I would be able to get the video I made of (most of) the panel up online. It took me a while to get the 5 gigabytes of HD video online for your viewing pleasure, but I... 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 Champagne and Sparkling Wine Conference: April 16-17, New Orleans Tasting the Artisans of Barossa Wines Yarra Yering Winery, Yarra Valley, Australia: Current Releases Pebble Beach Food and Wine 2010: April 8-11, Pebble Beach, CA Castagna Winery, Beechworth, Australia: Current Releases Some Initial Tastes from Australia Wines of Portugal Tasting: April 5th, San Francisco Off to Australia to Taste Some Wine 2010 Rhone Rangers Tasting: March 27-28, San Francisco Brittan Vineyards, Willamette Valley, OR: Inaugural 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