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~ August 2010 Archives ~



Give Them Some Wine!

The thought of being trapped underground for any length of time is enough to send some people off the deep end. The thought of being trapped underground for 3 months without any wine is a whole different ball game. In the event you missed the news, an underground landslide has trapped 33 Chilean miners about 700 meters underground since August 5th. Already the group has been trapped longer than any other in history. The miners are miraculously in good health and reasonably good spirits. One of them has proposed to his girlfriend. They've made videos for the world. They're getting... continue reading


Vinography Images: Winemaker's Cottage

Winemaker's Cottage This is a photograph of the cottage where the winemaker for J. Bouchon winery lives in Chile's Maule Valley. I never really imagine myself as a winemaker or winegrower (I'd much rather just drink the stuff, and I tend to kill plants) but if I were so inclined, I'd definitely want to live in the middle of my vineyards. It seems to me that if you are going to tie your livelihood to plants, and if you aspire to grow them to the peak of perfection, you should live with them for as much of your day... continue reading


2008 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese, Mosel, Germany

There are a few categories of wine that qualify for the designation of "I just don't drink nearly enough of this stuff" in my house, and one of the top candidates is German Riesling. When it's good, it's just so damn good. It goes so well with food, and it makes you happy. What's not to love? Of course, to the uninitiated (and that applied to me about six years ago) it can be an intimidating landscape to navigate. The inscrutable labels, the different levels of sweetness, the unfamiliar quality designations -- they all contribute to an unease for many... continue reading


This Year's Candidates for the Vintners Hall of Fame

Many of you had a lot of things to say a couple of months ago when I wrote a post entitled Who Should Be in the Vintners Hall of Fame? It was great to see such a passionate tide of enthusiasm for inducting various winemakers and historical wine personalities. Those of us that make up the nominating committee talked a lot about many of the names suggested, and about many of the names that weren't suggested, and after much debate and voting, we've come up with the names for this years ballot. That ballot has been mailed out to the... continue reading


Joy of Sake Tasting 2010: San Francisco 9/9, and NYC 9/23

I absolutely love the fact that we've reached a point in this country where I don't need to explain why a sake tasting in San Francisco or New York might be an enjoyable way to spend an evening. In the six and a half years since I've been writing this blog, sake has gone from obscure to obvious, hardly known to hip. The availability and visibility of sake in the US has blossomed, driving by fine dining establishments and the increasing popularity of all things Japanese. Despite this, however, the average wine lovers' knowledge of sake is extremely limited, mostly... continue reading


1997 Calera Wine Company "Mills Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Mt. Harlan, CA

Those of you who know me well understand the soft spot I have in my heart for iconoclastic winemakers. The crazier the better, in my book, but at the very least, so steadfastly committed to their idea of what makes for great wine that they're willing to persist in their quest even when everyone else says they are nuts. And that's exactly what most people said when they spotted Josh Jensen driving up and down California in his beat-up Volkswagen stopping here and there to get out of the car and sprinkle hydrochloric acid on the ground -- even those... continue reading


Taste of Beverly Hills: September 2-5, Beverly Hills, CA

Food and Wine Magazine knows when it's onto a good thing. Building on the success of the long running and incredibly popular Aspen Food and Wine Classic, the magazine (actually it's publisher, American Express) has branched out to bring a similar, if somewhat abbreviated version to South Beach in Florida, and has become a major sponsor of the Pebble Beach Food and Wine event in Carmel, California And now Food and Wine magazine has launched the Taste of Beverly Hills, a four-day extravaganza of food, wine, cocktails and music at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Attendees to the event will have... continue reading


Vinography Images: Southern Pinot

Southern Pinot One of my greatest regrets from my trip to Chile last year was that I didn't have the time to get down to the tiny region of Biobio to check out one of the new frontiers of extreme winegrowing. One of the most southerly winegrowing regions in the world, this small, cool appellation has begun to yield some very interesting fruit, but perhaps of most interest is the Pinot Noir, shown here in all its Fall harvest glory. There aren't many wineries down in Biobio, but many top producers are starting to put in vineyards there, so... continue reading


The Philosophy of Wabi-Sabi and Wine

Perhaps as unlikely as it may seem, one of the keys to my appreciation of wine lies in an esoteric principle at the heart of Japanese culture and philosophy. The 18 months I spent living in Japan were among the most intense of my life, and some of the most rewarding. I developed a deep appreciation for many aspects of the Japanese culture (not to mention the food), even at the limited level of understanding I was able to cultivate without speaking the language beyond the first-grade-level tourist vocabulary I attained by the time I left. In particular, I am... continue reading


A Glass of Wine to Keep You Sane

I've long said that wine helps me maintain my sanity. Well it turns out I may have been more right than I know. Researchers have recently discovered that while it doesn't necessarily make me smarter (damn!), it may help me stave off dementia or whatever special breed of insanity waits for me in my old age. Chalk up another superpower for wine. Of course like all studies, this one has its limitations. Thankfully it wasn't performed on lab rats, but actually featured real people. Norweigans, specifically -- about 5000 of them. So the surest way to make sure that your... continue reading


Judging Lake County Wine

I'm up in the heart of California's Lake County, in the Guenoc Valley, in the process of tasting somewhere around 150 different Lake County wines over the next 36 hours. I'm a judge at the second annual People's Choice Wine Awards here in Lake County. This event is fairly unique as wine competitions go. A panel of judges picks a group of top wines in several categories, and then about a month later, they are showcased blind at an event for the public, and the top wine in each category is selected by popular vote. I'm participating as a judge... continue reading


Henschke Wines, Eden Valley, Australia: Some Current Releases

While many may argue about just which individual wine represents Australia's finest expression of Shiraz, few could argue that when considering top producers of Australian Shiraz, Henschke shouldn't be on the short list. For more than 140 years, across five generations, the Henschke family has been growing grapes and making wine in a little corner of the hills surrounding the Barossa Valley. For the last 30 years, the winery has been run by Stephen Henschke and his wife Prue, with increasing help from their children. The history of the Henschke family is in many ways the history of the Barossa... continue reading


2010 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, September 3-5, Healdsburg

Most people, when they come visit me in San Francisco and ask to be taken to wine country, assume that they're going to Napa. But at least half the time, that's definitely not where we end up. My well meaning friends aren't the only ones who seem to forget that Northern California has many different "wine countries." Napa casts a long shadow, as it were. I've got a bit of love for every piece of wine country we've got here in California, but there's a special place in my heart for Sonoma County, both because it is the place of... continue reading


Are You an Imbibing Idiot?

Thank goodness for the Internet, as we all need a good laugh now and then. In the latest round of research that makes you scratch your head and wonder, "what on earth were they after?" it turns out that people who order a glass of wine at lunch during a job interview are stupid. Or more accurately, ordering a glass of wine while you're in the middle of a job interview (and you happen to be in a restaurant or bar, that is) will cause most people to unconsciously think you're dumber than you are. Nevermind that drinking while in... continue reading


Vinography Images: Sunset Valley

Sunset Valley This is a great view of the Aconcagua valley, one of the more stunning wine regions in Chile. Dotted with small towns alongside the river, with stark mountain slopes that spring up steeply from the alluvial plains, if you like wine (and avocados, which grow on nearly every slope not planted with grapevines) the Aconcagua valley is an Eden of sorts. -- 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... continue reading


Introducing Photographer Matt Wilson

One of my little side projects around here is to bring you beautiful images of vineyard and wine country landscapes on a fairly regular basis under the banner "Vinography Images." I've had year-long partnerships with some of the best wine photographers in the world, and I'm thrilled to introduce my latest partnership with photographer Matt Wilson. I first encountered Wilson through his portraits of some of Chile's youngest winemakers, and went on to enjoy his excellent landscapes of South American vineyards. Matt lives in Chile and has photographed all over Chile and Argentina, as well as other wine regions around... continue reading


2008 Clos de los Siete Red Wine, Mendoza, Argentina

Fifty miles south of the city of Mendoza the valley of Tunuyan feels less like a valley and more like a vast, kneeling supplicant to the immediate, looming bulk of the Northern Andes mountains. Though the valley floor is massive -- sweeping away from the jagged, snow capped peaks in every possible direction as if it were trying to get out of the way of their falling bulk -- you never get the sense that it is very flat. No matter where you stand, the world seems to be constantly tipping up towards (or down away from, as the case... continue reading


Wine Provides Superpowers

I knew it. I just knew it. It was only a matter of time before science finally caught on to something I've known all along: if I drink enough wine, I get superpowers. Scientists have been getting closer and closer to this discovery for years. Why just a few days ago I got definitive proof that all this red wine I'm drinking will make me live longer and be healthier. But up until recently scientists still hadn't managed to unearth the true secret properties of wine that have given me the power to tell really funny jokes, be more attractive... continue reading


The Mysteries of Time and Wine and What Matt Kramer is Missing

Wine writer Matt Kramer has long been the primary reason I subscribe to the Wine Spectator. I really enjoy his use of words as well as his sensibilities when it comes to the world of wine. The piece he published today on the Wine Spectator web site (which for some reason I cannot fathom, is actually readable by the general public for once) is a great example. While it rambles a little more than usual for him, his article "What Makes a Wine Ageworthy" captures part of the essence of what makes wine magical, namely that some wines, given time,... continue reading


Tentaka "Silent Stream" Junmai Daiginjo, Tochigi Prefecture

I'll admit it. It's probably been at least six months since I've had sake in my mouth. In part, I think that's because even more than wine, I find sake a contemplative drink, and one that is best sipped serenely over a long evening. I haven't had that many evenings recently, and even though tonight wasn't particularly a special night, I opened a nice bottle to go with the steamed fish that we were eating. There are some clever, even inspiring winery names in the wine world, but for some reason I find the stories behind how sake breweries get... continue reading


2010 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 22, San Francisco

Size isn't everything, they say, but sometimes it's mighty impressive. The yearly Family Winemakers tasting in San Francisco has as one of its many claims to fame that it is the single largest tasting of California wines in the world. That alone would not be reason for excitement, were it not for the generally exceptional quality of the wines that are on offer, year after year. This year is the 20th anniversary of the tasting. Regular readers know that this tasting is one of my favorites every year. It provides an opportunity to sample the wares of smaller, family-run wineries,... 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

Give Them Some Wine! Vinography Images: Winemaker's Cottage 2008 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese, Mosel, Germany This Year's Candidates for the Vintners Hall of Fame Joy of Sake Tasting 2010: San Francisco 9/9, and NYC 9/23 1997 Calera Wine Company "Mills Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Mt. Harlan, CA Taste of Beverly Hills: September 2-5, Beverly Hills, CA Vinography Images: Southern Pinot The Philosophy of Wabi-Sabi and Wine A Glass of Wine to Keep You Sane

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