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~ October 2010 Archives ~



Pinot Days Tasting 2010: November 11-13, Chicago

While those of us on the West Coast are still lingering in the illusion of Autumn, the chill has descended upon the shores of Lake Michigan, and Chicagoans must be sure they're drinking red wine, both to warm themselves, and to steel themselves psychologically for the punishment of Winter. In November, however, there's one particular red wine that most folks in the Windy City should be drinking: Pinot Noir. Once upon a time there were only a few big-time, high-quality wine events around the country, and they tended to cluster heavily on the two coasts. These days, however, we are... continue reading


Book Review: Matt Kramer on Wine by Matt Kramer

Review by Tim Patterson. In contrast to his string of useful and successful Making Sense volumes -- Making Sense of Wine, of Burgundy, of California Wine, etc. -- Matt Kramer On Wine is a collection of short articles, written over the years for Wine Spectator, Decanter, and other publications. Rather than offering a sustained treatment of a single region or subject, this volume showcases Kramer's three-decade mastery of the art of the truly interesting and intelligent wine column. For those who have kept up with Kramer, the book can be the occasion for re-immersion; for those who haven't, it's an... continue reading


Vinography Images: The Coming Storm

The Coming Storm This image of a post-harvest vineyard in the face of a coming storm in Chile's Colchagua valley seemed in keeping with the waves of rain that are rolling off the Pacific here in California, making for a tricky dance for most vintners who still have fruit out in the vineyards. Will it get sunny here at the end of October, or will those who didn't get all the fruit in by now live to regret the decision? We shall see. In the meantime, we watch the clouds gather. -- Alder Yarrow INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by... continue reading


San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival: November 17-21, San Diego

I'm pretty sure at one point I've joked with someone that "San Diego is a pretty nice town, it's just a little too far from wine country." It's hard not to love San Diego's climate and atmosphere, but historically, it hasn't exactly been high on any epicure's list of destinations. Apparently that is changing pretty rapidly, though, as America's obsession with food continues to spiral to new heights, and the dining scene continues to evolve. There has never been a shortage of wine and food lovers in the town, however, which explains why, for the past six years, the folks... continue reading


Too Much (Bad?) Muscadet or Evil Taxes?

I read with some dismay this morning, a news article in Decanter Magazine about sixty growers in the Loire Valley's Muscadet appellation going bankrupt in the past few months, and the imminent danger of perhaps hundreds more following suit. It's never nice to hear about folks in the wine industry suffering calamities such as this, but I have to wonder if there isn't a certain amount of inevitability about it. Like every major economic incident these days, this one has its roots in globalization, and the complexities it adds to market operations. Some folks might say that the Muscadet region... continue reading


The Best Wines of the Year?: Taste Testing the Wine & Spirits Top 100

The difference between a good public wine tasting and a bad one can be quite dramatic. The bad ones are in crappy locations, are poorly organized, offer no food, and only mediocre wines. The good ones are, well, just the opposite -- nicely organized, well catered, and offer great wines. And the best ones? Well, they throw in a jazz quartet, and all you can eat oyster bar, a dessert bar, and wines that sometimes retail for hundreds of dollars, if you can find them, at all. And that's just what you get at the annual Wine and Spirits Top... continue reading


Vinography Images: Pruning Leaves

Pruning Leaves Harvest involves a flurry of activity in the vineyard in preparation for the crews that move through in darkness to begin removing fruit. This image shows workers in Chile's Maule Valley removing leaves from the vines just before harvest, to get one last little bit of sun on the grapes, as well as to make it easier for the crews (or the machines) to do their early morning work. -- 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... continue reading


2007 Freestone Vineyards "Ovation" Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast

Most people aren't aware that I grew up, at least partially, in Sonoma County. My parents split up pretty early on, and I moved with my mother to Colorado. But starting at the age of five, I would come out to visit my dad during the summer in the little town of Bodega, and spend my time chasing around the sheep ranch where he still lives. As a kid I knew Sonoma County was wine country. Mostly because whenever my dad's parents would come visit during the summer, we'd all pack into Grandpa's car, and trundle off to Rodney Strong... continue reading


There's Good Wine Problems. And Bad Ones.

I'm sure most of us would love to be in the position of the Japanese government, who recently discovered that they had too much expensive wine on their hands. Apparently entertaining with wine is serious business if you're a Japanese diplomat. At least, that is, if you're in France or New York. Apparently the Japanese mission in France kept 7896 bottles on hand at the Ambassador's residence "just in case." Official embassy records show them serving only 289 bottles to guests last year, according to Japan Today. Having too many bottles of wine is really only a problem if you... continue reading


San Francisco Fall Vintners Market: November 20-21, 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 first heard about the San Francisco Vintners Market last year. 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. The first version was held in... continue reading


Vinography Images: Punchdown

Punchdown There's an awful lot of this going on around the Northern Hemisphere. Harvest is in full swing, especially for those grapes that tend to be left to hang a bit longer like Syrah, and Cabernet. This is the view down into a vat of Merlot. It's a view that winemakers probably get a little tired of, but for those of us who don't see it too regularly, it's quite delicious. -- 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... continue reading


2007 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateuneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Rhone Valley, France

My love of deeply complex white wines has been growing for some time. I'm not sure exactly when I learned that there was more to white wine than Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, but ever since then, I have been seeking out white wines, and especially white blends, that lean towards the profound. I'd be hard pressed to pick a clear favorite among the bevy of beauties that fit the aforementioned description, but certainly one of the top contenders would be the white wines of the the southern Rhone Valley, and in particular this wine from Chateau de Beaucastel, Known for... continue reading


Don't Worship Your Wine. Just Drink It.

ome parts of this wine world are utterly ridiculous sometimes. Mostly, it's the luxury parts. Something odd happens when you cross the threshold into the domain of those for whom no wine is too expensive or rare to own, and for whom the full contents of the cellar tends only to be known to accountants. Call it a reality distortion field, a special brand of collector obsessive compulsive disorder, or just plain madness, but people can have pretty odd relationships with their wine cellars when they get above 10,000 bottles. Witness the recent article in Decanter magazine about British rock... continue reading


How to Send Wine Samples to a Blogger

OK, all you marketing and PR folks, listen up. This article is for you. Specifically for those of you that haven't quite figured out how to deal with us wine bloggers yet when it comes to wine samples. And there are clearly a lot of you. I wouldn't ordinarily have thought to write such an article, but it appears that a) a set of reasonable guidelines doesn't seem to be readily available out there b) there is such incredible variability in my own experience working with you folks in the wine business around this specific domain, that everyone might benefit... continue reading


Vinography Images: Stairway to Heaven?

Stairway to Heaven? There aren't many things that truly inspire lust among wine lovers but a view like this would certainly be one of them. Call it a stairway to heaven, leading down, instead of up. You're looking at the library cellar of Casa Lapostolle's Clos Apalta in Chile, whose wine is widely regarded as the single best in the country. The winery itself is as beautiful as the cellar might suggest, but we'll leave that scene for another day. -- Alder Yarrow INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save... continue reading


Pinot on the River Tasting 2010: October 23-24, Healdsburg

Now is a wonderful, if slightly manic time to be wandering around wine country. Harvest is, for some, complete, and wines are bubbling and burbling their way through fermentations. For others, any day now they will be making mad dashes into the vineyards to get the fruit in before the first major rains. Either way, it's the time of year that wine country really becomes wine country. As the afternoon sun angles low, life gets pretty idyllic around Sonoma, and the timing is good to relax with friends and a nice glass of wine. Which is why, I suppose, around... continue reading


Canada: Declare War or Emigrate. It's a Tough Choice

Thanks to humorist Dave Barry's exposé of the looming threat to our national security, I've long been a proponent of preemptively invading Canada. And then came Michael Moore's film SiCKO, which convinced me that after we invade, we might want to dissect the Canadian health care system and find out what makes it tick. And now? Well, I think plans for the invasion should be called off, and all of us wine lovers should just consider picking up and walking across the border. Why? Because when the Canadian Government decides to spend money in a stimulus package they don't give... continue reading


2001 Thierry Allemand "Cuvee Reynard" Cornas, Rhone Valley, France

As much as I love wines from all over the world, and as open and welcoming as I am of the newest upstart winemakers and their wares, when you come right down to it, there are winemakers (and their wines) out there in the world that just have more soul. And there are places, too that have more soul. And soul, when it comes to wine and winemaking, is a very good thing in my book. If I had to make a list of places that have soul, the Northern Rhone appellation of Cornas would be high on the list,... continue reading


Wines of Argentina Tasting: October 19, 21, Los Angeles and New York

One of the most important and valuable trends for the wine consumer, apart from the fantastic deals to be had on very nice wine these days, continues to be the proliferation of public wine tasting events put on by specific countries or regions of the world. The marketing associations for these regions, which tend to be government run or at least government funded in some respect, have finally realized that one of the best things they can do is get a whole lot of consumers together to taste a whole lot of their wines. Such tastings, as I tend to... continue reading


Vinography Images: Pumping Over

Pumping Over Throughout the Northern Hemisphere, harvest is underway. Already there are tanks and barrels bubbling away with the 2010 vintage. In Chile's Malleco valley, where this tank of Pinot Noir was being pumped over, however, the vines have just begun to bear fruit, and it will be some time before their tanks, of the 2011 vintage look like this again. -- 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

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.

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Most Recent Entries

Pinot Days Tasting 2010: November 11-13, Chicago Book Review: Matt Kramer on Wine by Matt Kramer Vinography Images: The Coming Storm San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival: November 17-21, San Diego Too Much (Bad?) Muscadet or Evil Taxes? The Best Wines of the Year?: Taste Testing the Wine & Spirits Top 100 Vinography Images: Pruning Leaves 2007 Freestone Vineyards "Ovation" Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast There's Good Wine Problems. And Bad Ones. San Francisco Fall Vintners Market: November 20-21, San Francisco

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