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~ December 2010 Archives ~

 

12.31.2010

Vinography Images: Huaso and Pinot

Huaso and Pinot Framed against the blue sky at sunset, a huaso prepares to saddle up as the last light fades from a set of Pinot Noir vines in the Casablanca Valley. Huasos are traditional Chilean horsemen, the equivalent of American Cowboys or Argentine Gauchos. Easily spotted because of their traditional ponchos and straw hats called chupallas, huasos are a fixture of the country's central valley, though, like American Cowboys, they are now more folkloric symbols of a previous era than a part of the dominant culture. -- Alder Yarrow INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image... continue reading

12.31.2010

Book Review: Vino Argentino by Laura Catena

Book review by Sarah Trubnick. Argentine wine is an interesting subject for a book at this point in time. The wine industry in Argentina is currently witnessing a renovation and redefinition, with many wineries focusing on the potential for exportation. This burgeoning fine wine industry has caught the eyes of many throughout the international world of wine, and the quality to price ratio of many wines is exceedingly attractive. These points, along with the coincidental fact that I am presently here in Mendoza, led me to a reading of Laura Catena's Vino Argentino in the hopes of gleaning a bit... continue reading

12.30.2010

Playing Wine Consultant and Treasure Hunter

"So, uh, would you mind coming over here and taking a look at our wine rack?" they said, after we had spent an hour catching up over bagels on a rainy day. And so I wandered around the corner into their dining room to find a couple small wine racks and a small wine fridge and an expectant and somewhat embarrassed silence as they waited for me to offer a verdict. This sort of thing happens all the time to me, as it likely does to most anyone who is known amongst their friends as "the guy/gal that knows about... continue reading

12.27.2010

Chinese Wine Too Good to Be True

I had high hopes for Chinese wine. And I still do, to a certain extent. But I can't say I'm surprised by the latest news that the government is shutting down some wineries and pulling wine from the shelves after finding a whole lot of faked, adulterated, and chemically altered wine on the market. I've heard rumors of such practices from various people in the wine industry, many of whom scratch their heads when they compare the amount of wine on the market with the amount of acreage under cultivation in China. The two don't add up. Add to that... continue reading

12.24.2010

Vinography Images: Mystic Cellar

Mystic Cellar One of my greatest regrets from my visit to Argentina, apart from not taking the time to visit Salta, was failing to visit this cellar. The O Fournier winery is exceptional in many ways, but especially in its architecture, which this image only hints at, with the precisely crossed rays of daylight facilitated by a remarkable structure you can't really see. And the wine ain't bad either. If you're in the Valle de Uco, you really shouldn't miss it. -- Alder Yarrow INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or... continue reading

12.23.2010

Dominique Cornin, Chaintré, France: Current Releases

When you wind your way up to the east out of the little village of Fuisse in the Mâconnais region of southern Burgundy, you should take time to look back over your shoulder at the beautiful little church with its plot of vines, and the hillside skating back up behind it to the west. The narrow road will curve around the shoulder of the hill (atop which sits what has long been called the "faerie woods") and if you bear to the left, you will quickly find yourself in the little village of Chaintré, the home of many men bearing... continue reading

12.22.2010

Open the Pod Bay Doors! Pennsylvania Wine Kiosks Go Rogue

Just about a year ago, I wrote about the wretched solution to selling wine in grocery stores that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board was foisting on its residents. You remember, right? The kiosks that locked all the wine away behind closed doors so you couldn't touch it, to say, see the back label? The horrible touch screen user interface that forced you to click and click and click. The fact that the machine wouldn't take cash, only credit cards. The video camera mounted in it that monitored you. The fact that you had to swipe your drivers license AND take... continue reading

12.19.2010

Domaine de la Vougeraie, Premeaux-Prissey, France: Some Current Releases

The village of Premeaux-Prissey is hardly more than a blip on the N74 as you head north towards Nuits-St-George. Blink and you'll miss it, along with the small sign that points you down the church lane to one of Burgundy's more remarkable domaines. Many domaines in Burgundy have existed under the same name for centuries, passed down through generations that have grown up living and farming in the same spot, each new generation working in the family's vineyard, which, on occasion, is right behind the house. Domaine de la Vougeraie is both the same and very different from these traditional... continue reading

12.17.2010

Vinography Images: Morning Mist

Morning Mist One of the things that I sometimes think would ensure I could never be a great photographer is that I like to sleep late in the morning. That means I miss out on half of the really good light there is for taking pictures, as this gorgeous view of Chile's Maule Valley demonstrates. -- 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... continue reading

12.16.2010

The Wine Lover's Essential Library

I've been asked more than once in the past few weeks about which wine books I like that might make good gifts for the holiday season. And so I've had to give a little thought to which books I feel every serious wine lover should have read. So without further ado, here's my list. I didn't set out to have only ten, but that's just what I ended up with trying to stick to the most important books, the books that I think every self respecting wine lover should definitely have read, and possibly own. I had to leave off... continue reading

12.15.2010

Cork Producers Hit a New Low by Insulting Women and Wine Drinkers

I've long been critical of the great, and outlandish lengths that cork producers seem to go to create negative sentiment towards alternative wine closures, and to promote their own products as the only real choice. I thought they had stooped about as low as they could go when they suggested that buying wine closed with screwcaps was killing an endangered species, but now they've outdone themselves with their latest series of ads. In a remarkable feat of crass and loathsome marketing, the cork lobby has managed to both insult the intelligence of women, and every wine lover that has ever... continue reading

12.12.2010

Burgundy Makes a Pass at China

As many of you know, I spent a week or so of November in Burgundy on a press tour of the region, including the annual Hospices de Beaune wine auction. I went to taste a lot of wine, but also to see what I could find out about how Burgundy is dealing with the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century. One of the top "news items" in Burgundy these days can be conveyed in a single word: China. More so than any wine region I've been to recently, most of Burgundy was talking about China in some form. The... continue reading

12.11.2010

Domaine Buisson-Battault, Meursault, France: Current Releases and Library Wines

Part of the charm of Burgundy has to do with the context of many of the wineries and their cellars. Rather than the grand Chateaux with long driveways between rows of trees and vines (though Burgundy has a few of these) more often than not, you simply round the corner of a narrow street in a small village, walk through a wrought iron gate into a gravel driveway, into a garage with a few steel tanks, and then down a set of stairs attached to a normal looking stone house, into a 16th century vaulted brick cellar (most recently used... continue reading

12.10.2010

Vinography Images: Harvest Burden

Harvest Burden South American wine regions have a frontier-like quality, a rusticity that has been bred out of some other new world regions. The ruggedness of the Andes certainly contributes to this feeling, but then there are little touches, like the branches that these workers are using to carry freshly harvested Syrah in the Choapa Valley. Old school technology. -- 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... continue reading

12.07.2010

2009 Domaine Alain Gras Saint Romain Rouge, Burgundy, France

The vineyards of the Côte de Beaune spill off the limestone cliffs that mark the eastern edge of the region like a blanket that has slipped off the edge of a bed. Most of the vineyards that everyone knows lie puddled on the floor or in the crease between them. But a bit of vineyards still cling to the edges of the escarpments, cooler and higher than the rest of the Côte de Beaune. Perhaps one of the most important of these nooks and crannies in the cliffs above Beaune, and certainly the most picturesque, is the little village of... continue reading

12.05.2010

The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

As some of you know, I spent the week before last tramping around Burgundy and then spent the weekend at the 150th annual Hospices de Beaune wine auction, which in many ways was the fulfillment of a fantasy I've had ever since I learned about the auction several years ago. Just why attending this event has been a fantasy of mine has to do with a number of factors, not the least of which is the fact that it takes place in the heart of a picturesque city in one of the world's greatest wine regions. Most importantly, though, this... continue reading

12.04.2010

The Best Wine Bar in the Universe?

I like wine bars. I wish there were more of them around when I was single and had the energy to go out and spend hours on the town with friends. These days I don't get to visit many, thanks to the crazy day job and the little one at home. But if I do end up having a drink after work, chances are, you'll find me at a local San Francisco wine bar, with several glasses in front of me. Right now, however, the wine bar I want to visit most in the world is in Moscow. Why? Because... continue reading

12.03.2010

Vinography Images: Vineyard Flowers

Vineyard Flowers In we're now in the midst of summer in the southern hemisphere, but in some cases you can still find wildflowers blooming on the hills above Chile's fertile valleys. Here we look down on the Colchagua valley and the vineyards of Los Vascos. -- 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.... continue reading

12.03.2010

Book Review: Secrets of the Sommeliers by Rajat Parr and Jordan MacKay

Review by Tim Patterson. Secrets of the Sommeliers, a collaboration between Rajat Parr, wine director for the Michael Mina group of restaurants in San Francisco, and wine writer Jordan Mackay, carries the sub-title, "How to think and drink like the world's top wine professionals." Enticing as that sounds, and interesting as the book is, by the end, I wasn't entirely sure I was up to either task. The world of the upscale restaurant sommelier is a rarified place, populated by razor-sharp palates honed through years of diligent practice, access to tasting an astonishing range of wines most of us never... continue reading

12.01.2010

You Should Be a Wine Writer. Officially.

The wine world is made of dreams. Some people dream about drinking wine. Some people dream about making wine. And others dream of writing about it. For all those that have ever toyed with the idea of writing about wine, and for those who have dabbled in it, I have a small anecdote to share (again -- I wrote this last year) from my college days. I was taking a fiction writing class one Spring, and our teacher managed to convince a good friend of hers to substitute teach a bunch of us eager, bright-eyed college students for one class... continue reading

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Most Recent Entries

Vinography Images: Huaso and Pinot Book Review: Vino Argentino by Laura Catena Playing Wine Consultant and Treasure Hunter Chinese Wine Too Good to Be True Vinography Images: Mystic Cellar Dominique Cornin, Chaintré, France: Current Releases Open the Pod Bay Doors! Pennsylvania Wine Kiosks Go Rogue Domaine de la Vougeraie, Premeaux-Prissey, France: Some Current Releases Vinography Images: Morning Mist The Wine Lover's Essential Library

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.