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~ August 2011 Archives ~

 

08.30.2011

Greek Wine: A Compendium of Tasting Notes

Occasionally I still dream of Greece. Warm breezes above the terra cotta roofs of Nafplion, grilled octopus and crisp rosé.... I had better stop before I get depressed. The press trip I took to Greece at the end of June this year was a wonderful introduction to the region, and served to cement a budding notion that Greece was home to a wonderfully unique combination of interesting wines that represent phenomenal values on a global scale. And that's even before Greece dumps the Euro. My trip, as you might remember, was concentrated first on the island of Santorini, where I... continue reading

08.27.2011

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend: September 2-4, 2011

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

08.26.2011

Vinography Images: Silverado Fog

Silverado Fog NAPA, CA - 2009: A stand of trees overlooks a vineyard and blooming mustard through the morning fog along the Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley. 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 instructions, while PC users should follow these.... continue reading

08.25.2011

Wine in the Wilderness: Backcountry Wine Transport Techniques

As many of you know, I spent the past week in the wilderness. Specifically, I was floating down the Kisaralik river in Western Alaska catching fish. To get there I had to take several flights, the final of which was in an ancient float plane that could only accommodate 1200 pounds of cargo, including any passengers. The combination of this weight limit and the reality of needing to fit everything that six people would require to survive and enjoy seven days on a river offered a bit of a challenge: how to bring a bunch of wine. Fly-fishing for trophy... continue reading

08.24.2011

South Africa Has Some Work to Do

I'm an unabashed fan of South Africa. I love its wines, its people, its food, and the land itself in all its natural glory. Consequently I was quite disturbed to see the news coverage over the last couple of days surrounding a report recently released by the organization Human Rights Watch that, in no uncertain terms, allegedly documents systematic human rights abuses in the South African Wine industry. The allegations in this report include seemingly rampant violations of South Africa's own labor and health laws, including inadequate safety precautions to avoid worker exposure to toxic chemicals and poor or no... continue reading

08.19.2011

Vinography Images: Santa Ynez

Santa Ynez SANTA YNEZ VALLEY, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, CA - 2009: A lone oak in a vineyard, early morning. 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 instructions, while PC users should follow these. PRINTS: Fine art prints of this image and others... continue reading

08.13.2011

Vinography Gone Fishin'

8 bottles of wine poured into floppy plastic water bottles. 50 pounds of gear and not an ounce more for fear of getting kicked off the tiny little float plane. And for the first time in six years, no laptop, no cell phone, and no iPad. I'm off this morning to the wilds of Alaska to float down a remote river called the Kisaralik to fly fish for silver salmon, rainbow trout, char, and grayling with my dad. I've not gone a week without checking e-mail or blogging since my honeymoon six years ago, so I'm sure I'll go through... continue reading

08.12.2011

Vinography Images: Dry Creek Sheep

Dry Creek Sheep DRY CREEK VALLEY, SONOMA COUNTY, CA - 2007: A field of vineyard mustard in full bloom grazed by a flock of sheep. 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 instructions, while PC users should follow these. PRINTS: Fine art... continue reading

08.11.2011

Napa Wine Library Tasting: August 14th, Napa

This event announcement is a little late, but if you don't have plans this coming Sunday, you should give serious consideration to what follows. Dedicated wine lovers in the San Francisco Bay area get several opportunities each year to indulge their passions for wine. Large, themed tastings like the ZAP Zinfandel Festival are great opportunities to get a sense of a certain varietal and the quality of the recent vintage in California and events like the upcoming Family Winemakers are an opportunity to taste wines from smaller producers. It is quite rare, however, despite the nearness of the appellation and... continue reading

08.09.2011

Secrets of the Sommeliers: The Panel Version at IPNC

At the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon's Willamette Valley, the wine tasting and eating is occasionally punctuated by pursuits of a more intellectual nature. One such diversion this year was a panel of some of the top sommeliers in this hemisphere, loosely organized around the theme of a book called Secrets of the Sommeliers, co-written by the panel's moderator Jordan Mackay and one of the panelists, sommelier Rajat Parr. I've done my usual attempt to capture the discussion here. I didn't get everything but hopefully you'll get a sense of the conversation. Jordan was introduced by Joshua Wesson, who... continue reading

08.06.2011

The Funniest Wine Speech Ever?: Joshua Wesson Addresses the 2011 Graduating Class at IPNC

The International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon's Willamette Valley that I attended last weekend was, true to form, delightful. This wonderfully casual event usually takes place under brilliant cloudless skies, on the lush green grounds of Linfield College, a small liberal arts school in the little down of McMinnville, Oregon. Three days of wine tastings, seminars, and remarkable meals are traditionally kicked off on Friday morning with a "keynote" speech from an invited guest, often a member of the wine media. This year's guest was Joshua Wesson, the sommelier and founder of Best Cellars, a wine retailing concept that he... continue reading

08.05.2011

Vinography Images: Sunflower Vineyard

Sunflower Vineyard HOPLAND, CA - 2006: Sunflowers are planted in between rows of organically grown Chardonnay grapevines near Hopland in Mendocino County. 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 instructions, while PC users should follow these. PRINTS: Fine art prints of this... continue reading

08.04.2011

2011 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 21, 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 very high quality of the wines that are on offer, year after year. Regular readers know that this tasting, now in its 21st year, is one of my favorites. While the definition of a "family-run" winery is stretched a bit to include behemoths like Jackson Family... continue reading

08.03.2011

25 Years of Collaboration: A Panel Discussion at IPNC 2011

The IPNC event that I attended last weekend was celebrating more than just good Pinot Noir. It was also celebrating its 25th year of existence as a nexus for good Pinot Noir and the people who make it and drink it. While IPNC has always been a place for people to enjoy themselves, the event, and the people who brought it into being, both have a remarkable history that links together France and Burgundy in surprising and moving ways. The event always features a single main seminar, and this year's event brought together a panel of winemakers to tell their... continue reading

08.01.2011

The Global Allure of Pinot Noir

As some of you know, I just got back from the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon's Willamette Valley. I'm still editing my notes from that, with more posts to come, but I wanted to share just a small moment from the event that I thought was quite telling of both the powerful community that IPNC manages to create, as well as the allure that the Pinot Noir grape has for wine lovers. The evening of the grand dinner, where 800 people sit out underneath the fading light of the sunset and are served a four course dinner while sommeliers... 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

Greek Wine: A Compendium of Tasting Notes Sonoma Wine Country Weekend: September 2-4, 2011 Vinography Images: Silverado Fog Wine in the Wilderness: Backcountry Wine Transport Techniques South Africa Has Some Work to Do Vinography Images: Santa Ynez Vinography Gone Fishin' Vinography Images: Dry Creek Sheep Napa Wine Library Tasting: August 14th, Napa Secrets of the Sommeliers: The Panel Version at IPNC

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

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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.