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~ December 2011 Archives ~

 

12.31.2011

Happy New Year. I'm Not Recommending Any Sparkling Wine.

2011 comes to a close. If you're a wine consumer, and one that likes to read about wine, you've been bombarded for the last three weeks with recommendations for sparkling wine. I promise not to subject you to more of the same. In fact, I'm here to object to the fact that 98% of the writing about sparkling wine takes place in the few weeks that run up to New Year's Eve. OK, I'll admit that I haven't done a scientific study, but really, as someone who reads pretty much everything published on the internet with the word "wine" in... continue reading

12.30.2011

Vinography Images: Vineyard Snow

Vineyard Snow UKIAH VALLEY, CA: Rows of head-pruned zinfandel grapevines stand as winter sentinels in this Mendocino County photo taken at Eaglepoint Ranch. Happy New Year! 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... continue reading

12.25.2011

And From Napa, a Huge Sigh of Relief

A couple of months ago, I did some speculating in my monthly column for Jancis Robinson about what would happen in Napa now that the reins for reviewing the region have been handed from Robert Parker to Antonio Galloni. The fact that Galloni's scores for Napa have just come out wouldn't ordinarily merit much attention from me, except that in my article I made some predictions about what might change as a result. My prediction was: nothing. And it turns out that's pretty much what happened. To save you, and anyone else insane enough to waste a few hours of... continue reading

12.24.2011

Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Russian River Valley: Some Current Releases

What's hot in the wine world tends to focus the most attention. The newest superstar winemaker. The hot new vineyard. The latest cult wine brand. The stratospheric auction results in Hong Kong. But in so many ways, these bright lights are not at all representative of the real world of wine -- a world in which farmers and winemakers (sometimes the same person) work day after day to produce something that not only fires their passion, but also pays their bills. For every winery that makes news, there are dozens or hundreds that never seem to get much of the... continue reading

12.23.2011

Vinography Images: Vineyard Snowman

Vineyard Snowman ALEXANDER VALLEY, CA - 2007: A plastic snowman next to a vineyard brings holiday levity on a dark winter day in Sonoma County, California. Happy holidays from Vinography! 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... continue reading

12.21.2011

Bringing Your Own Wine Glasses to a Restaurant

It's not every day as a wine blogger you get to write about Madonna. But she made news recently (as she does every time she appears in public, because, hey, what better do we have to do with our time?) when she showed up at an Italian restaurant for a romantic dinner bearing not only her own bottle of wine, but her own glasses, too. While the gossip mongers pounced on this detail of her dinner as an excuse to speculate about her being a germaphobe. I do happen to know that the restaurant where she was dining, Osteria Cotta,... continue reading

12.20.2011

2011 Tests U.S. Vintners

'Mildew, botrytis, blue mould, green mould, you name it, it was everywhere. This is the most difficult vintage I've ever been a part of', said winemaker Sam Spencer, summing up his point of view on the 2011 vintage in Napa and Sonoma. Spencer's role at one of California's most well known négociants, Cameron Hughes Wine, means he has the opportunity to evaluate both thousands of tons of harvested fruit and tens of thousands of hectolitres of finished wines on the market each year. 'There's a lot of really, really fucked up wine out there', he confessed to me forcefully in... continue reading

12.19.2011

2012 ZAP Zinfandel Festival: January 26-28, 2012

Dark fruit in short days berries bitter sweet and young pass your smiling lips. It's that time of year again. I know of no other event that seems to bring out the inner wine lover in so many San Franciscans more than the annual ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) Festival. It never ceases to amaze me how many people turn out with such enthusiasm for this single varietal festival. Don't get me wrong. I love Zinfandel -- unabashedly so. But I tend to forget how many other people do too. Especially those that live in San Francisco. Of course it's... continue reading

12.16.2011

Vinography Images: Winter Wine Country

Winter Wine Country HEALDSBURG, CA: Gnarled old zinfandel grapevines stand against a backdrop of snow in the mountains surrounding Sonoma County's Alexander Valley on March 1, 2011. Northern California's heavy winter rains and snowpacks in 2011 eased drought concerns, raising the spirits of grape growers and farmers throughout the state. 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... continue reading

12.15.2011

2001 York Creek Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Spring Mountain District, Napa

One of the most gratifying experiences I have as a wine lover and very, very small time wine collector involves pulling a dusty bottle off the shelf from where it has slumbered for years, and popping it open to find an utterly fantastic wine. I don't own a lot of wine, and I have even fewer bottles that I've been deliberately aging long enough for them to be mature, so this experience isn't a regular occurrence for me, but when it happens, it engenders nothing short of joy. I think it was 2003 when I bought a couple of bottles... continue reading

12.11.2011

Looking for Bias in All the Wrong Places

Do wine critics have a nationalist bias? According to Beppi Crosariol, the wine and spirits columnist for Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper, wine critics from any country with a significant wine industry (but especially America and Australia) can't be trusted to rate their own country's wines without artificially inflating the scores. Crosariol claims that when he is out buying wine based on scores (that this particular wine critic buys his wine based on scores should be your first sign of ignorance) he deducts points if the reviewer is reviewing a wine from their own country. What a load of crap.... continue reading

12.09.2011

Vinography Images: Orange Rows

Orange Rows ALEXANDER VALLEY: Rows of hillside Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard turn a brilliant orange and red color in this Sonoma County, California, fall landscape photo. 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

12.08.2011

Ensuring Organic Wine's Lousy Reputation for Years to Come

I'll bet you didn't know there was an anti-sulfur lobby did you? Sure, you thought, there are those winemakers who try to make wines without sulfur, but they're mostly renegades and eccentrics, mad scientist winemakers-cum-philosophers (all, by the way, terms of endearment from my perspective) who spend more time with goats than with human beings. Some of them make great wine, but they'd most certainly never bother with something ugly like the bureaucracy of food policy, right? They're too busy following their personal vision to make transcendent wines. And thank goodness. That's what I thought, at least, until I got... continue reading

12.07.2011

Giving Gifts to Wine Lovers: My Advice

Here we are in the Holidaze. A time I enjoy and dread with equal measure. I love Winter as a season, and the festive atmosphere that surrounds the holidays, but have always cringed at the massive consumer frenzy and the psychological pressure of gift giving. Finding the right presents to get everyone is right up there with getting a root canal. Don't get me wrong. I love giving people gifts, but the process of trying to decide what to get them and then shopping for it drives me a little batty. In some ways I can't wait to be an... continue reading

12.06.2011

Piña Napa Valley: Current Releases

If one were to speculate on the wine market as a savvy investor might in the small-cap stock market, the game would be the same: follow people you know with good track records. In the wine world, we'd also have to include a corollary about betting on great vineyard sites, but leaving aside the raw materials, it's clear that most good wines don't happen by accident. They're made by talented people. Finding talented people in Napa isn't hard at first. There are a lot of them, many of whom have big brand names. When they start working for a winery,... continue reading

12.04.2011

"Big Jay" Miller Departs Wine Advocate in Wake of Scandal

With eerily similar rhetoric to Herman Cain's "suspension" of his campaign for President this week, and amidst an equally scandalous set of allegations, Robert Parker announced today on his bulletin board that Jay Miller would be leaving the Wine Advocate to pursue "wine consulting, lecturing and wine retail." Miller's departure occurs even as the scandal known as "Murcillagate" or "Campogate" continues to heat up, with suggestions by Parker that legal action against "the bloggers" who have been involved may be imminent. "Campogate" refers to a story broken by fellow wine blogger Jim Budd who managed to obtain e-mails indicating that... continue reading

12.03.2011

2008 Lang & Reed "Two Fourteen" Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley

All of us wine lovers inevitably discover, in the course of our explorations, our own secret wineries. These are the wines that we hold close to our chest, revealing them to those with whom we share only our choicest of morsels, which often include such things as parking spaces, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and great movies and books. As I'm in the business of sharing great wine with readers all the time, I can't really afford to hold much back. But I'd be lying if I told you I had reviewed or written about all my most favorite wineries around the world.... continue reading

12.02.2011

Vinography Images: The Barn

The Barn ALEXANDER VALLEY, CA: An old barn north of Healdsburg is seen at the end of a row of Zinfandel vineyards turning orange and red color before going dormant in this Sonoma County late Fall landscape photo. 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... 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

Happy New Year. I'm Not Recommending Any Sparkling Wine. Vinography Images: Vineyard Snow And From Napa, a Huge Sigh of Relief Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Russian River Valley: Some Current Releases Vinography Images: Vineyard Snowman Bringing Your Own Wine Glasses to a Restaurant 2011 Tests U.S. Vintners 2012 ZAP Zinfandel Festival: January 26-28, 2012 Vinography Images: Winter Wine Country 2001 York Creek Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Spring Mountain District, Napa

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.