Text Size:-+

~ March 2012 Archives ~

 

03.30.2012

Vinography Images: Coastal Wine

Coastal Wine FORT BRAGG, CA: Wine oak barrels are arranged along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in this Mendocino County photo taken at Pacific Star Winery. 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:... continue reading

03.29.2012

2010 Grgich Hills Estate "Fume Blanc" Sauvignon Blanc, Napa

Visitors to Napa Valley, even those on their first trip, have a hard time missing the Grgich Hills winery, which sits prominently on the west side of Highway 29, its flower beds almost pushed right up against the edge of the blacktop. Of course, when the winery was established in the late 1970s there was a lot less traffic on that same highway, and founder Miljenko "Mike" Grgich (pronounced "gur-gich")was a young man. But despite his youth, this Croatian-born immigrant did not lack for experience or acclaim. Indeed, it was partly based on his success as the winemaker for the... continue reading

03.28.2012

Tasting the World at ProWein

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at ProWein, Germany's largest wine exhibition, to find that German wines were in the minority. What I expected to be one large (but doubtlessly well organized) German wine love-fest, was in fact a stupendously large, and (supremely well organized) international wine fair of gigantic proportions, with wine regions from all over the world very well represented. It's not the largest wine exhibition in the world, but the way it continues to grow, it's only a matter of time before it can easily make that claim. In the mean-time, it will simply be one of... continue reading

03.26.2012

The Essence of Wine: Green Bell Pepper

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch Christopher Columbus was an unwitting pawn, the tool of a plant with grand designs. The seeds of nightshade he carried back to Spain would quickly go on to conquer the world, enslaving cultures for the remainder of history in their culinary devotion to what the ancient Meso-Americans called xilli. As spice, as medicine, as food, there is but a single constant: flavor. But too much of any one flavor in a wine can mean clunkiness instead of complexity. Many of wine's essences are best as grace notes instead of dominant melodies. Such is the case... continue reading

03.25.2012

The Future of American Wine

I just came across what is perhaps the most insightful, well written piece of commentary on the future of the American wine industry I have ever seen. It displays a command of the language, a quality of prose, and a level of research and insight that are altogether rare today in wine journalism. That's probably because the article was written in 1934. Apparently Fortune magazine has, every Sunday, been publishing a favorite story from their archives, and today they decided to publish an article entitled "Can wine become an American habit?" which left my jaw on the table. It provides... continue reading

03.24.2012

The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines

It's hard to imagine an age when wine might have literally been seen as treasure. Certainly those of us with the privilege of living in first-world countries take the idea of drinking wine for granted as an everyday pleasure. There was a time, however, that wine, especially the good stuff, was more valuable than gold in some places in this world. So valuable, in fact, that it could be used to buy your way out from underneath the control of an empire. With a mouthful of the finest Ruster Ausbruch swirling around your tongue, it's not difficult to accept the... continue reading

03.23.2012

Vinography Images: Old Vine Zin

Old Vine Zin ALEXANDER VALLEY, CA: A dormant Sonoma County Zinfandel vineyard covered in frost during the winter. 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 are... continue reading

03.21.2012

The Beauty of Blaufrankisch: Tasting Wines from Leithaberg, Austria

My first tastes of Austrian red wine were without context, and I will admit, not favorable. In tasting through the various portfolios of different importers, I would taste a lot of Riesling and Gruner Veltliner and occasionally find a red or two scattered in the mix. My impressions were not fully formed, but they weren't encouraging. But then I had the wines of the MORIC project in 2007, and I realized I was missing something. More importantly I realized that there was great potential in a place and a grape to produce a wine that was quite profound. Therefore it... continue reading

03.20.2012

The Essence of Wine: Red Berries

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch In the depths of the forest, shafts of sunlight pierce through dark green canopies, illuminating bright red jewels glinting amidst green briars. Treasures of flavor, the berries of forest and heath have long been gathered by eager hands seeking the kind of delights that only come from morsels such as these. Raspberries, red currants, pomegranate, cranberries, thimbleberries, and goji berries. Tiny mouthwatering bursts of tart sweetness that pucker the cheeks, these red berries play the starring role in many wines. The best wines not only evoke their flavors and aromas, but also the juicy, tangy,... continue reading

03.20.2012

In Pursuit of California Balance

Clumsy. Overripe. High alcohol. Over oaked. Fruit driven. Massive. Sweet. Made for Mr Parker's Palate. The historical stereotype of California wine, like all stereotypes, has a basis in truth. Especially for many Europeans, whose exposure to these wines consist of a lot of industry commentary flavoured by a precious few bottles that make it across the Atlantic and don't go far towards dispelling the reputation. Even most Americans in the wine business with more than an ounce of perspective will readily admit that American tastes in wine lean towards the bigger, riper, and sweeter end of the spectrum. Both national... continue reading

03.19.2012

How Would You Like an All-Expenses-Paid Wine Trip?

File this under things I always meant to do but have never gotten around to.... Every year an organization called the Geoffrey Roberts Trust picks several people to give about $4200 to so they can travel someplace in the world to eat, drink, and write about it, or do something that makes a positive difference in the culinary or beverage world. Yes, you heard that right, you could get ~$4200 towards some fabulous culinary or wine adventure provided you had a good reason to go other than simply wanting to see how much Barolo you could drink before falling over.... continue reading

03.19.2012

And the Winners of Rhone Rangers Tasting Tickets Are...

Thanks to all who entered the Limerick Raffle. We had some choice submissions (see below). The two names I picked from a hat from those who entered were: David Voong Jamie Hwang Congratulations. You're on your way to the Rhone Rangers tasting. I sent you each an e-mail about how to claim your ticket. Thanks to the rest of you for composing limericks. For your reading pleasure, here are all the submissions. Not all exactly in true limerick form, but we're not going to be sticklers here. There was a Vielles Vignes red wine Syrah who said bollocks all to... continue reading

03.18.2012

Weinlaubenhof Kracher, Burgenland, Austria: Current Releases

When it comes to dessert wines, most people have heard of Sauternes or ice wine (location unspecific). Perhaps some have heard of Tokaji, the sweet wines of Hungary. But few have heard of the sweet wines of Austria's Burgenland region. There are several reasons for this. Dessert wine isn't all that popular, Burgenland doesn't make all that much of it to begin with, and those who actually do know about these wines tend to buy as many as they can afford and guard them like buried treasure. The sweet wines of Burgenland are one of Austria's best kept secrets, and... continue reading

03.17.2012

The Taste of Zweigelt

If you can tear yourself away from the gorgeous facades and ancient spires of Vienna, to head south-southeast as if your goal is Hungary, you quickly leave behind the cultured world of music and stone, and cleave through soil rich with history. Sweep away from the plateaus carved by the Danube across the Pannonian plains, with windmills churning lazily and winter-bare trees rimming vast fields of tilled soil. The earth, in rich shades of ochre and umber, also catches and reflects back the pale steel-blue of the sky. The nearly imperceptible tilt of the landscape away from the hills of... continue reading

03.16.2012

Vinography Images: Vineyard Laundry

Vineyard Laundry HEALDSBURG, CA: Two lines of recently washed clothes hang to dry on a makeshift laundry line strung across a row of grapevines in the spring outside of Alexander 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... continue reading

03.15.2012

Aubert de Villaine on Fake Wines

"This has been a bit of an awakening for us," said Aubert de Villaine, when I cornered him after the 2009 vintage tasting in San Francisco three weeks ago and asked him about the controversy surrounding the recent Spectrum auction in London, which, in part, has led to the arrest of Rudy Kurniawan. "We didn't realize there was so much controversy." De Villaine is, of course, the co-director of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, and one of the most powerful and respected men in the fine wine industry. I felt, and still do feel, quite strongly that he has a responsibility... continue reading

03.14.2012

The 2012 International Pinot Noir Celebration: July 27-29, McMinnville, Oregon

There are wine tastings, and then there are wine tastings. And then, there are experiences that completely transcend a bunch of tables with vintners standing behind them pouring their wines. I've been to a few "destination" wine experiences, some of which have been great, but none of which have been better than the International Pinot Noir Celebration that takes place every year in McMinnville, Oregon. Scheduled over a long July weekend every year, IPNC is one of the most relaxed and intimate wine tasting experiences I've had the pleasure of attending, not to mention the fact that it also involves... continue reading

03.13.2012

The Essence of Wine: Tropical Fruits

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch The languid allure of the tropics finds some of its most sensuous expression in the fruits of its forests. Equatorial flavors have a sunny perfection about them, an impossibly pleasurable ripeness, that can evoke anyone's idea of paradise. Pineapple, papaya, jackfruit, and guava. Banana, mango, passionfruit, and cherimoya. You don't have to go far to find such flavors in wine, which are no less pleasurable and evocative in the glass than they are on a plate, or better yet, dripping down your chin on a sunny day. Sometimes paradise is only a sip away. Johanneshof... continue reading

03.11.2012

Write a Limerick by March 17th, Win Tickets to Rhone Rangers

Annual Rhone Rangers Tasting in San Francisco is certainly one of Just a reminder, folks. You have until March 14th at Midnight to write a limerick about Rhone wines, which is your entry ticket to a raffle of tickets to the Rhone Rangers tasting that's coming up here in San Francisco on March 25th. Come up with a limerick, and you'll get a chance to win a free ticket to the grand tasting. I'll pick two names out of a hat from those who enter. Here's a refresher on the rhyme form: There once was a wine from the Rhone... continue reading

03.09.2012

Vinography Images: Vintage Champagne

Vintage Champagne EPERNAY, FRANCE: Perrier-Jouet vintage 2000 champagne in the famous "flower bottle" quitely ages in an underground cave. When ready for sale, the yellow crown caps will be removed, the yeast inside will be disgorged, and the bottles will be corked and made ready for sale. 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... continue reading

03.09.2012

GOTCHA!: Wine Collector Rudy Kurniawan Arrested by the FBI

Though it may go unnoticed by a large part of the wine world, the high-end collecting and auction world was rocked yesterday by a major development, one that promises to turn what was an obscure facet of the wine world into serious news. Millionaire playboy and infamous wine collector Rudy Kurniawan was arrested yesterday by the FBI and is being charged with mail and wire fraud charges alleging that he attempted to sell fake wine at auction that could have been worth more than $1.3 million if real. Kurniawan was not only the subject of a suit by billionaire William... continue reading

03.08.2012

The Essence of Wine: Cured Meats

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch For omnivores, the scent is unmistakable and for many, just as irresistible. From the smoky scents of cooking bacon and charred meat to the salty, tangy notes of saucisson, few things make the mouth water more. Finding such savory notes in wine can be alarming to the unprepared, and many never get used to the cognitive dissonance of fermented grape juice that smells like fried porchetta. For others, however, these aromas often possessed by older red wines are treasures to be sought and hoarded, or as the case may be, plundered. Certainly when married to... continue reading

03.07.2012

A Brief Tale of Three Vintages in Napa Valley

For the past few years, just prior to the big barrel auction that the Napa Valley Vintners uses to fund much of its operations, it puts on a very interesting wine tasting event. Called the Vintage Perspective Tasting, it offers up a number of wines to be tasted blind by the trade and press as an educational exercise. This year's tasting offered 14 Cabernets and 9 Merlots from Napa Valley, each across three different vintages: 2007, 2008, and 2009. The idea, of course, is to taste these wines and see what you think about the vintage character. I often spend... continue reading

03.06.2012

Book Review: A Toast to Bargain Wines by George Taber

Review by Tim Patterson Books and articles about bargain wines are a dime a dozen--check that, a nickel a dozen. And like many forms of wine recommendations, they tend to be frustrating, too, since the phenomenal global proliferation of wine labels means that laying your hands on any particular bottle can be more trouble than it's worth. Do you really want to spend half a day visiting wine shops and calling supermarkets in search of an $8 Rioja? And just when you and your guide are hitting your stride, all the vintages change, leaving you wondering if you should trust... continue reading

03.04.2012

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Burgundy: Current Releases

You don't get very far in a journey towards being a wine lover without hearing the words "Romanée-Conti" spoken with some combination of reverence and amazement. And in today's world of Asian fueled wine-auction speculation, even those with casual interest in wine have heard of this famous domaine. Equally referred to as both the best wines in the world and the most expensive, the wines produced by the small Domaine de la Romanée-Conti are inarguably some of the most revered and sought after wines in the world. Their price and scarcity mean that many wine lovers with modest means may... continue reading

03.03.2012

2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti

Pick your metaphor. It's the wine world's equivalent of being invited to the White House for a dinner, or to the G8 Summit in Davos. Or a getting a ticket to the Oscars, except there's only thirty people in attendance, and the awards are going only to one movie. When the invitation arrives to join a very small group of people to taste the current releases from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti along with the co-director of the domaine, Aubert de Villaine, you cancel whatever plans you have, and just go. Then, on the appointed morning, you file quietly into the... continue reading

03.02.2012

Vinography Images: Meadowfoam

Meadowfoam SONOMA COUNTY, CA: Flowers and vineyards come to life with new growth following a rain shower in Alexander 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. PRINTS: Fine art prints of this image and... continue reading

03.01.2012

What Wine Drinkers Can Learn from Leonardo Da Vinci

As some of you know, I was in Napa last week at the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. The keynote speaker was Michael Gelb, the best selling author and speaker, whose most popular book How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, served as the primary subject for his talk. Gelb is a passionate wine drinker, who also has written a book called Wine Drinking for Inspired Thinking, so a talk on creativity from him didn't come entirely out of the blue. Even though wine was not his subject, he wove several wine anecdotes into his speech. His talk was focused... 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

August 2014

S M T W T F S
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Images: Coastal Wine 2010 Grgich Hills Estate "Fume Blanc" Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Tasting the World at ProWein The Essence of Wine: Green Bell Pepper The Future of American Wine The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines Vinography Images: Old Vine Zin The Beauty of Blaufrankisch: Tasting Wines from Leithaberg, Austria The Essence of Wine: Red Berries In Pursuit of California Balance

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.