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~ April 2012 Archives ~

 

04.29.2012

Burgundy Comes to San Francisco: Some Tasting Notes

It's been two years since I've been to Burgundy and I miss it terribly. And not just because I haven't had my fix of Delice de Pommard, the utterly addictive soft cow's milk cheese that is encrusted with whole mustard grains. Burgundy is magical, and so are its wines. There's nothing like winding your way through the back roads of the region to little towns like Pouilly-Fuisse (pictured at right), stopping to step down into ancient cellars and taste vibrant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with people whose lives are suffused with wine and the soil in which it grows. If... continue reading

04.27.2012

Vinography Images: Napa Morning

Napa Morning NAPA COUNTY, CA - 2009: A low flying hot air balloon lifts slowly above the surrounding grape vineyards as seen near Yountville on an early Summer 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... continue reading

04.26.2012

Matthiasson, Napa Valley: Current Releases

The past of most wine regions becomes physically embodied in its most iconic destinations, whether grand Chateaux, or venerable old cellars. The future of many wine regions, on the other hand, can be much harder to find. It is often tucked away, or sometimes hiding in plain sight, but usually off the beaten pathways of expectation. One incarnation of Napa Valley's future, or at least a future furtively hoped for by many, can indeed be found in a place most unexpected. Just off of Highway 29, down a back street, a modern sub-division gives way to the valley's ubiquitous vineyards,... continue reading

04.24.2012

The Essence of Wine: Tobacco

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch Broad leaves, kiln fired, transmute a weed into an aromatic wonder that has conquered the world. Before it became a scourge, it was sacred to some of the world's earliest peoples. Like many such medicines, tobacco began its life as a gift from the gods, to whom it would return with messages from the living when smoked. From dark pitch to burnt caramel to sweet fruit, and always laced with wood, the smell of cured tobacco makes its way into many wines, most often thanks to wood itself. The toasted oak of a barrel can... continue reading

04.23.2012

Schloss Gobelsburg, Kamptal, Austria: Current Releases

It seems like they have always been there. For centuries, the monks have been rooted as firmly as their grape vines, watching empires come and go, tending their secrets as carefully as the grapes and the sacred wines they produce. Shrewd investment and politics have brought great wealth through the ages -- palaces and vineyards, coffers and buildings. Not to mention the troves of knowledge. But time does not preserve all -- neither fortunes nor knowledge -- and one day, after nearly eight centuries of unbroken devotion to a place, and to the vines that grow there, the monks turn... continue reading

04.21.2012

Mountain Wines of Italy: Tasting Notes from Alto Adige

From the snow-capped peaks of the Dolomites and the Alps, water trickles off glaciers down into steep-walled fertile alpine valleys where small villages and their vineyards beg to be photographed against the stunning backdrop of one of the world's most impressive mountain ranges. Snug between Austria and Switzerland, the northernmost part of Italy hosts some of the most stunning vineyard landscapes in the world. With an official name of Trentino-Alto Adige/Sudtirol, but usually shortened to Alto Adige (also the name of its best known DOC wine region), this region of both German and Italian speaking residents is primarily known for... continue reading

04.20.2012

Vinography Images: Young Fruit

Young Fruit RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY, CA: Tiny green and red clusters that will become flowers, and then a bunch of Pinot Gris grapes can be seen pushing out from the vine near Healdsburg in Sonoma County, California. 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... continue reading

04.19.2012

Exporting America

On my recent trip to Austria, I stopped in at one of the city's more well-regarded chain wine stores, Wein & Co, and took a browse around. I always try to visit wine stores whenever I travel abroad, not only to do a little shopping, but also to get an impression of what the locals are faced with when they pop in to grab a bottle for dinner. I'm interested in the selection of wines on offer - the balance between local wines and imports, the depth of offerings, price ranges, and more. In particular I'm always curious to see... continue reading

04.18.2012

2012 Rosé Advocates and Producers Tasting: May 8, San Francisco

Thankfully, the broader community of American wine lovers seems to have gotten over its phobia of pink wines. We can now write about rosé without irony or cliché, and don't have to couch our advocacy of these food friendly wines with caveats about how trendy they are, etc. Rosé sales in America have been climbing like, well, the deficit, and thankfully in this case there's no end in sight. If there's one organization that might actually be able to take partial credit for this, it would be the masked crusaders at RAP: Rosé Avengers and Producers. This motley crew of... continue reading

04.17.2012

The Essence of Wine: Oranges

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch A fruit, a color. By its name, we shall know it well. From the ancient Dravidian and Sanskrit we receive the root naari, which means fragrant, and begets the name nagarugam, for the sweet fruit whose origins are lost in time. The Persians borrowed these narangs and carried them to Spain, where the Moors left their naranja groves, and to Italy where a bit of arangia went a long way in Latin, and became the precious arancia in Italian. Along the way the fruit slipped sideways to ancient France, where Gallic tongues preferred orenge, something... continue reading

04.13.2012

Vinography Images: Lake and Oak

Lake and Oak SONOMA COUNTY, CA: An oak tree in the Bennett Valley is reflected in pond water as seen in this Santa Rosa early morning spring 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.... continue reading

04.12.2012

Weingut Veyder-Malberg, Wachau, Austria: Current Releases

In Austria's Wachau valley, it's hard to pay attention to what winemakers tell you, especially when they're talking with you in a vineyard. The Danube twists olive and lazy below incredibly steep hillsides terraced with centuries-old rock walls, each containing but a single row of vines, climbing for thousands of feet from the floodplain. Never mind the vertigo that anyone susceptible to heights might feel perched on these ledges that perch precariously on slopes many would not ski down -- the view is so incredible that you easily lose yourself in the vast majesty. My appointment with Peter Veyder-Malberg was... continue reading

04.10.2012

San Francisco Vintner's Market: April 14-15, 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 found out about the upcoming San Francisco Vintners Market. 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. But now all you gotta do is... continue reading

04.10.2012

The Essence of Wine: Lime

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch Once it was a closely guarded military secret. Anti-scurvy powers lent an indelible nickname to the British, whose superstitious Limeys probably snatched the idea from Tantra, which prescribed the fruit to ward off evil spirits. Perfected in the heart of Persia, limes in great variety have become essential to everything from cooking to cocktails. Tart and grassy, floral and sour — whether in the perfume of fine curry or the rowdy flavors of Margaritaville, lime blinks neon green all the way down. Wines with lime flavors generally abound in refreshing crispness, whether they burst with... continue reading

04.09.2012

Vote for Vinography in the 2012 Saveur Blog Awards

I'm honored to have been nominated again for the Saveur Blog Awards, and if you enjoy Vinography and don't mind spending a minute or two on my behalf, I certainly would appreciate your vote. The folks at Saveur do a very good job of putting these awards together. This year there were a jaw dropping 40,000 nominations across their various categories. The finalists they narrowed their choices down to are truly excellent. Every year I discover some new blogger from their list of finalists.That's reason enough to head on over to the awards web site and check out who is... continue reading

04.08.2012

Meet The German Wine Queen

Beauty pageants have come and gone in America as a source of prime time entertainment. Where the Miss America pageant used to get serious top billing, it now can't compete with even the middle-rung of reality television, which provides all of the drama, and infinitely more lascivious, trash-talking vicariousness than a family-friendly catwalk of beauties in bikinis who all love puppies and want to have six children. Given the success of shows like American Idol, perhaps we'd still be interested in beauty pageants in this country if the competition also involved some degree of talent or intelligence beyond looking pretty... continue reading

04.07.2012

Weingut Nigl, Kremstal, Austria: Current Releases

If you begin in the medieval town of Krems, and turn your back on the Danube to instead follow the Krems river from where it hits the Danube back up a narrow valley, you will eventually find yourself in the village of Senftenberg, gazing up at an ancient church perched on a rocky promontory overlooking the valley, itself overshadowed by the crumbling ruin of a castle. If you bring yourself right up to the base of the escarpment, you may find yourself imagining life in this little valley in the 16th century, dark and feudal, punctuated with the pleasures of... continue reading

04.06.2012

Vinography Images: The Lone Oak

The Lone Oak ALEXANDER VALLEY, CA: Rows of Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines follow up the hill to a lone oak tree in Sonoma County under the blue sky of Summer. 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... continue reading

04.05.2012

Inaugural Austin Food and Wine Festival: April 27-29, Austin, TX

The quantity and quality of food and wine events in this country continues to improve with leaps and bounds. Once upon a time there were only one or two major (as in the kind of events that involve A-list celebrity chefs) food and wine festivals in the country. Now there seems to be a great event in most of the country's culinary capitals. This year we get to add Austin, Texas to that list, as Austin hosts its first annual Food and Wine Festival. In typical texas fashion, it's not only big, but better. Because what could make your usual... continue reading

04.03.2012

The Essence of Wine: Exotic Citrus

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch There was a time before lemon and lime, when from the far reaches of the East there came fruits of such shapes, colors, and scents that the gods themselves asked for a taste. Ganesh, in his wisdom, chose the citron, sanctifying its sour flesh for rites most holy. The Buddha favored what the Japanese call the bushukan , though it was said the Enlightened One preferred the fruit with its fingers closed, as in prayer. For sukkot Jews require an etrog fruit whose very dimensions determine if it is kosher. All these delicacies persists today... continue reading

04.01.2012

Acid Freaks Unite!: Tasting Notes from In Pursuit of Balance 2012

I may be mangling the quote a little, but I swear I saw someone on twitter the other day say something along the lines of: "It may be possible that there's a wine out there with too much acidity, but I have yet to taste it." I couldn't agree more. For me, acidity (and perhaps more specifically, the perception of acidity -- since they are a little different) is a crucial component that can make or break a wine. I love wines that have higher levels of acidity. They make the mouth water, they give life to the fruit, they... continue reading

04.01.2012

Advancing Vinography Wine Press Relations

This post is another one of my periodic entries focused primarily on the wine industry. If you are a consumer, you may find this of less interest. I've been blogging about wine here for more than 8 years, as many of you know, all the while, working pretty hard at my real job to pay the bills and put food on my family's table. Periodically (actually, all the time) I get asked, "so when are you going to give up that day job and become a full time wine writer." My answer is always disappointing to most of these folks,... 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

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Most Recent Entries

Burgundy Comes to San Francisco: Some Tasting Notes Vinography Images: Napa Morning Matthiasson, Napa Valley: Current Releases The Essence of Wine: Tobacco Schloss Gobelsburg, Kamptal, Austria: Current Releases Mountain Wines of Italy: Tasting Notes from Alto Adige Vinography Images: Young Fruit Exporting America 2012 Rosé Advocates and Producers Tasting: May 8, San Francisco The Essence of Wine: Oranges

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.