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~ July 2012 Archives ~



Google Knows Wine Grapes

There I was, just minding my own business, doing what I do as a blogger, and all of a sudden I realize I need to know something. So where do I turn? The same place everyone does these days. I go to Google. Specifically, I was looking to remind myself which letter in the name of the grape Blaufränkisch had a diacritical marks on it and which mark that was. Yes, I'm super geeky that way. I know what they're called and I even sometimes try to use them correctly. After typing in those last few letters and hitting return,... continue reading


The Life and Wines of Jacques Lardiere

As some of you who follow my adventures on Twitter know, I'm spending the weekend at the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon's Willamette Valley. I attend this event periodically as a media guest, and enjoy the event's relaxed style, fabulous food, and wonderful mix of Pinot Noir producers from all over the world, including a significant number of Burgundy producers. This year, in addition to enjoying the event, I was asked to host one of the event's add on seminars, a celebration of winemaker jacques Lardiere, and a retrospective tasting os some of the wines he's produced in his... continue reading


Vinography Images: Purple Pinot

Purple Pinot ANNAPOLIS, CA: A cluster of ripe Pinot Noir grapes from the coolest part of the western reaches of California's Sonoma Coast region. Photographer George Rose and I are both attending the International Pinot Noir Celebration this weekend, so this image seemed topical. 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... continue reading


The Essence of Wine: Blueberries

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch With the feel of suede-like skin on the tongue, a tiny globe yields to pressure from the teeth with an explosion of juice — first sweet, then slightly sour, pure and bright. Occasionally a hint of fresh green herbs in the fruit reminds anyone who has stooped among diminutive bushes of the delightful search for summer's bright blue sparks. Few organoleptic delights compare to the burst of a perfectly ripe blueberry in the mouth, with its unique combination of floral sweetness and acidity. Native to North America, but now found elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere,... continue reading


2012 Monterey Winemakers Celebration: August 11, Monterey, CA

There is a reason that I post announcements of large public wine tastings here on Vinography. They can be a lot of fun, of course, but more importantly, they are the single best opportunity that any wine lover has to educate his or her palate. There are simply no other occasions where so many high quality wines are available for the tasting in a way that allows someone to compare wines of similar grape variety, origin, and vintage. And these comparisons are invaluable to building an understanding of these key variables in wine -- what does a certain grape tend... continue reading


Weingut Franz Hirtzberger, Wachau, Austria: Current Releases

Standing at the edge of the Danube on a cold spring day, gazing at darkening clouds above the picturesque church of Spitz that is set against a natural bowl of steep terraced hillsides lined with vines, it would be so easy to imagine that you are actually looking backward through time. Other than the modern highway snaking past this little village at the northern end of Austria's Wachau wine region, some barely visible power lines, and the occasional hum of aircraft, not much seems to have changed since the 13th century, when countless hands built these stone terraces that now... continue reading


Vinography Images: Brushfire

Brushfire ALEXANDER VALLEY, CA: A 2004 brush fire rages in wine country, coming close to vineyards in Sonoma County. With dry conditions throughout the country increasing, wildfires become a greater threat to agriculture. 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... continue reading


Vote for Vinography in the 2012 Wine Blog Awards

The finalists for the 2012 Wine Blog Awards have been announced and voting is now open to members of the public. The Wine Blog Awards are the longest running set of awards focused exclusively on the world of Wine Blogs. If you're reading this wine blog, then chances are you probably read one or two others, and therefore you know better than anyone what passes for compelling content when it comes to wine blogs. Which is why you should exercise your vote and support the folks that spend their time writing about wine for free so you can enjoy it.... continue reading


The Essence of Wine: Peaches

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch Few flavors so fully speak of summer as the delightfully juicy sweetness of peaches. Long prized for their sensuous skin and delicate flavors, and revered for the vitality shown by blossoms that emerge before the tree has leaves, the fruit was the natural food of Chinese deities for millennia, each bite guaranteeing the gods their continued immortality. Carried back along the Silk Road, peaches later flourished in Persia, where enterprising princes likely first bred the fuzz right off their backs. Peaches, nectarines and apricots, with flavors ranging from delicate rose petal to tangy, almost citrus... continue reading


Summer Vacations in Wine Country

By the time I was four years old, I had begun to visit my father during the summer at the hippie commune on which I was born. After spending winters with my mother in Colorado, my summers wandering the backwaters of California's Sonoma County with a bunch of hippies were nothing short of idyllic. There were bonfires, stargazing, sleeping out of doors (both with and without tents), fishing, and most activities you can imagine that involved getting as dirty as possible. And oh yes, there was wine tasting. My visits to my father, you see, presented an excuse for my... continue reading


How Many Wine Regions are Too Many?

Can wine grapes be made to grow where you live? For a lot of the world, the answer is yes. But should they? This second question may pose more difficulty to answer depending on your point of view. Certainly if you're a human being, and you need some booze to ease your way along the hard road of life, and you can grow grapes well enough to make wine for yourself, you most certainly should do that. Along with anything else that you can distill, ferment, or otherwise cook up that makes your life a little better. For millennia, necessity... continue reading


Vinography Images: The Wine Mountain

The Wine Mountain ALEXANDER VALLEY, CA: A terraced hillside Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard with a shrouded Mount St. Helena in the background is viewed from Sonoma County. Mount St. Helena also looms over Napa County, making it a strong landmark for both wine regions. 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... continue reading


French To Destroy the California Wine Industry Over Foie Gras

OK people, now is the time for outrage. If you value the California wine industry, then you can't ignore the imminent threat it now faces from an official in southern France, who may singlehandedly destroy California wine. Outraged over the fact that on July 1, 2012, it became illegal to produce, serve, or sell foie gras in California, Philippe Martin, President of the Gers regional council (an area of France near the border with Spain), demanded that French restaurants immediately stop serving California wine. Some may say "turnabout is fair play" especially after the Congressional cafe in Washington D.C. renamed... continue reading


2008 Ovid Proprietary Red Wine, Napa Valley

I've learned a lot about many things in the course of meeting with Napa winemakers and writing about Napa wines for more than eight years. But I tell you, few lessons have been beaten into my head more than the dangers of looking for a vacation home in Napa. If you have the means to buy a nice place in the Napa Valley you are already imperiled. If you start looking, however, you expose yourself to supernatural forces whose breadth and depth have yet to be mapped. Much like the famed Bermuda Triangle, the Napa Valley chews you up and... continue reading


The Essence of Wine: Candle Wax

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch It belongs with the sounds of slowly creaking doors, the smell of old books and the feel of parchment on the fingers. It promises comfort and respite, and a reassurance that everything will happen in its own time. As the wick shortens and sputters, the world collapses to a bright point of light and then, darkness, where aromas of melted wax linger like ghosts in an old mansion. There was once a time when a candle was the only tool to keep this darkness at bay. These days a whiff of paraffin might as well... continue reading


Love is All You Need: The Magical Wines of Imre Kaló

The road from Tokaj to Eger, Hungary, tells something of the country's story. An early spring afternoon shows lush, gently undulating farmland stretching to either side of the two-lane blacktop, which unrolls in front of me with stoic determination. It is going somewhere, at least in contrast with the countryside, which seems just as intensely to be nowhere specifically. Indeed, for many miles, this slice of green fields dotted with trees and tractors could well be anywhere in the world, at least until the hulking, nearly-empty industrial cities rise from the horizon and place a definitive pin on the map,... continue reading


Vinography Images: Vineyard Morning

Vineyard Morning ALEXANDER VALLEY, CA: A Cabernet Sauvignon vine stands against the early morning winter sky in Sonoma County, the remnants of the previous vintage's vines still hanging from the trellis wires. 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... continue reading


50th Annual Napa Wine Library Tasting: August 19, Napa

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. It is quite rare, however, despite the nearness of the appellation and the saturation of wine in the Bay Area, for consumers to get the opportunity to get an in-depth or comprehensive look at the wines of Napa Valley. Perhaps it's just because Napa wines don't need much marketing help, or perhaps... continue reading


The Essence of Wine: Nuts

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch Saying that our relationship with nuts goes back for some time dramatically understates the case. For three quarters of a million years, we've been eating tender morsels pried from armored exteriors that we've crushed with everything from stones to precision machinery. Raw and roasted, warm and toasted, nuts offer flavors earthy, woody, and even meaty. In wine, these flavors add grace notes to fruit, their savory qualities lending complexity and depth. Lean and savory white wines such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc can suggest cashews and brazil nuts. Richer whites often feature roasted hazelnuts, pecans,... continue reading


West of West Wine Festival: August 3-5, Occidental, CA

Cool climate has become a popular catchphrase in the world of wine, thanks, in part, to global warming trends that threaten some popular wine regions' abilities to produce their traditional wines in the same styles to which they are accustomed. But serious wine lovers have also long known that great wine can often come from the very fringes of possibility -- places or situations where grapes struggle to survive, let alone bear ripe fruit. As winemaking traditions migrated from the old world, where grapes are planted "where they have always been planted," to the new world, where intrepid winemakers sought... 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

Google Knows Wine Grapes The Life and Wines of Jacques Lardiere Vinography Images: Purple Pinot The Essence of Wine: Blueberries 2012 Monterey Winemakers Celebration: August 11, Monterey, CA Weingut Franz Hirtzberger, Wachau, Austria: Current Releases Vinography Images: Brushfire Vote for Vinography in the 2012 Wine Blog Awards The Essence of Wine: Peaches Summer Vacations in Wine Country

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise 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 Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud