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~ August 2012 Archives ~

 

08.31.2012

Vinography Images: Foggy Ridges

Foggy Ridges MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA: An aerial photograph of fog along the ridgelines in the Mendocino Ridges appellation. 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

08.28.2012

The Essence of Wine: Plums

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch The tree has become so beloved that its name has become synonymous with beauty. From the grace of its slender boughs, to the spectacular burst of its blossoms in Spring, the plum has inspired some of history's greatest poets, painters, and thinkers. All that, before the delicate flowers give way to their precious fruit. Plums may well be the first tree fruit cultivated by our species, and remains one of the most cherished, playing a prominent role in many Asian cuisines, especially Japanese. With a range of flavor from frightfully tart to tangy sweet, the... continue reading

08.26.2012

California Wine Month "Road Trip" Tastings: Sept 6 & 22, Los Angeles / San Francisco

If it has been decreed by governmental proclamation, it must be true, right? September is California Wine Month, didn't you know? Most things, like pirates, popcorn, or left-handed people just get a single day to call their own. But wine has become so vital to California, that it deserves a whole month. So says the Governor of our great state. So why is California Wine Month more than just another couple of words on some official calendar and the minutes of a legislative session? Because stuff actually happens during this month that is worth paying attention to. For starters, apparently... continue reading

08.25.2012

Tasting Notes from the 2012 International Pinot Noir Celebration

The International Pinot Noir Celebration is perhaps my favorite tasting event that I attend each year here in the U.S. Held on the bucolic grounds of a small college in a little town in Oregon's Willamette Valley, the event always manages to get just about everything right. It offers great food, fantastic wines, and interesting lectures all wrapped up in a very casual, relaxed atmosphere that simply makes it a joy to attend. I've already posted some of my coverage of the 2012 event (here and here) but now it's time to get down to the wines on offer.... continue reading

08.24.2012

Vinography Images: A Handful of Chardonnay

A Handful of Chardonnay MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA: A golden ripe cluster of Chardonnay grapes just harvested in Anderson Valley. Chardonnay is the number one selling grape variety wine in America and already the first clusters of the grape are beginning to come off the vines for the 2012 harvest. 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... continue reading

08.22.2012

Heimann Family Estate, Szekszard, Hungary: Current Releases

The Transdanubian hills in Szekszárd (pronounced sex-sahrd), rise up sharply off the Hungarian Plain, bounding up several hundred meters in short order, so that the roads to the top must hairpin and switchback all the way. Once atop the ridge, however, the view is worth the climb, as beautiful hills and little valleys cascade from the central ridge line, carpeted in grapevines and dotted with the small farmhouses that seem like they could have been there since the beginning of time. Szekszárd is one of Hungary's 22 growing regions. Like most, it has a long tradition of growing grapes, but... continue reading

08.21.2012

My Wine List Fantasy

I have a fantasy, and I thought it was probably time to come clean and admit it here openly. I've dreamed for a while about creating a restaurant wine list. Not a mammoth tome of hundreds of bottles, mind you, just a nice compact list that would fit on a single page and might be appropriate for a neighborhood boutique restaurant with a serious interest in wine. Anyone who works in the wine business is probably shaking their heads, wondering why in heaven's name I'd be interested in doing this. Putting together and maintaining wine lists isn't exactly easy, as... continue reading

08.18.2012

Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane

As a child, the lure of archeology cannot be denied. Fantasies of discovering ancient treasures fuel the dreams of many youngsters, as they did my adolescent imagination. These days, such notions have been replaced in my life with interests no less exciting in the wine world. For the curious wine lover, opportunities abound to explore the treasures of the past in the form of old vines, recently discovered and under rehabilitation by vintners around the world. I delight in tasting wines made from gnarled old plants to which no one paid attention for years until someone realized they might make... continue reading

08.17.2012

Vinography Images: Sign of the Wines

Sign of the Wines NAPA VALLEY, CA: The visitor sign in Oakville hails tourists to the Napa Valley. These days it's easy to get a good look at this sign that sits along Highway 29, mostly because during the summer months, the traffic slows down to a crawl. 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.... continue reading

08.16.2012

Crushpad - The Death of a Business Model

Silicon Valley lies a mere 90 miles from the heart of California wine country, but sits worlds apart. The frenzy of venture-backed start-ups doesn't seem to overlap the world of wine, except to provide a steady stream of wealthy individuals whose dreams include a nice house, a few acres of vines, and their name on a label. As the old joke would have it, Silicon Valley is where you make the large fortune, wine country is where you turn it into a small one. Perhaps it was inevitable that some daring entrepreneurs would try to bridge these two worlds, so... continue reading

08.15.2012

The Essence of Wine: Dried Herbs

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch The mystery of the medicine man's pouch. The secret to grandmother's stew. The smell of the apothecary. Sundried leaves, perfectly cured, have long been treasures to be carefully guarded. Dried herbs heal, soothe, salve, and protect. They preserve, prevent, perfume, and flavor. They stimulate, and they even kill. In varieties to many to number, they have found their way into almost every facet of our lives, and we are much the better for it. Sage, marjoram, assam, rosemary, lavender, thyme. Anise, chamomile, oregano, cannabis, parsley, hyssop. Sometimes singular, sometimes swirled into a bouquet of uncertain... continue reading

08.12.2012

California Winemaking, Circa 1978

Growing up in Colorado, I readily acquired a reverence for the work of a filmmaker named Warren Miller, whose quirky, campy, and inspiring ski films were shown a few weeks before the first snows of the season to packed auditoriums of locals. It's been years since I've seen one of his films, or even thought of the delight I used to take in his work, so imagine my surprise when I came across a film he made about wine. OK, perhaps calling it a film may be a bit charitable, as it's essentially a 23-minute infomercial for Simi Winery, but... continue reading

08.10.2012

Vinography Images: Reflections on the Past

Reflections on the Past ANDERSON VALLEY, CA: The old barn at Edmeades Vineyard and Winery is reflected in the irrigation pond in this Mendocino County, California 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:... continue reading

08.09.2012

A Bottle by Any Other Shape?

Ready for the battle of the Champagne brands? Champagne house Bruno Palliard is considering legal action against Bollinger for allegedly copying the shape of their bottle. Big brands tend to take such things very seriously, and everything from perfume bottles to soft drink bottles have been registered trademarks for years. According to a Decanter.Com story (from which I've nicked the image to the right) the Palliard bottle shape is based on a 19th century bottle they found in their cellar. Well, unfortunately, Bollinger says the same thing. When you use a 150-year old bottle as the mold, or even the... continue reading

08.08.2012

2012 Family Winemakers Tasting: September 9, 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 22nd 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

08.07.2012

The Essence of Wine: Roses

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch Few things in this world are laden in equal weights of symbolism and perfume. For millennia we have asked an ancient flower to stand in for factions, for status, for sex, for God, for beauty, for secrets, for ideology, and of course, for love. 2500 years of devoted cultivation have produced countless hues and shapes and scents of rose. We paint them, we wear them, we give them, we eat them, we decorate with them, and we anoint ourselves with their remarkable perfume. So distinct and special is the flower's perfume, that finding it in... continue reading

08.05.2012

Treasure in the Hills: Tasting Oregon's Rieslings

"Pssst. Hey buddy. Wanna taste some Riesling?" said the shadowy figure in the trench coat from behind a tree. I must say, I wasn't surprised at this open solicitation in broad daylight amidst the festivities of the International Pinot Noir Celebration. After all, it had happened to me once before -- a mysterious invitation to slip away from the orgy of Pinot Noir for something a little more.... racy. In fact, I've come to eagerly anticipate the opportunity to check in on the progress of Oregon's least known wine trend. In the land of hills awash with fantastic Pinot Noir,... continue reading

08.03.2012

Vinography Images: Expectant Bottles

Expectant Bottles PORTUGAL: Bottles of port samples are arranged in the winery before blending at Cockburn's in Vila Nova de Gaia. 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... continue reading

08.02.2012

A Walk Through the Cote de Nuits with Allen Meadows

As some of you know, I spent last week at the (always) fabulous International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Apart from my responsibilities hosting a tasting, I attended events like everyone else, including the featured Burgundy seminar and tasting run by Allen Meadows of Burghound. As is my habit, I tend to make fairly detailed notes of these seminars, so I can offer my readers a taste of what it was like. What follows below, as usual, is not an actual word-for-word transcript, but it's the closest I can come. Any misstatements, innacuracies, etc, are mine. * *... continue reading

08.01.2012

The Essence of Wine: Dried Fruits

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch Describing the flavor as ancient barely does justice to history. Dried fruits were perhaps the very first prepared food that human beings thought to make or consume. The earliest examples of writing we possess and understand, the barest hint of scratches on clay tablets, all contain sundried morsels. Imagine the delight of the earliest senses at the chewy sweet rush of flavor delivered by a date, a prune, or a fig, its essence concentrated by sunlight. Until global trade unleashed sugar on the world, treats such as these were the most precious of commodities, for... 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

Vinography Images: Foggy Ridges The Essence of Wine: Plums California Wine Month "Road Trip" Tastings: Sept 6 & 22, Los Angeles / San Francisco Tasting Notes from the 2012 International Pinot Noir Celebration Vinography Images: A Handful of Chardonnay Heimann Family Estate, Szekszard, Hungary: Current Releases My Wine List Fantasy Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane Vinography Images: Sign of the Wines Crushpad - The Death of a Business Model

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.