Text Size:-+

~ September 2012 Archives ~

 

09.29.2012

2007 Ruston Family Vineyards "La Maestra" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

I love Napa and its wines, but the bits of it that are truly dear to my heart tend to be off the beaten path, away from the big shiny wineries that front the main roads, with parking lots big enough for tour buses. Finding the "down home" bits of Napa has become harder and harder, but thankfully not impossible. It is still easy, with a little sleuthing, to track down tiny producers that cling to their little vineyards, making small quantities of good wine, and selling them for a reasonable price. Often, these last bastions of down-to-earth winemaking and... continue reading

09.28.2012

Vinography Images: Night Harvest

Night Harvest HEALDSBURG, CA: Several ripe (or overripe, depending on your point of view) clusters of Pinot Noir grapes are seen prior to their harvest in this early morning Russian River Valley photo. Picking crews are working through the night at the moment to bring in some of the best looking grapes that California has seen in years. 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... continue reading

09.27.2012

Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 24, 2012

Welcome to this week's installment of my new feature, Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better wine samples that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week offers the usual grab bag of wines, with some unusual bottles that somehow made their way to me to taste, among them an older vintage Bordeaux and a wine from Cahors, both of which were a nice change from a lot of California wines. The first 2010 Pinot Noirs are starting to to be released and I can say I'm very excited about them. There are a couple from Dutton Goldfield that... continue reading

09.25.2012

Wine Can Save You From Serial Killers, Divorce, and Bad Roommates

We all knew wine was good for you, but now it turns out to be a complete lifesaver. Here's how to protect yourself with wine. The next time you're out on a first date, or your next occasion interviewing a roommate, employee, or mail-order spouse, make sure to give them a glass of wine. As them to swirl it carefully, sniff deeply, and then tell you what they smell. They may demure, and appear uncomfortable to be put on the spot, but put them at ease, and tell them you are deeply interested in what they might smell in the... continue reading

09.24.2012

The Next Generation in (Napa) Wine Tasting: October 7, Oakville, CA

Time marches on, and history unrolls like the rails of a train behind us. Napa has a wonderful history of family-run wineries some of which even stretch back before Prohibition. But for all intents and purposes the modern history of Napa began after Prohibition, with the pioneers of the Forties and Fifties, of which there were few. Into the Sixties and Seventies, however, Napa was still a place where a family could afford to buy a piece of land, settle down, and decide to give grape growing a try. Many of those families now make up what we think of... continue reading

09.22.2012

Robert Parker and Cesar Chavez, Together At Last

As some of you know, I have the pleasure of serving as a member of the Nominating Committee for an organization known as the Vintners Hall of Fame, an effort by the Culinary Institute of America to celebrate individuals that have had the greatest impact on the California wine industry. I share this honor with a lot of people much more illustrious than I, including many of the living members of the Hall of Fame. Typically each year I poll my readers for their opinions about who they think should get in. Not that we really need a longer list.... continue reading

09.22.2012

Wine Bloggers on the Bosphorus

Nine years ago, if you had told me that there would one day be conferences for wine bloggers, I would have laughed in your face. But, of course, nine years is an eternity on the Internet, and a lot has changed. Now not only do hundreds of bloggers descend on such a conference each year in a different North American city, a European conference has also sprung up, and is now in its fifth year. This year's conference, which has actually lost the word "blogger" from its official title, is being held in Izmir, Turkey, and I'm headed there to... continue reading

09.21.2012

Vinography Images: Cabernet Leaf

Cabernet Leaf SONOMA COUNTY, CA: A Cabernet Sauvignon grape leaf is set against the sun in the Alexander Valley during summer. The first Cabernet is just beginning to be harvested throughout Sonoma and Napa Counties this 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... continue reading

09.21.2012

I Want My Wine Apartment

One of the defining phrases of my generation will always be "I want my MTV." I did, at one point, want it. But once I got it, I quickly tired. These days I'm much more likely to be chanting "I want my sleep." But that comes with the territory of fatherhood. But a couple of days ago I found a new obsession. I want my wine apartment. In a brilliant move that exploits everything about the dense urban economic landscape of Tokyo, a developer recently announced the construction of an apartment building centered around a single philosophical purpose: the love... continue reading

09.20.2012

Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 17th

Welcome to this week's installment of my new feature, Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better wine samples that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week highlights many places on the globe, from Burgundy, Greece, Chile, New Zealand, Germany, and of course a bunch of wines from California. Look for the Gallica Cabernet, a personal project of winemaker Rosemary Cakebread, as well as the perpetually reliable Cabernets from Grgich Hills, and Dry Creek Vineyard. Did you know that Cloudy Bay made Pinot Noir in addition to their famous Sauvignon Blanc? Have you ever tried a wine made from... continue reading

09.20.2012

Prices and Politics in California's 2012 Harvest

Workdays start before dawn this week across Northern California, as this year's harvest gets underway with a massive sigh of relief shared by most vintners on America's west coast. After two years in which the adjectives used by many to describe the harvest ranged from 'nail-biting' to 'disastrous', California vintners are celebrating what has been a near-perfect growing season and a flawless start to harvest with the heat spikes and deluges of recent years noticeably absent. But in the aftermath of two small, tricky vintages, a heavy, high-quality crop isn't all good news, at least not for some. Some winemakers... continue reading

09.19.2012

The Essence of Wine: Blackberries

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch Fingers splotchy dark purple, scratched and pricked. Snags and scrapes and dirty knees. The occasional razor burn of nettles and the mad lingering itch of poison oak. These are the hazards of the blackberry patch, where the choicest bundles of shiny, dark goodness hang just out of convenient reach. So we must lean, shuffle, stretch, and occasionally tumble through briar and thorn to capture the prize. Summer blackberry picking stains the memory as easily as it does the fingers. It is easy to recall the scent of dust and dried wheat, the herbal green of... continue reading

09.17.2012

2012 Sake Day Celebration and Tasting: October 6, San Francisco

Japan has given many things to the world that I cherish, but few of them have an unofficial holiday that gives me the excuse to celebrate them. Every October first, along with sake lovers all over Japan and around the world, I get to observe Nihonshu no Hi, also known as Sake Day. Like wine, no one knows exactly when sake first made an appearance. In a similar fashion to grape wine, the knowledge that fermented rice eventually yields an alcoholic beverage was probably discovered in accidental and then later deliberate stages, as innovative and curious folks explored ways of... continue reading

09.14.2012

Vinography Images: Ready for Harvest

Ready for Harvest ANDERSON VALLEY, CA: A golden ripe cluster of Chardonnay grapes is ready for harvest in Mendocino County. Chardonnay is the number one selling variety of wine in America. 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

09.13.2012

2009 Clos de los Siete Red Wine, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina

Fifty miles south of the city of Mendoza the valley of Tunuyan feels less like a valley and more like a vast, kneeling supplicant to the immediate, looming bulk of the Northern Andes mountains. Though the valley floor is massive -- sweeping away from the jagged, snow capped peaks in every possible direction as if it were trying to get out of the way of their falling bulk -- you never get the sense that it is very flat. No matter where you stand, the world seems to be constantly tipping up towards (or down away from, as the case... continue reading

09.11.2012

Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 10th

Welcome to this week's installment of my new feature, Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better wine samples that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week highlights a bunch of new Napa Cabernets that are being released to the market this fall. The Cabernets I chose to feature this week represent quite a stylistic range, from the leaner, stonier notes of the Smith Madrone to the ripeness and oak influence of Pine Ridge's Fortis. There's a nice Chardonnay from Dierberg, whose wines just keep getting better in my opinion, as well as an interesting Merlot or two (one... continue reading

09.10.2012

2012 Masters of Wine Champagne Tasting: October 1, San Francisco

I never liked Champagne until I had the really good stuff. For years I went to weddings and New Year's Eve bashes and dutifully tried all the bubbly, but didn't see what the fuss was about. My lack of experience with quality Champagne was understandable, given how much money I, and the people I hung out with, were typically spending on it. It's a sad reality of the wine world that by and large most quality Champagne starts at about $35 to $40 a bottle, and the really good stuff starts in the $60 to $80 price range. Once I... continue reading

09.08.2012

Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay, Chassagne-Montrachet, Burgundy: Some Current Releases

Burgundy is nothing if not consistent. The unbroken line that the region traces back through thousands of years of winegrowing history anchors the soul of the place as firmly as it does its vines. Families, too, for sometimes dozens of generations, seem rooted in place, as the father's wines give way to those of the son, preserving and slowly evolving the family link to the place. Anyone who has visited Burgundy and descended into the mold-encrusted cellars understands how everything there is steeped in time and tradition, as if somehow you could strip away a few trappings of modernity like... continue reading

09.07.2012

Vinography Images: Free Run Cabernet

Free Run Cabernet HOPLAND, CA: Ripe organically grown Mendocino County Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and juice are dumped into the crusher. Harvest is beginning all over the North Coast. Whites primarily now, with reds soon to follow. 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... continue reading

09.06.2012

Introducing Vinography Unboxed

I've been sitting on the horns of a minor dilemma. For eight years, I've written about wine precisely the way I want to -- primarily telling stories about the people, places, and histories behind the wine. I've long maintained that in doing so the tasting note for the wine is one of the least important aspects of my reviews, and that Vinography would never become the equivalent of the last 30 pages of every wine magazine, simply a long litany of tasting notes, one after the other. But there's a reason, of course, that wine magazines like the Spectator and... continue reading

09.04.2012

2009 Hyde de Villaine Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa

In some quarters, speaking of the greatness to be found in California Chardonnay will earn nothing but sniggers and the complete loss of credibility when it comes to quality wine. The cognoscenti of the wine world, with few exceptions, have largely written off California's rendition of one of the world's greatest grapes as a failed experiment with excess: too much ripeness and too much oak. Of course, most American wine drinkers care not a whit for what the elite of the wine world think. They never even hear their babbling. Instead they're content to keep buying the slightly sweet, overly... 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

2007 Ruston Family Vineyards "La Maestra" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Vinography Images: Night Harvest Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 24, 2012 Wine Can Save You From Serial Killers, Divorce, and Bad Roommates The Next Generation in (Napa) Wine Tasting: October 7, Oakville, CA Robert Parker and Cesar Chavez, Together At Last Wine Bloggers on the Bosphorus Vinography Images: Cabernet Leaf I Want My Wine Apartment Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 17th

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.