Text Size:-+

~ November 2012 Archives ~

 

11.30.2012

Vinography Images: The Coming Spring

The Coming Spring ALEXANDER VALLEY, CA: As Northern California is pounded with winter storms this week, it's nice to remember that Spring is coming. A open field of mustard in full bloom in Sonoma County. 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... continue reading

11.30.2012

Forget the Fiscal Cliff. What About the French Wine Cliff?

As American politics becomes consumed with the power play that everyone is calling the fiscal cliff, a far more dire and permanent disaster is looming for wine lovers everywhere. I'm speaking, of course, of the impending French Wine Cliff. Doubtless you've heard of the five-decades-long decline in per-capita consumption of wine by the French people. Well it has just hit a new low. As soft drinks, mixed drinks, and yes, even fruit juice has taken a larger role on the French table at mealtimes, French wine consumption has dropped to merely one glass per person, per day. And fewer than... continue reading

11.29.2012

Book Review: Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz

Why would any wine lover want to know something about more than one thousand different grape varieties? For the same reason that wine lover would want to taste them. A certain class of wine enthusiast, whether or not they accept the moniker of "wine geek" will experience a small shiver of delight as they peruse the pages of the recently published tome Wine Grapes, provided they haven't gotten a hernia in the process of lifting the seven pound book onto the table in the first place. As its subtitle suggests, this book attempts to be "A Complete Guide to 1,368... continue reading

11.28.2012

Why Wine is a Lousy Investment

I'll admit it. At various times over the years, I've flirted with the idea of seriously investing in wine. Not just buying a case or two of blue-chip wines and locking them in my basement. I even went so far as to discuss with a friend of mine in the financial services industry what it would take to put together a wine investment fund. I know that such things have been done, some of them even by people who weren't criminals. But every time I got close, I eventually got spooked. I probably didn't have the self-confidence to pull it... continue reading

11.25.2012

Kocabag Winery, Cappadocia, Turkey: Current Releases

From the small airport of Nevsehir you must cross the Kizilirmak or "the red river," the longest river in Turkey which earns its name each spring as it fills with the iron-rich soils washed down from the painted hills of Cappadocia. But for now, the river exists in placid greenish-gray, slightly turbid from the recent rains, flowing as ever towards its end in the Black Sea. Once across the narrow bridge, the road climbs back onto the the terraced plateaus of former floodplains which silently date this wide expanse of high desert to somewhere between ancient and eternal. It's easy... continue reading

11.24.2012

Vinography Images: Wall of Barrels

Wall of Barrels SANTA ROSA, CA: Pellegrini Winery gets ready for the Russian River "Barrel Weekend" with a wall of barrels set outside the winery on a spring day. 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

11.23.2012

The Legendary Wines of Napa: Tasting Notes

Last weekend I had the singular pleasure of co-leading a tasting with the title Legends of Napa Valley. I wrote about my impressions of the tasting overall, and the lessons that it offered, such as they were, about the aging of Napa wines across the last five decades, as part of my monthly column for Jancis Robinson. Now that I'm done editorializing, we can get down to the wines themselves. Below I offer my tasting notes for every wine that we tasted, in the order we tasted them. We tasted in four flights, two each day. The start of every... continue reading

11.21.2012

Napa Valley in Retrospect

Do the wines of Napa share the characteristic of so many of the world's greatest wines, namely the ability to improve over the decades? And if they do, is this equally true for contemporary releases as it is for historical bottlings? Over the course of two days last week, in the company of Anthony Dias Blue, Karen MacNeil, and Sotheby's wine specialist Nicholas Jackson, I had the good fortune and great pleasure to guide 35 interested wine lovers through a truly historic tasting of wines from California's Napa Valley. The premise was as simple as it was literal: assemble 80... continue reading

11.20.2012

The Essence of Wine: Strawberry

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch Bright gems nestled under tiny green canopies represent the perfect summer treasure for fingers small and large. A perfectly ripe plucked strawberry offers the quintessence of flavor. And what a flavor! Sweet. Juicy. Tangy. Fresh. While perhaps not equal to the pleasure of summer foraging, finding notes of strawberry in wine yields delight in good measure, especially when it comes to pink wine of all kinds. Rosé remains the perfect embodiment of strawberry essence — crisp, juicy, refreshing, and hard to resist. But even some red wines carry this fresh brightness. Grenache in particular is... continue reading

11.19.2012

Cobb Wines, Sonoma Coast, CA: Two Vineyards, Four Vintages

When we are children, we don't necessarily comprehend what our parents do for fun, and when we do, we rarely approve. As a teenager, the view from Ross Cobb's room included a few dozen Pinot Noir vines that his father, David Cobb, a marine biologist and environmental scientist, had planted in the backyard of their Mill Valley home. The fact that his parents were spending their Tuesday and Thursday nights taking viticulture classes at the Santa Rosa Junior College, and their weekends looking at land in Sonoma meant very little to him. "It seemed like a funny hobby, but I... continue reading

11.16.2012

Vinography Images: Vineyard Work

Vineyard Work BORDEAUX, FRANCE: A vineyard worker repairs a trellis stake at Chateau Lassegue, a Grand Cru estate located in the famed St. Emilion wine region. 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... continue reading

11.15.2012

Andrew Jefford: The Wine Writer is Dead

As some of you know, I just returned from about two weeks spent in Turkey, during which time I wandered around some vineyards, floated above a few more in a hot air balloon at sunrise, and attended the European Wine Bloggers Conference. Look for some coverage of all these preceding activities in the days and weeks to come, but I'd like to kick it off by sharing one of my favorite moments from the EWBC event, which was a keynote address by wine writer Andrew Jefford. Jefford's career in writing has been long and varied, including stints at many reputable... continue reading

11.13.2012

Vinography Unboxed: Week of November 11, 2012

Welcome to the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better wine samples that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week's samples included a very nice Syrah from the coolest part of the Russian River Valley, Green Valley, from a producer who keeps getting better and better. Don't miss the earthy, herbal red blend from Weingut Christ in the city limits of Vienna, whose whites are also excellent, should you ever come across them. Russian Hill Estate Vineyards in the Russian River Valley is a reliable source of excellent California Pinot Noir, and their Lera's single... continue reading

11.09.2012

Vinography Images: Fall Terraces

Fall Terraces ALEXANDER VALLEY, CA: As the grape harvest winds down, terraced vineyards take on the red and gold colors of fall in Sonoma County. 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... continue reading

11.09.2012

Lead the Armada or Drink Burgundy. Apparently You Can't Do Both.

If you had the opportunity to easily commandeer a massive C-47 air transport plane and you needed to get to a meeting of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, would you do it? If you were in the running for being Chief of the Navy, the correct answer would be no, apparently, even if the meeting you were attending happened to include a lot of heads of state. According to Time Magazine, James Stavridis, the U.S. Navy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe is no longer eligible to run the entire U.S. Navy because he did exactly that, and it was... continue reading

11.08.2012

The Essence of Wine: Lychee

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch For what other fruit would Chinese emperors establish networks of galloping couriers to deliver it freshly plucked and in the height of its ripe delicacy? If you grew up in Asia, lychees would be a well known treat, thanks to a 2000-year-old love affair with these curious pink nodules that dangle enticingly from their evergreen boughs. But for western palates, they can be an exotic, even unnerving experience, thanks to the peeled fruit's resemblance to a freshly extracted eyeball—both in appearance and imagined texture. Should such hesitations be overcome, however, the slightly resistant and slippery... continue reading

11.06.2012

Let's Talk Turkey

This morning I woke to the sounds of the muezzin's call to prayer on the banks of the Bosphorus. Sleeping in the shadow of the ancient walls of Constantinople and a stones throw from the Hagia Sophia, I dreamed of an olive harvest, but woke before I had the chance to sample my efforts. Thanks to the folks at of Wines of Turkey, I'm in the country for a couple of weeks to explore and to participate in the European Wine Bloggers Conference, which has decamped to Izmir later this week for their annual symposium. Today I ate lunch on... continue reading

11.05.2012

Highlights from the Wine & Spirits Top 100 Event

I attend a lot of public tasting events for the same reason I tell my readers to attend them. They are simply the best way to educate the palate, and often the only way to get a chance to taste certain wines that you might not otherwise have a chance to afford. Such tastings can be quite exhausting and by the end of the event, I'm usually ready to take a nap. At the end of the annual Wine & Spirits Top 100 tasting every year, however, I find myself wishing I had another couple of hours to wander around... continue reading

11.03.2012

Vivier Wines, Napa: Current Releases

Most winemakers have some story of how they discovered wine. It's quite commonplace in Europe to simply grow up in a winemaking family, but here in the U.S. most winemakers don't have that luxury. Instead they often can recall a specific moment when the world of wine opened up to them, and they recognized the possibility of finding their life's work in it. Stéphane Vivier grew up in the heart of Burgundy, but his family, which hailed from elsewhere, was not a winemaking family, unless you count the small batches of homemade wine by aunts and uncles. When asked how... continue reading

11.02.2012

Vinography Images: Santa Barbara Fog

Santa Barbara Fog SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, CA: Old historic heritage valley oak trees dot the vineyard landscape in Santa Ynez Valley as the coastal fog hangs in the background. 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

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

November 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            

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Images: The Coming Spring Forget the Fiscal Cliff. What About the French Wine Cliff? Book Review: Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz Why Wine is a Lousy Investment Kocabag Winery, Cappadocia, Turkey: Current Releases Vinography Images: Wall of Barrels The Legendary Wines of Napa: Tasting Notes Napa Valley in Retrospect The Essence of Wine: Strawberry Cobb Wines, Sonoma Coast, CA: Two Vineyards, Four Vintages

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.