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~ April 2013 Archives ~

 

04.30.2013

Frank Cornelissen, Etna, Sicily: Upcoming Releases

"It's not going to be big enough," says Frank Cornelissen, watching the backhoe dig out the foundations of his second generation winery in the shadow of the little village church. But before I can ask him why he's bothering to build a winery that he knows isn't going to handle his dreams, he adds, "That's why we bought another cellar. We'll move into that one eventually. The third one will be right." Eventually, in Cornelissen time frames, is about 10 years. It's all part of a plan he is executing with the frenetic passion of a man running across a... continue reading

04.27.2013

The Seven Percent Solution Tasting: May 11, Healdsburg, CA

There comes a point in every intrepid wine lover's life when the well-traveled road must be left behind. One can only drink so much Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. But finding one's way out of the multitudes of these bottles to something more exotic and interesting takes some effort. Which is where the folks behind the Seven Percent Solution come in. These wine producers have organized themselves behind a claim that 93% of California's vineyard acreage is planted to eight major grape varieties, leaving seven percent for all the others. While my calculations differ (according to the... continue reading

04.26.2013

Vinography Images: Green But Getting There

Green But Getting There WINDSOR, CA: Chardonnay grapes ripen on the vine at Shiloh Hill Vineyard on in the Russian River Valley. Sunny skies and cooperating weather are contributing to bring a bumper crop of premium wine grapes throughout 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,... continue reading

04.25.2013

Churton Wines, Marlborough, New Zealand: Recent Releases

Sometimes we head off into the world searching for our heart's desire only to return home to find that what we needed was right in our own back yard. Like all literary tropes, this one has more than a grain of truth. When Sam Weaver and his wife Mandy decided to move to New Zealand from their native England, they found themselves a pretty house at the base of a hill with a gorgeous view and a lot of big trees. Ten years later, after searching throughout Marlborough for a hillside vineyard to buy, Weaver realized he had been... continue reading

04.23.2013

A Dark Day For Wine Lovers

We all dream big dreams, hope springing from our chests as easily as breathing. This is the human condition -- to aspire to a better life, even against the fiercest of odds. Sometimes the only thing that can sustain us through dark times is the tiny light of faith we hold in our hearts. I have been carrying just such a flickering flame of hope for some time now, but life can sometimes be cruel. Today my hopes were dashed against the rock wall of reality, and I am back to resignation and despair. At the beginning of March, the... continue reading

04.22.2013

How to Love Italian Wine or Die Trying: A First Timer's Guide to VinItaly

So, you enjoy a nice glass of Chianti now and then? You savor a Barolo or two when given the chance? You've been known to throw back a bottle of Pinot Grigio with a friend on a summer's day? If so, it's time for you to ask yourself a simple question. Do you think you could survive on Italian wine alone? Are the combined passions of an entire nation of rabid Italian winemakers and their thousands of precious indigenous grape varieties enough to slake your deepest thirsts and desires? VinItaly, the world's largest wine trade show, can answer many... continue reading

04.21.2013

Stella di Campalto, Castelnuovo dell'Abate, Italy: Current Releases

Some stories are just about enough to make you believe in fate. Fifteen years ago, no one in their right mind would have ever predicted that the young Stella di Campalto would be one of the most exciting new producers of Brunello di Montalcino in the last decade. Being of sound mind, she certainly couldn't have imagined it herself, especially given the fact that she didn't drink wine. But luckily for her, and for those of us who love Brunello di Montalcino, she had an aunt who was decidedly not in her right mind. "My mother's family is from Florence,... continue reading

04.20.2013

2013 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival: May 17-19, Philo, CA

California Pinot Noir lovers take note. Wine lovers with a free weekend, listen up. It's Spring, and the wine events are coming fast and furious. It seems like every week there's a new wine tasting to go to. But some are more worth paying attention to than others. Anderson Valley is known for two things in California, and not coincidentally, it has more or less two major wine tasting events per year. The first, the International Alsace Varietals festival took place a few months ago. The second is the annual Pinot Noir Festival. If you're a fan of Pinot Noir... continue reading

04.19.2013

Vinography Images: Cover Crop

Cover Crop HEALDSBURG, CA: Warm sunny skies bring out the wildflowers and Pinot Noir budbreak in the Russian River Valley, near Healdsburg, 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 follow these instructions, while PC users should follow these. PRINTS: Fine art prints of... continue reading

04.18.2013

Grape Pickings for US Lawyers

These days it seems as though the tool of choice for the upper echelon of the American fine-wine scene is neither a Laguiole nor a personal cellar consultant, but a lawyer. The buzz of conversation among sommeliers and wine geeks this past month has not been over the latest lower-alcohol wine from the Sonoma Coast or the effects of root days on wine-tasting events, but instead has focused on the veritable soap operas of wine unfolding in the courtrooms of America. The biggest news by far was last week's announcement that billionaire William Koch had won a lawsuit against wine... continue reading

04.15.2013

When it Comes to Rosé, Italy Gives France a Run for the Money

My gold standard for pink wine has long been the wines of southern France, in particular Provence. Add in some of the wines of Tavel, Marsannay, and the Loire Valley, and you've pretty much covered the vast majority of what I think is the world's greatest rosé. For anyone who's not familiar with those appellations, they all have one thing in common. They're in France. Have I had good rosés from other places? Sure I have. From all over the world. We're not talking about France having a monopoly here, they're just the safest bet I know of. Or knew... continue reading

04.12.2013

Vinography Images: Sunlit Row

Sunlit Row HEALDSBURG, CA - OCTOBER 9: The colors are vivid as Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon grapes ripen on the vine under a warm autumn sun near Healdsburg, 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 follow these instructions, while PC users should follow... continue reading

04.11.2013

Vinitaly 2013, Days 2-4: Drinking From the Italian Firehose

In seemingly only a blink of an eye, Vinitaly2013 is over. I suppose it's hardly a surprise that after four days at the world's largest wine exposition, I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. I tasted a lot of wine, but not nearly enough. Italy's incredible diversity and depth was fully displayed but any ordinary human would need weeks, not days, to fully appreciate it. Admittedly, I spent a chunk of my time at Vinitaly not tasting wine, but participating in conversations with winery owners and industry folks. Monday I participated in the VinItaly Business Series conversations, both as... continue reading

04.08.2013

VinItaly 2013, Day One: Impressions and Highlights

I spent yesterday at the world's craziest gathering of the world's craziest wines. The Italians like to joke about how they embrace chaos, so approaching VinItaly I was expecting mayhem. But there's just no way to put on one of the world's largest wine trade shows while embracing the principles of anarchy. VinItaly is simply just another big wine trade show. The crazy part isn't about its disorganization, it's simply about just how big it is. I shudder to think how I'd have to approach this monstrosity if I actually had to do business here. Big buyers of Italian... continue reading

04.05.2013

Vinography Images: Keeping It Cool

Keeping it Cool COTATI, CA: Rolling vineyards of pinot noir and chardonnay ripen on the vine under a warm summer sun, with the cooling influence of fog Cotati, California. Sunny skies and cooperating weather are contributed to bring a bumper crop of premium wine grapes throughout California in 2012. 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

04.05.2013

Three Glasses Full: Highlights from the 2013 Tre Bicchieri Tasting

When given the opportunity -- usually the occasion of someone asking me "what's your favorite wine" -- I often tell people, with some degree of pride, that my tastes in wine are quite broad. I like wine from everywhere, and love wine from a ton of places, and lust after wines from many places. I don't believe I have a specific bias towards one region or another, and get great enjoyment out of drinking wine from all over. However, each year, my confidence in my catholic tastes is shaken a little as I emerge from the Gambero Rosso Tre... continue reading

04.03.2013

2009 Ladera Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, Napa

I've been drinking wine for nearly 50% of my life at this point, taking notes on wine for almost 20 years, and writing this blog for nine, but despite that fact, it's not exactly common for me to be able to say with certainty that I've tasted every vintage of a particular wine made by any one winery. Even those wineries whose inaugural vintages debuted since Vinography became a going concern I am generally not able to taste their wines with regularity every single year. But there are a few wineries whose wines I have been buying and tasting since... continue reading

04.01.2013

The App that Will Revolutionize Your Wine Tasting

As many of you know, I've long struggled with the idea of an aroma wheel. I've never understood why it needed to be round, nor believed there was relevancy in the spatial relationships between the various aromas on the wheel. That's why I created my aroma cards that a) fit into a wallet, and b) have a lot more of the aromas I smell in wine than most of the wheels I've ever seen. But there were inherent limitations to the card. Chief among them were the fact that it only offered a set of words on paper. For curious... 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.

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Most Recent Entries

Frank Cornelissen, Etna, Sicily: Upcoming Releases The Seven Percent Solution Tasting: May 11, Healdsburg, CA Vinography Images: Green But Getting There Churton Wines, Marlborough, New Zealand: Recent Releases A Dark Day For Wine Lovers How to Love Italian Wine or Die Trying: A First Timer's Guide to VinItaly Stella di Campalto, Castelnuovo dell'Abate, Italy: Current Releases 2013 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival: May 17-19, Philo, CA Vinography Images: Cover Crop Grape Pickings for US Lawyers

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.