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~ May 2013 Archives ~

 

05.31.2013

Vinography Images: It's Napa!

It's Napa! RUTHERFORD, CA: A large "welcome" sign greets visitors to the Napa Valley. Some 13.6 million international travelers visit the State each year generating nearly $100 billion in revenue and creating approximately 900,000 jobs in the arts, entertainment, recreation, food service and accomodations sectors. This weekend the valley hosts its Auction Napa Valley -- a charity wine event and auction that has donated more than $110 million to charity since it began in 1981. 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... continue reading

05.30.2013

Keplinger Wines, Napa: Current Releases

One of the most often proclaimed credentials for winemakers in California consists of having been trained in the Old World. While plenty of California winemakers often "work a harvest" somewhere, it still remains uncommon to find those individuals that have spent multiple years abroad making wine before coming back to the U.S. The number of winemakers in California that have not just consulted, but lived and worked for three or more years in Bordeaux or Burgundy before coming back to make Cabernet or Pinot locally is quite low, but there are those such as David Ramey and Ted Lemon whose... continue reading

05.29.2013

The Essence of Wine: Graphite

Image © 2013 Leigh Beisch Perhaps if you were well-behaved or maybe just lucky, your teacher sent you to the edge of the classroom with a tightly-clasped fist of yellow, where you would have the pleasure of producing those wavy ribbon-like curls of beige and gray that litter many a school day memory. There may come a time when, like the clack of a typewriter or the stutter of a rotary phone, children do not recognize the smell of a freshly sharpened Number 2 Ticonderoga or FaberCastell. But for now, the scent of shaved or pulverized graphite brings instant recognition.... continue reading

05.28.2013

The Rhone Renaissance: Tasting Notes from Rhone Rangers 2013

"I'm not dead yet!" protests the old man as he is about to be dumped on the wheelbarrow of corpses. "I think I'll go for a walk," he volunteers. "Shut up, you're not fooling anyone," insists the man trying to get rid of him. I can't help but think of this scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail whenever I contemplate the fate of California Syrah. For reasons completely unbeknownst to me, it's apparently easier to get rid of a case of the clap than a case of Syrah according to what is now a well worn joke among... continue reading

05.24.2013

Vinography Images: The Colorful Palette

The Colorful Palette COTATI, CA: Pinot Noir grapes undergo veraison on the vine under a warm summer sun in Sonoma's Petaluma Gap region of California during the 2012 growing season. While veraison is a ways off for the 2013 growing season, if weather continues to be warm it will arrive early 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... continue reading

05.22.2013

Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 20, 2013

Hello from the bottom (or more truthfully, from floundering near the top) of the samples pile. This is the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles of wine that have crossed my doorstep recently. I'm just getting back to the pile after some travel and craziness that has made it hard to find time to open boxes and taste things lately. This week we've got a pretty Riesling from Germany, with a lemon complexion and a hint of something deeper. The couple of biodynamic and mostly unsulfured wines from Ambyth Estate in Paso Robles... continue reading

05.18.2013

Pietradolce Winery, Solichiatta, Sicily: Recent Releases

Michele Faro loves his mother, and I do too. In fact, I wanted to kiss the woman after a long day of driving from the northern tip of Sicily down to the eastern slopes of Mount Etna. Tired and hungry, I arrived at the tiny boutique hotel that Faro has named after his mother, Donna Carmela, and sat down to a bowl of her rustic pork ragu and freshly made pasta, and practically burst into tears it was so good. Simple, essential, bursting with flavor, and perfectly spiced -- the tangy tomato sauce playing counterpoint to the rich, fatty saltiness... continue reading

05.17.2013

Vinography Images: The Endless Row

The Endless Row McMINNVILLE, OR: Domaine Drouhin Winery estate Pinot Noir vineyards unroll over the hills of the Willamette Valley. The cities of McMinnville and Newburg are the epicenter of Oregon's wine production. 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

05.16.2013

Wine In 140 Characters or Less

There was a time when the conversations between the cognoscenti of the wine world happened behind closed doors. Until recently, most of us could have only imagined the whispered commentary of top sommeliers as they passed in the wine cellars of the world's best restaurants, or fantasised about the kinds of things that top wine writers discussed in conclave. So, too, the drinking habits of the well-known in the wine world were only available if published, often on paper, and then usually with a tantalising lack of precision. Opinions abound as to the true value of Twitter and many employ... continue reading

05.14.2013

Is Wine Tasting Bullshit? No.

Who knew some snarky article trashing wine connoisseurship and wine experts could be so popular. But it just goes to show you how much people like seeing anyone ripped off a pedestal. I've been thinking about writing a response to the silly thing, but couldn't bring myself to do it. Thankfully my friend Blake Gray's willpower was flagging one night this week after a lot of wine judging, and he saved me the trouble. Blake gets it pretty much right on the money. Wine tasting (i.e. criticism) is only bullshit if you think all criticism is bullshit. It's a subjective... continue reading

05.11.2013

Vinography Images: Sunflowers

Sunflowers HOPLAND, CA: A field of colorful sunflowers grow at Saracina Vineyards under a warm Mendocino County summer sun near Hopland, California. An unusually warm spring has pushed vines and flowers into bloom much earlier than usual in 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... continue reading

05.10.2013

Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas

When Charles Banks, one of the former owners of Oakville's Screaming Eagle winery and the head of investment firm Terroir Capital, recently bought a big stake in Wind Gap Wines, it raised some eyebrows. The contrast between cult Cabernet and concrete-egg-aged, cool climate, 12% alcohol Grenache couldn't have been stronger. But when Banks announced a week ago that he was buying the venerable Mayacamas Vineyards, you could hear wine geeks all over the country falling off their chairs. Then when the news emerged that former Screaming Eagle winemaker Andy Erickson might be brought in to make the wines at this... continue reading

05.09.2013

Framingham Wines, Marlborough, New Zealand: Current Releases

Sometimes the true story of a winery is not found in its history, tracing back the ownership from generation to generation. The story of some wineries begins when someone decides to start afresh with the materials of the past, looking forward instead of back. Rex Brooke-Taylor was certainly forward looking when he planted his Marlborough Vineyards in 1980 and 1981. An engineer from Wellington, Brooke-Taylor named his winery Framingham after his ancestral estate in East Anglia, and had the unusual foresight to plant Phylloxera-resistant rootstock in an era when many couldn't imagine the pest making it to New Zealand's... continue reading

05.05.2013

Bressan Mastri Vinai, Friuli Izonzo, Italy: Current Releases

I'm not entirely sure why some of the best wines in the world are made by people who are more than a little crazy, but there are enough wacko winemakers out there to make it clear that the connection between great wine and eccentric iconoclasts is more than mere coincidence. Even more telling are the number of these "eno savants" (to perhaps coin a phrase) that live in Friuli, in northeast Italy. Once upon a time, there was no Italy, there was only the river Isonzo, winding its way down out of the Alps towards the Adriatic sea. From the... continue reading

05.03.2013

Vinography Images: Rainbow Rows

Rainbow Rows HEALDSBURG, CA: Hillside vineyards in the popular grape-growing region of Alexander Valley are viewed from the air 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 this... continue reading

05.01.2013

The Essence of Wine: The Sea

Image © 2013 Leigh Beisch With your eyes closed, even absent the screams of wheeling gulls, and the throaty slap of waves against the sand, you'd know where you are. The tangy scent of the sea is unmistakable. The flavor is equally familiar thanks to the crunch of seaweed, the tiny tidepools of oyster liquor that some of us slurp, or even the saline shock that accompanies an open-mouthed tumble in the waves. Isak Dinesen said "the cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea" reminding us of the affinities between our bodies of water. If we... continue reading

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Most Recent Entries

Vinography Images: It's Napa! Keplinger Wines, Napa: Current Releases The Essence of Wine: Graphite The Rhone Renaissance: Tasting Notes from Rhone Rangers 2013 Vinography Images: The Colorful Palette Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 20, 2013 Pietradolce Winery, Solichiatta, Sicily: Recent Releases Vinography Images: The Endless Row Wine In 140 Characters or Less Is Wine Tasting Bullshit? No.

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

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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.