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~ July 2013 Archives ~

 

07.30.2013

Weingut Dönnhoff, Nahe, Germany: Current Releases

Some great wines obscure their own greatness, and seemingly get noticed out of the corner of your eye, and then only if you're only paying close attention. Some great wines sidle up next to you, inclining their heads as if to say, "Hey there, good lookin'." And then there are the great wines that blow through the doors of the restaurant and knock you speechless on your ass. Welcome to Weingut Dönhoff, unquestionably home to some of the world's greatest Rieslings. Weingut Dönhoff sits unassumingly on the green banks of the placid and pastoral Nahe river, nestled in the... continue reading

07.27.2013

Wine Library Annual Tasting: August 11, Napa

Dedicated wine lovers in the San Francisco Bay area get several opportunities each year to indulge their passions for wine. Large, themed tastings like the ZAP Zinfandel Festival are great opportunities to get a sense of a certain varietal and the quality of the recent vintage in California. It is quite rare, however, despite the nearness of the appellation and the saturation of wine in the Bay Area, for consumers to get the opportunity to get an in-depth or comprehensive look at the wines of Napa Valley. Perhaps it's just because Napa wines don't need much marketing help, or perhaps... continue reading

07.26.2013

Vinography Images: Vineyard Stop

Vineyard Stop McMINNVILLE, OR: Rolling vineyards of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay ripen on the vine under a warm summer sun in the Dundee Hills near McMinnville, Oregon. The cities of McMinnville and Newburg, located in the Willamette Valley wine appellation, 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... continue reading

07.25.2013

Vinography Unboxed: Week of July 21, 2013

Hello from the bottom 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. Let's begin this week with the big surprise that came in the form of the Thomas Fogarty Pinot Noir. It's been some time since I've had the estate's wines, but let's just say they've come a LONG way since I got married at their facilities 8 years ago. This wine knocked my socks off. Winemaking is now being done by the young Nathan Kandler, and if this bottle... continue reading

07.24.2013

The Essence of Wine: Violets

Image © 2013 Leigh Beisch Before it was the perfume of our sorrows (garlanding poor Ophelia's demise, no less), it was the flower of kings. Ion was the name the greeks gave both the flower and the king of Athens, who wore them as a crown. The violet's scent and symbolism weaves through our entire recorded history — as evidence of love's truth, as medicine, as rare confection, and as the beguiling aromatic calling card of queens and courtesans. Perfumers and botanists agree, its scent is most unique among the flower kingdom, and those who have been lucky enough to... continue reading

07.23.2013

Eva Fricke, Rheingau, Germany: Current Releases

Eva Frick's eyes are the same shade as her electric turquoise tennis shoes. They are so arresting that it can be hard to concentrate on her soft-spoken and humble answers to my somewhat persistent questions about how a young lady like herself, who didn't even like wine when she started her career is now making some of the most interesting wines in the Rheingau region of Germany. "At first," she says, "I just liked being outside. I liked the individual, creative part of the profession. You can see it as plain agriculture, if you like, but you can also... continue reading

07.22.2013

The New Masters of CA Pinot Noir: A Wine Dinner

Great wine is meant to be shared. There's nothing like sitting down to a fabulous meal accompanied by excellent wines and good company. That's why I've decided to invite you over for dinner. It's not a big thing, just an intimate dinner for 18 folks with yours truly as the sommelier and host at a cute little restaurant in my neighborhood here in San Francisco. I'll be pouring wines from four of my favorite Pinot Noir producers in California, who represent where I believe California Pinot Noir is headed. Along with these four pinots, you get a five course... continue reading

07.20.2013

Benanti Winery, Sicily: Current Releases

Few places so viscerally evoke their terroir as do the vineyards on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. Especially when the mountain booms ominously, belching lava, smoke, and ash thousands of feet into the air above. Standing in the black soils from which gnarled 100-year-old vines reach like arthritic hands while fine bits of pulverized volcanic rock drift down from the sky, to add a few more powdery grains to the fine-grained soil at your feet, you can all but taste the terroir. You certainly can smell it, a faint flinty brimstone tinged with sea air. Standing a... continue reading

07.19.2013

Vinography Images: Golden Vines

Golden Vines COTATI, CA: Rolling vineyards of pinot noir and chardonnay ripen on the vine under a warm summer sun near Cotati, California. Sunny skies and cooperating weather are suggesting an excellent harvest to come for 2013. 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

07.17.2013

Buying Wine in America

Here in the United States, we've just finished celebrating our independence as a nation, and students of history will know that the battles fought and won for this cause, while clearly ideological, were largely motivated by commercial interests. In short, we were damn tired of not being able to buy and sell what we wanted, when we wanted. Our Independence Day remains as much a celebration of capitalism as anything else. The irascible nature of America in the face of constraints on commerce has been one of the driving forces of my country's progress for more than two hundred years.... continue reading

07.16.2013

2013 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 17, 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 23rd 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

07.15.2013

Vinography Unboxed: Week of July 14, 2013

Hello from the bottom 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. Let's begin this week with a classic value Cabernet from Ridge Vineyards, which you might consider the baby brother to their famous and unequaled Monte Bello bottling. The sibling certainly doesn't have the profundity or class of that much more expensive wine, but at 1/3 the price, this one is a bit easier on the pocketbook. On the other end of the spectrum we find the Antinori Family... continue reading

07.12.2013

Vinography Images: Flowering

Flowering HEALDSBURG, CA : Pinot noir grapes in the Russian River Valley finish the flowering stage as they mature on the vine. California wine regions underwent flowering in the last month, and have emerged ready for a good-looking crop in 2013. 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... continue reading

07.08.2013

Champagne, Lutte Raisonnée, and Vineyard Nightmares

Anyone who has spent time in the vineyards of France has no doubt encountered the concept of lutte raisonnée, (literally "reasoned fight") which effectively means "I'm not certified organic/biodynamic, and don't intend to be because I'd prefer to use chemicals where and when I see fit, but sparingly, so I can respect the environment." Talking with some vintners, it's clear that some of them really are essentially organic, and simply want the ability to attack a mildew infestation with something that doesn't have a lot of copper in it (copper sulfate being seemingly the most hated organic fungicide thanks to... continue reading

07.05.2013

Off to Germany to Drink Some Riesling!

I'm a lucky guy. A few times a year I get to jet off to one of the world's great wine regions to taste a lot of wine on someone else's dime. Today I'm headed to Germany, where I'll spend a week in the Mosel (and surrounding areas) courtesy of the Wines of Germany organization. This is my first pilgrimage to the Mosel. I've been in love with Riesling for years, but I've never made it to the steep slate hillsides and the meandering river that represent the ultimate homeland for the grape. It was with slate dreams that... continue reading

07.05.2013

Vinography Images: Flying Colors

Flying Colors McMINNVILLE, OR: An American flag flies over a vineyard in the Dundee Hills McMinnville, Oregon. The cities of McMinnville and Newburg, located in the Willamette Valley wine appellation, are the epicenter of Oregon's wine production. Happy Independence Day to those of you who are celebrating the holiday. 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

07.05.2013

Seresin Estate, Marlborough, New Zealand: Current Releases

It would be all too easy to dismiss Seresin Estate wines as the vanity project of a very talented and very successful cinematographer who needed something to do with his money. Certainly, had you never been to the winery, nor tasted the wines, you could be forgiven for as much. There are plenty of folks who made a lot of money in Hollywood and then plowed it into a few acres of grapes, some expensive barrels, and some very heavy bottles. Anyone who might have tasted Seresin wines, however, would be hard pressed to uphold this misconception, however. And a... continue reading

07.03.2013

Vinography Unboxed: Week of July 1, 2013

Hello from the bottom 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've recently done a seriously large amount of unboxing, and some tasting to boot, so Unboxed will become a bit more regular again. This week we'll start the list with three wines from a relatively new entrant into the American market, and a new entrant into its home market. Lenikus is a new producer of a very old style of wine called Wiener Gemischter Satz. These wines are... continue reading

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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

Weingut Dönnhoff, Nahe, Germany: Current Releases Wine Library Annual Tasting: August 11, Napa Vinography Images: Vineyard Stop Vinography Unboxed: Week of July 21, 2013 The Essence of Wine: Violets Eva Fricke, Rheingau, Germany: Current Releases The New Masters of CA Pinot Noir: A Wine Dinner Benanti Winery, Sicily: Current Releases Vinography Images: Golden Vines Buying Wine in America

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.