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~ September 2013 Archives ~

 

09.28.2013

Flavor! Napa Valley Food & Wine Experience: November 20-24, Napa

Do you dream of rubbing shoulders with celebrity chefs while eating phenomenal food and drinking unattainable wines? Then Napa is just the place for you. Certainly the motivated wine lover could accomplish this trifecta of gourmet aspirations any day of the year in Napa, but coming up at the end of November anyone with a ticket to Flavor! Napa Valley will simply wallow in such pleasures for four days. Flavor! Napa Valley was conceived of as a world-class food and wine experience that would both showcase the phenomenal talents in the Napa Valley, while giving back to one of the... continue reading

09.27.2013

Vinography Images: The Pick

The Pick HEALDSBURG, CA: Vineyard workers picking semillon grapes in Knights Valley race to beat the fall rains near Healdsburg, California. With skies clearing and temperatures moderate after an early fall rain last weekend, the 2013 vintage is shaping up to be a stellar one. 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... continue reading

09.26.2013

Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 22, 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 sample wine that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week's selections had a little something for everyone. For the cutting edge hipster crowd, I've got an unusual and distinctive Chenin Blanc from a very traditional, non-interventionalist winemaker from Savennieres in the Loire Valley of France. For the die-hard California heritage fans I've got a library-aged Zinfandel from old vines at Dry Creek Vineyard. For the svelte, Pinot-loving crowd you'll want to check out Pence Ranch's... continue reading

09.25.2013

The Essence of Wine: Flaws

Image © 2013 Leigh Beisch The essence that is not an essence. Universally unloved, the flaws in wine are as insidious as they are unwanted, and come in many forms. The sharp vinegar and acetone tang of volatile acidity; the rotten eggs reduction; the overly nutty or balsamic note of oxidation; the sweaty socks, garlic and stinky cheese of mercaptans; the wet dog or manure of brettanomyces yeast; and yes, the all-too-common wet cardboard or wet band-aid aroma of cork taint. All too be avoided rather than celebrated. But knowing the difference between a faulty bottle and a wine that... continue reading

09.22.2013

An Obsession With Pinot: The Wines of Jamie Kutch

"I was always a hobby person as a kid, but I I would push them beyond where anyone would normally go," chuckles winemaker Jamie Kutch. The last real hobby I had was DJing. We're not just talking about playing music, we're talking turntables, mixing, blending, scratching and shredding. This was an era when I was going to college in the Bronx, smoking a little pot and watching my roommate play with his turntables. He had been DJing for six or seven years at that point. I decided it was something I wanted to do, and within six months I... continue reading

09.20.2013

Vinography Images: A Bit of Pink

A Bit of Pink OCCIDENTAL, CA: A expansive vineyard of pinot noir and chardonnay is framed by bits of fog turned pink in the evening light in Occidental, California. Located two hours north of San Francisco, and west of Napa Valley, Sonoma County has become in recent years a popular global Wine Country destination. 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... continue reading

09.19.2013

Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 15, 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. This week's selections included one of my favorite new Syrah bottlings in California, from Petrichor. Which, incidentally, is definitely the aroma to beat all aromas, and probably what I would have wanted to call any wine I ever made (in all my hypothetical free time). This wine happens to be made by Duncan Myers of Arnot-Roberts, and, well, you can taste it. There's also a pedigreed Cabernet from... continue reading

09.17.2013

Foreign Investment in Napa

When it was announced in late July that François Pinault's Artemis Group, owner of Chateau Latour, was purchasing Napa Valley's famed Araujo estate, waves of speculation and commentary rippled through the California wine community. On popular wine bulletin boards, some wine geeks and Araujo customers proclaimed they were 'shocked' by the move, while others joked that perhaps it meant Araujo's wines would get less expensive in poor vintages. That one of Bordeaux's greatest estates would look to the Napa Valley somehow still seems a novelty to most, despite a long history of European investment in California in general, and in... continue reading

09.14.2013

Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 8, 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. A few interesting things came out of the pile this week, including a gorgeous Pinot Noir with a little age on it from Baxter Winery in the Anderson Valley. There are some bottles of this floating around on the market and it is well worth seeking out. I'm working through a number of Ridge Vineyards samples, and their stalwart East Bench Zinfandel continues to perform as expected. Tasty... continue reading

09.13.2013

Vinography Images: The Fast Way

The Fast Way LODI, CA: A machine harvester scoops up ripe merlot grapes in October near Lodi, California. A warm, mild summer has translated into near-perfect harvest conditions 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 follow these instructions, while PC users should... continue reading

09.11.2013

2013 Masters of Wine Champagne Tasting: September 30, San Francisco

I never liked Champagne until I had the really good stuff. When I was early in my wine explorations, 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... continue reading

09.10.2013

Coravin and the Future of Wine-by-the-Glass

Pretty much all you need to know about Coravin boils down to this. I'm sitting at my kitchen table, enjoying a glass of 2000 Pontet-Canet from the same bottle that I opened 63 days ago and it tastes exactly the same as it did when I first opened the bottle. Actually, to be perfectly accurate, I should say that the wine tastes exactly the same as it did when I didn't open the bottle two months ago. Coravin has now afforded me two identical glasses of wine in that time without removing the cork or the metal foil from... continue reading

09.07.2013

Cantine Nicosia, Sicily: Current Releases

In the shadow of the fiery Mount Etna, five generations of men with the last name Nicosia, some with the first name Francesco, some with the first name Carmelo have been shepherding Sicilian wine to greatness. The first Nicosia that anyone talks about was Francesco, who in 1898 began a wine trading business in the little town of Trecastagni to capitalize on the world's voracious appetite for Bordeaux. And what might Sicily have to do with Bordeaux in the 19th Century? Simple. Far more bottles of "Bordeaux" were being sold than could be produced in the region in the... continue reading

09.06.2013

Vinography Images: Showing Their Colors

Showing Their Colors HEALDSBURG, CA: The Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines in Knights Valley are beginning to change color on during an Autumn early morning near Healdsburg, California. Harvest has already begun in many areas of California, and all signs point to an outstanding vintage. 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... continue reading

09.05.2013

Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 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. All sorts of exciting things showed up in the samples pile this week, including the dependably great Fumé Blanc from Grgich Hills which always brings a smile to my lips after the first sip. It's bright, sunny, and delicious. In the same category, Yangarra's entry-level, old vine Grenache is one of the wine world's great values -- bursting with flavor and from some seriously old vines in South... continue reading

09.02.2013

Coolest of the Cool: Tasting Notes from West Sonoma Coast Vintners 2013

It may not be the sole source of many of California's most exciting wines being made (there are several frontiers active at the moment), but the far western coast of Sonoma County would be heavily -- very heavily -- present in any list I might make of the best wines produced in the state over the past few years. From nooks, crannies, ridges and ruffles studded with redwoods and shrouded in fog, some of the country's best Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah wines are being eked out of chilly vineyards by passionate winemakers who are at the vanguard of... 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

Flavor! Napa Valley Food & Wine Experience: November 20-24, Napa Vinography Images: The Pick Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 22, 2013 The Essence of Wine: Flaws An Obsession With Pinot: The Wines of Jamie Kutch Vinography Images: A Bit of Pink Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 15, 2013 Foreign Investment in Napa Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 8, 2013 Vinography Images: The Fast Way

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.