Edible Arts on the Road

d albaToday we leave for a month in Italy. Wine Blog Daily will be on hiatus for the month. Other blog posts will depend on my Internet connection and inclination.

We will be in Florence for 3 nights before embarking on a glorious wine and food tour of Tuscany, organized by The Wine Vault and Bistro, a local San Diego restaurant.

Then we spend 10 days in Piemonte figuring out Barolo, 7 days in Valpolicella sipping Amarone, and 3 days in Friuli with a side trip to Slovenia.

I will try to post regularly from Italy when time and circumstance permit but I didn’t inherit the journalist gene so we’ll see.



Wine Blog Daily Tuesday 5/29/18


A daily sample of thoughtful writing and discussion from (mostly) independent wine blogs:

pexels-photo-206782Celia Bryan-Brown asks:”Is sobriety a feminist issue?”

wineOrl takes a deep dive into the Mt. Etna viticultural environment.

Miquel Hudin is skeptical of Winebuyers.com a wine e-commerce platform.

Natalie Sellers brings us Wine Searcher’s list of the most sought after Bordeaux wines.

Winery Visits and Travel Posts:

The Grape Geeks visit Domaine Carneros for some early summer sparkling wine.

Selected Reviews:

Tom Lemke profiles the Alsatian producer Rolly Gassman

Ken’s Wine Guide reviews several rosé wines to enjoy this summer.

JVB Uncorked reviews a lineup from Tuscan producer Fattoria Betti with food pairings.

Wine Review: Locations F5 Red Blend France



PrintLocations is Dave Phinney’s value wine project. He sources grapes from several areas of a country and creates unique blends that evoke a strong sense of that country’s flavor profile. This one is very French despite being a mash up of Rhone and Bordeaux varietals with a bit more alcohol than is typical.

It’s the dusty earth that gives away its location, colluding with dried red berry, blackberry, coffee and cedar for an effusively aromatic nose.

The palate’s introduction is full bodied, polished, and juicy. But just when you think the wine will turn soft and unctuous, edgy tobacco shows up on the back of the midpalate joined by a layered, muscular mouthfeel with a gravelly substratum, a sunny bearing filled now with resistance and depth. The medium length finish shows licorice and just a touch of wood, the tannins both sumptuous and textured. A well balanced, beautifully crafted wine for this price.

Bursting red flesh on dark earth, as tough and tender as Springsteen’s Human Touch

Technical Notes: A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and various Bordeaux varietals, from Roussillon, Rhone, and Bordeaux. 10 months in French barrique.

Score: 91

Price: $19.99 (Purchase Here)

Alc: 15%

Wine Blog Daily Monday 5/28/18


A daily sample of thoughtful writing and discussion from (mostly) independent wine blogs:

landscape-3356833__340Jamie Goode argues against excessive negativity in wine writing.

Karen MacNeil reports on the sex life of wine grapes.

Peter Pharos takes down the critics of wine critics with an insightful post on the real value critics provide.

Cool Climate Wine has a detailed account of several wine scoring systems and their flaws.

Alfonso Cevola, On the Wine Trail in Italy, extolls the virtues of Italy’s natural beauty beyond the tourist sites.

The Wine Gourd analyzes growing degree day maps of the Western U.S. and Australia.

Craig Camp of Oregon’s Troon Vineyards  reports on steps taken to move his biodynamic farming forward.

Cellar Tours explores the Spanish restaurants with the best wine lists.

Winery Visits and Travel Posts:

wineOrl visits Tenuta di Fessina on the slopes of Sicily’s Mt. Etna.

The Drunken Cyclist takes us on a picture tour of the Inaugural Wine Writers Educational Tour of Napa Valley.

Selected Reviews:

Meg Houston Maker reviews the 2006 Ridge Petite Sirah Dynamite Hill Spring Mountain

Allison Levine’s Pick of the Week is the 2015 Smith-Madrone Riesling.

Fredric Koeppel reviews the EX Unoaked Chardonnay 2017, Monterey, from Wrath Wines.

Issac Baker reviews several summer sippers.

Julien Miquel reviews the 2017 Drouin Family Domaine des Gerbeaux Mâcon-Solutré, Burgundy Chardonnay from France

Reverse Wine Snob reviews 10 great blends for under $10.

Becky Sue Epstein reviews the 2016 Mari Vineyards Grüner Veltliner from Northern Michigan.

Red Wine Please profiles winemaker  Laura Barret and Napa’s Clif Family Vineyards

Dallas Wine Chick profiles Napa’s Fantesca Estate and Winery and with proprietor Duane Hoff.

Cindy Rynning reviews several wines from Sebastepol’s Dutton Goldfield Winery and tests their compatibility with the grill.

Tom Lee reviews the 2016 Cline Zinfandel Ancient Vines, Contra Costa County

Love For the Wine Critic


wine criticism2Wine criticism is an often criticized endeavor.  As Peter Pharos writes,

Wine is a many-maligned thing. The punters are snobs and bores; the servers are sycophants or stuck-up; the vendors dress the emperor in the finest invisible silk. None, however, is more deserving of scorn than the critic: depending on who you ask, s/he is either fabulist-in-chief or the eunuch in the winemaker’s harem.

I’ve never had a winemaker call me a eunuch to my face. But then I only dabble at this wine criticism thing.

At any rate, I’m still busy at my real job wrapping up the semester. So today I will leave you in Peter’s capable hands. Because he really does have several important points to make about the value of wine criticism:

It is wine professionals though, from winemakers, to educators, to vendors that gain the most from critics – that’s why it’s so strange to me when I see them receiving friendly fire. Wine critics can act as a stabilising mechanism to vendors’ and winemakers’ pet fixations. Their helicopter view of the global scene offers insights that are not easy to gain from someone more or less committed to a specific plot of land and particular approach to winemaking. For smaller stores and educators, they give information that might simply not be financially feasible to achieve otherwise. Perhaps most importantly, every column inch and every minute of TV time they get, is a win for wine in general.

I couldn’t agree more. Without criticism, any practice becomes rigid, narrow and dogmatic. The job of the critic is not to tell you what to drink but to reinforce standards of quality and point out something about a wine that others might have  missed.

Wine Blog Daily Friday 5/25/18


A daily sample of thoughtful writing and discussion from (mostly) independent wine blogs:

Lahofer-Winery-by-Chybik-Kristof-Architects-02Don Kavanaugh reports on why a large study of the health effects of alcohol was shut down.

This week’s Wine to Five Podcast gets geekio with Verdicchio.

Jeremy Parzen provides more helpful driving tips for visitors to Italy, especially navigating the restricted driving areas.

Amanda Barnes reports on how South American wineries are pushing the boundaries.

Strong Coffee to Red Wine is enthusiastic about the wine preserver Repour.

The Wine Curmudgeon is giving away free wine books to celebrate his 11th  annual rose week and reviews several in time for Memorial Day.

Selected Reviews:

Meg Houston Maker reviews the 2017 Limerick Lane Rosé Russian River Valley

Jamie Goode reviews several wines from Dona Berta, a producer from Douro Portugal.

Fredric Koeppel reviews the Lucien Crochet Sancerre 2015

Allison Levine profiles Giacomo Borgogno – The Original Barolo.

Cindy Rynning outlines the Rhone Valley and reviews several wines from the North and South.

The Drunken Cyclist reviews several wines in cans.

Tom Lee reviews 2010 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Patriarche

Seth Buckley profiles the Maui Food and Wine Festival and New Zealand’s Mt. Beautiful Winery.

John Fodera profiles the new winery at Antinori’s Pèppoli estate and reviews the  2015 Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico

Budget Wine: Sogrape Silk and Spice Red Blend Portugal 2016


silk and spiceMight a wine called Silk and Spice be designed for a market segment looking for something lush and a bit sweet? Don’t be fooled by its Portuguese origins. This is not one of those muscular, brawny reds from the Douro as hardscrabble as the people who have harvested grapes on those precariously steep riverbanks for centuries and risked their lives shooting small cask-laden boats down serious white water rapids to get the wine to market.

Nope. Nothing as romantic as all that. This wine could have been made anywhere.

A nose of clove, coriander and vanilla with an espresso core overwhelm the feeble red and black fruit aromas that  hide in shame. On the palate the wine is full bodied, soft, round, and smooth showing even more vanilla with discernible sugar. This is an off dry wine although it dries out a bit on the finish as the powdery tannins lap around the edges. A bit of tang finally shows up but the wine lacks acidity.

There is a lot of intense, spice flavor so if that is your thing you might find this appealing.

This is definitely for the candy wine crowd but there is a place for it. If I were serving barbecue with a sweet and spicy sauce or a mole sauce this would work better than most wines. But for sipping this had me reaching for the scotch after 1/2 a glass.

Pair with a big, pop ballad like Rihanna’s Diamonds

Blend: 40% Touriga Nacional, 20% Baga, 20% Syrah, 20% Alicante Bouchet.

Score: 85

Price: $11

Alc: 13%

Wine Blog Daily Thursday 5/24/18


wineglass-1495861__340A daily sample of thoughtful writing and discussion from (mostly) independent wine blogs:

Jeremy Parzen reports on the use of reserved grape must (SoloUva) rather than refined sugar in the dosage and tirage of sparkling wine.

Bob on Sonoma describes the various jobs available in the wine industry if you’re contemplating a career move.

1 Wine Dude reviews a book on Godforsaken grapes, free Wine Art Prints, and sunglasses made of cork.

Winery Visits and Travel Posts:

Jo Diaz reports on Stags Leap District ‘Vineyard to Vintner’ annual event held at several wineries in Stags Leap.

Tom Plant discovers what’s new in Temecula, CA.

Selected Reviews:

Julien Miquel reviews  the 2015 Château Couhins-Lurton Blanc, Bordeaux White wine from Pessac-Léognan, France

The Wine Curmudgeon is surprised at the quality of the widely available La Vielle Ferme Rose 2017.

Fredric Koeppel predicts a very long life for this Domaine Ostertag Muenchberg Riesling 2014, Alsace Grand Cru,

The Wine Daily profiles Chateau Peyfaures’ Dame de Coeur cuvée, a Merlot based wine from Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux.

Vino-Sphere tastes several Albariño from Spain’s Rías Baixas region.

Why The Hoopla Over Rosé?



roseIt’s the beginning of summer. Everyone is writing about rosé including this article in The Drinks Business explaining rosé’s success.

I get why rosé is a success. It’s great in warm weather when you want something light and refreshing. And because wine is very much an “in the moment” aesthetic experience that should play well the weather, your food, your company, etc. the world needs rosé.

But with a few exceptions (like this Pet-Nat from Briceland that I just reviewed) rosé is not very interesting. A pretty color, a bit of red fruit, a floral aroma, if you’re lucky some textural layering—but that’s it.

There are countless wines I would rather have for almost any occasion or situation. I’m not sure the hoopla is deserved, but people need stuff to write about.

When I finish grading my papers tonight it probably won’t be a rosé that I open.

(I will surely wait until I finish work. No professor would ever grade papers while consuming alcohol.)

Wine Blog Daily Wednesday 5/23/18


A daily sample of thoughtful writing and discussion from (mostly) independent wine blogs:

french wine mapThe Wine Economist reports on prospects for sales of French wine in the U.S. market.

Julien Miquel posts a handy infograph on alcohol levels in various wine styles.

Natalie Sellers at Wine Searcher runs through the world’s most searched for Chardonnays.

Tom Wark sings the praises of Seven Fifty Daily’s coverage of the alcohol industry.

Schiller-Wine has a primer on various styles of sparkling wine from around the world.

Selected Reviews:

Meg Houston Maker reviews the 2014 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon Sunbasket Vineyard St. Helena Napa Valley

Fredric Koeppel reviews the San Simeon Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

The Wine Curmudgeon summarizes reviews of rosé from around the Internet in celebration of rosé week.

Jamie Goode reviews several 2015 reds from Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

Susannah Gold explores the Falanghina grape from Campi Flegrei in Campania, Italy.

Food Wine Click serves Beef Bourguignon on a Stick accompanied by the Domaine Pierre Amiot et Fils Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Les Blanchards AOC 2011