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

Wine Blog Daily Tuesday 5/22/18


photo-1503427128716-12b0ed4822bbA daily sample of thoughtful writing and discussion from (mostly) independent wine blogs:

Meg Houston Maker posts her keynote remarks about the nature of farming presented at a trade event in Vancouver.

Alfonso Cevola, On the Wine Trail in Italy, writes about the persistence of Italian culture in a world of change.

The Wine Curmudgeon kicks off rose week with a discussion of trends in the wine business regarding rose.

Good Vitis pays tribute to Koerner Rombauer owner of the iconic Rombauer Vineyards who recently passed away.

Susannah Gold wonders what drives people to read wine blogs in 2018.

Jameson Fink writes about the virtues of sweet wine.

Jeremy Parzen has some useful advice for driving in Italy.

Bob on Sonoma has a brief profile of Anderson Valley in Mendocino.

Selected Wine Reviews:

Fredric Koeppel reviews the Scheid Vineyards Grüner Veltliner 2016, from Monterey County

Wine Review: Briceland Vineyards Spring Releases 2018



briceland 2Briceland Vineyards is in Northern California—not Napa Valley which is really in Central California, but way up north in chilly, damp Humboldt County where they’re better known for pot and foraged mushrooms than wine.

But being off the beaten track has its advantages. There is little pressure to conform, for one. No need to make “tourist wine” here. And indeed, as I taste through these wines, the word that keeps coming to mind is “individuality”. These wines are deliciously different, especially in their textures which unfurl with great complexity and motion. A small, 2000 case winery, that sells most of their production locally, Briceland is fortunate to be able to source from cool, coastal-influenced sites in the south of the county as well as from warmer sites in the north that are more isolated from the coast and pull warm air from the central valley. Some of the wines below are sourced from the Ishi Pishi Ranch Vineyard in the northern part of the county allowing for ripe, tropical aromas that sit on top of bracing acidity.

I’ve now tasted several vintages of Briceland wines—these are some of the most distinctive wines in California, equaling the best of their better known rivals from the south. Two of these wines are Pet-Nat, a very old style of winemaking now finding renewed popularity. “Pet-Nat” refers to Pétillant Naturel or natural fizz. The wine is bottled prior to completing its first fermentation, creating carbon dioxide from the natural sugars in the grapes. They are usually unfiltered so they are cloudy from the spent lees left in the bottle after fermentation,

Contact the winery directly if these sound intriguing.

Pet-Nat d’Orleans 2017 Ishi Pishi Ranch Humboldt County 11.8% Alc.   $28

Grapefruit and white flowers on the nose with a roasty, burnt note that plays hide n’ seek. A powerful wine with a striking first impression, the palate is dry and minerally with distinctive bacon notes. Clean acidity envelopes a layer of round, soft fruit showing apple and lemon. The wine is texturally quite interesting. Initially frothy it turns filmy and then sculptured as the carbonation fades finally revealing an intriguing oiliness. It manages to be round, layered yet ethereal. An exuberant wine with some seriousness in its complex mouthfeel, it displays an island sensibility with bohemian touches, a perfect match for the textural interplay of guitars and organ in Jammin’ by Bob Marley. No added sulfites. 93 Pts.

Rosé Pet-Nat d’Orleans Ishi Pishi Ranch Humboldt County 2017  12.4% Alc.  $25

Peach color in the glass. An unusual, expressive nose of raspberry, grapefruit and a roasted meat note. The palate shows lime and a mineral core with salinity emerging on the finish. Round, medium bodied, and frothy upfront supported by a textured foundation that pulsates between breadth and angularity it finally resolves in a finish of spring water freshness. There is never a dull moment.  The earthier vocals of Marley’s Could You Be Loved make this wine sing. No added sulfites. 91 Pts.

Sauvignon Blanc Reserve Humboldt County 2017 13.3% Alc.   $22

A mélange of citrus, pineapple, pear and background cilantro aromas, this explodes on the palate, as intense as any Sauvignon Blanc I’ve tasted. It has plenty of body and weight on the introduction, but incisive acidity cuts like a knife even as the textured foundational layers become broad and expansive. Emerging saline flavors on the finish create interest. A ravishing yet edgy, spikey personality, the surprise pairing is Kronos Quartet’s White Man Sleeps  93 pts.

Chardonnay Phelps Vineyard Humboldt County 2017 13.6% Alc.  $25

A very pretty nose of white roses, mango and subtle crushed rock in the background. On the palate, an ample body of ripe peach tails off to firm mineral notes and lime, with pronounced saltiness on the finish. Very fresh with gentle acid, persistent but not angular.  Seductive, yet nervy, this wine is capricious changing character midstream from indulgent and rhapsodic to concise and clinical. Air’s All I need does pretty and clinical really well. This wine sees no oak or malolactic fermentation.  92 pts.

Rosé of Sangiovese Ishi Pishi Ranch Humboldt County 2017  $20

A light salmon color, the delicate aromas of raspberry, orange rind, and mint with a stony mineral background are irresistible. A dry Rosé, nicely etched with a subtle granular mouthfeel, it shows good intensity and some richness up front, then becomes very focused on raspberry fruit on the finish with a flinty edge. Crisp and lively, this is summery, carefree but rousing and provocative like Bebel Gilberto’s Aganju. 89 pts.

Gewurztraminer Ishi Pishi Ranch Humboldt County 13.4% Alc.  $22

Enticing aromas of pear and a bit of lychee meld with lime. This is a dry Gewurztraminer with a lovely, subtle oiliness on the palate. Soft, silky and comforting it shows some characteristic bitterness on the finish. Not a leaper, this wine is calm and endearing but with intimations of something more atmospheric in the top notes captured by the exquisite phrasing in Eva Cassidy’s version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. 90 pts.

Pinot Noir Humboldt County 2015 12.9% Alc.  $31

Bright candied cherry, lovely cinnamon and clove spice notes, with mushroom and an oak halo lurking on the horizon. Very elegant on the palate, light, yet mouth coating, seamless, with subtle herbaceous overtones giving way to cranberry and orange zest on the finish. The tannins are so fine they announce their presence only while departing, the acidity refreshing but never exposed. Gracious and soothing like Jon Hassell and Ry Cooder’s Sensuendo. 92 pts.

Reviews based on industry samples

Wine Blog Daily Monday 5/21/18


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

pexels-photo-943700Margaret Rand reports on investor interest in Port.

1 Wine Dude takes down Naked Wines for their demonstrably false claims about wine criticism.

The Wine Gourd distinguishes between guesses, predictions, and forecasts in the wine industry.

Around the World in 80 Harvests profiles the Loire Valley.

Bob on Sonoma tells true stories from the tasting room.

Cindy Rynning defines frequently used words found in tasting notes.

My Wine Pal has the low down on British Columbia’s 2017 Vintage.

Winery Visits and Travel Posts

Elizabeth Smith visits Greenwood Ridge Vineyards in Anderson Valley.

wineOrl tastes several Carricante-based wines from the eastern and southern slopes of Mt. Etna at  the trade show,  Contrada dell’Etna

Vino Sphere visits Lambert Bridge in the Dry Creek region of Sonoma.

Around the World in 80 Harvests visits L’And Vineyards, Alentejo, Portugal

Alan Tardi visits Le Printemps des Champagnes, the 5 day trade event held in Champagne.

Selected Reviews:

Jamie Goode reviews the Hermit Ram Pinot Noir Whole Bunch 2017 North Canterbury, New Zealand

Fredric Koeppel reviews Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “Karia” Chardonnay 2012, Napa Valley

Issac Baker profiles the wines of Alsace.

Wine Travel Eats profiles Côtes de Bordeaux and links to several posts covering these relatively inexpensive Bordeaux wines.

Red Wine Please reviews the 2017 Domaine de Bila-Haut Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays d’Oc Rosé from Chapoutier.

JVB Uncorked reviews  the Withers Winery 2015 Peters Vineyard Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast.

Susannah Gold reviews the Tenuta Fontana Campania Falanghina Civico 2 2017 and compares it to the wines of Falanghina del Sannio DOP

Tom Lee reviews the 2010 Dehlinger Chardonnay from Russian River.

Talk a Vino continues their series on the wines of Southwest France.


swampedI am buried in term papers to grade this week so posting will be light. But I will register a thought for the day:


I Don’t Care About The Royal Wedding!


Here in the U.S. we are a democracy. We should be laughing at such events, not oogling them.

But on second thought, perhaps my premise is false.