Daily Wine News: A New Day for Beaujolais

A glass of Beaujolais. (Flickr: kohrogi34)

Jancis Robinson explores the new generation in Beaujolais. “The economic doldrums of the region that resulted when the world fell out of love with Beaujolais Nouveau at the end of the last century kept land prices attractively low for young newcomers with a different, more artisanal concept of winemaking… Beaujolais exports were up 22% last year, with demand particularly strong from what you might slightly carelessly call American hipsters, or at least influential American sommeliers.”

“The new owners of Napa Valley’s iconic Heitz Cellar, the Lawrence family, are fulfilling a long-held goal of the winery’s founders to extend the boundaries of its Trailside Vineyard in the Rutherford subappellation,” reports Augustus Weed in Wine Spectator. “The winery has purchased the Wildwood Vineyard, adjacent to its Trailside property, from wine giant Treasury Wine Estates and plans to combine the two properties.”

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre considers the growing appeal of canned wines.

Alfonso Cevola is also paying attention to canned wine in the Dallas News.

Meanwhile, in the Los Angeles Times, Jordan Michelman is saying to forget bottles, cans and boxes, and look ahead at the next wine trend: keg wines on tap. “Keg wine has a stigma to overcome: the kegging or bagging of wine has long been synonymous with large industrial estates selling their run-off plonk as a cheap addendum. This reputation is starting to change, however, as the interest in alternative formats has found a willing bedfellow in the boom of natural wine culture…”

In Grape Collective, Valerie Kathawala explores the terroir-driven wines of Emilia-Romagna’s La Tosa

Meininger’s editor-in-chief Felicity Carter discusses the state of the world’s wine industry with Forbes.

In 5280 Magazine, Ruth Tobias makes a case for being more daring when it comes to trying different wines.

Daily Wine News: Hybrid Barrels

(Source: Wikimedia)

In Wine Enthusiast, Anna Archibald reports on the appeal of hybrid barrels—made from a blend of two or more species of oak—and how they are changing wine, beer and spirits. “…hybrid barrels offer unique aging benefits—and it’s less expensive…When it comes to the creation of hybrid barrels with different species of oak, the sky’s the limit.”

In Wine Spectator, Emma Baltzer offers a cheat sheet for the upcoming Supreme Court Decision on Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Zackary Blair et al, potentially the biggest case involving wine since Granholm v. Heald in 2005, which struck down bans against out-of-state direct shipping by wineries. The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on June 24.

“Millennials, many of whom are laden with debt, don’t seem to have as much disposable income as their forebears. And they’re craftier shoppers: if they’re going to spend bigtime on something, they want some flesh on those bones—not just something to show off, but something of inherent worthwhileness. And I have to say in all honesty that cult wines overall are lacking in this inherent quality.” Steve Heimoff wonders whether or not the clock is ticking down on cult wines?

Neal Martin explores the world of affordable Burgundy in Vinous. “Unsurprisingly, a good proportion of them come from more rationally priced enclaves of the region, not least Chablis and Mâconnais.”

A new study has found that ancient Celts living in what is now northern Burgundy probably drank imported Greek wines after adopting a Mediterranean feasting culture. Chris Mercer shares more details in Decanter.

On JancisRobinson.com, Richard Hemming shares the 2019 MW examination questions.

Wines aged in bourbon barrels and wine-flavored beers are appearing more on shelves. Jeff Siegel looks into the reasons why in Meininger’s. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Copper Alternatives

The EU is tightening rules governing copper usage. In Meininger’s, Sophie Kevany looks at whether there are any real alternatives.

Through interviews with Joel Peterson and the Teldeschi brothers, as well as his own experience with Teldeschi’s grapes, David Darlington reports on a family of growers who have shaped the identity of Dry Creek in Wine & Spirits Magazine.

In SevenFifty Daily, Jess Lander explores how California growers are using different strategies to manage wildfire risk.

Mike Turner makes a case for the value of Tokaji wines in the Buyer. “As a mixture of investment and the sheer hard work of the producers and staff continue to move Tokaji back to the glory days, the irony that it’s timed alongside a slowdown in the purchasing of sweet wines is a cruel one. These wines should be costing twice as much, but they don’t.”

In Wine Spectator, Robert Camuto looks at how Sandra Gini is working to lift the quality reputation of Italy’s Soave region.

Seven Stones, the 45-acre property that overlooks Napa Valley, is going on the market for $35 million. If it sells for its asking price, the property will set a record for the area, reports the Wall Street Journal.

On Robert Parker’s Wine Journal, R.H. Drexel pays a visit to Bret Urness at his urban winery, Levo, in Paso Robles. “His Levo wines are known for their aromatic lift and varietal delineation.”

Daily Wine News: Stats & Secrets

(Photo credit: Pexels)

“Wine is being hurt by the combination of the boomer moving to retirement and the young consumer’s current lack of engagement. That’s changing wine demand from what we’ve grown accustomed during the past 20 years of premiumization.” Silicon Valley Bank’s Rob McMillan breaks down why “millennials are not good wine consumers” and offers a few suggestions for how to recast the way we sell and market wine.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley reports on the Bryant Estate legal fight, which offers glimpse into cult wineries’ secretive world.

In Bon Appétit, Marissa A. Ross explains why she writes about wines that are not always easily found. “I write about wines I have to write about. Not because it’s my job, but because I physically can’t not write about them. They’re wines that bring me (notebook in tow) to my knees. Wines that have caused me to collapse onto cold Spanish tiles in the middle of a dinner party because they transport me to the pink lemonade I drank after swim practice; wines that pull me to sit on wet cellar floors and write about lovers I’ve never had. Those are the kind of wines I write about.”

An investigation into whether certain Bordeaux wine labels mislead consumers has caused uncertainty among châteaux and merchants in the region. Chris Mercer reports on the details in Decanter.

Jillian Kramer looks at how wine companies build their brands with little advertising in Ad Week.

In Palate Press, Kathleen Willcox looks at how Scott and Annie Shull of Newberg’s Raptor Ridge Winery and Scott and Lisa Neal of McMinnville’s Coeur de Terre Vineyard are embodying Oregon wine’s spirit of collaboration.

Julia Clancy pens a short profile of La Garagista’s Deirdre Heekin in Modern Farmer.

Mike Veseth, the wine economist, explores Sardinian wine.

Daily Wine News: Rethinking Wine Criticism


Eric Asimov says it’s time to rethink wine criticism. “I believe that the most valuable thing wine writers can do is to help consumers develop confidence enough to think for themselves. This can best be achieved by helping consumers gain enough knowledge to make their own buying decisions without the crutch of the bottle review… Perhaps a better way of making useful recommendations to consumers is to evaluate producers rather than particular bottles.”

Alder Yarrow explores “Napa’s Royal Cabernets” from Oakville. “Oakville is ground zero for Napa Cabernet, and with good reason. Year over year it produces some of the most tremendous wines in the valley. It’s hard to say that one particular area of Napa truly produces the best Cabernet, but it’s also hard to find someplace that has more claim to that title than the Oakville AVA.”

“Legendary wine importer Rudi Wiest is selling his personal wine collection,” reports Aleks Zecevic in Wine Spectator. “Now, after more than 40 years of collecting and nearly 7,000 bottles amassed, Wiest is ready to part with his collection.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Vicki Denig takes a look at America’s new nouveau-style wine boom.

Elsewhere in Wine Enthusiast, Maggie Hennessy explores Michigan’s growing wine scene.

In Vinous, Antonio Galloni offers his notes on the 2016s from Domaine Leroy. “Given the tiny production, I expected the 2016s to be even richer than they typically are. Instead, I was completely blown away by the elegance and finesse of the wines. The Leroy 2016s are striking, transparent Burgundies that pulse with energy and the expression of site that Bize-Leroy cherishes above all else.”

In Meininger’s, Simon Woolf summarizes an argument going on withing the natural wine community over the merits of glou-glou. (subscription req.)

Daily Wine News: Rosé…Berries?

The rosé trend has now come for our strawberries, apparently. Driscoll’s just launched “Rosé Berries™” that are inspired by the color and flavor of rosé wine—which often tastes of…berries.

On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan continues to explore the reasons why wine writing is less diverse than food writing, and what can be done to change that.

“South Africa’s wine industry is facing a challenging future and it is desperately searching for a hero – an icon wine,” says James Lawrence in Wine-Searcher. “South Africa, unlike Argentina and New Zealand, lacks a strong USP or overarching brand identity.”

In Wine Enthusiast, Michael Schachner reports that Chile’s red blends are having a moment.

In the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre looks into the issues involved when recycling wine bottles. “Many counties and cities don’t recycle glass, even if they have recycling programs… The recycling industry as a whole is “in disruption…”

In the Daily Camera, Doug Brown pens a profile of Frasca’s Bobby Stuckey, who won the award last month for Outstanding Service from the James Beard Foundation.

James Lawther MW explores what determines freshness in Sauternes in Decanter. (subscription req.)

Grape Collective talks to Luca Baccarelli of Roccofiore about organic winemaking in Umbria and native grapes Grechettto and Sagrantino.

What does it take to launch a wine brand in the U.S.? In Meininger’s, Roger Morris follows the creation of Kin & Cascadia to find out.

Daily Wine News: Armenian Wine

Vineyards of Artashat in Armenia (Wikimedia)

“Unlike neighboring Georgia, where wine production has continued unabated for millennia, Armenia’s wine culture has ebbed and flowed, and occasionally been drowned by waves of inclement history. Yet a growing number of Armenians are returning home with ambitions to resurrect the country’s wine industry, exploring Armenia’s abundance of literally antediluvian grape varieties.” John Szabo explores Armenia’s wine renaissance in Wine & Spirits Magazine.

Wine Enthusiast announces their annual list of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants.

In Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland talks to Vietti’s Luca Currado about the sale of his company and protecting his brand and family.

In response to last week’s events, Cathy Huyghe discusses satire and misogyny in the wine industry with Alice Feiring in Forbes.

In the Los Angeles Times, Joe Mozingo investigates how the upscale wine country of Santa Barbara became the epicenter of pot cultivation in California.

In the Drinks Business, Lucy Shaw explores Sardinia’s native grapes.

In Vinous, Josh Raynolds takes a look at several Willamette Valley vintages.

On RobertParker.com’s Wine Journal, Liv-ex’s Anthony Maxwell looks back at some of the times when Robert Parker moved the Bordeaux market.

Daily Wine News: Time to Retire “Natural Wine?”

(Flickr: Chris Pople)

Is it time to retire the phrase “natural wine?” Christina Pickard explores the issue in Wine Enthusiast. “Despite the style’s environmentally responsible directives and positive attributes, some longtime natural winemakers­ are now opting out, requesting that those who sell and support their wines cease referring to them as “natural.”… As natural wine’s evolution marches forward, the need for a new classification or, perhaps more realistically, a certification program, becomes ever more apparent.”

Is oak over in wine? Jamie Goode ponders the complex answer in VinePair. “But, as with any trend in wine – even a correcting one – the pendulum often swings too far. Just because over-oaking is a problem, it doesn’t mean that all oak is bad. Small oak barrels, including new ones, have a role in forming fine wines. Oak can never truly be “over.” We simply need to be smarter about how we use, think, and talk about it.”

On his blog, Jamie Goode addresses why “like what you like” is generally bad advice when it comes to wine.

Chris Yorke, global marketing director of New Zealand Winegrowers, has been named as the new head of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, taking over from the departing Willi Klinger.

Felicty Carter shares three things to know about wine writing.

In Wine Spectator, James Molesworth looks at how Napa Valley’s Colgin Cellars’ model—production, site-specific, finessed Cabernets—is a proven method for success.

On his Good Vitis blog, Aaron Menenberg relives a few memories through tasting a 2004 bottle of Syrah.

Daily Wine News: Rotgipfler & Zierfandler

Zierfandler. (Photo credit: Weinland Thermenregion)

“Why, in the past decade or so, have we all felt so drawn to native grapes? Is it simply the inevitable urge to rip up the global wall-to-wall carpeting of international varieties? Or is there more zeitgeist at work?” In Grape Collective, Valerie Kathawala pens an in-depth look at the wines of Bernhard Stadlmann, the eighth generation of his family to work with Rotgipfler and Zierfandler in the heart of the Thermenregion in Austria. “The Thermenregion is the only place in Austria — the world, in fact — where Zierfandler and Rotgipfler have always had pride of place in the region’s best vineyards.”

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Mike Dunne has a piece about Shake Ridge Ranch, Amador County’s most highly acclaimed vineyard. “By California vineyard standards, Shake Ridge Ranch is an adolescent, starting to yield fruit only in 2005. In just 14 years, however, it has gained an uncommon stature among the state’s vineyards.”

Will subregions be the future of Provence rosé? Edith Hancock explores the idea in the Drinks Business.

In Wine Enthusiast, Alexander Peartree offers a travel guide to the Finger Lakes wine region.

According to Vitisphere, 12 percent of all French vineyards were organic in 2018, a 20 percent increase since 2017.

In VinePair, Ryan Hughley takes a close look at the sustainability efforts being made at López de Heredia.

Panos Kakaviatos highlights the stars in St-Estèphe beyond the classed growths in Decanter. (subscription req.)

Trump is threatening to put tariffs on French wine again.

Daily Wine News: 900-Year-Old Savagnin Blanc Discovery

Savagnin Blanc (Wikimedia)

In the Atlantic, Sarah Zhang reports on findings that show Savagnin Blanc has been continuously propagated for at least 900 years. “Nathan Wales…and his collaborators came across the 900-year-old Savagnin Blanc among 28 grape seeds excavated from nine different archaeological sites around France. The seeds dated back to the medieval period, the Roman era (100 BCE to 500 AD), and in one case, even the Iron Age (500 BCE). The team found six separate pairs or groups of genetically identical seeds, sometimes hundreds of miles apart. The clones had almost certainly spread through vegetative propagation by humans.”

In Forbes, Lauren Mowery talks to Jen Parr about her transition from being a financial software saleswoman in America to a noted Pinot Noir winemaker in Central Otago with Valli Wine.

In Wine & Spirits Magazine, Joshua Green comments on the 2017 Vintage Port declaration.

Neal Martin also explores the 2017 Vintage Ports in Vinous. “Clearly, these 2017 Vintage Ports merit a General Declaration. In fact, it would not surprise me if General Declarations do become more frequent, because winemaking techniques have improved so much in recent years. Nowadays not only is there more expertise in the vineyard, but winemaking techniques have been vastly fine-tuned…”

People see what they want to see, says Robert Joseph in Meininger’s. And that could spell trouble for some, including the English sparkling wine industry.

Marian Bull does a deep dive into natural wine for Vox.

On Robert Parker’s Wine Journal, R.H. Drexel reflects on BottleRock 2019.