Vinography Images: Open Door

Open Door
PAUILLAC, FRANCE: A small hut with an open door offers shelter for vineyard workers at the estate of Château Lafite Rothschild, which has been owned by the Rothschild family since the 19th Century. Lafite, as it is affectionately known, is one of four First Growths established by the 1855 Classification in Bordeaux.

INSTRUCTIONS:
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BUY THE BOOK:
This image is from a series of photographs captured by Andy Katz in the process of shooting his most recent work The Club of Nine, a visual exploration and celebration of Bordeaux's top Chateaux. The book is available for $60 on Andy's web site.

PRINTS:
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ABOUT VINOGRAPHY IMAGES:
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Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 2/10/19



Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren't Flipboard inclined, here's everything I've strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.

How Provençal Winemakers Are Responding to Climate Change
New grapes? New sites?

Can Cabernet from Sonoma Be as World-Class as Top Ones from Napa?
That was proved many years ago already...

Madeira's Role in the Declaration of Independence
All great writing needs lubrication.

From Burgundy to Champagne, the Wine Trends You Can Bank On in 2019
Trend number 1: spending.

Austria's Mr Wine Signs Off
A cheeky interview with a giant.

The Wines You Should Buy in 2019, According to Critic Robert Parker
Wait, Parker is recommending Piedirosso?!?! What happened to "godforsaken?"

In Jordan, a wine industry takes root
Nice beginnings.

Millennials' Tasting Room Revolution
It's not the millennials, it's everyone.

If you want interesting, affordable wines, look to Argentina
And not just from the winery whose logo is on this piece.

Mary Ann Graf, who paved the way for California women winemakers, dies at 76
A nice obit for a pioneer.

What a Bottle of Wine Costs Around the World
A lot, it turns out.

The Secrets of Airline Sommeliers
Wine lists up in the air.

Challenge ahead for smaller wineries
Not just in NZ.

Turning the Tables on L.M. Archer
A writer, profiled.

The Robots are Coming
And they're big. And tiny.

The mysterious case of the cork-tainted carrots
And bananas, and apples, and....

Why You Should Throw Away Those Wine Descriptors
Lana Bortolot shares a personal story.

How Martine Saunier Cultivated the World's Most Coveted Wines
Force of personality.

The Science of Tannins in Wine
A deep delve.

The final turn of the screw
Unscrewed, so to speak.

Drinking While Pregnant: An Inconvenient Truth
A compelling argument against my contrary point of view.

Champagne Takes Stock as Sales Stutter
Champagne weathers many storms.

Does Formal Wine Training Matter?
Virginie Boone answers the question in the negative, generally.

Sommeliers of Everything
Jason Wilson takes one for the team.

Snapshot of New Mexico
Deborah Parker Wong's thoughts on NM



I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Joel Peterson

Episode 460 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Joel Peterson, Founder and Winemaker at Ravenswood winery and the Founder and Winemaker at Once & Future Wine, both in California.

Joel Peterson's wine career spans the arc of California wine from the 1970s to now, and for him it went from making a few barrels of wine in a shack to later being in charge of a million-case wine facility. In between were encounters with some of the early pioneers of post-WWII California winemaking, people like André Tchelistcheff and Joe Swan, and a key realization that Zinfandel offered a special opportunity for making wine. Joel made the connection that California had a wealth of old-vine Zinfandel, but that those grapes were often vinified into low-end jug wines. He felt that the grape offered more when it was vinified for more potential by the likes of Swan and Paul Draper, and decided to pursue that route for his own winemaking. That decision to take full advantage of the old vines that were already in the ground, and to flesh out his wine portfolio of Zinfandels by offering them at different price points, ended up being the foundation of huge commerical success for his wine wine brand Ravenswood during the 1980s. Now Joel has returned to smaller scale winemaking at Once & Future, having sold Ravenswood to Constellation and having spent time working at that larger company. The sum total of experiences lend themselves to all sorts of stories and thankfully Joel is quite good at telling them, as becomes clear quite early in this interview. At the same time, he shares sharp observations about the current wine market and how that differs from the situation he found before, and he gives a rundown of some of the most prized California Zinfandel vineyards today. If you'd like to follow along with an extraordinary career, while at the same time hearing a funny and insightful story or two, this is the interview for you.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, or Pandora for your mobile device.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine



Vinography Unboxed: Week of 2/3/19

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week included all sorts of goodies, all of them red.

Let's start with what might be one of the best wines made by cult Pinot producer Williams Selyem, their Rochioli Riverblock bottling. Just down the road from Rochioli, Williams Selyem has been buying fruit from this legendary Pinot vineyard for decades, and makes a select few bottles of it each year. This site tends to get pretty ripe so this bottling ends up being on the richer side, but it's always beautiful, and in my experience, very age-worthy.

Moving on, I've got a couple of wines from Chappellet vineyards, a stalwart producer up on Pritchard Hill above Napa. This week I've got their flagship Cabernet bottling, which comes in an obnoxiously heavy bottle, but which, as usual is rich and delicious. It's bound to satisfy anyone who pursues the upper end of Napa Cabernet. For those who want tasty Napa Cab but without the tariff, you'd do well to consider Chappellet's Mountain Cuvee, which can be found for as little as $25 online, and offers a pretty tasty package for the price.

I've also got a few wines this week from Domaine Terre Rouge in the Sierra foothills. A very meaty Syrah, a tasty zinfandel, and then my favorite of the three, a Grenache-dominated blend called "l'Autre" that is aging beautifully into its second phase of life.

A couple other wines of note this week. First, the irrepressible Randall Grahm sent his 2013 Cigare Volant, which predictably satisfies with its dark fruit and floral notes.

And lastly, an unusual interpretation of Merlot Vinography Unboxed: Week of 2/3/19from Grace Vineyards, which is the star producer of Japan's Yamanashi prefecture, a grape growing region on the skirts of Mount Fuji. Known for its stone fruit as well as grapes, Yamanashi has been producing wine continuously since the late 1800s, making it one of the more storied wine producing regions in the world. It is better known for Koshu, an ancient variety of grape that is grown on huge pergola vines there, but this Merlot is quite interesting.

Notes on all these wines below.

2016 Williams Selyem "Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
A medium, hazy garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberries and cherries and flowers. In the mouth, gorgeously silky raspberry and cherry flavors are tinged with flowers and dried herbs. Citrus notes linger in the finish. Excellent acidity and balance. Fantastic. 14.2% alcohol. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $140. click to buy.

2013 Bonny Doon Vineyard "Le Cigare Volant" Red Blend, Central Coast, California
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry and mulberry fruit. In the mouth, black cherry and mulberry and a touch of blueberry swirl juicily, thanks to excellent acidity. Notes of blackberry and dried flowers emerge on the finish. Tasty. A blend of 55% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 4% Cinsault. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2011 Domaine Terre Rouge "DTR Ranch" Syrah, Fiddletown, Sierra Foothills, California
Medium ruby in color, this wine smells of blackberry jam and bloody meat. In the mouth, black cherry and strawberry notes mix with cedar and a lovely wet stone minerality. Hints of leather and cocoa powder emerge on the finish. Aging nicely. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $34. click to buy.

2014 Grace Vineyard Merlot, Yamanashi, Japan
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of roasted chestnuts, oak, and burnt meat. In the mouth, smoky notes of red fruit and roasted nuts swirl across the palate with faintly muscular tannins. Decent acidity and quite an unusual character. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $46.

2014 Chappellet Vineyard "Pritchard Hill" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Napa, California
Inky, opaque garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and tobacco. In the mouth, cherry, cassis, and the espresso notes of oak meld in a smooth seamless whole as suede-like tannins flex their muscles around the edges of the mouth. Powerful and rich, but with decent acidity. Just a bit much for me. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $235. click to buy.

2014 Easton Wines Zinfandel, Amador County, Sierra Foothills, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of licorice and blackberry pie. In the mouth, licorice and blackberries mix with notes of dried flowers. Muscular tannins swoop in behind the fruit and put the squeeze on the palate. Time to drink this one up. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $18. click to buy.

2016 Chappellet Vineyard "Mountain Cuvee" Red Blend, California
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cassis and black cherry. In the mouth, cassis and black cherry flavors are shot through with the vanilla of oak, even as they are grasped in a suede glove of tannins. Dark and rich, but with enough acidity to make the wine quite drinkable. A blend of fruit from both Sonoma and Napa Counties, made up of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 13% Malbec, 9% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2011 Domaine Terre Rouge "L'Autre" Red Blend, Sierra Foothills, California
Light to medium ruby in color, this wine smells of strawberries and herbs. In the mouth, exotic woods, strawberry, and herbal notes still possess a juicy aspect thanks to excellent acidity, even as they begin to cloak themselves in the smoky, herbal notes of age. Faint tannins provide some texture, and linger with savory chicory and meaty notes in the finish. A blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and 15% Syrah. 14.2% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $32. click to buy.



An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux

The World Atlas of Wine describes it as the "largest fine-wine district on earth," and while we make a big deal in the wine world about the link between geography and flavor, in Bordeaux the Atlas notes that "no where else in the wine world is the link between geography and finance so evident."

Bordeaux is certainly the most famous wine region on earth, having captivated everyone from poets to politicians for centuries. But for many wine lovers, especially Americans, it remains one of the most difficult wine regions to understand and enjoy.

The Cabernet and Merlot dominated wines of the region have long been benchmarks for the grape variety, but if your first taste of these varieties came from California, chances are that the more savory and tannic renditions from Bordeaux might seem fierce and unforgiving. While the region's wines have become more approachable over the past few decades, thanks to the influence of Robert Parker and global warming, among other factors, they are still often built around an acid and tannic profile that seems austere compared to the plush ripeness of California wines. The wines of Bordeaux are still made to age, which means they can be very tight and narrow-seeming in their youth.

Bordeaux's accessibility also suffers from its sheer size and the dizzying number of producers, appellations and hierarchical classifications of which wine drinkers must make some sense as they begin to explore. The lack of varietal labeling adds to the difficulties in remembering what is what for anyone weaned on bottles that clearly display the name of a grape.

Nonetheless, once upon a time, it was relatively easy for an intrepid wine drinker to attempt an understanding of the regions wines simply by purchasing bottles at their local fine wine merchant. As recently as 25 years ago, buying top-quality Bordeaux was still within the reach of a middle-class lifestyle. This is sadly no longer true. Even the second growths have become so prohibitively expensive that they practically make more sense as investment vehicles than beverages to drink with dinner.

The financial realities of the Bordeaux market mean that the opportunities to taste top wines are all but non-existent for most wine lovers. Even the chance to taste well-aged versions of lesser wines now comes at such a premium that most young American wine enthusiasts mature into savvy wine drinkers these days without really having experienced or understood Bordeaux.

And of course, that's saying nothing about Bordeaux's brand image, which remains, well... stuffy. Bordeaux is the land of immense Chateaux owned by the wealthy elite, to whom one must apply in order to visit their meticulously groomed estates.

While I personally can still remember in my very early days of exploring wine paying roughly $50 for Pontet-Canet, a Grand Cru from the Pauillac appellation, my own experiences with Bordeaux as a burgeoning wine geek 20 years ago were largely marked by the difficulties I describe above.

Having now tasted many of Bordeaux's top wines in their youth and across many decades of age, I feel like I have a general sense of the wines and the region, though I'm far from being truly competent.

My problem is that I just don't want to be competent. Bordeaux doesn't excite me nearly as much as other wine regions. I think this lack of enthusiasm stems from both the wines themselves and their pricey inaccessibility. I like a well-aged Bordeaux just fine, but even the finest of the wines, those that I would rate at 9.5 or higher on my rating scale, don't send a thrill through my bones in the same way that say, older Burgundy does. I've stood side-by-side with knowledgeable Bordeaux lovers, tasting Cos d'Estournel (one of my favorite estates) back into the 1960s and, despite thoroughly enjoying the wines, have not swooned to near the extent as have my companions.

Perhaps it simply may be that the flavors of Bordeaux just aren't among my favorites, and thus I don't seek them out. In search of a robust red wine, I'm much more likely to pick up a Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Bandol than a Bordeaux.

Despite this fact, I do enjoy reminding myself what good Bordeaux tastes like, and so when a group of estates came to San Francisco recently under the banner of Tour des Deux Rives (Tour of the Two Riverbanks), I dropped in to walk around the tasting with a number of other members of the press and trade. My notes on the wines I tasted are grouped together below.


THE LEFT BANK


Bordeaux as a region surrounds the confluence of two rivers, the Dordogne and the Garonne, which flow together into the estuary of Gironde (as seen in the satellite photo above) before exiting to the Atlantic ocean on the west coast of France. The region has traditionally been divided into the Left Bank, or all the wine regions to the left (west and south) of the Garonne river, and the Right Bank, or all the wine regions to the right (north and east) of the Dordogne river.

Of the two areas, the Left Bank holds more, and more storied, appellations. It begins near the sea with the large appellation known as the Medoc that tracks south along the Garonne River encompassing the well known sub-appellations of Saint-Estephe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien and Margaux (collectively known as the Haut-Medoc), followed by the appellations of Pessac-Leognan, Graves, and finally Sauternes as you move south of the City of Bordeaux.

An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux

A view of the city of Bordeaux on the banks of the Garonne river.

The land on the Left Bank varies considerably from North to south, but generally features well drained, gravelly soils with some clay. The Gironde estuary helps regulate temperatures and the Atlantic influence is tempered by coastal forests, leading to relatively mild winters and warm summers.


ST-ESTEPHE
The northernmost (and most downstream) appellation of the Haut-Medoc, St-Estephe has heavier, more clay-influenced soils than the other appellations further south, leading to more water retention, a handy trait in hot, dry summers. While it is difficult to generalize, especially in an age of ambitious winemaking, the wines of St-Estephe have a reputation for being more robust and brawny than their southern cousins. The best wines of the region are often found to be made on those parcels that have a higher proportion of the gravelly soils that mark the best plots of the more famous appellations such as Margaux and Pauillac.

An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2009 Chateau de Pez Bordeaux Blend, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France
Medium to dark garnet in the glass with a hint of brick beginning to show, this wine smells of cassis, truffles and pencil shavings. In the mouth, bright cherry fruit is still vibrant, with notes of cedar, pencil shavings and tight, muscular tannins wrapped around the core of fruit. Citrus notes linger in the finish with dried herbs. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Aged in 40% new oak, with the balance being split between 1st and second use barrels. Unfiltered. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $65. click to buy.


An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2015 Chateau Haut-Beauséjour Bordeaux Blend, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry, dried herbs and dried flowers. In the mouth, bright cherry fruit is tart and tightly wedged in a fist of fine-grained tannins. Excellent acidity and length. Aged in 40% new oak. The blend is higher in Merlot than most other estates in the region. Score: around 9. Cost: $40. click to buy.



PAUILLAC
The superstar sub-appellation of the Medoc, Pauillac plays host to three of the five so-called "First Growths," that were classed as Premiere Grand Cru during the 1855 classification of the region that largely cemented the hierarchy (and pricing) of wineries ever since. Marked by pockets of deep river gravel, washed down from millennia of flooding, the soils are about as perfect as can be for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, which finds its apotheosis in many of the vaunted and ridiculously expensive wines that call this appellation home.

An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2010 Chateau Mouton Rothschild "Le Petite Mouton" Bordeaux Blend, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry and oak. In the mouth, tight, drying tannins instantly coat the mouth and seem to squeeze flavors of cherry, cedar and pencil lead. Good acidity and length. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. This is the estate's second label. Score: around 9. Cost: $229. click to buy.

2010 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Bordeaux Blend, Pauillac Premiere Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France
Medium to dark ruby in the glass with some garnet highlights, this wine smells of dried flowers, cedar and pencil lead. In the mouth, juicy cherry still predominates, backed by cedar and graphite wrapped tightly in a suede blanket of tannins that are smooth and very well integrated into the wine. Extremely long finish and excellent balance and poise. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Average vine age of 44 years. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $999. click to buy.

2014 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Bordeaux Blend, Pauillac Premiere Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells gamey, with cherry and floral notes backing up the meaty notes. In the mouth, cedar, iodine, cherry and some bright citrus notes are juicy and linger even as a muscular fist of tannins closes onto the wine, powdery and fine. Still too young. Give it 5 to 10 years. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Average vine age of 44 years. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $529. click to buy.




An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2012 Chateau d'Armailhac Bordeaux Blend, Pauillac Cinquième Cru, Bordeaux, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells berry bright with black cherry and boysenberry aromas. In the mouth, cassis and black cherry fruit is boisterous with juicy acidity and wrapped in cloud of powdery tannins. Missing some depth but still tasty. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Average vine age of 46 years with some plantings exceeding 100 years old. Score: around 9. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2010 Chateau d'Armailhac Bordeaux Blend, Pauillac Cinquième Cru, Bordeaux, France Medium
garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cedar and forest floor. In the mouth, citrusy notes of cedar, dried cherry and herbs mix prettily with decent acidity. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Average vine age of 46 years with some plantings exceeding 100 years old. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $85. click to buy.




An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2009 Chateau Clerc Milon "Pastourelle" Bordeaux Blend, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry, cedar and graphite. In the mouth, cherry, cedar and forest floor aromas swirl and bounce with excellent acidity. Light, tacky tannins. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $55. click to buy.

2012 Chateau Clerc Milon Bordeaux Blend, Pauillac Cinquième Cru, Bordeaux, France
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine has an extremely strong graphite aroma backed by cherry fruit. In the mouth, the wine is juicy and smooth, with cherry, cedar and spice box flavors. Very pretty citrus notes linger in the finish. The tannins are powdery and fine grained, coating the mouth and lingering with the cedar and citrus in the finish. Tasty. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Carmenere. Average vine age is 53 years old. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $150. click to buy.

2010 Chateau Clerc Milon Bordeaux Blend, Pauillac Cinquième Cru, Bordeaux, France
Medium garnet in the glass, but headed towards ruby, this wine smells of wet chalkboard, dried flowers and turned earth. In the mouth, cherry and citrus flavors have a beautiful brightness to them thanks to excellent acidity and a surprising purity given the earthiness of the nose. Muscular tannins still have a lot of strength but don't overpower the fruit. Delicious. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Carmenere. Average vine age is 53 years old. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $100. click to buy.




An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2011 Chateau Pichon Longeueville Comtesse de Lalande "Reserve de la Comtesse" Bordeaux Blend, Pauillac Deuxième Cru, Bordeaux, France
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of pencil lead and darker cherry and plum fruit. In the mouth, black cherry and cedar flavors are wrapped in sandpaper-like tannins that compete with a very silky texture to the wine and wrap the fruit tightly. Cola nut lingers on the finish. Great acidity. Quite complex and delicious. Mostly a blend of Cabernet and Merlot. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $65. click to buy.

2011 Chateau Pichon Longeueville Comtesse de Lalande Bordeaux Blend, Pauillac Deuxième Cru, Bordeaux, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of wet chalkboard and earth, pencil shavings, cigar box and cocoa powder. In the mouth, juicy cherry and cedar flavors take on citrus notes and aromas of Pu-erh tea through the finish. Powdery, fine grained tannins. Excellent acidity and length. Mostly a blend of Cabernet and Merlot with an average vine age of 35 years. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $165. click to buy.

2010 Chateau Pichon Longeueville Comtesse de Lalande Bordeaux Blend, Pauillac Deuxième Cru, Bordeaux, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry fruit and cedar. In the mouth, the wine is exceedingly silky, almost creamy in texture with cherry, cedar, graphite and a hint of herbs. Wonderfully seamless with fine-grained tannins and excellent acidity, the wine has a citrus aroma that lingers through a very long finish. Outstanding. Mostly a blend of Cabernet and Merlot with an average vine age of 35 years. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $230. click to buy.




ST-JULIEN
While it may not be home to as many First Growths as Pauillac, St-Julien can boast the highest proportion of classed growths of any commune in the region. Its mix of clay and gravel is similar to Pauillac allowing the estates in this smallest of the famous four Medoc to produce wines of finesse and power.

An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2010 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou "Croix du Beaucaillou" Bordeaux Blend, Saint-Julien Deuxième Cru, Bordeaux, France
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of pencil lead, cassis, dried herbs and cedar. In the mouth, tight powdery tannins offer a cloud through which flavors of cedar and hints of citrus emerge. Juicy with excellent acidity and a long finish. A blend of roughly 80% Cabernet and 20% Merlot. Croix du Beaucaillou is a single-vineyard site, rather than a "second wine" from the Chateau. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $70. click to buy.

2015 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou Bordeaux Blend, Saint-Julien Deuxième Cru, Bordeaux, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells earthy, with notes of cigar box and miso paste. In the mouth, it is tight and citrusy, with cherry and cedar and dried herb flavors. Somewhat stiff, with a bitter finish. Good acidity. A blend of roughly 80% Cabernet and 20% Merlot. Score: around 9. Cost: $185. click to buy.

1989 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou Bordeaux Blend, Saint-Julien Deuxième Cru, Bordeaux, France
Medium ruby in the glass headed towards brick, this wine smells of cedar and pencil shavings, leather and barnyard. In the mouth, cedar, leather and barnyard flavors mix with a touch of mushroom and citrus. Powdery tannins linger with the citrus and dried mushroom in the finish. A blend of roughly 80% Cabernet and 20% Merlot. Score: around 9. Cost: $280. click to buy.



An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2014 Chateau Lalande-Borie Bordeaux Blend, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cedar, graphite and berries. In the mouth, the fruit is bright and juicy with notes of cherry, cedar and with citrus lingering in the finish. Tight but not overpowering tannins. A blend of roughly 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $45. click to buy.



PESSAC-LEOGNAN
Overlapping with the southern part of the city of Bordeaux, Pessac-Leognan (really a combination of the two appellations Pessac and Leognan) was made, and remains, famous thanks to Chateau Haut-Brion, perhaps the most historical estate in Bordeaux, and one whose owner is thought to be responsible for the concept of red Bordeaux wine in its modern form. Known for pine trees before wine, the region's sandy, gravelly clay soils host at least as many trees as vines, but equally as many houses, as suburban sprawl continues to encroach on the region.

An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2015 La Parde de Haut-Bailly Bordeaux Blend, Graves, Bordeaux, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine has a somewhat shy nose of red fruits and earth. In the mouth cherry fruit is wrapped in tight tannins and has a rather short character on the palate. Decent acidity. A rough blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $45 click to buy.

2011 Chateau Haut-Bailly Bordeaux Blend, Graves Grand Cru, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Dark garnet in the glass this wine smells of dark cassis and pencil shavings. In the mouth, dark cherry fruit has a tremendous citrus kick and is wrapped in putty like tannins that lay thick on the tongue. Cedar notes emerge over tine. A serious mouthful. A rough blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Score: around 9. Cost: $120. click to buy.

2010 Chateau Haut-Bailly Bordeaux Blend, Graves Grand Cru, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine has a citrusy floral aroma that is very charming. In the mouth, earthy notes mix with bright cherry and cedar amidst a gauzy haze of very fine-grained tannins. Great acidity makes the fruit quite juicy still. A rough blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Score: around 9. Cost: $180. click to buy.



SAUTERNES
The journey of many wine lovers is marked by two eras: the time before they've ever had a Sauternes, and the time after. Unlike the rest of Bordeaux, Sauternes and its neighbor Barsac focus on making primarily white, and generally sweet wines. These wines, made with grapes affected by the so-called Noble Rot, botrytis cinerea, are among the most exceptional and long lived dessert wines in the world. When the 1855 classification was made of the top wines in Bordeaux, Sauternes was the only appellation outside of the Medoc to be be classified, and its superstar estate, Chateau d'Yquem was given its own special rank of Premiere Cru Superieur, placing it effectively on the same playing field as the First Growths of the Medoc.

An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2016 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes Blend, Sauternes Premier Cru Supérieur, Bordeaux, France
Pale gold in the glass this wine smells of honeysuckle and apricot. In the mouth, the wine is voluminous and cloud-like, its characteristic mouth-filling cloud of silky texture delivering flavors of orange blossom, honeysuckle, and white peaches with incredible acidity and finesse. Moderately to very sweet, and stunning. A blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $400. click to buy.

2005 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes Blend, Sauternes Premier Cru Supérieur, Bordeaux, France
Medium gold in the glass, with aromas of apricot and orange peel, this wine tastes of orange marmalade, honey, and white flowers. Silky and bright and very sweet, with hints of dried citrus in the finish. A blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $330. click to buy.

2017 Chateau d'Yquem "Y" Sauternes Blend, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
Near colorless in the glass with a faint greenish gold tinge, this wine smells of passionfruit and white flowers. In the mouth, explosively bright passionfruit and green apple flavors have a crystalline purity and electric resonance thanks to outstanding acidity, with little trace of botrytis influenced flavors. A light sweetness pervades the wine which combined with the mouthwatering acidity makes for an utterly gulpable, delicious elixir of floral freshness. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $175. click to buy.




THE RIGHT BANK


The French refer to this region as the Libornais, after the town of Libourne which has long governed the region surrounding the Eastern bank of the Dordogne river. It has many sub-regions ranging from the famous Pomerol and St-Emilion, to the much less well known appellations of Canon-Fronsac or Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux. The soils of the Right Bank will often contain a lower proportion of gravels in their clay than the Left Bank, but unlike the Left Bank, the soils can also include primary rock, especially in the limestone inflected region of St-Emilion. Unlike the mostly flat Medoc region, the right bank also gives way to more hills, resulting in vineyards with different slopes and sun orientations.

An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux

A view of St-Emilion, the UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Right Bank.


POMEROL
A wide, flat gravel bed mixed with clay, not unlike many of the best growing regions in Bordeaux, Pomerol lacks one thing that clearly marks the other top appellations of Bordeaux: big Chateaux. Instead of massive gated estates, Pomerol is mostly just a bunch of vineyards interspersed with houses and a small church or two. Left out of the famous 1855 classification, Pomerol is the place where the superstar vineyards of Petrus and Le Pin sit alongside names few have ever heard of. Merlot finds one of its greatest expressions on the soils of Pomerol, along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2008 Chateau Hosanna Bordeaux Blend, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France Medium
ruby in the glass with a very mature orange at the rim, this wine smells of licorice and dried flowers. In the mouth, juicy cherry and plum flavors mix with cedar notes. Incredibly silky and gorgeously textured, with fine-grained tannins and a minutes-long finish. Delicate and outstanding. A blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $200. click to buy.

2014 Chateau Hosanna Bordeaux Blend, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells slightly gamey, with slightly sappy floral and cherry aromas. In the mouth, that sappiness continues with sour cherry and plum and dried herb flavors transitioning to a meaty, olive-like savoriness. Fine tannins float in a haze through the wine and coat the mouth. Good acidity and length. A blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $180. click to buy.


An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2011 Chateau Certain de May Bordeaux Blend, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of barnyard, cherry and earth. In the mouth, rich, powdery and mouth-coating tannins are the first impression, followed by leather and barnyard flavors that suggest a modicum of brett? Herbs and earth and dark fruit give the wine a powerful aspect. Despite the funkiness, this is an appealing wine. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Score: around 9. Cost: $130. click to buy.

2010 Chateau Certain de May Bordeaux Blend, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cedar, earth and meat. In the mouth, rich mouth-coating tannins surround cherry and cedar flavors that modulate towards citrus in the finish. The tannins become dusty and fill every nook and cranny of the mouth. Good acidity. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $210. click to buy.




An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2009 Chateau Bourgneuf Bordeaux Blend, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
A cloudy, very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells gamey, with earth and mushroom leading the cherry fruit aromas. In the mouth, the wine is rich and dark with cherry, black cherry and earth flavors tinged by a hint of sweetness. Juicy with excellent acidity. 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Score: around 9. Cost: $80. click to buy.


An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2008 Chateau Lafleur-Gazin Bordeaux Blend, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cedar. In the mouth, cherry, cedar, licorice, and cola flavors are dusted with faint tannins. Excellent acidity. Notes of dried flowers linger in the finish. Mostly Merlot, with about 20% Cabernet Franc. Score: around 9. Cost: $60. click to buy.


An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2009 Chateau de Sales Bordeaux Blend, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of...my notes read quite clearly: funky leather. In the mouth, flavors of cherry and old socks definitely have a funky aspect to them, but don't let that keep you from trying this wine, which has appealing characteristics, if only because the bright fruit wins in any contest with the funk. A blend of roughly 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $60. click to buy.



ST-EMILION
Situated on something of an plateau above the Dordogne, St-Emilion is somewhat unique in the world of Bordeaux, both for its limestone slopes and the fact that it has a (much contested and litigated) classification of its own, in which hundreds of Grand Crus exist alongside 18 First Growths and 64 Second Growths. This large growing region has little urban structure outside of the picturesque village of St-Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage site. St-Emilion is where the garagistes movement truly began -- small producers making super expensive, modern-style wines that captured the attention and pocketbook of collectors worldwide, at least for a time.

An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2006 Chateau Magdelaine Bordeaux Blend, Saint-Émilion Premiere Grand Cru Classe, Bordeaux, France
Medium ruby with brick highlights at the rim, this wine smells of dried flowers and mushrooms. In the mouth, red apple skin, and dried cherries are ethereal and silky across the palate as extremely bright acidity elevates citrus notes and dried herbs in the finish. Very pretty and vibrant. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $80. click to buy.


An Infrequent Encounter with Bordeaux2009 Chateau Puy-Blanquet Bordeaux Blend, Bordeaux, France
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells grapey and cherry-like. In the mouth, that grapey character continues with cherry notes and tight tannins. Smooth but somewhat undeveloped. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $50. click to buy.

* * *

Well, there you have it. A brief tasting tour through Bordeaux, which was a nice refresher for me personally on the charms of the region, and the jaw-dropping pricing of some of the wines. Of course, there's a lot more to Bordeaux than just its most famous appellations, but I'm afraid I'm not qualified to be a guide in those regions yet. I hope to have the opportunity to update my knowledge of the so-called Cru Bourgeois in time.



Vinography Images: Every Last Berry

Every Last Berry
POMEROL, FRANCE: A harvest worker unloads the last of a load of Merlot at Chateau Pétrus in Pomerol, on Bordeaux's Right Bank. Pétrus became famous in the late 1800s after winning a gold medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition, beating out many more famous estates. One of the most expensive and sought-after wines in the world, Pétrus is widely regarded as the single best bottling of Merlot to be found, and remains the shining star of the Pomerol apellation, which has never been classified. Consequently it cannot truly be called a First Growth, though it clearly ranks among them in both price and quality.


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 follow these.

BUY THE BOOK:
This image is from a series of photographs captured by Andy Katz in the process of shooting his most recent work The Club of Nine, a visual exploration and celebration of Bordeaux's top Chateaux. The book is available for $60 on Andy's web site.

PRINTS:
If you are interested in owning an archive quality, limited edition print of this image please contact Andy directly.

ABOUT VINOGRAPHY IMAGES:
Vinography regularly features images by photographer Andy Katz for readers' personal use as desktop backgrounds or screen savers. We hope you enjoy them. Please respect the copyright on these images. These images are not to be reposted on any web site or blog without the express permission of the photographer.



Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 2/3/19


Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren't Flipboard inclined, here's everything I've strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.


Supermarket Wines Are Poured, and Worlds Collide
Eric Asimov gets Apothic hate mail.

Rustic Fizz Takes Root in US
Pet nat is the rage.

French Wine Estate Explores its Wild Side
All creatures great and small.

How many 100-point scores do critics really give?
David analyzes.

Discovering the Origin of Zinfandel
Carole Meredith's story.

Should You Ignore What Your Customers Want? The Great Winemakers Do.
Not sure he proved his point.

Snapshot of New Mexico
Deborah Parker Wong reports.

Turn it off: Why the wine industry should prioritise dry farming
Running out of water.

Does wine fraud matter?
Robert Joseph isn't sure.

Heidi and Bo Barrett on How to Blend Wine and Marriage
Famous couple.

The Government Shutdown Is Over (for Now), but the Hits Keep Coming
Still painful.

'In the US you could never do this': How an American opened his own Italian winery
Living the dream.

For Nemea and Saint George - Agiorgitiko Today
A fantastic look at my fave Greek red.

Looking at the underbelly of wine
Plus a sphinx-shaped iceberg.

Port - on the up
Jancis Re-ports.

Becky Wasserman | Wine Exporter, Becky Wasserman & Co.
A fun profile of one of the greats.

A brief history of a working father in the wine industry
Alfonso reflects.

Napa's Board of Supervisors swamped with public comments over vineyard, rural development rules
Surprise!

London, capital for wine
Epicenter say some.

How Natural Wines Develop Reductive Notes
Remy Charest gets molecular.

People who make good wine have nothing to fear from cannabis competition
Blake Gray does the analysis.

Chris Bilbro, Founder of Sonoma's Marietta Cellars and Father to Three Winemakers, Dies at 72
RIP

Nine Producers Break with Cava to form 'Corpinnat'
Seccession in Cava

2,000-Year-Old Winery Discovered in Egypt's Nile Delta
Check out those ancient tastevins!

Did Wine Cause a Full-Scale Revolution in Armenia?
Fantastic story. Go Armenian wine!

It Might Be Time for Turkish Wine
It's been time for a while now.

Millennials are talking but the wine industry isn't listening
Blake Gray talks some sense.

Oregon's Cutting-Edge Winemakers
Paul highlights some worthy names.

Why Languedoc Has Your Next Best Wine
Lana Bortolot on variety.



Vinography Unboxed: Week of 1/27/19

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week included a number of wines from the folks at Williams Selyem, who have been making highly-sought-after Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County for a long time. Williams Selyem, in fact, might be called the first "cult" producer of Pinot Noir in California, having begun to allocate its wines to an oversold mailing list of customers before anyone else, despite not having a winery of their own to call home.

These days, Williams Selyem has a gorgeous winery on Westside Road outside of Healdsburg that members of the winery's mailing list can visit with an appointment, and they continue to make a dizzying array of wines from vineyards they own, as well as vineyards throughout Sonoma County and even farther afield.

This week they sent me a couple of their Chardonnays which were tasty, but didn't truly excite me. The Williams Selyem Chardonnay style is pretty lean, and these two both seemed almost extreme examples of that form -- both honestly needing some time in the bottle before being consumed, I think.

The Pinots they sent me were much more approachable in their youth. All three were excellent but I especially liked their Lewis MacGregor Estate Vineyard bottling, with which I was not so familiar, but which was really vibrant and juicy. Their Estate Vineyard Pinot was also excellent, as was their Eastside Road Neighbors Pinot, which they make from fruit purchased from various nearby growers.

In addition to the Williams Selyem wines this week I opened two very worthy white wines that I'd like to recommend. The first is an excellent Pinot Blanc from Weingut Dr. Heger in the Baden region of Germany, where they refer to the grape as Weissburgunder. This one is a beautifully delicate, Grand Cru rendition that is worth Vinography Unboxed: Week of 1/27/19seeking out.

Last, but certainly not least, comes the Chenin Blanc from Chappellet Vineyards in Napa Valley. Chappellet has been growing Chenin Blanc for decades, starting back when there were a lot more people doing so in the valley, but now they are nearly the last ones standing. Their Chenin Blanc has always been satisfying, and this latest vintage is no different.

Notes on all these below.

2016 Williams Selyem "Estate Vineyard" Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Palest greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of freshly cut green and golden apples. In the mouth, green apple and pineapple flavors have an oddly yeasty character to them, as notes of chamomile emerge in the finish with a light bitterness. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $90. click to buy.

2016 Williams Selyem "MacGregor Estate Vineyard" Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Palest greenish gold in color, this wine smells of wet stones and lemon pith. In the mouth, lemon pith and grapefruit juice have a sharp, almost searing acidity and finish with a faintly bitter, pithy note. Tightly wound and vibrantly crisp, there's a sourness in this wine I'd imaging enjoying more with some time for it to mellow in the bottle. 14.7% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $90. click to buy.

2016 Dr. Heger "Ihringer Winklerberg" Pinot Blanc, Baden, Germany
Nearly colorless in the glass, this wine smells of chamomile tea and white flowers. In the mouth, gorgeously mineral tones of wet chalkboard underlie chamomile, Asian pear, and lemon pith flavors that are delicate and delicious. Excellent acidity. Something of an ethereal wine. 13% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $28. click to buy.

2017 Chappellet Vineyard "Signature" Chenin Blanc, Napa Valley, Napa, California
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of wet chalkboard and citrus pith. In the mouth, flavors of citrus pith and unripe pear have a nice zip to them thanks to excellent acidity. There's a sourish lime note in the finish. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $38 click to buy.

2017 Domaine Terre Rouge "Vin Gris d'Amador" Rosé, Amador County, Sierra Foothills, California
Pale ruby in the glass, this wine smells of strawberries and watermelon. In the mouth, strawberry and apricot flavors have a nice crisp brightness and a silky texture. Berry notes linger in the finish. Tasty. An unusual blend of 41% Grenache, 41% Mourvedre, 6% Roussanne, 6% Grenache Blanc and 6% Viognier. 14% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $20 click to buy.

2016 FEL "Savoy Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of dried flowers and red berries. In the mouth, raspberry and cherry flavors are juicy, bright and rich, with excellent acidity and a faint muscular tannic backbone. Juicy and ripe, but not over the top. Well-integrated oak. 13.9% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $70. click to buy.

2016 Williams Selyem "Estate Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium to dark garnet in the glass with a faint haze, this wine smells of raspberry pastilles. In the mouth, floral raspberry and dried herb flavors are bright and boisterous thanks to excellent acidity. Notes of green herbs emerge in the finish, even as the faint texture of tannins emerge on the palate. Tasty.13.6% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $130. click to buy.

2016 Williams Selyem "Lewis MacGregor Estate Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium to dark garnet in color with a faint cloudy haze, this wine smells of cherry and cranberries. In the mouth, intense cherry flavors are zippy and bright thanks to excellent acidity, and notes of herbs and flowers waft above the vibrant core of cherry fruit. Intense and exciting. 14.2% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $115. click to buy.

2016 Williams Selyem "Eastside Road Neighbors" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Cloudy medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry pastilles and flowers. In the mouth, raspberries, mountain strawberries, and green herbs have a wonderful zip to them thanks to excellent acidity. The slightly bitter note of green herbs lingers nicely in the finish as candied raspberry notes waft through the mouth and faint tannins begin their grip. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $90. click to buy.



Vinography Images: Looking West

Looking West
SAUTERNES, FRANCE: The setting sun dips below the horizon across the western vineyards of Château d'Yquem in Sauternes, an appellation within the Graves region of Bordeaux. In the famous 1855 Classification of Bordeaux, d'Yquem was the only winery in the Sauternes region to be accorded the status of Premiere Cru Supérieur. Its golden, sweet dessert wines are among the most famous, and long lived, in the world.

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 follow these.

BUY THE BOOK:
This image is from a series of photographs captured by Andy Katz in the process of shooting his most recent work The Club of Nine, a visual exploration and celebration of Bordeaux's top Chateaux. The book is available for $60 on Andy's web site.

PRINTS:
If you are interested in owning an archive quality, limited edition print of this image please contact Andy directly.

ABOUT VINOGRAPHY IMAGES:
Vinography regularly features images by photographer Andy Katz for readers' personal use as desktop backgrounds or screen savers. We hope you enjoy them. Please respect the copyright on these images. These images are not to be reposted on any web site or blog without the express permission of the photographer.



I’ll Drink to That: Wine Writer Jasper Morris

Episode 459 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Jasper Morris. Jasper is the author of the book Inside Burgundy: The Vineyards, the Wine, and the People, and he recently launched the website Jasper Morris Inside Burgundy.

Jasper Morris fell in love with Burgundy over a bottle 66 La Tâche. A notably good choice for an induction into a new stage one's life. Subsequently he traded in Burgundy at his own import company and then for Berry Bros. & Rudd in the UK. Over the course of many years in the trade Jasper learned quite a few details about the individual Burgundy crus, and his 2010 book Inside Burgundy put down on the page the specifics. This interview finds Jasper reminiscing about his import days, as well as sharing his thoughts about some of the "big topics" of Burgundy today: winemaking trends, vineyard work specifics, premox, and the market for the wines, just to name a few. But the real strength of this discussion is in Jasper's guided tour through the Côte d'Or, as he shares with listeners his thoughts about different Burgundy villages and crus. This topic was also the focus of Jasper's book on Burgundy, so it is no surprise that he knows the territory quite well. If you'd like to hear more about, for instance, the different sectors of Nuits-Saint-Georges, this is an interview to check out.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, or (NEW!) Pandora for your mobile device.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine