Sunday, August 30, 2015

The San Francisco Chronicle’s wine coverage, and Vegas, here I come!

August 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Wine

  I got my Sunday San Francisco Chronicle and, what do you know, there was an entire section on California Wine! Sixteen pages. That’s the most wine coverage I’ve seen in the paper in years. Maybe they got the message—not just from me, but from others, including the Napa Register’s Paul Franson–about how skimpy their […]

Classic, schlmassic: another silly wine word to get rid of

August 17, 2015 by  
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  I’m tempted to say, pace Justice Stewart, that I can’t define “classic” wine, but I know one when I taste it, except that I can’t say that, either, because it’s not always true. I do know a classic wine when you tell me its name. You: “Here’s Chateau Lafite-Rothschild.” Me: “Oh, that’s a classic […]

Thoughts on a Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet tasting

June 25, 2015 by  
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  In California, we don’t get the extremes of weather that Europe does, but still, our vintages vary considerably from each other. You just have to know how to read the subtleties. Four years ago, 2011 was “the year summer never came,” and many of the wines have a lean, green streak, if not actual […]

Remembering a defunct winery, and a lesson in regional correctness

June 5, 2015 by  
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  I don’t know what made me remember the old Chateau Woltner wines. The memory just popped into my head—who knows how these things work, or why. The winery had been started by an heir to the Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion dynasty. I don’t recall the details—here’s the Wikipedia entry that says after La Mission […]

Winemaker’s choice: When marketing and the perception of exclusivity collide

June 2, 2015 by  
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  I had coffee yesterday with a winemaker from Napa Valley who works for a high-end winery: triple-digit Cabernet and all that. We were taking about marketing, when she said something about Napa wineries that intrigued me enough to write it down: “Do you want to sell wine,” she asked, “or do you want to […]

Blend or single vineyard? It depends on the variety

May 28, 2015 by  
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  Sauvignon Blanc is one of those grape varieties that seems to benefit from judicious blending from multiple sources in California. Cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc can be audacious and savory in gooseberries, with a touch of pyrazine that can be too green for many people. Warm-climate Sauvignon can have delicious tropical fruit flavors but be a […]

My remarks at the Cabernet Academy: Part 2

May 18, 2015 by  
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  Here’s the second part of my remarks last week, at Stonestreet: I’ve spoken of varietal flavor and tannin structure, but obviously there’s more to wine than just those two factors. Next, I want to take up the topics of acidity and minerality. Acidity in Cabernet, as in all table wines, is a key to […]

Alexander Valley and Napa Valley Cabernet: My remarks at the Cabernet Academy

May 15, 2015 by  
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  I gave a little talk yesterday to a group of wine buyers yesterday at Stonestreet, as part of Taste Alexander Valley. I’m posting my remarks in two parts, because it’s rather longish. Here’s part 1. I’ve been asked to talk about Napa Valley and Alexander Valley and how Cabernet Sauvignon from those two areas […]

The simple pleasures

May 6, 2015 by  
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  The cousins, Gus and I are driving down to L.A. this morning for five days of family fun, centered around a bar mitzvah. We didn’t want to make anything elaborate for dinner, so opted for burgers on the grill. I’d been given this bottle of Kendall-Jackson 2006 Napa Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, from Mount Veeder, […]

Why Napa Cabernet costs so much

April 30, 2015 by  
Filed under Wine

  The most interesting quote in the Napa Valley Register’s article on the 30th birthday of the Carneros Wine Alliance is from David Graves. The co-founder of Saintsbury said, “There’s no ‘Napa of pinot noir.’ No one place dominates the market.” Isn’t it interesting how the cultural evolution of the market has treated our two […]

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