This has unexpectedly become sommelier-turns-winemaker week. First, we learned master sommelier Kevin Vogt is donning a vintner’s hat , and now we have two more sommeliers unveiling a new winery and some delicious new releases.
Well, "bleaders," one of our former bloggers, Kevin Vogt , has joined the ranks of the Napa Valley winemaking community. So the next time you run into him as he crisscrosses the country praising the pleasures of the fermented grape, you can personally extend your congratulations.
My second glass of Campbells Merchant Prince Rutherglen Brown Muscat went down as easily as the first. That in itself isn’t particularly noteworthy—until you consider that I drank my first glass from the same bottle 17 years ago.
Wine X, a magazine aimed at the twenty-something crowd, folded recently. I thought it had vanished years ago, and many of us wondered how and why it lasted this long. Targeting a younger, hipper, hip-hopper audience – the next generation of wine drinkers – Wine X had a market.
A while back, I wrote about some of the differences between the way men and women think about and approach wine. Now I’m worried that I may have grossly underestimated some of those discrepancies. It turns out that not only are many men shameless point-chasing, label drinking, know-it-alls who equate price with quality, but it’s worse than that.
This morning at the gym, I worked out alongside an old friend. He's a great chef who now travels worldwide for one of Napa Valley’s big wine companies to put on food and wine pairings and demonstrations.
Fort Ross Vineyard has found a groove. It's a relatively new brand of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that wine lovers should pay serious attention to. Linda and Lester Schwartz, who came to California from Cape Town, South Africa, in 1976, own the 44-acre vineyard.
Two of Napa Valley’s cult Cabernet producers rotated winemakers this week. Mark Aubert, who had been consulting winemaker at Colgin since 1999 , is leaving and will now be overseeing the winemaking at Bryant Family Vineyard , according to owner Don Bryant.
Spring weather arrived in Northern California this week. Today the temperature will reach 70 degrees in Napa Valley, and it’s bright, clear and sunny, with no wind. While I know folks in Baltimore, Buffalo and Billings, Mont.
Not all wineries store their wines in perfect cellar conditions. More wine gets moved around than you might imagine, and that can greatly impact the quality of the wine, especially as it ages. When several bottles of 1996 Cabernet from two prominent Napa Valley wineries tasted oxidized while I was working on my '96 retrospective report , I asked the owners-winemakers how the wines had been stored.
This is a perfect time to discuss older vintages. In a recent blog , Chuck Wagner writes about a wine's moment—which can be fleeting. In my report on the 1996 Cabernets , I was disappointed by how many of the wines showed, for various reasons.
On Saturday night, I was invited to a dinner party here in Napa. All I was asked to bring was some wine. We'd be grilling meat, I was told, so I took a couple of huge, rich, massive, inky dark, ultraripe Cabernets in hefty supersized, barbell-weight bottles.
Last night for dinner, I opened a bottle of 2003 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard (92 points, $45). As I poured a glass, a couple of thoughts crossed my mind. Calera used to make one of the ripest styles of Pinot Noir in California, so much so that I once described them as ultraripe bordering on jammy.
I wondered if my kids (now young adults) would ever embrace wine. Unlike me, they grew up in a wine culture, in Napa Valley, where wine is everywhere and everywhere we’ve traveled. While I hoped they would grow to appreciate the world’s most amazing beverage, I also harbored anxiety about what might happen if they liked it too much.
Wine certainly has its own language. Some of the oddest prose can be found on the back of wine labels. Often the verbiage is mundane, canned copy that is useless and a waste of space and opportunity. Occasionally, though, it's useful and insightful and contributes to your knowledge of what's in the bottle.
I can sympathsize with William Beitz’s frustration. He opened a 2001 Hundred Acre Napa Valley Cabernet during Sunday’s Super Bowl game—a wine he had been patiently storing in his Eurocave since buying it—only to be sorely disappointed.
As of last weekend, Brice Jones was still wrestling with a name for his new venture. “I can tell you one thing,” he quipped. “It won’t be Sonoma-Jones.” Sonoma-Jones would be a play on words akin to the name of his last venture, Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards , in which he attached his middle name, Cutrer, to Sonoma, where his business was based.
“Here goes,” said Tom Malloy as he picked up a glass of 2001 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova and took a sip. “Mmm, that’s good... That’s really good.” It took a while to find a date for all of us to uncork Wine Spectator’ s Wine of the Year for Tom, who I wrote about in November.
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