Last week I tasted a flight of California Tempranillos, and pursuant to our discussion about value wines and the lack thereof from California, what struck me about this tasting was the prices. For the most part, Tempranillo is a new grape in California, and therefore, most of these are new wines.
When a winery turns itself around, and gets back into a groove with its new wines, it’s one of those happy win-win situations. The 2006 De Loach Russian River Pinot Noir ($20, 17,000 cases) reflects this winery’s renewed focus on higher quality wines.
In nearly 30 years of observing harvests in California and elsewhere, I’ve come to count on two things to be true. The first is that it takes a lot of beer to make good wine; the second is that no two vintages are alike.
Phil Frank, the witty, enterprising cartoonist best known for his Farley and Elderberries comic strips, died Sept. 13 from a brain tumor. He was only 64. Aside from being a huge fan of his works, I knew Phil.
I seldom tour wineries these days, work being what it is, but on Sunday I rode my bike from Rutherford to Calistoga with a friend and we stopped and tasted at Dutch Henry winery. I’ve driven by this tiny winery on Silverado Trail hundreds of times in my car, but never pulled over to visit.
September is California Wine Appreciation month, which is the Golden State’s annual self-promotion, courtesy of the wine industry. And since most of the wine consumed in this country comes from California, it’s worth noting a couple of things.
Recently I got into one of those circular-cum-rhetorical exercises with friends about whether it's a curse or a blessing for a winemaker to earn a 100-point rating on his or her first wine. Maybe there’s an easy answer and maybe there isn’t.
I had one of those 24-hour wines yesterday in my regular blind tasting, and again it was an Alban Grenache, this time the 2005 edition from the winery’s Edna Valley estate. I’ve written about my experiences with Alban Grenache in the past.
One of those frequently asked questions is whether wine clubs are worth joining. Wine clubs come in many different shapes and sizes, so it’s impossible to generalize. Many are sponsored by a winery, where wines—sometimes exclusive offerings—are sold directly to members, usually at some sort of discount.
I returned to Napa after a week's hiatus from Winedom this weekend, happy to find harvest in full swing and the roads populated by those weekend warriors who make wine purely for the fun of it. I’m talking about the hordes of home winemakers, those hearty souls who pick their grapes in tidy boxes and pile them in the backs of pickup trucks and occasionally a station wagon.
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