I made it. At least I think I did. I won’t know for sure until the credit card statement arrives in January. But I think I succeeded with one of my annual holiday goals: avoiding starting the new year with debt, or at least with heavy debt.
One of Napa Valley's Cabernet icons, Fred Schrader , formerly of Colgin-Schrader Cellars and now the proprietor of Schrader winery, is venturing into the Pinot Noir business. His Cabernets have risen to the top in Napa Valley, and he and his winemaker, Thomas Brown, think 2006 will be the best vintage yet for their To-Kalon Cabernets.
A reader recently asked how big the big wine companies are in California and how much wine they make and how they dominate the market. If you want to guess, go ahead right now … either cases or percentage of total wine, because in a couple of sentences I’ll give you a few answers and insights.
We like turnarounds, and one of the wineries we noticed that had stepped up quality in the past go-round of reviews is Mazzocco , based in Sonoma’s intersection of Dry Creek and Alexander valleys. All four of Mazzocco’s 2005 Zinfandels hit the jackpot in our blind tastings and I say "we" and "our" because Tim Fish, my colleague and associate editor, is now covering the lion’s share of Zinfandel reviews, and he first came to notice the improvement.
What do Robert Mondavi , Paul Draper, Bob Travers, Ed Sbragia, Craig Williams and Jeffery Patterson have in common? They’ve each made significant contributions to our wine world. And one of the reasons they—and others of their mindset, including Diamond Creek and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars—are successful is that they are fearless competitors.
Robert Mondavi’s induction into the California Hall of Fame last week recognized his passion and vision for the state’s wine industry, and at times like this, the thought arises: Will there ever be another Robert Mondavi, and who could replace him as an undisputed champion of wine? There is no correct or easy answer.
There are times when you wonder how someone like Bob Foley gets it all done. He seems the quintessential wine man in motion, with a plate full enough to feed three Bobs. Yet for all his enological dynamics— Robert Foley Vineyards, Hourglass and Switchback Ridge wines, which he makes at his winery on Howell Mountain—and still playing a consulting role with Pride Mountain Vineyard, he makes time for what looks like a full-time gig as an aspiring rock star.
We enjoyed our holiday luncheon yesterday at Ubuntu on Main Street in downtown Napa. It’s one of the new hot dining spots in Napa, a two-for-one vegetarian restaurant and yoga studio. Don’t ask me why the combination, but it’s there nonetheless, so you can watch stretching classes upstairs through translucent glass in the mezzanine while you eat.
Napa Valley Vintners are rightly upset with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau as it considers new rules for the Calistoga appellation. But they should also look in the mirror , because the Napa Valley appellation itself is terribly flawed and Napa vintners should redraw Napa’s boundaries if they want greater credibility.
There’s a lot going on at Del Dotto. Owner Dave Del Dotto has finished building his new underground winery in Rutherford and it’s quite a visual tour de force. I ran into Del Dotto last week and he invited me by for a brief tour and to taste some of his new wines from barrel.
With harvest 2007 completed, there’s a pause in the action at Donum Estate in Carneros, and yesterday I joined Anne Moller-Racke and Kenneth Juhasz to taste a vertical of the winery’s Pinot Noir. Donum is a fairly new winery, with its first vintage in 2001.
The jury is still out on whether there are ways to determine whether a wine bottle has been exposed to excessive heat somewhere between leaving the winery and its final destination, be in a wine shop or your home.
Today we return ever so briefly to the 1977 Joseph Phelps Insignia, for its evolution as a wine and wine style marked a radical departure for what would have otherwise been known as Napa Valley Cabernet.
Wine tasting (and how and why we do it) is perhaps the most popular subject in my blog portfolio. It seems that whenever the subject is broached, there’s a healthy discussion and plenty of followup questions.
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