A year ago my crystal ball cleared up at exactly the same time as the Giants peaked. I had a gut feeling that the Giants were cresting, hence my Super Bowl call, Giants by 3, in a huge upset. Sunday's game brings together the Cinderella Cardinals and five-time Super Bowl champion Steelers and I’m having that same gut feeling, seeing flashes of red.
Donn Reisen embodied the spirit of Ridge Vineyards. So when news came today that he had been found dead of an apparent suicide yesterday in Portola Valley, Calif., not far from the winery and his home, it hit hard.
Time was I liked to start the day by reading the sports section. These days it’s the front pages and all the business stories that grab my attention. Little of the hard news is heartening. But for the wine business there’s a silver lining in the gloom-and-doom scenarios, and it is this: People are not going to stop drinking wine and, in fact, I expect that the domestic market—you and me and many new converts—will drink as much or more wine this year as last.
Most of us can recall the wine and even the moment or situation when we tasted a wine that changed our perception and appreciation for the world’s greatest beverage. For me it was a close encounter with a 1968 Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet.
I’ve written about how useful I find the back labels of Calera’s Pinot Noirs (not to mention what’s inside the bottle!), which are the most informative and useful back labels I can recall. The 2007 Calera Central Coast Pinot (88, $24) is not only an exceptional wine, smooth, silky and elegantly styled, but upon further review I noticed that owner Josh Jensen produced 15,767 cases (an amazing achievement) and if I hadn’t noticed that, I might have thought that this wine was made from some of the cuvees that didn’t make it into the line of Calera single vineyard Pinots.
I spent election night 2004 in Chicago, arriving a few days before the Wine Experience, which was held that year at the Hyatt Regency. It had been a great few days in the city, with magnificent weather, and I was watching the returns with my colleague Harvey Steiman, also from the blue state of California.
Earlier this week my colleague MaryAnn Worobiec discovered what is probably the greatest Sauvignon Blanc I’ve ever had from anywhere. MaryAnn covers California Sauvignon Blanc for Wine Spectator and in her blind tasting she set aside one bottle that she thought I might be interested in tasting.
Wine labels occasionally vanish. But many live on through vinous reincarnations—that is they are sold and new owners revive them if they think the name has merit or recognition. Usually the labels reappear positioned as value brands.
One of the worst mistakes you can make in buying wine from a winery is to assume the higher priced wine is the better wine. I came across a perfect example of this the other day in one of my blind tastings.
Pinot Noir lovers have a hard time believing there are any great values to be found in California with this varietal, and who could blame them? There are some folks who won’t drink anything but Pinot unless there’s nothing else to drink.
Oftentimes the simplest things in life are also the most complex. In that way, defining whether wine is art is not easy, or whether winemaking is an art form. And if it is, is it an art along the lines of a great painting or sculpture? That's the kind of abstract thinking that can inspire all kinds of analysis.
Two of the most recent winery deals involving changes in ownership offer keen insights into the business. The partnership between the owners of Flowers Vineyard & Winery and Huneeus Vintners, announced Tuesday, makes perfect sense.
There are days in our tasting room in Napa when we think the cork jinx might be broken, and by cork jinx, of course, I mean TCA-tainted corks. We'll go through a flight or two of wines and there won't be any spoiled wines.
I drank hundreds of great wines last year and it’s impossible for me to single out one wine or experience or memory over another. I shared great wines with my colleagues, complete strangers and close friends.
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