The fine wine market is amazingly fragmented, with styles, countries, appellations and prices all over the board. But the underlying force of the market’s economics is that it operates on a supply and demand model.
We had a killer bonus round this past week in our Napa office tasting room. The bonus round is our editors' version of show-and-tell. Once we’re done with our respective blind tastings, we like to gather around the table, talk about the wines we tried, what we liked and what troubled us, why certain wines have that "wow" factor and others come up short.
It looked all too familiar: Premiere Napa Valley 2009, on a sunny Saturday last. Knee-high mustard rising from the vineyards, brilliant splashes of yellow and green. A rainbow-colored hot-air balloon drifting lazily above the Veteran’s Home in Yountville.
It looks like Wine Cask’s Santa Barbara County wine futures program is done, at least for this year. We’ve been following the behind-the-scenes developments for this year’s event for weeks now. We’ve tasted and rated barrel samples from this program for several years now and during that period there have been some excellent new wine discoveries, as well as some good deals on discounted wines.
I’m often asked how many wines I taste a year and, for a long time, the answer has been 5,000. That sounds like a lot, particularly to consumers and those not in the business. And it is. But when you break it down, that’s about 100 wines a week, and I try to taste 20 wines per day on average.
Looks like some folks still have dry powder. I read today that Oracle, the software giant, is on a buying spree, having pulled the trigger on 10 acquisitions in the past year, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.
When we last chatted with chef Michael Chiarello , he was in the final stages of opening his new restaurant in Yountville in Napa Valley and tinkering with wine-list pricing and corkage. He asked for my thoughts about what constitutes a fair markup and corkage and I in turn asked for yours.
Like many of you with cellars, lately I’ve paid more attention to my “paid for” section rather than my wish-list imaginings. In the past week or so, on the heels of my DRC tasting, I’ve opened four mature California Pinot Noirs.
Tasting the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti wines is always special. These are among the rarest and most expensive of wines, and the domaine keeps a tight lid on the them, showing them to a select group of writers, sommeliers, collectors and restaurateurs, usually in only two or three U.
It was Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) Day in Napa Valley this past Wednesday. Wilson Daniels, the St. Helena importer and exclusive agent for the famed domaine's wines, hosted a private tasting of the 2006 vintage, including Romanée-Conti, La Tâche, Echézeaux, Grands Echézeaux, Romanée St.
Weather is never far from our minds, whether it dictates how we dress or, in the case of our present drought in California, what the lack of water may mean for vintage 2009. Only the economic slump trumps weather this year.
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