Here's the quickest way for winemakers to lower alcohol levels and roll back prices for California Cabernet: Increase crop loads.
The two are not always intertwined. But they usually are, and here's why. Higher yields mean more wine, and wine prices are tied to volume—supply vs. demand. Usually the more wine a winery makes, the less it has to charge.
I expected Tuesday night to hear President Obama talk about job creation, clean green energy, taxes, health care, deficit reduction and the need for Americans to be more competitive.
But when Obama, in his state of the union speech, turned to the subject of reorganizing the federal government to reduce excessive bureaucracy, he went fishing.
I've heard the arguments, and I'm sure you have, too: Today's wines are too ripe, and alcohol levels are too high.
There is no disputing the facts. Modern wines are riper, with more alcohol than they had 10 years ago.
The question, it seems, is who cares? I've talked to a healthy cross-section of wine connoisseurs, winemakers and simply wine lovers. No one once mentioned these as problems. We have a waterfall of wine choices and the options grow by the day. Don't like one wine or style? Just choose another.
Keplinger is one of the most exciting new labels to pass through our tasting room in the past couple of years.
This is the wife and husband team of Helen Keplinger and Douglas Warner (who goes by DJ). They are making fascinatingly complex and stylish Rhône-inspired reds in Napa, but not using Napa grapes. For the past two vintages, Keplinger has bought grapes in Amador, El Dorado and Sonoma counties, the latter from the Knights Valley appellation. These are areas that are coming into their own, and it's evident from the purity of flavors in all of Keplinger's wines that the sites are ideal and well-managed and the wines exceptionally well-made.
Cork producers insist their products are improving, resulting in fewer "corked" wines. Based on our tastings in our Napa office last year, they are correct. 2010 was the best year for corks since we began tracking them in 2005, the year of the great cork debate.
Andy Erickson is leaving Napa Valley's Screaming Eagle winery after four vintages as winemaker for the celebrated Cabernet Sauvignon producer.
Erickson is departing to focus on his own label, Favia, his clients, Dalle Valle, Dancing Hares, Ovid and Arietta, and to reconnect with Charles Banks, one of the principals who bought Screaming Eagle in 2006.