Yellow Tail has a new sparkling wine ready to market in the United States, and it tastes for all the world like prosecco. I got a preview of the big winery's newest effort the other day. John Casella, the managing partner of the family-owned winery that makes Yellow Tail, brought a sample with him when we had a quick visit in San Francisco.
Dark clouds hang over Barossa Valley, which has seen no significant rain for months. The grapes are safely in the winery, and this mid-April afternoon holds the promise of a downpour to give the vines a much-needed drink.
I had never been to the National Restaurant Association's annual trade show in Chicago when I stepped onto the floor last weekend to take a look around. I had been invited to lead an educational panel of sommeliers to talk about what goes into building a winning wine list.
It's only coming up on its second anniversary, but Chicago's Alinea has become the foodies' darling. I have been reading about it and salivating since the hype began. I admired a couple of chef Grant Achatz 's stunning dishes at this year's Masters of Food and Wine , so Alinea was at the top of my list when I had a couple of days in Chicago this past weekend.
You don't expect a winery's basic red to taste like you want to drink it with dinner after 25 years in the bottle. That sort of longevity is supposed to be for high-priced reserve wines. But the Peter Lehmann Shiraz 1980, made as an everyday red from Barossa Valley grapes, still shows a core of cherry flavor.
Today, subdivisions surround Elderton 's 70-acre vineyard on the outskirts of Nuriootpa. The Ashmead family, which owns the land in the heart of Barossa Valley and the brand, steadfastly refuses to give in and sell, despite plenty of attractive offers.
When I was in Australia last month, everyone in the wine industry was talking about three things: the current drought, forecasts for global climate change and the strength of the Aussie dollar. How it will all play out remains to be seen.
Now that I'm back from Australia, I've compiled the following small but quirky list of highs and lows: Most Pleasant Surprise: Would you believe a serious Australian Merlot? Clarendon Hills Brookman Vineyard 2005, a supple, perfumy, languid mouthful of dark chocolate–infused currant and plum flavors hints at black tea on the very long and amazingly generous finish.
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