Rain fell on the vines in Oregon back in September and October, dampening spirits as the grapes got close to ideal ripening. But then, as the vintage finished and the vintners tasted what they had fermented, they reported surprising results.
Some of the world's greatest winemakers say that biodynamics is the secret behind their wines. The list of those who profess to practice this approach to vine-growing is impressive, to be sure. Their number includes Leroy, Leflaive, Zind-Humbrecht, Coulée de Serrant, Huët and Chapoutier in France.
Savvy wine drinkers know that words such as "reserve" and "old vines" mean something only in places where regulations define them. That's pretty much Europe, where the rules often require wineries to use riper grapes and age them longer to use "reserve" on the label, and specify minimum vine age for "old vines.
I can think of about a dozen reasons why the new Oxbow Public Market in Napa will succeed, and another dozen why it will fail, which is why it will be intriguing to watch what happens over the next year or so.
Bruce Tyrrell , whose Hunter Valley-based winery is among Australia's largest, either did or did not call the wine buyer for the British supermarket giant Tesco a "wanker" (a not very nice piece of British and Australian slang) last week.
A couple of years ago I chatted with Christopher Kimball, the bow-tied host of "America's Test Kitchen" on PBS, and asked him about his interest in wine. I had noted that he had brushed off any particular fascination with wine as he sampled some candidates for cooking wines on camera.
Those who have been there know how well Australia's food scene has kept up with the wines in quality and innovation. Surprisingly few Aussies have ventured to this side of the Pacific Ocean to show us what they can do, however.
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