Log In / Join Now

harvey steiman at large archive

Photo by: David Yellen
Harvey Steiman

June 2011

Oregon 2009 Pinot: The Difference
Less predictable than magical 2008s, but don't dismiss the vintage
Posted: Jun 30, 2011 10:01am ET

After a vintage like 2008, when everything went right and there was excellence across the board, 2009 presented problems for Oregon vintners. They had to be nimble to respond to a hot summer and early September rains that put considerable pressure on the vineyards. In a compressed vintage, the ripeness could easily get out of hand.

Now that I have tasted more than 150 wines (and published reviews of some five dozen, with at least as many more to come), I am beginning to get a handle on how the wines came out. It's not easy, because it's all over the board. I am tasting light, zingy, delicate wines from some producers, and dark, rich, plush ones from others. I expect the rest of the wines I taste to fit a similar profile.

Read More

The Reduction Myth
Screw-capped bottles are no more vulnerable to chemical taint than those under cork
Posted: Jun 23, 2011 1:59pm ET

As twist-off wine closures become more and more prevalent to prevent the foul effects of cork taint, a critical minority claims to find more wines under screw caps affected by sulfides. A new study from Oregon State University disproves that notion. Researchers tested the same wines under corks and various types of alternative closures in real-world conditions, and found no difference at all.

The study, due later this year, debunks the idea, promoted by screw-cap skeptics, that sulfur dioxide and naturally occurring hydrogen sulfide in wine can get worse or develop into other, nastier-smelling taints, such as dimethyl sulfide, in the low-oxygen conditions of a bottle sealed under a spiral closure. In other words, if you sense these taints in a bottle of wine, blame the winemaker, not the closure.

Read More

Hot Wines for Hamburgers
How to beat blistering temperatures and still drink red wine
Posted: Jun 21, 2011 12:54pm ET
Judicious use of the freezer and refrigerator can defeat what hot temperatures can do to a red wine.
Read More

How Big Is Your Wine Bottle?
Big Canadian wine buyer puts a limit on bottle weights
Posted: Jun 13, 2011 10:34am ET

James Laube and I have a standing joke. In our blind tastings, whenever we pour ourselves a sample from a bottle that feels heavy for its size, one of us is bound to mutter, "It must be a great wine. I can hardly lift it."

Of course, the rule of compensatory judgment suggests that we probably make it tougher on those wines, because it's almost like the wine is bragging. Nobody likes a showoff. Well, apparently, consumers do, because wineries use extra-heavy bottles to send exactly that message—that the wine must be really good, otherwise why would the vintner spend so much on a fancy container?

Read More

Abundance of Riches
A parade of Rhône-style wines makes for a memorable evening
Posted: Jun 6, 2011 4:00pm ET

The bottle of Henschke Hill of Grace 1996 rested in my cellar for about a decade, waiting for the right occasion. It came out Sunday night at the annual dinner I donate, along with my longtime friend Archie McLaren, to the Central Coast Wine Classic auction. Last year's lot centered on Rhône-style wines—French wines from Archie's cellar, Syrah- and Viognier-based bottles of Australia and Washington from mine.

We had some great names in the lineup, including top vintages from Jean-Louis Chave, M. Chapoutier, Paul Jaboulet Aîné and Château de Beaucastel. But the HoG stole the show. As well it should, being the greatest single-vineyard wine in Australia in the greatest vintage there of our lifetime.

Read More

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.