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Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Burgundy’s Catch-22

A special derogation allows growers to buy grapes. Or not

Posted: September 27, 2013  By Bruce Sanderson

On Sept. 24, the prefecture of the Côte d'Or passed a bylaw allowing growers in Burgundy who were affected by the July 23 hailstorm to purchase grapes or must from the 2013 harvest to make up for the loss of their crop.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Minority Opinion on 'Somm'

This wine movie is boring and cold

Posted: September 25, 2013  By James Molesworth

I've been catching up on my wine movies lately, with both A Year In Burgundy and Tu Seras Mon Fils (You Will Be My Son) earning a thumbs-up. I realized though that I never pitched in my two cents on the most recent darling of the genre, Somm. From a strict movie perspective, Somm is quite boring...

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Lardière Giddy to Be in Oregon

Burgundian winemaker enjoying his first vintage

Posted: September 24, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

Rain is falling outside. Jacques Lardière's first grape crop in Oregon is still only about half picked. But he can't help smiling. He looks like he's having the time of his life.

Only a month ago Lardière and his longtime employer, Maison Louis Jadot in Burgundy, announced that they had purchased Resonance Vineyard in the Oregon's Yamhill-Carlton AVA and would start making their own estate wine from it.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

The Real Winemakers

Forget terroir, forget enology school graduates—the true wine heroes are single-cell fungi

Posted: September 24, 2013  By Mitch Frank

I spent much of the summer writing about people who produce some of the world's greatest wines, but the other day I realized something—I haven't written anything about the true winemakers. I'm talking about the ones who get dirty, turning grape juice into the complex beverage we all love. They're even ready to sacrifice their lives. I'm talking about yeast.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Drawbacks of a Bountiful Harvest: More Grapes, More Problems

The abundant 2013 California harvest is accelerating, and vintners are starting to wonder where they're going to put all those grapes

Posted: September 20, 2013  By James Laube

Too early and too much.

These are but two thoughts on the minds of many California vintners as harvest accelerates during what has been a largely uneventful season. Heat spikes haven't been a big issue; rain isn't expected to be a concern. The immediate weather forecast for the North Coast calls for milder temperatures over the next week, which will be a plus. All of that seemingly good news means vintners may be dealing with more than they bargained for.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

New TCA Study Confirms Suspicions

The cork taint compound actually shuts down our ability to smell a wine

Posted: September 19, 2013  By James Laube

A new study has revealed that 2,4,6-trichloroanisole, or TCA, the compound often responsible for corked wine, is responible for more than just that off-putting moldy aroma: TCA actually blocks our olfactory senses. That cork-tainted wine impedes our sense of smell is no surprise to me. It's something some of us have been witnessing for years now, even if we didn't have the scientific backing.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Piedmont’s Ca’Viola

Consulting enologist Giuseppe Caviola takes center stage with his own wines

Posted: September 18, 2013  By Bruce Sanderson

Giuseppe Caviola isn't a household name for most fans of Piedmont wines. Caviola is a consulting enologist who counts quite a few well-known labels among his clients, however: Marziano Abbona, Damilano, Luigi Einaudi, Fontanabianca, Fiorenzo Nada, Pecchenino, Albino Rocca, Vietti and Villa Sparina in Piedmont; Rocca di Castagnoli, Sette Ponti and Terenzi in Tuscany; Umani Ronchi in Marche and Ca' Rugate in Veneto. In addition to his consulting duties, Caviola, known as "Beppe," also owns a 33-acre estate, Ca'Viola.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Wine Movie Worth Watching

A Year in Burgundy documents the joys and hardships of several Burgundy domaines during the 2011 harvest

Posted: September 18, 2013  By James Molesworth

I'm a movie buff and can churn through two or three movies a week, but it still takes time to get to everything I want to see (I'm one of those Netflix people with 400 movies in their queue). So, apologies for the lack of timeliness here, but I finally got to sit down and watch A Year in Burgundy, which has been available on pre-release DVD for a while but won't be in theaters until December.

A Year In Burgundy was produced by longtime U.S.-based importer Martine Saunier (who recently retired). As she drives her Citroën deux chevaux around to visit with her growers, you figure the cliché machine is about to kick in. But then the movie turns genuinely interesting. Basically a documentary, the movie covers the travails of several domaines, including Dominique Cornin, Michel Gay, Morey-Coffinet, Bruno Clavelier and Christophe Perrot-Minot, during the 2011 growing season and harvest, a tricky year marked by rain, hail, heat and more.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Serious Cuisine, Isolated Location

Young chef Michael Warring goes it alone

Posted: September 17, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

The plates look like casual perfection at Michael Warring, the secret eponymous restaurant of Solano County. Pale green pressed cucumber soup, dolloped with creamy sabayon and topped with a salad of vivid baby greens, comes in a square-bottomed jar, looking like a terrarium. A softly poached egg enriches already creamy risotto, made to order and generously flecked with black truffle shavings. Sautéed slices of giant squid share space with lobes of golden sea urchin atop beautifully browned pain perdu, nestled in an ecru puddle of apple cream.

Everyone in the small dining room gets a ringside view as Warring cooks five-course dinners one by one.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

No Rest for the Weary Winemaker

Harvest 2013 is running early in California

Posted: September 11, 2013  By Tim Fish

There’s a dusty book someplace that lists the California harvests that ran earlier than 2013, but I can’t recall many in the 24 years I’ve lived here. Consider this. Hanzell Vineyards, known for great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, finished its harvest in Sonoma Valley a week before Labor Day.

That’s on the outskirts of the norm but it does show how fast things are moving. The growing season rain early all year and there’s been plenty of sun throughout summer. Warm temperatures to start the month moved things along even faster.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

What’s Missing from this Label?

Let’s see, it’s Oregon, uses only one grape variety …

Posted: September 11, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

Tendril's front label for its TightRope 2010 says "single varietal," but it doesn't says exactly what that grape might be. If this were the official front label, it would be illegal. It may look like the official label, but it's not. Confused? It's a fairly common occurrence, and there's nothing wrong with it, but it can be puzzling.

Wineries are allowed to present all of the required information in the required format. And this one does, but it's on what looks like a back label. Atop all the small type explaining what the wine is all about, it identifies the variety as Pinot Noir.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Unexpected Spotlights on Oregon

What all the attention might mean

Posted: September 3, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

It was a seminal moment in Oregon's wine history when Robert Drouhin, of Burgundy's celebrated Maison Joseph Drouhin, bought a 225-acre rolling hillside in Dundee Hills in 1987, planted what is now a 90-acre vineyard and built a winery. It was like a stamp of approval. Everyone cheered.

Drouhin's success bolstered the state's burgeoning reputation as a source of great Pinot Noir, mostly created by homegrown talent and owners. They have attracted increasing interest and investment by outsiders, and this year the action has been fast and furious.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Pairing Contest in the Kitchen: Burgundy vs. Alsace

Putting a Pinot Noir and a Pinot Gris to the test at home with spicy Thai shrimp and pork

Posted: August 30, 2013  By James Molesworth

Matching wine and food can be a daunting topic for newbie and seasoned wine lovers alike. Sure, there are basic tenets for some folks—red wine with meat, white wine with fish. But those have been largely eroded: How about a white Rhône with pork? Or Pinot Noir with Salmon? In addition, as cuisines from around the world have been popularized and assimilated in American cuisine, food has become more complicated. It's no longer enough to have a steak. Is it grass-fed or corn-fed? Broiled? grilled? And the sides—how about blue potatoes and pan-roasted okra? Suddenly it's head-scratching time when it comes to pulling a bottle.

Because of this, I try not to over festishize wine-and-food matching. Sometimes I might select the wine first and build the meal around that. Other times the meal comes first and I try to fit the wine. But basically I try to avoid conflict between the wine and food while aiming to just drink and eat what I like.

So the other night as Nancy prepped a tray of Thai-style pork and shrimp balls loaded with scallions, cilantro, Chinese black vinegar, soy and the like, I figured a white would do best. I was thinking Alsace.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Judge for Yourself

John Kongsgaard ages some of his Napa Chardonnays for as long as four years in oak

Posted: August 29, 2013  By James Laube

Oak is a divisive issues in wine. One way of looking at it is that if a little is good, then more is better. Not many people would actually subscribe to that theory, though.

Napa vintner John Kongsgaard has been experimenting with extended barrel aging for his Chardonnays for years, with increasingly impressive results. Not only were his two 2010s the cream of the crop in this year's roundup of California's best Chardonnays, but one wine he's been tinkering with spent four years in oak.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Building a Better Burger for Labor Day Reds

What's in your glass and on your bun this weekend?

Posted: August 28, 2013  By Tim Fish

Wine Spectator associate editor Tim Fish offers wine pairing advice for Labor Day weekend burgers, with 9 wine recommendations, and a plea for a great burger recipe.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Jadot in Oregon

The Resonance sale is good for the Burgundy négociant, and the state

Posted: August 27, 2013  By Bruce Sanderson

Twenty-six years after Robert Drouhin purchased land in Oregon to make Pinot Noir, another Burgundy négociant has invested in a vineyard there.

Louis Jadot announced last week it had bought Resonance Vineyard from Kevin and Carla Chambers. Jadot president Pierre-Henry Gagey said everything came together and it was an opportunity he just couldn't miss.

Jacques Lardière, who retired from Jadot last year after making wines from 42 harvests, will make the wine.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

News from the Laboratory

Science marches on, one sip of wine at a time

Posted: August 21, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

I love science. I grew up reading Isaac Asimov essays, and I lap up the latest scientific papers about wine. I came across the following nuggets in recent weeks, ranging from intriguing to frankly frivolous. Each one of them got me thinking. Maybe they will for you too.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

In Praise of Outsiders

There's a romantic notion of winemakers rooted to ancestral terroir. Many of the best aren't

Posted: August 20, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

In Old World regions especially, we tend to think of estates as regencies to be passed down from generation to generation, the longer the pedigree, the stronger the bind to the terroir. A certain breed of purists sneers at "flying winemakers," spreading their seed in every corner of the wine world and leaving the next morning. What does Bordeaux's Michel Rolland know about Argentina, anyway?

The reality is that many of the most daring, and sometimes the greatest, wines today are made by individuals who come into a region as outsiders, with little incentive other than to innovate and little regard for the supposed limitations of the terroir and culture.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

The Wine Label as Art: Mollydooker, by Mash and the Marquis Family

For the best-designed brands, the bottles outlive their contents

Posted: August 15, 2013  By Robert Taylor

If you're anything like me, you have quite a few wine bottles in your home, and not all of them are full. A quick tally in my apartment came to more than two dozen empties on display or in storage. Some are mementos from special occasions, but most simply serve as art.

It's no coincidence that so many wine labels are suitable for hanging. Product packaging is as important to sales as the product itself. For a collectible competing against other products that bear the exact same size, shape, appellation and vintage, it makes sense that most vintners enlist the help of artists and marketing firms when creating a wine label.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

How Would You Stop a Vineyard Apocalypse?

If grapes were being wiped out, genetically modified vines could be the solution—if people are willing to open their minds

Posted: August 13, 2013  By Mitch Frank

Imagine a bacterial scourge that was silently spreading from vineyard to vineyard, striking down grapevines in their prime, bankrupting wineries and threatening to turn even the most basic of wines into a rare luxury. Take a deep breath—it's fiction, for now. But it's a horrible reality for farmers who produce another of our favorite beverages—orange juice. Since 2005, bacteria has been spreading through orange groves from Florida to California, inflicting a disease called citrus greening. Infected trees produce small, sour oranges.

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