Wine News 8-15 July

There were a ridiculous number of interesting wine stories this week. Is it the weather?
Gregory Dal Piaz wrote a thoughtful, in-depth article on old-vine Garnacha (a.k.a. Grenache) from the Cariñena region in Aragon in Spain. He admits he hasn’t ever liked Grenache, but this one got to him:

“But then there is this. Garnacha from Cariñena. It’s darkly fruited, of modest alcohol, if 13.5% can be considered modest, and of course with Grenache that is modest. It’s all complex, minerally, resplendently showing off its terroir, and surprising structured. In short it can make even the most die hard critic of Grenache stand up and take notice!”

Are you using a wine app? The Washington Post reviews and compares two leading apps, Delectable and Vivino to help you choose the best one for you. Although if you are using an Android device, this article isn’t necessary because Delectable isn’t available for Android (ahem).

More distressing news from France, where the Languedoc-Roussillon region has been hit by devastating hail, especially in appellations around Carcassonne such as Minervois and Corbières. The damage estimates are staggering.

“Bastards, renegades and traitors was what our noble friends in London called us,” says Adam Brett-Smith of Corney & Barrow. What did the wine merchant do to deserve that kind of censure?

In a bit of governmental silliness, a deal has been struck in the U.K. to limit the strength of house wine serves in pubs to 12.5% abv. Because, you know, wine drinkers are always the ones binge-drinking. And people actually drink the house wine in pubs. (No and no.)

The first Assyrtiko vines have been planted in the U.S. — in the frosty mountains of Tahoe National Forest. Yes, we thought the same thing.

An attempt to harvest groundwater for drought-stricken California has resulted in a cloud of herbicides floating into the Lodi region, endangering vines there.

“Bottle Shock: The Ups and Downs of Making Wine” is the story of Stephen Cronk, who left corporate London to become a négociant, buying and blending wine to create rosé under the Mirabeau brand. If you’ve ever entertained the fantasy of leaving your current job and moving to France to pursue a life of the vine, this is one more way to do it. Especially if you are not particularly green-fingered.

Wine-Searcher features a Q&A with winemaker Danilo Drocco of Fontanafredda in Barolo, including the changes he made over the years, his favourite foods to pair with Barolo, and wines he recommends from other Piemonte producers.

Grape Collective has published highlights of the Twitter SommChat with Master Sommelier (MS) Andy Myers of Washington DC’s CityZen in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and drummer with metal band Fuchida. As he says in the chat, he’s a man of “Subtlety in wine; Extremity in Music.”

The 2014 winners of the Wine Blog Awards have been announced. See who won big honours on the night.

You know you’ve always wanted to know more about the Kimmeridgian “as both a specific rock formation and a time horizon.” Feed your mind.

Crémant de Savoie has just become France’s newest AOC. It should be available for sale in December 2015.

Bordeaux Undiscovered profiles French Malbec. Are you only drinking Argentinian Malbec? You are missing out on Gouleyant Malbec, with its supple tannic structure and “flavours of blackcurrant, elderberry, plump raisin and black cherry with smoky notes of violets, cocoa and liquorice.”

A proposed tax hike on wholesale wine is threatening to put many small winemakers and grapegrowers out of business in Chile. While the government argues that the tax will fund educational initiatives about the perils of drinking, but with wine losing out to beer as the drink of choice in Chile these days, you have to question the wisdom of it.

Alfonso Cevola muses on the change in image in sparkling wine marketing and writes a goodbye letter to Moscato.

There are some great summer recipes by Angela Harnett in this piece in the Guardian, with wine recommendations by Fiona Beckett.

And, finally, how about taking your picnic fare to another level? Let Catavino introduce you to the food and wine of a picnic in Portugal.

It’s a rest day at the Tour de France, but we’ll be back tomorrow for Stage 11.
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