Wine News 22-29 July

Welcome back to this week’s wine news! We’re a little lost without Tour de France posts to write, so we’re catching up with all the other interesting stuff that was going on in the world of wine.

On Tuscan Vines, John M. Fodera pays a visit to the renowned butcher of Panzano, Dario Cecchini. Cecchini’s brilliance isn’t really a secret anymore after being featured in Food & Wine, the New Yorker, the New York Times and elsewhere, but his increasing fame doesn’t seem to have changed him or the way he approaches his craft. Fodera writes in the post that “You don’t meet Dario. You experience him. Dressed in a red, white and green Court Jester outfit,  he darts from place to place making certain is ‘Squadra Manzo di Cecchini’  (Cecchini’s Beef Team)  is ready to perform.  Yes, dinner is not served, it’s performed outside under welcoming pergolas at long wooden communal tables.” The dishes will have your mouth watering and the descriptions of the wines will have you calling up your local wine merchant. Oh, and you may just decide to change the destination of your next holiday.

What does an oak barrel do for wine? The answer to this question will make sense of all those wine labels and tasting notes that describe wines as oaked, and if you’ve been around the wine barrel a time or two, you may still find something in this article by Dave McIntyre in the Washington Post that you didn’t know or had forgotten.

port lodge map

We love this Port lodge map by Portuguese artist José Miguel Cardoso for Catavino. You get a landscape view and an aerial view, along with descriptions of each lodge. It’s a fantastic treat for the Port lover in your life.

Having a New York-style bagel and lox for brunch and looking for a wine? Vinepair has some suggestions for you, whether your taste leans towards red, white or bubbly. And if you’re in England and having smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches or canapes, the same rules apply.

After we read this Wall Street Journal article by Lettie Teague on the summer reds of Italy’s Alto Adige, we went looking for more information. Alto Adige is largely German speaking and one of Italy’s very rare cool-climate regions, which is why it produces both excellent whites and refreshing reds that really hit the spot in the summer heat. We wanted to know more about the Vernatsch grape (partly because it’s such a great name), and found interesting information on Wine Lovers Page, including the many different names the Vernatch variety can be called, depending where you are. Watch out for the ad that covers some of the article; if you click on the print view, you can read the whole thing unimpeded.

If you like wines with stories, try this one on for size. Winemaker Frère Marie is a Cistercian monk at Abbaye de Lérins on the tiny island of Saint Honorat 2 miles off the Cannes coast. Wine Spectator visits him.

We were just reading and writing about Irouléguy on Stage 17 of our Tour de France blog posts and lo and behold, today we ran across tasting notes for Arretxea Hegoxuri 2009 by Markus Budai. We read it in German, but if you can’t, try Google Translate.

We saw three interesting pieces on Languedoc this week. Andrew Jefford writes about La Clape in his column in the Decanter and Simon Howland writes about the speedy AOC classification of Languedoc’s Terrasses du Larzac and what it means for the region’s prospects. Meanwhile, James Lawther takes a look at St-Chinian, the area in the west of the Languedoc near the city of Béziers. Read up, because it looks like the Languedoc is the region everyone is talking about.

The 31 Days of Riesling are winding down, and we’ll join the party before it’s too late. Expect to see some tasting notes.

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