As Halloween candy and sugar skulls give way to Bonfire Night sausages, we’re taking a look at the stories that caught our attention in the last week or so.
Jamie Goode will give you something to think about as he argues that Wine Critics Matter Because Some Opinions Are Better Than Others. Especially if reading the title makes you a little uncomfortable, you owe it to yourself to read the article and see what he’s talking about.
If you want to improve your skills reading or writing tasting notes, this article in Decanter is an excellent place to start. Well worth a read.
History buffs will enjoy reading about wineries making wine bricks during Prohibition to keep their businesses alive and make it possible for people to make wine at home legally.
Barti Ddu Rum, a Welsh seaweed-infused rum inspired by the pirate John Roberts, should be hitting more shelves later this year. Yo ho ho!
Want some affordable alternatives to some of the world’s most famous wines? Try some of these suggestions.
Satisfy your inner wine geek with Decoding Amarone: Inside Italy’s Most Idiosyncratic Red Wine. This is the kind of in-depth wine article I love.
Wine Picker is an e-sommelier app that is supposed to make it easier to match food and wine in restaurants. It’s also being marketed to restaurants so that in the future, you might be able to sit down in a restaurant, open Wine Picker, and have the information from the restaurant’s menu and wine list open automatically in the app along with parameters such as budget to help you narrow down choices. This article in Imbibe will tell you more about it.
Entrepreneur ran an article on 3 Brands Crushing Instant Customer Service that’s worth a read if you work in the wine business because Cracka Wines is one of the three companies crushing it. According to the article, the number of people reporting using web chats while shopping online had risen to 58% by 2014, and so is presumably even higher now. I was surprised by that figure, so maybe I’m behind the times.
You might enjoy this excerpt from The New Wine Rules: A Genuinely Helpful Guide to Everything You Need to Know by Jon Bonné (2017), about Why It’s Time to Stop Fetishizing Wine Expertise.
And finally, International Sherry Week is coming up next week and it’s a great opportunity to give sherry a little extra attention. The official website will help you find events near you as well as offering loads of other sherry information. If you’re in or near London next week, the London sherry trail map will point you in the right direction.
News from the world of wine has been as alarming lately as news from the wider world, from reports of wine production plummeting to the dreadful news of wineries damaged or completely destroyed by wildfires. For a few minutes, between trying to right the wrongs of the world and offering a hand to help those affected by what seems like an unending stream of disasters, let’s take a look at some of the lighter stories making the news.
Every year the number of articles pairing wine and Halloween candy seems to increase. I approve, if for no other reason than some of the combinations provide food for thought. I steer clear of the cute infographics that are usually more style than substance, offering instead some of our recent favourite articles. Coastal Living suggests, among other things, candy corn and Prosecco, and then goes on to suggest specific bottles (US availability and prices). The ever-divisive candy corn is paired with Amontillado over on Food52, which definitely gets extra points for conjuring up some Edgar Allan Poe at Halloween. And Boston Magazine gets a nod for the most delightful and least wholesome pairing of all: Raventos I Blanc “L’Herau de Nit” Brut Reserva Rose Cava and candy cigarettes.
Self-described “sherry ninja” Chantal Tseng will make you want to try a sherry cobbler–the cocktail, not the dessert, of course.
A Louisville distillery is trying to tackle lack of diversity in the bar world. Bravo!
The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has released an app for recording your wine-tasting notes. We haven’t tested it out yet. Let us know if you do! Free on iTunes and Google Play.
Alcohol helps you speak foreign languages. Please note the details hiding behind that exciting headline, however: the study was small and gave 50 Germans learning Dutch a little beer.
Bottomless Bordeaux Sunday roasts in London. I repeat: bottomless Bordeaux Sunday roasts. If you’re a wine-loving carnivore around London, this is news.
It’s too early to be talking about Christmas. Everyone seems to insist it’s too early. And then everyone seems to go on and talk about Christmas anyway. This year the first decorations and mince pies hit the shops in the UK in mid-September, which is absolute nonsense. So while we may be forced to note these festive happenings, we are insisting–at least until after the beginning of November–on putting these stories in a special section.
The “It’s Too Early for This” Festive Section
You may already be familiar with Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and Winterville in Clapham Common, but the newest addition to London’s festive pop-up family will be Winterland in Fulham. You may remember Neverland, a BYOB summer offering of street food and beachy fun, in which case you will be prepared for its BYOB wintery twin. There is talk of igloos, curling, and fondue and entry will be just a fiver. Look for it next month.
Until next time!
We are back from our unexpected hiatus. The first order of business is to catch up on the wine news!
The weather is causing heartbreak in France again as hail hit Chablis, Cognac and Beaujolais on the weekend. As always, the extent of the damage will become clearer with time, but some are using the word “apocalyptic.”
It’s English Wine Week, and even 10 Downing Street is celebrating by making Ridgeview and Chapel Down its official suppliers of sparkling wine.
France’s futuristic Cité du Vin wine centre is now open in Bordeaux. For a look a the–oh, how shall we put this?–hideous museum of wine, check out this feature on the Drinks Business.
The creators of the wine-themed Japanese cartoon sensation, The Drops of God, are planning a new manga series about food and wine matching. Never heard of The Drops of God? Try this article from 2014 on the Daily Beast as an introduction.
A new infographic on the VinePair website will help with all your basic fish and seafood pairings.
VinePair also offered up a wine-themed colouring book. We aren’t into adult colouring, but if you are, uncork a bottle and click here.
And with that, we will leave you with your crayons to get on with it!
If your June is like ours thus far, you may be dashing betweens wine events, parties, travels and, er, mechanical bull riding. Still, we’ve saved a bit of time for this week’s wine news!
André Lurton, the only Bordeaux winemaker to test out the use of screwcap closures on classified whites, has decided to stop the trial after resistance from French buyers.
Fans of Alsatian wines, there’s an interview with Alsace’s Anne Trimbach on Bottlenotes.
VinePair celebrates the particular beauties of the Viennese urban vineyard and the Austrian heuriger, where winemakers sell their young wines in an atmosphere like no other.
Before you leave the VinePair site, you might also want to take a look at the infographic pairing wine with America’s most famous types of barbecue. I’m trying to imagine some of these flavours together and can’t quite manage it. I must need to eat lots more barbecue and make a thorough study of the issue!
On the subject of wine matching, Fiona Beckett has posted a guide to pairing food with Vermentino — a particularly useful guide in warmer weather.
A trade war may see Canada place huge taxes on imported wine from the U.S. in a dispute over meat products.
Matt Walls offers up a recipe and wine suggestions for oeufs en cocotte. He includes variations with spinach and smoked salmon, and any of them would make a fantastic brunch, lunch or light summer dinner.
World Gin Day is coming up on Saturday. Will you be celebrating?
We are just back from holiday, somewhat sunburnt and quite mad for the seaside. If in the coming weeks we feature more warm weather drinks, wines to go with fish or seafood, or just burst into sea shanties, you will now know why.
On with the wine news!
In this installment of crimes against wine, ram-raiders have hit Domaine Jean Marc Brocard in Chablis and Champagne stolen by the Nazis has been discovered north of Dresden in Germany.
Alder Yarrow has posted an interview with one of the trailblazers in grower Champagne, Anselme Selosse. Don’t miss this one.
If you’re buying Malbec without knowing these five key Argentinian sub-zones, you may be missing out on the Malbec of your dreams.
What is “pét-nat,” or pétillant-naturel?
And finally, does your rosé need a little lift? VinePair has a few suggestions for sprucing up your summer sipping.
It’s English Wine Week! We’re not sure how we’ll mark the occasion yet, but if you want to find out what’s going on in your area, the English Wine Producers website has all the details.
You could also catch up on Decanter‘s round-up of their latest English wine news and recommendations, or this article about how Britain shaped some of the world’s most famous wines.
In other news, the Champagne Council has launched a new free e-learning programme. We only had a quick look, but it looks as though you answer four questions to determine what level of programme suits you best, and then proceed. It seems to be intended for phones (unless you just like scrolling down and scrolling down on a computer through pages with GIANT fonts and very little on them … Janet does not.) Give it a try over at the Champagne Campus.
With the return of summer, it’s time to bring out the rosé. You might find these infographics on VinePair fun, from 10 Shades of Rosé to maps charting who in the world drinks the most rosé and how its popularity has grown in the United States.
Here are our picks of this week’s wine news:
This may help you with your summer parties: Punch is offering what it calls House Cocktail hacks, where top bartenders offer recipes for cocktails using only two spirits, two additional elements (vermouth, amaro, etc.) and two simple syrups you can quickly whip up yourself.
If you’re a fan of Madeira, this might interest you: changes to labelling laws will allow a fifth grape variety, Tinta Negra, on the front label, and a new category for 50-year-old Madeira has been introduced.
In this week’s wine crime news, the head of a French wine producer has been accused of illegally blending other white wines into its Chablis.
Over on Matching Food and Wine, Fiona Beckett sings the praises of Vermentino with seafood.
May already? As always, May came in with a flurry of celebrations, from May Day and the Kentucky Derby to Britain’s three-day bank holiday and today’s Cinco de Mayo. Hope you’re enjoying the busy spring — we certainly are!
And here are the wine stories that caught our attention this week!
There’s a new crowdfunding site called Cruzu which is specifically for wine-related projects. If you’re feeling flush and in a giving mood, check out what’s on offer.
Here’s a news item for the history buffs: What was the best wine to drink in the Middle Ages? You can begin your investigations here.
And yet again thieves strike the wine industry. Someone stole £100,000 from the Basingstoke warehouse of Berry Brothers & Rudd by cutting through a wall.
Here’s some good news in advance of English Wine Week, which will take place later this month: Waitrose reports its sales of English wine have increased 95%.
And finally, in this week’s wine science, the identification of unique proteins may make it possible to identify grapes infected by Botrytis cinerea (noble rot). Who cares, you ask? Well, makers of Amarone care, because it may make the job of separating desirable withered grapes and undesirable botrytis-withered grapes much easier.
Welcome back to this week’s most interesting wine stories in the news — at least to us! Also if you haven’t been on site in a while, you might have missed Daniel’s notes from a Famille Hugel wine tasting and our adventures at a recent Australian wine tasting.
Frog’s Leap’s John Williams makes the case for Merlot in the Wall Street Journal.
There’s a good interview with winegrower Michel Vallet of Italy’s Valle d’Aosta in Wine Spectator, while Wine-Searcher has a substantial profile of the Mosel’s Markus Molitor.
Whether you are looking for upcoming events, feel a bit scientific, or want to dig in to some of wine’s controversial topics, this week we have you covered!
If you aren’t near London, English Wine Week is coming up from Saturday 23 May to Sunday 31 May. Events will take place all over the country and you can get information about what’s going on in your area on the English Wine Producers website.
In previous years, International Sherry Week followed hot on the heels of London Wine Week and English Wine Week, but the celebration has been renamed Sherry Wine Week this year and shifted to 2-8 November 2015. You can go to the Sherry Wine Week website and subscribe to the newsletter if you want to keep up with the latest news.
English Sparkling Wine Day will apparently be celebrated on St. George’s Day on 23 May 2015. We believe this may be the first year English sparkling has been celebrated, so if you are so inclined, get out there and try some of the best bubbly the South of England has to offer. A peculiar twist of fate means we’ll actually be at an Australian wine tasting on the day, but we tasted 2010 Ridgeview Fitzrovia Rosé, 2011 Ridgeview Bloomsbury, and 2009 Nyetimber Brut Classic Cuvée last year during English Wine Week and posted our notes. The 2010 Ridgeview Fitzrovia Rosé is a particular favourite of ours, so if you’re looking for an English sparkling wine to try, you might start there.
Will Lyons has written an article for the Wall Street Journal on Bordeaux’s Château Lafleur, Pomerol’s tiny, family-owned wine powerhouse.
Researchers at the University of Queensland have discovered the success of Pinot Noir may be down to its ability to incorporate virus DNA into its own genes and evolve.
If you’re looking for a wine adventure in London, the Wine Sleuth recently attended one of the twice monthly tastings held in the 380-year-old wine cellar of the Stafford Hotel in St. James in Central London.
The Academic Wino weighs up the pros and cons of the Ganimede fermentation method and the traditional fermentation method used for red wine.
On Wine Shout you can read about Italy’s Alto Adige DOC and the 2013 Lagrein from Elena Walch Family Estates.
On Wine-Searcher Jason Wilson argues that the intense Summer of Riesling campaign that has dominated Riesling press in the United States for years has actually done more harm than good in promoting Riesling, primarily because sommeliers are still pushing sweet Rieslings.
A cache of the oldest known bottles of Ruinart Champagne have been unearthed in a cellar in Alsace.
There’s a peculiar new infographic from Jacob’s Creek making the rounds to help you match food and wine. Some of these wines aren’t the first we would have suggested, but then some of the foods aren’t either — Sea salt and balsamic vinegar crisps? “Gourmet” Scotch eggs?
One last note, in case you missed it last week: Daniel attended a staff tasting of some of the wines of Famille Hugel in Alsace. Not surprisingly, given that he loves Hugel wines and Alsatian wines in general, he was impressed. You can read the details here.