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?
What’s going on in the world of wine? Here are the stories that caught our attention.
In English wine news, wine estates in Sussex are bidding to create a Sussex appellation. English wine producer Chapel Down is opposed, however. Read up on the debate.
Also in Sussex news, another £10k wine has been stolen in a nighttime raid.
Fires are threatening vineyards in South Africa, both directly from burning and from smoke taint.
An ancient Greek wine jug has been found at the burial site of a Celtic prince in the Champagne region. Take a look at how well preserved it is!
Over on Decanter, Jane Anson profiles Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac, two Right Bank appellations you should take a second look at.
And finally, a tasting panel opened a 150-year-old bottle of wine salvaged from an American Civil War shipwreck. Want to know what happened next? Read on.
For anyone who doesn’t happen to know this, the traditional Thanksgiving meal in the United States is very similar to the traditional Christmas meal in Britain. The turkey, stuffing/dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce — it’s all there in November in the States and December here. The big exceptions are that in the US there would probably be sweet potatoes, while in the UK there would be brussels sprouts. The desserts are different too, of course — and just as an aside, Janet was delighted to find ground cloves this year, which has never happened before. Whole cloves are well and good for curries and mulled wine, but she never was able to grind them quite finely enough for her pumpkin pie, much to her annoyance. This year she found them tucked away amid some Caribbean curry powders. Maybe she should have been looking for ground cloves as “laving powder.”
We face the “what to serve with turkey” question quite regularly this time of year, so we’ll share our go-to answer. We favour the increasingly popular approach among holiday hosts and hostesses of choosing a sparkling wine, a red wine and a white wine to offer at Thanksgiving dinner. There are always guests who insist they *only* drink red or white, and sparkling wines, with their bubbles and acidity, suit most holiday fare, from party foods and first courses through the main course. The wines need to be good all-rounders that will pair well no matter which foods end up on a guest’s plate.
For white wines, skip the oaky Chardonnay and try instead food-friendly Rieslings and Gewurztraminers. The balance of slight sweetness and acidity in a good, dry Riesling cuts through what can be a very heavy, fatty meal and refreshes the palate, as do aromatic Gewurztraminers.
For red wines, try for a lighter Italian red or a Beaujolais, both of which pair beautifully with festive meals. Pinot Noirs can also be quite good for holiday meals, especially if ham is being served alongside the turkey, as often happens. A Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône is also a popular choice, or you might try its neighbor, Lirac, or a Côtes du Rhône Village wine for a similar taste of the southern Rhône for a more agreeable price.
And what did we have this year for Thanksgiving? Well, as it’s an ordinary Thursday night in Britain and not a national holiday, we tend to keep things simple, with just enough festive touches to make Janet feel like she’s celebrated, but not such a meal that we are left drowning in leftovers a month before we’ll be drowning in the same leftovers again. We had a roast chicken with a few of the traditional Southern sides Janet loves best.
And much to our delight, a friend gave us a bottle of already-chilled Prosecco to add to the occasion. It was such a lovely gesture and the wine itself was very good. But even if it hadn’t been, we’d have drunk it and felt pleased about it, because that is ultimately what Thanksgiving is for. There’s no potentially contentious religious angle, and no gift-giving. It’s just enjoying food and celebrating, and being thankful that you can enjoy yourself and celebrate, wherever you are and whoever you are with. And even over a chicken in Hertfordshire.
Happy Thanksgiving, if you’re celebrating on Thursday! Our Anglo-American celebration this year will be low-key. Thanksgiving is a holiday you can only celebrate properly in the United States; elsewhere in the world it feels like an oversized dinner on an ordinary Thursday night. Ah, well. Here’s the wine news!
If you’ll be in London on Friday, don’t forget the Wine Car Boot Sale will be going on. The last event back in the summer got rave reviews. Get the full details here.
German wine fans, if you want a look at the 2014 harvest reports from Germany’s 13 classified wine regions, look no further. The full details have been released.
Alfonso Cevola provides you with most all you need to know to get to grips with Amarone della Valpolicella, from how it’s made and the star winemakers to pairing suggestions.
Decanter also published an article on travel in Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige wine region. The maps and information on wineries will save you a lot of effort as you plan a dream vacation to the Dolomites.
There’s a new app called Next Glass that claims to predict your taste in wine or beer after you’ve uploaded five of your favourites.
The Vivino wine app announced this week that it has added a wine list scanning feature. I can’t wait to try that out.
Over on Wine Folly, it’s all about the wines of Southern France. There’s a good overview and a clear map of the wine regions.
Last week saw the release of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau, and you might be interested in who is drinking it. You might be surprised by the details on this infographic. Japan imports 7.9 million bottles of it? Really?
There’s a plan afoot to create a new Côte d’Or appellation, but it’s proving convtroversial among winemakers and négociants. Find out why and get the full details here.
And, finally, I’m amazed to say that drunk birds are falling from the sky in Canada after eating frost-fermented berries. Wildlife officials are now trying to figure out how to sober up sozzled flocks of Bohemian waxwings. Picture that.
It’s the Tuesday before Halloween, and although we could probably fill the wine news with an array of articles and infographics on matching Halloween candy with wine, we’re bucking the trend. Here’s the rest of the week’s wine news, from fungi to fun with wine and television. Enjoy!
An airborne fungus called Esca has infected 13% of France’s vines this year, and is at this point incurable, given that the only known treatment is carcinogenic.
In Bordeaux, Les Hauts de Pontet-Canet, the second wine of Château Pontet-Canet, has been denied use of the AOC Pauillac label for its 2012 vintage by the official tasting panel.
Interesting reading in the New York Times about how “Scandal” and “The Good Wife” shows a lot about both the characters and what Americans think about wine. If you are one of those people paying close attention to the wine-drinking in “Scandal,” you might also enjoy Grapefriend’s regular blog posts on the subject.
This map of visitor-friendly English wineries is pretty brilliant.
The Telegraph picks three top Sylvaners, including one from Léon Beyer, one of our favourite producers.
And finally, there’s a good article on the Grape Collective about a Napa Valley tech entrepreneur revolutionizing customer service and use of social media among wine producers. Check out this piece on Paul Mabray and VinTank.
I think it’s Tuesday, so here’s the wine news that interested us in the last week. The fact I am not sure it is Tuesday isn’t a good sign, however . . . .
It’s either Curry Week or Chocolate Week, or perhaps both (we’re eating chocolate as we type this bit about curry, just to cover all the bases).We discovered there’s a website specifically for Chilean Carmenere paired with curry, and the site includes news, events, and even recipes. If you’re looking for additional wine and curry pairing suggestions, try Fiona Beckett’s site, where she suggests rosés, whites and reds, as well as general tips for what might work and what almost certainly won’t.
For a decade, the Santarelli family have supported Dutch archaeological excavations at their Casale del Giglio vineyard in Lazio, which has slowly uncovered portions of the pre-Roman town of Satricum and artefacts such as wine urns and goblets.
The Independent featured a round-up of the 10 best ports and madeiras. Go on, get ahead of the holidays and start enjoying that port and Stilton now.
Any fans of wine trivia here? There are lots of good tidbits in this article on Wine-Searcher about how wine bottles came to be the way they are today, from the punt in the bottom of the bottle to that bit of wire around a Rioja.
The Daily Sip’s editor Karen MacNeil is hosting a live Twitter tasting of Sonoma Pinot Noir on 23 October from 1-2 PST. Get the details on the wines here and don’t forget to use the hashtag #SipWithKaren on your tweets and to follow the conversation.
On the Wine Spectator website, chef George Mendes of Aldea in New York discusses bringing Portuguese food to the American public and offers up a recipe for Mozambique Shrimp with Okra and Piri Piri, along with some wine pairing suggestions.
And, finally, if you’re near London or London-bound, the Vinorium will be opening a pop-up shop on the South Bank from 15 October to 4 January. Expect to see two two-storey shipping containers equipment with a rotating collection of wines, Enomatic machines for tasting, and a heated terrace area upstairs.
Halloween costumes and jarred mincemeat cheek by jowl in the shops — it must be October in England! I suppose it’s just as well there isn’t much the shops sell particularly for Bonfire Night. Except maybe those extra large marshmallows Mrs. Winetuned likes, of course. Mmmm . . . marshmallows. Before I am lost in a slightly charred, sugary reverie, let’s get to the week’s wine news!
I saw some amazing headlines yesterday. A grape has been found that may be the solution to climate change. Or, if you read the article, a grape has been found that may address some of the problems climate change is causing for grapes. Polar bears will have to look elsewhere for a solution to their shrinking habitat. In any case, meet Pedebernade no. 5.
The Alsatian wine-producer Etienne Hugel has complained publicly that French supermarket E. Leclerc is selling his wine, despite all distributors of Hugel’s wines being specifically told not to sell the wines through supermarkets. Hugel’s objection is both to supermarkets using one or two high-profile wines to lure customers in to browse their generally lower quality wines and to a distributor going against Hugel’s express wishes and selling the wine on to Leclerc anyway.
A plan is afoot to make wine in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. Surprised? The ex-missionary and non-drinker says the Fruit of the Vine vineyard (known locally as Château Hebrides) should have bottles ready for drinking early next year.
Fans of German wine, head over to Wine-Searcher for an interview with Germany’s own Dr. Loosen.
Don’t be put off by the Ming-the-Merciless-style cartoon bug used with this piece. Apparently, the threat from an Asian fruit fly is already quite real in Bordeaux.
This story about the German city of Essen paying homeless alcoholics in beer for tidying up run-down areas . . . well. The program is based on similar initiatives in the Netherlands, so perhaps there’s something to it.
It’s time again for an article on whether or not English wines can compete on the international stage, this time from the Wall Street Journal. At some point, surely people will realise the answer is yes and get on with the business of buying and drinking it.
Sobering statistics on Dr. Vino’s blog this week: “We know that a third of Americans abstain from alcohol. Another third don’t drink too much. But the Wonkblog has a striking graphic showing that the top decile really pound the stuff, drinking an astonishing ten drinks per day. That’s about two bottles of wine a day.” Actually, I’m not sure Americans will be that surprised by this. Mrs. Winetuned wasn’t, but there are some interesting conclusions to draw from this in terms of the U.S. wine industry. Read the whole post on Dr. Vino.
And finally, Vinepair featured an infographic showing which grapes are used to make which wines in France. If you don’t know your left bank from your right and are baffled by blends, this will have you sorted.
A happy, surprisingly sunny September Tuesday to you — the last September Tuesday, as a matter of fact. From the looks of the shops, tomorrow is the first day of December rather than October (mince pies on the shelves in September??), but as the weather’s so nice we’ll skip over the ranting about retailers trying to fast-forward to Christmas. Here’s the latest wine news!
We had never seen these stained glass windows in the cathedral in Reims, but look at that! The people are making wine! If you don’t care about winemaking in stained glass, there are also photos of the windows by Marc Chagall. Be sure to click on the images to see the enlarged versions.
The Drinks Business featured an article about a recent even where Sarah Jane Evans MW gave an introduction to the Somontano region of Spain. Well worth a look if you are interested in Spanish wines.
The medieval Belgian city of Bruges has approved plans to install an underground beer pipeline to reduce the number of delivery vehicles in the town’s picturesque streets. To us the idea sounds amazing, and also more than a little scary.
On Wine-Searcher, Tom Hyland gives you the key things to know about respected Champagne firm of Billecart-Salmon in Mareuil-sur-Äy, including that there’s nearly 45% Pinot Meunier in the Brut Reserve, which is unusual.
And, finally, Zach Geballe introduces you to the wines of Washington State. Given that it’s the second-largest producer of wine in the U.S. after California, shouldn’t you know more about its world-class wines?
Has it been a week already? It must be time to run down the most interesting wine stories we read over the past seven days. Did we miss one of your favourites? Let us know!
Remember how we reported last week that English winemaker Chapel Down was opening a crowdfunding campaign to fund vineyard expansion? Well, they passed their origin target of £1.6 million by raising £2.9 million in just 10 days. Other wine producers may want to take note.
The iron vineyard sculpture outside the Napa Wine Train depot has been yarn-bombed by the mother of the woman who originally sculpted it. Dina Powers and Just Sayin’ Knitters have added knitted bunches of grapes and leaves. Take a look at the before and after photos!
The wet summer may have dampened Italian hopes of a bumper 2014 harvest. The harm done will vary from region to region, and of course these are only predictions.
Decanter featured an interview with Wolf Blass, the German-born winemaker who made himself one of the biggest names in Australian wine. I wish I could tell how many times someone has arrived at one of our book club meetings with a bottle of Wolf Blass. It’s good to meet the colourful man behind the bottle.
Perhaps it’s the change in the weather, but I’m daydreaming about travel. There were two good travel pieces that caught my eye especially. Vinepair posted a very helpful guide to Italy’s Piedmont for wine-lovers and Decanter‘s Stephen Brook wrote a travel piece on California’s Anderson Valley.
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.
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.