Tagged: malbec

Wine News 2-9 June

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.

Twelve Catalonian wine producers are reviving one of Spain’s oldest wine export roads for wine tourists.

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.


Australian Tasting 2015


By J.P.Lon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Public tastings at wine merchants can be a haphazard business. As much as you’d like to get an in-depth sense of each wine and increase your understanding of a country, a region, a grape variety, or a style of wine, it’s nearly impossible to accomplish in a crowd-filled room. Judging the colour of the wine in dim lighting is difficult, and swirling wine is perilous amid all the elbows and bottles. You quickly learn to give spitters as wide a berth as the milling crowd will allow, and not to be alarmed by the crunch underfoot of an errant water biscuit. It’s not a contemplative atmosphere – nor should it be. It’s a social event and shopping excursion for most people, with a chance to taste a few wines and buy a few bottles. If most of us struggle to get more than a general impression of each wine at that kind of event, it’s fine. That’s not really the point.

We attended a tasting like that last night. Crowded, genial, full of distractions and, luckily for us, also full of good Australian wines. We made an effort to take a few notes to share.

The Whites

We have one conversation over and over again as we begin tasting white wines. You are almost always given crisp, inoffensive white wines with a touch a fruit. Always perfect examples of a style or a variety or a particular terroir. And for Daniel, always perfectly uninspiring. There’s never anything wrong with them, but he wants a wine that’s provocative and stimulating, an event all by itself, instead of one that goes brilliantly with seafood starters or is easy drinking chilled as background noise at a barbecue. I suppose I have more patience for wines that only become special with food or at a particular moment in time. You don’t drink wine under laboratory conditions: Sometimes the magic happens in the interplay of wine and occasion, wine and the flavours of foods, and wine and interaction with other human beings. The four wines below all veer, to a greater or lesser degree, towards boring him (he’s nudging me to remind you how many good basic whites he gets to sample at work) and seeming like a good summer drinking to me.

Madfish Great Southern Riesling 2014

This was our favourite white of the night. It has crystalline clarity, clean and zesty citrus aromas, and high acidity, along with mouth-watering lime flavour and very delicate hints of the aromatic and mineral qualities you would expect in a Riesling. If we had one complaint, it was that this wine didn’t exhibit those Riesling qualities a bit more strongly, but we’re prejudiced as great fans of Riesling and that shouldn’t take away from what a fine, versatile dry white wine this is.

Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes Marsanne 2012

There’s something uncommon in the aroma of this wine. It has citrus and stone fruit on the nose, but also a mineral edge to the perfume similar to bath salts. The citrus and peachy flavours echo the aromas, but there’s also something honeyed and a bit herbal to it. It’s less honey than honeysuckle, with that dash of wildness and earthiness. Tahblik specialises in Rhône grapes such as Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier, and claims to have the largest single holding of Marsanne vines in the world. This wine also ages well, developing additional richness and complexity.

Blind Spot King Valley Pinot Gris 2014

This wine is one of a group of Australian wines the Wine Society sells under the Blind Spot label, aiming to bring exceptional small producers in Australia out of the wine industry’s “blind spot” and into wine glasses. We very much enjoyed a Blind Spot Champagne-style sparkling wine from Tasmania at a tasting last year, and so we always try other Blind Spot wines with great interest. This is a classic Pinot Gris, with the crispness and easy-drinking qualities you’d expect. It has grapefruit on the nose with flavours of apples or pears, and less of the aromatic quality of an Alsatian Pinot Gris. While this will surely be a fine summer sipper, we couldn’t help wondering what ever happened to that Blind Spot Tasmania sparkling . . . .

Bleasdale Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2013

Bleasdale is an Australian wine producer we particularly like. It’s rare that we don’t have a bottle of the Wise One Tawny around the house, and Bleasdale’s Sparkling Shiraz is one of our favourite sparkling reds. Had we but sufficient cash in the wine budget, we’d keep bottles of 2012 Frank Potts in our collection too. This Adelaide Hills Chardonnay is picked by hand and fermented in French oak with wild yeasts, so fans of oaked Chardonnay will love the toastiness accompanying the stone fruit flavours. This wine should age well for three or four years, and should be very food-friendly.

The Reds

Blind Spot Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2014

Blind Spot Yarra Valley Pinot Noir was a surprise hit with us both. It offers a bit of cranberry on the nose and blueberry on the palate, with smooth tannins adding structure. It’s light-bodied and elegant, and probably delicious with charcuterie.

Jamsheed La Syrah 2013

This is an Australian shiraz with cherry and bramble flavours that don’t overwhelm the slight spiciness and pepperiness. It’s elegant and restrained, with firm tannins that will stand up to bold or meaty dishes.

Pitchfork Margaret River Cabernet-Merlot 2013

This blend was Daniel’s favourite red of the evening. It’s 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, with big, dark berry flavours on the nose and lively, juicy flavours. There’s a hint of eucalyptus or mint too, along with good acidity and considerable structure from the tannins.

Bleasdale The Broad-Side Langhorne Creek Shiraz Cabernet-Malbec 2012

Another offering from the fine folks at Bleasdale, this time a blend of 43% Shiraz, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Malbec. Ripe, almost jammy flavours of purple plum, blackcurrant, and blackberry lead into firm tannins that slowly build, a quality that can be a touch of genius when paired with food.

Wine News 20-27 January

We are gutted to hear of the demise of SkyMall (or its bankruptcy, which probably heralds its end). Ten times more interesting than the in-flight magazine waiting in the back of the seat in front of you on an airplane, the SkyMall catalogue entertained me through many a trans-Atlantic flight. I hope I haven’t read my last copy. Dr. Vino blogged about his favourite mad wine-related items from SkyMall.

Remember all that expensive wine stolen from French Laundry in California? Most of it has been found across country in Greensboro, North Carolina. There must be a road movie in that somewhere.

Decanter posted a slideshow of the results of its Cahors tasting panel. Malbec fans should take a look.

Gearing up for Superbowl Sunday? You might find VinePair’s tool for pairing Superbowl foods with wine useful. And for the rest of the world, the pairings would work just as well for your football or Six Nations nibbles in upcoming weekends.

Need help understanding Bordeaux labels? Wine Enthusiast has you covered.

Over on Wine-Searcher, Tim Atkin has written a quick-and-dirty guide to DRC — no, not the Democratic Republic of Congo, but Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

This week Wine-Searcher featured a Q-and-A with Anselme Selosse, an outstanding producer of grower Champagne. You may remember we also wrote about him back in July.

Chilean producer Ignacio Recabarren says when he says Carmenère is “more than jam in the sandwich,” (i.e. more than something to add fruitiness to a blend), and we definitely agree that Chilean Carmenère deserve a second look — and glass.

And finally, are we the last ones to discover this Silly Tasting Notes Generator? Want a sample? “A firm,full textured but equally oily Dessert wine. Detecable american oak, freakishly evil raisin and bashful cardboard. Drink now through 2020.” We have got to find a way to use “freakishly evil raisin” and “bashful cardboard” in tasting notes. Via Dr. Vino.

Wine News 14-21 September

We had a chance to taste a few very interesting wines this week, so stay tuned for some information and tasting notes, but meanwhile, check out this week’s wine news.

If you are looking for a good place to drink wine, there’s a slideshow in Decanter that gives you ten top wine bars in London, and also a handful of other great wine bars outside the capital, including Edinburgh, Bristol, and Brighton

With Halloween approaching, you may find yourself with leftover Halloween candy. This infographic on Vivino.com matches favourite U.S. candies with wines. Most of these sweets are available in the U.K. as well, or you could just use this as a starting point for pairing up Flakes, Crunchies, and Aeros.

From how to say it to what it tastes like, Wine-Searcher covers the basics on Grüner Veltliner. Even if you know your Grüner Veltliner, you may learn a thing or two. Did you know its a descendant of Traminer and St. Georgener, which now exists as a single vine near Eisenstadt in Austria?

There are some beautiful nineteenth-century illustrations of famous Bordeaux chateaux on Vinepair. I keep finding myself going back to look at them again.

Ludivine Griveau has been named the new winemaker of Hospices de Beaune, the first woman to be appointed to the role. Read more at Decanter.

Cahors is the original home of Malbec, now the powerhouse of Argentinian wine. Check out what winemakers in Cahors are doing with French Malbec these days, as well as other useful information about wines of the region.

TdF Stage 20: One for the Time Lords

We were astonished to see Ramūnas Navardauskas trending on Twitter, in large part because we didn’t think anyone outside Lithuania would be able to spell it. He deserved to trend after winning yesterday’s rainy Stage 19 ahead of John Degenkolb and Alexander Kristoff. Tour leader Vincenzo Nibali had to move quickly to avoid a crash within the last 3km that took out Peter Sagan, among others, and left many of the sprinters’ teams in disarray at a critical moment, but the accident meant no one could catch Navardauskas. British cyclist David Millar, who intended to make this year’s Tour his last and was beside himself when Garmin-Sharp left him off the team in favour of Navardauskas, was effusive in his praise of the Lithuanian rider: “Amazing. Ramunus aka Honey Badger was my replacement. Job well done. Legend.” Honey badger? Maybe we don’t want to know.

stage 20

Stage 20 is a individual time trial ahead of Sunday’s finale in Paris, and teams hoping their sprinter has a chance to come in first in the final sprint on the Champs-Élysées may try to save a bit of energy for Sunday. For other teams, there will be no reason to hold back, and the time trial will be the last place they can put their mark on this year’s Tour de France. It’s a stage for the time lords — or, er, the time trialists. Meanwhile, Vincenzo Nibali’s only concern will be staying on his bike and out of harm’s way until he stands on the podium in Paris, but as yesterday’s stage showed, that isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

Today’s time trial begins in Bergerac, where yesterday’s stage ended, and ends in Périgueux, so  today we will return to the Bergerac region and explore Montravel. We mentioned Montravel yesterday as one of the AOC wine-producing areas in Bergerac. It’s both an early 20th-century AOC area, with its white wines granted the appellation in 1937, and the most recent, as its reds were only granted an AOC in 2001.

By paysbergerac [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By paysbergerac [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The Four Montravel AOC Wines

The Montravel AOC wines consist of three white wines and one red. Montravel AOC is a dry white wine, Côtes de Montravel is a sweet white wine, Haut-Montravel is a sweet wine or liquoreux, and Montravel Rouge is a dry wine and Montravel’s only AOC red wine.

Montravel: These white wines are between 10-13% abv and should contain at least 4 grams of residual sugar per litre. They can only be made of Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle grapes, with the Sauvignon grape predominating, although a small proportion of Ondenc and Chenin Blanc grapes are also used by some producers. These wines are barrel fermented, and should be drunk young, although they can mature in bottle for a year or two. The white flower aromas and smoothness of the wine are often praised.

Côtes de Montravel: Whereas the grapes for Montravel AOC wine are grown on flat ground, Côtes de Montravel are grown on slopes. They are made of the same grape varieties as Montravel, and as they are only slightly sweet (moelleaux), they are the middle ground between the dry Montravel whites and the syrupy sweetness of Haut-Montravel wines. They contain 12-15% abv and 8-54 grams of sugar per litre. Again the aromas are floral and complex, and Côtes de Montravel makes a good aperitif. They can be matured for several years.

Haut-Montravel: Haut-Montravel is a sweet white wine made from over-matured or raisined grapes. If those grapes have noble rot, they can be labeled liquoreux. The grapes must be hand-harvested in several passes or tries to ensure only grapes at the correct level of ripeness (or only botrysised grapes) are picked. The resulting wine should be 12-15% abv and contain 8-54 grams residual sugar per litre. These wines mature very well and make excellent dessert wines.

Montravel Rouge: Montravel Rouge must be made of at least 50% Merlot grapes with lesser amounts of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Côt (Malbec). It must be matured for at least 18 months, with some ageing potential. It is best drunk after 2 and 10 years, depending on vintage. It has an intense colour, and is dense with a good structure and hints of fruit, vanilla and even a trace of what’s sometimes described as a savoury grilled flavour.

As we mentioned yesterday, the AOC regulations actually stipulate that the bottles must have the Latin phrase In Monte Revelationem (“on the mountain I had a revelation”), the phrase that gave Montravel its name, engraved on them.

montravel bottle


A Look at Three Producers

Château Puy-Servain
Owner Daniel Hecquet is one of the most passionate and well-regarded oenologists and wine-producers in Bergerac, producing Vin de Bergerac, Montravel Rouge, Montravel Blanc, Haut Montravel and Pécharmant. Hecquet offers some of the highest quality, freshest dry whites in the region, but he also lobbied energetically to convince AOC regulators to give Montravel Rouge the appellation. An internship at Château d’Yquem in his youth means he has a deep understanding and love of sweet wines, something he brings to the sweet wines he creates for Château Puy-Servain. The Château’s brands include Château Puy Servain, Château Calabre, Château Haut Sarthe, Daniel Olivier, Daniel Frère, Taïac, Prestige des Bertranoux, and Domaine des Bertranoux.

Can you find these wines in the UK?
The Haut-Montravel sweet wines of Château Puy-Servain are sold at Jeroboam’s, London, but we haven’t seen any of the other wines available for sale. They are available in most other European countries and in the U.S., however, and it wouldn’t surprise us to find they were also available in somewhere in the U.K.

Château le Raz
The Barde family has been making line on pieces of land in the area near the château since 1450, but it wasn’t until 1958 that they purchased and began restoring the château itself. The family produces Haut Montravel, dry white Bergerac wines, Bergerac rosés, and both Bergerac and Montravel reds on 70 hectares located in Saint Méard de Gurçon.

Can you find these wines in the UK?
We’ve seen these listed as available from Elixir Wines Ltd in London, Sommelier’s Choice Ltd in Kent, and Trout Wines in Nether Wallop, Stockbridge, Hampshire.

Château Laroque
Château Laroque is a 10-hectare biodynamic vineyard near St Antoine de Breuilh in the heart of the Montravel AOC. The reds are strong and tannic, reaching their best between 5 and 12 years of ageing, depending on the vintage. Château Laroque’s Haut-Montravel are known for their perfume and richness, but they also make rosé and even sparkling wine. The family also offers a small bed and breakfast service at the château.

Can you find them in the UK?
Not that we have seen. Let us know if you see any, and we’ll list it here.

TdF Stage 19: Bergerac, But Not the Crime-Solving Kind

How dominant is Vicenzo Nibali in this race? Despite being able to cruise in safely in this stage, without even really exerting himself, and still win the Tour de France on Sunday, Nibali decided to go for the win. He won it by 1:10, leaving the next closest riders, stage winner Rafal Majka, French favourites Jean-Christophe Péraud and Thibaut Pinot, and BMC’s team leader Tejay van Garderen, in the dust. Nibali now leads by 7:10 in the General Classification, so it’s hard to imagine anyone spoiling his celebration on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday, barring disaster. We have seen quite a few disasters in this year’s race, though.

stage 19

Today’s stage is over 200km long and generally flat, which should reignite the sprinters. There is a category four bump near the end of the stage before the cyclists arrive in Bergerac, but don’t expect that to slow the sprinters down, many of whom have been disappointed in recent sprints and want to make their mark on the Tour before time runs out.

We gave this post a title referring to the 1980s British crime series “Bergerac,” despite the fact the series takes its name from its crime-solving hero and not the French city of Bergerac. Let’s face it: it had to be that or something about Cyrano de Bergerac. But why is that? Bergerac AOC is an area with a long history of wine-making going back to the Romans, and until the 20th century, when the AOC boundaries were drawn up, Bergerac wines actually were Bordeaux wines. They were all part of a single, large wine region. When AOC regulators decided to limit Bordeaux wines to the Gironde departément, Bergerac wines went from being part of the prestigious Bordeaux region to being wine no one had heard of and few wanted to buy.

By Père Igor (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Père Igor (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Bergerac is essentially a continuation of Bordeaux, although the climate exhibits more continental influences. Many of its vineyards are on the gravel banks of the Dordogne river, which is very much like Bordeaux’s best vineyards. Moving away from the river, the soil becomes more calcareous, with lots of limestone deposits in the best vineyards.

Reds are chiefly a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, along with Côt (Malbec), Fer Servadou or Mérille. Bergerac whites are mainly a blend of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle, along with Ugni Blanc, Ondenc and/or Chenin Blanc. There are 13 AOCs within the Bergerac region:

Red Wines

  • Bergerac Red – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot Noir, Côt (Malbec).  Elegant, supple and fruity.
  • Côtes de Bergerac Red – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot Noir, Côt (Malbec). Dark and well-structured with strong tannins and an aroma prunes.
  • Montravel Red – At least 50% Merlot along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Côt (Malbec). They must be matured a minimum of 15 months and are only AOC approved after they are put in a bottle engraved with the words IN MONTE REVELATIONEM.
  • Pécharmant – Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Côt (Malbec) and Merlot Noir. It’s distinctive flavour comes from the soil, which is sand, gravel and a layer of iron clay called the “tran.”

Dry White Wines

  • Montravel – Sémillon, Muscadelle and, especially Sauvignon. Aromatic and well-structured.
  • Bergerac White – Sémillon, Sauvignon, Muscadelle, Ondec and Chenin Blanc grape varieties. Crisp and aromatic.

Rosé Wine

  • Bergerac Rosé – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot Noir, and/or Côt (Malbec). Elegant and fruity.

Sweet Liquoreux and Sweet White Wines

  • Haut-Montravel – Made of partially raisined grapes. Can apply for liquoreux status if the grapes have developed noble rot instead of drying on the vines. Elegant and concentrated.
  • Côtes de Bergerac White – Sémillon gives this wine its golden hue, crispness, and roundness. It’s divided into medium dry, medium sweet and sweet categories.
  • Côtes de Montravel – Sweet with complex floral aromas.
  • Monbazillac – see below
  • Saussignac – Sémillon, Sauvignon, Muscadelle, Ondec and Chenin Blanc. Rich and full with aromas of acacia, peach and honeysuckle. Made of partially raisined grapes, and as with Haut-Montravel, can have liquoreux status if the grapes have developed noble rot instead of drying on the vines.
  • Rosette – Mainly Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. Elegant and round with a very pale straw colour.

By Agne27 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Agne27 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Of these wines, Monbazillac is of special interest to lovers of sweet wines as it makes an excellent alternative to the much more expensive Sauterne. Monbazillac is located just across the river from the town of Bergerac and has a long history of sweet wine production. The wine is blended from Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle, and is hand-harvested in several passes or tries to select only grapes affected by noble rot. The wines are usually balanced and light with hints of honey, citrus and stone fruit, and in some examples have a suprising acidity to offset the sweetness. Some examples are suitable for long-term cellaring; with ageing the colour of the wine deepens and a creamy nutty flavour develops.



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.





Wine News 17-24 June

Welcome back! Here’s what we were reading this week:

John Walsh’s feature in The Independent presents “The might of Mendoza: The romantic tale behind Argentina’s booming malbec grape.” Warning: this story will make you want to run out and buy a bottle of Malbec immediately, or, if your budget stretches to it, board a plane to Mendoza. Hide your wallet before reading.

Eric Asimov’s article on California rosés in the New York Times, and his tasting report, may provide some inspiration for American readers. He’s looking for wines that fulfill “rosé’s prime directive, to invigorate, refresh and revive” rather than being heavy and overly sweet. As we recently mentioned, we’ve become enamoured of Famille Bougrier Rosé d’Anjou, and hope to sample a few more rosés soon.

WineFolly features a comprehensive guide to wine-based marinades for meats, seafood, tofu, and vegetables. There’s a recipe for a Zinfandel-Rosemary Marinade for Tri-Tip Roast, but readers outside the U.S. may need to try Wikipedia or elsewhere to figure out what that particular cut of beef is called locally. Or why not just substitute another cut and see how it goes? That’s what usually happens at Winetuned World Headquarters after we’ve looked at a few inscrutable diagrams of cow butchery (US and UK) and tried to work it out.

It seems everyone we follow on Twitter was recently tasting Grüner Veltliner in Vienna, Fiona Beckett included, and she has added an article to her site on what goes well with it. Some of the possibilities might surprise you.

Jancis Robinson’s team have updated her site’s article on “London for Wine Lovers.” Whether you live in London, plan to travel to London, or just wish you could, you should check out the revised list. It covers wine shops, wine bars, and what are called “Wine-Minded Restaurants In and Around London.” Really, the only thing missing is a calendar of annual wine-related events such as London Wine Week.

Absolute newcomers to Riesling and longtime Riesling fans may enjoy this article on The Savory about why Riesling is amazing. The best line? “Ever wished your glass of crisp sauvignon blanc embraced that ripe fruit a bit more than the cut grass covered in cat piss? Riesling.” Serious reasons to try Riesling, delivered with humour and some slightly odd images.

The Independent ran a feature with the misleading title, “A dummy’s guide to wine appreciation: A new crop of female oenophiles are keen to point out an appreciation of the drink isn’t just for snobs.” It’s actually a profile of one woman, Anne McHale, a 33-year-old from Belfast who is a recent Master of Wine now working as a Wine Education Specialist at Berry Bros & Rudd. McHale’s path into the wine industry makes interesting reading, and her wine advice for beginners is simple and down to earth.

Do Americans drink and appreciate more Italian wines these days than the Italians do? Alfonso Cevola explains how regional divisions, changing tastes, and unscrupulous business practices have put Italian winemakers in a curious position, with declining fortunes at home and new possibilities abroad in places like the United States.

In the US, people will soon be eating homegrown heirloom tomatoes, summer on a plate (quiet sob). While our hopes for a good crop of English tomatoes this year from our garden are not high, we’re taking note of the wine suggestions here just in case.

One final note: Mrs. Winetuned really wishes the US team were not playing all its World Cup matches so late at night. Caffeine consumption the next day has risen to epic proportions.