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.
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.
We came across some interesting stories in the press this week, so let’s crack on with the wine news!
Will sampling strips make it possible to know exactly what a wine tastes like before buying and opening the bottle? Beringer is giving it a try in a US supermarket chain.
UK wine merchant Majestic has bought Naked Wines for £70 million.
There’s a good article on the Academic Wino, especially if you’re interested in issues related to climate change and its effects on wine production: “Biochar as an Alternative to Irrigation in Extreme Drought Conditions.”
Vinepair featured a guide to the often-overlooked wines of Corsica.
Decanter posted a good wine travel feature on Puglia.
And, finally, we came across a good collection of features on Chablis on the Saveur magazine website. There are articles on the food and people, a travel guide, and a set of recipes.
So far we have avoided stating the obvious to our American readers, but we might as well give in: Cold enough out there for you? Here’s hoping the weather improves where you are very soon, and if it can’t, we hope the cupboards are stocked and you are sitting somewhere warm with a hot drink.
Here’s this week’s news!
Martin Bouygues, owner of Château Montrose, was reported dead over the weekend, but you will be glad to hear he’s actually feeling quite well.
Over on Wine Folly you’ll find an article on the 7 primary styles of Spanish wine. It’s definitely worth a look if you want to get to grips with Spanish wines.
Here’s a headline worthy of a double-take: “Brigitte Bardot Saves Alcoholic Bears.” We’ll just let you read that one for yourselves.
In today’s wine crimes, a man went into the Kellermeister Winery in Australia’s Barossa Valley and opened the taps on four tanks, resulting in the loss of 25,000 litres of wine. Meanwhile, it seems English wine has arrived: Burglars stole 5,000 bottles of wine worth £80,000 from a warehouse at Bolney Wine Estate in southern England. Not the mark of success a wine producer wants, of course.
Tim Atkin picks 10 top wines from 2010 Brunello di Montalcino, along with a good, informative discussion of recent vintages and some of the things that set Brunello apart.
A crowdfunding campaign in support of Champagne Jayne is gathering force on GoFundMe, despite Jayne herself being gagged by Melbourne Federal Court and unable to rally support herself. As you may remember, wine writer and educator Rachel Jayne Powell, known professionally as Champagne Jayne, incurred the wrath of the Champagne bureau CIVC apparently for discussing sparkling wines other than Champagne via her Twitter and Facebook accounts while using the trademarked name “Champagne” in her professional name.
And finally, if the weather where you are is getting you down, why not do a bit of armchair travel? Wine-Searcher offers up a wine-lover’s guide to Paris, while Decanter provides a travel guide for Valpolicella.
It’s Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday and everything’s coming up pancakes in our neck of the woods. We won’t be flipping ours until this evening, although we were a bit tempted by the idea of a big stack of American pancakes and crispy bacon this morning . . . well, one of us is still tempted, but we’ll go traditional English this evening and save the decadent breakfast for another day.
It’s a busy time for holiday eating, actually, what with Valentine’s Day, today’s pancake extravaganza, and Chinese New Year on Thursday (happy year of the sheep!). We recently tasted some 2012 Moenchreben de Rorschwihr Auxerrois from Rolly Gassmann in Alsace and both of us immediately thought how good it would be with a spicy Chinese stir fry or a curry. Auxerrois may be a new grape for you as it isn’t as well known as Alsatian Riesling and Gewurztraminer generally are. It less of the spice you associate with Alsatian Gewurztraminer and less acidity than you usually get in Alsatian Rieslings, but it still had a taste reminiscent of those wines. It has a slight sweetness that offsets spicy food and a great, food-friendly balance of flavours. We ran across a list of wine recommendations for Chinese New Year from Hong Kong wine merchants too, if you’d like a few more suggestions.
And now for the rest of the wine news!
We’re sad to report that Colette Faller of Domaine Weinbach in Alsace has died at age 85. She took over the estate after the death of her husband in 1979, and was later joined in the family business by her two daughters, Catherine and Laurence. Laurence died unexpectedly in May of last year, so we’re especially sad to hear the Faller family has suffered another loss so soon.
Hubert de Boüard, owner of Château Angelus in St Emilion, is calling the 2014 vintage a fruit-forward vintage for consumers rather than collectors.
Over on the Academic Wino’s site, you can find out what effect fungicides have on Monastrell during the wine-making process.
The discovery of charred grape seeds may help scientists learn more about the “wine of the Negev” that was one of the very finest wines in the Byzantine period.
Decanter offers up a travel guide for France’s Jura region, home of Comté cheese and increasingly popular wines.
Mall Walls gives you both a recipe for Poulet Vallée d’Auge, a creamy chicken and apple dish from Normandy, and suggestions for wines to accompany it.
Sagrantino is one of the most tannic wines there is, but that’s not all there is to know about this increasingly popular Italian grape variety. Get the scoop from Alfonso Cevola on Wine-Searcher.com.
Biodynamic winemaker Nicolas Joly of Coulée de Serrant has split from the Loire’s promotional body over unpaid mandatory membership fees and plans to set up his own appellation.
And, finally, Wine Enthusiast posted their list of nine dog-friendly U.S. wineries. Be sure to take a look at the comments section for additional suggestions.
Welcome back to the first post of the new year! Here’s hoping 2015 is off to a good start for you.
If you haven’t heard, there has been a major bush fire in Adelaide Hills in Australia, and vineyards have been particularly hard hit. The story is major news everywhere, but for information about damage to vineyards (and a sad photo of a partially melted wine bottle), head to this article on Decanter.
We bet this list of 8 warm whiskey cocktails has a few you haven’t heard of: Bitter Candied Apple? Kentucky NyQuil? The Icabod Crane, featuring Nocino (an Italian walnut liqueur) and blackstrap molasses? You should take a look, particularly those of you in places with low temperatures at the moment.
Wine-Searcher posted 10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About Chateau Rieussec, and for the sweet wine lovers among you, the list is definitely required reading.
Wine Folly’s guide to grower champagne is well worth a look, especially if you don’t know very much about Champagne in general, but most readers will find something new and useful in it.
Decant This posted a great list of tasting tips from vintners. Part of what’s great about it is that the vintners contradict each other, so you get a good sense of the individuality of each of the contributors, as well as a variety of pointers to help you on your way to better wine tasting in 2015.
And, finally, Decanter‘s guide to the Tokaj region of Hungary may help you plan your next vacation, particularly if you like the area’s famous wines.
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.
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.
It’s time once again for a round-up of the wine articles that especially interested us this week.
Harpers Wine & Spirit released a report revealing that the UK wine trade is potentially losing out on thousands of pounds of trade a day because of its inability to sell wine effectively. The article — and we’ll confess here that we haven’t read the full report — also gives a snapshot of the data, including that spending on beer is two and a half times greater than on wine, that the volume of on-trade wine sold in the UK has dropped by more than 10% over the last five years, and two-thirds of those interviewed could not name more than three varieties of grape.
Wine Spectator featured a profile of Sicilian classical pianist-turned-winemaker Giuseppe Russo, who has become one of the leading lights in Sicilian wine from his vineyards on Mount Etna. The Yorkshire Post spent time on Mount Etna too, only in this case Christine Austin visits the Planeta family of the Feudo di Mezzo winery. Anyone else suddenly fancying a bottle of Sicilian red?
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) says Tom Jones has been voted the British pop star the country would most like to have a pint with. Jones won with 13% of the vote, and we couldn’t help wonder whether the voters were asked after their first pint or fifth. Other artists winning votes included Lily Allen, Jessie J, Tinie Tempah, Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, Gary Barlow, and Robbie Williams.
Wine cellared at home ages about four times fast as wine stored under ideal conditions. Sounds like many of us should just go ahead and drink up those bottles stored under the stairs.
Sarah Ahmed, the Wine Detective, reported on a Wolf Blass Black Label vertical tasting of wines from 1979-2010. Australian wine fans won’t want to miss this one.
Research now suggests the unappetizing possibility that fruit flies may be responsible for the aroma of wines.
The Guardian‘s travel section gave its top 10 list of people and places along Italy’s Piedmont wine route, from Barolo and Barbaresco to B&B’s. There was also a piece called “How Green Was My Vineyard” about winemaking in Wales. Questionable title, but really an interesting article that treats its subject as more than a curiosity. Don’t let the title put you off learning about this emerging wine region.
Tom Hyland interviewed Anne Trimbach of Alsace’s Domaine Trimbach for Wine-Searcher. Fans of Alsatian wines, take note!
Eric Asimov wrote an article for the New York Times on Cava, which is so frequently underrated. He looks at the history, the native Xarello grape often used these days in Cava, as well as the production method. And while we’re on the subject of great Spanish grapes, the Telegraph’s Victoria Moore explored the Albariño of Rías Baixas, complete with tasting notes for three she recommends.
Alder Yarrow offered up a wonderfully informative article on the white wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape on Vinography. If you don’t know much about Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, this is a great introduction; if you already enjoy it, the long list of wines along with tasting notes might offer you a new one to try.