Wine Talk from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 06 Jul 2020 16:00:49 -0700 Wine Talk from Creators Syndicate 1782df9c796025f97f20ece98e84a2f2 A Chardonnay Renaissance? for 06/30/2020 Tue, 30 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Once upon a time, chardonnay was a minor grape variety in the United States, even in the vineyards of California. Then, along came the likes of Richard Arrowood, Gary Farrell, Steve Kistler and Chuck Ortman, and chardonnay took off. Comparisons to white Burgundy were inevitable.</p> <p>Today, it is the most widely planted white-wine grape in California and maintains a firm grip on its market share. But chardonnay is not without controversy. Somewhere along the way, winemakers diverged from the lean, mineral-driven model of white Burgundy and pushed the limits of ripeness, often accompanied by massive amounts of oak.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 30, 2020</p> f9316e367e2c76506a23ca115d195ae9 4 Sparklers for the Fourth for 06/23/2020 Tue, 23 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If you're among those who enjoy a little pop in your July 4th celebration, the sound of a sparkling-wine cork exiting the bottle is probably music to your ears. With so many July 4th firework displays canceled due to the COVID-19 threat, opening a bottle of bubbly could well be the only discernible pop you hear.</p> <p>With that in mind, I've selected four all-American bubblies to help you make it through the night, two in what I would describe as the top tier of sparkling wine in the United States and two I would describe as exceptional value bubblies that overdeliver in relation to price.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 23, 2020</p> 840b8ce6a54462affa08fae25737d7d7 Wineries to Watch for 06/16/2020 Tue, 16 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>As I pore over the results of each wine competition I manage (there are four), I make every effort to spot emerging trends, particularly wineries that seem to be on the rise.</p> <p>The recent 38th annual San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge did not disappoint, yielding a number of stellar performances by wineries that are either new or relatively unknown. No winery fit that profile better than Lightpost Winery, a newcomer to the California Central Coast located in Morgan Hill, south of San Jose.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 16, 2020</p> e3c4e8c77a2bce16017588b45942b22a Family Wineries Shine In San Diego for 06/09/2020 Tue, 09 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The 38th annual San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge, the third-oldest wine and spirits competition in the United States, staged what amounted to a family affair over Memorial Day Weekend. <span class="column--highlighted-text">The biggest winners, including winery of the year, V. Sattui, were three family wineries from California.</span></p> <p>Sattui, of course, is a perennial overachiever from the Napa Valley and pretty much dominates every wine competition it enters. Jeff Runquist Wines hails from the less renowned Sierra Foothills, where winemaker Jeff Runquist is climbing toward legendary status with wines of impeccable purity and balance. Navarro Vineyards, founded by Ted Bennett and Deborah Cahn in 1973, now has their two children, Aaron and Sarah, on the team; the wines are the pride of Mendocino County's Anderson Valley and have never been better.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 09, 2020</p> 2e35d70923fc85ecfb4148a42e404315 The Amazing V. Sattui for 06/02/2020 Tue, 02 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>American and foreign wine competitions can be, and often are, unpredictable. It's not unusual for an unknown to show up and claim a top award. But some things never change.</p> <p>One of those would be the inevitability of V. Sattui Winery, one of the Napa Valley's finest. Sattui has long been a giant on the wine competition circuit, collecting major awards and accolades with relative ease.</p> <p>The winery, situated on Highway 29 in the heart of the Napa Valley, is a must-stop for serious wine buffs. If they aren't first attracted by V. Sattui's beautiful picnic grounds, they are quickly won over by the quality of the vast array of wines. Sattui specializes in vineyard-designate bottlings, though its more generic offerings can be equally satisfying.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 02, 2020</p> d2bd4405284c38fe31eb01938ee9023f King of Cornas for 05/26/2020 Tue, 26 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Editor's Note: This column was first published in 2013 and updated for a 2020 release.</p> <p>Unlike many of the winemaking elites of the French wine industry, Jean-Luc Colombo was not born into the business. While growing up in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille, France, Colombo was surrounded by chefs, particularly his mother and grandmother. He envisioned a career in a professional kitchen.<p>Updated: Tue May 26, 2020</p> 36eb9691e94d1767be4d52863f122047 The Grilling Season for 05/19/2020 Tue, 19 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>All across America, the Memorial Day celebration serves as a reminder that summer and backyard barbecues are lurking just around the corner. Indeed, the grilling season is upon us. </p> <p>But burgers and brats don't tell the full story. Adult beverages including wine have an important role, too. Just ask your favorite grillmeister.<p>Updated: Tue May 19, 2020</p> 3df61eb54135bb370cb461306c39444d The White Wine Decant for 05/12/2020 Tue, 12 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Decant a white wine, you say? The mere suggestion will make jaws drop.</p> <p>Decanting, after all, is for older red wines and vintage Port, primarily to remove sediment. At least that's the time-honored custom. In reality, all wines &#8212; red and white, even sparkling &#8212; benefit from decanting.<p>Updated: Tue May 12, 2020</p> 5f86689edb7d5e3e762bcb41fc2e6a31 Wine Industry Survey Indicates Resilience for 05/05/2020 Tue, 05 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>WineAmerica is a trade organization based in Washington, D.C., that lobbies the federal government on behalf of the wine industry. Despite soaring supermarket sales, many wineries have been impacted by the near nationwide shutdown due to COVID-19.</p> <p>To assess the damage, WineAmerica conducted a survey of member wineries, asking for information between March 15 and April 15 of this year. There were 727 responses from 727 wineries across 45 states. The vast majority of respondents (70%) were small wineries producing fewer than 5,000 cases annually.<p>Updated: Tue May 05, 2020</p> 98f11b5af750333d81383221842db917 Sipping Your Way Through SIP for 04/28/2020 Tue, 28 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If you have shelter-in-place restrictions in your state, you are stuck at home and no doubt bored silly. But you enjoy wine, so you're in luck. You have many options for both entertainment and education during this dark period dictated by the spread of the COVID-19 virus.</p> <p>I am bombarded every day with invitations to join virtual wine tastings via Zoom or Instagram. These sessions are not only an opportunity to expand your knowledge; they provide much-needed social interaction, often with winery principles and winemakers.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 28, 2020</p> 71bcd9d030731a5c88b9843904e416a8 Winery to Watch: Scattered Peaks for 04/21/2020 Tue, 21 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Scattered Peaks is the pet project of Derek Benham, an avid surfer ("scattered peaks" is a surfing term that describes sets of waves) and a bit of a daredevil in his private life. <span class="column--highlighted-text">When it comes to wine, however, Benham is all business.</span></p> <p>His company, Purple Wines, has forged a reputation for solid wines at modest prices with brands such as Raeburn, Four Vines and Avalon. The company sources grapes from the Central Coast of California to Sonoma County's Russian River Valley.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 21, 2020</p> ee93c4f7d2b5b9b94571c261a9f8ad98 The Spring Break for 04/14/2020 Tue, 14 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>While sitting at home awaiting the end of social distancing, it might be difficult to conjure up the image of the sunny days ahead that mark the transition from winter to spring. For the wine enthusiast, this is an important transition from the heavier red and white wines we prefer in cold weather to the lighter wines we associate with sunshine and warm weather.</p> <p>Easter is when I typically make the switch, turning toward pinot noir, Beaujolais, lighter Rhone blends and crisp (meaning little or no oak influence) whites. These wines accompany the parallel switch to lighter cuisine as I fire up the grill and plunge into the routine of backyard barbecues every night of the week.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 14, 2020</p> 106f12dfd4c9d39bb35e77df176d746d Bordeaux 2017: The Sweet Spot for 04/07/2020 Tue, 07 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">BORDEAUX, France &#8212; The 2017 vintage of Bordeaux will be arriving in the U.S. retail wine market this spring. I tasted many of the wines from barrel at the primeurs tastings organized by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux in the spring of 2018, when the wines were only available for purchase on "futures" contracts, with delivery in approximately two years. My evaluation of the vintage and the many fine wines it produced follows.</span><br></p> <p>The annual en primeurs event often proves a chore, as everyone muscles through hundreds of young, tannic wines in an attempt to assess their quality and potential.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 07, 2020</p> 3a36804c022c4dd2c3456c6b5cc98128 Bordeaux Futures on the Market for 03/31/2020 Tue, 31 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">BORDEAUX, France &#8212; The 2017 vintage of Bordeaux will be arriving in the U.S. retail wine market this spring. I tasted many of the wines from barrel at the primeurs tastings organized by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux in the spring of 2018, when the wines were only available for purchase on "futures" contracts, with delivery in approximately two years. My evaluation of the vintage and the many fine wines it produced follows.</span><br></p> <p>Although Bordeaux produces the world's most expensive and arguably most sought-after wines, the journey from bud break to harvest is often fraught with peril for the region's vineyards. The 2017 vintage was fairly typical, a roller coaster ride starting with an early spring, followed by a devastating frost, followed by cool weather that delayed ripening and ending with a wet autumn.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 31, 2020</p> 9672359525ec92474b12937bcfad2d13 How COVID-19 Impacts Wine for 03/24/2020 Tue, 24 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Every day over the past couple of weeks, my inbox has been filled with notifications on winery tasting-room closures and offers of free shipping and curbside pickup for those of us who still need our daily wine fix.</p> <p>The wine industry is hurting, along with the rest of the U.S. economy, as businesses struggle to cope with operating restrictions made necessary by the spread of COVID-19. The greatest impact will no doubt be visited upon boutique producers that cater to the on-premise market, meaning restaurants, which are largely shuttered throughout the nation.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 24, 2020</p> 9292a4f1950c6b087ddc3502bd9ec032 Readers Write In for 03/17/2020 Tue, 17 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>From time to time, I receive mail with broad wine questions of interest to all readers. I received two this week.</p> <p>Tom Bowman writes: "I enjoy your column in the Epoch Times and was hoping that you could give my wife and I your recommendation. We are more inclined to favor white wines and usually the sweeter ones like muscat cannelli and moscato. Do you have any recommendations for us?"<p>Updated: Tue Mar 17, 2020</p> 60d9cbac930b9433a7eac2d51ccd41b2 Winery to Watch: Oregon's WillaKenzie for 03/10/2020 Tue, 10 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The wines of Oregon's WillaKenzie Estate are priced to impress. They're made that way, too.</p> <p>Winemaker Erik Kramer, who joined WillaKenzie after a 13-year career split between the Willamette Valley's highly regarded Adelsheim and Domaine Serene wineries, has been on a roll since arriving in January 2017.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 10, 2020</p> d46a691e50ad318c0e69b766750ac68b Dry Rose Favorites in Time for Spring for 03/03/2020 Tue, 03 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The American wine consumer, once reluctant to drink pink wine, long ago abandoned the silly myth that pink equals sweet. Dry rose wines are now widely embraced for the freshness and zing that made them popular in southern Europe for decades.</p> <p>Trust me on this: If you love wine, there is almost nothing more refreshing on a warm spring or summer day than a beautifully structured dry rose. By that, I mean a rose wine that is cultivated to deliver bright acidity and fermented dry. The crisp finish is the key element I look for when I buy rose.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 03, 2020</p> baae22a0592fdcee326865dc11c3795a End of an Era for 02/25/2020 Tue, 25 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Just a few days ago, Merry Edwards posted pictures of her final day at the Merry Edwards Winery, which the legendary winemaker founded in Sebastopol, California, in 1997.</p> <p>Merry, who started her career as a winemaker in 1974 at Mount Eden Vineyards in California's Santa Cruz Mountains, has retired after an illustrious 45-year career. In this column I frequently called her the Queen of Pinot Noir, although she was best known in the early years for stellar cabernet sauvignon while at Mount Eden and for breakthrough merlot during a stint at Matanzas Creek.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 25, 2020</p> e633b29cfa51a2b8d32b04bf9fdbf9b1 Winery to Watch: Lightpost for 02/18/2020 Tue, 18 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Winemaker Christian Roguenant arrived in California some 35 years ago. A native of the Burgundy region in France, he quickly gained fame making elegant sparkling wines at Maison Deutz near Pismo Beach. Deutz eventually gave way to Lateita Winery, and Roguenant moved on, working for the Niven family in the nearby Edna Valley.</p> <p>With the Nivens, his reputation only grew as he cranked out superb pinot noir and chardonnay under the Baileyana label. He also began to explore the aromatic white wines of Western Europe, producing some of the first albarino (Tangent) and gruner veltliner (Zocker) wines made in the United States.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 18, 2020</p>