Wine Talk from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 28 Jul 2021 19:17:02 -0700 Wine Talk from Creators Syndicate be9bbd8b730bea78f3c5f87c75bc4fd7 Bordeaux 2016: Graves and Pessac-Leognan for 03/09/2021 Tue, 09 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>BORDEAUX, France &#8212; The drumbeat for a great vintage has been mastered in Bordeaux, and sometimes the Bordelaise even get it right.</p> <p>But after the first day of tasting wines from the 2016 vintage at the annual En Primeur event for the wine press, hosted by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, the jury was still out in my estimation. To be sure, there were many exceptional wines, though anyone would be hard-pressed after the first day to make the case that 2016 stacked up alongside such legendary vintages as the 2010, 2005 or 1982.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 09, 2021</p> 4a5a45c4860e7269ce5c3b678828b764 Quality You Can Take to the Bank for 03/02/2021 Tue, 02 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Over the past several months, I have recommended a number of exceptional wines from Merry Edwards Winery, regarded by many as the queen of California pinot noir.</p> <p>Although Merry Edwards launched her career making top-notch cabernet sauvignon at Mount Eden in the Santa Cruz Mountains, she really found her mojo when she relocated to the Russian River Valley and started producing stunning vineyard-designate pinot noirs.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 02, 2021</p> c83d9ce7f094aba5267e3198c6318691 A Rare 100-Point Wine for 02/23/2021 Tue, 23 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It isn't often that I award a wine a perfect score of 100 points. I don't keep track, but over the past 25 years and the thousands of wine samples that have crossed my desk, I'd guess I've unloaded a 100-point rating a dozen times &#8212; two dozen at most.</p> <p>I remember a vintage of the Feudi di San Gregorio Serpico from Italy and the Stelling Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Nickel & Nickel. The rest are something a blur.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 23, 2021</p> 5cd43d1654f1be080e13a78da86a8e00 10 Great Whites for Spring for 02/16/2021 Tue, 16 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">The snowstorm that blanketed New York City and much of the northeast in recent weeks notwithstanding, there is good reason to think about the white wines we want to drink when the warmer weather of spring finally arrives. For one thing, nothing says spring like the move to daylight saving time, no matter what the thermometer of the back porch is telling you.</span><br></p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">With warmer days in mind, I've put together a wish list of 10 white wines that offer a range of flavors and interesting complexities without being overwrought or heavy. </span>In other words, perfect for spring sipping. In alphabetical order:<p>Updated: Tue Feb 16, 2021</p> 4abaac82ca67b22e8505afa187b19b5e Time to Think Pink for 02/09/2021 Tue, 09 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The arrival of Valentine's Day marks a turning point for many wine enthusiasts, particularly those who have recently come to love dry rose wines.</p> <p>Not only is dry rose a natural for the Valentine's tradition but it also signals the coming of spring and warmer days. Rose wines, which are seldom aged in oak barrels, are typically among the first new wine releases of spring.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 09, 2021</p> 723e0df1626ba800fba16d2100a47929 Better With Age for 02/02/2021 Tue, 02 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Years ago, on a trip to Bordeaux to taste samples from a new vintage, I had the opportunity to have dinner at Domaine de Chevalier. The host, Domaine de Chevalier owner Olivier Bernard, used the occasion to raid the Chevalier cellar for a couple of seriously old bottles of wine.</p> <p>If memory serves, the vintage was 1927, or thereabouts. There were two wines. Both had been decanted and presented at table. One was red; the other white. Remarkably, both were the same color.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 02, 2021</p> 172ca79c98cf1b88e7f276fd7e9002a7 Super Wines for $20 or Less for 01/26/2021 Tue, 26 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The party animal within most wine enthusiasts presents an eternal conflict. When serving a large gathering, do you go for quality or price? For all but those with the deepest pockets, price generally wins.</p> <p>That is, unless you can do both. With a modest budget of $10 to $20 a bottle, I'm of the opinion that anybody can throw a party with world-class wines that everyone will enjoy. And I've done the research that proves this beyond a reasonable doubt.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 26, 2021</p> dc4a9af3b831923547a2b9b9d3693f40 Wine-Pairing Myths for 01/19/2021 Tue, 19 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">If you find it useful when someone suggests a specific food to pair with a specific wine, you aren't alone. I appreciate the advice and often make my own suggestions. Fresh crab with Chablis; oysters with Muscadet; and Champagne with lox are specific pairings I enjoy and sometimes pass along. The problem with suggested pairings, however, is that sometimes they are seen as etched in stone, which inhibits exploration that could well prove enlightening.</span><br></p> <p>There are a couple of myths I would like to tackle this week. The first is the oft-repeated wisdom that red wine can't be served with fish unless it's pinot noir with salmon. I beg to differ. <p>Updated: Tue Jan 19, 2021</p> 42433e61a7ff05be75f88ab523166760 The Cork Problem for 01/12/2021 Tue, 12 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>You may recall the issue of so-called cork taint that ravaged the wine industry not so long ago.</p> <p>Many natural corks were infected with a compound called TCA (short for trichloroanisole, which forms through interactions between plant phenols, chlorine and mold). TCA was a huge problem until recently, spoiling many bottles of wine, including some of the most expensive, with an unpleasant, musty aroma.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 12, 2021</p> b1fd75ebcfa5c1843d74c94a8e7fffc7 Big Winners of 2020 for 01/05/2021 Tue, 05 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The many setbacks of 2020 notwithstanding, there were numerous bright spots for the wine industry over the course of the year.</p> <p>As regular readers of this column know, I oversee four major international wine competitions. The insights I gain as I digest the competition results &#8212; from new trends and developments to the confirmation of long-held truths &#8212; give me a unique window into the year-to-year evolution of the wine world.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 05, 2021</p> 992d5ff44d4053c2fa9e66edd323d3e7 2020 Hindsight for 12/29/2020 Tue, 29 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Sometime around late February or early March, the biannual Grands Jours de Bourgogne was canceled. It was followed shortly thereafter by postponement, then cancellation of the annual en primeurs tastings hosted in Bordeaux by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux for the wine trade and media.</p> <p>Other dominoes quickly fell as wineries throughout the United States shut down their tasting rooms and canceled sales visits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 29, 2020</p> ca5e9c7fe4ba2457d6da5b2bfcecb0f4 A Schramsberg for the Ages for 12/22/2020 Tue, 22 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>When the late Jack and Jamie Davies purchased the historic Jacob Schram winery in Calistoga, California, in 1965, they embarked upon what must have seemed at the time to be the impossible dream.</p> <p>Their goal was to produce the finest sparkling wine in America at the 100-year-old winery up on Diamond Mountain. They dreamed of a bubbly that would rival Champagne. Problem No. 1, however, was an inconsistent supply of chardonnay. Yet they forged ahead with dramatic results that inspired a number of prominent Champagne houses (Mumm, Taittinger, Moet & Chandon and Roederer, to name a few) to purchase vineyard land in California.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 22, 2020</p> e474260f208e66b7bd49c87e2e2536d4 Why Champagne Dominates for 12/15/2020 Tue, 15 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Given a choice between a bottle of Champagne or a sparkling wine from any other corner of the world, most reasonably sane wine enthusiasts would opt for the Champagne. Of course they would. It's more expensive than other bubblies, so it must be better. That's what the smart crowd thinks.</p> <p>Champagne's unique station in the wine culture is so pervasive that even those who know better casually describe all sparkling wine as Champagne. For the record, only bubbly produced within the carefully drawn boundaries of the Champagne district in northeastern France can legally be sold as Champagne.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Those boundaries are important because they are the main reason Champagne is unique among the world's sparkling wines and incredibly difficult to impersonate.</span> Champagne wannabes abound. Italy and Spain have a few that come close. So does the United States, particularly in California. Even France has any number of bubblies, typically called cremant, that can be substituted for Champagne when a sparkling wine is called for.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 16, 2020</p> 2c55735fd318af0f4c3c60ca7a6ba604 Winery to Watch: Blackbird Vineyards for 12/08/2020 Tue, 08 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Conventional wisdom tells us that the Napa Valley's prominence in the world of fine wine is built upon its extraordinary success with one grape variety: cabernet sauvignon. Cabernet sauvignon, as it happens, is a red grape variety also prominent in the Bordeaux region of southwestern France. Hence the fascination in the Napa Valley with so-called Bordeaux-style red blends.</p> <p>Most are heavily dependent upon excellent cabernet sauvignon. Then there is Blackbird Vineyards in the Oak Knoll District, which was planted with merlot in 1997. Grapes were sold to nearby wineries. Purchased by Michael Polenske in 2003, it has morphed into an ultra-premium boutique winery that now sources grapes from other top-notch Napa Valley vineyards, such as Stagecoach.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 08, 2020</p> 4e3555e09f7bd10b0ed1eadcab1360b6 Budget-Wine Strategies for 12/01/2020 Tue, 01 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Early on in my wine journey, I developed a healthy respect for budget wines, and not because I was cheap. My goal from the moment I got hooked on fine wine was to put together a collection of top-notch wines from around the world, a noble but expensive proposition no matter where you shop.</p> <p>What I discovered in those early buying sprees was that I was consuming the collectible wines almost as fast as I could purchase them, which sort of defeats the purpose of creating a personal wine cellar. I wasn't aging my most precious wines to perfection, because I was reaching for a "great" wine to serve with dinner on a nightly basis.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 01, 2020</p> ad48d0789ed7af3f818d3c61b22f14f1 Beaujolais Nouveau Has Landed for 11/24/2020 Tue, 24 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Just in time for Thanksgiving, the 2020 Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived. The official release date was Nov. 19. </p> <p>Just as Pilgrims gathered to celebrate the bounty of harvest, the French have a long tradition of celebrating the end of the wine harvest by drinking the so-called vin de primeur, young wines from that year's harvest that have only recently finished fermentation.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 24, 2020</p> 5f42e4e82047fecdc0f2b3e052fc4408 Thanksgiving: Challenge or Opportunity? for 11/17/2020 Tue, 17 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The Thanksgiving table is often seen as a challenge by those who seek to serve the perfect wine with every meal. The combination of sweet and savory, and the sheer number of courses, present a bit of a gauntlet for the average wine enthusiast. I take a slightly different approach.</p> <p>I look at the Thanksgiving table as an opportunity. Start with the premise that there is no single wine that suits each course and pleases every palate.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 17, 2020</p> b10b2eb9dd3298dae6f6b2d00ee4889f Winery to Watch: St. Supery for 11/10/2020 Tue, 10 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>NAPA, California &#8212; Cruising along Highway 29 through the Napa Valley is a feast for the eyes of even the most casual wine lover. From Napa to Calistoga, the hits just keep rolling past: Trefethen, Cardinale, Opus One, Robert Mondavi, Cakebread, Corison, Grgich Hills, Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel, Heitz, Martini, Beringer, Krug, Sterling, to name a few.</p> <p>It's a star-studded neighborhood. Some of the wineries are historic; other are cultish; but all are prominent. This is a remarkable section of the wine world, where even splendid wineries often can and do fly under the radar.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 10, 2020</p> f114472ba23297153aa192a8b119925f Napa Valley on the Rebound for 11/03/2020 Tue, 03 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>NAPA, California &#8212; The drive south through the Napa Valley from Calistoga to St. Helena, along the Silverado Trail, is one of the most beautiful and iconic in American wine. On one side of the trail, there is Howell Mountain, with its many historic vineyard properties. On the other side, the remarkable Three Palms Vineyard stretches across the valley floor.</p> <p>Along the way, the legendary Meadowood Resort is tucked away and deeply forested in the shadows of Howell Mountain.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 03, 2020</p> e106dcb4cf81b2d90113cfc5916d95e2 Napa Valley Fire Update for 10/27/2020 Tue, 27 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>On Oct. 20, CalFire announced the Napa Valley's devastating Glass fire was 100% contained. The Glass fire, which raged for 23 days, was perhaps the most destructive in the history of America's most prominent wine region.</p> <p>The wreckage included 67,000 acres burned and more than 1,500 structures destroyed or damaged, including such iconic wineries as Newton and Cain Cellars and the Michelin three-star restaurant at the famed Meadowood Resort.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 27, 2020</p>