Wine Talk from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 05 Apr 2020 05:24:22 -0700 Wine Talk from Creators Syndicate 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> 443a4619b658994aab9a39a2e7bd8419 5 Great Valentine's Bubblies for 02/11/2020 Tue, 11 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Valentine's Day presents a unique opportunity for wine lovers. Although there are many excellent options for a Valentine's wine, there is one slam dunk. And that would be bubbly. Throughout its many iterations &#8212; Champagne, cava, Prosecco, cremant, domestic sparkling, etc. &#8212; bubbly brings the sparkle to the party.</p> <p>That isn't to say you couldn't swing and miss with a mediocre bubbly, but superb sparkling wines are abundant. There is no good reason to strike out. These five, across a broad range of price points, are sure to carry the day.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 11, 2020</p> ab1fd44cbb07f4b66201c7acc63dde1c The Family Winery for 02/04/2020 Tue, 04 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Like most wine enthusiasts, I am fond of wines with a good story. Of course, they must taste good, too. Yet there is no question a solid backstory enhances the appeal.</p> <p>In particular, small family wineries serving up great wines have long fed that desire to serve a story at the dinner table along with the evening's wine. In recent years, however, a number of the most successful family wineries &#8212; Gary Farrell, Arrowood and Merry Edwards quickly come to mind &#8212; have been sold to large wine companies.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 04, 2020</p> 33e1c272ff7e1d6ce7950826b61bc22a Ledson Scores a Rare Double for 01/28/2020 Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>In the early 1990s, when winemaker Steve Ledson broke ground on the Ledson winery and his dream home along Highway 12 in the Sonoma Valley, it was the talk of the town &#8212; the town being nearby Santa Rosa. It isn't every day you find a 16,000-square-foot French castle going up in the neighborhood.</p> <p>The Castle became a popular tourist attraction and generated substantial buzz, sometimes overshadowing the Ledson wines, which were very good but hardly as dramatic.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 28, 2020</p> e6ac19cf84eb7deb932d730761f59fa0 The 2020 Crystal Ball for 01/21/2020 Tue, 21 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>There are numerous predictions of gloom and doom circulating throughout the wine business these days. Much of the hand-wringing has been inspired by a couple of business-insider reports that indicate a) we are in the midst of a wine glut and b) growth in wine consumption has stagnated as millennials seem to be gravitating toward other adult beverages, particularly hard seltzer and craft beer.</p> <p>Fear not; we've seen this play before. Let me address the glut first. After decades of consistent growth in consumption of 3% to 4% a year, growth was flat or down slightly, depending on who you listen to, in 2019. That dip, combined with increased vineyard acreage (especially in California), has left a considerable backlog of inventory heading into 2020.</p> <p>The ripple effect is undeniable. Grape growers, conditioned to years of strong demand, were understandably concerned that the 2019 harvest was a hard sell. I would remind everyone that this is the nature of farming. In my nearly 30 years as a wine journalist, I've seen this cycle repeat itself more times than I can count.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 21, 2020</p> 17b3e0c9e51de231ccc50bce9cfa12c0 2019 Wines in Review for 01/14/2020 Tue, 14 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Although I missed about one third of my typical annual tasting regimen while recovering from knee surgery, over the course of 2019 I did manage to squeeze in dozens (more likely hundreds) of wines I would characterize as profound including two &#8212; the ZD 2015 cabernet sauvignon reserve and the 2015 Castello Banfi ExcelsuS &#8212; that I awarded a perfect score of 100 points.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">There were so many absolutely brilliant wines, in fact, that a recap seems to be in order. </span>The following are the 30 (plus ties) highest-scoring wines that I reviewed in 2019. Enjoy.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 14, 2020</p> 4b83acbf4470639ed26a42b91fe6e4f4 Wine-Pairing Myths for 01/07/2020 Tue, 07 Jan 2020 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. <span class="column--highlighted-text">The first is the oft-repeated wisdom that red wine can't be served with fish unless it's pinot noir with salmon.</span> I beg to differ. <p>Updated: Tue Jan 07, 2020</p> 4bf043646852c1bc562c0b29078bf94e Our 2019 Winery of the Year for 12/31/2019 Tue, 31 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Over the course of the past year, I have tasted thousands of wines, judged multiple wine competitions and traveled thousands of miles to evaluate wines from Bordeaux to the Napa Valley. The wineries that sparkled are too numerous to mention.</p> <p>Still, there was one that rose up and smacked me between the eyes in 2019. If you guessed it must be a winery from the famed Napa Valley, you would be wrong. France or Italy, maybe? Nope.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 31, 2019</p> 01f1623651a3b6df0fb7f11f2f829601 The Sparkling Wine Hierarchy for 12/24/2019 Tue, 24 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Admit it, you're one of those wine lovers who only thinks about bubbly between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. And if you're not, you certainly crave the fizz more around the holidays. At least that's what the numbers indicate. The bulk of U.S. sparkling wine sales come in the final two months of the year &#8212; every year.</p> <p>So, a refresher course in the world of sparkling wine may be in order.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 24, 2019</p> ca3421df1c03529b8c92bea7f84a5e77 Go-To Wines for Gifting for 12/17/2019 Tue, 17 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>During the gifting season, I am inclined to wander the wine aisles at the Costco near me hoping for a wine or two that speaks to me. The wines that speak loudest are typically my go-to wines. They've become my go-to wines because they are reliable, regardless of vintage.</p> <p>For example, if I spy anything from Guigal, Chapoutier or Jean-Luc Colombo &#8212; three great producers from France's Rhone Valley &#8212; into the shopping cart it goes.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 17, 2019</p> e2b054c923552bb671dc56826176925e After Dinner for 12/10/2019 Tue, 10 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>A number of years ago, while covering the annual Bordeaux en primeurs tastings in France, I decided to decamp for the week at the lovely Cordeillan-Bages, a Relais & Chateaux hotel in Pauillac. The attraction for me was the restaurant, which had one Michelin star at the time.</p> <p>Over the course of en primeurs week, I had the opportunity to dine at Cordeillan-Bages on a number of occasions and struck up a rapport with the restaurant's young sommelier. One of the unique features of the restaurant was a private room to enjoy an after-dinner drink with a fine Cuban cigar.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 10, 2019</p> aa56504ac1cff487a9cc2c620ef23457 Gift Ideas for Wine Lovers for 12/03/2019 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>With Thanksgiving squarely in the rearview mirror, it's time to turn our attention to the gifting season. There is a common perception that buying for a wine enthusiast presents a tremendous challenge. But why go through the anxiety of choosing the perfect wine for your friend or loved one? </p> <p>There is a better way. Gift that person something that enhances the wine experience. Of course, I have a few ideas.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 03, 2019</p> 7b0494657d56fdaec064b34fa3c46f4e The Thanksgiving Table for 11/26/2019 Tue, 26 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The annual Thanksgiving feast is the best of times for a wine enthusiast.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">The combination of sweet and savory flavors on the typical Thanksgiving table opens the door to a multitude of options. </span>Add to that the versatility of a roast turkey all by itself and a person almost can't go wrong no matter the wine selection.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 26, 2019</p> 49d86b88ac2825c8f8e23c7ba8573335 The Wines of Bibiana for 11/19/2019 Tue, 19 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p></p><p>When Bibiana decided to quit her university studies in Columbia, she set out for France with little more than a backpack and a dream.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 19, 2019</p>