Wine Talk from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 22 Jul 2019 23:55:46 -0700 Wine Talk from Creators Syndicate 31fc55c3ffd8f91416b1b6966a9c2103 The Perfect Summer Wine for 07/23/2019 Tue, 23 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages will set you back about 11 bucks. The Beaujolais Villages from Maison Louis Jadot can be found for under 10.</p> <p>Jadot's more upscale Beaujolais, its Chateau des Jacques lineup of Beaujolais crus, retails in the low $20 range. Ditto the Beaujolais crus from Duboeuf. I found the Duboeuf Beaujolais crus Brouilly for $23.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 23, 2019</p> 43fd7e2095fbc970e31b220899180e13 Direct-to-Consumer Restrictions in Peril at SCOTUS for 07/16/2019 Tue, 16 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Wineries scored a huge victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 when the court ruled that state laws that banned direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipments of wine were unconstitutional if the same law allowed DTC shipments by in-state wineries.</p> <p>The decision was a boon to wineries eager to avoid the so-called "three-tier" system and sell and ship directly to wine consumers, thereby cutting out the middlemen and increasing profits. Small wineries that lacked clout with large distributors benefited most. Since the ruling, many states have altered their laws to permit out-of-state wineries to ship directly to consumers, and currently, 44 states allow consumers to accept out-of-state winery shipments.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 16, 2019</p> 978aa1b0d4381f3f0679bc539d7d5572 Time to Chill for 07/09/2019 Tue, 09 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Now is the time to enjoy those crisp, cool, refreshing white wines that will bring down the temperature on a warm summer day. With summer in full swing, riesling, gruner veltliner, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, albarino and the like are enjoying peak demand and flying off the shelves. And that begs the question: Is there any room for red wine at your picnic table?</p> <p>The answer, of course, is yes. <span class="column--highlighted-text">The secret to red wine in summer is the chill. </span>Forget everything you've ever heard about serving red wine at room temperature. Room temperature on a hot summer day can be anywhere from 80 degrees to well above 100.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 09, 2019</p> e3b761516238e178b63973ef4378ac6b 4 Sizzling Roses for the Fourth for 07/02/2019 Tue, 02 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Fireworks needn't be the only sizzle in your Fourth of July celebration this week. You can bring a bit of sparkle to the party with a crisp, dry rose wine long before the pyrotechnics begin.</p> <p>Everyone will thank you because <span class="column--highlighted-text">few adult beverages are as refreshing on a hot summer day</span>. That's only one of the reasons dry roses are suddenly changing minds and winning fans. The other is a dramatically improved product.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 02, 2019</p> 00be428fae682bfc5dc8bd2b09130ece The World's Most Expensive Rose Wine for 06/25/2019 Tue, 25 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Gerard Bertrand, the man, fondly remembers his start in the wine business.</p> <p>"Officially, it was 32 years ago," he says, "but actually, I started working with my father when I was 10, 44 years ago."<p>Updated: Tue Jun 25, 2019</p> 67c20be2ad29f982e88e621ed01fb488 Runquist Wines Crush It at Critics Challenge for 06/18/2019 Tue, 18 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Over the course of my 29-year career as a wine columnist, I've staged more than 70 wine competitions and judged countless others. Each of those events has brought new insights and occasional revelations.</p> <p>The 16th annual Critics Challenge in San Diego June 8-9 delivered a revelation. Jeff Runquist, who took his first winemaking position at California's Montevina Winery in 1982, has emerged as a rock star this year, his 37th year on the job.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 18, 2019</p> 41d772a4888eb53e74308ea3fbd9614b Banfi's 100-Point Wine for 06/11/2019 Tue, 11 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A 100-point wine is a rare and beautiful thing. It is my good fortune to come across a wine once or twice a year that is so compelling I have little choice but to give it my highest mark. Such was the case the first weekend in June when I had the pleasure of tasting all wines given platinum awards at the 16th annual Critics Challenge in San Diego.</p> <p>This unique wine competition, founded by yours truly, brings together wine journalists from around the United States (and this year, Panos Kakaviatos from Strasbourg, France) to evaluate newly released wines and pass out accolades when appropriate. The 15 journalists assembled this year judged more than 1,100 wines and awarded silver, gold and platinum medals to those that rose to the top.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 11, 2019</p> ec41a1a7dd2f4329689b86fc8cbcfff5 Wines Across America for 06/04/2019 Tue, 04 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Hang around a wine geek long enough and you will inevitably hear the word "terroir." It is a term coined by the French to explain the influence of a particular vineyard site on the structure and taste of the wines produced there.</p> <p>Terroir takes into account factors such as sunshine, soil composition and annual rainfall. This is the reason vineyard-designate wines typically cost more than more generic regional wines.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 04, 2019</p> 5fcf08377c3213b3940ee6ff314f018c The Robert Parker Legacy for 05/28/2019 Tue, 28 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If you have even a passing interest in wine, you've no doubt heard the name Robert Parker. At the peak of his popularity, Robert M. Parker Jr. was the most influential wine critic in the world. A Parker score of 90 points or better was pure gold for those who made and sold wine.</p> <p>Although Parker, 71, had lightened his prodigious workload in recent years, it was only a few days ago that he formally announced his retirement from the Wine Advocate, the publication he founded in 1978.<p>Updated: Tue May 28, 2019</p> 4073eb30915246721828ec034dc2a70b The Grilling Season for 05/21/2019 Tue, 21 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off the grilling season in most parts of the country. For some, that means stocking the pantry with wines appropriate for the occasion.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">What's appropriate ultimately comes down to personal taste, but a few of the many options are universal. </span>First, and perhaps foremost, find out what the grillmeister prefers to drink while slaving over a hot grill on a warm day. For moi, it's a crisp, dry rose. For someone else it might be a minerally gruner veltliner, or a tart sauvignon blanc.</p> <p>Trust me on this. If the grillmeister is happy, you will be happy.<p>Updated: Tue May 21, 2019</p> 781a6c76d9763af776311c43a718f90b Age Matters at Cognac Frapin for 05/14/2019 Tue, 14 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>COGNAC, France &#8212; Here in this mysterious land known officially as Charente or Charente-Maritime, roughly an hour's drive north of Bordeaux, the rolling hills are covered with hundreds of thousands of acres of vines that produce wine no one will ever drink.</p> <p>The primary grapes planted in the region &#8212; ugni blanc, folle blanche and colombard &#8212; yield wines that are typically thin and acidic and generally unfit for human consumption. They're perfect for the production of cognac, the epitome of grape brandy and one of the world's most refined and sophisticated spirits.<p>Updated: Tue May 14, 2019</p> e8b0f3f8d4cc68f2ebcd5680cae0c4e5 The Prosecco Push for 05/07/2019 Tue, 07 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Champagne producers frequently lament that the bulk of sales to U.S. consumers comes around the holidays, between November and the end of December. Champagne should be consumed year-round, I am told. I agree completely &#8212; for those who can afford it.</p> <p>The Prosecco gang has no such problem. The soft, fruity sparkling wine from northeast Italy is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the U.S. wine market precisely because wine lovers of all stripes can afford it. A decent Prosecco costs a fraction of the price you would pay for a decent nonvintage brut Champagne.</p> <p>My local grocery has floor-stacked Prosecco at prices ranging from $10 to $15. No wonder Prosecco is flying off the shelf. Unfortunately, the low prices sometimes give the false impression that it is cheap and somehow lesser than. The Consorzio Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG hopes to change the perception with a campaign to educate U.S. restaurateurs and consumers about the notable qualities of Prosecco from this most important of all the Prosecco-producing regions.<p>Updated: Tue May 07, 2019</p> ea367c3480107d45a924bec1fb9e4aa5 What Would Mom Like? for 04/30/2019 Tue, 30 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If you're one of those inclined to give that special woman in your life something other than an all-you-can-eat buffet for Mother's Day, listen up.</p> <p>A beautiful wine could be your salvation. Ah, but which one? There's the rub. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Mother's Day is but one day a year, yet there are so many wines to choose from.</span><p>Updated: Tue Apr 30, 2019</p> 01eaed4c814a35511e3cfe6b80193006 Trinchero Value Wines Strike Gold for 04/23/2019 Tue, 23 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The 37th annual San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge introduced a new award this year, making Trinchero Family Estates its first wine company of the year based on its performance at the April 6-7 judging.</p> <p>The award was created to recognize wine companies that demonstrate a commitment to high quality and consistency across multiple brands and price points. Trinchero, based in the Napa Valley, submitted 87 wines for consideration and was rewarded with a stunning 71 medals, second only to the 81 medals (from 101 entries) claimed by E. & J. Gallo of Modesto, California.</p> <p>The competition directors gave the edge to Trinchero based on the quality of its medals, particularly platinum (it had eight, Gallo four) and gold (Trinchero had 24, Gallo 27).<p>Updated: Tue Apr 23, 2019</p> bcc2090d178bdb068e909661696d9465 Oceano Surprises at San Diego Judging for 04/16/2019 Tue, 16 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The element of surprise is easily the most scintillating aspect of a "blind" wine tasting. When all bias in favor of region, producer and price is removed, anything can happen and often does.</p> <p>Such was the case at the 37th San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge from April 6-7. One of the youngest wineries (first vintage 2016) to enter one of the oldest wine competitions in the United States (founded in 1982) scored a stunning, some might even say surprising, triumph when the 2017 Oceano Spanish Springs Vineyard Chardonnay ($38) emerged as the domestic Wine of the Year at the venerable competition.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 16, 2019</p> 7965ecfa7946ba9eb4f68613b719a515 Bordeaux 2018: 20 Fab Reds for 04/09/2019 Tue, 09 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>BORDEAUX, France &#8212; The splendid 2018 vintage of red Bordeaux marks the fourth consecutive very good to outstanding harvest in arguably the world's most closely watched wine region. Given its marginal climate, which is often too cold to fully ripen its red grape varieties, the current streak of above-average vintages is unprecedented in recent decades.</p> <p>The 2018 Bordeaux reds owe their lush aromas and generally fine tannins to a warm, dry summer that carried through the harvest without interruption. While a few chateaux suffered significant crop loss due to mildew or hail, the broader picture was one of healthy, ripe fruit that was picked in excellent condition.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 09, 2019</p> 43cfdd7b3a5ab98e678f1f98debdffa7 Bordeaux 2018: First Impressions for 04/02/2019 Tue, 02 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>BORDEAUX, France &#8212; In an annual rite of spring, thousands of wine merchants and dozens, if not hundreds, of wine journalists descend upon this city to take stock of the latest Bordeaux vintage. It matters not that these wines will not be released into the market for almost two years. Interest is driven by the sale of Bordeaux "futures" now.</p> <p>A futures contract allows a wine merchant to purchase Bordeaux at the opening price for delivery in approximately two years. They're wagering that after aging in barrel for two years, the wines will cost considerably more, especially after the media spread the (hopefully) good news. In good to great vintages, that bet can pay off handsomely.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 02, 2019</p> 7d02700a9af2e8d8e30cf064abd81ac0 Behind the Curtain for 03/26/2019 Tue, 26 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>PARIS &#8212; As my Boeing 787-900 touched down at Charles De Gaulle, I quietly thanked American Airlines for reminding me why I fly business class on long international flights.</p> <p>My re-education began when I arrived in Dallas for my connection to Paris. I was informed of a change from a 787-800 to a 787-900 with eight fewer business class seats. This forced the airline to bump me back into premium economy, or behind the curtain &#8212; real or imagined &#8212; as I call it. The gate agent explained I had been "downgraded."</p> <p>Although initially annoyed, I quickly rebooted and decided to accept the downgrade as an opportunity to find out what goes on behind the curtain. I'm no stranger to economy class on trans-Atlantic flights, but it's been years, especially since I was diagnosed with a medical condition that puts me at greater risk of blood clots. The more comfortable go-flat seats mitigate that potential danger, in my opinion.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 26, 2019</p> 62a6bf64d2b46d51dfa18d4abf155409 The Ledson Castle for 03/19/2019 Tue, 19 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>KENWOOD, Calif. &#8212; In 1989, when Steve Ledson began construction of his dream house along Highway 12 in the Sonoma Valley, he had trouble convincing neighbors and passers-by that the huge edifice, designed as a European castle and surrounded by vineyards, wasn't just another new winey in the neighborhood.</p> <p>Understandable, considering the highly regarded Chateau St. Jean, St. Francis and Arrowood wineries were also located just down the road.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 19, 2019</p> ddac5136ccf87de33a23695fe4cff05d Winery to Watch: Rowen for 03/12/2019 Tue, 12 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A few years back, the now-retired Rick Sayre described a novel concept for Rodney Strong Vineyards, where he presided as winemaker for more than three decades. Sayre called it a "winery within a winery." </p> <p>The winery within the winery at Rodney Strong is called Rowen. <span class="column--highlighted-text">The Rowen brand utilizes a unique new source of grapes, the Cooley Ranch in northern Sonoma County. </span>What makes the 20,000-acre property unique is the rugged terrain, with steep hillsides and peak elevations above 2,000 feet.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 12, 2019</p>