Wine Talk from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 15 Sep 2019 21:18:37 -0700 Wine Talk from Creators Syndicate 4427996d3a6c60f5906352edc105d69c Tailgate Tips for 09/10/2019 Tue, 10 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The kickoff of football season always reminds me of burned brats, warm white wine and that sinking feeling when you learn no one remembered to bring a corkscrew. Tailgate parties don't have to be a disappointing launch into an otherwise glorious autumn afternoon, though they often are.</p> <p>Over the years, <span class="column--highlighted-text">I've learned a few lessons that I will now share with those inclined to want wine instead of beer at the next tailgate party.</span><p>Updated: Tue Sep 10, 2019</p> 5428ab73f3e0d1488246f4520ced5c5a Diving Back Into Samples for 09/03/2019 Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>You may have noticed that our "Wine Talk" tasting notes have been on hiatus for the past several weeks, while your humble correspondent recovered from knee-replacement surgery. While I stepped to the tasting sidelines, the stack of samples grew and grew and grew.</p> <p>Now on the mend and off the pain meds, I've taken a deep dive into my growing pile of samples and dedicated this week's "Wine Talk" to the noble quest of catching up. As most longtime readers know, I only recommend wines that I personally find appealing, and I don't discriminate by price.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 04, 2019</p> e9a8a60b9fe4d8dfc2b5c65168b825b5 The Spottswoode Story for 08/27/2019 Tue, 27 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>On a recent tour of Southern California with longtime winemaker Aron Weinkauf in tow, Spottswoode's Beth Novak Milliken presented another stunning vintage of Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2016 Spottswoode Cab is much like every Spottswoode Cabernet that came before it &#8212; a Napa Valley classic that seems to defy vintage variation.</p> <p>The late Jack and Mary Novak had no idea, of course, that they had settled upon one of America's greatest vineyard sites when they purchased the historic property in St. Helena in 1972. Their goal at the time was to move their five children from the San Diego area to a more rural setting. And given the property's history &#8212; the first wine grapes had been planted in 1882 &#8212; they became winegrowers, selling their cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc to iconic wineries such as Robert Mondavi, Caymus, Heitz and Duckhorn.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 27, 2019</p> a6d600bb65ff497dfa0a3876b9c1bb24 A Stealth Juggernaut for 08/20/2019 Tue, 20 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Unless you're a wine industry insider, chances are you've never heard of the Vintage Wine Estates.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Whether by clever design or simply an accident, Sonoma-based Vintage Wine Estates (VWE) is a high-fly act that manages to cruise under the radar, a stealth juggernaut that now controls 30-plus wineries and/or wine brands plus two separate spirits companies.</span><p>Updated: Tue Aug 20, 2019</p> 955efc9070ee753afa4e7465fef8adf1 Best Winery Tasting Room? for 08/13/2019 Tue, 13 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">Hardly a day passes that I don't come across an invitation to vote on social media for the best winery tasting room in California. Best, of course, is best only in the eyes of the beholder.</span><br></p> <p>Personally, I have a fondness for the Eberle Winery in Paso Robles, which celebrates its 40th vintage this year. Eberle is situated on California Highway 46, which links the vast Central Valley of California with the state's Central Coast, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.<p>Updated: Mon Aug 19, 2019</p> 140ff9af6135c886c22a4d057c52ec78 Wine Competition Daze for 08/06/2019 Tue, 06 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If you enjoy wine and occasionally read the shelf talkers in the wine department where you shop, you are no doubt aware that we are awash in wine competitions throughout these United States.</p> <p>Wine competitions are nothing more than organized blind wine tastings, "blind" being the operative word. Each wine's identity is concealed from the judges &#8212; generally respected wine industry professionals &#8212; to ensure awards are based on the merits rather than the prestige of a famous label.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 06, 2019</p> fb13ede4b16448fd45bbd1b8323f82c8 International Canned Wine Competition for 07/30/2019 Tue, 30 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The best line from the first International Canned Wine Competition (ICWC) was uttered by Handley Cellars winemaker Randy Schock, who was among the judges evaluating the more than 200 entries at the July 24 Mendocino County Fairgrounds in California. Schock said tasting the canned wines made him "think about how to approach winemaking outside of the bottle."</p> <p>At a time when growth in wine sales across the United States has slowed to a crawl (year-to-year sales last year managed a meager 1 percent increase), <span class="column--highlighted-text">the industry is looking for the next big thing. Canned wine, which delivers both ease of portability and convenience, could be the ticket.</span><p>Updated: Tue Jul 30, 2019</p> 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>