Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 20, 2018

bigstock-box-of-wine-on-the-plain-backg-26760620.jpgHello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week included a wide range of wines. Perhaps a good place to start -- well really always a great place to start -- is with an excellent rosé Champagne from the reliable producer Bruno Paillard. Closer to home, and also on the refreshing side, you'll find the latest vintage of Ridge's Chardonnay, made from the Monte Bello Estate vineyard. My recollection is that the prior release -- the 2015 -- was showing a lot of oak, but while this wine has unmistakable traces of the American oak that Ridge favors, it is nicely integrated to the wine, and much less in your face. Which I find to be a very good thing. Moving ...

Hooking the Dinosaur of Fish

It’s paddlefish season in Montana. Programs to harvest the giant’s caviar and sell it have helped to create a model for sustainable fishing.

Some Thoughts on How Winemakers Should Price Wines

One of the greatest challenges for any business that sells a branded product is how to price it.  This is particularly challenging in the wine business.  Winemakers sell to a global market and have limited information on actual demand in most markets outside of their own country because they sell through distributors.  I’ve been observing the different pricing strategies of various winemakers through my 6 years as an importer and have noticed two distinct approaches.  I’d like to offer some background on how consumers buy wine and then discuss the two approaches.

What Impacts Demand for a Wine?
Demand for a wine is really impacted by 4 factors: price, quality, scores and consumer perception.

First, scores.  Whether we like to admit it or not, scores matter a lot.  The polite reason is that readers
view critics as impartial and highly knowledgeable.  There ...

Vinography Images: A Window to the Past

vinography_desktop_a_window_to_the_past.jpg A Window to the Past
SAUTERNES, FRANCE: The setting sun casts shadows across the old walls and windows of Château d'Yquem in Sauternes, an appellation within the Graves region of Bordeaux. In the famous 1855 Classification of Bordeaux, d'Yquem was the only winery in the Sauternes region to be accorded the status of Premiere Cru Supérieur. Its sweet dessert wines are among the most long lived, in the world. INSTRUCTIONS:
Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops. To set the image as your desktop wallpaper, Mac users should follow these instructions, while PC users should follow these. BUY THE BOOK:
This image is from a series ...

Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 5/20/18

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren't Flipboard inclined, here's everything I've strained out of the wine-related muck for the week. California Winemakers Nervous About U.S.-China Trade Talks
Tariffs promise to hurt. You're not doing anything wrong when it comes to wine
Unless you're not drinking it. Man Jailed Over Collection of Nazi Wine
Because Hitler tastes lousy in any form. Naked Wines And The Cult Of "Fake News"
Joe Roberts on some lousy marketing. Interview: Managing Oxygen in Red Wine Making
Kelli White interviews some serious winemakers about O2. Got several years and several million dollars? You probably still can't plant a Napa Valley vineyard
For anyone with visions of owning a vineyard in Napa: a reality check. Rioja embraces ...

Wine of the Day, No. 400(!)

Friends, the Wine of the Day was launched three years ago today, after a broken right arm truncated by writing ability, hence, the necessity that I compose in short bursts. I thought the series would be temporary, but people enjoyed it, so I kept going, and here we are — Third Anniversary and 400 Wines of the Day. For the privilege of this honor, I selected the EX Unoaked Chardonnay 2017, Monterey, from Wrath Wines. A few sniffs and sips of this wine and you’ll wonder why oak barrels were even invented. The color is a very pure pale gold hue; classic notes of pineapple and grapefruit unfurl hints of ginger and quince, lightly touched by guava and mango. On the palate, this chardonnay is characterized by crystalline clarity and finesse; a remarkable texture both lithe and supple, dense and ineffable; and deftly spiced citrus-stone fruit flavors — the lemon/peach ...

Wine of the Day, No. 399

The Kuentz-Bas “Tradition” Brut, Crémant d’Alsace, nv, a blend of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot blanc, according to the back label, is an absolutely delicious Crémant d’Alsace, made in the Champagne method of second fermentation in the bottle. (The estate goes back to 1795, if you keep track of that sort of thing.) The color is pale gold, animated by a surging froth of tiny glinting bubbles; it’s an incisive, steely, smoky sparkling wine that offers notes of pear and almond skin, jasmine and seashell, all delicately strung along a fine-boned, tensile structure. On the palate, this is a gratifying combination of crisp acidity and creaminess, making for a lip-smacking texture that flows like cool silk through the mouth, all these elements bound by scintillating limestone minerality and lively effervescence. 12 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $24. Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif.

One of the Great Unknown Producers in Italy – The Micro Production Passion Project Born of Love – IMPORTANT

We Think We Live in a Small World and That Everything Worth Knowing Is Known
 - But Just Occasionally, We Are Stunned By Something New And Wonderful 
 - An Act of Love by a Grandfather for his Grandchildren
 - Rare As Any Wines We Have Sold 

2008 Calafe Taurasi Riserva
 - 60-80 Year Old Vines
 - A Titanic Wine
 - The Nose Is a Maelstrom of Licorice, Blackberry and Plum
 - Palate Has Blackberry, Spice and The Sweetest Licorice
 - This Will Be One of the Most Epic Wines in Anyone's Cellar
 - Intensity of Great Cornas

2007 Calafe Ariavecchia Greco di Tuffo
 - Yes, Eleven Year Old Greco from the Cellar
 - An Italian White That Breaks the Mold
 - Incredible Restrained Richness of Great Burgundy... 
    ...Combined with Spice and Terrific Minerality
 - Long Savory, Salty Finish

I like to think that I know pretty much ...

What to Cook This Weekend

It’s a time to welcome summer, even if it’s officially weeks away, and to remember those who have given their lives in military service.

Nebbiolo is Still King at Breaux Vineyards

Breaux Vineyards opened in 1997 when it was only the fifth winery in Loudoun County and the 50th in Virginia. Today Breaux is one of the largest of the 43 wineries in Loudoun and statewide (270 wineries) and its success can be attributed to several factors -- starting with their location at the western foothills of the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains. The 104-acre estate benefits from plenty of sunshine from late morning to sunset and consistent breezes that help alleviate mildew.

The second factor occurred when founder Paul Breaux and original winemaker Dave Collins (owner of Maryland's Big Cork Vineyards) not only heavily invested in new state-of-the-art wine making equipment but also planted a pioneering set of vinifera grapes. These grapes include the standard Bordeaux varieties but also Virginia's signature grape Viognier and Nebbiolo. In fact, to this day Breaux is still only the third winery in ...

Ready, Set Go…Two More High Scoring Muellen Wines from His Perfect 2016 Vintage – These Will Be Allocated

Müllen's 16s Are Almost All Perfect

2016 Martin Müllen Krover Letterlay Spatlese Trocken**
"It is probably one of the finest dry Rieslings I have had in my life"  95 Points  Stephan Rheinhardt 

2016 Martin Müllen Trarbacher Würzgarten Kabinett Trocken
 -  93 PTS Stephan Rheinhardt
 - Incredibly Refined, Fruity, Yet Feminine
 - Elegant, Salty, Mineral

Should we just get right into it? I think we should. Tasting Martin Müllen's 16s was one of the great
wine tasting experiences of my life. Müllen's 16s are almost all perfect and some of the best Rieslings on the planet and the value cannot and will not ever be beaten or overstated. This is the ultimate DTC dream estate. I tasted and loved all the wine. Then I sold tons of the older wines as he had an ocean of them on his list back in 2013-2014. I did OK with the current vintages back ...