While often considered a single “place” when it comes to wine, Napa is hardly a monolithic growing region. Each of its 16 established AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) lays claim to a separate identity, characterized by geology, microclimate, and different histories of production.
The Oakville AVA has one of the most storied of such histories. It is home to the famed To Kalon Vineyard, purchased by H.W. Crabb in 1868, shortly after the installation of a railroad stop made the tiny village of Oakville spring to life. In 1876 Crabb’s neighbor John Benson bottled his inaugural vintage of Far Niente wine just down the road.
By the year 1880 the Oakville area had 430 acres under production, and these would nearly triple to more than 1000 acres in the next 10 years and continue to grow until Prohibition turned off the spigot in the 1920’s.
While everyone and their wine-loving aunt Jeannie are busy going gaga for Oregon Pinot Noir and, increasingly Chardonnay (both deserving to be sure), another grape has slowly been building a track record that is now too good to ignore. Oregon Tempranillo deserves your attention, but give it quietly please — it’s generally still an amazing bargain, thanks to being largely off the radar for most wine lovers, even those who live in Oregon.
Oregon Tempranillo languishes in obscurity primarily due to the fact that with a couple of notable exceptions, it’s largely been planted in the wine growing areas of Oregon that are not the superstar successful Willamette Valley. But in places like the Umpqua Valley and Rogue Valley and Applegate Valley, this Spanish grape variety has convinced many a winemaker of its virtues. Now it simply has to convince consumers — no mean feat …
The World Atlas of Wine describes it as the “largest fine-wine district on earth,” and while we make a big deal in the wine world about the link between geography and flavor, in Bordeaux the Atlas notes that “no where else in the wine world is the link between geography and finance so evident.”
Bordeaux is certainly the most famous wine region on earth, having captivated everyone from poets to politicians for centuries. But for many wine lovers, especially Americans, it remains one of the most difficult wine regions to understand and enjoy.
The Cabernet and Merlot dominated wines of the region have long been benchmarks for the grape variety, but if your first taste of these varieties came from California, chances are that the more savory and tannic renditions from Bordeaux might seem fierce and unforgiving. While the region’s wines have become more approachable over the past few …
At the APVSA wine tasting in Washington, I enjoyed sampling a couple of wines from Château des Milles Anges. The property is located in the Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux AOC. According to the unique wine bottle label, the Château des Mille Anges is referred to as the “House of a thousand angels.”
The Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux St. Germande Graves 2012 was was a red wine that retails for 9 euros. The wine was a light opaque red/purple color. The wine was light bodied with bold tannins. This dry wine offered dark fruit notes.
The AOC Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux Mozart 2012 was a translucent dark purple with red color. This wine was full bodied with dark red fruit notes that reminded one of black cherries and blackberries. The aftertaste was long and tannins were on the finish.
Last week while attending the APVSA wine tasting in Washington, DC, I met Rémi Larroque, owner and winemaker at Mas des Combes. This winery with vineyards is located in the Appellation Gaillac Contrôlee in France’s Sud-Ouest region. Mas des Combes is producing red, white and sparkling wines using traditional grape varieties and ancestral varieties. Currently Mas des Combes is looking for importers and distributors.
Rémi is enthusiastic about the wines he produces at Mas des Combes. Rémi is a member of a family that has many generations of winegrowers, going back 16 generations. During the early 1800s, Jean Perre Larroque settled in Oustry where he produced wine and established a wine cellar. The winemaking and vineyard growing has passed down over the years and today Rémi with his wife, Nathalie, own and operate Mas des Combes.
Italian red wines always have a place in one’s cellar. There is such a wide range to choose from, why not have a few on hand? While not all wines are meant to age, many Italian reds have the bones to sit in the cellar until called upon—meanwhile, many can be enjoyed whenever, albeit with a bit of decanting.
How can you tell if your wine is actually meant to age? If you have the luxury of a second bottle of any particular wine, enjoy a glass tonight and come back to the bottle tomorrow (or even the next day). Any improvement or stability in the wine after it has been opened shows structure that indicates potential cellar aging capacity.
You also want to sleuth out tannins. More tannins when young (even if they aren’t quite friendly at the moment) signal the benefits of cellar time. Tannins act as preservers, …
I was having a conversation just yesterday about the joys of Thanksgiving and they boil down to this: food and family.
And I dare say, for many of us, the food category includes wine.
My husband and I have served Thanksgiving to our big, extended Irish family since before we had children. I do recall a much, much younger me, a woman who printed out a list of Thanksgiving-friendly wine suggestions from some expert online and took it, part-and-parcel to the wine shop. It’s actually how I fell in love with Beaucastel, after buying some for that meal.
If you’ve ever paused with concern about what to serve at Thanksgiving, I’m here to relieve your fears. I’ve tasted a number of excellent wines over the past months that will be lovely with your dinner.
Rather than line up pairings—an act nearly impossible for the wide-open feast—this article highlights interesting wines …
Where I come from, fall is a relief. Summer is hot and humid and winter is long and unfriendly. Fall, most Midwesterners agree, is the best time of year when it comes to weather.
It’s a short window of time, the truly kind season, so it’s common for people to fall into tradition to make the most of nostalgia and comfort. But we’ve got nothing to lose if we shake things up a bit — if we try new things. Like, perhaps, a new wine.
Cahors (“kah-OR”) wines are made from malbec, a variety featured on wine lists around the world. It’s a marginal member of the classic Bordeaux blending crew (found more in Côtes de Bordeaux than elsewhere) and Argentine growers have embraced malbec in such a way that their treatment could be seen as a full-on revival. A dash is also grown in the Loire Valley.
On the first Saturday of the month, a group of food, wine and travel bloggers post about a region or a wine varietal. For September’s event, we look towards the change of season with food and wine that celebrate cooler weather and the abundance of harvest.
These wines can be from any region, based on your own experience and preference. We are looking for roundup lists, pairing suggestions, travel inspiration, producer profiles and any other story that highlights red wine from Italy this time of year.
The Favorite Italian Red Wines For Fall #ItalianFWT event will be Saturday, September 1, 2018. The following posts will go live early that morning and you can follow along on a Twitter chat — using #ItalianFWT — from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. CT.
Marcia at Joy of Wine reveals Lacrima – The Aromatic Jewel in La …
I grew up in Colorado. If you had told me as a high schooler that Colorado would one day be making fine wine, I would have laughed in your face. High quality beef? Sure. Beer? of course. Fantastic weed? Plausible. But wine? Never. But that was before I understood the origins of the vitis vinifera in the arid plateaus and of central Asia. That was before I visited Chile and Argentina and Turkey and Sicily and before I tasted wines from the high deserts and scrubby foothills of snow capped mountain ranges.
Now the idea of Colorado wine is not only plausible, it’s quite intriguing. Which is why, two years ago, I jumped at the chance to be a judge at the Colorado Governor’s Cup wine competition. Wine judging is thankless work. It’s tedious and difficult, and usually yields a splitting headache for me at the end of the day. …
Hello, 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 some more wines from one of my favorite producers in Italy, Feudi di San Gregorio. I’ve been writing about these wines for more than a decade, and they just keep getting better. This week we’re looking at two Aglianicos — their entry level Taurasi bottling, and their more reserve Piano di Montevergine, both of which are worth getting your hands on, but the Piano is showing beautifully at the moment.
While still on that side of the Atlantic, we should note the ever-affordable Viña Real bottling from C.V.N.E. that represents their entry-level Rioja. At $16 it’s an easy house red.
Closer to home, this week features some prestigious …
On a cold, grey, rainy (read: typical) London January day, I made my way to the Boxcar Butcher & Grill in Marylebone for a few bottles of Australian sunshine courtesy of Hay Shed Hill Wines. Owner and winemaker Michael Kerrigan was in town to show off his wines to the lucky ones of us gathered […]
I was in Montpellier recently to do a bit of judging for the 2018 Milliseme Bio trade fair. It’s always nice to escape to the South of France in the middle of winter and when it’s to do a bit of winetasting, all the more fun. While I was there, part of my visit was […]
Some people run a marathon once each year. That’s not my speed. Instead, I knuckle down and taste 200 Cabernets for breakfast on one particular Saturday morning.
Each year, the Napa Valley Vintners Association pulls out all the stops to host its annual fundraising event known as Premiere Napa Valley. Not to be confused with its star-studded charity auction in the spring (known as Auction Napa Valley), Premiere Napa Valley is a more focused event. It is a barrel tasting and auction, in which the wines on offer are all unique creations made specifically and only for this event, offering purchasers the opportunity to own an incredibly rare wine that often represents the very pinnacle of the winemaker’s efforts in that vintage. All the invited bidders are ostensibly in the wine trade (retailers, distributors, etc.), while other attendees include the media and winery staff. The proceeds from the auction …
The winery has 50 hectares (123 acres)of vineyards. According to the winery website, the old Roman road (Via Domitia) crosses the vineyards. The Mediterranean influences the vineyards. The soils in the vineyards consist of gravel and clay-limestone. The summers are hot and the winters are cold. The red grape varieties growing in the Domaine Ricardelle de Lautrec vineyards include: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Caladoc. Caladoc is a cross between Malbec and Grenache. White grapes are Chardonnay, Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.
Lionel Boutié, a member of a fourth generation wine family, decided to farm the vineyards organically. The vineyards are labeled with AB certified by ECOCERT as well as the European Bio logo. The Domaine’s website notes: “Working in organic farming …
It’s time for the first monthly wine product sample review round-up of the new year, which means you now have a couple of recommendations for vinous-related things to buy after you’ve returned the crappier gifts that you received during the holidays! You’re welcome!
Since it’s been as cold as Dante’s icy ninth circle of hell around here lately, I decided to focus on reading material, all the better to curl up in front of a fireplace with (drink in hand, naturally) and enjoy while hiding from the real world under a cozy blanket.
Light night, even as flames roared through the chaparral of Southern California, I attended a wine tasting event to benefit fire relief in Northern California. The mood was quite somber as many of us reflected on how far from complete are the relief efforts in our own back yard, let alone what will be needed when the maelstrom settles in Southern California.
It is, however, not so easy to remain somber while tasting pieces of California history, especially when they are in spectacular shape, as some of the gems below were. Even up until about five years ago, many of these wines (the Diamond Creek wines excepted) could be bought for a song. Or more specifically $25 to $45 on web sites such as WineBid.Com.
But thanks to growing interest and publicity, not the least of which was the spectacular wine program that Kelli White and her husband Scott …