Every Monday and Thursday, we discover new wines, regions, and ways to understand this fermenting sea.
Munching Vidal Blanc on Keuka Lake, New York
I woke up this morning, checked my inbox, and was shocked into silence. Jancis Robinson, the Jancis Robinson, goddess of wine writing, had published on her Purple Pages my entry of my seminal wine experience. The winner gets a set … Continue reading
Long time no see, internet. Who knew parenting would eat up my wine writing hobby? Well, mommy and daddy could use a drink.
The summer sun demands chilled wines. So let us dip a toe into sunny Provence with a rare grape: Tibouren. The vine likely originates from Greece, possibly the Middle East, and it is tricky, subject to coulure, so consistent heat is key. Intense aromas and earthiness push it into a blending grape and rosés. Thus, today, mainly small plots in Provence and Liguria grow Tibouren. Continue reading
Picture China. Depending on where your from, a collage of pandas, red flags, chopsticks, tea, rice bowls, Mao portraits, and bamboo groves may pass through your mind.
Yup. Vineyards. Since at least 7,000 BCE, China has been making alcohol from grapes. Yet wine remained a fringe product, more an exotic treat for the elite than a mass produced, daily beverage for the masses. It took until 1980 for French wine to crack into China, but public interest only swelled by 2000 with China’s global rise. Production has hovered around 7th place worldwide, sandwiched between Argentina and South Africa at 11.5 million hectoliters. Continue reading
Our Mourvèdre adventures continue. After the lean bright Croad (read here), today we try something a bit more friendly. Former footballer-turned winemaker, Terry Hoag, makes some solid estate wines (read here) even if they’re named after pigskin puns. Only one wine sees Mourvèdre added: “5 Blocks” (referring to five field goal blocks in college…of course).
Mourvèdre plays to type, with more of a supporting role at 28%, Syrah leads with 60%, followed by 12% Grenache that rounds out the blend.
My wife’s conference brings baby and I to Virginia. We stay in Alexandria: namesake of our ten month old and posh tourist excursion from Washington DC.
Now, with a week to kill, between eponymous photo-ops, I explore Alexandria’s wine shops and bottle bars. Years have passed since I last sold or tried wine from Virginia. I remember liking it. Lean and structured, like Bordeaux, Baboursville Octagon Red seemed solid.
But a concern slowly creeps in. Alexandria’s shelves and lists feature fab Sancerre, German bubblies, Rhône growers, interesting South African Chenin Blanc, Langhe Nebbiolo, and Californian classics. Heck, every shop has at least three Oregon Pinot Noir, even unseen single vineyards, and I come from Oregon. Continue reading