Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:41:46 -0400 Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:41:46 -0400 Snooth Decanters to Add to Your Collection Snooth Editorial <p>Decanters are too often a second thought when it comes to the wine collector&rsquo;s <a href=""><strong>arsenal</strong></a>. But they are one of the most important tools to have, and not just because they help aerate the wine, letting it breathe, improving the flavor, and settle, separating out the sediment. When it comes to design, <a href=""><strong>decanters</strong></a> have gotten a serious update from the typical glass carafe, and now come in all sorts of attractive and useful shapes and styles. Whether you choose a beautiful vessel that can double as a centerpiece, a fun novelty design that fits with your personal style, or a portable container that conveniently lets you bring along the vino, these decanters all knock the traditional glass vase out of the park.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>For the Wine You Love the Most</strong><br /><br /> Looking for a pretty, romantic design? With Etienne Meneau&rsquo;s beautiful glass blown, <a href=""><strong>heart-shaped decanter</strong></a>, you can literally wear your heart on your decanter. The vessel only holds about a &frac14; bottle of wine, perfect for when you just want a glass or two, and its small stature makes it easier to handle then some of the giant styles on the market. Although it&rsquo;s a bit pricey at &euro;1,500, this limited edition item is a truly unique piece to add to your collection. For a more classic take on the sweet shape, <a href=""><strong>Riedel&rsquo;s Black Tie Bliss Wine Decanter</strong></a> offers a heart-cut out (which also acts as a handle for pouring) in the classic elongated shape.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Wine on the Go</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> If you are looking for a more stylish option than boxed wine when you&rsquo;re pouring away from the comforts of home, check out the <a href=""><strong>Menu Baggy Winecoat</strong></a>. Perfect for tailgating, picnics, and outdoor parties, this heavy duty, nylon bag conveniently holds the 3-liter bags found inside typical boxed wines (just remove it from the box first). The rubber bottom makes it ideal for outdoor activities, and there&rsquo;s room for a cold pack to keep chilled wine at just the right temp.</div><br /> <br /> <strong>Animaling Around</strong><br /> <div><br /> For a unique option to add to your collection, think about <a href=""><strong>Riedel&rsquo;s Horse Decanter</strong></a>. Named for the Chinese zodiac&rsquo;s &ldquo;Year of the Horse,&rdquo; this 2014 debut includes a beautiful equine profile inset into the vessel&rsquo;s long side. With a height of nearly 24 inches, this stunning shape offers both a dramatic presentation and large capacity of 82 ounces. Another animal inspired decanter, the classic, wide shape of the <a href="!slide=4"><strong>Duck Decanter</strong></a> allows a large area of the wine to be exposed to air and includes a handle for easy pouring.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Serious Style</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> Looking at add a little pizzazz to your presentation? The Swedish-designed <a href=""><strong>Rainman</strong></a> is a classic vase whose eight small holes hidden on one side allow the wine to pour out in a rain-like stream. And London artist Sebastian Bergne adds his own unique touch to wine style with his <a href=";controller=product&amp;id_lang=1"><strong>egg-shaped decanter</strong></a>. Thanks to an innovative design, once filled, the vessel sits at a 45-degree angle on a cork, a presentation that is sure to impress.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Ultimate in Function</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> If you want impressive function and style, Williams Sonoma&rsquo;s <a href=""><strong>Twister Aerator</strong></a> combines a stunning spiral centered shape that incorporates the maximum amount of air into the wine with a patented, hand-blown design. And Metrokane&rsquo;s <a href=""><strong>Rabbit Super- Aerating Decanter</strong></a> pairs innovative technology&mdash; a spray funnel that pushes the wine down the sides to increase aeration&mdash; with a beautiful design to provide the ultimate tool for decanting.&nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6679 Why #GarnachaDay Fever Is Here To Stay Claudia Angelillo <p><div><br /> What do people have in common with wine grapes? Both possess strong, unique personalities and characteristics; Garnacha is no exception. It is perhaps the world&rsquo;s most malleable grape, demonstrating versatility and poise no matter where it is found. (Think Cannanou in Sardinia and Grenache in France; both are guises of Garnacha.) But there is one thing that&rsquo;s certain whether you&rsquo;re a person or wine grape: There&rsquo;s no place like home. Garnacha, well-traveled as it may be, is at home in Eastern Spain. This is its birthplace, and there&rsquo;s nothing quite like a home game advantage. Garnacha from Spain is the grape at its absolute best. What&rsquo;s more, the ever-malleable Garnacha has a curious knack for expressing terroir better than anyone else around. Combine this inherent talent with the grape&rsquo;s ancestral lands, and you&rsquo;ve got some magic stirring in your glass. Snooth celebrated Garnacha with a smashing virtual tasting on Garnacha Day (September 18th), featuring Master Sommelier Laura Maniec and Spanish Sommelier of the Year Guillermo Cruz. Did you miss the party? Don&rsquo;t fret. Click through the slides to watch highlights. If you&#39;d prefer to watch the entire tasting and read the chat log, <a href="">click here</a>.</div><br /> <br /> </p> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6677 Going South of the Border for an Elevated Wine Experience Snooth Editorial <p>The caricatures of Mexico leave one feeling as though the Central American country is still stuck in the Wild West days of the 18th and 19th century: drug wars and kidnappings have ruled the headlines for the past half-decade.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Yet the country&rsquo;s humble yet thriving wineries have been creeping up the oenophilic ladder of North American wines lately, thanks to some reporting by the San Diego Union-Tribune. And I supposed we should be grateful to them, because without publicity, the wines of Baja California could languish unnoticed for years.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past week, U-T reporter Michele Parente featured a Baja wine in her column this past week, leading her story with this bold pronouncement: &ldquo;The wines from Baja&rsquo;s Valle de Guadalupe are the most exciting discovery I&rsquo;ve made in the past few years. They&rsquo;re also the most frustrating.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Now that&rsquo;s a whopping claim, particularly in light of all the indie movements rising up the California ranks, as well as the emergence of a whole host of Eastern European wines. But Parente stuck by her guns with both enthusiasm and honesty, acknowledging the creativity of the wines as well as their shortcomings.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Her column focused on one particular wine: La Lomita&rsquo;s Pagano 2012 Grenache from the Valle de Guadalupe. The red wine, she said, has a medium to full body and has &ldquo;lively fruit&rdquo; along with a &ldquo;nice balance.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Parente said she&rsquo;s quaffed the stuff at least 10 times in the tasting rooms and &ldquo;with a full Mexican meal.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Part of the reasons the Mexican wines aren&rsquo;t really striking a chord with American drinkers is their price. The Pagano 2012 is, for example, $28 per bottle. Mexican taxes are to blame for the prices: they impose a 42% levy on their wines. This is quite a shame if the wines really are as good as Parente makes them out to be.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Mexican wines, while a bit scarce with local retailers in San Diego, have made appearances at big-box stores like Costco as well as chain supermarkets like Whole Foods thanks to Monte Xanic, another winemaker from Baja.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The good news here is that the ever-evolving world of wine is evolving once more. Valle de Guadalupe is located just 90 minutes south of the border. If wine types don&rsquo;t want to make the trip into Baja, they can try Mexican wines at Bracero in San Diego&rsquo;s Little Italy district.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6676 Papal Pour: Finger Lakes Wine Procures Prestigious Placement for Pope’s NY Visit Snooth Editorial <p>We knew that New York&rsquo;s Finger Lakes wines were good, but fit for the Pope? Apparently so.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> New York&rsquo;s famed wine region has taken its notoriety to another level this past week when it was announced that wines from the verdant region were the tipple of choice for Pope Francis&rsquo; visit to New York City this past weekend.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> O-Neh-Da Vineyard is the lucky winner of this honor, and, according to, was scheduled to be served at a communion ceremony during the Pope&rsquo;s visit to New York City.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Exactly how the wine was selected for the visit was a story in itself.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the church&rsquo;s canonical law, the wine used in a papal communion ceremony must be pure grape with no traces of any &ldquo;admixture of extraneous substances,&rdquo; water or sugar.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Will Ouweleen, winemaker at O-Neh-Da, saw the marketing (and honorable) potential of the pope&rsquo;s visit and attempted to take his winery to holy heights by contacting the office of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York. Ouweleen&rsquo;s offer was accepted.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> He delivered the sacramental wine in person, <em>My Twin Tiers</em> reported. Though the holy wine didn&rsquo;t contain any sugar, Ouweleen sweetened the deal by bringing a bevy of gift wines including Finger Lakes Riesling, Cab Franc and Chardonnay. &nbsp;The gift wines were intended to be served at a dignitaries&rsquo; dinner.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Ouweleen was quoted as saying that the selection of his wines for the sacerdotal sacrament was a &ldquo;great honor.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> The winemaker had no qualms about leveraging the Communion, and perhaps rightly so. The touch one&rsquo;s wine to the lips of the world&rsquo;s most recognizable religious figure is more than religious gold &ndash; it&rsquo;s a chance to have your wine become an international celebrity.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As such, the home page of Oh-Neh-Da&rsquo;s mobile site features a simple graphic. A black square surrounds a golden chalice which, it is assumed, is a replica of the cup which the Pope used to quaff his Communion wine.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The graphic includes three statements. First, &ldquo;Authentic Sacramental Wine&rdquo;. Second, &ldquo;100% Pure Grape, New York State.&rdquo; Third, &ldquo;Vineyard Est. 1872, Liturgically Approved.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A report by <em>WXXI News</em> pointed out that Oh-Neh-Da was fitting not just because it creates natural wines which meet canonical standards, but also because the winery was founded by a bishop long ago after the end of the Civil War.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;And, to this day, through the grace of God alone,&rdquo; Ouweleen was quoted as saying, &ldquo;we continue to operate as a dedicated sacramental winery.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6675 What to drink during the Rugby World Cup? The Guardian’s got the answer. Snooth Editorial <p>Let&rsquo;s just admit that, most likely, the closest thing that most American sports fans ever get to the Rugby World Cup is watching videos of Australian rugby player-turned NFLer Jarryd Hayne slicing and dicing his way through preseason defenses.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> However, for the few of you who do love the sport and for the millions around the world who are watching this year&rsquo;s Cup, U.K.-based newspaper <em>The Guardian</em> has come out with its list of wines that wine lovers and rugby fans should try while they watch the matches.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Being a football fan, I have been only vaguely aware of the biggest sporting event of the year, but there&rsquo;s no escaping <a href=""><strong>the Rugby World Cup</strong></a> now &ndash; or the need for me to suggest something appropriate to drink while you&rsquo;re watching it,&rdquo; wine reporter Fiona Beckett wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> For wine drinkers, the World Cup presents quite the conundrum. Many of the world&rsquo;s best wine producers also happen to be fierce rivals on the rugby pitch. So, tipping back some tipple from France, New Zealand, Australia or South Africa can be quite the interesting proposition for oenophilic rugby fans of the United Kingdom.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Therefore, Beckett took to the way of the pacifists and forewent the wine/rugby heavyweights in favor of wines from countries which did not pose a threat to England&rsquo;s rugby pride. All the wines on her list were reds, a choice which seems well-suited for a game in which the men are as fierce as the spikes on the bottom of their shoes.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> She started her list of great game-time drinkers with a pair of selections from Italy &ndash; a Nero d&rsquo;Avola and a Negroamaro.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> She described the wines much in the same way one would describe their favorite rugby player: &ldquo;gutsy&rdquo; and &ldquo;brambly&rdquo; were her choice descriptors.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Moving on to less controversial countries (the ones who aren&rsquo;t participating in the Cup), a Spanish Tempranillo popped up on the list, as did a bottle of Douro from Portugal. Also on the list of non-competing producers was a red from Spain&rsquo;s Priorat, a quaff, she said, which would go well with a very sport-appropriate blue cheeseburger.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> She then recommend a Cabernet-Carmenere from Chile, rounding out her non-confrontational approach to wine choices. At about $7.50 per bottle, the Chilean red was &ldquo;unbeatable.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;And unbeatable,&rdquo; Beckett wrote,&ldquo;is what we want to be until the end of next month.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6674 Grub Street Highlights New York’s Best “Scruffy” Wine Bars Snooth Editorial <p>&ldquo;Scruffy&rdquo; is no longer an adjective reserved for dogs or bears.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to <em>Grub Street</em> contributor Adam Platt, the word also applies to a new wave of wine bars in NYC.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;All sorts of stodgy institutions have been upended during the course of the great post-millennial dining revolution,&rdquo; Platt wrote, &ldquo;and now, it seems, it&rsquo;s the wine bar&rsquo;s turn&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The typical wine bar in this movement doesn&rsquo;t have the feel of the wine bars of old &ndash; they&rsquo;re more progressive and more focused on digging up nontraditional favorites. They also, Platt pointed out, feature some pretty amazing food.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> And perhaps the biggest difference between today&rsquo;s wine bars and yesterday&rsquo;s quaff haunts is the attention given to all aspects of the wine experience: the d&eacute;cor, the music, the food and the breadth of the cellar.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The sommeliers in these convivial new establishments aren&rsquo;t always called sommeliers &ndash; &lsquo;wine consultant&rsquo; will do,&rdquo; he wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This makes sense, doesn&rsquo;t it? We live in a world where the current generation of wine drinkers have realized that the rules of the gatekeepers of yore aren&rsquo;t as iron clad as we once thought they were. Thought these sentiments may send shivers down the rigid spines of the gatekeepers, they are, undoubtedly, adding value to the wine world.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Platt highlighted the Four Horsemen, a wine bar in Williamsburg (hipster central) founded by music mogul James Murphy.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> The bar, according to Platt&rsquo;s description, is a mix between a &ldquo;Nordic health club&rdquo; and a classic-but-modern cedar bar.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Topping the sommelier/wine consultant/really smart wine guy&rsquo;s recommendations were the bar&rsquo;s orange wines. Also popular at the bar are its collection of natural wines.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Moving over to the East Village, Platt highlighted Rebelle, a restaurant with a lineup of 11 dishes and a wine list with 80 pages. What stands out at this tight little eatery is the variety they have on their wine list, with bottles ranging from the tradition-bucking garagistes to natural wine and ultra-premium offerings.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;Like it&rsquo;s other &ldquo;scruffy&rdquo; wine bar colleagues, Rebelle is a haven for foodies as well as wine fanatics. Platt likened the restaurant&rsquo;s cheese offerings to fromageries in Paris, and he also praised the locations desserts.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Last on Platt&rsquo;s list was Wildair, the wine bar for natural wine lovers &ndash; all wines on the list are natural. He also lauded the wine bar&rsquo;s cocktail offerings and &ldquo;artisanal liqueurs.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 29 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6673 “Wine Soul Train” Bus Tour Sells Out Snooth Editorial <p>This past August, as you may have heard, a group of African-American women were booted from the Napa Valley Wine Train for being loud and bothering other passengers. Police officers were waiting for them when the train stopped and they were unceremoniously ushered off the train.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past Saturday, a group of 35 wine enthusiasts boarded the Wine Soul Train, a bus tour which took the group to Napa for wine tasting. The move was a direct response to the wine train incident this past summer.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to CBS&rsquo; Bay Area division, the Wine Soul Train tour was a sellout. Oakland Food Policy Council Director Esperanza Pallana organized the tour.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Reflecting on the wine train episode earlier this year, she said that &ldquo;train officials didn&rsquo;t understand how another culture expresses joy.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Napa Valley Wine Train&rsquo;s CEO expressed his sincere apology about the incident.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The bus tour was, of course, intended to take wine lovers to wine country to enjoy high-quality tastings. Yet the trip was more than just a wine tasting &ndash; organizers wanted to raise awareness about Napa Valley&rsquo;s minority winemakers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The tour was scheduled to make stops at Esterlina Vineyards &amp; Winery in Healdsburg and Maldonado Vineyards in Calistoga.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> FOX&rsquo;s Oakland station, FOX 2, also covered the days leading up to the tour. According to the news outlet, the bus in which the oenophiles traveled is called &ldquo;La Iguana&rdquo; and boasts bright green colors.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Mexican Bus transportation company oversaw the logistics of the driving side of the tour and were a sponsor of the tour.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> According to Esterlina Vineyards&rsquo; website, the vineyard has been in business for several years and is home to award-winning Pinot Noirs. The vineyard is the only one in the 253-acre Cole Ranch American Viticultural Area, the &ldquo;smallest appellation in America.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Maldonado Vineyards was started by Lupe Maldonado, a Michoacan, Mexico, native who came to California late 60&rsquo;s and quickly launched a career in wine. He rose to vineyard manager at Newton Vineyard before handing the reins over to his son in 1999.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Lupe then bought his own plot of land in Jamieson Canyon and started Maldonado Vineyards. The vineyard is a family-run project. His son Hugo is a graduate of the Viticulture and Enology program at the University of California, Davis.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Soul Train&rsquo;s website noted that the participants would meet in Oakland for breakfast, then leave at 10 a.m. for the vineyards.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Tickets for the tour were $100 per seat.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 28 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6672 The Current State of Merlot Rick Fillmore <p><div><br /> Alright, for all those who have been bad mouthing Merlot over the past few years, please stand up. Now all of you need to walk over to the far corner of the room and wait. Thank you. I need to tell you that your dislike of Merlot is unfounded and I am about to prove that Merlot is the number one outstanding citizen of the wine community. I mean, really, if Cabernet Sauvignon is the king of all wine varieties, Merlot is definitely the queen. With a long history as one of the main red grapes of Bordeaux, Merlot has established itself as a wine with which to be reckoned! Sure it has had many ups and downs. But haven&rsquo;t we all? It&rsquo;s hard to believe that a short clip in the movie &ldquo;Sideways&rdquo; would be the demise of a grape with such a noble background. Merlot is coming back, and this time around, we owe her our enduring respect.</div><br /> <br /> <div><br /> Actually, Merlot didn&rsquo;t take the major beating that everyone thought it did after the &ldquo;Sideways&rdquo; movie was released in 2004. After researching many magazine tracts and critic/winemaker statements that predate the film, it was found that Merlot did slow down a bit in sales and stores that would normally buy 20 cases of Merlot a week were still buying 17 to 18 cases a week. To be honest, I still drank Merlot but avoided ordering it at restaurants. Mostly because I was afraid of the server exposing me by exclaiming &ldquo;No [BLEEP] Merlot&rdquo; throughout the restaurant! So I kept my Merlot cravings to myself and sipped other wines in public.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> So where did all this excess Merlot end up that everyone said they weren&rsquo;t drinking? There was still Merlot that was being harvested, aging in barrels, and patiently waiting in warehouses to be shipped to consumers. Some winemakers didn&rsquo;t want to produce a wine that was exclusively Merlot since they felt customers may reject it. So, many winemakers decided to reduce that risk and start to producing more Merlot based red blends instead, hiding Merlot under names like cuvee, reserve blend, and Meritage. Why do you think red blends have become so popular? Because there are more of them at fantastic prices. And the funny thing is that everyone really liked them! As much as we belittle soft, innocent Merlot, we accept it back in our hearts and palates and without fully knowing it.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> When you think about it, that little ribbing we took at Merlot actually helped out the wine industry in many ways. It exposed the lower end, flabby, and uninteresting Merlots that would have been better off being made into Sangria. It also put a spotlight on Pinot Noir and its delectable characteristics at the perfect time. In 2004, wineries on the west coast were releasing their 2002 vintage of Pinot Noir which was truly its banner year and it lofted Pinot Noir sales up 18 percent! Everyone knew a good Pinot Noir costed a few bucks more than most everyday Merlots and buyers got used to spending a bit more for a higher quality wine. So people were drinking better wines, both Pinot Noir and Merlot, and didn&rsquo;t mind spending more for quality. A great situation in the wine world!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The University of Adelaide has compiled and published the very first complete database of the world&rsquo;s wine grapes and regions. This database lists 500 regions, 44 countries, and 1,271 grape varieties. Based on their research, Merlot is the #1 planted grape variety in Bordeaux and also in many other countries of the world! Argentina, Chile, Italy, France, Australia, and the United States all show record numbers of Merlot plantings over the past few years. Demand and popularity for Merlot is continually growing and wineries are supporting this demand by planting more Merlot and preparing for the future.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Merlot is interesting enough to be on its own but is also the perfect blending grape for any red wine that wants to add lush fruit, richness, and smoothness. Especially in Bordeaux where Merlot is Cabernet Sauvignons BFF! You will find these two comrades are together almost every time. With its voluptuous blackberry, cherry, and plum flavors, teasing nuances, and velvety finish, Merlot has a reason to be considered one of the best. Out of all the grape varieties in the world, Merlot would be the one known to have multiple personalities. It can be a wonderful entry level red for those who are new to wine or it can be intense and complex and would impress your favorite wine snobs. Merlot is so versatile and it pairs with so many wonderful foods like lamb, game dishes, many red meats, pasta with tomato based sauces, and medium cheeses.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Here are some great Merlots worth exploring because of their wonderful balance of fruit flavors, complexity, and long smooth finish:</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Airfield Estates Runway Merlot 2012</strong></a> &ndash; Washington State. With an easy going style, this Merlot is perfect as an entry level red but everyone will love it! Flavors of ripe plum, blackberry, toasted oak, and a hint of spice. Medium to full bodied with soft tannins and a long, lingering finish. Pair with grilled chicken, ribeye, and tomato based pastas. $16 average.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Michael Pozzan &ldquo;Annabella&rdquo; Merlot 2012</strong></a> &ndash; Napa Valley, CA. This wine was aged in French oak for 18 months and the result is a rich, elegant Merlot with soft, supple tannins. Violet color in the glass with aromas of black cherry, dried cranberry, chocolate, and espresso. Silky mouthfeel with wonderful flavors of ripe cherries, black plum, coffee, and spicy vanilla on the finish. Fantastic! $18 average.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau La Fleur Morange Mathilde 2011</strong></a> &ndash; Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, France. 100% Merlot coming from the region of France most renowned for Merlot wines. Medium to full bodied with aromas and flavors of blueberry, ripe plum, clove, and a subtle oak finish. Smooth and seductive. A plentiful 14.5% alcohol! $21 average.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Mollydooker &ldquo;The Scooter&rdquo; 2014</strong></a> &ndash; McLaren Vale, South Australia. A wonderful Merlot that will bring your taste buds to Heaven! But let&rsquo;s start on Cloud 9. Soft and delicate with a pleasing balance of fruit, spice, and elegance. Flavors of bright raspberry, ripe red cherry, cocoa, with spice undertones. On the second sip, hints of vanilla, blueberry, and pepper led to a lush, smooth finish. All this and a whopping 15% alcohol! $26 average.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Swanson Vineyards Oakville Merlot 2011</strong></a> &ndash; Napa Valley, CA. This big, full bodied Merlot is what the Cabernet fan would love! Intense and complex but elegant through and through. Garnet in color with aromas of black cherries and dried cranberry fruit. Rich mouth-feel with a wonderful tannin structure. Generous flavors of sweet black cherry, ripe blackberry, coffee, and a hint of cinnamon. Nuances of nutmeg and cocoa on the sumptuous, velvety finish. Pair with steak, pasta with tomato meat sauces, and strong cheeses. $35 average.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There is a plethora of wonderful Merlots out there and it is time to forgive and indulge! Plan your favorite meal, call a friend, and spoil yourself with a great Merlot soon. Everyone else is so don&rsquo;t miss out! Oops! And all of you that are still standing in the far corner, you can go sit down now. Sorry.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Rick Fillmore is a CSW, Sommelier, and writes wine and travel articles for Wine Connoisseur Magazine. Rick blogs using the name Wine Splash and his blog can be found at <a href=""><strong></strong></a>. Fifteen years in the wine business as a consultant, educator, writer, marketer, and promoting sales. Favorite red wine is Syrah and white would be a balanced, oaky Chardonnay. Cheers!</em></div><br /> </p> Fri, 25 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6670 Infamous Leaders of Russia and Italy Caught in the Middle of Wine Snooth Editorial <p>You can&rsquo;t expect a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Italian president Silvio Berlusconi to be a squeaky clean affair.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> As expected, when the two men met at the Crimean Massandra winery for a wine tasting, a legendary bottle of Spanish wine got caught up in the quaffing between the stone-cold Russian and the uber-playboy Italian.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Now, a prosecutor from the former Crimean state has opened a criminal case against the infamous duo.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;He opened a criminal case for large scale theft over the incident, estimating the loss at two million hryvnia, or about &pound;60,000,&rdquo; an article by <em>The Guardian</em> (U.K) reported Friday.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> There seems to be bad blood &ndash; and understandably so &ndash; between the prosecutor and Putin, whose government annexed the country in 2014.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Apparently, the prosecutor did not take too kindly to the fact that the cavalier duo cracked open a 240-year-old bottle of Jeres de la Frontera. The quaffer was one of the treasures of the winery&rsquo;s formidable collection, a bottle which Count Mikhail Voronstov brought to the region during the reign of Catherine the Great.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The winery itself holds about half a million bottles of wine, the story pointed out.<br /> The wine tasting was part of a tour of the winery&rsquo;s facilities. Berlusconi and Putin toured Massandra with a guide. Video of the visit show the tour guide take the pair through the barrel room, into the production facility and eventually to the winery&rsquo;s cellar.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Berlusconi was not shy about his intentions, asking the guide if he could open up a bottle from 1891.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> According to <em>The Guardian</em>&cedil; the shenanigans continued to the point that Putin broke his normally austere countenance to take a silly photo with Berlusconi.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While Vlad and Silvio may have been playing games during their boozy visit, the Ukranian government was in no mood for high jinx. The country&rsquo;s national security council, it was reported, imposed a ban in which Berlusconi is not allowed to enter the country for three years.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &nbsp;Part of the Ukrainian vitriol is the fact that Berlusconi and Putin&rsquo;s choice to meet in Crimea was a clear violation of the European Union&rsquo;s condemnation of Russia&rsquo;s annexation of Crimean.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;The Kremlin has not commented on the criminal case but it&rsquo;s not clear how the Ukrainian authorities could hope to bring Pavlenko, Berlusconi or Putin to account,&rdquo; the story said.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></p> Thu, 24 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6669 Meeting of the Minds: Latin American Wine Congress Meets in Uruguay Snooth Editorial <p>What do you get when wine experts from Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina get together with representatives from the United States, Spain and Portugal?&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The fifth annual Latin American Wine Tourism Congress, of course. And along with this meeting of the oenophilic minds in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo came an idea that was music to all wine lovers&rsquo; ears: Latin America&rsquo;s economies are primed for plenty of growth in the wine-tourism sector.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Ivane Favero, the honorary chair at the conference, pointed out an important factor in wine tourism. Today&rsquo;s &ldquo;enotourists&rdquo;, he said, have a ravenous curiosity for all the world&rsquo;s wine regions; their appetite is not easily quelled.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Together, we in Latin American are senders and receivers of enotourists,&rdquo; Favero was quoted as saying in a story this past weekend from the Business Standard. &ldquo;The enotourist does not tire of seeking out and getting to know the regions that produce a wine and the entire culture surrounding its production.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Among issues discussed at the conference were how the countries in the region could leverage social media to attract enotourists, what government regulations could be put in place to foster wine tourism and what types of effective training programs could be created for employees in each country&rsquo;s wine-tourism sectors.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Discussion at the conference also focused on creating a South American wine route, which no doubt would include Argentina and Chile. Experts at the conference also debated the different strategies that could be used to elevate international knowledge of South American countries. Uruguay&rsquo;s use of mobile apps to promote its wine tourism was also highlighted, according to the Business Standard.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Uruguay has one advantage over its Chilean comrades: Montevideo, the country&rsquo;s capital city, is the only port in South America&rsquo;s southern regions (known as the Southern Cone or Cono Sur) in which cruise passengers can visit a winery.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Business from cruise tourism has led wineries to upgrade their facilities in order to meet the influx of enotourists, said Wilson Torres, the country&rsquo;s Enological Tourism Association&rsquo;s president.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &quot;In recent years, wine tourism has grown around the world, and our country has been part of the expansion, which has required an upgrade of wineries to meet the demand and the visitors&#39; expectations,&quot; Torres said.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Torres taught a session at the conference titled, &ldquo;Outbound wine tourism in Uruguay: general overview, perspectives and opportunities for wine destinations.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 22 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6668 Judging America’s Booze Preferences by Their Tweets Snooth Editorial <p>You can pay big organizations to do in-depth studies of consumers&rsquo; preferences for beer, wine and spirits. Or, you can analyze data from a mountain of tweets.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Quartz contributor Emma Pierson opted for the latter, crunching the numbers from a massive lot of alcohol-related tweets released into the Twittersphere during the summer and fall of 2014. The tweets in question: everything with a #wine or #beer hashtag.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I focused on tweets containing hashtags because I found these often more reliably came from people who were actually drinking,&rdquo; Pierson wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> She then linked the tweets to their location, coming up with a series of maps that indicated where the tweets originated.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In very understated fashion, Pierson noted that most of America prefers beer over wine. Her overall-hashtag map showed that, in terms of pure land mass, more than 90 percent of the nation prefers to tweet their beer-related activities (indicated with blue) over those who drink wine (indicated with purple).&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The wine crowd&rsquo;s strongest numbers came from the West Coast. California&rsquo;s Los Angeles area, Central Coast and Northern Coast were strongly pro-wine, while a massive purple swath cut across most of Eastern Washington, the northeast corner of Oregon, the tip of Idaho and a sliver of Montana.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Pierson&rsquo;s numbers take an interesting turn, however, when you view her alcohol hashtags tweeted by women. Nearly the entire West Coast, minus the craft-beer haven of San Diego, a small chunk of the Central coast and a few bits of Northern California and Washington were beer prone. Female #wine tweeters dominated the rest &ndash; a good 70 percent of California and at least 80 percent of Washington.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Female dominance continued in Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas, Texas, New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As you can imagine, the opposite was true of male drinkers who tweeted about #wine. The most concentrated pockets of &nbsp;#wine tweets originated from California&rsquo;s Central Coast, the area east of Orange County and a hard-core contingent in and north of San Francisco.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Oregon&rsquo;s Pacific Coast was #wine heavy, as was the northeastern corner of Washington, the tip of Idaho and the northwest corner of Montana. Long Island and a pocket of Connecticut were also home to wine-heavy tweets.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The rest of the nation was at the mercy of the male gender&rsquo;s decisive preference for beer.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Men are more boring than women, although we didn&rsquo;t need data science to tell us that,&rdquo; Pierson wrote. &ldquo;They overwhelmingly favor beer.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 21 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6666 Corked Wine Debate Continues Its Corkscrew Path Snooth Editorial <p>If you&#39;re still hanging onto the idea that wines with screw caps are a sure-fire path to wine perdition, you&#39;re about 10 years behind the times.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Yet some countries &ndash; <em>buenos d&iacute;as</em>, Spain &ndash; refuse to succumb to the screw cap and maintain their cork-only bottling laws.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> What to make of the cork-vs.-metal closure debate?&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>The Wall Street Journal </em>wine maven Lettie Teague offered her insight into the debate this past week. She started her story with a scene from a train journey she recently took to New York.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A group of men in their 30&#39;s enter the car she&#39;s sitting in, find their seats and promptly begin a discussion about what and where they&#39;ll drink once the pull into the Big Apple.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> One of the gents piped in with his concerns about a bottle of screw-cap wine he received as part of this wine club membership. The misinformed fellow and one of his colleagues both expressed their apprehension. &ldquo;Uh-oh,&rdquo; they quipped.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Their unease about the screw cap is understandable. Like boxed wine and wine-in-a-can, screw caps were very a much a Kiwi and Aussie thing before they caught on in the U.S. However, that migration from Eurasia to North America is a matter of past history and not the newly unfolding trend many nominal wine drinkers think it is.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I was surprised by the exchange,&rdquo; Teague wrote about her train eavesdropping. &ldquo;Wines bottled with screw caps have become so common place that I assumed everyone thought they were just as good as wines closed with corks.&rdquo;</div><br /> <br /> Not one to flaunt a flippant opinion based on frivolity rather than fact, Teague conducted a basic experiment in her home. She tried three different wines which each had a different closure: natural cork, synthetic cork and screw cap.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> After &nbsp;loitering about &nbsp;in her fridge for a few days, she took the three bottles out and tasted them. The screw-cap wine was noticeably brighter and more lively than it&#39;s corked cousins, leading Teague to talk with the producer of the screwy winner, New Zealand&#39;s James Healy.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Healy told Teague that the key to a screw-cap wine&#39;s staying power is the fact that the metal cap can keep oxygen out of the bottle longer than natural corks or synthetic corks.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Perhaps most telling about Healy&#39;s opinions was that he said he closed with cork about 10 percent of his wines because he fancied the natural closures &ldquo;old-fashioned.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The rest of the world has yet to follow suit, though. Teague pointed out that about 7 out of every 10 bottles of wine in the world are closed with cork.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 18 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6661 Maple Leaf Madness: Canadian Wines Continue Their Ascent Snooth Editorial <p>The Great White North is home to great ice wines, true. But that observation is lagging behind the times as Canada&#39;s wine industry is flexing is sipper sinew and producing wines of many varietals which are catching the attention of international critics.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past Friday, the <em>Montreal Gazette</em> featured a story by contributor Bill Zacharkiw, a wine specialist who lauded the &ldquo;great strides&rdquo; the country&#39;s wine industry has taken over the past few &nbsp;years.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> His story began with his experiences at the recent National Wine Awards of Canada (NWAC), where he and his fellow judges rated more than 1,400 Canadian wines.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I am happy to report that the level of quality of not only the top wines, but more important, the mid-priced wines has never been better,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Zacharkiw commenced with an overview of Canada&#39;s varietals, starting with the country&#39;s duality of Gamay and Pinot Noir.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Many of Canada&#39;s &ldquo;best planting spots&rdquo; have been inundated with Pinot grapes because, in simple terms, that&#39;s what the people around the world. The delicate red has captured the conscience of imbibers around the world ever since Paul Giamatti praised its fickle personality in Alexander Payne&#39;s classic film, Sideways.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Yet Gamay Noir is poised to become an influential wine in Canada if growers are willing to pass on Pinot and embrace the grape that made Beaujolais famous. Three Gamays won platinum at the NWAC and all of them sell for under $20.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> His next foray? Canada&#39;s Rieslings, which he said &ldquo;have never been better.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Canada&#39;s Rieslings are crafted with a nod toward the German winemakers: enough sugar to balance out the wine&#39;s acidity, as well as low alcohol levels. Zacharkiw &nbsp;acknowledged that the country&#39;s Rieslings can&#39;t compete with the world&#39;s best Rieslings, but he did say Canada&#39;s spin on the sweet white may offer the world&#39;s best mid-priced quaffers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Rounding out the reporter&#39;s list were Syrah and Chardonnay. The hearty red wine is experiencing growing pains, but if the right soil can be found, British Columbia&#39;s Okanagan Valley could be home to some formidable reds.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Chardonnay, on the other hand, is faring a bit better. Two Prince Edward County Chards won platinum at the NWAC for their &ldquo;tightness&rdquo; and quality. Big-bodied whites from Niagara didn&#39;t garner any hardware at the competition, but their more amiable personality could lead to good things for the southern region.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 18 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6664 Confessions of a Wine Yeast Wrangler Nova McCune Cadamatre <p><div><br /> I have a confession to make publicly. I am a Yeast Wrangler. In every fermentation, every harvest, I try to get inside the minds of these tiny fungi and discern what they want to eat, how they would like to be treated, and what temperature they would like their environment to be. They make the wine and winemakers try to keep them happy. They are like the ultimate prima donna who refuses to work unless everything in their environment is to their liking. If something is out of place, they immediately let you know by sending off Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), which smells like rotten eggs, to voice their displeasure. If their needs are still not met they will shut down and die off resulting in a stuck fermentation. If one considers that winemaking is the physical act of converting sugar into alcohol and Carbon Dioxide (CO2), then I am a yeast wrangler and they are the winemakers.</div><br /> <br /> In light of this, the selection of the strain of yeast or yeasts that will be conducting the fermentation is critical. Next to the date of harvest, it is one of the most impactful decisions a winemaker will make over the course of a wine&rsquo;s life. Yeast can control alcohol levels, fruit emphasis, and style. They can also influence mouthfeel, acid levels, and Malolactic (ML) bacteria growth. Much of the later part of the life of a wine can be enhanced or hindered by the choice of yeast at the beginning. To that end, there are nearly endless choices available to a winemaker to choose for fermentation including &ldquo;native&rdquo;, selected or cultured strains, and a few options in between.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Going &ldquo;Native&rdquo;</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Using the indigenous yeasts found in the vineyard and winery can be a double edged sword. On the positive side, they can add serious complexity and mouthfeel to a wine. They already exist in the winery therefore they don&rsquo;t have to be purchased, which is helpful since the cultured strains can be pretty expensive. The downsides are they can be very difficult if the native strain is not a strong one, if the fruit is not perfect, if the nutrients they need are not carefully doled out, if the potential alcohol is too high, and if there are other yeast or bacteria strains in the fermentation which the dominant native strain does not get along with. These risks can be mitigated if one knows the reactions of their native strains well and knows their vineyards well also. There are now many examples on the market of excellent native fermentations including the Franciscan Cuv&eacute;e Sauvage Napa Valley Chardonnay and all the selections of the delicious Bedrock Wine Company in Sonoma, CA. It should be pointed out here however that most &ldquo;native&rdquo; strains are the strain of yeast a winemaker may have purchased in a previous year that has still been hanging out in the winery or which dropped in from a cultured yeast fermentation from a neighboring tank. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Seeking Some Culture</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Cultured yeasts are extremely widely used and many strains which we would consider cultured now were isolated as native strains from different places around the world. One of my personal favorite cultured Pinot Noir yeasts is RC212 which was isolated in Burgundy and named for the famed Roman&eacute;e-Conti vineyard. Cultured yeasts offer some insurance against stuck fermentations due to high alcohol and have known characteristics such as nutrient needs, foaming potential, or H2S production so a winemaker is better able to keep them happy from the start of the fermentation to the finish. Beyond that, some cultured yeasts are bred for specific characteristics such as high Thiol production (think guava and grapefruit flavors of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc), alcohol tolerance of 16% or higher, or high polysaccharide production which adds to mouthfeel and tannin perception. If you have enjoyed a glass of wine from a larger producer chances are good that it was produced using some strain of cultured yeast. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Best of Both Worlds</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Of course, in winemaking as in life, things are not always black and white. Sometimes a winemaker wants the complexity and character of a native fermentation but the predictability of a cultured strain. This can be achieved through two main ways. The first option is to allow &ldquo;native&rdquo; yeasts to start the fermentation and then part way through add a smaller dose of a cultured strain to ensure that the fermentation will finish. The second option is to purchase a mixed strain such as Viniflora&rsquo;s Melody which is a 60:20:20 blend of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Kluyveromyces thermotolerans, and Torulaspora delbrueckii. These mixes theoretically mimic what would be found in a native fermentation except the strains are chosen that will complement each other. This ensures the different strains will not end up in the yeast version of Gladiator, with no single strain winning the fight to the death. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Regardless of the yeast option chosen it is critical that those strains remain happy and healthy throughout the fermentation and that is where the yeast wrangling part of a winemaker&rsquo;s job comes into play. They have similar needs and, while some require more coaxing than others, both can adequately do the job if all those needs are met. It is harvest time now in the Northern hemisphere so for the next two months anyway you can find me roping fermentations into line and figuring out what each tank of yeast wants. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Originally from Greer, South Carolina, Nova McCune Cadamatre moved to New York to pursue Horticulture after what began as a research paper on grapevine diseases at SUNY Morrisville turned into a love of wines and vines. Her career started in Pennsylvania where she gained experience with cool climate varietals and traditional method sparkling wine. After moving to the Finger Lakes region of New York she refined her winemaking skills, both as Winemaker&rsquo;s Assistant at the Thirsty Owl Wine Company and as a Viticulture student at Cornell University. After becoming one of the first graduates of Cornell&rsquo;s Viticulture and Enology program in 2006, she moved to California to assume several winemaking roles, gaining diverse experiences in both table and sparkling wines from all areas of California most recently as the red winemaker for Robert Mondavi Winery in the renowned Napa Valley. She has furthered her knowledge through London&rsquo;s Wine and Spirit Education Trust with an Advanced Certificate in 2007, the Diploma gained in 2010, and is currently pursuing the Master of Wine Certification.Currently, Cadamatre lives in the Finger Lakes, NY with her family where she works as a Winemaker and continues her weekly blog at <a href=""><strong></strong></a>.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> </p> Thu, 17 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6662 Is the Mighty Asian Wine Machine Slowing Down? Snooth Editorial <p>There&#39;s no doubt that China has been the premier wine consumer in Asia, reigning the headlines for the past six or seven years.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> From the country&#39;s obsession with France&#39;s Bordeaux region to its recent austerity measures in which wealthy government officials were encouraged not to gift ultra-premium wines, the veritable king of the Eastern wine world has built a reputation for its growing thirst for wine and wineries.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Yet that trend may be coming to an end, according to a story by industry website Just Drinks.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Reporter Chris Losh said China&#39;s recent stock-market woes have revealed that all may not be quiet on the Eastern wine front.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;While more Chinese are drinking a couple of bottles every month, fewer are drinking on a weekly basis,&rdquo; Losh wrote. &ldquo;And the average price of take-home wine for at-home consumption has dropped from $37 in 2013 to just $26 last year.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Part of this decline is due to a principle known as the Peak Wine Theory (PWT). This theory states that each country&#39;s wine industry rises to a peak at which it&#39;s popularity reaches its maximum heights. From there, the only way for the industry to go is down.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> One could make the argument that the PWT is in play in China, where, over the past ten years, French producers in particular have seen an unbelievable rise in the value of ultra-premium wine only to see Chinese buyers tighten their wallets under the government&#39;s new austerity measures.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Wine imports are in a decline as well. Though the import market is still growing by a small margin, it&#39;s overall growth numbers have dropped from 5 percent in 2013 to 3 percent this past year.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> China&#39;s seemingly stagnating wine market has global ramifications because, as Losh put it, &ldquo;China has been the engine that has driven the wine world for much of the last decade.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Statistics from the past few years have shown that wine drinking is on the decline in Europe, the reigning king of the wine world. While Losh didn&#39;t go as far as to blame China for this decrease, he did say the intense Chinese interest in French reds may have diverted marketing dollars from more traditional markets that are now suffering because of the neglect.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Over the &nbsp;next few years, wine companies will have some big decisions to make regarding where they allocate funds and focus,&rdquo; Losh wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 17 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6660 Four Unmissable U.S. Wine Regions You May Have Missed Snooth Editorial <p>In this day and age when nearly every secret to the universe can be solved by a split-second Google search, it&#39;s somewhat unbelievable that anything new can be uncovered.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Yet that&#39;s exactly what happened this past week when <em>Next Avenue</em> reporter Jodi Helmer dug into the lesser-known wine regions of the United States and unearthed four wine regions you may not have heard of but certainly must watch over the next few years.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> From the barren stretches of the Arizona desert to the sparkling blue bay of Rhode Island&#39;s Newport County, wine greatness is bound to be found with a little looking, Helmer proved.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> First on her list was Colorado&#39;s Grand Valley, where the wineries are perched at an average altitude of 4,700 feet. The region is home to the majority of Colorado&#39;s wineries. It&#39;s epicenter, Palisade, is home to the state&#39;s yearly Colorado Mountain Winefest, where visitors can taste the best the state has to offer and get their feet dirty in the proverbial grape-stomping session.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Helmer&#39;s next choice for America&#39;s up-and-coming wine region took readers across the continent to the picturesque seaside city of Newport, where high-rise hotels and hillside mansions overlook a bay that&#39;s been home to the America&#39;s Cup.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The area mimics French wine regions, she said, because they have a &ldquo;long, cool&rdquo; growing season. The region&#39;s top quaffers come from Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery, home to one of the top-5 sparkling wine producers in the country. Like the Grand Valley, Newport County has a quaint wine festival where attendees can taste the local sippers and tour three of the city&#39;s famous historic homes.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Departing from the East Coast, Helmer headed west and landed in the sparse-yet-beautiful expanse of Arizona&#39;s Verde Valley. The region commissioned local artists to paint 40 wine barrels that now serve as markers for the area&#39;s Verde Valley Wine Trail. Visitors can try the offerings at Chateau Tumbleweed, or tilt back local libations at the annual Sedona Winefest. Verde Valley may not have the emerald beauty of the rolling hills of Napa, but the region does have the stunning Red Rocks of Sedona.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The final region on Helmer&#39;s list was North Carolina&#39;s Yadkin Valley. That&#39;s right; tobacco isn&#39;t the only addicting vegetation popping up from the Tarheel State&#39;s fertile soil. Yadkin is North Carolina&#39;s first wine region. Located a short drive from Winston-Salem, the region is home to 36 wineries, including the USDA certified-organic winery Carolina Heritage. Don&#39;t miss Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery, where an Italian-style country house doubles as the establishments tasting room.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Across the U.S., these once-undiscovered regions are generating buzz ,&rdquo; Helmer wrote, &ldquo;thanks to their award-winning wines, scenic settings and not-to-be-missed festivals and events.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 16 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6659 Can You Believe It? Aluminum Containers All The Rage Snooth Editorial <p>If you&#39;re a traditionalist, brace yourself. The cans are coming, and their glinty sheen isn&#39;t slowing down for anyone or anything.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This past week, the <em>Los Angeles Times&#39;</em> Lettie Teague took her turn observing and commenting on the emergence of metal containers as a vino vessel.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Wine in cans? It just doesn&#39;t track,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;You hear that unmistakable pop of a beer can opening &ndash; only it&#39;s wine inside not beer. And it&#39;s not cheap plonk either, but some serious juice.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Experts look to Australia to explain &ndash; or in some cases, to blame for &ndash; the shimmering genesis of the wine-in-can phenomena. That&#39;s right; the country responsible for the proliferation of wine in a box is also responsible for wine in a can.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> It&#39;s been almost 20 years since the aluminum cousin joined the family and it looks like he&#39;s not going to cease his shenanigans anytime soon.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Just as well, legendary winemaker Paul Hobbs told Teague. Who could resist the charms of the can, especially when lugging around a bottle of vino during a hike is impractical, not to mention heavy.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Hobbs said the canny concept is perfect for people who are busy but want &ldquo;to enjoy fine products in an uncomplicated way, spontaneously.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> And how could argue that wine in a can does just that? Headed to the hills for a camping trip? Light up the fire, crack open a cold Sauvignon Blanc and gulp away. Want to add a touch of bourgeois to your Sunday night football party? Nothing says &ldquo;swank&rdquo; like a sixer of Shiraz in lieu of low-brow light beer.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Some professionals in the wine industry are embracing the blue-collar appeal of canned wine. At a recent Restaurant Week event in Los Angeles, one wine director served cans of white and red wine in &ldquo;brown paper bags, albeit with a stamped logo.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The environment, it seems, is also a big supporter the metallic mistress. Like a deep blue Pepsi can or the classic red Coke 12-ouncer, canned wine&#39;s container leaves a small carbon footprint and is recyclable.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> So what is the wine world to do in the face of a once-maligned concept? Drink up, experts say, and give thanks that the aluminum can is serving as entry point for people who would otherwise not dabble in the seemingly sophisticated world of vino.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As Paso Robles winemakers Andrew Jones said in his interview with Teague, &ldquo;A lot of the ceremony and language around wine is a barrier to people who haven&#39;t been brought up around it &hellip; Wine in a can allows people to enjoy wine in a different way.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 15 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6658 Summer Fall Transition Wines Under $20 Snooth Editorial <p><div><br /> Unless you bought them with aging potential in mind, a fair few of your 2013 pink and white wines won&rsquo;t be drinkable by next spring. Guzzle down the last of those quick-to-turn bottles, cellar a few others, and ready yourself for the onset of fall wines. Even if you do not live in a starkly transitional climate, this a great time to think about shifting your tastes and (re-)discovering long-lost regions and grapes. And when you&rsquo;re trying something new a different, it&rsquo;s always nice to stay within a reasonable budget. In this spirit, we bring you some of the web&rsquo;s top wine writers and their suggestions for summer-to-fall transition wines under twenty dollars.</div><br /> <br /> <strong>Isaac James Baker</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Reading, Writing &amp; Wine</strong></a>; <a href=""><strong>Terroirist</strong></a> <strong>contributor</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> In the mid-Atlantic the humidity is finally fading, so fall is an amazing time to be outdoors. I&rsquo;m constantly grilling, reading a book on the patio, sneaking away to the beach when the waves kick up and the crowds die down. In my glass, I move away from my standard summer selections (bright pinks and crisp whites like Muscadet and Chablis), and I look to medium-bodied reds, wines that pack freshness and ripe fruit but also offer more savory and spicy aspects. I look for bottles to pair with late-ripening vegetable dishes and my own conception of autumn. <a href=""><strong>The Brancaia 2013 Tre</strong></a>, a reliable and affordable Super Tuscan blend, fits the bill. Earthy and herbal with tart red fruit, this wine has moderate acid and smooth tannins and the 2013 vintage is ready to drink with all things autumnal. It costs about $15 to $20, so it&rsquo;s worth buying a few for the season.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Julia Crowley</strong>, <a href=""><strong>The Real Wine Julia</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Here in Oregon&#39;s Willamette Valley, during the late summer months, a very special locally grown corn is picked fresh from the fields and sold at the farms from where it&#39;s grown. This nearly too good to be true corn is called &quot;Bodacious.&quot; Bodacious corn is sweeter, juicier, plumper and (without a doubt) tastier than any corn...anywhere. Just about every meal I make during these last days of summer and first days of fall consist of corn: grilled corn on the cob, corn chowder, corn salsa, corn custard, corn muffins, corn cakes, corn salads and even sweet corn ice cream. There is, indeed, one particular varietal of wine that pairs beautifully with each and every single one of my corn-centric recipes: Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner. Lucky me, there are several Oregon vintners that produce some seriously fine Gr&uuml;ner Veltliners, and Raptor Ridge Winery, located in the Willamette Valley&#39;s Chehalem Mountains AVA, makes a Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner that is not only steeped in stellar characteristics but is super affordable at just $20 dollars. The perfect summer to fall transition wine, <a href=""><strong>Raptor Ridge&#39;s 2014 Chehalem Mountains Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner</strong></a>, pairs beautifully with Bodacious Corn, Snap Pea and Bacon Salad (recipe on <a href=""><strong>The Real Wine Julia</strong></a>). Growing just 1.5 acres of the Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner varietal, the 2014 vintage Raptor Ridge Estate wine is pure, fresh and focused. The balance between subtle fruit, vibrant acidity and steely minerality is simply stunning, and the aromatics of orange blossom and honey come alive as the wine takes in some air. Mid-palate bursts of juicy grapefruit, apple and peach are highlighted by clean mineral notes and spice, and the zippy, zesty finish is long lasting and downright memorable.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Keith Edwards</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Mowse Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> One wine that I am excited about having as a part of the summer/fall changeover is the <a href=""><strong>2011 Domaine La Berangeraie Cuv&eacute;e Maurin</strong></a> from the Cahors region of France. Traditional Cahors were dark and tannic and required long aging for approachability. The popularity of Argentinean Malbec has caused some of the Cahors producers to pursue a more approachable style of wine in an attempt to attract some of the customers who appreciate the grape (called Cot in Cahors) and the style. The Cuv&eacute;e Maurin is such a wine. It is grown biodynamically and harvested manually, the latter a rarity for wines priced below $30 (This particular wine costs $19.99). On the nose, polished blackberry, raspberry, nutmeg, a savoriness, stemminess, raw meat, and vanilla. There is a lack of intensity in the aromas but I would not call this wine elegant. Nice fruit on the attack and mid-palate, somewhat surprising given the lack of intensity on the nose. Grippy tannins and slight bitterness. Good acidity. Round, St. Emilion mouthfeel. Squid ink on the finish. This small-production Malbec over-delivers for the price point.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Bob Fyke</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Brunello Bob</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> As August in New York brings cooler nights, and the hint of fall, it&rsquo;s a little easier to break out bigger reds, although I personally drink them no matter what the weather; that&rsquo;s what air conditioning is for. Still, it&rsquo;s good to have something that satisfies the need for a dry red, and is still light enough to sip while relaxing on the back deck. Some may be surprised to hear that Nebbiolo or Sangiovese can foot that bill, as long as it&rsquo;s vinified in a lighter, more elegant style. Some of the greatest examples of Sangiovese are in this style, and show great complexity, although they tend to be on the expensive side. One lovely (and affordable) Nebbiolo example is the Arnad-Montjovet Superior from the Cooperative La Kiuva in Val d&rsquo;Aosta. Try the&nbsp;<a href=""><strong>2011 La Kiuva Arnad-Montjovet Sup&eacute;rieur, Val d&rsquo;Aosta DOC, 13.5% ABV, $19</strong></a>. I love the way this wine shows freshness, and lightness but still has a firm foundation that makes it worthy of greater attention. The nose starts with crushed dry rose petals and some fragrant clay, both having a clean sort of character. As you breathe in more deeply, the aromas get prettier, with additional delicate floral notes coming out. The fruit, on the nose, is fresh cut plum and raspberry with subtle sweet herbs trailing off. The palate has an easy lightness, but still has good grip and delicious acidity. Dried strawberry, cranberry, and aromatic wood notes are the main impression, but with a light touch. Later there is lingering grilled meat, dried herbs and subtle minerality. Easy to drink, and satisfying. 80% Nebbiolo with Gros Vien, Neyret, Cornalin and Fumin making up the remainder. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jeff Kralik</strong>, <a href=""><strong>The Drunken Cyclist</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This Fall, as soon as I see the mercury slip below 70 degrees, I am headed to the cellar with my gaze firmly focused on a Syrah from Washington state. I &quot;discovered&quot; Purple Star this past year, and I still have a few bottles of their stellar 2011 Syrah. Try the <a href=""><strong>2011 Purple Star Syrah</strong></a>: Retail $18. Upon pouring, a bit dark and opaque, and rather tight&ndash;not much on the nose even after an hour in the glass. Some nice fruit comes through on the palate, thins out a bit, and then finishes well. Given some more time, this only gets better, it would be easy to confuse this with a $40 wine; there is some great value here. <strong>Very Good</strong>, on the verge of <strong>Outstanding. 88-90 Points.</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Alissa Leenher</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Sahmmelier blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The transition from summer to fall can be slow in coming here in Texas. While the rest of the country is pulling out sweaters, we are considering sleeves. A &quot;cold-front&quot; means we may break into the high 80s. We make small steps towards the big red varietal wines. Generally. If you, like me, are an Italophile, you&#39;ve been biding your summer with Vermentino and Trebbiano. Perhaps the occasional Sangiovese or Montepulciano D&#39;Abruzzo. I didn&#39;t think I was ready for the big-hitters, but then I met this guy. Valle dell&#39;Acate Tenuta Ibidini, Nero d&#39;Avola. I know what you&#39;re thinking, I was too. How can Nero d&#39;Avola be a transitional wine? When it is grown at the right elevation. Ruby red in the glass. Red raspberry, strawberry, a hint of spice to warm it up. Even peach-pit notes on the finish, surprising for a red wine. It is fresh, smooth, and balanced. At $13, this versatile gem can be enjoyed any time of year.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jennifer Martin</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Vino Travels Italy</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The fall is my favorite season, but even more so because I start to integrate red wines back into my wine routine. I tend to drink more whites and rose in the summer time as most do and maybe some lighter style reds. I truly enjoy the heartier, meaty reds and as our cuisine changes coming into the winter months so do the wines I choose to drink. As the weather gets colder in the Boston area my wines will become more fuller bodied. This month I&#39;m looking forward to exploring some wines of the Etna area in Sicily starting with the <a href=""><strong>2009 Palari Faro D.O.C</strong></a>. A wine made of nerello mascalese, nerello cappuccio and nocera grapes with a very small amounts of less known grapes. With 2 years in the bottle and 2 years in new oak it has aging potential and needs decanting. Intense of the nose with fresh red fruit and spices. Structured on the palate, dry with dark fruits and well integrated acidity and tannins.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Frank Morgan</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Drink What You Like</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> As the heat and humidity of summer yields to the cool, crisp days of autumn, many wine enthusiasts leave behind crisp whites and Ros&eacute;s for more robust wines. I reach for heartier wines like Chenin Blanc, Cru Beaujolais and Merlot &mdash; Yes, Merlot! &mdash; as the calendar turns from September to October to November. The change of seasons is a great reason to get reacquainted with this oft-overlooked grape that serves as the base for many of the most notable wines of Bordeaux. More robust than other popular summer-to-fall transition wines like Beaujolais but lighter than bigger reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Nebbiolo, Merlot pairs well with a wide range of foods like grilled steak, pork, and one of my favorites, salami pizza. There are no shortage of delicious Merlots under $20. Look to France (St. Emilion, Pomerol, and Fronsac in particular) for earthier Merlots and to Virginia, California, Chile for more fruit forward examples.&nbsp;<a href=""><strong>Montes Alpha 2012 Merlot</strong></a> from Colchagua Valley, Chile ($19) is a great choice. Ruby color in the glass, this wine offers aromas of blueberry, spice, and toffee around a plum core. On the palate, flavors of dark berry and spicy vanilla lead to a lengthy cocoa finish. A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Carmen&egrave;re, this Merlot is medium-bodied, with moderate tannins and a velvety mouthfeel. Nicely balanced. The most important key for transition wines &mdash; drink what you like with people you like!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Melanie Ofenloch</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Dallas Wine Chick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> With the countdown to football beginning (Go Auburn and the SEC), I start to crave lighter red blends &ndash; even when the Texas weather may not align with the rest of the country&rsquo;s Fall program of dropping temperatures and sweater attire. With an orange and blue pompom in one hand and a glass of red in another, it is exactly the combination needed to get my Fall started with a bang. After one of my good Somm friends introduced me to Sancerre from Chateau de Sancerre, I quickly made this white my &ldquo;go to&rdquo; white wine. Then I discovered its sister, the Sancerre Rouge, which I found right around $20 or often less, in my local wine shop. It&rsquo;s a full-bodied wine with spice, black cherry, smoke and candied fruit.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Martin Redmond</strong>, <a href=""><strong>ENOFYZ Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I do not transition quietly into fall. Rather, I am dragged kicking and screaming into the season. Fortunately, there is wine to assuage the angst. And a light-bodied red wine offers a graceful transition to Fall for me. I recently discovered a remarkably good Pinot Noir from the Uco Valley in Argentina that offers superior value. Try <a href=""><strong>2013 Zorzal &quot;Terroir Unico&quot; Pinot Noir</strong></a>: Light ruby color with expressive red fruit, dried rose, and spice aromas. On the palate, it&#39;s light-bodied, refreshing and pure with a hint of polished tannins. It shows cherry, raspberry and kiss of blood orange flavors with subtle shades of spice, and minerality with a savory undertone. The wine was 20-30% whole-cluster fermented, and raised in concrete. ABV: 13.9%; cork closure; SRP $15.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Gabe Sasso, <a href="">Gabe&rsquo;s View</a></strong><br /> <div><br /> <br /><br /> With a bit of a nip in the air I&rsquo;m ready to start drinking more medium to full bodied reds. Grapes like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo which haven&rsquo;t passed my lips often in recent months are what I&rsquo;m starting to crave with my meals. &nbsp;I just tasted a lovely Organic Merlot from France which is Non-GMO Project verified. It&rsquo;s available at Whole Foods among others and I plan to drink a lot of this terrific value the next few months. Try Le Petit Du Chateau de Lagarde Merlot ($14.99). This wine is produced from 100% Organic Merlot. The vineyards are located in Bordeaux where they have 50 hectares planted to Merlot. &nbsp;It was vinified in stainless steel. Only indigenous yeasts were used and no sulfites were added. &nbsp;From the moment I poured this wine I loved the bright red hue which shimmered in my glass. Leather and red berry aromas fill the nose. Throughout the palate loads of fresh red fruit flavors are in evidence along with hints of savory herb. The lingering finish shows off bits of sour red fruit and a gentle hint of earth. While this wine is quite tasty by itself it excels paired with the right food. Whether it&rsquo;s a cheese and charcuterie plate, a blow of steaming chili or those rich stews that will start appearing in your fall dining rotation this Merlot will work well.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Elizabeth Smith</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Traveling Wine Chick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> During the summer, I gravitate towards Sauvignon Blanc, Albari&ntilde;o, sparkling wines, and ros&eacute;, and stay away from heavy reds. As autumn approaches, I seek whites with more substance and add red wines back into my repertoire. To transition into fall, I have chosen the widely available <a href=""><strong>2014 King Estate Signature Collection Pinot Gris</strong></a> ($18 at the winery). While Pinot Gris is the same grape as Pinot Grigio, the latter tends to be produced in a lighter style, while Pinot Gris from cooler climates often has more body and complexity. This is true about the King Estate offering. Fermented in stainless steel and aged sur lie for four months, the palate is medium bodied and quite luscious. On the nose, it&#39;s floral and feminine, while on the palate, layers of lime, melon, stone fruits, and tree fruits interplay with mouthwatering acidity, culminating in a long finish. This wine will pair well with end-of-summer fare, as well as work its way into upcoming holiday meals.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cathrine Todd</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Dame Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> As I say goodbye to summer and welcome the shorter days of fall I look forward to more medium bodied reds with earthy notes. One of my favorite transitional wines is Mencia, which is a grape variety found in northwestern Spain in the region of Galicia. A great value sub-region that I have discovered recently is the DO wine region of Monterrei, which makes slightly earthy, moderate bodied wines with fresh fruit. It has old world charm with fruit forward friendliness that is a little too weighty for summer but hits the spot for the cooler weather of fall. Recommendation: <a href=""><strong>2012 Bodegas Pazos del Rey &quot;Sila&quot; Mencia Monterrei, Spain</strong></a> ($13). Lots of blackcurrant fruit with hints of wild strawberry and dried autumn leaves, bright acidity and generosity of this wine make it hard to say no to a second glass, or even a third.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Michelle Williams</strong>, <a href=""><strong>Rockin Red Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Fall is on its way to Texas, bringing cooler days and even cooler nights, football and hockey, sweaters, boots and scarves. I cannot wait! Another aspect of fall I look forward to is the change in cuisine; root vegetables, squashes, heavier meats such as lamb and veal, prepared as soups, stews and braised meats with pasta. Transitioning to hardier red wines to pair with the changes in fall cuisine is another great aspect of fall. One wine I am super excited to enjoy this month that I would not have had over the hot Texas summer is <a href=""><strong>Nino Negri &lsquo;Quadrio&rsquo; Valtellina Superiore 2009 DOCG</strong></a>. This wine is crafted of 90% Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo) and 10% Merlot. It is dazzling garnet color, offers delightful aromas of tart cherries, dried cranberries, and raspberries, along with soft rose petals, a touch of nutmeg, soft fresh tobacco leaves and savory herbal notes. It is round on the palate with persistent acidity, well-balanced integrated tannins, medium light texture, and a long, slightly chewy finish. This is the perfect transitional wine from summer into fall because it is delicate in weight, yet heavier in texture, offering persistent earthy notes; perfect to pair with fall foods. Aged 20 months in Slovenian and French oak, 13.4% alcohol. SRP $19.99.</p> Tue, 15 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6656 Two Wine Experts Detail How Champagne Can Return To The Throne of Bubbly Greatness Snooth Editorial <p>In case you haven&#39;t heard, 2013 was the year in which Champagne lost its top spot to Prosecco as the world&#39;s most best-selling sparkling wine. Prosecco repeated the feat in 2014.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> For some, the news was a punch in the gut for what is be one of the world&#39;s most recognizable brands, while others rejoiced that a cheaper, tasty European alternative was available.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> For wine experts Lindsay Pomeroy and Liz Thach, the consecutive defeats was a chance to draw up a plan which could bring the iconic bubbly back to the top of the heap.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Earlier this month the duo published the treatise on industry website Wine Business.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Their plan for Champagne&#39;s resurgence included four distinct tactics.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;A global economic crisis, changing consumption trends, onerous regulations, and smart competitors are amongst the major reasons that Champagne lost market share,&rdquo; the authors explained in the beginning of their story.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> One of the most damaging trends has been the non-Champagne tastes of the youngest generations of wine drinkers, who are looking for non-traditional offerings with affordable price tags.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> No matter the foes, the authors said, Champagne can retake the first position through four steps: fully implement the Champagne Plan 2030, convince people Champagne isn&#39;t limited to special occasions, target younger generations with relevant branding and provide more educational resources for retailers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Champagne Plan 2030 was launched in 2012 by the region&#39;s Champagne-house union in an effort to regain market share.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> While some of the changes in the plan have been implemented, bringing to fruition all the plan&#39;s proposed changes could give the industry a much needed boost.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Successful changes have already been made and if Champagne is able to fully implement these positive regulations, it can aid them in regaining market share.,&rdquo; the authors wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As for when to drink Champagne, most of the world is caught up in the &ldquo;rare occasion&rdquo; perception that Champagne is a celebratory drink or is reserved for pre-dinner aperitifs.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Several different producers have added new twists to their marketing campaigns. One company, for example, is branding their bubbly as a drink for every occasion, mood and palate. Another producer has pointed out that their Champagne is great for summer barbecues and cocktails.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Branding is also a key for the younger generation. Companies are trying to connect with new drinkers through apps, redesigned labels and catchy mottos like &ldquo;I am the After Party.&rdquo; These efforts should continue if Champagne houses want to stay relevant with the younger generation.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;In conclusion,&rdquo; the authors wrote, &ldquo;there are still challenges for Champagne if they want to regain their #1 position as the world&rsquo;s most consumed sparkling wine, but they are taking some positive steps to overcome these issues.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="éro-762697/"><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6650 The New Old Rules of Chardonnay in Chablis Christy Canterbury MW <p><div><br /> Little is as exciting as seeing transitions in a tradition-bound region. In Chablis, a land locked by tradition and a single variety, innovation might seem unfeasible. Not only is Chardonnay the rule, but the wines in Chablis are supposed to taste very predictable &ndash; at least on the palates of seasoned sippers. Yet there is new energy in Chablis, and it is not just about young guns. It is about brand new approaches to winemaking, and some winemakers&rsquo; departures from family heritage.</div><br /> <br /> Check out this list new-old school Chablis producers.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Domaine de la Motte</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> A most striking example is the supremely mature, 23-year-old Adrien Michaut of Domaine de la Motte. I liked Adrien&rsquo;s wines, but I wasn&rsquo;t prepared for the young, confident man I met. He behaves 10 years older than his age and fashions wines &ndash; never having made any outside Chablis &ndash; that have more energy in a bottling as &ldquo;simple&rdquo; as Petit Chablis than a Grand Cru from more storied establishments.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Look for this bottle:&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domaine de la Motte 2014 Chablis Premier Cru Beauroy</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Hailing from Troemes, the oldest lieu-dit of this Cru, everything in this wine is pumped up. Aroma, flavor, acidity, concentration, finish&hellip;it&rsquo;s all here in almost aggressive quantities in the best possible way. Don&rsquo;t miss.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Domaine des Pattes Loup</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> Other dynamic solos exist. Domaine des Pattes Loup&rsquo;s Thomas Pico makes scintillating wines. He&rsquo;s got a sharp mind, too; he&rsquo;s a thinker. Whether the talk turns to saving Esca-stricken vines by painstakingly carving out their affected trunk areas or thinking about how public water and organic vine treatments affect humans, it&rsquo;s hard to walk away from Thomas not reassessing one&rsquo;s own lifestyle choices.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Look for this bottle:&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domaine des Pattes Loup 2014 Chablis Butteaux Premier Cru</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> (My tasting of this wine was an approximation of the final one, which has not yet been blended.) The nose is pure and forward with fascinating aromas of papaya, guava, mango and chamomile tea. Hardly reserved, this wine has the long legs to show off for a significant amount of time, especially given its seamless integration.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Patrick Piuze</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> Then, there is the renegade n&eacute;gociant, Patrick Piuze. Unlike most, Patrick doesn&rsquo;t own a single vine. However, since 2008, he&rsquo;s been crafting his own wines that bring across a sincere purity of terroir &ndash; typically without the cheesy, lactic notes for which Chablis is known. In doing so, he has achieved cult status in well under a decade.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Look for this bottle:&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Patrick Piuze 2014 Chablis Les Blanchots Grand Cru</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> This big gun shows oodles of flintiness interspersed in its apple-filled core. Its lilting acidity makes it easy &ndash; and even fun &ndash; to drink. That&rsquo;s rare for such a young Grand Cru, and this sort of approachability is certainly a signature of the 2014 vintage.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>La Manufacture</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> In a somewhat similar pursuit is Benjamin Laroche of La Manufacture. Also vine-less, Benjamin hails from the world-reknown Chablis-based Laroche family, but he &ndash; with his marketing background &ndash; began his own label in 2013. Benjamin knows where gems lie in the vineyards, yet he has the growers vinify them while he follows up. It&rsquo;s rather unorthodox, but it works mightily well from what I tasted.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Look for this bottle:</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>La Manufacture 2014 Chablis Vieilles Vignes</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> This is a super citrusy wine that hails from vines planted in saturated white soil. Portions of this wine spend time in older and larger oak. There&rsquo;s a perky tangerine quality to the wine between just enough sweet fruit and mouth watering acidity.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Alice and Olivier de Moor</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> Alice and Olivier, who met at Brocard, planted their first vines on family property formerly planted to cereals. Both trained enologists, they craft utterly unique styles of Chablis. Technically &ldquo;just&rdquo; Chablis, their wines taste like Premier Crus and are priced accordingly.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Look for this bottle:</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Alice et Olivier de Moor 2014 Chablis Coteau de Rosette</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> This wine comes from vines stuck in the back of a valley that is packed with clay. The resulting wine isn&rsquo;t short of flavor density, yet it exhibits striking acidity. It&rsquo;s so complete, so joyous, so easy&hellip;yet so complex that I bet I could drink the whole bottle myself!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Louis and Catherine Poitout&nbsp;</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> Creatively effervescent, Louis and Catherine come from wine but they are forging their own destiny, having started from scratch in 2011. Unusually, their gem is a &ldquo;Petit Chablis&rdquo;. Sipping it blind, one should place it as a Premier Cru. This is because the ungrafted vines were planted before the phylloxera scourge. The required &ldquo;tlc&rdquo; is enormous, but it is just one of the ways in which this dynamic duo is showing that Chablis is evolving with brio.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Look for this bottle:&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domaine L&amp;C Poitout 2014 Petit Chablis L&rsquo;Extinct Franc de Pied</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> This highly unique wine, made from ungrafted vines grown on Petit Chablis terroir, commands the price of a Premier Cru. And, it deserves it. Its concentration is heady and its body is weighty without heaviness. Super smoky and juicy with sweet citrus, like Meyer lemon, this wine is a head-turner.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Finally, a few from older Chablis establishments recently have struck out on their own due to family estate sales. They&rsquo;ve taken some of their favorite parcels, and the resulting wines are not-so-astonishingly good. The most brilliant come from Domaine d&rsquo;Henri (Michel Laroche) and Samuel Billaud.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Look for these bottles:&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domaine d&rsquo;Henri 2014 Chablis L&rsquo;Heritage Premi&egrave;re Trie, Plantation de 1937</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Tasty and savory with a delicate suggestion of sweet spice, this wine has it all...which is probably why it hasn&rsquo;t been made every year thus far. (Granted, there have only been three vintages at this new estate.) Unfiltered with 30% new oak (hardly noticeable), this wine displays vigorous tension on the palate followed by a tangy and lingering finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Samuel Billaud 2014 Petit Chablis Sur Les Clos</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> This wine comes from vines grown just above the Grand Cru named Les Clos. Its prefix of &ldquo;Petit&rdquo; hardly does the wine justice, especially in Samuel&rsquo;s hands. The 30-plus-year-old vines deliver a lightly leafy, mightily mineral nose with a palate swamped with yellow grapefruit. Crisp and zesty through the medium, lemony finish.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The surges of new thinking in Chablis are not a &ldquo;goodbye&rdquo; but rather a &ldquo;hello&rdquo; to new adventures in taste. Sometimes, &ldquo;new&rdquo; means &ldquo;fad&rdquo;. This is not the case in Chablis. With the rapid growth of Chablis exports to the US, this simply means a diversification in options, which is precisely what an expanding and exploratory wine market desires.</div><br /> </p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6654