Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Thu, 02 Jul 2015 04:57:12 -0400 Thu, 02 Jul 2015 04:57:12 -0400 Snooth Stay Glassy, New York City: Yes, Your Wine Glass Matters Claudia Angelillo <p>The Styrofoam ban in New York City has gone into effect. Polystyrene foam is not recyclable; and so the Mayor has declared its use illegal. This is good news not only for the environment, but for wine drinkers as well.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Surely the number of times you&rsquo;ve been served wine in a Styrofoam cup is negligible, but at the very least, in New York City, the possibility has ceased to exist. You may want to breathe a sigh of relief. Still, there are plenty of subpar drinking vessels that could end up cradling your wine. What sort of hard plastic wine glass will you find at the next art show opening you attend? Perish the thought, some would say. Here&rsquo;s why:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Earlier this year Japanese scientists developed a so-called &lsquo;sniffer-camera&rsquo;. It creates a visualization of the ethanol vapor emanating from a glass of wine. This vapor is responsible for your olfactory wine experience. The visualizations change dramatically from glass to glass.Three types of glasses were tested: a traditional wine glass, a cocktail glass, and a straight glass. The visualizations changed dramatically based on the glass used.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Japanese study did not touch upon glass quality. There are questions of glass type, translucence, thickness, and stem length. These go hand in hand with glass shape.<br /> Overall, the Japanese study has shown that glasses matter. Thus there will be some disagreement about wine and glass pairings. Take the Champagne flute; this was the accepted bubbly receptacle for decades. Dinner party hosts everywhere are overcome with embarrassment when they&rsquo;re missing a few flutes for a toast. (You&rsquo;ll have to break out the emergency plastic, heaven forefend.) These days, wine brass counsels against the flute because it chokes off the aromas and holds the liquid too tightly in the glass. Indeed, flutes are festive &ndash; but they&rsquo;re asphyxiating your wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Should we assume that all of this proves the existence of a perfect wine glass? I don&rsquo;t believe so. It demonstrates the fact that there is a perfect wine glass for each and every wine drinker. Of course there will be a majority consensus on the best glasses, but outliers can feel confident that their proclivity for drinking wine from a Styrofoam cup is a very real matter of personal preference. But please, keep your peanuts out of the wine.</p> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6577 The Wet and Wild Way to Waste Wine in Spain James Duren <p>When you&#39;re one of the leading producers of wine on the planet, you don&#39;t feel the pinch of wasting a more than 100,000 liters of wine just for kicks.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This past week Spaniards and tourists alike gathered in the small La Rioja town of Haro, Spain, to celebrate mass for Haro&#39;s patron saint.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In the wine-crazed region of La Rioja, a celebration is more than just a few religious words in Spanish and some table reds: it&#39;s an all-out wine battle. Should you have any doubts about the legitimacy of the phrase &ldquo;wine battle&rdquo;,&nbsp; a quick search on YouTube will answer your initial misgivings.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Among the litany of photos and videos of the wine free-for-all is a recurring theme &ndash; young wine soldiers dressed in white tshirts and tanks tops wearing red handkerchiefs around their neck and wielding water guns, industrial-grade gardening sprayers and a handsome helping of other spray apparatus. The objective: soak as many people as you can, laugh as much as you want and do your honest best to make sure your white shirt is royal purple by the end of the day.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Like any good Spanish festival, the cascades of wine and purple-crazed revelers enjoyed the sounds of horn players brandishing saxophones and trumpets.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>The Daily Mail </em>described the day like this: &ldquo;Widely known as the wine fight, the annual celebration of St. Peter&#39;s Day descends into vino-soaked madness, transforming the white shirts into pink as reportedly 130,000 litres of booze goes everywhere but in a glass,&rdquo; the story said. &ldquo;Residents of the town of Haro and an increasing number of tourists of all ages carry water pistols and all manner of vessels for wine including buckets, jugs and back-mounted pump activated hoses usually used for spraying weeds or spot fires.&rdquo;<br /> Photos from the event tell the story words cannot.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In one <em>Daily Mail</em> shot, a fellow holds a giant jug of wine over the head of a young reveler whose arms are out to her side like Jesus on the cross. The blood of her curious crucifixion is a deep red wine racing out of the jug and covering her body in ruby tones.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> According to the paper, participants indulge in local sausages in order to fuel themselves.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;It all starts so serenely,&rdquo; the story said, &ldquo;with tradition dictating the town mayor lead the procession on horseback to a mass at the Hermitage of San Felices de Bilibio before the chaos commences.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit:&nbsp; <a href=""><strong>Wikipedia</strong></a></p> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6573 A Question of Women in Wine Louise Hurren <p><div><br /> How many female winemakers and vineyard owners do you know? A few months ago, <a href=""><strong>Christy Canterbury introduced some ladies of the Langhe</strong></a>. Female winemakers in Piedmont have changed the conservative winemaking landscape to one that is inclusive of women. France is no different. This piece examines five scintillating wines from a group called the Femmes Vignes Rh&ocirc;ne, also known as Women Winemakers of the Rh&ocirc;ne Valley. It&#39;s a play on the French phrase &ldquo;femmes vigneronnes&rdquo;. Women are fighting to change old attitudes in wine, and they are winning.</div><br /> <br /> This 30-member association was created in 2004 by a wine producer Anne Hugues of Domaine de la Roy&egrave;re and the Rh&ocirc;ne Valley winegrowers organization, Inter-Rh&ocirc;ne. The group&#39;s aim is to promote the role of women within the (traditionally rather masculine) wine world. Its members attend events for wine trade professionals and the general public, in France and abroad, spreading knowledge about Rh&ocirc;ne Valley wines with a friendly, down-to-earth approach.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The group represents the appellations of C&ocirc;tes du Rh&ocirc;ne, C&ocirc;tes du Rh&ocirc;ne Villages, Ch&acirc;teauneuf-du-Pape, Visan, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Beaumes de Venise, Coteaux du Tricastin, Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas, C&ocirc;tes du Ventoux, C&ocirc;tes du Luberon et Costi&egrave;res de Nimes. Members include wine growers, oenologists, sommeliers, wine merchants, sales and marketing specialists and journalists. Here are five wines to try from the Femmes Vignes Rh&ocirc;ne:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2013 Domaine Saladin Per El C&ocirc;tes du Rh&ocirc;ne $25</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Domaine Saladin&#39;s story is a tale of two siblings; thirty-something sisters Elisabeth and Marie-Laurence Saladin run the family estate, passed down through twenty generations since 1422. They created their first vintage in 2003, when their father Louis handed over the reins. In 2006, their uncle transferred the family&#39;s ancient vines to the sisters, and thus it fell to them to keep the Saladin wine growing tradition alive.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The 18 hectares and 13 grape varietals of Domaine Saladin are situated in the Ard&egrave;che area, around the village of Saint Marcel; they have always been harvested by hand, and grown and vinified organically. Per El (&ldquo;For Her&rdquo; in Proven&ccedil;al) was created by their father for their mother Annick; she used to serve it at her restaurant. It&#39;s a complex blend of six grapes (Marsanne, Bourboulenc, Viognier, Clairette, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc) which come from the same plot, planted side by side in deep Villafranchien soil dotted with the large, rounded pebbles (galets roul&eacute;s) so typical of this area. Made in stainless steel using indigenous yeasts and lees stirring, this wine has amazing depth and breadth (white peach, honeysuckle and delicate, floral aromas). &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2013 Domaine Clavel R&eacute;gulus white C&ocirc;tes du Rh&ocirc;ne $11</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Claire Clavel is the woman behind the distinctively modern labels of Domaine Clavel, an ancient Rh&ocirc;ne Valley estate which has been in the same family since 1640. Fast forward three and a half centuries and we&#39;re in 1991, when Claire joined her parents who had left the local wine cooperative to built their own winery in Saint-Gervais, north-west of Ch&acirc;teauneuf-du-Pape. Her father Denis farms their 75 hectares of vines planted over a series of limestone plateaux in the C&eacute;lettes area, where the influence of the fierce Mistral wind helps keep yields low.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Meanwhile, Claire has taken full responsibility for sales and marketing, developing and diversifying distribution, revisiting Domaine Clavel&#39;s range and modernizing its image. R&eacute;gulus is a range of easy-drinking, fruit-forward, value-for-money wines: it was the white &ndash; a 100% Viognier varietal &ndash; that tickled my tastebuds. With its bright, zippy profile, aromas of citrus, peach and apricot, and refreshing acidity, it makes a great aperitif, but it would be equally at home paired with exotic, spicy dishes or richer, oily fish (think smoked salmon or mackerel). Mouth-watering and accessibly priced, this is a great bottle for everyday drinking.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Ch&acirc;teau Le Devoy Martine Via Secreta Lirac $20</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> V&eacute;ronique Lombardo is a widely-traveled woman who has lived in the US and in Asia. She represents the fourth generation of winemakers in this Rh&ocirc;ne valley business: her parents and grand-parents grew vines and made wines in Sicily, Tunisia and then France, in Lirac, where they pioneered the production of white wines in the southern Rh&ocirc;ne valley, planting white grape varieties in the early 1980s with great success.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> V&eacute;ronique joined her father Marc in 2008, bringing a new perspective to the estate which they now run together, farming their terraced vines to produce rich, flavorful wines with intensity and concentration.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Their red Lirac Via Secreta is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourv&egrave;dre, made using traditional methods and malolactic fermentation and aged in concrete tanks to produce a supple, well-balanced and mouth-filling wine with nicely integrated tannins. A nose of blackcurrant and cherry develops on the palate into notes of white pepper, liquorice and warm spice. It&#39;s a tasty, harmonious wine that can be enjoyed on its own but I&#39;d match it with red meat in a heartbeat. Laying it down for a few years will simply enhance it further. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2013 Domaine des Romarins C&ocirc;tes du Rh&ocirc;ne $15</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Domaine des Romarins is a case study in continuity. Claire Fabre became involved in the management of the estate in 1996, forming a bridge between family members including her father-in-law Georges and her husband Francis (formerly the local mayor), with her elder son Xavier working alongside her in the vineyard since 2002. In 2013 Claire&#39;s second son Beno&icirc;t decided to return to the family fold, developing export sales and allowing his mother to step down and officially retire after the 2014 vintage.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Going forward, a new generation will be putting their stamp on the wines so watch this space, but right now, their 2013 C&ocirc;tes du Rh&ocirc;ne is a text book example of a well-made, good value bottle. Subtle aromas of crushed strawberry and cherry jam give way to warm, spicy hints of liquorice and cinnamon which develop as the wine breathes, translating into a satisfying, supple, mouthful of ripe fruit on the palate. Its balance means that this lovely wine can be sipped without food, but a pairing with Mediterranean cuisine would bring out all its flavors. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Domaine de Poulvarel Les Perrottes Costi&egrave;res de N&icirc;mes $30</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> In 2004, Elisabeth Glas and her husband Pascal (an experienced vineyard worker) embarked upon a risky venture, taking over some abandoned family vines to create their own estate. The couple invested a great deal of time, money and energy to bring the vineyard back to life, and to build a modern winery in which to vinify the fruit of their combined labors. Today, their gamble is paying off: the typicity of the Rh&ocirc;ne valley comes through clearly in the wines of Domaine de Poulvarel. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Seriously dark and delicious, Les Perrottes is ideal for drinking in the cooler season. Crafted from Carignan, Syrah and Grenache Noir, with half the blend barrel-aged for 15 months, this structured yet supple wine has wonderful notes of dark, cooked fruit, cocoa and spice. Its length, character and pronounced aromatic profile make it the perfect match for winter dining: time to light the log fire and start thinking about roast meat and rich sauces. A real charmer.</p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6569 Sweden Sees Bright Wine Future Because of Warmer Winters James Duren <p>Ask Southern Hemisphere countries like Australia what they think of global warming and you&#39;re liable to get a concerned look along with several strategies for dry farming and alternative ways to preserve water and use it wisely.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Ask a Swede about the effects of global warming and, at least from the winemakers, you might just get a little grin. Or, in the case of a recent story by The Guardian&#39;s Sweden correspondent David Crouch, a very optimistic paragraph about Europe&#39;s frozen north.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;The song of a skylark mingles with the clink of glasses from the small bodega by the winery,&rdquo; Crouch wrote of his visit to a Swedish winery. &ldquo;Inside, the sommelier is serving visitors as they gaze out on to rows of pines stretching down a slope of rolling hillside.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Whereas the rest of the wine world is viewing with furrowed brow the imminent arrival of even warmer summer temperatures, Sweden&#39;s winemakers say the rising temperatures have added an extra month to the country&#39;s growing season.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> History says global warming has increased by 2&deg;C the Swedish winter, the benefits of which Crouch said go beyond just the nuts and bolts of making wine &ndash; it&#39;s revolutionizing the Swedish winemaking industry.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;The change is helping to turn Nordic viniculture from a retirement hobby into a small but resilient commercial reality &ndash; there are more than a dozen vineyards selling to the country&#39;s alcohol stores, while many more have created businesses around their wine.&rdquo;<br /> Sweden&#39;s wine industry is very much the tender spring bud busting through winter&#39;s chill. In fact, one sommelier said the country is 15 years behind England.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Food industry expert Jannie Vetsergaard said the industry is by and large the territory of amateurs.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;People came into wine with passion, but not with knowledge, so in the early years lots of mistakes were made &ndash; middle-aged men who had tasted good French wines wanting the same to happen in their backyard,&rdquo; she said.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> One mistake &ndash; growers took their crack at red wines before realizing the climate and the reds didn&#39;t agree.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;Swedish vineyards are still searching for a grape variety that perfectly suits the specific Nordic terroir, where the short growing season produces fruit with high acidity,&rdquo; Crouch wrote.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Though the changing climate lends to an optimistic outlook for Sweden&#39;s wines, homegrown wine critic Alf Tumble is a bit more tepid with his prognostication: &ldquo;We&#39;ll just have to wait and see &ndash; and taste along the way.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6572 I’ve Got The Cork Taint Blues Claudia Angelillo <p>It was an <a href=""><strong>Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino from the 2006 vintage</strong></a>. I&rsquo;d looked forward to opening it for eons. Critic James Suckling said to lay it down until at least 2014. Finally, a worthy occasion presented itself: Summer Solstice, 2015. It was time to open the bottle. What would nine years of age have to say? &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I&rsquo;ll tell you what it had to say: Sodden cardboard, soggy leaves, and weird animal parts. TCA strikes again.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> What is TCA? It&rsquo;s shorthand for Trichloroanisole, a chemical that can be present in some cork that creates moldy aromas in the glass. About five percent of bottles are effected by TCA. That percentage used to be much higher. Treatments to eradicate TCA have been a huge focus of the wine industry, and they&rsquo;ve succeeded -- for the most part.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Some people are more sensitive to TCA than others. At low levels it can be difficult to detect. You&#39;ve likely consumed many TCA-tainted bottles of wine in your lifetime. Fortunately, TCA can&rsquo;t physically hurt you; the emotional trauma is another story.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Overall, when it comes to TCA, you&rsquo;ll wonder why your wine is lacking bright fruit flavors. This tipped me off about my Brunello; the fruit was missing in action. While the leather and tobacco of early age was evident, the sour red cherry that is the hallmark of the <a href=""><strong>Sangiovese wine grape</strong></a> was absent.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> TCA isn&rsquo;t always the cork&rsquo;s fault. It could also be the barrels, in which case entire lots would be ruined. Considering the reams of positive reviews on this 2006 Brunello, I surmise that my bottle was just a stroke of bad luck. I was ready to accept my TCA-dappled fate.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Until I remembered the famed TCA quick-fix!<br /> There&rsquo;s one chemical that actually enjoys basking in the delight of TCA: Polyethylene, the world&rsquo;s most common plastic. It absorbs TCA upon contact. Plastics based on the Polyethylene molecule are popular because it remains pliable for an extended period of time while remaining impervious to most damage. It is used in products like shampoo bottles, toys of all kinds, grocery bags, and saran wrap.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Using your shampoo bottle like a wand over your wine glass won&rsquo;t do a thing. However, I will attest to the effectiveness of saran wrap. This is how I did it: I poured the wine into a big bowl. Next, I balled up a fist-sized wad of saran wrap and submerged it in the bowl of wine. Then I winced; and finally I waited.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Thirty minutes later the wet cardboard taste had vanished. Unfortunately, the fruit flavors did not return.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Although TCA is the scourge of wine lovers, that doesn&rsquo;t mean we can&rsquo;t have fun trying to eliminate it. Some plastics may work better than others. Getting a TCA-tainted wine bottle is like finding the golden egg; make lemons out of lemonade (or, wine out of grapes) and experiment with the plastic magic bullet: Polyethylene. Will a higher concentration of Polyethylene pull more TCA? Does a Barbie doll contain more Polyethylene than a wad of saran wrap? I&rsquo;ll let you know after I find my next golden egg.</p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6574 Syrian Brothers Produce Notable Wines Amid Distance, Danger James Duren <p>To say that a vineyard is one of the world&#39;s most idyllic man-made refuges is not an understatement.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Tranquil hills, ocean breezes, mountain air and the delicate aroma of grapes clinging to the last minutes of sunlight on a hot summer day &ndash; they all combine to provide a transcendent experience.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> However, as is the case with a diverse wine world where grapes grow in the most unlikely places, &ldquo;tranquility&rdquo; seems to be a misnomer for Domaine de Bargylus, a Syrian winery whose vines have witnessed the wages of war.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;That is because it is the only internationally recognised wine in the world today produced from grapes grown and picked in Syria &ndash; a country wracked for the past four years by a horrific and bloody civil war, and were for most the main goal is staying alive, not sipping syrah,&rdquo; wrote Henry Samuel, a Paris correspondent for <em>The Telegraph</em> who recently wrote about the winery.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While the winery&#39;s precarious location has been covered by news outlets in the past, the estate&#39;s existence became even more notable earlier this month when it became the first Syrian winery to exhibit at Bordeaux&#39;s Vinexpo.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;The feat is all the more remarkable because in many parts of the country, those found drinking any kind of alcohol &hellip; face 100 lashes or worse from fighters of the medieval-minded Islamic State and other jihadist groups seeking to create a self-styled caliphate,&rdquo; Samuel wrote.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If the terrors of conservative religious law aren&#39;t enough of a scare, this past year winery owners (and brothers) Karim and Sandro Saade said they lost 15 of their prized chardonnay plants to a pair of mortars which sliced through the sky and landed in their vineyard.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The brothers told Samuel they weren&#39;t sure from where or from whom the mortars came, but that the random attack didn&#39;t deter them.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;The situation is not great we have to admit, but we have no choice but to continue,&rdquo; Karim said in the story.<br /> Part of the duo&#39;s dedication to their wines may have to do with the history of the winery itself. The siblings&#39; grandfather owned the land in the 1960&#39;s before an interim foreign government took control of the region.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The family decided in 2003 to plant vines on the land, and in 2006 they released their first vintage.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> As the estate&#39;s prestige has grown, the Saade brothers have had to watch the success from neighboring Beirut. Because of the danger of&nbsp; &ldquo;militants or brigands&rdquo; scouring the border between Lebanon and Syria, the duo have not set foot on the winery&#39;s premises in four years.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> When harvest time comes around, the Saade brothers and their wine consultant taste their grapes in the most unique of ways: the tiny globes are put on ice, placed in a taxi and shuttled across the Lebanon border. The trips takes about four hours without delays. Sometimes the delivery goes awry and the taxi has to return to the estate for more grapes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A team of about 35 workers care for the grapes during the year.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;The land itself is not easy to work,&rdquo; Samuel wrote. &ldquo;The limestone, flint and clay terrain is tough on the tractors, whose wheels need changing twice a year, and there is a lot of wine, but warm days and cool nights offer excellent conditions for maturing the grapes.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=";oe=5624718C"><strong>Domaine de Bargylus Facebook Page</strong></a></p> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6571 Sulfite It To Say: Stop Demonizing Sulfites In Wine Claudia Angelillo <p>A recent Wired article by <a href=""><strong>Christopher Null</strong></a> reiterated what many wine lovers have believed for quite some time: Sulfites are an utterly natural part of wine life. And they&rsquo;re probably not causing your wine headaches.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sulfites are the clumping together of sulfur-derived compounds. They are a natural creation of the fermentation process. They prevent big bad microbes from colonizing our wine and rendering it undrinkable. As a matter of metabolic process, the human body produces up to 1000 mg. of sulfites per day. The trouble begins when wine and food producers alike add extra sulfites to their products to safeguard them against microbial interlopers. Sulfites lengthen the shelf life for otherwise perishable products.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The problem is that some people (very few, according to studies) are deficient in a natural enzyme that helps to break down sulfites. Indeed, there are folks out there who are incredibly allergic to sulfites &ndash;but those people have an aversion to many food products as well; this includes trail mix, sandwich crackers, packaged tortillas, and a fair number of prescription and non-prescription drugs. The analgesics that you may use to cure your wine headache are on the list.&nbsp; That said, anyone could have a harsh reaction to sulfites when they are added to products in obscenely high amounts. This helps explain why the United States government stepped in some thirty years ago to regulate their use.<br /> In 1986 the FDA in the United States officially deemed sulfites an allergen. If a U.S. product contains more than ten milligrams of sulfites per liter it must be disclosed on the package. Once something is disclosed, it&rsquo;s natural to assume that there&rsquo;s a reason for the (dishonorable?) mention. It&rsquo;s similar to arguments made against GMO labeling: Some believe it a completely normal process, so why bother mentioning it?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In his Wired article, Null points out that there are other factors that can contribute to wine headaches. They include histamine, tyramine, and of course, the dehydrating effects of alcohol. But Null does acknowledge that no matter how many medical studies exonerate sulfites (and there have been several), many wine drinkers will continue to believe that they&rsquo;re severely allergic to it.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Do you fear sulfites? In your experience, do they provoke ill-effects? How deeply do you believe in the power of suggestion? I suggest you let us know in the comments.</p> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6568 The Advent of Plastic Wine Bottles? Claudia Angelillo <p>First it was natural vs. synthetic cork. Then it was cork vs. screw cap. Recently we&rsquo;ve been seeing boxes and cans take on the formidable glass bottle. Now, there is yet another traditional wine packaging assailant on the scene.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> New World countries like New Zealand and Australia are already using PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic wine bottles. This is the same type of plastic used for soft drinks. Clearly, plastic bottle wines will have a far shorter shelf life than their glass cousins. The plastic allows more oxygen to pass through the bottle which results in spoilage. This may not matter to most; wine consumers aren&rsquo;t sitting on their bottles for very long these days. If consumers are willing to accept boxes and cans, why would they eschew plastic as well? The tide of change could be nigh.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The benefits of plastic bottles are obvious: less breakage, easier shipping, and better for the environment. The plastic bottles are recyclable and BPA-free. But then again, for some, there&rsquo;s a little something called blasphemy.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It is worth considering that glass bottles themselves are fairly new on the scene. Their use dates back to the 18th century. Before that, wine drinkers would draught their bounty straight from barrels and amphora. It was not unusual for a wine drinker to wear a kidney-shaped pouch rendered from goat skin around his neck.<br /> Change is constant, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean wine drinkers won&rsquo;t be resistant to it. Do you still love the first wine you ever loved? Once a Bordeaux drinker, always a Bordeaux drinker. But we are seeing a slow trending away from traditional glass bottles, simply because they are such a pain. Major media outlets such as Real Simple, Bon Appetit, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator have begun reporting on boxed and canned wines. Most wine drinkers don&rsquo;t give screw caps a second thought. Can the cache of glass wine bottles last forever?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> However, plastic poses health threats for which we may not be prepared. PET plastics could leech into the wine, resulting in the ingestion of unsavory chemicals. Not only will your drinking experience change, but these nasty chemicals will be coursing through your bloodstream. It may be no different than breathing air pollution, but shouldn&rsquo;t we control our intake of questionable chemicals when we can?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The wine industry is an ever-evolving organism. PET plastic bottles will reduce both waste and costs for consumers and producers alike. But with change comes risk. Would you buy wine in a plastic bottle?</p> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6567 Drink Like You're Worth a Billion Bucks James Duren <p>Among the vast litany of troubles for the world&#39;s billionaire&#39;s lies the painstaking task of knowing what kind of wine an uber-rich mogul of wealth should be drinking. No need for princes to be be popping the corks of wines meant for paupers, right?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> To meet this dire need, wine expert Mark Oldman offered this past weekend at Aspen&#39;s Food &amp; Magazine Classic a seminar titled &ldquo;Wines for IPO Billionaires&rdquo;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;Over a hundred attendees queued up, patiently waiting for a coveted seat to hear Oldman riff on the drinking habits of the world&#39;s wealthiest people,&rdquo; reporter Kelly Hayes wrote in The Guardian about in Oldman&#39;s presentation. &ldquo;While it is unlikely that any actual billionaires are in attendance avid gourmets and oenophiles patiently waited with budding anticipation.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The fiery wine expert opened his presentation with a bang, telling his audience that the wines assembled for his billionaire&#39;s tasting most likely amounted to the most expensive consumer tasting to ever take place.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While the history books may have a beef with the drama-laden claim, no one could dispute the quality of the wines, including Italy&#39;s stellar Sassicaia and Australia&#39;s powerful Penfolds Grange.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The crowd was quite enthusiastic, Hayes wrote, offering boisterous replies to Oldman&#39;s questions and, when Oldman asked what the best time for drinking Champagne is, they let out a raucous, &ldquo;Always!&rdquo;<br /> A photo from the event explains the somewhat off-the-cuff nature of the presentation (not to mention one particularly pot-focused participant who said a French wine tasted like bong water): Oldman is standing before a lineup of six epic bottles of wine, sporting a garish purple smoking jacket reminiscent of a cocktail lounge in a cruise ship twenty years past its prime and ready to heave its final, saltwater-laden breath.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Hayes described Oldman&#39;s getup: &ldquo;Oldman burst upon the stage, dressed in a rakish purple smoking jacket, with a wooden pipe hanging from his mouth.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The tasting began with a pure-Chardonnay Champagne and ended with a 3-liter bottle of Champagne. Theatrics abounded.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;As the vibe loosened further, thanks to the 7,900-foot elevation the early hour and the high-octane red wines, Oldman unsheathed a saber,&rdquo; Hayes wrote. &ldquo;&#39;What&#39;s the best time for Champagne&rdquo; he bellowed again. &#39;Always!&#39; his audience replied, and a massive three-litre bottle of NV Champagne Barons de Rothschild appeared on stage. Begin with bubbles and close with bubbles. That&#39;s how the billionaires do it.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></p> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6562 Forbes Drops “Best American Dessert Wine Ever” on 2010 Sipper James Duren <p>Nick Passmore, Forbes&#39; wine and spirits columnist, may have entered the realm of hyperbole this past Saturday when he crowned a particular American wine as the best dessert wine ever. Ever, as in no dessert wine in the history of the country has ever reached the crispy, sweet heights of the dessert wine world as his choice has.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> But before revealing the stunning selection, he dilly-dallied about, giving some background on the history of sweet wines, who makes them well and why America has historically been amateurish in the production of the sweet stuff.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;America just doesn&#39;t do dessert wines, and that&#39;s a great pity,&rdquo; Passmore wrote, parsing no words for his valuation. &ldquo;American wine consumers have learned that sweet wine is the ultimate in un-cool, the epitome of gauche; no one drinks sweet wine, do they?&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Contrary to this anti-sweet sentiment, in-the-know wine drinkers actually do appreciate a well-crafted sweet sipper.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In fact, he said, finding the right dessert wine can make a post-meal feast of fresh fruit a complementary or contradictory experience.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;What do you drink with fresh June strawberries, or an almond tart, or a creme brulee? It has to be&nbsp; a sweet wine; the acidity in even a great dry red or a dry white just sets sparks of contradiction flying,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;But not the sort of cloying syrup your dipso great aunt sipped with her candied fruit, wines that make you reach for a Heinie.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The majority of the world&#39;s great dessert wines come from Europe, he said, where the Old Worlders have made an art form out of the process, boasting powerhouse wines from Sauterne, Tokaj and Vin Santo.<br /> However, he noted, dessert wines are an expensive proposition: they cost a ton of money to make and they also cost a ton of time.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Despite the toll, there are regions who still do it well despite the taxing process of cash and hours.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;But winemakers keep making it anyway because they love it, and it&#39;s a badge of prestige.,&rdquo; Passmore wrote.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Just because winemakers love crafting dessert wines, that doesn&#39;t mean their creations are lovable.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;Recently, a few ambitious Americans have tried to emulate the process for the same reasons, but in my experience the results have been, at best, horrible,&rdquo; Passmore wrote.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Horrible, that is, until the wine writer came across Rockbridge d&#39;O, a 2010 dessert wine from the great state of Virginia. Passmore said the wine was the best one of its kind America has ever made.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;Deep copper in color, warm honey on the front palate, lots of tropical fruit mingled with candied lemons and oranges, a rich luxurious mid-palate leading to a bracing, tangy finish,&rdquo; Passmore wrote, &ldquo;reminiscent of English tawny marmalade.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>McPig</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></p> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6561 Peregrinating and Wine is Not a Crime Claudia Angelillo <p>Walk it off, indeed. A group of fundraisers in Wisconsin is fighting to change a state law that forbids them from walking between multiple locations and tasting wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Wine Walks, a bi-annual community fundraising event in Baraboo, Wisconsin, began in 2008. These wildly popular events generate a good store of cash for civic causes in the town of Baraboo; population: 12,048. Ticket buyers are invited to sample different wines at various stops (usually local businesses) throughout the community. The events get people to pound the pavement, patronize local businesses, mingle with their neighbors and of course, try some new wines. Great idea, right? Every Town USA should give it a try.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> But in Baraboo, it&rsquo;s completely illegal.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A state law dictates that those without a liquor license can obtain a permit to serve alcohol, as long as it is being served at a single location. It is not possible for a single group to serve alcohol at multiple locations.<br /> Last week, a support group for the wine walkers met with Wisconsin state legislators to work toward getting the law changed. The politicians (Rep. Dave Considine and Katy Prange, district director for state Senator Howard Marklein in West Baraboo, Wisconsin) appear to be siding with the cause, but have counseled that such changes can take a great deal of time.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This situation touches upon the broader topic of wine legislation, and whether or not some of it is necessary or simply archaic. Wine is tightly controlled because of its history as an intoxicant. All aspects of the wine industry are touched by this regulation, from shipping to serving to selling and everything in between.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Baraboo wine walk community is determined to get the law changed so that they can move forward with their fall 2015 walk. <a href=""><strong>You will find their petition to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue here</strong></a>. Will you be signing?</p> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6566 Linguistics Lesson: How to Pronounce Those Tricky Wine Names James Duren <p>Elite Daily reporter Kaylin Pound is a self-professed wine expert.&nbsp; But while one&#39;s palate is an indispensable part of one&#39;s ability to decipher the forward flavors, subtle hints and dazzling dashes weaved within the profile of a wine, that palate is of no help when it comes to pronouncing the names of the quaffers said drinkers so eloquently describe.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;Let&#39;s be real,&rdquo; Pound wrote. &ldquo;There is nothing more humiliating that trying to sound like a cultured wine connoisseur as you commit the ultimate foodie faux pas and order a bottle of &#39;bor-dox&#39; in front of your date.&rdquo;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Quite proud of her pronunciation list (and rightly so, for it covers nearly every possible wine), pound said farewell to mispronunciations.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;Luckily, your days of butchering wine names will also become a thing of the past because we tracked down all those tricky wine names and paired them with their proper pronunciations,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;Thanks to this speech guide, people might actually think you&#39;re a chic sommelier rather than gal who just likes to binge on boxed wine in her PJ&#39;s every night.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While &ldquo;sommelier&rdquo; may be a stretch, the list will prepare you to confidently say names of wines from a variety of regions and countries.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Perhaps the most surprising pronunciation on the list came early on in the alphabetically-organized litany: Champagne.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The surprise here isn&#39;t that most people butcher the name of the French sparkler: &ldquo;sham-PAIN&rdquo; is a pretty common pronunciation of the word and is close to the real pronunciation.<br /> The surprising part is that &ldquo;sham-PAIN&rdquo; isn&#39;t the right pronunciation because most of us leave off the &ldquo;ya&rdquo; that comes at the end of the proper way to say the word (&ldquo;shawm-PAN-ya&rdquo;) and because we pronounce the second syllable &ldquo;PAIN&rdquo; instead of &ldquo;PAN&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> With Champagne cleared up, many wine drinkers can now breathe a sparkling sigh of relief next time they head to a New Year&#39;s Eve party.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Not every wine on the list is as popular as Champagne. This is a good thing, though, as pronunciation of German wines and varietals from other countries can come in handy next time you head to your local eatery to peruse the wine list.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> For instance, Gew&uuml;rtztraminer, the mutter of all tongue twisters north of Italy, is pronounced guh-VOORTS-tra-mee-ner.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The list also includes Montepulciano D&#39;Abruzzo, the Italian linguistic beast likely responsible for many a flushed cheek at high-end restaurants (not to mention an utter fear of the Italian language): MON-tae-pul-chee-AH-noh dah-BRUTE-so.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pug Girl</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></p> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6559 Chinese Wine Drinkers Get Better Learning Through Language Claudia Angelillo <p>Wine has the power to overcome just about anything. It has been known to conquer distance, time, and taste. (Remember when Americans only drank Sherry?) Now, the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) is ensuring that wine defeats the barriers of language as well.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Western methods of wine interpretation can been daunting to native Chinese speakers. The AGWA has decided to create a bi-lingual tool that equates common wine notes and terms with flavors and ideas that are more readily understood by the Chinese palate. For example: yangmei is equivalent to strawberry. General wine assessment terms such as balance will also be covered. The tool is thought to be the very first of its kind.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This tool is targeted to native Chinese wine drinkers who regularly consume imported wine in China. Approximately 38 million people fall into this category, according to a recent Wine Intelligence study. The hope is that this tool will help the consumer make better decisions about the information they read on the back labels of imported wines and to sharpen their tasting notes.<br /> In case you missed it, the Chinese wine market has witnessed astounding growth over the past decade. Increased income and loosened cultural strictures have positioned China as one of the largest consumers of wine in the world. They drank 1.86 billion bottles of wine in 2013. The Chinese tend to prefer red wine; it contributes nearly 62 percent of total wine sales by volume, while white wine contributes 38 percent, according to the Chinese Business Review. Chinese red wine consumption alone rose 175.4% between 2008 and 2013. In the same period, Italian red wine consumption fell by 5.8% and French red wine consumption dropped by 18%, according to a Vinexpo market study.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The AGWA-sponsored bi-lingual tool will be available beginning in August 2015. It will be distributed through Wine Australia&rsquo;s China office, used in its Chinese education program and made available to Australian wineries that welcome Chinese visitors. How long do you think it will be before other countries create a similar tool?</p> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6564 L.A. County Puts the Kibosh on Grapevines Claudia Angelillo <p>Grape growers and vintners are anxious to farm the arable land surrounding Los Angeles, specifically the Santa Monica Mountains. A recent vote has temporarily squelched their desire.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> The Associated Press reports that the L.A. County Board of Supervisors passed a temporary ban on all new vineyards in the Northern Santa Monica Mountains. The motivation behind this decision is the historic California drought. Parched for four years and counting, California is ready to take any measure necessary to help preserve the precious resource.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Grape growers and vintners argue that vineyards are not a water-intensive crop. Dry farming and ground water often can accomplish the job. But the L.A. County Board wants to take some time to evaluate exactly how much water is being allocated to grape growing.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Besides water, the Board is concerned that increased vineyard lands will lead to erosion. Soil erosion removes valuable top soil. The loss of this top soil results in lower yields and higher production costs. Surrounding farmlands and waterways will experience the negative impacts of erosion as well.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Vintners and grape growers feel that they have been unnecessarily targeted. Erosion occurs only when vineyards plantings are done in a sloppy fashion without regard for regulation. The Board is standing behind the temporary ban, as it allows them time to evaluate practices and perhaps suggest practical improvements.<br /> Los Angeles has a small but steady core of wineries. Roughly fifty wineries operate out of the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu. The area is roughly thirty minutes west of downtown Los Angeles.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Cornell Winery and Tasting Room on Mulholland Highway in downtown Los Angeles carries tastes from nearly fifty independent vineyards in the Santa Monica Mountains. Larger vineyards such as Rosenthal Estate and Malibu Family Wines have their own tasting rooms.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In the 1850s, Los Angeles County positioned itself as a grape growing leader. Forty-three wineries were producing four million gallons of wine at that time. Prohibition, vine diseases, and urban expansion slowed this growth to a near halt. However there are farmers and winemakers who continue to see the potential in Los Angeles wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Board will hold their next hearing on the matter on July 28th.</p> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6563 Barolo: Then and Now <p><div><br /> Barolo is the &ldquo;King&rdquo; of Italian wines. Its crown, however, has changed during the past 50 years or so. Italy&rsquo;s wine laws went into effect in the mid-1960&rsquo;s. At that time Barolo was a DOC wine. There were 3 categories: DOC Regular (Normale), DOC Riserva, and DOC Riserva Speciale. Two years of aging in cask and 13% alcohol was required by all three categories. The Riserva required two additional years of aging; the Riserva Speciale required three additional years. Barolo makers would blend must from all of their vineyards to create one Barolo in their own house style. In outstanding vintages the best juice would be used to make a Riserva or Riserva Speciale. But what&rsquo;s happening to Barolo now?</div><br /> <br /> Barolo was and is produced primarily in 5 villages south of Alba: La Morra, Serralunga d&rsquo;Alba, Barolo, Monforte and Castiglione Falletto, as well as in parts of 6 other villages. The zone was and is about 3,085 acres (1,248 hectares). There were 1,242 growers. That&rsquo;s an average of less than 3 acres per grower. No one makes a lot of Barolo. The Barolisti, then and now, count their wines by the bottle, not by the case. Most of the owners are enologists and agronomists. It is a farmer&rsquo;s culture, but wealthy farmers. A hectare of land in the Cannubi vineyard, for example, may be valued at 2,000,000 Euro. Most parcels of land are not for sale. They are passed down from generation to generation.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Important in the past were considerations of the specific clone of Nebbiolo used in making Barolo. The approved clones are Michet, Lampone and Rose but Rose has all but disappeared. Barolo is always 100% Nebbiolo. Soil composition was discussed: Tortonian or Helvetian. Then there was the debate over the sizes and types of oak containers: traditional large oak Botti or smaller French Barriques. The arguments continue today. After all, each producer has his or her own ideas about maceration time, when the malolactic fermentation should take place and how long Barolo should be aged in the cellar before release. 1,242 growers, 1,242 ideas &ndash; very personal.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Barolo is noted for its perfume and delicate charm, which take years to develop. It is the end of the rainbow, a Cuban cigar, the King of Italian Wines. Long live the King! Science and the DOCG have uplifted the consistency of Barolo. There is no longer the specter of volatile acidity or rough odors of seaweed. And there is a renewed spirit of cooperation among producers, assuring us that the King will stay on top. Here are the DOCG requirements that went into effect in the 1980&rsquo;s:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Minimum Aging in Years</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Cask&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Total&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Alcohol<br /><br /> <strong>DOC Regular (Normale)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 2&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 3&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 13%<br /><br /> <strong>DOC Riserva&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 2&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 5&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 13%&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Although no government regulation can legislate out mediocrity, it is safe to say Barolo wine today is better than ever with the highest image of any wine zone in Italy.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>The Crus of Barolo</strong><br /><br /> Recognizing the importance of individual vineyard sites throughout the Barolo DOCG zone was a movement spearheaded by Renato Ratti. It culminated in his Carta del Barolo (1984). He also did a Carta del Barbaresco. A Cru Barolo must be distinctive and yield a wine that is unique to itself, better then a normal Barolo and different from other Cru&rsquo;s.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It is interesting that the first reference to Barolo wine is not to Barolo, but to one of its crus: Cannubi, 1752. Cannubi predates Barolo. We recommend that you try some of the different, recognized vineyards. Generally a cru is a step up from regular Barolo &ndash; and that&rsquo;s saying a lot.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cannubi</strong><br /><br /> Cannubi is a long hillside that rises above the town on Barolo, close to its neighboring village of La Morra. It is at the intersection of the blue-gray Tortonian marl soils and the buff, iron-rich Helvetian sandstone soil. It is Barolo personified and magnified. Cannubi gets sunlight all day. It nurtures Barolo wines of rare intensity, elegance and longevity. &ldquo;Cannubi, 1752.&rdquo; Nearly 275 years ago farmers knew the importance of this vineyard.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sheldon Wasserman rated all of the crus in 1987. Only one received his top 3-star rating: Cannubi, also called Cannubbio and Collina Cannubi. But where does Cannubi begin and end?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Can 15 Equal 34?</strong><br /><br /> There are sub-parcels of Cannubi which have spawned another debate. The original Cannubi &ndash; the single finest vineyard (Wasserman); the best of both worlds (Ratti) &ndash; is 15 hectares (about 37 acres). Adjacent vineyards &ndash; Cannubi-Boschis, Cannubi-Muscatel, Cannubi-San Lorenzo, Cannubi-Valletta and Cannubi-Monghisolfo &ndash; bring the total to 34 hectares (about 88 acres). Wasserman rated all of these 2 stars, not 3. As in Burgundy, there are many owners of Cannubi and the sub-parcels. The stakes are high. This is the most prestigious and expensive real estate in Barolo. Should the sub-parcel owners be permitted to call their wine Cannubi? Where does Cannubi begin and end?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This has evolved into a court battle. In 2012 eleven producers of Cannubi won a court decision enforcing Ratti&rsquo;s classification, forbidding the &ldquo;secondary&rdquo; sites from putting Cannubi on the label, stressing the importance of the original 15 hectares, the heart of Cannubi. Owners of the sub-parcels would have to list the full name of their property and not use the word Cannubi on its own. Upon appeal the ruling was reversed in favor of the owners of the broader 34 hectares. Now there is an appeal of the reversal filed in Italy&rsquo;s highest court. This is a precedent-setting case. We have seen a Barbaresco producer attempting to cash in on Cannubi by calling his wine Barbaresco Cannubi. Where do vineyards begin and end? It may be best settled within the wine consortiums and among the wine press. Credibility is at stake. The proof of the Cannubi, however, is and will continue to be in the bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Some of our favorite Cannubi producers include:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Damilano (La Morra)<br /><br /> Paolo Scavino (Castiglione Falletto)<br /><br /> Michele Chiarlo (Calamandrana)<br /><br /> G.B. Burlotto (Verduno)<br /><br /> E. Pira e Figli &ldquo;Chiara Boschis&rdquo; (Barolo)<br /><br /> Giacomo Brezza e Figli (Barolo)<br /><br /> FratelliSerio e Battista Borgogno (Barolo)<br /><br /> Giacomo Fenocchio (MonforteD&rsquo;Alba)<br /><br /> Cascina Bruciata (Barbaresco)<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Click through to the next page for wine reviews.<br /><br /> [PAGEBREAK]<br /> <h2><br /> Reviews:</h2><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo Cannubi 2011</strong></a><br /><br /> Color pale ruby, slightly hot (alcohol), aromatic violets and tar, tannic but elegant maybe a little bit green, long finish. Tasted again 1 hour after opening fruit emerged, tannins dissipated and alcohol blew off. Barolo&rsquo;s need time.<br /><br /> <em>90 points</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>E.Pira e Figli Chiara Boschis Barolo Cannubi 2011</strong></a><br /><br /> Brilliant concentrated ruby garnet color, violets and roses on the nose, robust with soft tannins, unfiltered, amarena cherries, hazelnuts, lingering finish, will age well.<br /><br /> <em>93 points</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Damilano Barolo Cannubi 2010</strong></a><br /><br /> Nose of mushrooms and truffles, bright ruby color, tannic with good acidity. Very good to drink now but this wine is young with aging potential, give it a few years in the cellar, it will not disappoint you.<br /><br /> <em>91 points</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Serio &amp; Battista Borgogno Barolo Cannubi 2010</strong></a><br /><br /> Brilliant ruby color with aromatic sweet amarena cherries in syrup, velvety for a young wine, great personality, elegant, chocolate, long finish.<br /><br /> <em>91 points</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Cascina Bruciata Barolo Cannubi Muscatel 2010</strong></a><br /><br /> Deep and rich, lustrous ruby color, explosive aromatics of dried roses, ripe caramelized dark fruit and raspberries, full mouth feel with a persistent finish. A winner! It is ironic that our top pick is from Cannubi Muscatel.<br /><br /> <em>95 points</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Damilano Barolo Cannubi 2009</strong></a><br /><br /> Truffles and mushrooms on the nose. Ruby to garnet color. Earthy, musky, tar. Marcona almonds with a bright finish. The power and elegance of Cannubi. This wine will age well. It was our second favorite wine of the tasting. Enjoy the 2009 Barolos now and for the next decade.<br /><br /> <em>93 points</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cannubi 2009</strong></a><br /><br /> Color is right on with the luster of rubies, minerality and salinity are evident. Finesse and harmonious, charming and elegant. Cherries, strawberries, licorice and vanilla. More ready to drink then the others. Really good wine just a notch below the Damilano 2009 but to close to call.<br /><br /> <em>93 points</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Francesco Rinaldi Barolo Cannubbio 2009</strong></a><br /><br /> Excellent perfume, soft yet complex, ruby color will age well but terrific to drink now, multi-layered with similar characteristics to theChiarlo Cannubi.<br /><br /> 93 points<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Borgogno Barolo Cannubi 2008</strong></a><br /><br /> Rich color, with cherries, well balanced, herbal and complex. Hazelnuts with an ethereal long finish.<br /><br /> <em>90 points</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Serio &amp; Battista Borgogno Barolo Cannubi 2008</strong></a><br /><br /> Bright ruby color with nice aromatics, strawberries, burnt tobacco, super silky with a long finish.<br /><br /> Age this wine it will surprise you in 5 years.<br /><br /> <em>91 points</em></p> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6557 “It's Kind of Like the Beer of Wine”: Bros not Bashful About Rosé James Duren <p>Liberation is here.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Men long wanting to drink pink wine in the open &ndash; unashamedly, without limit and with great enthusiasm &ndash; may now have their moment in the rose-tinted sunlight according to a recent post on the blog of popular magazine Details.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In the story, writer Chloe Wyma posits that ros&eacute;&#39;s rise to popularity has become so ubiquitous that the wine&#39;s reputation has transcended gender lines and is now proclaiming to all sexes, &ldquo;You are free at last.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;As Procrustean gender norms fall into the dustbin of history, more menfolk are succumbing to the charms of the Pink Mistress, blithely knocking back ros&eacute;s ranging in color from onion skin to rare steak,&rdquo; Wyma wrote. &ldquo;Like his counterpart, the much-discussed female whiskey drinker, the ros&eacute; bro is inaugurating a freer, more egalitarian world of gender-fluid beverage consumption.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Wyma talked with several wine directors and average drinkers about the new trend, lending credibility to her claim that men cannot resist the Siren&#39;s call down the pink river and toward pale bliss.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Rustun Nichols, a bar director at Brooklyn&#39;s Wythe Hotel, said he&#39;s run into groups of dudes who pass on whiskey for a big-boy bottle of the pink stuff.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &quot;You go to a table where people are sitting outside and they&#39;re like, &#39;I&#39;ll take a magnum of Bedell,&#39; and maybe it&#39;s seven dudes and you&#39;re a little surprised. You thought you were going to be talking to them about scotch, but they want some Provence ros&eacute;, and that&#39;s totally cool,&rdquo; Nichols told Wyma.<br /> The wine world, Wyma said, is littered with inspiring stories of blushed redemption in which men who previously had to drink their pink in the recesses of their criticism-free living rooms now feel empowered to openly quaff the supple sipper in public spaces &ndash; wine bars, no less.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> James Gold is a typical member of the bros&eacute; movement. He told Wyma his heartbreaking tale of how, until recently, he was timid about drinking in public the previously female drink.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;I would say that I&#39;ve noticed an increase in the popularity of ros&eacute; over the past two years,&quot; Gold said. &quot;Before that, people would drink it, but it was often the butt of jokes, and I wouldn&#39;t really consider picking up a bottle at the store. I would definitely not feel self-conscious ordering it or drinking it now.&quot;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Wyma also spoke with thirty something actor Sam Daly, who likened the wine&#39;s rise to internet dating.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;What once was a faux pas has become the norm,&rdquo; Daly told Wyma. &ldquo;It&#39;s totally become universally accepted among men and women. It&#39;s kind of like the beer of wine.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>andreas</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></p> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6558 Aussies Give Their Perspective on Fake Wine Outbreak James Duren <p>This past week, the Australian Broadcasting Network&#39;s RN Drive navigated the murky, mischievous waters of the wine fraud world.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> And what better source with whom to talk fraud than firecracker counterfeit specialist Maureen Downey, a California-based consultant who aided the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations in its case against villain Rudy Kurniawan.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Reporter Jeremy Story Carter had a sit down with the legendary sipper sleuth, covering the ins and outs of what goes into identifying a fake wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The main takeaway from the story: wine fraud is everywhere.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;It&#39;s scandal after scandal. It&#39;s happening all over the world,&rdquo; Downey told ABC. &ldquo;It is a combination of people who are criminals, who see that wine fraud is very lucrative and rarely gets prosecuted.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The problem has become such a big issue in the United States that it&#39;s forced the FBI to place squads of investigators on the West Coast and East Coast.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Yet the efforts of even the finest agents in the country can&#39;t curb what seems to be a swelling tide of hucksters using a plethora of tools &ndash; labels, corks, and more &ndash; to trick high-paying customers into spending wads of cash on premium wine that is, in reality, as plonkish as it is pastiche.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;It is such a huge fraud, and there are so many people being defrauded that the government has finally taken notice,&rdquo; Downey said. &ldquo;There are a lot of people who should be in a lot more trouble, but in fact they are thriving as a result of defrauding clients and the market.&rdquo;<br /> Detecting the fakes is a matter of detail work. Experts like Downey can&#39;t just open a bottle, swish it around in their mouth and pronounce their judgment on whether or not a wine is authentic. They have to look at the nuances, nooks and crannies of every bit of labeling and other features.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;The capsule, the cork, the glass, the paper and who the label is printed; all of these different things together tell a story. It&#39;s not unlike someone who authenticates art,&rdquo; Downey said.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Of course, there isn&#39;t just one layer to wine fraud &ndash; the fraudsters themselves are sometimes part of a multi-level scheme in which equally nefarious wine authenticators give the thumbs up to fake stuff.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;There are a lot more people who claim that they can authenticate, but are much more part of the problem cause they authenticate so much fake wine; either due to ignorance or malicious intent,&rdquo; Downey said. &ldquo;Unfortunately, the latter is quite common.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Images Money</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></p> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6555 Saying Cheers to #TheNew10 Claudia Angelillo <p>Last Thursday the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced their plans to evict Alexander Hamilton from his long-time residence on the ten dollar bill. His portrait has been prominently featured on the bill since 1929. This has some folks wondering if he shouldn&rsquo;t be entitled to squatter&rsquo;s rights. Others are galvanized by the promise of what&rsquo;s to come.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Constitution&rsquo;s 19th Amendment (which gave women the right to vote) in 2020, Hamilton will be replaced by a yet-to-be named female heroine. Nominees include Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Harriet Tubman. Some insist that Hamilton should remain at his post. The decision asks us to think about what it means to be a true hero. After all, one person&rsquo;s hero may be another&rsquo;s villain.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> But what does this have to do with wine? Well, just take a moment to consider that something as mundane (comparatively speaking) as currency aesthetics has people in a tizzy. (Just take a look the tweets under the official hashtag, #TheNew10.) We are so divided on this issue. Wouldn&rsquo;t it be easier for niche groups, like wine lovers, to come together on who should be featured on their own currency? The currency of wine? Please note: This discussion is not meant to be anarchic or incendiary. It&rsquo;s just plain fun.<br /> That said, I nominate the below three American wine heroes for placement on #TheNewTen.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> 1.)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Agoston Haraszthy</strong><br /><br /> The Hungarian-born winemaker is considered the father of California Viticulture. In 1856 he bought a small vineyard in Sonoma County and hired none other than Charles Krug as a winemaker. He wrote extensively on grape growing practices and was eventually elected to the state&rsquo;s agriculture board. He is a seminal figure in the American wine industry, for certain.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> 2.)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Bacchus</strong><br /><br /> Technically he is not an American wine hero. The Roman god of wine and intoxication has a lot of name recognition, so he is an obvious choice for those of us who feel spiritually connected to our wine. &ldquo;In Bacchus We Trust&rdquo;, indeed. His mystique has done a lot to promote our beverage of choice. This cannot be denied.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> 3.)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Carlo Rossi</strong><br /><br /> How many American wine lovers got their start with Carlo? He is the father of jug wine, providing a gateway through which budding wine lovers can follow their passion. And, he is a real person. Charles Rossi (he passed away in 1994) was related to the Gallo family through marriage. He was involved with the wine industry for more than 60 years and became well known for advertising the Gallo table wines bearing his name. The Carlo Rossi brand was developed in 1955 and grew to become the leading economy brand of table wine in the United States. Listen to what he Carlo has to say in this <a href=""><strong>1986 television ad.</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Where will you case your vote? Did I miss any good nominations? Let me know in the comments.</p> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6556 The Results Are In: Vinexpo Says Americans Are (Very) Thirsty and Rather Simple James Duren <p>You&#39;ve got to hand it to the United States. They love their wine in all its forms &ndash; by the glass, by the bottle, through the written word and by just about anything else which can express the country&#39;s love for the nectar of the grape gods.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The United Kingdom newspaper <em>The Daily Mail</em> recently ran its brief on the Vinexpo global wine fair, highlighting the talk of experts who say the American thirst for wine is ready to explode. Curiously, though, their assertions aren&#39;t based on the current per-capita drinking habits of the nation, but rather on the potential for Americans to drink as much as their European counterparts.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Mel Dick, an executive at a major United States wine distributor, told <em>The Daily Mail</em> Americans lag behind the Brits, whose per-capita quaffing is at an admirable 20 liters per person per year, and the French, whose statistics laugh in the face of the average American of drinking age, are more than four times than the yearly drinking habits of Americans.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &quot;Think about it,&quot; Dick told the Daily Mail. &quot;370 million cases bought (by American consumers) and we only drink about 10 liters per person. If we were drinking like, say, the UK, it would mean 740 million cases. And if we were drinking like the French, 1.6 billion cases.&quot;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In other words, the gap between our per-capita numbers and those of the French and English represent a wide swath of people who are ripe for uncorking at least two times more wine each year.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Cheers to that, Dick said.<br /> &quot;The future of wine in the US is phenomenal,&quot; he said.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> But how to satisfy the cravings of American drinkers who have yet to discover their part in the paltry drinking habits of themselves and their countrymen is another story.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> One wine exec from a chain of American wine retailers said the Yanks are all about fruit-forward wines. That same expert said Americans are more focused on price and not region. He also pointed out that the American wine drinker&#39;s weakness is colorful labeling, tacitly equating the average quaffer as a color-hungry kindergartner who only wants the toys that look cool.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &quot;So some of the labelling is too confusing, too opaque,&quot; the exec told the <em>Daily Mail</em>. &quot;We need colour to jump off the shelf, innovation in labelling. That will help draw attention &ndash; and then we can tell the story of the wine, the heritage.&quot;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In other words, wine retailers would do well to dazzle with label design, though the point cannot pass without mentioning its rather low view of the average American wine drinker.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The road to filling the per-capita drinking gap has its own set of hurdles, though. <em>The Daily Mail</em> said exporters find the liquor laws of each of the 50 states a little cumbersome.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &quot;For Europeans the US market is tough to approach because of its complexity,&quot; the story noted.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>freckledtravels</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></p> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6553 WSJ Releases List of 12 Must-Try Summer Wines James Duren <p>Following suit with the rest of the wine world &ndash; and certainly not wanting to leave enthusiastic summertime quaffers with a parched palate this July and August &ndash; the Wall Street Journal wine expert Will Lyons gave his readers a dozen wines you can&#39;t do without as the mercury rises.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> And perhaps the most striking aspect of Lyons article is that the beloved writer omitted the belle of the 2015 warm-weather ball, ros&eacute;, leaving the pink lady lonely in favor of reds, whites and a few select sparklers.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> For those weary of the much ballyhooed Renaissance of ros&eacute;, it was a breath of fresh (crisp, dry, juicy, too) air amid the onslaught of stories about the pale princess.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Lyons included in his list four groups of wines: the squeaky-clean, crisp whites; a trio of&nbsp; juicy drinkers perfect for a garden party; a triplet of burly, BBQ-friendly reds and another trio whites (two sparklers) perfect for a day at the beach.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Old favorite Chardonnay hit second in Lyon&#39;s lineup of crisp whites, earning the following review from the WSJ wine guru: &ldquo;If you haven&#39;t yet already sniffed out Kumeu River&#39;s wines then try this estate Chardonnay (2012). The nose is all crisp apple and pear, with wonderful richness, bright acidity and a long finish.&rdquo;<br /> On to the reds &ndash; one has to applaud Lyons for included big-bodied reds (Malbec, Cabernet or Shiraz, anyone?) on a summer-focused list which normally flatters white wines to no end and leaves red in the cellar until the cold weather comes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Aside from diverging from the usual lists of summer wines, Lyons&#39; recommendations were a fantastic trio of reds for barbecue bosses who would prefer of a hefty wine to match their well-seasoned New York strip.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> As Lyons said, &ldquo;Even in the summer, there are times when you need a big, bold red with strong flavors and plenty of fruit. Huddled around the campfire is one. Sheltering indoors from an unseasonable downpour is another. These are classic red wines that are great with smoky meat just off the barbecue.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The wine wizard recommended a 2014 Penedo Borges Malbec, a carnivore-friendly quaffer which &ldquo;has a spicy, meaty nose with a topping of wild herbs.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If the beef-laden confines of a backyard grilling party isn&#39;t your thing, Lyons gave readers three wines full of fun and best paired with a poolside lounge chair.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Cheers to Stoneleigh&#39;s Sauvignon Blanc, which Lyons said is &ldquo;bright and lively&rdquo; and has a &ldquo;gentle, herbaceous nose and succulent character that make it ideal for summer sipping.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></p> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6551