As a continuation from last week’s theme, it’s possible that value wines have never been more in demand.I’ve known people who have romanticized about drinking cheap red wine while sitting on the fire escape, at the beach or on the couch — but there is little romance in drinking swill. This certainly is not a way to impress a date and, unless you are a masochist, not really a way you should treat yourself, either. Read More
The upside of uncertain economic times is that people drink less-expensive wines, and that means broadening our horizons to wine regions and types of wines that might have otherwise escaped our attention. Read More
The only Spanish wine that has real name recognition is albariño. A few of you might know Rueda as well, but for the most part, the Spanish wines conjure up the color red. This is starting to change as white wines made from a variety of grapes are popping up all over Spain.
Leading the way in this new wave is xarel-lo (zuh-rel-o). It may not be the easiest grape to pronounce — but if you are a fan of white wine, it is one that you might want to learn, and fast. Read More
If there is one dessert wine that seems to have universal appeal, it is Moscato d’Asti. Soda pop for grown-ups, it is certifiably delicious even when it is not at its best.
Moscato d’Asti was born out of the tradition of Asti Spumante, or just simply Asti, which is also made from muscat canelli, aka muscat a petit grains. For centuries, sparkling moscato has been a claim to fame in Piedmont. It was used as a substitute for Champagne during the phylloxera epidemic that wiped out many French vineyards. Read More
I’m hoping that by the time this column goes to print, I will have shed some of the layers that are keeping me from having frostbite in July.
If you can’t stand the cold, get out of the fridge, right? No more complaining.
Instead, I’m going to use my imagination and see if I can instantly warm up by pretending it is 80 degrees and sunny and I have my pick of rosés waiting to be opened in the backyard.
Which rosés would I choose to have at my beck and calling? That’s a hard one; there are so many I’d be happy to drink. Read More
I was in my local wine store recently and the buyer asked me if I knew of any good California chardonnays. The one that instantly came to mind he already carried. I know that they exist, but it took me a minute to come up with other producers whose chardonnay might still fit into a similar price range.I won’t go as far as to say I became obsessed — after all, the Women’s World Cup has been a greater preoccupation for the better part of the week — but I haven’t forgotten about this wine quagmire either. Read More
No grape is more closely associated with Tuscany than sangiovese. The grape of Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, it is the most widely planted and important varietal of the area. But in the Bolgheri region, sangiovese is a minor player, taking a back seat to the Bordeaux grapes, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Read More
If we were to play wine word association and I said, “Oregon,” you would probably say “pinot noir.” And that would be a great answer.However, in Southern Oregon, pinot is only part of the story and in the Applegate Valley you might very well hear, “Pinot who?” Read More
I don’t know too many people who get excited by California sauvignon blanc. Sancerre, has huge international appeal and New Zealand sauvignon blancs have a big following, but in California, it is still often viewed as no more than an alternative to chardonnay. Read More
California may not be best-known for its bubbly, but thanks in large part to Schramsberg’s efforts more than 40 years ago, there are a good handful of producers who make world-class sparkling wine in our backyard today.
Founded in 1862 by Jacob Schram, a German immigrant, the German grapes, riesling and gewürztraminer, as well as zinfandel, were grown and made into still wines. Along with the help of Chinese laborers, he blasted into the mountain and created two extensive caves that are still vital for aging. Read More
I was thinking last night: If I don’t write something about rosé soon, people out there are going to become really upset or, worse, think I’m some kind of square. So here you go, my ode to pink:Rosé, roséOK, OKThis is what I sayIt’s pink and cleanCould inspire a hat for the Queen Read More
The 2009 vintage in Germany is being hailed — by the German wine industry at least — as one of the greatest. I hear this every few years from vintners who are trying to sell wine — not just the Germans — so I take this proclamation with a grain of salt.
In Germany, 2009 started out a bit iffy with cold weather persisting through July. This, combined with late and interrupted flowering, affected yields but not quality as the weather gods took mercy and provided plenty of sunshine and heat in August and September. Read More
If there is one wine grape that identifies California, it’s zinfandel, and nothing says legendary zin like the name Ridge.Ridge Vineyards’ story goes back to 1885 when Dr. Osea Perrone, an Italian immigrant, bought land atop the Montebello Ridge in Cupertino. Along with fellow emigres, he cut into the limestone slope and finished building what became the Montebello Winery in 1892. Prohibition put the kibosh on its production, and the winery closed its doors by 1938. Read More
After last week’s column, I started thinking about legendary pinot noir and inevitably was led north across the border into Oregon, up to the Willamette Valley to Ponzi Vineyards.
Dick and Nancy Ponzi arrived in Beaverton in 1968. Now a prime location for wine tourism, it was a not-so-big cow town back then. A mechanical engineer (Dick) and Montessori school teacher (Nancy), the Ponzis had a lot to learn about viticulture and farming. They experimented with a number of cool-climate grapes, but after a few years it became apparent pinot noir was the clear winner. Read More
‘We’re not interested in people buying Diamond Creek as a status symbol,” said Phil Ross, who along with his mother and brother runs this legendary property. “That sort of thought is not even on the radar for us. It’s about expressing the vineyards.”
This may sound a little trite today, but if you put Ross’ words into a historical context, he is echoing the words and vision of Diamond Creek’s founder, Al Brounstein, who thought about terroir before it became the most commonly mispronounced word in the wine industry. Read More