It’s Sauvignon Blanc—not Grüner Veltliner—that’s the star of the show in Austria’s Südsteiermark DAC, a historic winegrowing region in the country’s southern state of Styria that has evolved rapidly over the last thirty years. The variety is grown at high elevation in all five of Südsteiermark’s sub regions and on steep slopes that rival those of the Mosel.
Inspired by its striking maritime climate—attributable to the juxtaposition of the San Rafael Mountain and Transverse Ranges to the Pacific coast as well as to its chalky, sandy loam soils—the Miller Family named the site Bien Nacido, which means “well born” in Spanish, and planted it in 1973.
In keeping with Gago’s practice of tasting verticals of older Penfolds vintages alongside panels of expert tasters, I’ve amended my tasting notes to include the historical perspective documented in Penfolds: The Rewards of Patience. This consummate guide to all things Penfolds provides invaluable hindsight through the lens of the world’s most highly-regarded palates.
There is no better time to gauge the quality and stylistic range of Sauvignon Blanc than during the only international wine competition devoted solely to the variety: the 2020 Concours Mondial du Sauvignon, which unfolded in Touraine, France, in early March.
In early February an unprecedented gathering of approximately 200 producers of Barolo and Barbaresco arrived in New York City to present their 2016 and 2017 vintages to the trade. They gathered at Center415 in midtown Manhattan for a walk around-tasting that ran for five hours; a boon for tasters who for once had time on our side.
When Sonoma’s La Crema Winery turned 40 last year, it celebrated the milestone with a unique exercise: Led by Dr. Henry “Hoby” Wedler, it was easily one of my top sensory experiences of 2019.
According to neuroscientist Camilla Arndal Andersen, how consumers describe the taste of food can be misleading largely due to inherent biases. Among the most problematic is the “courtesy bias,” which comes into play when people respond with what they see as a socially acceptable opinion that doesn’t accurately reflect how they feel. There’s also the “bias blind spot,” in which we think we’re less biased than others. In short, we’re biased about our biases.
As grape varieties go, it’s fair to say that Alicante Bouschet (Ahlee-KANT Boo-SHAY) is flashy in the vineyard. It’s one of the few—along with Chile’s Carménère and Campania’s Piedirosso— whose leaves turn a deep, brilliant shade as the growing cycle winds down.
INTERPRETING OUR ATTRACTION TO THE SMELL OF WET ROCKS
Although we understand the physiology of the olfactory epithelium, the organ where volatile aroma compounds are converted in to the electrochemical signals that we perceive as aromas, smell or olfaction is still largely a mystery. For example, we have 400 types of olfactory receptors but we don’t know which volatile aroma compounds activate the majority of them.