From Asti to Champagne, bubbles were a bright spot in 2017. While sparkling wine is no longer confined to special occasions, it continues to mark some of life’s most memorable occasions and its charm can elevate the most mundane moments. For many, 2017 was a year of exuberant highs and abysmal lows which made living in the moment and being grateful for predictable things like the quality of a DOCG Prosecco from Cartizze or the toasty aromas of a Champagne aged on the lees for a decade all the easier. Here’s a look at what I discovered about bubbles during 2017’s twelve months of tastings. January began with a traditional sparkling toast courtesy of the Boisset Collection whose exceptional Buena Vista “La Victoire” Champagne ($50) honors the history of Sonoma’s Buena Vista winery, the first to introduce méthode traditionelle sparkling wine to California in the 19th-century. “La Victoire” is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir from Premier Cru vineyards from the Montagne de Reims, and 30% Chardonnay mostly from Grand Cru Mesnil sur Oger and Chouilly. The wine …
San Francisco continues to be one of the world’s most important destinations for leading players in the wine industry, so it’s no surprise that a major conference dedicated to the private label and bulk trade is making its way to the city on July 26-27.
In more ways than one, Champagne has begun infiltrating wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties. With several unprecedented examples that include Napa cult wine producer Sinegal launching its brand in conjunction with a prestige Champagne house, Sonoma’s Buena Vista Winery–branded Champagne and the unique partnership between Jordan Winery and the grower Champagne house of AR Lenoble, there’s a trend in the making.
Microbial fingerprints leave their mark on winery and vineyard sites — and on finished wine.
In 1997 ozone was approved by the EPA as a safe and effective method of general sanitation for wineries. With the commitment to sustainable farming practices on the rise, it’s now proving to be equally useful in the vineyard. Ozone, or O3, a bluish unstable gas that smells like the air charged by lightning during a thunderstorm, is generated when oxygen and electricity are combined. At high enough concentrations, ozone-charged water becomes a chemical-free alternative to pesticides. Third-generation grower John Bacigalupi farms using many of the traditional methods he learned from his father and grandfather. Last year the Bacigalupi family marked its 50th year growing grapes in Russian River Valley and, in his efforts to be a better steward to the land, Bacigalupi continually adapts his farming practices to keep pace with the way pests and disease respond to chemical treatments. Read the article here 2015JA_PARKERWONG_Ozone
When producers from both sides of the Napa/Sonoma county line that bisects the Los Carneros AVA gathered at Cuvaison for the 30th annual barrel tasting of the Carneros Wine Alliance, Rudyard Kipling’s “Ballad of East and West” came to mind. The AVA stretches east to west and encompasses portions of both Sonoma and Napa counties. Alliance winemakers offered first looks at the 2014 vintage and poured library wines as well. “It’s an exception when we’re representing Carneros,” said Anne Moller-Racke, President and Winegrower at Donum Estate in Sonoma. “We’re usually pouring under a Napa or Sonoma banner.” Read the article here: Ballad of East and West
Consumer acceptance of wine packaging other than glass is growing, but fine glassware remains the undisputed tool of choice for presenting, evaluating and fully appreciating wine. While both crystal and glass stemware share space on winery tasting bars, the move by wineries to upscale glassware frequently coincides with the addition of luxury tasting experiences designed to showcase top-tier wines. “We’ re seeing wineries choosing the best,” said Sylvie Laly, director of U.S. winery sales for Riedel, Spiegelau and Nachtmann. “When a winery using our non-varietal specific Riedel glass trades up to the varietal-specific series, tasting room managers can see that their consumers’ experience is being significantly enhanced, and that translates directly to increased sales for the winery.” For Riedel customers, that choice means a baseline increase in cost by about 30%. From the entrylevel Degustazione series, nonvarietal- specific glasses designed for basic wine styles, a 19.75 ounce red wine glass runs $2.99 per stem whereas a varietal-specific 21.5 ounce cabernet/merlot glass from Riedel’s Restaurant series runs $5.95 per stem. Read the full article Tools of …