Archive for April, 2012

Are EU Imports Poised To Kick U.S. Wine Biz Butt In The Near Future?

Vinted on April 24, 2012 binned in wine news

Last week, Silicon Valley Bank and Vintank teamed up to present a rather well-researched and thorough look at what the wine industry has in store for itself in the near future.

Predictions are, of course, only for the exceedingly brave (or exceedingly foolish – or both), since they’re ripe for the 20/20 vision sniper cross hairs of retrospective perspective later. But I tend to admire the cojones it takes to put your thoughts out on a public limb, opening it up for those who would use them as a perch for even greater ideas, not to mention as fodder at which any thick-skulled woodpeckers can take pot shots. An example: the bold predictions that Vintank made about the wine biz for 2011, many of which didn’t materialize in 2011 but are starting to show signs of instantiating themselves in early 2012 – in fact, the SVB report bolsters several of those bold Vintank 2011 predictions (the growth of direct wine sales, for example, in what they term “the 5th Column), for those who have more pachyderm-like memories (and are keeping score). Vintank: 1; Woodpeckers: 0?

You can download the report, its summary slides, and an even higher-level infographic summary at SVBs website.

While the results (understandably, given the source) have a serious CA-focus, there are tidbits therein that the worldwide wine industry can take away from it.

For example, U.S. wine producers may be set for shorter supply, increased prices, and a big challenge from EU country wine imports.

Not exactly good news for the U.S. wine biz…

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Monday Mini Wine Reviews Round-Up For April 23, 2012

Vinted on April 23, 2012 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine sample tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible. Below is a wrap-up of the twitter reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find them so you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 07 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant en foudre (Central Coast): A wild animal glimpsed among the blue flowers & tangy Rubus phoenicolasius. $35 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant en demi-muid (Central Coast): Somehow got the entire guinea fowl with spiced plum reduction in there. $35 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant (Central Coast): Floral, feral & vibrant; might be too plummy, but it’s a compellingly complex beast. $38 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Ca’Bolani Pinot Grigio (Friuli): We need more mineral-driven, crisp, well-built wines like this, if only to keep the snobs quiet. $13 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 H&G Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon (Chalk Hill): More like Chocolate Hill, & said hill is solidly fortified w/ dark fruit structure $14 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 09 David Family Anderson Valley Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley): Leather label adorns serious juice; needs patience & a penchant for Big $90 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Malk Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley): Living large & isn’t afraid to flaunt it a bit, w/ surprising breath-of-fresh-air action, too. $33 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir (Martinborough): Admit it, you didn’t really know the boys in NZ grew up *this* big, did you? $44 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Draconis Syrah Traditional (Lodi): A Jennifer Garner in the glass; sexy, cut & svelte – but voluptuous in all the right places. $45 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Chateau de Cosse (Sauternes): As tangerine as Tangerine Dream’s Atem; but it’s the vinyl re-issue version, remastered for clarity. $48 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Chimney Rock Sauvignon Gris (Napa Valley): A strange grape, it comes in peace; but wants a chicken & provolone sandwich now please. $29 B >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Los Galanes Airen (La Mancha): Minerally refreshment w/ a streak almost as complex as the harsh La Manchian climate it calls home. $8 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Selbach Incline Riesling (Mosel): Apples & lime zest, acting like two best friends & playing politely outside in the park. $12 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Allozo 927 Cosecha (La Mancha): Don Quixote travels to Oz, then takes on jammy Shiraz, & lives to talk (a bit confusingly) about it $29 B >>find this wine>>
  • 05 Dinastia Vivanco Rioja Reserva (Briones): Tempranillo’s tangy equivalent of Giganotosaurus, that nests inside an enormous oak crate $25 B >>find this wine>>



Weekly Wine Quiz: Brix By Brix?

Vinted on April 20, 2012 binned in wine quiz

Welcome to the Weekly Wine Quiz!

Based on feedback from ever-so-vocal-and-intelligent peeps like you, I do not supply the quiz answer directly in the post – you will need to tune back in later in the comments section for the answer. Blah, blah, blah – you know all this already…

Continuing our current theme of quizzing your smarties on the topic of winemaking, we’re about to hit you up with some difficult-to-pronounce, scientific stuff, so get the beakers and hot plates ready:

Brix By Brix?

Winemakers and grape growers often use sugar ripeness to help determine when grapes are ready to roll for picking and making wine. What scale is used to measure sugar ripeness in the vineyard?

  •     A. Baumé
  •     B. Oechsle
  •     C. KMW
  •     D. Brix
  •     E. All of the above

Cheers – and good luck!




Young Guns, Part Deux: Porch Wines And Porch Rock With Karl Wente

Vinted on April 19, 2012 binned in crowd pleaser wines, on the road, overachiever wines, wine review

Standing in between fifth generation Livermore wine producer Karl Wente (who is light, with executive-style, thick brown hair, and built like an NCAA basketball player) and his best friend (who is dark, soft-spoken, and built like an NCAA basketball player) is a bit like what I imagine standing at the bottom of a well might feel like.

It didn’t help that, as Karl and his buddy played small acoustic instruments (guitar and viola, respectively) that in their long, lanky arms looked not unlike undersized toys, all 5’5” of my frame was manning a large upright bass and fumbling my way through a jam of Karl’s laid-back, folk-inspired tunes (what he calls “Porch Rock”).

So while I certainly enjoyed performing in the impromptu concert inside Karl’s probably-in-constant-state-of-semi-renovation living room, I couldn’t shake the feeling that, when I’d been invited to Karl’s home to taste through the modern Wente portfolio, I’d actually been invited to taste a lineup of wines made in Brobdingnag (what, you’ve never read Gulliver’s Travels? As my late grandmother used to say, “what the hell AILS YOU?!??”)…

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