Posts Filed Under wine news

A Call for Calm for Claret Lovers (Talking about Bordeaux’s New Grapes for NVWA)

Vinted on October 10, 2019 binned in wine news
NVWA Bordeaux
image: NVWA

You claret lovers just need to chill the F out…

That’s the major message in my latest piece for the Napa Valley Wine Academy blog, titled Calm Down and Drink Your Claret: Bordeaux’s New Grape Approvals Aren’t All That Radical.

Those of you reading this will most likely have heard the news that Bordeaux is on the cusp of formal approval for allowing several new grape varieties in some of its wines. We break this news down into its salient points over at NVWA, distilling it into the major takeaways.

Not to go into too much spoiler territory, but in summary you should worry less about the impact to your First Growth futures, and focus instead on the messages that Bordeaux is attempting to send with this news, which include poignant points about climate change, practical issues of farming, and a chipping away of the region’s reputation as a staid, intractable wine juggernaut (even by French standards!).

Head on over, have a read, and feel free to heckle me mercilessly!

Cheers!

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When It Comes to Wine, Big Isn’t Evil – It’s Essential

Vinted on September 12, 2019 binned in commentary, wine news

During the past couple of weeks or so, an online kerfuffle ensued after wine writer and author Jamie Goode posted an eye-opening article on his blog detailing the massive size of some of the wine worlds largest industrial-size producers. They are, interestingly (and in a sort-of-capitalism-run-amok fail), all owned by one company: Gallo.

Goode’s take on the situation in more on the informational side, but the online reactions were mostly pitchforks-and-torches negative, with the ire planted squarely in the “Big = Bad!” mindset.

My friend Fred Swan penned a cogent, even-handed, level-headed piece in response to the online outcry, in which he extols the virtues of industrial-scale wines in consumer terms:

“Aficionados of “fine wine” may find …affordable, high-volume, big-brand bottlings too bold, too sweet, too simple, or not varietally representative. The wines aren’t made for those people. They’re made for specific, but very large. audiences, are made with intention, and made after considerable research and development by highly-trained people.”

My response today, on the other hand, will be neither level-headed nor even-handed, though hopefully it will be cogent enough for the detractors of industrial-scale wine to understand that they are acting like morons when they lash out against high-volume, low-cost wines as having no place in a modern wine market. The truth is that those high-volume, low-cost wines make up the majority of the fine wine market, and without them the high-end market would likely be in severe economic dire straights…

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On The Retirement Of Robert Parker

Vinted on May 23, 2019 binned in commentary, wine news

Robert M. Parker, Jr. – arguably the world’s most famous, but unarguably its most influential, wine critic – is hangin’ up the spurs.

Last week, The Wine Advocate announced that Parker, who had steadily been down-shifting his wine review duties over the better course of a decade, is retiring from the publication.

What’s poised to change in the wine world? Probably next to nothing; the days when the words of a lone critic such as Parker directed huge swings of the wine-buying needle for industry buyers and consumers alike are increasingly far behind us, a type of influence that has been on the wane for, well, the better course of the same decade in which Parker down-shifted his wine-reviewing beat.

Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown once tried (unsuccessfully, IMHO – hey, I simple know too many winemakers at this point, so I know better) to downplay the effect of “Parkerization” on the wine world. But in that argument, she missed out on the most important aspect of Parkerization, or, in more positive terms, Parker’s enduring legacy in the wine world.

Namely, that the days of wine brands coasting their lazy asses on the basis of past performance, and consumers being forced to suck up junk-ass wines as a result, are largely a thing of the past, and that is in no small part due to the work ethic of one Robert M. Parker, Jr. In other words, like him or hate him, love points or gag at the sight of them, Parker’s influence in the wine world writ large is and will always be net positive…

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Asti Unleashes Two New DOCGs

Vinted on January 17, 2019 binned in Italian Wine, on the road, wine news

Speaking of Moscato d’Asti (see last week’s article for a deep dive into that topic, including a look at how stupid I can be), I thought it worth mentioning a topic that came up during that same media trip to the rolling hills of Piedmonte’s Moscato bianco growing region: Asti is unleashing two brand new DOCG wines onto the market.

Make it rain! Yes, I ate this. With Moscato. Yes, it rocked. Yes, I’d do it again.

Being DOCGs, these are to be just as regulated as the strictly mandated Moscato d’Asti DOCG, which is good news for Moscato lovers looking for something different (and, presumably, for the Italians looking for work enforcing the regulations!). Like Moscato d’Asti, the new DOCGs are made from 100 percent Moscato Bianco grapes grown in the region, but don’t require Moscato dAsti’s vintage declaration. Confusingly (for me, anyway), neither mentions the grape in its DOCG name. Anyway, here’s the run-down of the new categories, both of which offer a broader stylistic range of Asti Moscato…

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