It’s being lauded as an exceptional year, but will Burgundy 2020 be in short supply? In Club Oenologique, Adam Lechmere asks winemakers, buyers and experts what to expect and where to find value from the vintage.
In Harpers, James Lawrence reports on how the wine oversight body Vinpro has urged South Africa’s winegrowers to use the pandemic crisis as an opportunity “to revive, recover and rebuild,” adapting current business models to better cope with a rapidly changing world.
Despite supply chain issues and harvest troubles, Champagne investment shows no signs of slowing, says Chris Mercer in Decanter.
What does $500,000 buy you in Wine Country? Lauren Mowery looks into the markets in Wine Enthusiast.
Grape Collective talks with Marco Nicolosi of Barone di Villagrande about the family’s unique place in the evolution of the Etna wine region and the particular suitability of the terroir to producing elegant expressions of Etna Bianco.
On the blog for First Vine, Tom Natan says farewell to his customers and readers after 15 years. “I hope you’ll indulge me in some reminiscing and perhaps a little sentimentality. First Vine got its DC online alcohol license just about 15 years ago to the day. Inventory arrived four months later and we officially started selling. This blog started as a newsletter five months after that and converted to a blog two years later. Here are some things that stand out from all those years of importing, selling, and writing…”
In the Drop, Jamie Lafferty explores the wine scene in Edinburgh.
Hello and welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren’t Flipboard inclined, here’s everything I’ve strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.
Variety in the glass is great, but there’s a limit
A thoughtful piece.
The No- and Low-Alcohol Wine Category is Booming—and Retailers Should Pay Attention
They’re coming out of the woodwork.
The Ethics of Wine Criticism, Again
Tim Atkin muses.
The New California Merlot Crisis
Oregon’s Pinot Gris Is High Quality and High Value
An overview, of sorts.
Nicholas Molnar, an undersung hero of modern Napa wine, dies at 94
How Do Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot Differ?
Two great tastes that taste great together.
Drinking wine could lower risk of Covid infection, study finds
Maybe why I haven’t caught Omicron.
Why Is Bourbon-Barrel Wine So Popular?
Count me on the side of “abomination.” But to each their own.
Anthony Barton, Legendary Bordeaux Winery Owner, Dies at 91
Wine Spectator obit.
Anthony Barton 1930–2022
Jancis remembers the man.
‘To a wine lover, it was like taking a call from God’ – remembering Anthony Barton
Henry Jeffreys remembers Anthony Barton.
Looking for a Light, Flavorful Red? Reach for Trousseau
Charming is the word.
Lorenzo Corino’s legacy
A little-noted passing of import.
Detroit Is Stepping Up Its Wine Game
World’s first ‘winery airline’ to launch in New Zealand
A gimmick to be sure. But clever.
Pop culture usually associates wine with whiteness. Three new TV shows are changing that
Let’s hear it for diversity.
What the new set of wine TV shows get wrong (and right) about California wine
Some giggles and gaffs.
The blossoming of Japanese plum wine
Good umeshu is a glorious thing.
The Names to Know in New Zealand’s Natural Wine Wave
Some excellent names there.
Orange Wines: A Genre With a Large Gray Area
Not to everyone’s taste.
How a 29 year-old CEO is strengthening a Spanish wine group
The brilliant energy of youth.
New Zealand’s best wines are being made by producers who don’t actually have their own vines
The estateless revolution for Kiwis.
This Is the Secret to Experiencing California’s Wine Country Without the Crowds
Cliff’s Notes: come now.
Funky Chateau: Straight from the gospel of natural winemaking
Fun story, though the author may not know much about wine.
Dutch retailers have pulled some Ports from the shelves over worries about how old they actually are.
From what I can tell, this is an argument over “average” vs “component” age.
Italy’s top wine consultants: the names and wines to know
With Napa Cab Increasingly Out of Reach, Could It Be Sonoma’s Turn for the Spotlight?
And then prices will go up, and….
What Does ‘Brix’ Mean in Wine?
A Piece Of History
A familiar experience.
Flat Bottled Wines Make the World Go Round
There’s nothing to dislike about these bottles.
Behind the Idiosyncratic Wines of Clos Cibonne
Love these wines.
Sauternes – the longest-lived wine?
Jancis tastes some old ones.
Latest Research on Smoke Taint Revealed
You’ve heard of sunscreen? This is about smokescreen.
California insurance commissioner OK’s increased wildfire insurance limits for wineries, vineyards, ranches
Good news for the future. Doesn’t fix the past.
South Africa’s wine industry “must adapt to survive”
SA was hit harder than most.
We’ve Got Some Good News and Some Bad News—SVB 2022 State of the Wine Industry
The bad news is somewhat scary.
Who Will Pick America’s Wine Grapes?
Natural wine moves into the mainstream
Now that there’s a club, will many refuse to join?
South Africa: Pinotage Turns Over a New Leaf
Fresh, aromatic? Sign me up!
100 Red Wine Icons: New World
That’s a pretty good list.
In the Drop, Jess Siegel looks into the rise of bourbon-barrel wine and explores why it’s so popular. “Aging wine in something other than the traditional oak barrels is not new…What’s different is that bourbon-barrel wine is part of a larger and more widespread trend, called a crossover product, that includes beer and spirits. For instance, Scotch whisky producers have long used old wine barrels to age their spirits, and craft brewers have turned wine- and spirit-barreled beer into a regular part of their offerings.”
“The results of a radiocarbon dating (Carbon-14) study of Tawny Ports have prompted Dutch retailers, wholesalers, and importers to recall several from sale, over fears that the age stated on bottle labels could mislead consumers,” reports Wine-Searcher.
In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley remembers Nicholas Molnar, the vintner who helped pioneer fine wine in the now-famous Napa County region of Carenros. He died on January 11 at the age of 94.
Want to drink wine in bed or with ice? That’s okay, says Dave McIntyre, who says not to worry too much about etiquette in the Washington Post.
Jancis Robinson compares red Burgundy and Pinot Noir from other parts of the world. “I would say that the richness of the 2020 vintage in Burgundy, preceded as it was by two other warm to hot growing seasons in 2019 and 2018, offers an opportunity for the best Pinot Noir producers outside France to champion the finesse of their wines.”
In VinePair, Julia Larson explores the new non-alcoholic bottle shops shaking up what we know about beverage retail.
Amelia Edelman offers a guide to traveling through Northern California’s wine country in Travel + Leisure.
Merry Edwards’ wines likely need no introduction. The reputation of this winery is hard-earned and well-deserved. And I’m always excited to taste new releases from this Sonoma producer.
Year-in, year-out, the wines deliver, and the style and quality have remained remarkably consistent. On cold nights like the ones we’ve been having in the Mid-Atlantic, a Merry Edwards Pinot Noir is always a great call. From years of introducing friends and family to these wines, I can confirm they are universally loved.
I recently tasted through the 2019s, and — wow. A very solid growing season led to beautiful wines in the glass, deep but fresh, and the balance and staying power is there. I can’t wait to taste more 2019 Sonoma Pinots and see how they improve in the cellar.
These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.
2019 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Bright ruby color. So fresh and bright with strawberries and cherries, along with rose petals, white pepper and rhubarb. Crisp and fresh, lovely texture, slightly chewy but really fresh. Juicy strawberries and red cherries mix with tones of rhubarb, pepper, along with rose petals, nutmeg and bay leaf. Fun and fresh but complex, too. A great intro to the producer’s style. (92 points IJB)
2019 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Bucher – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
Deep ruby color. So fresh and bright on the nose, with strawberries and cranberry relish, backed up by enticing pepper, violets, bay leaf, tobacco – a lot to unpack. Pure and racy on the palate, a full but fresh appeal with bright raspberries and cherries. Notes of mint, rose petal, cola and anise add complexity, while stony, clay, earthy elements offer a lot to ponder. Is it enjoyable now? Massively, but give it five or eight years and I’d love to see what this turns into. The fourth vintage of this wine, which has been overseen my winemaker Heidi von der Mehden since she took over. (94 points IJB)
2019 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Warrens’ Hill – USA, California, Sonoma County, Green Valley of Russian River Valley
Deep ruby color. Juicy plums and raspberries and cherries on the nose, airy but deep, laced with cola, rhubarb, rose petals, and lot of earthy, herbal and spice rub tones – exquisite to sniff. Vibrant acidity and suave tannins, wonderfully balanced, this is full but fresh with tangy strawberry and juicy black cherry fruit. There’s an underlying stony, mineral essence and an airy, floral quality throughout. Complex notes of earth, spice, pepper, red flowers, mint. Give this air and time, but it’s beautiful. (94 points IJB)
2019 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Meredith Estate – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
Bright purple color. The nose shows juicy black cherries and tangy strawberries, along with a complex mix of rose petals, tilled soil, black pepper, along with meaty, spicy tones that offer a lot to contemplate. Full but suave on the palate with fresh acidity and smooth, dusty tannins that show accessibility but age-worthiness as well. The red plum and strawberry fruit is fresh and delightful. The savory, earthy, floral tones are great (pepper, oregano, rose petals). A pretty, balanced, mineral-laden wine that will age wonderfully. The flagship bottling, made from the first vines Merry every owned, this is gorgeous. (95 points IJB)
2019 Merry Edwards Chardonnay Olivet Lane Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
Light yellow color. Beautiful, vibrant nose of lemon, orange peels, papaya, along with honey, shaved ginger, nougat – a wonderful balance. On the palate, there’s this waxy but salty combination of deliciousness. Lemon curd, papaya, pineapple, laced with salted almond, honey, bread crumbs, lemon verbena and pecans. The complexity of floral, honeyed and brisk tones is really something. A lovely interpretation of this famous Chardonnay. (93 points IJB)
Sunlight filters through the haze across Sonoma Valley, as smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County settles over the hills viewed from Nuns Canyon Road in 2018. Mercifully, the 2021 vintage was largely untroubled by fires.
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