Buying luxury goods used to be much cheaper in the U.S. than in China. Now prices — and tastes — have changed.
It was before 6 a.m., but there were already a lot of holes. Dawn had not broken, but a dim light was just starting to flow over the mountains. Hundreds of holes had already been dug. Around thirty people moved their spades rhythmically, almost silently, as they dug twelve-inch holes, one after another. This is how you plant, or should I say, how they plant a vineyard.
Last week at Troon Vineyard in Oregon’s Applegate Valley, we planted about a third of the vines we need to plant this month. That was over four thousand holes, dug by hand in less than two day’s work. But digging the hole was only the beginning. Once the holes are dug, they must each receive, by hand, a shovel full of Biodynamic compost mixed with Azomite and Calphos and then a vine needs to be dropped in each hole. On each vine, the biodegradable root cover had to be removed by hand due to the requirements of our organic certification. Then, on their knees, with their hands, each hole is filled and the vine is in its new home.
One day these vines will give birth to wines served in some of the best restaurants in the world. But it is these people in the pre-dawn hours with their spades and on their hands and knees that brought these vines to live in this vineyard.
Winery tours and articles like to feature barrels, tanks, and machines, but it is the hands of the people that craft them that make wines of place come to life. From the moment the vines are planted, to when they are tended in the vineyards, to the cellar work that turns grapes into wine, the best wines are handmade wines.
Hands, not things make memorable wines. Hands hold the spades that dug the holes to plant them, hands shovel the compost to help them grow, hands prune and position the shoots as they grow, hands pick the grapes, hands sort the fruit that arrives at the winery and hands hold the glasses when it’s time to savor the hand labor that put the wine in those glasses. Making and enjoying wine is a hands-on experience.
The thousands of holes dug by dozens of hands will start to produce wine in three years. Many hands will touch each of these vines as they grow over the next years. Your delight and pleasure in the wine they will one day produce will be the result of the work those hands. Hand to hand to hand and, finally, to the glass in your hand.
Wines of place, with terroir, touch you because of the many touches that have brought the wine to you.
Planting grenache noir at Troon Vineyard
Placing new vines one-by-one in the freshly dug holes. Each of the wrappers on the roots also had to be removed.
Straight and Narrow
SANTA YNEZ, CA: Weeds in a Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard at Happy Canyon Vineyard are cleared near Santa Ynez, California. A cool spring and mild summer contributed to a later-than-usual harvest and a bumper crop of premium wine grapes throughout the state of California last year.
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This image is from a series of photographs by George Rose captured in the process of shooting his most recent work WINE COUNTRY: Santa Barbara County/em>, a visual celebration of one of California's most beautiful wine regions. The book can be ordered on George's web site.
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As a retail wine guy, one of the mantras of the business (and grocery in general) is “Stack it high and watch it fly.” For any beverage (beer/wine/cider/soda/water) the other old saw is “If it’s cold, it’s sold.” You don’t see red wine a lot, if ever, in the cooler, though. That’s changing, as more people are wisely chilling their reds. So kudos to Dandelion Wine, who actually had a bottle of Prà Morandina Valpolicella in their dedicated rosé fridge. (Yes, you have to love this shop.)
Prà is a superstar producer of Soave, the great white wine of the Veneto made primarily from the Garganega grape. When this wine popped up on my Instagram feed. I had two thoughts as my scrolling came to a screeching halt:
- Wowzers! Look at this unicorn label, so cool.
- Wait, Prà makes red wines, too?!?
Valpolicella also hails from the Veneto, and it’s a blend of grapes usually Corvina-forward. Let’s take a closer look at this wine.
Prà Morandina Valpolicella 2017
Price of this wine hovers around twenty bucks. It’s a blend of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, and Oseleta from a vineyard planted in 2001. The grapes are lightly dried for 20 days, which I found surprising because it has no dried fruit characteristics. This wine is the opposite of Amarone, folks. It ferments in stainless steel then spends a few months in oak casks. The winery suggests serving the Morandina “slightly cooled” and advises enjoying a glass with “nibbles and salami.” I’ll double-down on the first part and say drink it COLD. Especially if you dare drink red wine on a NYC day like this one where it’s going to be 90 and humid.
If you are looking for a wine comp, importer Polaner Selections has some good thoughts. “Think fresh, crunchy, Cru Beaujolais-like fruit with a bright, chalky core,” advises their website. It’s only 12.5% alcohol as well. One of the most purely pleasurable red wines I’ve drank in a while. Highly recommended. And people are going to flip over the label. This is truly a unicorn wine. Very pleasurable to drink sans accompaniment. But better with company.
The post If It’s Cold, It’s Sold: Prà Morandina Valpolicella appeared first on Jameson Fink.
Prepackaged sangria sales are exploding, climbing 15% in 2018 from the prior year.
Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on 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.
Master Of Wine Jo Ahearne On Why She Chose Croatia For Her Wine Brand
Not just because it's gorgeous.
Dom Pérignon: Fact & Fiction
Tom Stevenson profiles the monk
A New Style of Winemaking Could Take Sherry Mainstream
En Rama. Dig it.
How Wine Became Part of the Trade War
Ryan Harr breaks it down.
The fault in our glass: How imperfections can enhance some wines -- and even make them memorable
Beauty is not perfection.
Survey Of Wine Consumers Says Sustainability Takes Precedence Over Organic
When it comes to buying decisions.
What is Acidity in Wine?
The good stuff.
Grape Changes Aim to Beat the Heat
You've read this story before.
Supreme Court affirms Sixth Circuit's ruling Striking Tennessee's Residency Requirement
Opinions differ on whether this is a big deal or not.
US Supreme Court ruling should boost digital wine sales
Sonoma Press reacts.
What the SCOTUS Decision Means for Wine
Blake Gray explores the question fully.
Wine Wholesalers React To The Court's Support of Retailers
Watch the spin machine at work.
Bordeaux vs. Napa: What Is the Best Wine Region in the World?
Silly games with statistics (and Photoshop).
What Does Price Say About Your Wine?
Some things. Not all.
Appellations don't need tasting panels
Couldn't agree more.
Shinobu Teraguchi: Following the nose to Napier, New Zealand
California's 2017 Vintage Feels the Burn
Bad PR is worse than smoke taint.