“Whether writers, sommeliers, retailers, farmers or winemakers, black people in the wine world face a barrage of slights, whether small, possibly unconscious hostilities or overt racism. As a result, getting ahead requires a constant, fatiguing effort to pull against the friction of discrimination that slows what for whites would be a natural career progression.” In the New York Times, Eric Asimov speaks with nine black wine professionals “with the hope that their shared experiences might result in a deeper conversation and understanding among their peers in the wine world.”
“I got into wine because of its ability to connect people. We share bottles, we share stories, we share our vulnerability and ourselves. I connect with wine in a similar way that allyship and advocacy leads me to connect with my own and others’ humanity. Structures that aim to keep people like me away from this space don’t get the point of why wine exists.” In PUNCH, sommelier Miguel de Leon explains why it’s time to decolonize wine.
Robert M. Parker Jr. is this year’s Decanter Hall of Fame laureate. Andrew Jefford looks back on his legacy. “Robert Parker is the only rock star the wine world has ever produced. By that metaphor I mean a figure whose reach and influence is global, and whose name had a resonance beyond the confines of wine traders, enthusiasts, geeks and nerds. He not only expanded that circle of enthusiasm colossally, but he altered and lifted the aesthetic parameters of what was possible in every wine-producing region around the world.”
Alder Yarrow explores the wines of Edmunds St. John. “Edmunds is notable, even venerable as a pioneer of California wine. But what makes him truly remarkable is the unswerving consistency of his winemaking vision. Edmunds St. John wines have always had a presence to them, a direction in which they are clearly headed. What they might seem to lack in flash (to some), they more than make up for in simply consistent deliciousness.”
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.
If you only read a couple of things this week, make it these first four stories.
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes in a “mini-review” format.
They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!
In Wine Enthusiast, Kerin O’Keefe reports on reactions to the new Prosecco Rosé designation. “However, not everyone is thrilled. Producers in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, a separate appellation located north of Venice, strongly oppose the new designation.”
Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.
This week included some excellent values from Italy among other places. Two of them came from Gioacchino Garafoli, a dynastic producer in the Marche that’s been making wine under their last name since the late 1800s. Their Verdicchio and their Rosé of Montepulciano are both steals at $15 and under as is their red Montepulciano named Piancarda. Their slightly elevated, oak-aged Verdicchio is also worth paying attention to.
Sticking with Italy for the moment I’ve also got a couple more wines from Veneto producer Inama. Their Vigneti di Carbonare Soave Classico has a faint whisper of wood to it and is quite lemony tasty, while the difficult-to-pronounce “Bradisismo” blend of Cabernet and Carmenere is also quite tasty in its herbal, red fruit goodness.
I’ve reviewed the wines of Acumen previously, but their newest Sauvignon Blanc has just been released, and it’s worth a look for classic lemon-lime essence.
The Jordan Chardonnay is likewise dependably tasty, and a relative bargain at $35.
The real star of this week, however, is a small production rosé made by Kathleen Inman in the Russian River Valley. It’s deliciously bright, juicy, fruity, and snappy, with that gorgeously silky texture that Pinot Noir rosé can have if treated right. This is a wine picked and pressed for rosé, and its worth the slightly higher tariff you’re paying for basically single-vineyard pink Pinot Noir.
In addition to all these, I’ve got Flora Springs’ Merlot and Jordan’s Cabernet below as well, both solid examples of their form.
2017 Inama “Vigneti di Carbonare” Soave Classico, Veneto, Italy Light gold in color, this wine smells of ripe golden apples warmed by the sun. In the mouth, juicy pear and lemon pith flavors have a hint of butteriness to them, and a touch of butterscotch in the finish. Excellent acidity makes the mouth water and a nice wet chalkboard minerality lingers for a while. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $29. click to buy.
2019 Acumen “Mountainside” Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon pith and grapefruit. In the mouth, lemon and lime flavors mix with a touch of cut grass and sweet celery. Good acidity and length, with a hint of herbal bitterness in the finish. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $30. click to buy.
2019 Garafoli “Macrina” Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore DOC, Marche, Italy Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon pith and pears. In the mouth, zingy lemony pear and apple flavors have a nice wet chalkboard background to them. Floral notes linger in the finish. 13% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $15. click to buy.
2017 Garafoli “Podium” Verdicchio, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore DOC, Marche, Italy Pale yellow-gold in color, this wine smells of lemon and grapefruit pith with a hint of oak. In the mouth, flavors of lemon and grapefruit mix with a touch of buttery vanilla. Good acidity and length. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $25. click to buy.
2018 Jordan Winery Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of buttered popcorn and lemon curd. In the mouth, lemon curd and grapefruit flavors have a nice brightness thanks to very good acidity. A faint hint of toastiness lingers in the finish with notes of lemon curd and grapefruit pith. 13.7% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $35. click to buy.
2019 Inman Family Winery “Endless Crush – OGV Estate” Rosé of Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California Pale baby pink in color, this wine smells of strawberries and watermelon rind. In the mouth, juicy watermelon rind, berries and hibiscus have a fantastic bright snap to them thanks to excellent acidity. Crisp, clean and quite delicious, a tiny bit of kumquat lingers with the berries in the finish. 12% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 9. Cost: $38. click to buy.
2019 Garafoli “Komaros” Montepulciano Rosato, Marche, Italy Pale ruby pink in color, this wine smells of watermelon rind. In the mouth, crisp and bright flavors of watermelon rind and hibiscus have a nice bounce thanks to excellent acidity. A faint sour cherry note lingers in the finish. Pretty. 13% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $12. click to buy.
2017 Inman Family Winery Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cedar. In the mouth, cherry and cedar and raspberry mix with an earthier, forest floor quality. Faint tannins dust the edges of the mouth as the wine lingers with a touch of dried herbs. Good acidity and length. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $68. click to buy.
2016 Inama “Bradisismo” Red Blend, Veneto, Italy Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and chopped green herbs and a touch of green bell pepper. In the mouth, flavors of cherry and cola mix with green herbs and touch of dark earth. Excellent acidity and fine grained, dusty tannins. A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Carmenere. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $30. click to buy.
2017 Flora Springs Merlot, Napa Valley, California Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry and black plum. In the mouth, plummy cherry and cassis mix with chocolate and a touch of tobacco. Good acidity and well-integrated wood leave a mocha note in the finish. 14.2% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $38. click to buy.
2017 Garafoli “Piancarda” Rosso Conero, Marche, Italy Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of blackberry and a touch of woodsmoke and leather. In the mouth, black cherry and blackberry flavors have earthier, leathery notes but excellent acidity that gives a citrus kick to the dark fruit. Leathery tannins feel somewhat restrained around the edges of the mouth. Hints of herbs in the finish. Made with the Montepulciano grape. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $16. click to buy.
2016 Jordan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry and cola. In the mouth, black cherry and cola flavors are smooth and nestled into a gauzy bed of tannins. A hint of herbs lingers in the finish, with a fresh, medium-bodied feel to the wine, thanks to its restrained 13.8% alcohol. Good acidity, but not super dynamic. Even-keel and pleasant. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $58. click to buy.
The Great Change LOS OLIVOS, CA: A cluster of Grenache grapes growing in a vineyard at Zaca Mesa Winery, located along Foxen Canyon Road, is shown ripening in the sun just after veraison. As the summer heats up winegrapes all over the state will soon be going through the changes that come with veraison, as skins change from green to their golden or darker hues, berries plump up, and the grapes shift towards sugar production and eventual ripeness.
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BUY THE BOOK: 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, 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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