When does "Barrel Aged" no longer mean "aged in a barrel?" We may be about to find out if Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn has a say in the matter. At the moment, they have consumers over a barrel.Read More
This has been a heartbreaking season - in the Southeastern US where I live, four hurricanes in less than six weeks have caused widespread damage along the Gulf Coast, South Florida and Puerto Rico. And now, California's top wine regions are on fire.
California is often the victim of forest fires when dry weather and high winds dramatically increase the risk of conflagration. This year's fires are particularly difficult because they are destroying not only wilderness areas but heavily populated areas as well. The news changes by the hour but as I write this on Tuesday afternoon, 15 people are reported dead and more than 150 are missing in the fires that have destroyed more than 1500 structures, and more than 25000 acres (10,000 hectares). A Wednesday update puts the number of dead at 21, the number of structures (homes and businesses) destroyed at more than 2,000 and the number of affected acres at 125,000 (50,000 hectares).
We know for sure that two wineries have been completely destroyed - Signorello Estate and Paradise Ridge Winery. Because so many people were forced to evacuate, often with only half an hour's notice, and because the fires are still burning, blocking many parts of Napa and Sonoma counties, there hasn't been a full assessment yet of the damage. We'll have bad news trickling in for days I expect.
To give you an idea of what is happening, here are two photos: on the top is the Jackson Family's Mount Veeder Vineyard a couple of weeks ago, and below that, how it looked last night.
As the news is breaking quickly in California, here are two recent reports that I recommend checking out:
I've spoken with many friends in the area; my friends are safe, but not a one of them has been untouched by the fires and many of them have close colleagues and acquaintances who have lost their homes in the blazes. It will be a long time recuperating from this disaster I'm afraid.
With the advent of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, we are looking forward not only harvest but also the change in aromas and flavors the new season brings. It's time for a transition cocktail, one that recalls the warmth of summer sun but also heralds some warming floral and spice tones. I have just the thing!Read More
This year's annual Winebloggers Conference will be in Santa Rosa, California November 9-12. I've joined the program to give two seminars to attendees, focusing on two rising star DO's (Denominations of Origin) in Spain: Cariñena and Rías Baixas. If you write about wine now or hope to write about wine, this conference is a great opportunity. Details are in today's blog post.Read More
The first half of Game of Thrones' final season is upon us, prompting some musings on wine and food. Just what did Daenerys drink with the raw horse heart? Fortunately, there are some new wines that arrived just in time for Season 7.Read More
Can the nose be trained? Can you harness your tastebuds? Absolutely! While we note them as separate elements in tasting, by both physiology and vocabulary, aroma and flavor are inextricably linked. For the most part, without aroma there is no flavor. Here's a look at how our senses work together to enhance our wine appreciation, and a preview of an exciting master class in the art and science of olfaction that is perfect for every wine lover, from novice sipper to supreme sommelier.Read More
Sales figures show that rosé is the fastest growing category in wine sales not only in the U.S. but in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia as well as many other countries. In other words, pink is permanent. Here are three of my favorite rosés for summertime sipping (though if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, these work in winter as well!)Read More
Does vintage really matter in an age when technology helps winemakers produce good wine every year? It does when the winemaker gets no grapes, and that may be the result for many after a week of devastating frost in Europe.Read More