WorldWine Newspool

Port 2011 hailed 'classic' as producers rush to declare

Decanter News - 23. April 2013 - 18:00
The 2011 Port vintage is set to become the first widely declared year since 2007, with the wines hailed as 'classics', with a character 'rarely seen in the Douro Valley'.

Maison Giraud urges Champagne industry to use local oak

Decanter News - 23. April 2013 - 17:45
Claude Giraud, the owner of Maison Henri Giraud Champagne, has launched an appeal to the big-name Champagne houses to use more local oak in the production of their wines.

NEWS FETCH – April 23, 2013

Wine Industry Insight - 23. April 2013 - 16:37
TOP NEWS Truett-Hurst IPO Stumbles, Price Reduced What the Senate Immigration Proposal Would Mean for Wineries Growers start vine work early to avoid labor shortage Terlato Moves Into Artisan Spirits, Looks To Global Markets Wine Advocate & Name 2 More Reviewers Court Okays DOJ, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Grupo Modelo , Constellation Deal CALIFORNIA BRIEFS North [...]

Savage Launched

Winetimes - 23. April 2013 - 15:00
The rain had finally let up; the night sky emerging brilliant and clear. Despite the chilling cold, the launch of Duncan Savage’s (formidable Wine Maker at Cape Point Vineyards) private label wasn’t something to be missed. It was to be held at Langverwagt, nestled between Kuils River and Stellenbosch; the exact same venue as his [...]

Wine tasting to benefit Sandy recovery

Dr Vino's wine blog - 23. April 2013 - 14:35

Twelve distributors. Their fifty best wines. Sounds like a throw down. But it’s actually a fundraiser.

Michael Skurnik, Polaner, Winebow, David Bowler, Verity, Wildman, Martin Scott and others are each pouring their fifty best wines at a public tasting to benefit Sandy recovery. So that’s 600 wines–yikes! The $50 entry goes to the Mayor’s fund to advance NYC – Hurricane Sandy relief. May 1 – 6:00 PM

Get tickets here.

Tie the knot in the Swartland`s magical Riebeek Valley

Winetimes - 23. April 2013 - 14:00
Top wedding service providers and suppliers from the beautiful Riebeek Valley in the Swartland, a little more than an hour’s drive from Cape Town, can now be conveniently accessed with a few clicks. The area’s brand new web directory,, offers a hassle-free gateway to all things wedding-related in this valley known for its fine [...]

Nataniël brings his own wine to the table

Winetimes - 23. April 2013 - 13:00
Season 1 of ”Die Nataniël Tafel” was all about decadent food, lifestyle, local celebs, humour and entertainment, and for seasons 2 & 3, currently in production, Nataniël adds his own wine to the list. Nataniël has an undeniable ability to captivate the crowd with everything he does. His humour, his stories, his stage productions, his music, his food and his [...]

The 3 Biggest Tequila Myths

Winetimes - 23. April 2013 - 12:00
Tequila has come a long way. The former spring break drink of choice is now a favorite of top bartenders around the country. That’s not to mention the selection of premium brands to choose from. But there are still all-too-common misconceptions about the liquor. The folks over at decided to set the record straight with the [...]

Taste of Helderberg 2013 presents local passions and pleasures

Winetimes - 23. April 2013 - 11:00
The 5th annual Taste of the Helderberg showcase promises a smorgasbord of exquisite food and wine from this prime winemaking triangle stretching from Somerset West to Stellenbosch and Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, when the local chefs and winemakers bring their passions and pleasures to town on Thursday, 6 June. For one night only, the NH [...]

Book Review: Lewin on Claret & Cabs

The Wine Economist - 23. April 2013 - 11:00

Benjamin Lewin MW, Claret & Cabs: The Story of Cabernet Sauvignon. Vendage Press (to be published May 1, 2013).

What is it about the tension between Burgundy and Bordeaux that casts such a spell on wine enthusiasts?  I’m not really sure. They say that in Bordeaux you talk about wine and in Burgundy you drink it. Bordeaux is cerebral — you feel it above the neck according to popular opinion — while Burgundy arouses the senses down below. Maybe that’s what it’s all about.

Jean-Robert Pitte wrote a great book about the “classic rivalry” between the two wine cultures and Master of Wine Benjamin Lewin seems bitten by the bug, too.

That’s So Typical!

Lewin (a renowned scientist — he was the founding editor of the journal Cell), has written a lot about wine in a short time. He began with What Price Bordeaux?  (2009) followed by Wine Myths & Realities (2011), which I use in my university class.  In Search of Pinot Noir appeared last year and now this book on Cabernet Sauvignon.  What prodigious output. Amazing.

Lewin values typicity in wine, so it is not an insult for me to say that Claret & Cabs is typical of his work. Extraordinarily well researched and written, the facts and insights jump off the page in a way that draws the reader deeper and deeper into geography, geology, history, economics, viticulture and so on through all the senses that wine embodies.  The discussion of clones that appears early in the book is a good example. It taught me so much in just a few pages — outstanding.

And I like the way that Lewin tells part of his story through the voices of the dozens of winemakers he interviewed on his fieldwork travels. As always, I appreciate that he doesn’t hesitate to take on difficult questions, weigh the evidence, and reach a bold conclusion.

The books on Pinot Noir and Cabernet are as different as, well, Burgundy and Bordeaux.  The conventional wisdom (at least on Route Nationale 74)  is that Burgundy is Burgundy and everything else is [merely] Pinot Noir, so  Lewin scoured the globe for the Holy Grail — a Pinot Noir made somewhere else in the world that could match the highest Burgundian standard, especially in terms of ability to age. He discovered a lot of great wine in the process, but the verdict he reached is that Burgundy reigns supreme, at least for now.

A Different Premise

Claret & Cabs starts with a starkly different premise.  It’s not really clear that Bordeaux is now or ever was the uniquely best place in the world to grow Cabernet Sauvignon. The center of the Cab world may well be California’s Napa Valley — or perhaps Bordeaux and Napa should uncomfortably share the global spotlight in the same way that Burgundy and Bordeaux compete for attention  in France.

The book divides itself in various ways.  There are about 300 pages of generously illustrated text followed by 200 pages of detailed tasting notes. Napa and Bordeaux are the main foci, although the analyses of the other important producer areas — Washington State, the Mediterranean arc that reaches from the Languedoc to Tuscany, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa — are very thorough.

I haven’t done a formal page count, but I’d guess that Bordeaux and Napa get about equal space in the book (including the fascinating closing chapter on “Cults and Icons”.) But I think that that Lewin leans in on the Napa side of the debate just a bit, infusing it with a palpable (to me) electricity and excitement.

A Burgundian Bias?

Maybe it is Lewin’s Burgundian bias creeping in? Yes, I think that’s it, but not in a the way you might expect. Every Burgundy fan that I have ever known has had a detailed map on a wall somewhere in their house that shows the famous vineyards and climats and so forth. The complexity of Burgundian terroir is reflected in the wines — the best wines, at least — and is an almost irresistible muse.

The Napa Valley is a complicated place from a geologic standpoint. Pressures from three tectonic plates shape the landscape and expose a variety of different different soil types from gravel to clay to volcanic residue and different specific characteristics including the alluvial fans that apparently account for some of the qualities of my favorite wines from Rutherford and Oakville.

If you love the diversity of terroir, as Burgundians do, then I guess you have to love Napa — isn’t that an unexpected thought! And although Cabernet is not generally classified as a “terroir wine” (Riesling and Pinot Noir are usually cited as the defining “terroir wine” varieties), you can tell that Lewin believes that in Napa it really is (or can be in the right hands).

Lewin puts Napa on a pedestal at least as high as Bordeaux’s but — significantly — he doesn’t deny the possibility that Cabernet wines from other regions might rise just as high in their own particular way.

Claret & Cabs is a great read and I think will prove its worth down the road (“age well”) as a reference, too. Bravo!


Did you know that the British nickname for Bordeaux blend wines — Claret — comes from the fact that they originally were light (clair or clear), low in tannins and light in alcohol (less than 10%)? Nothing at all like the image of Claret today!

Packaging Spotlight: USB Port Wine

Winetimes - 23. April 2013 - 10:00
Due to a new EU trade rule, wineries can’t use the word “port” on their label unless the wine was actually made in Portugal. California’s Peltier Station Winery, however, discovered a loophole and they called their new dessert wine “USB” and put a tree with USB roots on the label. The binary code above the [...]

Franschhoek Mystery Weekend – Part 2

Winetimes - 23. April 2013 - 9:00
Did you miss out on the first Franschhoek Mystery Weelend? Well here’s the good news! Join us over the weekend of 7 – 9 June in Franschhoek the vavavoom capital of the  winelands, for the next in our series of Mystery Weekends. Our dynamite Winter Mystery Weekends are heating up the winelands. For just R2340 [...]

WSET Introduces First Stand-alone Spirits Courses in South Africa

Winetimes - 23. April 2013 - 8:00
The International Wine Education Centre is delighted to announce the first ever stand-alone general spirits courses starting in Stellenbosch in May. The UK-based Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) teaches internationally-recognised wine and spirit qualifications which are the industry-standard in 60 countries around the world. WSET has been educating people about wine and spirits since 1969 and more [...]

Biodinamica Schiava - Il vino del giorno | Pubblicato in DoctorWine N° 80

Doctor Wine by Daniele Cernilli - 23. April 2013 - 1:01
Biodinamica Schiava - Il vino del giorno | Pubblicato in DoctorWine N° 80

Il Conte Enzenberg, proprietario di Manicor, ha voluto la sua azienda ispirata ai dettami della biodinamica steineriana. Helmuth Zozin, grande kellermeister, lo ha accontentato, rendendo personalissimi tutti i vini della cantina.

Prime impressioni sui Brunello 2008 - Note di Degustazione | Pubblicato in DoctorWine N° 80

Doctor Wine by Daniele Cernilli - 23. April 2013 - 1:01
Prime impressioni sui Brunello 2008 - Note di Degustazione | Pubblicato in DoctorWine N° 80

Ricchissima la partecipazione della stampa nazionale ed estera alla presentazione delle nuove annate del Brunello di Montalcino organizzata come ogni anno dal Consorzio di tutela. Quest’anno in campo scendevano il Brunello 2008 e la riserva 2007. I giudizi di Doctor Wine sulle riserve 2007 li leggerete in un articolo a parte. Per quanto riguarda l’annata 2008 va detto subito che ha creato un acceso dibattito tra gli addetti ai lavori, con giudizi davvero differenti gli uni dagli altri. Molti di questi giudizi, ad un esame approfondito, appaiono decisamente superficiali. Si nota un preconcetto negativo sull'annata e una scarsa conoscenza delle cause meteorologiche che ne hanno determinato le caratteristiche.
Questi commenti tranchant saltano ancora di più agli occhi in considerazione del fatto che da alcuni detrattori furono considerate meglio annate decisamente meno felici della 2008, come il 1998, il 2000 (esagerato 5 stelle del consorzio), il 2002 o il 2005 e c'è da chiedersi perché. La risposta è forse banale ma molto semplice: il 2008 ha la sfortuna di venire dopo due annate buonissime e molto differenti tra loro come la 2007 e la 2006, ciò comporta che in un confronto con queste due, l'annata attuale ne soffra un po’, ma è sicuramente riduttivo paragonare tra loro annate così diverse. Inoltre prendere come parametri di riferimento due annate eccezionali come la 2006 e la 2007 (anche se questa ultima decisamente ammiccante) ci sembra ingiusto. Gli amanti del vino devono gioire e godere delle vendemmie eccezionali ma la realtà purtroppo, o per fortuna, consiste in annate diverse e non tutte super fortunate.
Parlavamo prima anche di scarsa conoscenza o poca indagine. Intendevamo questo: nel 2008, verso metà agosto, una vasta zona di Montalcino fu colpita dalla grandine, un avvenimento meteorologico funesto, che grazie a dio è molto selettivo. I produttori che la subirono ebbero estesi danni ai vigneti ed i vini naturalmente ne risentono, mentre altri immuni da questa jattura hanno fatto degli ottimi prodotti.
La annata 2008 si presenta ancora piuttosto aggressiva sulle due direttive principali del sangiovese a Montalcino. I brunelli provenienti dai terreni più sassosi e sciolti hanno delle belle acidità, mentre quelli che nascono su terreni con quote di argilla importanti mostrano una tannicità più sostenuta. Queste due tendenze si mitigano o si esaltano a seconda poi del versante e dell’altitudine dei vigneti. Non siamo in presenza di strutture eccessivamente muscolari anche se, essendo a Montalcino, vini leggiadri non ce ne sono. Alcuni sono molto eleganti, grazie agli equilibri che alcuni produttori sono riusciti a creare; altri avranno vita lunga. Credo inoltre che per gli amanti delle "derive acidistiche" questa dovrebbe risultare un'annata ottima, ma dubito che ciò accada.
In conclusione, possiamo definire il 2008 un'annata nella quale il territorio si esprime bene e dalla quale, quindi, è più facile capire le innumerevoli sfaccettature di questo vino. Un'annata interessante e didattica insomma, dove notiamo come la crescita qualitativa dell’enclave sia costante, con significativi miglioramenti anche da parte di alcune aziende ben radicate sul territorio. Ogni anno inoltre si trovano dei piccoli o nuovi produttori che si manifestano con qualità elevate.
Si sa che le sensazioni provate alle anteprima vanno riconfermate con assaggi successivi. Per ora, vi sottoponiamo i Brunelli 2008 che ci hanno convinto maggiormente.

Fake food: impossible pairing?!?

Dr Vino's wine blog - 22. April 2013 - 23:54

Howard Goldberg tweets: “I wonder what wines @drvino, the Combo King, would recommend for Claes Oldenburg’s fake food on display at MoMA.”

Aha! Good question. Which wine to pair with fake food–perhaps some fake wine? Maybe Bill Koch still has one of those ’21 Pétrus magnums…

Harvesting in full swing

Daily Wine News - 22. April 2013 - 22:45
For Port Sorell viticulturists Colin and Cate Arnold, of Ghost Rock Vineyard, this time of year is harvest time - the most exciting and nerve-racking weeks on their calendar. In vineyards all over Tassie grapegrowers have been keeping one eye on the vines and one eye on the sky, reports The Advocate.

Tax could kill cask wine industry

Daily Wine News - 22. April 2013 - 22:45
A Hilltops winemaker says potential tax changes in next month's federal budget could kill the casked wine industry. A volumetric tax would double the cost of casked wine and more expensive wines would come down in price. Winemaker Jason Brown says the current Wine Equalisation Tax benefits small producers, reports ABC News.

Tasting success

Daily Wine News - 22. April 2013 - 22:45
A wine made from cool climate grapes grown in the Bathurst region continues to be lauded as one of Australia’s top drops. When you buy a bottle of the Winburndale 2009 Solitary Shiraz there’s hardly enough room to accommodate the number of awards on the label. It’s recognition that Mike Burleigh and the team from Winburndale Wines have something special on their hands, reports the Western Advocate.

Auditors assess wine exporters

Daily Wine News - 22. April 2013 - 22:45
Two of Australia's five export wine auditors were in Swan Hill last week, making sure descriptive labels matched their contents. Wine Australia compliance auditors Carly Light and Rebecca Fox were out visiting the Murray-Darling region's eight wineries, checking records to ensure wine is correctly labelled. In 2011 "a few" export licences were suspended and in 2012 court action was taken against one winery for misleading drops, reports The Guardian.