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Tag Archives: California

The best of Wine Spectator in 2009 <link>

It’s all there in one article. Make sure you read the one about how red wine improves your sex life and the Californian Pinot tasting.

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Plate and wine

For 2008, the top 10 wines (by volume) sold in American restaurants, as reported by Restaurant Wine News, were:

1. Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay, Vintner’s Reserve, CA
2. Cavit Pinot Grigio, Italy
3. Beringer Vineyards White Zinfande, CA
4. Sutter Home White Zinfandel, CA
5. Inglenook Chablis, CA
6. Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, Italy
7. Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio, Italy
8. Copper Ridge Vineyards, Chardonnay, CA
9. Yellow Tail Chardonnay, Australia
10. Franzia Winetaps, White Zinfandel, Vintner Select, CA

No Pinot Noirs and not even a single red wine. So much for the Sideways effect.

And the top 10 brands by volume were:

1. Kendall Jackson
2. Sutter Home
3. Beringer Vineyards
4. Franzia Winetaps
5. Inglenook
6. Yellow Tail
7. Copper Ridget
8. Cavit
9. Woodbridge
10. Salmon Creek

Read the press release here.

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Eric Asimov writes The Pour for the New York Times. It’s a fine column. So good I aggregate it into this site.

California’s Pinot Noirs and their style are the topic of this article <link> and boy does he start a debate; 81 comments and counting. This one from Phil is my personal favourite and as a sommelier I’m prepared to believe him.

“Eric – Bravo, thank you for this article! Us wine geeks, sommeliers, and wine industry people are infinitely grateful for your tireless efforts in getting Americans to understand that wine should not taste like strawberry jam.

I wish you could be a sommelier for a week around town (Hey – didn’t Bruni wait tables in Boston for a week?). The fact is – diners love this jammy gross crap. You honestly have to see it for yourself, up-close. It’s depressing and disheartening. I feel like misunderstood Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons at times. But the older I get, the more I can’t stand the taste of these horrible pinot noirs in my mouth. As a sommelier, I always try to taste each bottle that I open to make sure that the wine is drinking as it should…..and with these disgusting Cali Pinot steroid monsters…. I can smell their overripe nastiness from a mile away. I pour, grin, and bare it. “I’m glad you’re enjoying it,” just comes out of my mouth and I have to run away so I don’t burst out laughing.

Guests see “Russian River Valley” and a name they know, order some $120 Pinot and are in heaven. It’s disgusting. These wines are disgusting. Sea Smoke was the worst! It was like the Silveroak of the Pinot world. And Eric – you are being very diplomatic by not naming names of the pinot noirs you don’t like, but I will.

Anyone who thinks Burgundy is thin and astringent has zero concept of finesse, subtlety, complexity, elegance. You can say the same about great art, great films, great music (whether we’re talking about jazz or electronica), or even fashion. Subtlety is the whole point – whether it’s a Catherine Malandrino dress, a John Digweed set, or a Scorsese film.

To enjoy something that wallops you over the head and is in your face basically means you have cheap taste. To enjoy subtlety, finesse, and elegance, means that over the years you have developed a sophisticated palette and an appreciation for something made with care, talent, and integrity.

I can’t tell you how many times I have served a Rhone Syrah or Grenache, or maybe even a Bordeaux and a guest has not liked the wine, dismissing it as “too light!” (let alone a Burgundy) – their palettes deadened by years of MALBEC and Shiraz and wine spectator 92 points. Maybe they should try scotch?

Anyway, Eric, thank you again a million times and please do not get off your New York Times soapbox, you are my favorite wine writer in the world and fight the good fight.”

The Rivers Marie Pinot (above) gets a mention in Eric’s article.

“Thomas Rivers Brown and his partner, Genevieve Marie Welsh, combined their middle names for their venture, which specializes in Sonoma Coast pinot noirs. Their wines are intense yet beautifully balanced, with lively acidity that makes them refreshing. I particularly liked their wines from the Occidental Ridge and Summa Vineyards. They also make a terrific chardonnay.”

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MacWorld reviews five wine apps for iPhone and iPod Touch here <link>. None of the apps seems to be the finished product. Having said that it is a useful review. The comments help too.

Update: Vinifolio launches wine prices iPhone app <link>

“The Wine Prices iPhone application provides the ability to search over 400,000 wine auction price results on over 10,000 individual wines and over 1 million US wine retail prices on nearly 200,000 unique wines.”

Update: Mac World’s second article on the subject <link>

Update: Three Apps to Take to the Wine Seller from the New York Times <link>

Update: Winery Quest for the tasting roadtrip of California <link>

Update: Discussion of the ideal iPhone app <link>

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