San Diego Wine Storage members and guests turned out in late April to sample a phenomenal selection of top flight Bordeaux sponsored by Spectrum Wine Auctions.
Held in the SDWS Solana Beach facility, 40 tasters tried vintages from Chateaux Langoa Barton, Léoville Barton, Montrose, and Lynch Bages ranging from 2011 to 1990. We finished off the evening with an impressive 1998 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes. The clear WOTN was the ’90 Lynch Bages followed closely by the ’05 Montrose.
It was a great event and we hope to do a repeat performance—this time with California Cabs—sometime in the future.
It’s that time of year again! Temperatures are climbing, coats and scarves are going back into storage, and we’re all looking forward to that first dip in the swimming pool. But as much as we like the warm weather, your wine is another story.
If you’ve been collecting over the winter months and have cases stacked up in your garage or office, you need to take precautions so you don’t risk spoiling your investment. Here are some simple, proven rules that you can use to make sure your wine doesn’t wilt:
1. Heat kills wine. Make sure your wine is stored in an area that doesn’t get much above 70 degrees. And during the dog days of summer, it’s especially important to protect your wine from overheating. Fifty-five degrees is the optimum temperature for wine. 2. Keep the temperature steady. Temperature fluctuations of more than 10 degrees can be more harmful than keeping the wine at a higher than recommended, but steady, temperature.
3. Older wines (more than 10 years) are more fragile than their younger brethren and are susceptible to spoilage if storage conditions aren’t right. Fine wines that are built to age are usually expensive, so you’re putting your assets at risk if you don’t store them properly.
4. Avoid strong lights and vibration. The kitchen is out unless you have a wine fridge and even then you may subject your wine to more vibration than is healthy.
One last thing about home wine coolers: The rule of thumb is never put them in an area where the temperature climbs 30 degrees above the temp you have the cooler set to. For example, if you have the thermostat set to 55F, the temp in the room shouldn’t get above 85F or you will strain the cooling unit and risk a blowout. So forget the garage during the summer as it will get hotter than any other room in the house. Garages are good places t0 store lawnmowers, but not wine.
We thought we had heard everything until we read about theMiracle Machine, a work in progress from the folks who brought you the flash site Lot18. The idea sounds simple: just add water and some proprietary ingredients to a carafe shaped device that is small enough to sit on your kitchen counter, wait 3 days and out comes wine. And not just plonk; the founders claim their wine will go up against premium cabernets and top flight merlots. Okay…
From the video it sounds like the business is still in the start-up phase and the founders are looking for investment capital. Assuming they succeed and take the product to market, it will be interesting to see what Parker and the other scribes think of 3-day old wine, even if it is a miracle.
You gotta see this. On January 21st in northern Italy three boulders broke loose from a cliff and roared down the mountainside. One boulder ripped through an unoccupied part of the winery while a second stopped just inches from the main structure. The building houses a catholic order, so it makes you wonder about divine intervention…
Thanks to London basedDrinks Business, our readers can now explore a fascinating online series depicting the enduring relationship between war and alcoholic beverages. The series, currently at 15 chapters, spans history from Rome to World War II. The writing is superb with evocative images from period photos and paintings.
While each chapter includes some form of alcohol, from wine to beer to rum and sake, it first and foremost is a historical chronicle of famous battles and military figures, with wonderful stories about how alcohol helped (and sometimes hindered) soldiers endure the horrors of war. There’s a great chapter about the gritty role women have played in war, going back to Napoleon.
We’ll feature all the chapters in clickable, bite-size chunks. Here are the first five and look for the next installment soon.
During the past twenty years “Physiological Ripeness” has become a catchword among many California winemakers. The idea is that all components of the grape, including stems, pips, skins and pulp should reach full ripeness before the grapes are picked. But instead of producing better wines, the practice of waiting for physiological ripeness may have created more problems than it solved.
Think soft, overripe and flabby versus wines that show balance between fruit, acidity, tannins and alcohol. Instead of an unintended consequence, the new style has become popular with drinkers who prefer powerful but soft wines with low acidity and tannin levels.
Author and wine columnist Paul Lukacsexplains this phenomenonin easy to understand layman terms and effectively argues that the quest for physiological ripeness “…often has led to excess rather than equilibrium, let alone perfection.”
The verdict is in and Rudy Kurniawan has been convicted on both charges against him. Sentencing is in April and he could receive up to 20 years on each count. The jury took less than two hours to reach a guilty verdict.
While wine-searcher.com gives agood account of the jury findings, Mike Steinberger the Wine Diaristraises some great pointson how Kurniawan’s lawyers failed to present evidence that could have helped Dr. Conti, as Kurniawan was known by his erstwhile wine drinking buddies. Kurniawan’s lawyers say they will appeal, but perhaps his best bet will be to fire them and hire a more adept legal team that will show that his current lawyers dropped the ball.
To say that Hugh Johnson, the iconic British wine writer, can be outspoken is an understatement. When it comes to shelling out opinions on all things wine, he is as unfiltered at a Kermit Lynch Bandol.
Dave McIntyre, who writes a wine column for the Washington Post, recently caught up with Mr. Johnson in New York while the latter was promoting the latest edition of the World Atlas of Wine, co-authored with Jancis Robinson. Johnson let loose on a wide range of subjects, including high alcohol, heavily extracted wines; the importance of geography, and exploring new wines. Here are a few extracts:
Choosing wine:“Some of the richest people I know are some of the meanest. I always know when somebody has mega-bucks because he starts telling me how little he pays for his wine. How vulgar!”
Changing wine styles: “And for years I’ve been saying for God’s sake I don’t want oak, I want to taste the wine, not the barrel. And I want wine which doesn’t clobber me on the first glass – I hate over-strong wine…Balance is everything.”
Are tastes changing now?: “The classic Napa Cabs of olden days didn’t have to be made to taste delicious to the first taster, because there weren’t all these competitive tastings. There wasn’t a Robert Parker sniffing and writing down his scores in a big hurry. Nobody was in a big hurry.”
Favorite wines: “One of the developments that’s been quietly going on almost unremarked is the improvement in the quality of Burgundy in general, and red Burgundy in particular. And we now realize how poor it was for decades.”