Let's Talk Wine!


Meritage 123x150 NAPA VINTNERS TASTINGOur friends at Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas will be hosting a major wine event on Saturday September 6th. It’s their second annual Napa Valley Vintners Grand Tasting, and will feature wines from 8 to10 Napa Valley wineries and food from select local restaurants. There’s also a VIP wine pairing dinner in the evening at Bentley’s Steak and Chop House, which is located next to Meritage.

It looks like a great venue, great wine and excellent food. You can buy tickets for the tasting event, VIP dinner, or both at sales@meritagewinemarket.com or call 760-479-2500.

Meritage poster1 672x1024 NAPA VINTNERS TASTING


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SDWS and Spectrum Wine Auctions do Bordeaux

Logos 1024x198 SDWS and Spectrum Wine Auctions do Bordeaux

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.

Lynch Bages 241x300 SDWS and Spectrum Wine Auctions do Bordeaux

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Heat kills 1 150x150 DONT LET YOUR WINE WILT     4 TIPS ON HOW TO KEEP IT COOLIt’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.

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water into wine 150x150 NEED WINE?  JUST ADD WATER…We thought we had heard everything until we read about the Miracle 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.





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Now for the third and final installment from the Drinks Business series Wine & Warfare.  If you missed anything here’s the first installment and the second installment.

Wine & Warfare Part XI — Beer and Madness

Wine & Warfare Part XII — Vineyards Under Attack

Wine & Warfare Part XIII – Divine Winds

Wine & Warfare Part XVIV — The Molotov Cocktail

Wine & Warfare Part XV — Marlborough Goes to War


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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…







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Wine barrel 300x211 WINE & WARFARE  PART II

Here’s the second installment from the Drinks Business series Wine & Warfare. We’ll post the third and final installment soon.  To read the first chapters click here.

Wine & Warfare Part VI – Death in BurgundyChampagne cork 250x300 WINE & WARFARE  PART II

Wine & Warfare Part VII – The Vivandières

Wine & Warfare Part VIII – Battlefield Medicine

Wine & Warfare Part IX – Le Salut au Pinard

Wine & Warfare Part X – Rum & Blood

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Wine & Warfare–A Series Not To Be Missed

doughboys with wine 300x241 Wine & Warfare  A Series Not To Be MissedThanks to London based Drinks 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.

Wine & Warfare Part I – RomeMusketeer 224x300 Wine & Warfare  A Series Not To Be Missed

Wine & Warfare Part II – Dutch Courage

Wine & Warfare Part III – Pedro Ximénez

Wine & Warfare Part IV – Sabrage

Wine & Warfare Part V – How the Barossa Got Its Name




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Overdoing Ripeness

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. 

wine gargoyle 300x267 Overdoing RipenessThink 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 Lukacs explains this phenomenon in 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.”

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Just desserts

0311 fake wine 630x420 300x200 Just dessertsThe 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 a good account of the jury findings, Mike Steinberger the Wine Diarist raises some great points on 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.

Stay tuned!



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