Text Size:-+
04.01.2015

A Man, An Island, and a Bottle of Grüner: The Wines of Rudi Pichler

"I am not a modern winemaker," says Rudi Pichler, as we walk through his compact, and yes, very modern winery in the little village of Wosendorf within view of the Wachau river in Austria. What little hair he has left on his head is closely cropped, emphasizing the broad, deeply lined expanse of his forehead that frames a genial, even cherubic face animated with enthusiasm. "If I were a modern winemaker," he continues, "I would be whole cluster pressing, and doing all sorts of stuff to make nosy wines. That is not my job. It is much more important... continue reading

03.30.2015

Vinography a Finalist in the 2015 Saveur Blog Awards

I'm quite pleased to announce that Vinography is a finalist in the 2015 Saveur Magazine Blog Awards in the category of Wine Coverage. My competition for this year's award could just as easily be the guest list for my next dinner party. I'm joined as a finalist this year by Jameson Fink, Lily Elaine Hawk Wakawaka, Alice Feiring, Aaron Ayscough, and Marissa A. Ross. As a matter of fact, the last time I sat down to drink more than six bottles of wine in one sitting, at least two of the people on this list were there to help (and... continue reading

03.28.2015

The Changing Love of Pinot Noir?

To properly frame the sort of revelation that follows, you need to understand a few things. The first is that I am deeply fortunate to be able to attend a number of fancy wine events each year. These events are one to three-day epics of tasting and eating that consumers pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars to go attend. By virtue of my status as a so-called member of the press, I get a free pass to bacchanals such as the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, The International Pinot Noir Celebration, the World of Pinot Noir, Flavor! Napa... continue reading

03.27.2015

Vinography Images: Patchwork

Patchwork SANTA ROSA, CA: A patchwork of Kunde Estate vineyards covers the hillside above Sonoma Valley, as viewed above Highway 12 near Santa Rosa, California. Known primarily for red grapes, this warm microclimate is gaining notoriety for hillside and mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops. To set the image... continue reading

03.24.2015

California Wine Country Macabre

Holy moly. WTF, Wine Country? Something is seriously wrong. Anyone have a biodynamic calendar handy to see if we've just all had a long string of root days? Or maybe the arsenic is causing mental imbalance.... First we heard of the horrific events of last Monday, in which Robert Dahl shot his investor Emad Tawfilis execution-style and then took his own life as police were closing in. Police recently released the transcripts of Tawfilis' calls to 911 as he was running, bleeding through the vineyards with his killer in pursuit. Nearly the same day, two decomposing bodies were found... continue reading

03.22.2015

The Latitudes and Longitudes of Pinot Noir

Every year, just as Winter, or what passes for winter in southern California, begins to turn the corner towards Spring, lovers of Pinot Noir gather on the cliffs of Santa Barbara for a celebration of the grape they love. The World of Pinot Noir offers three days of immersion into everything Pinot in the bucolic setting of Bacara Resort. This event has many redeeming features, but among my favorite of its many charms is the fact that the organizers make a concerted effort to recruit Pinot Noir producers from many different places around the world, and almost always have... continue reading

03.21.2015

Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 15th, 2015

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week's tasting unearthed a couple of excellent Chardonnays from producer Alta Maria Vineyards down in Santa Barbara County, which will celebrate its 10th harvest this year. Their Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are excellent and worth seeking out, as these two demonstrate. Grgich Hills joined the Chardonnay bandwagon this week as well, with predictable consistency and quality. For those interested in something a little... continue reading

03.20.2015

Vinography Images: The Rockpile

The Rockpile HEALDSBURG, CA: Fall colors decorate Sonoma County's Rockpile AVA near Healdsburg, California. This higher elevation growing area is known for its shallow oxidized soils that produce brilliant Zinfandels and other big red wines. INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops. To set the image as your desktop wallpaper, Mac users should follow these... continue reading

03.19.2015

Do You Need to Worry About Arsenic in Your Wine?

It's all over the wine news channels, and will soon be in much wider distribution, as these stories spread like wildfire thanks to sensational headlines. CBS News reported today that an organization called BeverageGrades tested thousands of wines and found that more than 20% of the wines contained arsenic levels above the EPA recommended thresholds for drinking water. Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal that is toxic to humans in high doses. Once upon a time it was so common as a poisoning agent that it was known as "the king of poisons and the poison of kings." The... continue reading

03.16.2015

At What Price, To Kalon?

In the annals of California viticulture, few named vineyards can approach To Kalon in either historical significance or popular acclaim. To Kalon has long been known for producing phenomenal wines, but increasingly it has also become famous for something else entirely: the price of its grapes. A quote by grower Andy Beckstoffer graces the inside cover of a coffee-table book of photographs entitled Cabernet: A Photographic Journey from Vine to Wine by photographer Charles O'Rear. 'Cabernet is royalty!' it reads. 'She is noble, she is powerful, voluptuous, and a profit to all the senses.' Beckstoffer owns 89 acres (36 ha)... continue reading

03.14.2015

Rhone Rangers Tasting: March 28, Richmond, CA

Spring is in the air here in San Francisco. The plum and some cherry blossoms have already burst forth, those with allergies are suffering a bit, and we've got sunshine into the dinner hour thanks to the magic of daylight savings time. Spring means a lot of different things to different people, but for any wine lover in San Francisco, it certainly means wine tasting season. This is the time of year that winemakers get a little break -- malolactic fermentation is well underway if not finished -- so there's time to pack the suitcase and go show off some... continue reading

03.13.2015

Vinography Images: Happy Tree

Happy Tree SANTA YNEZ, CA: A hillside grape vineyard and lone tree at Star Lane Vineyard & Winery estate, located in the Happy Valley wine appellation catches the sun. Because of its close proximity to Southern California and Los Angeles population centers, the Santa Ynez Valley has become a popular weekend getaway destination. INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and... continue reading

03.11.2015

Wine and Beauty Explained

The more I drink the more beautiful you look, or so the saying goes. But according to new research, the more I drink the more beautiful I look, too. Researchers in the UK have recently completed a study linking consumption of alcohol to perceived attractiveness. Specifically, they have shown that people who have had one glass of wine statistically appear more attractive to strangers than they do when they have had no alcohol whatsoever. Unfortunately for those of us interested in boosting wine consumption, the researchers found that it didn't matter what kind of alcohol it was, but we... continue reading

03.10.2015

San Francisco's Lost Sommeliers

Just days after he announced his departure as full time wine Editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, and his intent to move from San Francisco for New York, Jon Bonné penned an article on Sunday suggesting that San Francisco's wine scene was on the decline due to what he called a "brain drain," and later on Twitter, "a void" of professional sommeliers in town. Perhaps the timing was coincidentally bad, but it's hard not to feel like this is some sort of parting shot as he heads to the New York wine scene, which he praises in the same... continue reading

03.09.2015

Finding Pirate Treasure With a Corkscrew

Ah, the lure of Pirate Treasure. Who doesn't enjoy the thrill of the search for a shipwreck? Growing up, the few times I got the opportunity to watch Jacques Cousteau search the ocean bottom found me wide-eyed with giddy delight. As I got older and grew out of my metal detector wielding, mineral collecting habits, in part thanks to their social stigma, I began to think that perhaps not everyone was quite so enthusiastic about buried treasure. Today, of course, I'm completely validated in my fascination with treasure hunting, thanks to the incredible proliferation of reality TV shows focused on... continue reading

03.07.2015

Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 1, 2015

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week's trove of bottles included a very nice Torrontes from Mendoza, Argentina that I might delight even the most jaded palate. There were a few nice Pinots in there, too, from Dutton-Goldfield, Sojourn Cellars, and Foursight wines out in Anderson Valley. Finally, I dug up a couple of bottles that have been languishing for some time hidden underneath some others that showed quite... continue reading

03.06.2015

Vinography Images: Sonoma Spring

Sonoma Spring KENWOOD, CA: Colorful California poppies are planted between the grapevine rows at Kunde Family Estate in Kenwood, California. Unseasonably warm weather is promising yet another early vintage around Northern California. INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops. To set the image as your desktop wallpaper, Mac users should follow these instructions, while PC... continue reading

03.05.2015

Siduri Wines: Rewarding the Search for Flavor

About a month ago, after twenty years in business, and arguably at the peak of their business, Adam and Diana Lee sold Siduri Wines, and their sister project Novy Family Winery to Jackson Family Wines for an undisclosed sum. Siduri began in 1994 when Lee and his wife, betting on the security of Adam landing a job at Lambert Bridge winery, used some of their savings to buy some fruit from people who responded to their ad in Wine Country Classifieds looking to buy some Pinot Noir. Within four years, they had moved into an industrial park on the... continue reading

02.28.2015

Vinography Unboxed: Week of February 22, 2015

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently. This week's trove of bottles included one of the sexiest, most impressive wines from Livermore that I've ever had: the Lineage bottling from Steven Kent winery, whose wines have been impressing me for the last couple of years quite consistently. There were also a couple of standout Chardonnays as well, from Thomas Fogarty Winery and Whitcraft Winery, both of which were fresh, bright, and... continue reading

02.27.2015

Vinography Images: Frost and Fog

Frost and Fog HOPLAND, CA: Frost and fog envelope Mendocino County's Bonterra Vineyards in the middle of winter. INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops. To set the image as your desktop wallpaper, Mac users should follow these instructions, while PC users should follow these. PRINTS: Fine art prints of this image and others are... continue reading

SAV_15_SBA_Badges_Finalists_wine_vote.png

Buy My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Instagram Delectable Flipboard Pinterest

Free Tasting Tool

Use Vinography's free aroma card to help you learn how to better identify the flavors and aromas in wine. In seven languages!
Find out more

Most Recent Entries

A Man, An Island, and a Bottle of Grüner: The Wines of Rudi Pichler Vinography a Finalist in the 2015 Saveur Blog Awards The Changing Love of Pinot Noir? Vinography Images: Patchwork California Wine Country Macabre The Latitudes and Longitudes of Pinot Noir Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 15th, 2015 Vinography Images: The Rockpile Do You Need to Worry About Arsenic in Your Wine? At What Price, To Kalon?

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

Archives by Month

 

Wine Blogs I've Newly Discovered

The Wine Stalker Wines of the World The Grape Belt A March in the Vines Social Vignerons Terroirs (BR) Tanglewood Wine Talk Wagon Wine

Want more? Check out blogs and podcasts from around the world on the complete list of wine blogs.

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud