Vino101 an easy no snob way to learn about wine, wine tasting, and food and wine pairing.


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Vino101 an easy no snob way to learn about wine, wine tasting, and food and wine pairing.



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VinoWeek - Episode 76 - Back in the Saddle

Bill and I are back. Pardon our absence as family needs took a higher priority for both of us lately. On this podcast we offer up a quick summary of what we have been doing during our hiatus. While we may have been busy handling family affairs we still found time to have an adult beverage every now and then. We’ll share some of those discoveries on this show. Also I continue to post regularly on Twitter eerr X. Having never participated in a “Dry January” I have found myself consuming less alcohol; more like a “Damp January and February’. I certainly sleep better on nights minus alcohol. Bill postulates that spirits especially vodka are easier for the body to digest. As with so many other things in our lives the key to a successful lifestyle is moderation. We are having a wonderfully wet winter in Sonoma. The rainfall total are up to 123% of normal as of March 2nd and the consistent soakings show no signs of subsiding. If one could draw it up this winter cycle has been picture perfect. We’re getting all the precipitation we need without the drama of bomb cyclones or floods. Our fingers are crossed that this trend continues. If you’ve ever considered visiting Sonoma County, the springtime in my opinion is probably the best time to come and explore what wine country has to offer. Less crowds, moderate prices on lodging and a slower pace present an excellent opportunity to make some new discoveries. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers!


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VinoWeek - Episode 75 - Reflections on Gambero Rosso and Slow Wine

As we head into springtime this year more wine and food events are returning to the our calendars. On this podcast Bill and I discuss our recent experiences at the Gambero Rosso and Slow Wine events both held in San Francisco.


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VinoWeek - Episode 74 - Good Eats in Sonoma

Bill and I recorded this podcast the morning of the Super Bowl so good eats and adult beverages were front and center of our discussion. We go on a jag about the lack of places to find good bread in Sonoma County and come up with a pretty good impromptu list of great places to eat in Sonoma County. So if you have any plans to come to wine county there are lots of good tips in this podcast. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers! Our wine recommendation this week is the 2019 Poggio Scalette Chianti Classico. Poggio Scalette (hill of tiny steps) is a small property in the Greve municipality of Chianti Classico and is run by the Fiore family. Initially started by wine consultant Vittorio Fiore who’s name is prominently displayed on the front label the property is now run by his son Jurij. The top wine at Poggio Scalette is Il Carbonaione a 100% Sangiovese which sells for about $50 retail. Today we will be focusing on Il Carbonaione’s sibling or Scalette’s second wine a Chianti Classico. The vineyards for this bottling sit at an average elevation of 1,500 feet and were planted between 1928 - 2003. The grapes are 100% Sangiovese di Lamole, an ancient clone of Sangiovese and are fermented in concrete vats and aged for ten months in concrete before bottling. Medium ruby color going clear to the edge in the glass. Pretty red fruit and floral aromas complement the cranberry, sour cherry profile on the palate. Medium bodied and mildly tannic with zippy acidity the wine is refreshing and laid back. It shows great drinkability and I immediately went digging into the wine stash to see how many I had on hand ( always a good sign ). I was delighted to discover that the Poggio Scalette Chianti Classico clocked in at 13% abv. Which means I can have more than two glasses in one sitting if I desire without having to worry about overindulging. The drinking window for this wine is short and its probably best enjoyed in the near term. It would pair well with a variety of appetizers, light main dishes, pasta and pizza. $19 Buy it here. Show Links: French government floats €160m fund to ease ‘wine crisis’ How product placement gets wine bottles into shows like ‘The Last of Us’ Gallo is laying off 355 employees Why one of Sonoma’s best wineries hired a winemaker who'd never made wine before Deadly Wildfires Devastate Vineyards in Chile’s Central and Southern Wine Regions The Uncertain Future of Island Wines Luca and Elena Currado Vietti say goodbye to the Vietti winery


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VinoWeek - Episode 73

Esther Mobley of the San Francisco Chronicle reports on the sale of the Robert Sinskey Vineyard Winery, tasting room and vineyards. However billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick elected to not purchase the brand. For the moment the Sinskeys plan to lease back the facility and continue business as usual. Press Democrat writer Sarah Doyle pens a piece on how Sonoma County winemakers are “passing the torch” and making plans to extend their family legacies. Ingredient labeling for wine starts this year in the EU. The rest of the worlds wine markets will soon follow suit. Is ingredient labeling a win for consumers and producers? Jess Lander uses an electric corkscrew regularly but she seems to think she may be in the minority. Do you own and electric corkscrew? Jackson Family Wines has filed a lawsuit against their insurance company for failure to honor claims submitted due to fire damage from wildfires. Bill and I discuss these items and more in this week's addition of VinoWeek. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers!


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VinoWeek - Episode 72 - Holiday Wines

With Christmas around the corner we put together a list of some of our favorite wines for the holidays. The Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes hasn’t slowed the uptick in wine prices. It can be fairly easy to blow up your wine budget with just one or two bottles of splurge purchases. Most of the wines on our list can all be had for under $35. Searching for one wine that pleases everybody is a fools errand. It’s invariably better to select a variety of wines, open them all at once and let your guest choose what they would like to drink. There are plenty of wines here to please even your most finnicky guests. Thanks for listening to our podcast and Happy Holidays. 2019 Château Vitallis Pouilly-Fuissé Vielles Vignes - Father and son team Denis and Maxime Dutron use Chardonnay from their oldest parcels, some as old as 85 years of age to craft this beautiful White Burgundy. 100% Chardonnay, natural fermentation, left on the lees for a year, 70% stainless steel the rest in barrel. Taut and mineral, with green apple and grapefruit. A distinctive Macon that may bring the ABC (anything but Chardonnay) crowd back into the fold. $27 2019 Ramey Russian River Valley Chardonnay - In contrast to the former old world Chardonnay the Ramey’s make a 100% Chardonnay using a plethora of the old world techniques. Whole cluster pressing, native yeast barrel fermentation, lees aging, malolactic fermentation and light fining sans filtering. Baked apple and pear notes complement the layers of savory oak and baking spice. Beautifully textured and balanced. $38 2021 Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc - A perennial crowd pleaser the grapes for this Sauvignon Blanc are sourced from all over California. Its style remains remarkably consistent from year to year. Ripe melon and white peach aromas jump out of the glass. Lemon and lime flavors work well with the clean mineral finish. $12 2020 Michel Delhommeau “Harmonie” Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie - Michel and Nathalie Delhommeau farm the Melon de Bourgogne grapes for their Muscadet in the volcanic rich soils of the Loire Valley in northwest France. After fermentation the wine spends 5 months “Sur Lie” (in the tank on the lees). Lemon, apple, fresh and vibrant with a bracing minerality and tingling acidity on the finish. This Muscadet calls out for fresh oysters on the half shell and other light seafood dishes. $17 2021 Quivira Rosé Wine Creek Ranch - Cranberries, rhubarb and strawberries aromas compliment the zippy acidity of this 70% Grenache, 11%Counoise, 9% Mourvèdre, 5% Petite Sirah blend. Made with organically grown grapes. $20 2020 Concerto Reggiano Lambrusco - Most of us have never served a dry red sparkling wine. Here’s your chance to wow your guests. Concerto, made from 100% Lambrusco Salamino comes in an attractive bottle that is shaped like a bowling pin. The grapes are organically farmed. When poured into a glass you get a beautiful purple froth. Dark ruby red in color the wine taste of raspberry and strawberries with hints of licorice. It’s completely dry on the palate with a fresh zippy clean finish. Serve it slightly chilled not cold. $30 Frederic Magnien Crémant De Bourgongne Blanc De Noir - If you love Champagne but you need to watch your coins a bit more closely try exploring sparkling wines from other regions of France. French sparkling wines that use the traditional method and are made outside of the Champagne region are called Crémant. This 100% Pinot Noir from the Burgundy area can be served as an aperitif and also has the body and weight to be served throughout a meal. A light amber color, very fine bubbles, aromas of bing cherries and strawberry. Champagne quality without the sticker shock. $20 2019 Siduri Russian River Valley Pinot Noir - The consistency of the Siduri brand which was acquired by Jackson Family Wines several years ago continues unabated. Adam Lee may no longer be the winemaker but the assertive and beautiful Pinot Noir style he pioneered continues....


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VinoWeek - Episode 71 - Wine Tastings Making a Comeback

A recent article by Colman Andrews titled Paradise Lost: The Flame Out of Napa Valley’s Iconic Wine Country raised a number of eyebrows in Northern California. The article’s main themes being that the Valley’s growth has lessened its charm and that corporatization has made visits to Napa Wineries too expensive for most people. I just recently attended the 18th annual Wine & Spirits Top 100 tasting at the City View at Metreon in San Francisco. This was the first public wine tasting I have attended in several years (we all know why) and that reluctance to attend public events was the sentiment of so many other attendees that I met and talked with over the evening. I offer some observations of how public wine tastings are changing and for the most part for the better. Peg Melnik pens a nice piece highlighting pioneering Italian winegrowers in Sonoma County. Not everybody is selling out. It’s refreshing to see these families holding onto their traditions and successfully passing the business of winemaking onto their descendants. Bill and I discuss these items and more in this week's addition of VinoWeek. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers! Our wine recommendation this week is the 2017 Vigneti Massa Derthona. Derthona is the age-old name of Tortona, a village in southeast Piedmont, in the northwest region of Italy. Derthona is Timorasso, a grape that had all but been abandoned until Walter Massa recognized its potential to make compelling wines. Up until the eighties Timarasso vines had been pulled and replanted with Cortese and Chardonnay which were easier to sell and more popular at the time. Massa began working with Timorasso vineyards he could find and also began planting new Timorasso vineyards in the eighties and nineties. This 100%Timorasso is a mix of several vineyards around the village of Monleale, although it should be noted that Massa also produces three vineyard designated Timorasso bottlings. It’s fermented using indigenous yeast, receives skin contact for 48 to 60 hours beforehand and battonage after fermentation in stainless steel and concrete vats. He holds the wine for six months after bottling as Timorasso can be quite shy and unexpressive when young. With bottle age it comes around and begins to display its powerful and concentrated flavors. In the glass the color is a bright vibrant gold. The aromas show yellow fruit, honeyed almonds and beeswax. On the palate more of the afore mention flavors the wine is intensely rich and unctuous with surprising freshness and acidity and a medium length finish. Given the substantial structure of this wine I suggest you pair it with rich chicken and pork dishes or fondue. When Massa started this rediscovery of Timorasso there were just a handful of hectares planted. Today there are more than 150 hectares planted in the Colli Tortonesi DOC (Tortona hills). This is a wine you will probably have to hunt down. Unless you’re working with a specialty wine retailer you’ll have to source it over the internet. Having said that if your your looking for a new distinctive high quality wine to experience and learn about then don’t miss out on Walter Massa’s Derthona. 13.5% alc 5,000 cases $32 - $39
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VinoWeek - Episode 70 Has your palate changed?

Al and Bill - news of the wineworld
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VinoWeek - Episode 69 - Wildfire Hangover

Bill and I get together for a new podcast after an extended absence. On this podcast you can find out where we’ve been, what’s new in wine country and what we’ve been drinking and eating. It’s summertime so we find ourselves drinking less red wine and more rosé and white wines. Our wine recommendation for this week is the Mönchhof Ürzig Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett. The Mönchhof is said to be one of the oldest wine estates in the West German Mosel Valley dating back to 1177. This fruity off dry version of a 100% Riesling is grown on vertiginous, brick colored, cliff-like hills that tower over the village of Urzig which sits on the left bank of the Mosel river. A light yellow color with a tinge of green this Riesling has a lovely green apple, lime, lees and jasmine blossom nose. Lovely baking spice, honeyed peaches complexity on the palate, with fresh bright acidity balancing out the light sweetness. A lovely way to welcome in the summer this sublime Riesling would pair well with a variety of fried foods, charcuterie boards, vegetables and sushi. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers! World Beer Cup 2022
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VinoWeek - Episode 68 - Wine Tasting Hospitality Has Changed

Consolidation in the U. S. wine industry continues at an unabated pace. Most of the mergers and acquisitions are followed weeks later by layoffs and closures of production facilities. Sebastiani, Coppola and Chateau Ste. Michelle are some of the most recent buyouts. Right now is one of the best times to be looking for a job in the California wine industry. A quick look on will yield hundred of job offers. Terri and I finally ventured out and went wine tasting for the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic. Bill and I discuss our visit to Ledson Winery in Sonoma Valley and lament the loss of the casual drive up tasting we were able to enjoy before Covid changed our world. Climate change is wreaking havoc everywhere. Recent flooding in Belgium and Germany and in particular the Ahr Valley wine region has cost hundreds of lives and many businesses and livelihoods have been lost. James Lawrence shares the story of how Weingut Paul Schumacher was destroyed by floods. Bill and I discuss these items and more in this week's addition of VinoWeek. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers!


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VinoWeek - Episode 67 Unwelcomed Politics in Wine Country

Windsor Ca. Mayor, Freeze in Europe.


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VinoWeek - Episode 66

Imported wine prices could be headed lower? Ursula Von der Leyen President of the European Commission and President Biden have agreed to suspend all tariffs with regard to the Airbus-Boeing dispute for four months. President Von der Leyen, the first woman elected to head the European Commission is responsible for setting the Commission’s policy agenda and is just 15 months into a five year term that started in December of 2019. She’s quickly gaining allies in the food and agriculture sectors of Europe by working with President Biden who himself has been in office less than ten weeks to pause the tariffs as officials work to negotiate a longer lasting agreement that can benefit all parties. European wine imports have dropped substantially since the wine tariffs were put into affect in October of 2019. This brief respite will give importers and retailers welcomed relief from the punishing penalties of the increased taxes amidst a pandemic. We’ll have to wait and see if consumers benefit from the unexpected windfall too. John Fox notorious for running a wine Ponzi Scheme out of his Berkeley, California retail store has been released from federal custody two years earlier than scheduled. One of the conditions of his release is that he make $45 million in restitution to those he swindled. I’d hate to be an unwilling creditor on that list. One of the unlikely consequences of the pandemic and the wine glut is that the price of wine is going down and the quality of the wine at lower price points is going up. We sight several examples in this podcast. Bill and I discuss these items and more in this week's addition of VinoWeek. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers! Our wine recommendation this week is the 2018 Cantina Kurtatsch Vernatsch Alte Reben. Cantina Kurtatsch is a co-operative that is located in north-eastern Italy, in the region of Alto Adige that borders Austria to the north. The area is more known for its white wines, where 62% of the wine produced is white vs 38% red. The ubiquitous Schiava, Vernatsch in German is the most cultivated red grape in the area followed closely by Pinot Noir and Lagrein. The Kurtatsch co-operative like most co-ops in northern Italy is not well known in the U.S. We are starting to see more whites wines from Alto Adige but I suspect most of the good Schiava from the area never leaves Europe. One can hardly blame importers from looking askance at Schiava based red wines with their low alcohol and light bodied profiles; not unlike a lean unoaked Pinot Noir, Schiava is not what the American consumer is buying in todays markets. So why am I recommending the Sonntaler (sunny valley) Schiava? Often when I’m looking at a bottle of wine I’m unfamiliar with I spin it around and look for the name of the importer on the back label. In this case the importer was North Berkeley Imports, a favorite of mine, so I felt comfortable in making the purchase. Being familiar with Vernatsch/ Schiava wines I wasn’t disappointed. With spring weather coming on I was looking for a less heavy red wine and the Sonntaler (12.5 % abv) fitted the bill. The 100% old vine Schiava grapes are hand harvested and fermented in stainless steel tanks. The wine then spends six months in 2,376 gallon neutral Slavonian oak casks. The Sonntaler has a light ruby color that is translucent on the edges. On appearance alone it could easily be mistaken for a Cerasuolo, a deeply hued rosé wine from central Italy. The Sonntaler is fragrant and approachable. Cranberry and strawberry on the nose are in concert with its lean lightly spiced red fruit profile. Light bodied yet flavorful I enjoyed the tongue tingling minerality on the finish. If you’re in the mood for an change and you want to expand your wine palate I highly recommend you pick up a bottle of Sonntaler. For now this may be the best way for us to take a trip to the Alpine meadows of Northern Italy.


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The World's Biggest Wine Company Expands

Constellation Brands executives must be elated to finally complete their sale of over 32 wine brands and five wineries to E. J. Gallo Winery. The $810 million deal was less than half of the $1.7 billion initially proposed in April of 2019, as the Federal Trade Commission insisted Constellations exclude their sparkling wine, brandy, dessert wine and concentrate business lines as a condition of approval. Constellation sheds all their $11 and under products in a bid to go upscale and Gallo picks up a bevy of bottom shelf labels and more production capacity. Who comes out on top in this deal? For now primarily the grape growers who no longer have to deal with the uncertainty of who will be buying their grapes. As the details of the mega-deal were being worked out many farmers have been in limbo. What will this deal mean for wine lovers? It’s certainly promising on this front as E. J. Gallo has a history of improving the wine operations they acquire. Look no further than the wonderful work they’ve done at Louis M. Martini, Pahlmeyer Winery, J Vineyards and Winery and MacMurray Estate Vineyards. Once Gallo integrates the newly acquired brands into their operations the consumer will likely benefit as Gallo is so much better at running a wine business than Constellation. Better quality wine at the $11 and under price point is a win for the consumer. Having not had any of the following brands for years as they have become so banal I’m looking forward to the prospect of Gallo reviving and improving the quality of the future offerings at Ravenswood, Blackstone and Clos du Bois. E. J. Gallo is a private company that now represents almost 30% of all bottles of wine produced in the U.S. Not bad for a couple of brothers that switched from growing grapes to squishing them to make wine in 1933. One could easily make the argument that Gallo is too big and controls too much of the U.S. market. After all it took almost two years for them to get approval from federal regulators. That a lot of sifting through the fine print to ensure consumers don’t get hosed on the deal. Based on current market conditions I’d speculate that we can expect more consolidation in the coming years in the wine industry. A post pandemic euphoria will undoubtedly lift revenues for travel, hospitality, retailers and restaurants, but the relief may not come quickly enough for some winemakers. Gallo will almost certainly be a player in future acquisitions. Kwame Onwuachi and Alice Waters pen a nice piece for The Washington Post theorizing that once president elect Joe Biden is sworn in he can take immediate steps to save mom and pop American restauranteurs by taking executive action. Oh if it were that easy. Bill and I discuss these items and more in this week's addition of VinoWeek. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers! Our wine recommendations this week are Bellavista Alma Gran Cuvée Franciacorta. The region of Franciacorta is roughly 50 miles east of Milano in northern Italy.A blend of 77% Chardonnay, 22% Pinot Nero and 1% Pinot Bianco. Bright and zesty apple and lemon flavors on a full bodied frame. A real crowd pleaser. You can wow your friends with this one as they remark “Hey this is great Champagne”. Then you can gently remind them, it’s not Champagne it’s Franciacorta. $23 Buy it here. Domaine Allimant-Laugner Crémant D’Alsace Brut Rosé - 100% Pinot Noir this sparkling wine has a beautiful light salmon color. Clean and crisp red fruits on the nose. Strawberries and cranberries with good depth of flavor on the palate. $16 Buy it here. Marcel Cabelier Cremant Du Jura - This wine hails from Jura France a region sandwiched between the Burgundy wine region and the Swiss border. It’s 90% Chardonnay, the remainder Pinot Noir and Poulsard. A light straw yellow color in the glass, the green apple and biscuit aromas and flavors could easily fool you into thinking it’s Champagne. This is our new house bubbly. Why spend all your money on a luxury Champagne brand...
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VinoWeek - Episode 64

Delivery startup Go Puff has just announced its acquisition of alcohol beverage retailer BevMo. While Bevmo already has an online presence and delivery service Go Puff’s network, which delivers convenience store items will make it even more opportune for people to channel their inner couch potato. Convicted wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan has finished serving his federal prison sentence and is now in the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Where he will end up is anybody’s guess. I appears Rudy may be just as difficult to keep track of as the bogus collectible wines he forged in the past. Jeff Siegel who writes the wine blog the Wine Curmudgeon pens a nice piece on how we have grown to accept expensive wine. How much is too much to pay for a bottle of wine that you plan to consume? Alpana Singh, a master sommelier in the U.S. has resigned her title. Esther Mobley interviews Alpana who reveals her decades long experience as a woman of color within the Court of Master Sommeliers. Bill and I discuss these items and more in this week's addition of VinoWeek. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers!


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Wine Country Faces a New Reality

Wild fires , power outages and uncertain times in Wine Country


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Smoke Taint Concerns Grape Growers

Lately there hasn’t been much to celebrate about and as a result Champagne growers are facing challenges due to the pandemic and collapsing sales. So far the French government has not offered any actionable help. Can growers and winemakers work together to hold prices steady? Franzia is selling a backpack that holds an entire box of wine. As it turns out their apparel site has a bunch of other swag you can purchase as well. If wildfires and air quality indexes in the very unhealthy to hazardous zone for over three weeks weren’t enough, triple digit heat was recorded for several days in many grape growing regions of California. The specter of smoke taint is something that has most in the industry adopting a wait and see attitude. Mike Pomranz pens a piece for Food & Wine looking into the complexities of dealing with smoke taint as a grape grower or a winemaker. Bill and I discuss these items and more in this week's addition of VinoWeek. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers! Our wine recommendation this week is the 2016 Newton Napa Valley Unfiltered Chardonnay. Most of the grapes for this Chardonnay were sourced from the Carneros region of Napa, due southeast of the city of Napa bordering the San Pablo Bay. A small percentage of the grapes are sourced from up valley in the Rutherford area. Using indigenous yeast the Chardonnay is 100% barrel fermented. After fermentation the wine was transferred to French oak barrels 24% which were new. The wine was aged for one year and received bâtonnage as needed. After barrel ageing the wine was allowed to settle in tanks and then it was bottled unfiltered. This wine strikes a nice balance between the California oak bombs of yesteryear and no oak Chardonnays that are more in fashion today. This is Alberto Bianchi, who hails from Milan, first vintage at Newton and he has crafted a remarkably sophisticated, powerful and complex Chardonnay. The color is light straw. Green apples, pear and oak aromas are reconfirmed on the firm and juicy palate. The wine has good depth and roundness at this stage. This is a wine to drink now or you could cellar it for several years to allow it gain some bottle complexity. 14 % abv $35 - $40 Buy it here.
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Wildfires Amidst the Harvest

Burning Harvest!
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What Is Clean Wine?

We have a new wine bar in Sebastopol. Region wine bar will specialize in pouring small production wines using self-serve wine machines. Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power have entered the celebrity wine business. Their wine brand Avaline, is entering a crowded market place. Years of consolidation by alcohol producers and wholesalers, uncertainty due to an ongoing trade war and now a pandemic makes one consider their market timing. However the ladies may be filling a void by marketing their product as a “clean wine”. Danny Meyer has hit the play button and is rehiring staff and slowly reopening his restaurants. The challenges of the pandemic have caused him to re-examine his policies on tipping though. With over 20,000 restaurants currently out of business in the U.S. Danny has plans to survive the fallout and still bring about equity within the ranks of the restaurant business. Dan Berger pens a nice article on the drawbacks of vintage charts. When I first started learning about wine I always carried a vintage chart in my wallet. How about you? Do vintage charts help you make buying decisions on wine? Bill and I discuss these items and more in this week's addition of VinoWeek. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers! Our wine recommendation this week is the 2015 Domaine de Compostelle. Domaine de Compostelle is the second wine for Chateau La Cabanne. The estate in the past has had a reputation of under-performing considering its neighbors are Chateau Clinet and Chateau Trontanoy. In 2010 a big fire destroyed most of the vat room and all of the 2008 vintage. This allowed the owners the Estager family to outfit the Chateau with state of the art equipment, vats and cooperage. Things appear to be on the upswing as the 2015 Compostelle is a wonderful wine. The blend is 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. After fermentation the wine is aged for fourteen months in 50% new french oak barrels while the balance is aged in second and third use barrels. Drinking extremely well right now Compostelle is medium to full bodied. The nose shows violets, red berries, currants and plums with a touch of earthiness. On the palate its fresh and crisp displaying an all too pleasing touch of cocoa covered cherries. It’s young but the tannins are already well integrated. Good Pomerol is never cheap, there’s just not enough of it to go around. Here you have a Pomerol from a good vintage, that’s still available at a fair price. $40 alc 14.5 Buy it here. Drinking Extremely Well Right Now


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VinoWeek - Episode 59 - Tasting Rooms Reopen

After three plus months of shelter in place mandates with a significant portion of the hospitality and restaurant business in California throttled to an idle, wineries, brew pubs and distillers have been given the green light to host patrons again. The old tasting room model has been discarded in favor of new sanitation and social distancing protocols. Are you ready to go visit tasting rooms? If so you’ll probably need to make a reservation. California winemaker Bill Foley has just purchased Ferrari-Carano Winery in Sonoma County. The deal includes two winemaking facilities and 3000 acres of land. It’s nice to see the operation go to a Sonoma County wine family instead of a big hulking beverage corporation. Bill and I discuss these items and more in this week's addition of VinoWeek. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers!


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VinoWeek - Episode 58 - How Covid - 19 Affects Us

Bill and I have been on a brief hiatus. Let’s just say we have been adjusting to a new way of living our lives during the coronavirus pandemic. Walking into a wine retailer or visiting a winery tasting room has not been an option for us so in this podcast we spend some time talking about how and where we are buying our adult beverages. We both are certainly consuming more alcohol since the start of pandemic. Have your drinking habits changed? Are you purchasing more products on line? If you own a winery how do you protect your staff and your customers against coronavirus? Michael Alberty pens a piece for The Oregonian that explains how Willamette Valley Vineyards is planning to tackle the virus. What is corked wine? How do you recognize it and what’s the process to follow if you discover you have a bottle of wine that is corked? Eric Asimov writes a piece for the New York Times surveying how wineries faced with marketing disruptions are seeking new innovative ways to keep the cash flowing. Bill and I discuss these items and more in this week's addition of VinoWeek. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers! We have two wine recommendations this week. The first is a rare white wine from the DOC Colli Tortonesi (the hills of Tortona). Tortona is a commune of south-east Piedmont, in the Province of Alessandria in north-western Italy. Piedmonte is most noteworthy for it’s noble reds Barolo and Barbaresco. The white wines of Asti (Asti Spumante) and Gavi have their avid followers too. The 2017 Derthona Timorasso is produced by Boveri Luigi. The Azienda Agricola (farm) is owned by Luigi and Germana Boveri. Originally focused on grain production the family embraced viticulture in the mid nineties and now are solely focused on winemaking. The rare white wine they make from the Timorasso grape has been recently rediscovered. The man responsible for the rediscovery is Walter Massa. After World War II, native varietal wines like Timorasso were overshadowed and forgotten as winemakers rushed to produce simple, uniform, high profit wines. Massa was discovered by the wine cognoscenti in 2000 and received much praise for a barrique- aged Barbera he had made. Wine writers happened upon some of the small lots of Timorasso that Walter was experimenting with and began spreading the word of the quality of those wines too. Neighboring growers took notice of Massa’s success with Timorasso and followed his lead. Even though Timorasso has been redeemed, today the area planted to the thick-skinned variety covers just 175 acres, hence its rarity. Derthona is the latin name for the city of Tortona. Boveri’s Derthona Timorasso is planted on the hills of Costa Vescovato, composed of 70% clay limestone and 30% marly limestone. The grapes are hand harvested and once they are crushed they are allowed to macerate for 48 to 60 hours on the skins. Luigi does this to add more depth and texture to the wine. The maceration and soft pressing is followed by a native yeast fermentation and the 100% Timorasso wine is held on the lees in stainless steel tanks for one year. Periodically throughout the year the wine receives battonage. After bottling the wine is held for one year before release. Following 2016, the 2017 grape growing season faced a difficult start as early frost cut yields throughout the region of Piedmont. Drought conditions were present and a heatwave near the end of the ripening cycle made for a chaotic harvest. Luigi’s Derthona is bright straw yellow in color with tinges of green. Aromas of white peach, grapefruit, meyer lemon and white flowers greet you on the nose. If I had to use one word for the mouth feel I’d say savory. This wine is full bodied at 14% alcohol so it packs a punch. Intense and focused with white peach, beeswax and mineral notes the wine has good depth and richness. Drink now, but know that Timorasso can age well too so you don’t have to worry about losing one in your wine stash. The 2017 is showing well now, but I’m...


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VinoWeek - Episode 57 - Wine Communication is Changing

Here in Sonoma County California we are under a Governor Gavin Newsom mandated shelter in place directive aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. What does that mean? Check out this link to get the details. Cancelled events, business losses and layoffs are starting to impact the wine business as Bill Swindell points out in an article for the Press Democrat. There is nothing worse for a food and wine lover than to experience a partial or complete lose of their sense of smell. Shawn Zylberberg explains how a loss of sense of smell may be a symptom of COVID-19 infection. Bill and I did a virtual contrast and compare of two Oregon wine producers Elouan and Illahe and I threw in a ringer from Sonoma Coast, W. H. Smith Pinot Noir. Jeremy Parzen, a wine industry professional and wine blogger has been posting letters he gets from his colleagues and friends in Italy. His latest post is a letter from Giancarlo Gariglio, editor-in-chief of the Slow Wine Guide to the Wines of Italy, Slovenia, California, and Oregon. We interviewed Giancarlo last February. Here’s the link to that post. Bill and I discuss these items and more in this week's addition of VinoWeek. Thanks to everyone for listening. Cheers!