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Boom Time in the Vineyards


March 30, 2015 — After golf ball–sized hailstones battered vines at Château d’Issan in Bordeaux for two years in a row, managing director Emmanuel Cruse was in the market for something—anything—that might protect his grapes. That’s when he decided to try a device that promises to prevent hailstones from forming, Bloomberg Markets reports in its April 2015 issue. Different types of hail cannons, as they’re known, have been around for more than a century in France, even though it’s far from clear they do what they’re supposed to do.

“We had to do something,” Cruse recalls. “Storms destroyed 70 percent of our grapes in 2008 and 2009. Each of those years, we produced less than 6,000 cases of wine,” compared with the typical 19,000 cases. The total financial loss to this third-growth estate in the Margaux appel­lation was almost €3 million ($3.4 million), Cruse says. Insurance paid out just one-fifth of that.

So Cruse invested €150,000 in two cannons that are now permanently installed in his vineyards….


Bordeaux Preview: Will the 2014 Vintage Be Worth Betting On?


March 31, 2015 — Several thousand people from around the world are in Bordeaux this week for the annual spring rite of en primeur, roaming from the Medoc to Graves, from Pomerol to Saint-Emilion to get a first taste of the 2014 vintage.

The wines are still aging quietly in barrels as merchants assess which ones to offer their clients as futures, and journalists furiously scribble their tasting notes.

Overall quality looks to be pretty good. The vintage story is a familiar one: a cool, damp summer with the grapes finally ripened by the “miracle” of September sun.

No one is calling 2014 a great, must-have “vintage of the century,” as they labeled 2010, 2009, and 2005….


Venture Capitalist Bottles California Pinots That Rival Burgundy


March 20, 2015 —  Software entrepreneur Kevin Harvey, co-founder of Benchmark Capital, is used to backing startups that make it big, such as Proofpoint and MySQL. It turns out he’s also got the Midas touch when it comes to California’s best spots for pinot noir. He’s just invested in his seventh parcel in the under-appreciated Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco.

His savory, earthy, silky-textured Rhys Vineyards pinots are the closest yet to a California version of great Burgundy—and it’s time to pounce. Here’s why.

The stellar 2012s have just been released, and even though the winery already has a wait list, a handful of retailers will be offering them soon….

How to Buy Napa’s Most Exclusive and Hard-to-Get Wines

-1x-1March 2, 2015 — A group of four Swiss entrepreneurs snagged a prime lot at last weekend’s Premiere Napa Valley barrel auction, splashing out $115,000, or $1,917 a bottle, for the 2013 Brand Double Barrel 1588 Cabernet Sauvignon.

“We’re each going to take 15 bottles and drink them ourselves,” said Gregor Greber, who grinned and admitted they got carried away by emotion.

If you go by the record total of $6 million the annual trade auction raked in last weekend, market thirst for expensive Napa cabernet is alive and well. Nine wines among the 225 lots, mostly from the 2013 vintage, brought a price of $1,000 a bottle or more….


How I Learned to Love Australian Wine

awesome-australian-wines-10005024March 3, 2015 — Australia’s thick, jammy Shirazes, cheap fruity/oaky blends from industrial producers, and cellar-wizard winemaker philosophy have long shaped that country’s wine image abroad – and never appealed to me.

So what turned me into an Aussie wine fan? The stunning new wave reds and whites I tasted not long ago on visits to two cool-climate valleys. They reminded me once again how diverse a wine country Australia is and showed me what I hope is the face of its vinous future.

I found dozens of ambitious young-gun winemakers, who are ignoring fruit-bomb styles and lashings of oak for leaner, subtler wines. And instead of blending grapes from different regions, they’re embracing single vineyards….

from The World of Fine Wine:

Romancing the Grape


Issue 47 – 2015 — I admit it: I’m a wine romantic. I respond to those special landscapes in wine country, the rows of gnarled vines tended by passionate families attached to their land for generations, the ever-repeated miracle of clusters of grapes being transformed into a drink that reflects their patch of ground, the dark cellars of cobwebbed barrels that hold history in liquid form. The wines that most capture my imagination seem imbued with a kind of meaning that no other beverage can match, their tastes conjuring cultural values that often tap into deep emotions.

My first visit to a California winery, several decades ago, was just the type of wine experience that fosters that kind of romantic view…



© 2002-2015 Elin McCoy. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of images or texts in this site without written permission.

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