Skip to content

the Latest…


What Do California’s Wildfires Mean for the 2015 Wine Harvest?


September 29, 2015 — September is wine harvest month. For Shed Horn Cellars in California’s Lake County, it has been a disaster. A wall of flame from the Valley Fire, which started on Sept. 12, burned the winery to the ground.

For nearby Hawk and Horse Vineyards, this harvest is a miracle. Though the same fire charred hundreds of forest acres on the 1,300-acre property, the 18-acre biodynamic vineyard was barely touched. “No one can explain why it was spared,” said an emotional Tracey Hawkins, whose family owns the estate….


Taste-Testing All the Wines at Starbuck’s New, Boozy, Evenings Program



September 22, 2015 — At 5 p.m. in the North Seventh Street Starbucks in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, people at wooden tables sip lattes and focus on their laptop screens. Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy plays on the sound system as I face 10 glasses of wine.

The giant coffee company rolled out its new “Starbucks Evenings” program of serving wine, craft beer, and small plates last month in 70 U.S. locations. I stopped by the first spot to open in New York in order to put the selections to a taste test….



Costco Heir Aims to Create New Napa Cult Wines in 1,403 Steps



September 14, 2015 — Jumping on new entries in the Napa Valley cult cabernet sweepstakes is an insider sport. If you want to grab bottles of the latest wine, you have to nail a spot on the winery’s mailing list as early as possible. That way you’ll be notified about releases and have the chance to place an order for those pricy bottlings—which you may be able to flip later for big profits.

Normally these cabernets start at $150 and climb to $850. But on Sept. 30, one estate is releasing a first wave of cabernet bottles for less than $100. That’s well below a typical high-profile cab IPO. So what’s the story?

“My big vision,” says Sinegal Estate owner David Sinegal, “is to create a luxury experience where the product is just one part. That’s where everything is going….”



Labor Day Drinking: How to Pair a Great Wine with Barbecue



September 2, 2015 — This Labor Day, chances are you will encounter some barbecue. You will have to decide what to drink with it.

At my house, some family members will stick to swigging local craft brews; you can’t go wrong with good, cold beer in a tub of ice. Others, such as me, are committed wine buffs. Picking the right wines isn’t as easy as you might think. It’s all about the meat, the method, and the sauce…

Is Now the Time to Buy a Case of Château Lafite?

One of the three bottles of the 1869 vintage that sold for a record $HK 1.8 million each at Sotheby's Oct. 29 auction in Hong Kong of wines sourced directly from Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. Each was expected to fetch between HK$40,000 and HK$60,000. Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

August 10, 2015 — In 2011, Château Lafite Rothschild’s wines were riding high, the darlings of Chinese buyers and the auction market.

The futures price in London for the great 2010 vintage, released in July 2011, created shock waves. The wine was one of my top picks of the year, deep and rich, with classic tastes of cigar smoke and cassis and the texture of cashmere.

But it was priced at £12,000 a case (then $19,400) … and the wine hadn’t even been bottled yet.

 Almost immediately that price began to slip, and it’s been declining ever since. Last month, Liv-ex reported that a case of the 2010 had traded for £5,390 ($8,350), nearly 55 percent less than it cost four years ago.

My question: Should you scoop up a case—or three—now?

Read on….




Luxury Rum on the Rise


September 14, 2015 — When I first tasted Bacardi’s $250 Facundo Paraíso XA rum in the New York Palace hotel’s library, it smelled like spice cake and left a deep, smoky tingle of brown sugar and butterscotch. I was impressed. It was as seductive as a single-malt whisky yet as smooth and sweet as a small-batch bourbon.

Rum’s image is still anchored in beach bar cocktails and spiced versions with a pirate or palm trees on the label, but makers of the spirit are increasingly pushing into the luxury business. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, sales of super-premium rum (more than $45 a bottle) rose 414 percent by volume in the U.S. from 2003 to 2014—10 times the growth rate of ordinary rum.

Following the example of other types of distillers, rum makers are producing limited editions of rare, long-aged blends, such as Paraíso, and small-batch and single-barrel bottlings. Rich, complex, and delicious, all are about as far from cheap mixers as you can get….


A New Baron in Bordeaux



August 17, 2015 — Philippe Sereys de Rothschild likes to call himself a financier in a family of artists. In October, after the death of his mother, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, he became chairman of the supervisory board of Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA, which oversees first-growth Château Mouton Rothschild and other brands in France (including best-selling Mouton Cadet), Chile (Almaviva), and the U.S. (Opus One). His brother, Julien de Beaumarchais, and sister, Camille Sereys de Rothschild, are co-owners. When I interviewed him, Rothschild, 52, had just returned to Bordeaux from the Cannes Film Festival, where the Mouton Cadet Wine Bar is always a popular hangout and where he hit the red carpet with his frequent companion, actor Carole Bouquet. Rothschild brings more than family connections to his new role: Armed with an MBA from Harvard, he had a career in business and finance, including creating a private-equity technology fund….


Yao Ming Among Star Vintners Seeking Millions from Crowdfunding


April 24, 2015 — Superstar winemaker Jean Philippe Moulin developed prestige champagnes for brands like Barons de Rothschild and LVMH’s Ruinart but always dreamed of creating a line of bubbly under his own name. Last year, U.K.-based Naked Wines made that possible, providing €500,000 in advance funding through its 250,000 wine-loving customer-investors, who were able to buy Moulin’s four champagnes at a discount, Bloomberg Markets reports in its May issue.

When South African Rowan Gormley founded online retailer Naked Wines at the end of 2008, wine crowdfunding didn’t exist. Yet the company’s reward-based structure has been so successful that by 2012, it had expanded into Australia and the U.S. “In 2015,” Gormley says, “Naked plans to invest £70 million in 145 vintners in 13 countries….”




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.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.