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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 to Find Prosecco That Isn’t Terrible

-1x-1February 25, 2015 — Prosecco is so ubiquitous that you probably think you know what it is—a frothy, fruity, best-selling bargain.

But trust me, not all prosecco is equal. Most is boring—some is brilliant.

I learned to drink it in Italy, where being handed a glass as a greeting happens as frequently as being kissed on both cheeks. And I’ll confess, nothing about it impressed me until I tasted a few luxury bottles.

Now I get it. Most of the world’s sparkling wines are Champagne wannabes. Not so prosecco, made from the glera grape. It’s what you want when you’re in the mood for something completely different, fizz-wise. At its best, it’s all drink-me-now sweetness, with mineral notes, a savory flavor, and tight bubbles….


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…






Bordeaux Is Illiquid and Other Wine Investment Hazards

iF_HoFCW0vl8January 23, 2015 — More than half a dozen firms peddling wine investments in the U.K. alone went belly up last year. Why have there been so many flops?

“Most funds collapse because they have the wrong structure, the wrong strategy and no focus on how to exit,” says Brian Mota, co-manager of The Wine Trust, a U.S. fund founded in 2010 with $15 million to $20 million in assets. Mota is convinced The Wine Trust’s private-equity-fund-type setup, in which investors’ money is locked in for eight years, is the most appropriate for wine, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its February issue.

“It’s an illiquid investment,” Mota says, chuckling at the irony of his statement. “You can only maximize returns if you can sell at the right moment.”

Funds that allow investors to cash in whenever they wish have been vulnerable. Luxembourg-based Nobles Crus said it had wine assets worth 102 million euros (about $125 million) at the end of 2012, when a Belgian financial analyst and various media outlets questioned its valuation methods. Some investors rushed to get out, and the fund couldn’t raise cash fast enough to honor redemption requests…

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