Happy Friday (and Thursday!)
Though I am not trying to rush the seasons, the 72 degree and breezy morning here in New Jersey is making me think of college football, apple cider and a light sweater – all hallmarks of fall, my favorite Cornas drinking season. However, summer is nowhere near over as I am heading down with friends to the Water Club in Atlantic City to have daiquiris poolside and take a day to enjoy the sun. In anticipation of not wanting to write tomorrow, here is your Friday Five a day early.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and remember, abandon the ordinary and pick up a bottle of something spectacular.
I’ll Take the ’96 Veuve Cliquot, Please
This week, in her series Vintage America, Talia Baiocchi writes about the history wine lists as she focuses on wine lists that appeared before the turn of the 20th Century. Historical documents fascinate me. And those that focus on the importance of wine on our cultures past doubles down on the fun factor. It comes as no surprise that Sherry, Champagne, Bordeaux and Madeira dominated wine lists in the 19th Century and as Baiocchi tell us, “by 1896 we begin to see far greater attention paid to producer and place.” Perhaps terroirists have been among us for longer than we’ve thought!
Not Just Mom’s Boxed Wine Anymore
Boxed wine always had a place in my life as my mother (I don’t think she reads this) always had a box of something pink in the fridge growing up. I’ve spent years trying to convince her to try something else, anything else, but when it comes to having a glass of wine, the boxed variety always wins out. However, as Eric Asimov writes this week in his New York Times column, The Pour, wine in a box is growing up and doing so quickly. Quality wine is now coming in a box and that’s a good thing – advances in packaging have made it possible for good juice to be kept longer without spoiling. Now if I can only figure out how to get mom onto a Riesling or Chardonnay…
I Came All The Way Down Here for These?
What do you do when you arrive to a wine tasting and a majority of the wines are not up to snuff? Hard Wallace, author of the blog Dirty South Wine, took a bit of flack this week about the quality of wine poured at last week’s Wine Bloggers Conference held in Charlottesville, Virginia. In his honest appraisal of the wines poured Wallace wrote that he “tasted plonk from everywhere…” However, he also gave credit where credit was due when he “also found some pleasant surprises from places [he] didn't expect.” Part of the problem about going to a wine tasting, conference or any other wine event organized by a group is that there are always wines that aren’t going to make the grade. Wine tasting is subjective and anyone who cannot express their discontent with some of the offerings, no matter the tasting environment, is not being honest with the wines or themselves. I did not attend the conference, but I am intrigued about going next year. My only hope is that the wines don’t suck as like Wallace, I will have hard time saying anything nice about them if they don’t make the grade, even if that means offending the hosts.
Beaujolais 2010 !
After visiting Spain and France this summer, I can’t wait to stock my cellar full of 2010’s. More classical in style than the international plumpers of ’09, the ’10 vintage in France brings the wine drinker back to more restrained and focused wines. I am certain there are exceptions, but in Chablis, the Loire Valley and the Rhone Valley, 2010 is a vintage that I can’t wait to drink for years to come. And in the Financial Times this week, Jancis Robinson lauds the 2010 Beaujolais vintage. For Robinson, the ‘10s are “much more typical Beaujolais: a bit lighter in body, with less obvious tannins, but absolutely stuffed full of the unusually succulent fruit of the Gamay grape.” 2009 was the critic’s choice because of the forward, ripe and rich fruit that isn’t normally associated with the Beaujolais region. However, 2010 looks like it will be a refreshing about face that emphasizes restraint, purity and elegance. And with any luck, those who flocked to Beaujolais on scores in ’09 will appreciated how Gamay can shine with the right vintage conditions.
What if Galloni No Likey?What happens when the world’s most influential wine critic decides to step away from reviewing wines from a region that was built, at least in part, on his scores? As Jon Bonné writes this week in the San Francisco Chronicle, we will see soon as Robert Parker Jr. will no longer be reviewing the wines of California for his publication, The Wine Advocate. Antonio Galloni will be taking over the California portion of the Advocate for Parker. What does this mean? Well, it means that cult producers in California might be getting a little nervous. As Bonné writes, in the past “Parker has helped define California as a place for some of world's best wines. He has provided a string of near-perfect scores for labels that have become some of the world's top luxury items…” Will Galloni have a different appreciation for the wines that Parker has near-immortalized of the years? We can’t be sure, but one thing is for sure, Galloni’s palate is certainly different from Parker’s and I for one, can’t wait to read his impressions on a category that has been associated (and dependent) with Parker for too long.