EPERNAY, FRANCE – The Comité Champagne has announced the 2021 Champagne harvest started on 6 September. Weather conditions in the Champagne region are good for the ripening of the grapes, but conditions across the vineyard are unusually varied. Because Champagne always picks its grapes by hand, this means that the organization of picking this year will have to be adjusted.
Weather conditions in 2021 have been challenging, with a 12-day period of frost at the beginning of the year, hail on several occasions, then persistent rain in spring which encouraged mildew in the vines. These various hazards have caused big differences in the yield and maturity of the grapes, from parcel to parcel and/or varietal to varietal.
Overall, Champagne expects to lose close to 30 percent of the yield due to frost, with an additional 25 to 30 percent lost to mildew. Hail damaged 500 hectares, with half that area losing the whole crop.
“Variations in ripening across the vineyard call for an approach to harvesting that is adapted to suit each part of the vineyard. We are ready to help all players conduct their harvests in the best conditions and so guarantee grapes of the best quality,” said Maxime Toubart, co-president of the Comité Champange. As in every year, Champagne’s Réseau Matu* guides the choice of optimal dates for the start of picking, by commune and grape variety. Individual start dates this year are spread between September 6 and 27.
The Comité Champagne stresses that this year’s exceptional weather conditions may impact the quantity of grapes, but not the quality. “The people of Champagne are accustomed to work in difficult conditions”, notes Co-Président of the Comité Champagne Jean-Marie Barillère.“They take pride in dealing with each year’s conditions to produce the great wine that is Champagne.”
As in 2020, the Champagne sector will apply stringent health precautions at harvest time to guarantee the health and safety of the harvest workers.
*The Réseau Matu is a network of hundreds of representative vineyard plots spread across the vineyard. Data from these plots allows the Comité Champagne, with the assistance of volunteer professionals, to track and analyze the progress of grape ripening in real time, and therefore optimize the choice of harvest dates. For the first time ever, a mobile phone app has been used to collect the 2021 data.
NEW YORK (PRWEB) – Wine lovers from across the globe can enjoy outstanding wines from a much cooler and later 2021 wine grape season in South Africa. This according to the annual South African Wine Harvest Report 2021.
“It seems as though the vines really took their time to prepare this year’s harvest,” says Conrad Schutte, Consultation Service Manager of the wine industry body Vinpro. “Moderate weather throughout the season, and specifically during harvest time, resulted in grapes ripening slower, while developing exceptional color and flavor.”
The 2021 wine grape crop is estimated at 1,611,137 tons, according to the latest estimate of industry body SAWIS (South African Wine Industry Information & Systems) on May 19, 2021. It is 8.9% larger than the 2020 harvest.
The harvest kicked off around two weeks later than normal due to unusually cool weather conditions throughout the season, which persisted throughout harvest time and resulted in some wine grape producers harvesting their last grapes in May. Water resources were also replenished in most regions following the recent drought, which contributed to good vine growth, bunch numbers and berry sizes.
“Although these are general observations, it is always important to take the South African wine industry’s diversity over ten wine grape growing regions into account,” Schutte says.
“The late and slow harvest was definitely worth the wait. Wine lovers can really look forward to remarkable wines from the 2021 crop,” Schutte says. “The cooler weather enabled producers to harvest their grapes at exactly the right time, and viticulturists and winemakers are especially excited about good color extraction, low pH levels and high natural acidity in cases where vineyards were managed effectively, which all point to exceptional quality wines.”
The 2021 wine harvest – including juice and concentrate for non-alcoholic purposes, wine for brandy and distilling wine – is expected to amount to 300,205 gallons at an average recovery of 205.5 gallons per ton of grapes.
“We are delighted that harvest 2021 has proven to be somewhat of a silver lining for the South African wine industry, which will no doubt further bolster our international positioning,” says Siobhan Thompson, CEO of Wines of South Africa (WoSA). “What stands out above all else is the consistency in quality that we have come to see over recent years. This will go a long way to convincing those who may still have been on the fence and reinforce our overall standing alongside our international competitors. It is also very promising to note that the volume and value of wine exports from South Africa are higher compared to the year-on-year figures in 2020 and 2019.”
South Africa is the ninth biggest wine producer worldwide and produces about 4% of the world’s wine. The wine industry contributes more than R55 billion (more than $3.99 billion) to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 269,069 people throughout the value chain, of which 80,183 work on farms and in cellars.
Strike a balance
Intermittent restrictions on the export and local sale of alcohol in South Africa from March 2020 to February 2021 as part of the country’s national state of disaster resulted in 171.7 million gallons of wine stock at the end of 2020, of which a large portion was not yet contracted.
“With so much stock still in the tanks at the beginning of harvest time, producers and wineries were concerned about processing and storage capacity when taking in the new harvest, many of whom rented additional storage space or restored old tanks,” says Rico Basson, Vinpro Managing Director. “However, the fact that sales reopened, along with the harvest starting later than normal, helped ease the pressure to some extent.” A number of wineries were also able to secure contracts with grape juice manufacturers, which helped work away some of the stock.
“The larger wine grape crop will require careful planning from producers and wineries to sell the current wine stock in a responsible and sustainable way. This situation will, however, also create the opportunity for innovation and growth of existing and new markets,” Basson says.
2020/21 Growing season
The weather was moderate in most regions during the post-harvest period, which led to leaves falling later than normal and vines building up good reserves. Producers also had access to sufficient water for post-harvest irrigation.
Winter was colder than the previous season, with much higher rainfall, which replenished water resources and led to sufficient cold accumulation to break dormancy.
The cold and wet weather continued into spring, which contributed to homogenous, but delayed bud break and initial growth. In the coastal region, however, the wetter conditions made the timing of disease control more challenging.
Frost damage occurred in some irrigation areas and it was expected that significant frost damage in the lower lying areas of the Northern Cape and strong winds in the Cape South Coast region would have a notable effect on these crops. Fortunately, the frost and wind occurred at an early enough developmental stage for vines to recover.
Flowering and set were mostly efficient and even, while shoot and leaf growth picked up the pace by the start of November, which necessitated additional inputs from producers to manage the fast and vigorous growth.
Temperatures remained moderate during the summer, which slowed down ripening and resulted in harvest time starting out around two weeks later than normal. Although most wine regions experienced little rainfall during harvest time, there were also almost no characteristic heat waves, and the lower day and night temperatures throughout the season led to producers waiting patiently for grapes to reach optimum ripeness.
Overview of regions
A very late season, characterized by a good balance between yield and quality, as vines developed healthy canopies during a moderate growing season.
Cape South Coast
Challenging weather conditions led to a smaller crop, but enabled producers to truly make cool climate wines of exceptional quality.
Moderate weather conditions, good water availability and sufficient winter rainfall in certain areas resulted in a larger crop and great quality, although drought conditions still persist in some parts of the region, placing wine grape producers under great pressure.
A good wine grape crop in terms of quality and volume, despite challenges in terms of sugar accumulation and load shedding during the peak of harvest time.
A later and cooler season resulted in slow, but even ripening of a somewhat larger and outstanding quality wine grape crop.
Good water availability, sufficient reserves and cooler weather contributed to yields equal to that of 2020, which will result in elegant wines.
Although it was a long and extended season, the vineyards realized a higher, exceptional quality yield.
A smaller crop, but outstanding quality grapes, resulting in great wines with good aging potential.
Consumers can look forward to exceptional wines from this year’s crop, following moderate weather conditions and slow ripening.
One of the latest harvests recorded in this region, bringing with it a larger wine grape crop and remarkable wines.
See http://www.vinpro.co.za for the full harvest report per region.
About Wines of South Africa
Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is the organization representing all South African producers of wine who export their products. WOSA, which was established in its current form in 1999, has over 500 exporters on its database, comprising all the major South African wine exporters. It is constituted as a not-for-profit company and is totally independent of any producer, wholesaling company or government department but is recognized by the South African Export Council. WOSA’s mandate is to promote the export of all South African wines in key international markets including the United States.
When you think about your favorite wine regions, Arizona might not be the first state to come to mind! However, Arizona boasts a thriving wine industry dating back to the Spanish missionaries of the 16th century and features three prominent wine regions: Sonoita, Willcox, and Verde Valley. Not only have these regions produced award-winning wines receiving international acclaim, but some of their wines have also even been served in the White House.
● Sonoita, Willcox, and the Verde Valley have soil and climate conditions similar to those in parts of the South of France, Spain, and Southeastern Australia. Oenophiles can delight their senses with grape varieties native to Spain, Italy and the Rhone River Valley in France.
● Arizona is often associated with arid temperatures and cactus-spotted deserts; however, weather conditions are temperate, and the high elevations lend to near-perfect conditions for growing grapes. In the Willcox Region, vineyards are located high above the desert terrain and heat, surrounded by area mountain ranges. Here, 74% of Arizona’s wine grapes are harvested. In the Verde Valley Region, the ideal combination of elevation, volcanic soil, and diurnal swings (hot days and cooler nights) lend to more flavorful, full-bodied wines. The Sonoita region is Arizona’s first American Viticultural Area (AVA). This region boasts many similarities to the Italian “Super Tuscan” region, with unique climate and soil characteristics, and its distinctive ability to retain natural water.
● Wine grapes are considered a low-impact, specialty crop, which is defined as low acreage and high-density agriculture. Here, grapes are drought-tolerant and are predominantly grown using drip irrigation. For comparison, an acre of mature vines can use around 1.5 acre-feet of water per acre each year. Corn and alfalfa both use more than 4 acre-feet of water per acre each year, even up to as much as 6 acre-feet per year. As a result, wine grape crops offer an “added value” with economic benefits and sustainability techniques which save water and nutrients, thus minimizing the impact on natural resources. Some areas also use managing techniques such as mowing native grasses, which can help control weeds and tree/brush.
● Arizona’s native grapevine, Vitis arizonica, can be spotted growing in and around many wineries in Arizona. Vitis arizonica is one of approximately 60 grape species that are being studied extensively to improve wine grapes. Recent research has shown Arizona grapes are more resistant to Pierce’s disease than cultivated forms. UC Davis California, for instance, has created new grape varieties bred by Vitis arizonica that carry a single dominant gene for resistance to Pierce’s disease, (a disease caused by a bacterium spread by a group of insects called sharpshooters). Scientists hope that hybrids between Arizona and wine grapes will reduce the incidence of the disease.
● With road-tripping on the rise, Harvest Hosts offers an impressive and timely network of wineries, breweries, distilleries, farms, and attractions that invite RVers to stay in stunning campsites! Harvest Hosts offer a different way for RVers to meet other travelers, stay overnight in gorgeous settings, and create long-lasting memories. For a small annual membership price, members can stay overnight at any Harvest Hosts site, all of which are pet and family friendly. Please note that members are kindly invited to support their hosts by purchasing one of their local products with each stay.
In addition, local wineries have been holding virtual tastings and have recently released new varietals, more award-winning wine, including the 2018 Viognier from the SouthWest Wine Center (SWC) at Yavapai College. The SWC was established to fulfill the education and workforce development needs of a thriving Arizona wine industry and offers the only program of its kind. The academic program provides hands-on Viticulture experience in the vineyard and cellar, an experience that cannot be duplicated solely in a classroom setting!
I attended a wine class organized by the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), of which I am a member, to learn more about ‘Cru Bourgeois’ wines mostly from the Medoc and Haut Medoc region of Bordeaux, France.
Wine appellations in Europe have lots of rules and distinctions. The Cru Bourgeois was different from any other I had learned about before, and the prices – $20 to $50 average – made them accessible to anyone with wine interests.
There were just maybe two dozen of us in the class: sommeliers, wine store owners and wine students. I was surprised to learn that I was one of two people that had been to Bordeaux, but not to the Medoc region.
Some of the reasons why the Bordeaux region is important
- All of our winemaking techniques blending, fining, etc. – come from Bordeaux.
- One of the longest aging wines in the world, it’s a fact with a proven track record.
- Lower alcohol levels than other age-worthy wines.
- Bordeaux is divided between the left and right bank of the Gironde river. Left was originally under water before the Dutch drained it, leaving great white gravel pebbles, the “secret to Bordeaux.”
- Due to the weather blending became a necessity.
- Vintage years are important, and pushed by producers, due to unpredictable weather.
- The wines made on the right side of the Gironde river aew Merlot-based. Grows best in colder gravel/soil. Hills and limestone, limestone stays cooler.
- Left of the Gironde is Cabernet Sauvignon-based. White pebbles in vineyard increase ripeness.
Haut Medoc and Medoc
Haut Medoc is where the classic Cabernets come from. If you travel the road between Medoc and Haut Medoc, running south to north, the gravel changes from smaller and fine to bigger gravel and more clay. So wines from Haut Medoc are more tannic, potent, powerful and require more aging. As you continue up the wines get bigger. It is widely considered that wines made from grapes closer to the Gironde River are better.
Crus Bourgeois du Medoc
The term, Crus Bourgeois, first became commercial in 19th century. The classification was made official in 1932 with 444 members. By 2003 there were 247 Chateau in the association.
The Crus Bourgeois are considered good wines that weren’t let into Grand Cru classification. This was a way to get national recognition beyond the Grand Crus.
The Crus Bourgeois is a privately controlled certifying organization. At one point one member of the panel was a vintner, it was eventually deemed unfair, and in 2009 a new tasting was held.
The first official selection of Crus Bourgeois was for the 2008 vintage. Every year, two years after harvest, the wines are tasted to see if they will be included as a Crus Bourgeois. The procedure is done annually, to every vintage, and supervised by an outside party, with an audit and a blind tasting. (Grand Crus don’t do this testing)
They have to have a representative random sample, to get an indication of that year’s quality, so they do an annual blind tasting that starts with 80 samples and goes down to 16. This gives a benchmark score of quality and what they are looking for.
More Facts of the Crus Bourgeois
- Cru Bourgeois can be identified by QR code on a white label affixed to foil.
- 3% of Medoc vineyards, 30 million bottles, make the Crus Bourgeois du Medoc.
- Average price is $25 a bottle and remain stable.
- 2013 and 2015 are the highest scanned bottles sold. California, New York and Texas are the states that visit the crus-bourgeois.com website the most.
- You can visit 90% of the properties for tours and tastings.
- They plan to reintroduce three levels, Crus Bourgeois, Superior Crus Bourgeois and Exceptional Crus Bourgeois categories by 2020.
- They also want the review process to be every five years and not for single years.
Presented by NASA
For centuries, BORDEAUX has commanded an almost mythical status in the world of wine, beguiling kings, emperors and dictators alike. While its survival is dependent on the capricious nature of weather, its prosperity has always been tied to the shifting fortunes of global economies. As powerful nations rise and fall, so does the fate of this place.
One of the unique and historical characteristics of this commanding wine region is the quality ‘classification’ of its left bank (Medoc) wineries. Most of us are well aware of the famous 1855 classification that divided the wineries into a ‘Grand Cru’ scale of 1 to 5 and how unreachable the 5 top Chateaux are in price…but how about the wineries that were NOT classified in 1855 ? The ones that were born after, or perhaps never made the cut back then but today make fabulous wines at accessible prices? Welcome the CRU BOURGEOIS. Created in 1962 but with a far longer history, this association of producers stands to protect, classify and promote all the superb wineries that were not classified in 1855 and were in the hands of merchants and not noble families. They represent some of the best and most competitive wines that Bordeaux has to offer. As a result of their selection criteria and positioning in terms of price, the Crus Bourgeois are ideally suited to today’s markets and the requirements of increasingly demanding consumers.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits
PHILADELPHIA (PRWEB) – Restaurant construction is booming in the U.S. as dining establishments and eateries seek to become more relevant in the ultra-competitive hospitality and culinary world. So what will be making news in the new year? Maxim Parkhomchuk, VP of Construction & Executive Project Manager at LOTT Restaurant Construction in Philadelphia, shares his insights on some of the top trends he’s predicting will continue into 2020. Parkhomchuk gained his expertise from managing the construction of many notable restaurants including B2 Bluefin (Bala Cynwyd), Andiario (West Chester), and coming in 2020…Steak48 (Philadelphia). The LOTT team has collectively built over 400 restaurants throughout the United States since 1992. Here’s what Parkhomchuk is seeing right now in restaurant design and construction in the U.S.:
The Return of Luxury
High-end finishes, grandiose designs and exclusive materials will be making a comeback. The new 12,000-square foot Steak 48 concept currently under construction at 260 S. Broad Street in the historic Atlantic building in Philadelphia is a prime example of the swing to a luxury dining experience, says Parkhomchuk. The $7 million project he is overseeing for one of the country’s most recognized names in steakhouse culture — Michael and Jeffrey Mastro — is loaded with custom materials from abroad. “We’re talking handmade tiles from Mexico and custom mirrors from overseas. The palette of bold, rich colors and details such as gold, brass, stone and metal trims in abundance.” He says, “Companies are no longer seeking to cut corners or skimp; when it comes to the ‘show’ or overall patron experience.” In the same vein, look for textured wall coverings, materials you want to touch, and innovative materials such as acoustical fabric ceilings and highly-decorative industrial grade flooring.
Private Dining Suites
Primarily earmarked for large parties, expect to see more private dining rooms for smaller groups designed with a lot of thought. These rooms increase revenue for owners, allowing them to offer different menu options and also serve as overflow dining spaces on busy nights. Many private rooms are equipped with audio visual equipment for meetings or to display photos for parties, but the technology is so well integrated into the design that when not in use, they disappear from view. Private rooms designed as “swing spaces” with roll away doors or glass walls gives the restaurant versatility in usage.
Open kitchens continue to be popular allowing diners to be closer to the action. Steak 48 will feature a one-of-a-kind 1,500-square foot expo kitchen with ceiling-to-floor glass wall surrounds, including adjacent booth seating peering directly into the expo kitchen. Aside from being incredibly clean and well organized due to all of the “transparency,” open kitchen concepts allow the customers to get intimate with the action and provide wonderful modes of observation.
High-tech Communication Tools
Whether it’s utilizing ProCore or EarthCam, a high-tech framework/platform for effective team collaboration on complex projects; Revit or BIM software which uses 3D modeling in every phase of the project, from concept to visualization; or high definition photo and video scanning, there’s no denying the expanding role of technology. Virtual reality is now!
Bringing the Outdoors In
This trend will continue to get better with the use of higher tech products such as retractable roofs, accordion doors, outdoor fireplaces and all-weather heaters, and all weather rooftops. Restaurants that don’t have access to outdoor space are bringing the outdoors in using greenery, large glass windows, glass walls and oversized garage doors that can remain open in nice weather.
Fashionable and Functional Wine Storage
High-tech wine cases are becoming increasingly more visually stunning design statements in U.S. restaurants. No longer relegated to the cellar, restaurant wine collections are on full display in gorgeous glass cases in the bar or dining room. It’s often a challenge to incorporate an elaborate wine storage unit into front of the house designs, and construction teams need to coordinate multiple sophisticated engineering systems – refrigeration, lighting and HVAC controls — into an esthetically pleasing and functional design. Between the orchestration of material deliveries, the coordination of trades people, and the challenges of existing space fit-outs (as opposed to new construction), the creation of fashionable and functional wine storage can be quite tricky, but the LOTT team agrees that the visual and capital benefits for operators make it well worth the aggravation.
LOTT Restaurant Construction is a full-service construction management firm specializing in restaurant development and design. LOTT thrives on bringing complex projects to completion in record time and maintaining strict cost controls. The company has opened more than 400 restaurant locations in more than 15 states nationwide. As Frank Lott says, “We equate the construction of a restaurant to that of a fine watch. It must be precise, exact, consistent and on time. That’s what we do at LOTT. That’s the only way we know.” To learn more, please visit http://www.restaurantsontime.com/.
Recently at Angelini Osteria a group of wine writers were invited to an intimate wine tasting and luncheon hosted by Cinzia Travaglini, owner of Travaglini Winery, and her daughter Alessia Collauto Travaglini. Cinzia and Alessia belong to the third and fourth generation of the Travaglini family – a renowned producer of traditional, limited production wines made in the tiny appellation of Gattinara in northern Italy’s esteemed Piedmont region.
Cinzia and Alessia will share their full U.S. range alongside a carefully designed menu, including current releases of Gattinara and Gattinara Riserva, as well as, Tre Vigne – a blend of Nebbiolo grapes from three historic vineyard sites made only in the best vintages, and Il Sogno – a unique appassimento wine, together with a few special, older vintages.
Wine and Tasting
So excited to taste the portfolio of “one of Italy’s most recognizable wines and the #1 selling Gattinara in the world.” The first thing that struck me, besides meeting the amazing mother-daughter team and before my first taste of anything was the shape of the bottles. Misshapen, like a Chateauneuf Du Pape, but with a slightly rounded front, flat back and sides, except for one notch that holds the thumb perfectly for pouring. We later learned that they designed the bottle in 1958 with the idea of both a decanter shape and one that catches sediment. No other winery has adopted their design.
Cinzia talked about the volcanic soil in the Gattinara area, its proximity to the Alps, “more fresh” weather and how each of these elements contributes to the elegance in the wine. She said it was easy to drink with all foods – which we would soon learn for ourselves.
Alessia explained that her grandfather planted vineyards in the 1920s, with a focus on quality over quantity. They produce 20 thousand cases per year.
Nebole 2013 – aromas and flavors separated by ;
We were greeted with a taste of their sparkling wine that was made from 100% Nebbiolo – as were all of the wines we were to taste – that had been vinified into a white wine. Lemon zest, talcum powder, white flower; bruised yellow apple, sawdust, lively with medium acid.
Nebbiolo Coste Della Sesia DOC 2017
Aged four months in stainless steel followed by 10 months in Slovenian oak. Can be drunk after 2 years or 40. Rose petal, stewed tomatoes, dry earth; dry red fruit, tannic, oak and a long finish.
Gattinara DOCG 2015
After stainless steel fermentation the wine underwent two years on Slovenian oak casks of different sizes. Earth, spice, dried red cherries, tree bark, barnyard; small red berries, dry, tobacco.
Gattinara Tre Vigne DOCG 2013
Three vineyard blend, aged four years in Slovenian oak after initial time in stainless. However, for that last fourth year, 20% is aged in barrique. The wine is later blended together and then rests for an additional 10 months in bottle. Earth, grilled mushroom, incense, crushed red fruit; got that same red fruit and mushroom on the palate, gritty, dry with a long finish.
Gattinara Riserva DOCG 2013
35-60 year old estate vines, aged three years in different sized barrels of Slovenian oak, then rests in bottle for an additional year. Floral, aromatic, milk chocolate; spice, red fruit and bright.
Gattinara Riserva DOCG 2009
These last three wines may have been my favorites of the tasting. This one, a 2009 and the 2006 that follows, definitely surprised me and I commented to Cinzia how remarkably different the aromas and flavors were between the older wines and their younger siblings. I also learned from Cinzia – after I mentioned this – that these two were “considered great vintages.” 35-60 YO vines, three years in Slovenian oak and one year in bottle. Plum, bark, dark chocolate, brown sugar; layered dark fruit, tobacco, dusty and lingering.
Gattinara Tre Vigne DOCG 2006
The second “great vintage” wine came from three different estate vineyards, four years in Slovenian oak, 20% held back in barrique for the final year, then blended back in with the rest of the wine and rests in bottle for 10 months. Blueberry, blackberry, perfumy, toasted wood; plums, slightly sweet with a beautiful balance of dusty fruits and tannins.
Il Sogno 2014
100 days of drying out leaving only 50% of the water in the grapes, 40 months in Slovenian oak, in bottle for 10 months rest. The highest % of alcohol in the line-up with 15.5. Fleshy red fruit, stems, earth, mint; slightly sweet, chocolate covered black cherry, easy to drink with lots of lovely berries and tannin.
There was no specific pairing for the foods and the wine. We had three wines per course, per se, to try. I found that the younger lighter wines were perfect with the tomato and cheese course and the Branzino, while the older reds were outstanding with the lasagna and steak. I had to agree with Cinzia, the wines paired well with all types of foods. This is the full menu:
Insalata Caprese, Market Tomatoes, Fresh Burrata, Aged Balsamic, Basil. (Healthy portion of cheese and we all inhaled this dish.)
Pasta Duo: Bombolotti all Norma, Eggplant, Tomato, Basil, Dried Ricotta.
Lasagna Verde “Omaggio Nonna Elvira”, Beef and Veal Ragu.
(This was truly to die for. As I’m writing this I’ve just finished the leftovers they packed up for me. I will never want plain lasagna again.)
Choice of: Grilled Branzino Filet, Chopped Tomatoes, Sautéed Mixed Vegetables.
Grilled Organic Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Spinach.
Grilled Hanger Steak, Arugula, Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.
(I shared the fish and steak with a couple of other people but missed out on the chicken. The fish was so delicate and so wonderful with the younger reds as I stated earlier, and the steak was delectable with the older reds. I linger over this in my mind now…)
Selection of Cheeses.
(I had to skedaddle on the road so I missed this finale. I saw photos and heard from other writers in attendance that both the cheeses and the desserts were incredible.)
Driven by a passion for exceptional Nebbiolo, the Travaglini family has been producing remarkable, limited- production wines in Gattinara for four generations. The Travaglini family has owned land in Gattinara since the beginning of the 19th century. The family’s winemaking tradition started with Clemente Travaglini, who was succeeded by his son Arturo, however, it was not until 1958 when Arturo’s son, Giancarlo, took the helm that the Travaglini Estate Winery was established as it exists today.
Today, the Travaglini family owns 146 acres of vineyards, 128 of which are dedicated to vines, primarily Nebbiolo, covering roughly 50% of total vineyards within the Gattinara DOCG. This small appellation lies in the rocky foothills of the Monte Rosa range, where ventilating winds blow down from the nearby Alps. Soils are rocky and rich in porphyry, granite and iron. Similar in composition to the Alps, Monte Rosa’s sedimentary rock is highly acidic, due to low levels of calcium carbonate and magnesium, and an absence of calcium. Vines grown in this rare soil produce grapes with a unique flavor profile, high acidity and firm tannins. The finished wines offer refreshing acidity, soft tannins, minerality and complexity.
About Angelini Osteria
Gino Angelini has become known as simply everyone’s favorite Italian chef in Los Angeles, winning over the city with his authentic dishes. The Angelini brand has evolved into three divisions: dining, catering and products.
In 2001, Gino Angelini and his wife Elizabeth opened Angelini Osteria, an Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. Since opening, Angelini Osteria has become one of LA’s most celebrated restaurants. The Osteria has blazed the trail for many Italian dishes in Los Angeles, including its famous Linguine Sea Urchin and the sought after Spaghetti Norcina. To this day the Osteria remains family owned and controlled.
The Angelini’s partnered with 17-year veteran employee, Girolamo Rindone, to open a classic Italian bar, Angelini Alimentari. Angelini Alimentari is a gourmet fast-casual dining concept featuring light California-Italian inspired breakfast, lunch and dinner fare with an focus on pickup and delivery.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.
Elevating Zinfandel was a tasting event I attended, once again put on by WineLa.com, in which the guest could not only sample an array of California “Zin” (the common abbreviation), but by doing so elevate the senses as only one can that attends a single varietal tasting.
For wine 101ers I’ve found one of the best way to educate the palate is to either taste through a flight or more of the same variety, or in tastings organized by entities such as WineLA to taste similar wines, like their (now past) Burgundy vs. Pinot Noir on 5/28. The taster then has an opportunity to learn and then discern the differences in terroir (the common term denoting where the wine was made, so as to include weather, soil, terrain, etc.) as their palate adjusts.
Though host Ian Blackburn may have chosen the term “elevate” as he had chosen some of the finest expressions of Zin, the lesson is still learned:
WineLA has teamed up with some of the worlds best Zinfandel Producers to bring you “Elevating Zinfandel”! An event geared on showcasing the “Crème de la crème” of the Zinfandel community in one fabulous location. With beautiful breads and snacks provided by La Brea Bakery Cafe, you will have the chance to meet with the wine producers as well as purchase some of these exclusive wines.
For me in this tasting, though I bow to the wealth of experience tasting Zin that my Contributing Editor Michael Perlis has had as he is the true Zin Fan (as his email, MichaelTheZinFan@aol.com, suggests) and knew many of the winemakers Blackburn rallied for the event, the subtle differences I could pick out (dark fruit, earth, mouthfeel and spice) helped me select my favorites in bold below.
Bedrock (most of these wines, all blends, started with at least 40% Zin.)
Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Wine 2014
Bedrock Vineyards Heritage Wine 2014
Nervo Ranch Heritage Wine 2014
Old Vine Zinfandel 2014
Beekeeper (Ian Blackburn’s own wine made alongside winemaker Clay Mauritson who was also in attendance pouring his own label.)
Zinfandel, Madrone Spring Vineyard, Rockpile 2013
Zinfandel, Montecillo Vineyard, Sonoma Valley 2014
Robert Biale Vineyards (I’ve seen this label frequently during my staff lunches…brought by Michael Perlis)
Black Chicken Zinfandel Napa Valley 2014
Founding Farmers Zinfandel Napa Valley 2014
Grande Vineyard Zinfandel Napa Valley 2013
Old Kraft Vineyard Zinfandel St. Helena 2013
Zinfandel, Napa Valley 2014
Mickey’s Block Zinfandel, Napa Valley 2014
Zinfandel Rosé 2015 (a crowd fave, and a great palate refresher for me.)
Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel-St Helena, Napa Valley 2013
Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel-St Helena, Napa Valley 2012
Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel-St Helena, Napa Valley 2011
Hendry Blocks 7 & 22 Zinfandel
Hendry Block 28 Zinfandel
Mike & Molly Zinfandel
Jeff Cohn Cellars
Zinfandel, Shake Ridge Vineyard 2013
Zinfandel, St. Peter’s Church 2013
Zinfandel, Hayne Vineyard 2013
Zinfandel, Sweetwater Springs 2012
Martinelli (Another Perlis fave and was often covered for Eve’s Wine 101 by contributor Rick Fraga during his tenure with the winery.)
Giuseppe & Luisa Zinfandel 2014
Lolita Ranch, Russian River Valley, Zinfandel 2012
Vellutini Ranch Zinfandel 2012
Rockpile “Rockpile Ridge Vineyard” Zinfandel 2014
Rockpile “Cemetery Vineyard” Zinfandel 2014
Quivira (wine creek)
Black Boar Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley 2013
Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley 2013
Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley 2013
Geyserville Zinfandel Blend, Alexander Valley 2014
Zinfandel, Dusi Ranch, Paso Robles 2014
Zinfandel Blend, Lytton Springs, Dry Creek Valley 2013
East Bench Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley 2014
Seghesio (A Wine Spectator previous designate of wine – a Zin – of the year.)
Cortina Zinfandel 2013
Old Vine Zinfandel 2013
Rockpile Zinfandel 2013
Turley (Not usual to find Turley “cult” wines at an event, or the lovely Director of Sales and Marketing Christina Turley pouring them, this was a real treat for me that I thoroughly enjoyed. And yet another wine that Perlis introduced me to years ago.)
Juvenile Zinfandel, California 2014
Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel, Lodi 2014
Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel, Paso Robles 2014
Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel, Howell Mountain 2014
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com
Turley Wine Cellars has always had a very significant presence in our personal wine cellar and I don’t see that ever changing. While our wine interests have broadened, Turley continues to be on a very short list of wineries we absolutely can’t do without.
But when we bumped into Turley Tasting Room Manager Malani Anderson a few months ago while attending a seminar at the Hospice du Rhone event, we realized that we had not actually visited Turley’s Paso Robles’ winery and tasting room in quite some time. Obviously, we needed to rectify this.
Our connection to Turley Wine Cellars started in 2000, when they acquired the Pesenti winery and vineyard in Templeton. Of course we knew of Turley before that, having latched onto Zinfandel as a favorite varietal several years earlier. We were also very familiar with Pesenti and had visited them many times, usually to start a day of tasting [they opened at 9 AM!].
Larry Turley had founded Turley Wine Cellars in 1993 and quickly became what is known as a “cult” winery specializing in Zinfandel and Petite Syrah [yes, that’s how Larry spells it]. Acquiring Pesenti in 2000 not only gave Larry access to a great historic vineyard but, in my opinion, helped to bring additional legitimacy to an area that was starting to explode.
Of course, changes were made to the tasting room to give visitors a great Turley experience. We’ve visited many times over the year for pick-up parties, seminars and, of course, just to taste the great Turley wines. But, as I said, we hadn’t stopped by in a while so we were extremely pleased to be able to correct this by visiting with Paso Robles tasting room assistant manager and educator Steve O’Brien.
Steve took us on a quick visit to the Pesenti Vineyard before the day got too hot. He explained that the rains of 2016 and 2017 really provided much needed benefit to the vines, which had been suffering a great deal from the drought; these vines are traditionally dry-farmed. 2018 has seemed to have returned to the “normal” drier conditions. On the plus side, Steve said that the timing of harvest seemed like it was going to be a little later than the past few years had been, also being a little more like normal conditions.
When we first signed up for Turley’s mailing list in 2000, when they acquired this amazing property, we were able to pretty much select everything Turley had to offer. At that time, I’m guessing that Turley made, perhaps, twenty wines, mostly Zinfandel. Now, they make almost 50 different wines, mostly vineyard designated Zinfandel and Petite Syrahs. Although it’s now become impossible to take everything Turley offers, the work of picking and choosing is a lot of fun.
We’ve always admired Larry Turley and director of winemaking Tegan Passalacqua [and everyone else at Turley for that matter] for the focus on preserving California’s heritage vineyards. We’ve also held a special place in our heart for the ones in Paso Robles, so we were excited when Turley added yet another Paso vineyard to the portfolio – the Amadeo Martinelli Vineyard. The bottling is called “Amadeo’s” in the Turley lineup [they can’t really call it Martinelli, can they?] and is another great example of what Paso’s old vineyards can do. The vineyard, on the west side of Templeton, was planted in the 1920s and the Amadeo Martinelli winery operated up until the 1960s.
We had the opportunity to barrel taste with Steve O’Brien all of their Paso 2017 Zinfandels – Dusi, Pesenti, Ueberroth and Amadeo’s – as well as the Pesenti 2017 Petite Syrah. Now, barrel tasting can be dicey; often the wines are not ready to drink and just offer a glimpse of what is to come. These wines were delicious, even the Petite which can often take some time in the bottle to come around. I’m not sure I could have told them apart blind – although I think I could have picked out the Dusi for its always distinct [to me] brambly notes – but I can tell you this much though: I am going to have some tough choices when they show up on the allocation letters. [Not the Amadeo’s though, at least as of now it is only available in the Paso Robles tasting room.]
Finishing our visit in the Tasting Room, we started with the 2016 White Coat blend of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Vermentino. Always one of our go-to whites [when available] it is named after Larry Turley’s days as an ER physician.
We followed that with a real treat, the 2017 Cinsault from the Bechthold Vineyard in Lodi. This vineyard was planted in 1886 [wow] and is the oldest Cinsault vineyard in the US.
Then we had a side-by-side tasting of two 2016 Zinfandels – Duarte and Rattlesnake Ridge. The Duarte Zinfandel is named after grape grower Joe Duarte who introduced Larry to the vineyard of Contra Costa County; this is a blend from three of those which were planted between 1890 and 1930. The sandy soils help to create a very soft style of Zin. The Rattlesnake Ridge on the other hand is Howell Mountain at its finest – big and bold. Trying these side by side really showed the differences imparted by the growing regions.
We couldn’t leave without trying the 2016 Amadeo’s Zinfandel. This is really another great addition to Turley’s portfolio. And we couldn’t leave without buying because it doesn’t make it to the mailing list!
Ditto for the 2016 Tecolote blend of Grenache and Carignane from the Pesenti Vineyard. These two varietals seems to go together naturally and the old vines add to the complexity.
Steve reminded us that when Turley Wine Cellars first started, people commented that the wines were pretty expensive…for Zinfandel. Now that Zinfandel is recognized as a quality wine grape [in no small part due to Larry Turley’s efforts], the price of high-end Zinfandel has gone up substantially – except for Turley. I don’t think I’ve seen an increase since we’ve been on the allocation list. As Malani told me: “We know there are many wines to choose from out there, but we want to be a no brainer for high quality and fair pricing and I think that makes us unique.”
We’ve enjoyed being part of the Turley family for almost 20 years. Thank you to Malani for setting this up and to Steve for being such a great host. And don’t forget to visit your favorite wineries – there just might be something great that didn’t make it onto the mailing list!
Paso Robles Tasting Room
2900 Vineyard Drive,
Templeton, CA 93465
Tel: (805) 434-1030
Amador County Tasting Room
10851 Shenandoah Road,
Plymouth, CA 95669
Tel: (209) 245-3938
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Years ago, before wine apps on cell phones became commonplace, I told wine peeps to take photos of the wines that they enjoyed. The problem as I saw it was that we remember a label, whether or not we liked the wine. Then, once at a store, we would maybe spy that same label, pick it up, and then the pondering would start: Did I like this one?
To this day I still recommend the photograph method. It’s simple. But, for those of us that truly want to remember our experience, you also have to jot down a few things.
Jot it Down to Remember
Note what you are eating, so that you can duplicate a great pairing. If you enjoyed that great dessert wine with a wedge of Stilton Blue cheese, you may want to pick that up as well. Or try other creamy/sharp cheeses to see if the experience is just as pleasant.
Did you have company? Were you at a winery? If so, note that, as it may have heightened the experience. I’ve written about this before: if you enjoyed the wine better at the winery than you did at home it may be “buyer’s remorse” so the best thing to do is to duplicate the experience at home. Invite some pals over and make a new celebratory event – right at home.
Is it the same vintage year? Unless you are buying a supermarket staple, like say a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, the vintage year makes a difference. Consider that the winemaker, or things like the weather, may have changed. So note the vintage year of the wine that you want to buy again.
Jot it Down to Learn
Did you learn something about wine today? Take notes on things you’ve read or heard. The simple act of writing something down will help you to remember it later. You never know…you just might be a budding wine blogger. (Note: We take guest posts!)
Are you going to a large or small tasting event? You can easily jot down a few notes when you meet a wine rep or winemaker. And the added benefit, they will respect you for it. The experience will be much more rewarding for you both.
Do you have some other suggestions on how to make a wine experience memorable? Comment on this post or shoot me an email: Eve@EveWine101.com
Eve’s Wine 101 Event Picks: Beekeeper Cellars Dinner 10/20 and 10/21, Santa Clarita Oktoberfest in the Spiegeltent 10/21-22, STARS of Italian Wine 10/26, Cab Fest 10/30, J Lohr Wine Dinner at Newhall Refinery 11/2, American Wine Society Conference 11/3-5, Sunset in the Vineyard 11/6, STARS of Cabernet 11/9-10, Barolo and Brunello 11/12, Paso Garagiste Fest 11/11-12. Ongoing: Events locally at Reyes Winery and Eve does Wine Themed Parties.
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com
“This will probably be 2015’s most exciting wine event featuring the world’s most popular wine. TCS was started about six years ago by the Santa Maria AVA folks, featuring local notables like Jim Clendenen, Adam Tolmach, Jonathan Nagy… It was basically a couple simultaneous panels with a Grand Tasting afterward. Over the years it attracted panel leaders like Steve Heimoff and Karen MacNeil and then last year moved to Pismo in a slightly smaller format, with Matt Kettman as panel leader. This year it seems to have exploded into an international event with the edginess of In Pursuit of Balance and the comprehensiveness of WOPN. There are Grand Tastings both Friday and Saturday; intriguing dinners both nights and seminars that will appeal to everyone from the Interested Consumer to the Over-Achieving Professional…” Santa Barbara Photographer, Bob Dickey.
Thanks to Bob Dickey I had this great precursor to The Chardonnay Symposium (TCS). I was looking forward to my full-throttle education of all things Chardonnay, already knowing that the best way to learn about a varietal is to taste from different AVAs and winemakers. After experiencing TCS for the first time, I hope that more wine event planners move away from the “drunk fest” and into this arena as we, as attendees, not only learn more that way, but our winemakers are met with the truly interested and not just those out for a buzz.
I attended both the Friday and Saturday grand tastings. (See the story in photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10205711364290787.1073741919.1455706632&type=1&l=e289a928f1) as well as a killer tasting of older Chardonnays in a seminar lead by Master Sommelier Fred Dame. (More on that below.)
All of my notes are from the class (as that’s where I could sit and type on my mini) but I thoroughly enjoyed the two tastings too. If you scroll down to the bottom of this post I have highlighted my favorites in bold.
Hanzell Mount Eden Retrospective Tasting
Just check out the years of these wines – a “historic tasting” from 2011 back to 1994! If you haven’t had an older vintage chardonnay, or even if you have, there is something to learn from what a little age can do to a wine varietal not commonly aged.
Fred Dame, MS, led our seminar. He started with a story of when he drank a 1929 Montrachet – a Chardonnay – that stayed perfect throughout a dinner. Dame said that we don’t cellar our wines, homes aren’t built with cellars and the average aging time for a wine is 8 hours. This may have been a jest but we all understood that the average consumer does not hold onto their wines for very long. They are usually purchased to drink now.
Fred Dame, MS, in one-liners
Dame said, seeing us salivate, that this experience “is too dry” so let’s get started with the tasting.
Original Chardonnay was called Pinot Chardonnay in the states.
Martini planted Chards in the 50s and 60s.
Most back then were fortified wines, and the vines were in mostly Riverside.
The wines we have today are really newcomers.
There are ongoing experiments using high elevation, and the older ones are doing really well.
These two, Hanzell and Mount Eden, sell most if not all wine to members.
First read on a plaque at a golf course, Dame shared, “Gentleman stand back a moment, you are one of the privileged few to have this experience” which we all found truly apropos for today as well.
Winemaker Michael McNeill said that their wines are made based on their ability to age in the cellar. Hanzell built the first stainless steel fermentation tanks in the world. “A quantum leap as to what was done before” McNeill said. They “pioneered the use of inert gas” and wanted to use French oak to follow what was being done in France. (The new winery is now all from scratch, Dame added. The original Heritage winery is now abandoned.) McNeill’s first vintage would be the 2008 we were going to taste today.
Mount Eden Vineyards
Along with Stoney Hill, these three (Hanzell and Mount Eden) were early big wineries, according to winemaker Jeffrey Patterson. Martin Ray, while recovering from a nervous breakdown in his 30s, bought Masson from Paul Masson – though Masson was sure he’d be successful if Ray bought and planted his own vineyard. Ray owned Masson for six years before he sold it to Seagram in 1943. Then Ray, heeding Masson’s original idea, bought the property right next door and planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Patterson believes that his white burgundy (chardonnay) is comparable to a grand cru classic burgundy. First vintage was 1972 and Patterson has been there since 1981.
Tasting – aromas and flavors separated by ;
2011 Mount Eden
There was a winter storm in the middle of bloom, following a cold winter, which made the crop small and the wine more ripe and concentrated.
Pineapple, honey, lemonade; lemon, grass, low acid, medium finish.
Light and clean, apricot, steely; tart apple, lime, nice mouthfeel, medium acid and finish.
A warm vintage, especially during harvest, which was done in about 10 days.
Toast, sweet citrus fruit, warm ceramic tile – if you can imagine that; really good fruit, balanced acid, lingering viscosity.
2006 Mount Eden (from magnum)
One of three years where harvest was relaxed with moderate weather. Patterson picked it for us to have today because he liked it.
White pepper, cigarette, pears in light syrup; very balanced, and a nice rich finish.
2001 Mount Eden (from magnum)
Patterson said this was his worst vintage, and the wine got remarkably better with age.
Cheddar cheese, some bark, peach; huge in the mouth, both the fruit and a backbone of smoke, could be described as both fine and intense. My favorite so far…
2001 Hanzell (from magnum)
Anise, Brie, ripe pineapple; tastes like the same profile of a younger wine, very crisp, acidic, extremely long finish.
1996 Mount Eden
Patterson used cross cultivation, no weeds, square grid and a 10 by 10 spacing, and that was the last year to use old vine fruit.
Honey, jasmine, cling peaches; not that sweet on the palate as it was on the nose, creamy, beautiful fruit, clinging to my tongue but still craving more. Remarkable. My second favorite of the tasting.
1994 Hanzell (from magnum)
McNeill said that fine wine is incredibly inspiring, and these older wines show what Chardonnay can be.
The most honey-colored of the older wines. Smells like a dessert wine, honeysuckle, very fresh, honey, hard candy; creamy, again not as sweet on the palate, but a perfect balance of fruit and acidity with a staggeringly long finish. Another learning experience, I agreed with McNeill, this is what Chardonnay could be.
Between the seated and walk-around tastings I kept thinking, these are all very fine, whether the winemaker chose to use no or some oak contact; and 100% of the cellared older vintages were really interesting. I generally felt that the fruit and mouthfeel lingered quite pleasantly on the older wines, which was a new discovery for me. So I’ll be holding some in cellar from now on. And I gotta buy some magnums to do it! Maybe a 1995, our daughter’s birth year, would be a good one to seek out.
Au Bon Climat
Bodega Catena Zapata
Calera Wine Company
Center of Effort Wines
Clos de Chacras
Cuvaison Estate Wines
Edna Valley Vineyard
Falcone Family Wines
Fog Crest Vineyard
Grgich Hills Winery
J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines
Jack Creek Cellars
Laetitia Vineyards & Winery
Mattina Fiore Wines
Mooney Family Wines
Mount Eden Vineyards
Niner Wine Estates
Niven Family Wines
Patz & Hall
Paul Lato Wines
St Francis Winery
Stephen Ross Wine Cellars
Thomas Fogarty Winery
Toad Hollow Winery
Tooth & Nail Winery
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com