California Wine all tastes the same? Says who?

Well, finally back to blogging. After an intense weekend at the Wine Bloggers Conference, followed by four full days of running around Sonoma and Napa – and Fairfield, and Berkeley and San Francisco – and then returning to a new position at the newspaper in Quebec City, and mulling over about twenty different potential post subjects, I finally managed to focus long enough on one subject. And here it is.

One of the things that truly struck me, throughout the tastings I attended at the Wine Bloggers Conference and in the days that followed, was the great diversity of wines I tasted. Yes, there were a good lot of big, fruity, oaky cabernet sauvignons and chardonnays, but there was also a great deal more, in terms of grape varieties, climate variations and winemaking styles. More than I had expected, certainly.

Over my week, I had everything from grassy sauvignon blanc to jammy zinfandels, rustic carignan to (more…)

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Wine and the electoral process

In times of political campaigns, politics can seep into just about any part of life. It may even get into your wine.

For at least one Chilean wine producer, as I found out on Twitter, thanks to wine educator Bruce Cass, the ricochet from recent political events is rather stupefying. The name of the wine? Palin Syrah, a reasonably-priced organic wine made by renowned winemaker Alvaro Espinosa for GeoWines. The association with the one and only republican vice-presidential candidate is apparently causing people to walk away from it in San Francisco, while Texans are buying it with extra enthusiasm in Houston.

As a quick Google search will tell you, (more…)

Ripasso di… Niagara?

Well, it certainly isn’t the rolling hills, the gondolas in historic canals or the Renaissance castles, but it seems there is something in common between the Veneto region of northern Italy and the Niagara region of southern Ontario. That something is a process called appasimento, dating all the way back to Roman times. Used to create amarone and ripasso della Valpolicella, among other wines, it consists in drying grapes to concentrate sugars and flavors, and thus, to produce more potent wines.

An article in the March/April 2008 issue of Vines Magazine, (more…)