Decanter screws up its courage

Decanter magazine made quite a bold statement this week – and a bit of a marketing move for their August issue. “Screwcaps are best: Decanter Verdict“, says the title, as if the pronouncement was the definite word on the issue.

Many of the big guns are on deck to affirm the position. Steven Spurrier calls the Stelvin screw cap enclosure “one of the best things to have happened to wine in my lifetime”.

Yet if you keep reading, there is a big if that pops up further down in Adam Lechmere’s article:

Decanter may champion screwcap even for many robust reds, but on the subject of ageing wines, the jury is still out.

Anyhow, just reading the host of sometimes harsh and fiery comments (more…)

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A North American Harvest

Wines & Vines magazine is a very thorough and interesting professional source of information about the wine world, especially about the North American wine industry. That is quite clear when you look at the details of their 2007 harvest report on just about every single wine producing region in the US and Canada. From the November 2006 frosts in British Columbia and Spring 2007 frosts in much of the Central US, to the higher than average mealybug infestations in Sonoma County, or to the growth in the number of wineries in the Clarksburg AVA, it’s all in there.

One thing to note is how many regions were affected by drought, which reduced yields (but generally provided high quality, healthy grapes). Irrigation was often limited because of reduced availability of water – which may not all be bad news, quality-wise. Dry farming estates may simply be more realistic than other producers, in the long run.

Tasting Note: La Crema Sonoma Coast 2005 Chardonnay

So here I was, trying to decide if there was a slight hint of green in the dominantly pale-straw color of that chardonnay from the reputedly-cool Sonoma Coast (in terms of climate, I mean). Very slight, I decided, as I got whiffs of citrus peel, almonds, toasted bread and vanilla. Not terribly intense, but pleasant. Sipping it, I got quite a mouthful of peaches and cream – or maybe rather (more…)