Category Archives: Industry News

Hurray for #Chardonnay Day!

14_04_11 1100 Pebble Beach Food & Wine_4000_BlogOh, it’s finally here – Chardonnay Day. The day I absolutely love and adore. Yes, I am the unabashed Chardonnay lover. I was hooked after my first sip of white Burgundy. Since then I’ve been searching the world for the same sensation for a lot less dough. It’s been tough. See, I fell in love with Chardonnay just after college when I traveled to Burgundy for a wedding. It was just the carafe of table wine they were pouring in the cafe, but I vividly remember thinking, this is so. dang. good. Much different than the Kendall Jackson and Columbia Crest we so often brought to dinner parties to seem sophisticated in college. I had very little wine vocabulary at the time, so I believe I called it, “deliciousness,” but I can’t be sure.

Now I know more about Burgundy and more about why I love wine from Burgundy. The terroir there is not a myth. Something about the soil, sun, aspect, grape clones and more help to create one of the best wines in the world – creamy but crisp, with layers of complexity between fruit and oak and spice… And yet, these wines are often unattainable in price.

And so, I try Chardonnays. I try any I get my hands on, seeking that wine that has the balance, the complexity and the je ne sais quoi that I can I love in Burgundian wine, but in a bottle I can afford. It will never be just like my Burgundy favorites,  but I have found many value Chardonnay that achieve balance and a loveliness that are a decent second… here are my favorites under $50!

Iron Horse Estate Chardonnay
From the Green Valley part of the Russian River, this cool-climate gem is affordable (under $25) and absolutely delicious. No malo, and a perfect balance of fruit and very light oak.

De Wetshof Bon Vallon Chardonnay
I absolutely loved this wine! And there are not many unwooded Chardonnays I like (Iron Horse an exception), but this did a fantastic job.

Esk Valley Chardonnay
Represents what New Zealand is doing in Hawkes’ Bay, and at an affordable price.

Catena Alta Chardonnay
Argentina is known for values, and this $30+ Chardonnay acts like a $60+ from California. It’s kind of a mild splurge…

Dierberg Chardonnay
A fantastic find for me! A small boutique wine with incredible character and complexity.

Hamilton Russell Chardonnay
This coastal winery delivers a ton of depth, balance and complexity on this high quality bottle from South Africa.

Craggy Range Kidnapper’s Vineyard Chardonnay
Chablis-like in style, can’t get enough of this New Zealand wine.

In general, for my style of Chardonnay, I love exploring the wines of Oregon, New Zealand, South Africa and little pockets of California

 

What Chardonnay will you drink for #ChardonnayDay?

The future of Australia… it’s bright indeed!

Yesterday, Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) gathered at the Press Club  in San Francisco, showcasing wines from twelve different firmly-established wine-making families of Australia.

AFFW logoAs a history major, I love First Families.They get things started, they blaze trails and begin an era. They create “tradition.”

And Australia has tradition. In an effort to highlight this tradition and history as it relates to Australian wine, and put to rest any idea that Australian wine might be a “fad,” Australia’s First Families of Wine are going global!

What can we say about Australian wine & tradition? Quite a bit. First, Australians are funny. They are off-the-cuff, good sense of humor funny. Of the 12 representatives from the AFFW, not one was dry and boring. Second, they are all a bunch of dudes. Seriously, 12 men standing there talking about their wines. BUT, the majority of offspring from these 12 men are females.  In fact, three of them have three daughters. As they talked about the next generation, they explained that many of their children left the “nest” to explore, but then returned to the family business with a deeper passion for it. So we expect these first families to stay family-oriented as it moves to those fourth, fifth and sixth generations. The most exiting thing I discovered at the tasting with this group on Monday, was the diversity of these wines and how well they can age! Sure, I knew Australia was diverse – I already drink a lot of Australian wine. But the ageing potential… from a 15 year old Marsanne to a 18 year old Cabernet to the most luscious “sticky” I’ve ever had, the wines here were tremendous. Both for sipping and storing in your cellar.

Despite these families being the “first” and the “traditional” Australian wines, they are not opposed to change and innovation. In fact, they embrace marrying the old and new. Over the last century, wineries, like those part of the first families, have been experimenting with varietals and pruning and sorting and winemaking. They have worked hard to find out what works best.

The future of Australian wine is certainly bright. I had a chance to sit down with Alistair Purbrick of Tahbilk Winery, Robert Hill Smith of Yalumba Winery, and Chester Osborn of d’Arenberg Winery.  AFFM2   All three believe this is a perfect time for Australian wine. The cheap Australian wine craze has died down, and it is time to re-introduce the world to Australian wine from those who do it best.

Whether you love  jammy Shiraz, bone-dry Riesling, cool-climate Pinot Noir, aged Semillon or some creamy Chardonnay, Australia’s diverse climate and wine selection can satisfy nearly any palate.

Wine-Australia-logo-300x150

 

 

 

New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc and Center Stage

15_01_05_1300 Wines_2100_Blog
For 50 years, the wine industry has been bringing Sauvignon Blanc to the world as one of the best food wines one can serve. A very distinctive varietal, with historical roots that go deep into the Bordeaux and Loire Valley, Sauvignon Blanc was always meant to go with food. Oysters, mussels, crab and other joys for the sea are just so much better when this match is brought out to the dining room. What makes this wine so enjoyable?

While other varietals are often served due to their easy-drinking style, Sauvignon Blanc demands food service. Why? One word: acidity. Sauvignon Blanc is an aromatic variety. It is also high in acid. What does acid do? Makes our mouth water of course. Therefore, matching that acidity with food is the most ideal way to bring out the undertones and other nuances of Sauvignon Blanc. The meal does not have be fancy, it just as to be good. Classic matches such as linguine with clams, raw oysters on the half-shell and grilled mussels are always a hit with most anyone who enjoys food and wine together. Over the past 2 decades, Sauvignon Blanc has taken center stage, and no where has claimed the grape so uniquely as New Zealand. Grapefruit and grass, gooseberry and green pepper, an array of aromatics jump out of your glass.

Over the last decade, I have found a treasure trove of pleasure that the Kiwis have happily sent into the marketplace and now drink these wines on a daily basis. While I still long for Sauvignon Blanc from France, Chile and the USA, I am incredibly grateful that New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are so available to wine lovers everywhere. One of my current favorites is the 2014 Cloudy Bay; it is a super standout!

So pick up a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc today, on #SauvignonBlancDay and enjoy!

Women in Wine: Joy Sterling

Joy Sterling, the beautiful mind and soul currently running Iron Horse Vineyards, is one of our favorite women in wine. Her parents, Barry and Audrey Sterling, built this amazing property and winery decades ago, and it continues to flourish under Joy’s leadership.

Name: Joy Sterling

Role/Position: Partner/CEO of Iron Horse Vineyards

How did you get into wine? Thanks to my family.

What is your favorite part about working in the wine industry?  The people! The wine world is wonderfully generous. Iron Horse is my passport. It takes me to many exciting places and is my introduction. Everyone is fascinated about wine. If you want to make friends, bring the wine. I also love that we are fundamentally farmers. That’s what keep us real.

Who is your role model?  My mother, Audrey Sterling, who co-founded Iron Horse with my father, Barry Sterling. She is so elegant, gracious, strong, bold and accomplished, warm and welcoming, fun and funny. Every day, I look in the mirror and wish that I will “grow up” to be just like her.

What is your best wine story?  One of my favorites dates back to the 1960s when my parents, my brother and I were living in Paris. My father became a Chevallier du Tastevin and at a black tie dinner at Taillevent, he shocked the French by winning the blind tasting. It was written up in The Herald Tribune. It was “news” that an American could be so knowledgeable and discerning. That was a turning point, when my parents first started thinking, “Hmm, this is something we could possibly do.”

Favorite Restaurant:  I can’t name just one. I have so many!

Favorite wine region to visit:  We are so lucky. We are so beautifully welcomed all over the world.

Favorite wine (other than yours) to drink:  I admit it. I have a cellar palate. If I had my druthers, I would only drink bubbles. I am lovingly known in my family as a bubble head. And I have to say, I think Iron Horse sits at the same table as the best in the world.

Advice for women going into the wine industry?  Dive right in. The wine world is a real meritocracy. You can start in a tasting room and become president of a winery. There is a long history of women who have succeeded in wine … especially in Champagne. Think of all those widows.

Iron Horse Vineyards

 

 

Women in Wine: Alisa Jacobson

Welcome to the Wine.com Women in Wine Series! Each week this month we will feature a woman in the wine industry and a bit more about her!

First, Alisa Jacobson, winemaker at Joel Gott Wines, shares her remarks.

LIsaJacobsonName: Alisa Jacobson

Role/Position: Winemaker, Joel Gott Wines

How did you get into wine?  I grew up in Agriculture and enjoyed the farming lifestyle

What is your favorite part about working in the wine industry?  I like how every day is different due to the seasonal aspect of the industry

Who is your role model?  Sarah and Joel Gott have been my mentors for 14 years now – I have learned a lot from both of them.

Favorite Restaurant:  Cook in St Helena

Favorite wine region to visit:  The Rhone region of France

Favorite wine (other than yours) to drink:  Sancerre in the Summer, Rosé in the spring, Grenache in the Winter and Beer during harvest!

Advice for women going into the wine industry?   Its important to share your opinion and have confidence in your abilities.