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Woe Is Champagne!

News reports from the Champagne region of France paint a grim picture for this year's harvest. For a change, the growing level of panic has nothing to do with the weather.

The Champagne industry has been slammed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While consumption of table wine has skyrocketed, Champagne sales have plummeted. The widespread lockdowns ...Read more

Saving the Hospitality Industry

As the Senate works on a new COVID-19 relief bill, WineAmerica, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that lobbies on behalf of the wine and spirits industry, is encouraging specific legislation that would provide needed economic relief for your favorite wineries, craft spirits producers and even restaurants as the pandemic drags on and virus-...Read more

No Bad Wine

I'm inspired this week by a beautiful red Burgundy called Rue de Perle. It is an elegant wine from one of the world's most prestigious (and expensive) appellations, and it's only $13 (see review below).

In Burgundy's system of classifications, this is a Bourgogne, the lowest level, and hence, the cheapest. Grand Cru, Premier Cru and Villages ...Read more

Time to Chill

Dining outside, once merely a nice summertime option, is now a requirement in many communities around the nation. The ambiance of al fresco dining notwithstanding, it presents a challenge for those of us who enjoy a glass of wine with lunch or dinner on a warm summer day.

As temperatures soar, maintaining the proper chill on a glass of white ...Read more

The Platinum Parade

Over the 30 years I've been writing this column, I've easily sampled a couple hundred thousand wines -- at least. At some point, you might think, the thrill of discovery would have worn off.

In reality, tasting great new wines never gets old. Neither does sharing those experiences, such as the two days of judging at the recent 17th annual ...Read more

A Chardonnay Renaissance?

Once upon a time, chardonnay was a minor grape variety in the United States, even in the vineyards of California. Then, along came the likes of Richard Arrowood, Gary Farrell, Steve Kistler and Chuck Ortman, and chardonnay took off. Comparisons to white Burgundy were inevitable.

Today, it is the most widely planted white-wine grape in ...Read more

4 Sparklers for the Fourth

If you're among those who enjoy a little pop in your July 4th celebration, the sound of a sparkling-wine cork exiting the bottle is probably music to your ears. With so many July 4th firework displays canceled due to the COVID-19 threat, opening a bottle of bubbly could well be the only discernible pop you hear.

With that in mind, I've ...Read more

Wineries to Watch

As I pore over the results of each wine competition I manage (there are four), I make every effort to spot emerging trends, particularly wineries that seem to be on the rise.

The recent 38th annual San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge did not disappoint, yielding a number of stellar performances by wineries that are either new or ...Read more

Family Wineries Shine In San Diego

The 38th annual San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge, the third-oldest wine and spirits competition in the United States, staged what amounted to a family affair over Memorial Day Weekend. The biggest winners, including winery of the year, V. Sattui, were three family wineries from California.

Sattui, of course, is a perennial ...Read more

The Amazing V. Sattui

American and foreign wine competitions can be, and often are, unpredictable. It's not unusual for an unknown to show up and claim a top award. But some things never change.

One of those would be the inevitability of V. Sattui Winery, one of the Napa Valley's finest. Sattui has long been a giant on the wine competition circuit, collecting ...Read more

The White Wine Decant

Decant a white wine, you say? The mere suggestion will make jaws drop.

Decanting, after all, is for older red wines and vintage Port, primarily to remove sediment. At least that's the time-honored custom. In reality, all wines -- red and white, even sparkling -- benefit from decanting.

For young red wines, the practice of decanting from the ...Read more



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