Expect More From Croatian Wine

Croatia is hot. Lots of beautiful coastline. A great vacation destination. A burgeoning foodie spot. A long history of making wine.

Croatia is so hot my brother, who once said he’d be happy to stay in New Jersey for the rest of his life, married a Croatian woman and has visited her family’s home three (or more) times. That’s how hot Croatia is. It’s so hot, it’s been burning for three years.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s a good article from Bloomberg:

Now, with about 33,000 hectares under vines — still more than double the amount of New Zealand — Croatia is looking to fight its way into a saturated global market when it enters the European Union in 2013. Currently, Croatia exports only 5 percent of its 60 million liters annual production, which helps explain why Croatians are third overall in wine consumption.

Go plavac mali.

If all goes well, I should be visiting this year.

[Image from the great Croatian wine blog Croatian Wines]


New Napa AVA

As reported in the Napa Valley Register, the the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has approved a 16th AVA in Napa Valley, Coombsville.

One reason for the effort to designate Coombsville as a separate appellation is that its soils, geography and climate differ distinctly from nearby regions, according to a news release from the group. It noted that the Coombsville soils are dominated by the volcanic rhyolitic tuff — sedimentary rock and lava flows — of the Vaca Range on the eastern side of the Napa Valley.

Sounds good.

Coteaux du Tricastin Changes Its Name

You’re in France and growing grapes in the Rhone Valley, but you want your region to be special, to have its own name. So you apply to the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine, known as the INAO.

From Jancis: the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine, is the organization in charge of administering, regulating, granting, and protecting the French appellations contrôlées, not just for about 470 different wines and spirits, but for more than 40 different cheeses and a range of other foods including meat, poultry, and olive oil. … INAO was founded in 1935 and, since for much of the 20th century France’s leading role in the world of wine was undisputed, it provided a role model for the administration of more embryonic controlled appellation schemes in other countries. …Continue reading “Coteaux du Tricastin Changes Its Name”

New York State is Making $ Allowing Import of Wine

image via steve garfield

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported on a meeting where Dennis Rosen, the chairman of the state liquor authority, covered the impacts of a 2005 law that increased the ability of in-state and out-of-state wineries to ship in and out of New York. Guess what?

The liquor authority has collected $431,375 in permit fees from wineries in the 15 states [with reciprocal shipping agreements]. Wineries that shipped directly reported $54 million in sales to New York consumers between March 2009 and February 2010, which yielded about $4.5 million in sales taxes.

Interstate shipping was a major fight back in the early 2000s. Then in 2005 Granholm v. Heald went in front of the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of laws in Michigan and New York that the court found to discriminate between in-state and out-of-state wineries because it violated the commerce clause. Continue reading “New York State is Making $ Allowing Import of Wine”

Ripasso Primer

Here’s a good reminder of what ripasso means in the Veneto. It comes courtesy of George Elde, salesman for Frederick Wildlman, a venerable wine importer and distributor in New York, where, it’s true, I have a number of friends. Like many sales reps, George sends out e-mails re deals, steals and reals, that reflect their portfolio.

Let’s check out the 2009 Santi ‘Solane’ Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC.

From George:

Santi Valpolicella Classico Superiore is a “ripasso” method Valpolicella, meaning that following primary fermentation the wine sees a second fermentation with the addition of Amarone grapes and skins, creating a richer, more complex and more exciting final wine.

Santi Solane is sourced from estate vineyards within the original Valpolicella appellation of Valpolicella Classico.

When primary fermentation is complete in early winter, grapes, skins and pomace from Santi’s Amarone are added to the vats. The additional sugars from the Amarone trigger a second fermentation, which adds additional layers of complexity, rich fruit and structure. The wine is blended and then aged for more 3-5 months in small oak cask followed by an additional 12 months in larger neutral casks prior to bottling.

The finished wine has  70 percent corvina and 30 percent rondinella, typical grapes for the region, (but how could you tell?) excluding the third usual suspect of molinara.

Continue reading “Ripasso Primer”

Quarts de Chaume to become Loire Valley’s first Grand Cru

This is interesting. Unlike the Italians, the French are very protective of designating their vineyards. The Italians, however, don’t have anything quite like Grand Cru.
From Jancis:
grand cru
means literally ‘great growth’ in French. In Burgundy’s Côte d’Or a grand cru is one of 34 particularly favored vineyards, a decided notch above premier cru. In Alsace, grand cru is a recent, elevated appellation accorded several dozen specific vineyards. In Bordeaux, the words grand cru usually apply to a specific property or château and depend on the region in which it is located.

Six-year-old Long Island Merlot

I was at a friend’s house for dinner, she pulled out a bottle of wine her husband keeps for every day. Lo and behold, it was local and it was from our last good red wine vintage (if you didn’t pick to early or were growing something that happened reach peak ripeness around the second week in October) that’s already in bottle. 2005 made some awesome red for those who picked after the colossal rain around Columbus Day weekend. It was so hot and dry all summer long, that the rain really was Nature throwing a curve ball. (Unlike this year, when all we’ve got is curve balls.)

Anywho, about the Pellegrini 2005 Estate Merlot. They say on the label that it’s unfiltered and is 13 percent abv. Russell Hearn was definitely on the job then in the cellar. The wine is opaque, ruby red with black inflections and a thin pink rim, a nice bright color for a six-year-old wine. It has a lightly intense fruity smell, which I wish I could another way to describe, but it smells like those raspberry, blackberry candies that have small candy balls covering them so they look like fruit.

Continue reading “Six-year-old Long Island Merlot”

10-year-old Martha Clara Merlot

Funny as it seems, my aunt’s  summer home down the street has turned out to be a a relative (small) cellar for Long Island wine (whose trade group has a new website). Last winter I cracked open a 2007 Paumanok Chenin (as does Paumanok). Still fresh.

Today, it’s a 2001 Martha Clara Merlot (which also has a new website; someone’s making some money). 2001 was a wonderful year out here; I recently retasted the 2001 Macari Bergen Road, a blend, which was still fresh and complex and definite food wine. It went a far way toward convincing me that blending is the way to go on Long Island. It may be that only Burgundy can put all its eggs in one basket.Continue reading “10-year-old Martha Clara Merlot”

I Kinda Want One

Ah, wine temperature. Is it ever right? And at some point in the evening, do you even care? I don’t really. I’ve tasted so many whites at room temperature, which is a good way to do it because flaws are easily hidden behind a chill.

And it’s true, wines that are too warm do show too much alcohol, but that might be because there’s too much alcohol to begin with.

Giving me wine gifts is an easy call, but of the ones I have, I only really use those jackets you put in the freezer that will chill a bottle of white in enough time for dinner. Those are also great for picnics to keep the sparkling wine cold.

This product seems to be that in reverse, which might make sense because glass is an insulator and working from the center of the bottle to the outside might be more efficient. But the jackets seem to cover more surface area. It seems this might be more of a keep-it-cold rather than a chill-it down-product, but it sure looks cool. And has a cool name, the corkcicle.

Wines of South Africa

WOSA is going to be in town tomorrow at the Astor Center as a part of their world tour of workshops.

I intend to attend at least three of the seminars. From their literature:

Good Better Blends
Not only is this category growing in South Africa, it is also gaining increased recognition internationally. Several speakers will present some of the country’s most respected red and white blends. The speakers are Francois Haasbroek, Waterford;
Niel Bester, Plaisir de Merle; Wilhelm Pienaar, Nederburg.Continue reading “Wines of South Africa”