09/26/14 – The WEEK in WINE

SchramBldeBlIt’s been a busy week. In addition to a new look applied to and several new article pages (look under the “THINKING About Wine” tab) posted to BearOnWine.com, things have been hopping (sorry, can’t resist) at Spec’s and on Spec’s Fine Wine.

New Posts at Spec’s Fine Wine include:
The Friday Fizz: SCHRAMSBERG Blanc de Blancs, North Coast, 2010
In 1965, Jack and Jamie Davies discovered the run-down Schramsberg winery on a mountainside above St. Helena. Their son Hugh was born the same year. The historic Schramsberg winery and vineyards had been abandoned for years; the antique Victorian mansion looked down on the tangled remnants of what used to be gardens behind which were the gaping entrances to Jacob Schram’s underground cellars hand-dug by Chinese laborers. (Read More …)

ChSmithHautLafitteSave the Date for our Annual Bordeaux Tasting at the Crystal Ball Room at the Rice
On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, Spec’s will host approximately 45 Bordeaux chateau owners, directors, and/or winemakers presenting over 60 mostly Cru Classé Bordeaux wines all from the 2012 vintage in a standup-and-walk-around tasting format. This is our fourth time to host such a delegation from Bordeaux. Each of the last three years’ events was smashing a success so the chateaux are coming back and they are bringing friends so we will be showing more wines. (Read More …)

cabassedeuxangeslabel1Daily Drinker: Domaine de CABASSE Les Deux Anges, CdRV Sablet, 2012
Here’s a wine I wish I could take credit for Spec’s selling but, even if I’d been there, I’d have missed it. Here’s what happened: back in 1998, Spec’s owners John and Lindy Rydman were on a trip to the Rhone and were offered a morning horse back ride through the vineyards that they turned down. Instead, they went early to the hotel restaurant (think country inn) where they were scheduled to have lunch. When they went in, they noticed that the hotel/restaurant was also a wine domaine. (Read More …)

The Drinks Business (a British beverage industry site) reports that Winston Churchill is supposed to have drunk 42,000 bottles of Champagne in his lifetime. They say “Britain’s famous wartime leader drank 42,000 bottles of Champagne in his lifetime, according to a new book. Sir Winston Churchill’s fondness for fizz made headline news after it was reported by Mail Online that the British prime minister drank a staggering 42,000 bottles of Champagne. Along with other “dotty but true” facts, it was taken from 1,411 QI Facts to Knock You Sideways by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harken, the team behind the British TV show QI … The consumption between 1908 and Churchill’s death in 1965 works out at two bottles a day … (Read More …)

Also on Champagne, The Drinks Business reports:
As this year’s harvest in Champagne draws to a close, producers are heralding the quality of the Chardonnay grapes. Speaking to the drinks business on Wednesday this week, Veuve Clicquot senior winemaker Cyril Brun said that the vintage had produced “beautiful results with the Chardonnay”, with “a very good balance between the sugar and acidity”. Meanwhile, in a note sent to db yesterday evening, Bruno Paillard from the Champagne house by the same name, described Chardonnay as “the winner of the 2104 harvest”. Following a “bad summer” in Champagne according to Champagne De Castelnau’s Louis-Charles Pluot, with “cool and rainy” conditions, the vintage was rescued by a “very nice September, with two, warm sunny weeks”. (Read More …)

Wine-Searcher.com reports that
Many Burgundy vintners finished picking earlier this week and Claude Chevalier, president of the BIVB said that yields are “almost back to normal” following a string of lower-than-average production vintages. At his own Burgundy estate – Domaine Chevalier in Ladoix-Serrigny – Chevalier said: “The berries have good concentration, with phenolic ripeness”, and – importantly – there were plenty of them. (Read More …)

In the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Dan Berger rants on “Natural Wine”
What’s behind ‘Natural Wine’?
No consumer would ignore a natural product for an unnatural one, and that distinction is at the heart of a huge wine controversy that, chances are, you haven’t heard about. Wine is basic: Grapes are crushed, fermented, aged, and packaged so we can consume the result with a meal. The rest is marketing. Ah, but the bizarre under-culture of wine is filled with strange movements, ideas, philosophies, strategies and pressures that prematurely turn winemakers’ hair gray and cause wineries to do all sorts of strange things to stay ahead of the curve. And among the most mystical is the phrase “natural wine.” (Read More …)

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