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The Wine Curmudgeon’s annual Kerrville Texas wine extravaganza

And with a cheap wine book signing this year, as well. The wine panel at the Kerrville Fall Music Festival is at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 30, where we’ll talk about Texas Read More »

wineofweek

Wine of the week: Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc 2012

In the old days, which in wine means the end of the 20th century, sauvignon blanc came in three styles — California, French, and New Zealand. Each tasted like sauvignon blanc, but Read More »

winenews

Winebits 348: Wine press release edition

This year, the Wine Curmudgeon has been overwhelmed with some of the most bizarre wine press releases ever. That I have not written the greatest rant in the blog’s history is because Read More »

winerant

Big Wine and crowdsourcing

Columbia Crest is owned by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, part of a one-half billion dollar company. La Crema is part of Jackson Family Wines, also a one-half billion dollar company. So why Read More »

winetrends

Why grocery stores love wine

Because they sell so much of it — and a lot more than most of us realize. Hence the reason for the Great Wall of Wine. Wine was the seventh biggest category Read More »

Wine of the week: Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc 2012

wineofweek

Line39 Sauvignon Blanc 2012In the old days, which in wine means the end of the 20th century, sauvignon blanc came in three styles — California, French, and New Zealand. Each tasted like sauvignon blanc, but was just enough different from each other to be noticeable. Some time after that, the first two styles started to merge toward the third, so that most sauvignon blanc tasted like grapefuit. That’s because the New Zealand style was about as trendy as trendy gets, and we know how the wine business loves a trend.

Fortunately, the styles have started moving back to where they used to be, and especially in California. I’ve tasted a variety of delightful California sauvignon blanc over the past 18 months, where grassiness — the smell of a freshly-cut lawn — is the predominant note. There is also citrus and tropical fruit, but those don’t overwhelm the grassiness, and the wines are refreshing and enjoyable.

A fine example of this change is the Line 39 ($10, purchased, 13.5%), which has worked its way from New Zealand to California over the past several years. In this, it was always more than adequate, but has improved the more California in style that it has become. The 2012, which is apparently the current vintage though a bit old, is grassy, with lime fruit and rich mouth feel. All of this makes it more than just another grocery store sauvignon blanc. Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2015 $10 Hall of Fame.

The Wine Curmudgeon’s annual Kerrville Texas wine extravaganza

winenews

Kerrville Texas wineAnd with a cheap wine book signing this year, as well.

The wine panel at the Kerrville Fall Music Festival is at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 30, where we’ll talk about Texas red wine. No doubt the Wine Curmudgeon will get in a spirited discussion with one of the panelists about the price-value ratio of Texas cabernet sauvignon and merlot, and that we should be making reds from tempranillo, sangiovese, and Rhone grapes instead. 

The winery lineup this year is as good as it gets in the state, with eight of the top producers. We’re doing reds on the panel in honor of Rod Kennedy, the Kerrville founder, Texas music impresario, and local wine guy, who died last year.

The cheap wine book signing is from 5:30-8 p.m. on Aug. 29 at Four.0, the winery tasting room on Hwy. 290 outside of Fredericksburg. Stop by and say hello, buy a book (or three), and taste some terrific Texas wine. 

Winebits 348: Wine press release edition

winenews

wine press releaseThis year, the Wine Curmudgeon has been overwhelmed with some of the most bizarre wine press releases ever. That I have not written the greatest rant in the blog’s history is because cooler heads prevailed. As several people said, “Jeff, no one cares about this but you.”

Perhaps. But several recent releases are worth noting regardless:

State stores forever! New Hampshire is one of 17 control states, where the government sells beer, wine, and spirits or some combination thereof, and there aren’t privately-owned retailers. This has always seemed odd given the state’s almost libertarian politics — “Live Free or Die,” after all — and that contradiction does not bother the state’s liquor board. It dispatched a release touting the Washington Post’s endorsement of New Hampshire as “the best state in the country for wine drinkers.” That it was one man’s opinion, and not the newspaper’s, and that the piece had several errors (wine prices are not skyrocketing) didn’t seem to bother the board either. Or that you can buy wine in a grocery store from 6 a.m.-2 a.m. seven days a week in California. Or that Segura Viudas cava costs one-third less in Texas than it does in New Hampshire. My question: How much money did the board spend on the release, when it could have spent the money on cutting wine prices? (Hat tip to Tim McNally for sending this my way, who lives in New Orleans and knows a few things about the best states to drink in.)

Roll out the barrels: The battle over oakiness in wine seems over, and those of us who prefer restraint seem to have won. Nevertheless, multi-national Diageo sees a market for very oaky wines, and has launched a brand called Woodwork — “delivering prominent oak influence.” Overlook the writing (the wine “celebrate[s] those who work hard to endlessly pursue their passions”) and this release is a revelation. Diageo admits the wine is made with wooden staves instead of an oak barrel, a common practice in cheap wine but rarely acknowledged. In this, the point of the wine is not winemaking, but adding wood flavor. That honesty is as refreshing as it is unbelievable. (Hat tip to W. Blake Gray for sending this my way; he expects the wine to be a big seller.)

It’s EPICA! Does someone really get paid for writing this stuff? “EPICA Wines, the adventurous brand that inspires epic lifestyles, has announced the launch of the 2013 Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. Aimed at millennials, EPICA Malbec was created to capitalize on the growing interest for the Argentinian grape.” Who knew malbec was an adventurous grape? Or that there was growing interest in it? I always thought it was one of the most popular grapes in the world, the fifth biggest import to the U.S. and one that has been around for decades. But then, my lifestyle is hardly epic.

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