Biodynamic, Permaculture, Fukuoka!

Our ability to make natural wine depends on the soils we farm. If we’re talking about minimal intervention, it starts with the interventions we make as farmers first. This can start with what we aren’t doing in the vineyard: spraying synthetic pesticides, applying herbicide or chemical fertilizer — the minimum for organic viticulture. But it’sContinue reading “Biodynamic, Permaculture, Fukuoka!”

Pinot X

Pinot is ancient. It’s morphologically close enough to wild vines to be one step out of the forest. With gouais blanc, it birthed a whole world of northern French varieties (chardonnay, gamay, melon, romorantin, aligoté, just to name its best-known offspring), making pinot and gouais the old gods to the Olympians that would follow, andContinue reading “Pinot X”

Chile’s Dark Side of the Moon

The people writing the histories of Chilean wine usually start the clock in the 19th century, in the Central Valley south of Santiago, where titled families who got rich through crown concessions for silver and copper mining went into politics and then retired as gentlemen farmers, on big irrigated haciendas where they planted Bordeaux varietiesContinue reading “Chile’s Dark Side of the Moon”

Languages of Taste

How do we talk about wine, and to what end? Is it to remember what we’ve tasted, or to describe our experiences to others? To give, or receive, recommendations for something that the person asking might like? To to communicate luxury or prestige, to sell a product? To evaluate quality? Here are some (genuine) examplesContinue reading “Languages of Taste”

Catalunya

I keep coming back to Catalunya in these classes. I think in a lot of ways this place captures what’s exciting about wine today, and a lot of the dynamics that are shaping the emergence and re-emergence of great wines from local grape varieties and surprising corners of the world. You have, in Terra Alta,Continue reading “Catalunya”

Taste the Rainbow!

How much do we miss when we reduce wine to a couple of colors? It feels natural to self-describe as “more of a white wine person” or “more into red,” but what we’re actually communicating has less to do with the appearance of the wine in our glass than we think. We say ‘red’, butContinue reading “Taste the Rainbow!”

Ligurian Sea

Class was on Wednesday, January 27th. These were the wines: How you’d see it on a listSulauze, “Galinette”, Côteau d’Aix-en-Provence, France 2018 Who made it? Karina and Guillaume Lefèvre, and their team.Out of what? Grenache blanc, ugni blanc (alias trebbiano toscano), clairette and vermentino planted on sand over limestone in Provence, on a 29 hectare biodynamically certified estateContinue reading “Ligurian Sea”

Rebels in Classic Wine Regions, Vol. 2

Class was on Saturday, January 23. These were the wines: How you might see it on a listDirty & Rowdy, “Skin and Concrete Egg Fermented Sémillon”, Yountville, Napa Valley, California Who made it? Hardy Wallace & teamOut of what? Head-trained, dry-farmed sémillon purchased from a 2.4 hectare block planted on alluvial gravels in 1962 in Yount Mill,Continue reading “Rebels in Classic Wine Regions, Vol. 2”

U.S. Wines for After the Inauguration

Class was on Thursday, January 21. These were the wines: How you might see it on a listEarly Mountain, chambourçin, “Young Wine”, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia Who made it? Ben Jordan (winemaker), with Maya Hood White (associate winemaker / viticulturalist), Dustin Wade (vineyard manager), and a team that manages 55 acres of vineyard on a 350 acresContinue reading “U.S. Wines for After the Inauguration”

One Grape 3 Ways: Cinsault

One of those red grapes that sloshed around the western Mediterranean for a few hundred years and always seems to end up in blends, cinsault isn’t an obvious candidate for a class all to itself. It wasn’t until I’d had enough single-variety expressions of the grape that I really loved that I started to getContinue reading “One Grape 3 Ways: Cinsault”