This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: April 2—April 9

Hey cool kids, I’ll keep this short. Once again I find myself preparing for another long weekend of WSET Diploma Zoom-ing. Not complaining—enjoying myself, learning a lot and tasting some really interesting wines I probably wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to taste. I hope all of you have something fun and relaxing planned as well as some fun in the glass in hand.

There’s a lot of news this week. So while you’re sipping, take your time and scroll through—even the press releases are pretty interesting this week. (Well, I wouldn’t include them if they weren’t…)

Stay well, stay healthy, and drop me a line anytime…cheers!

 

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This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: March 27—April 2

Happy Easter Weekend for those who celebrate. Hope everyone’s Spring season is off to a great start. This week’s wine-newsy round-up has a plethora of interesting topics. I particularly loved reading about how French wineries are employing refugees to help out during the current labor shortage; the optimism woven through the South African wine industry despite trying times; of course there’s the reality check of the latest news surrounding drought and wildfires in both Australia and California; and for all my WSET study buddies out there, check out this profile piece on Syrah.

Don’t forget to scroll down to read independent insight from the Blogs. I’ll toot my own horn for a second: This week I made my debut on Tim Atkin‘s site speaking about California vintners struggle with and perseverance through climate change. (See Survivor Vines.)

And if you missed my blog post for the week, be sure to find out more about California’s newest AVA.

Thanks as always for hanging out with me.

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Tasting Santa Barbara’s Newest AVA—Alisos Canyon

I find Santa Barbara wine country so interesting. As a kid, Santa Barbara always meant vacation—hot days, sandy toes, beach water I could actually swim in. (If you grew up along the San Francisco shoreline, you know what I mean when I say Pacific Beach is never that welcoming). So, it’s interesting that a placed perceived as a summertime getaway where board shorts and flip flops are basically the dress code, could produce wines with any kind of delicacy. Let alone the cool-climate grapes for which it’s gained a reputation, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

But as all you fellow wine nerds know, the cool thing (pun not intended, but not deleted either) is that because of tectonic plate-shifting, Santa Barbara’s Transverse Ranges are exactly that—transverse. Whereas most of California’s coastal ranges run from north to south, limiting some inland locations from cool ocean breezes and fog patterns, in Santa Barbara the ranges go from east to west, thereby funneling in that cool ocean air.

The two major AVAs are Santa Maria and Santa Ynez, the latter of which contains four sub-AVAs: Santa Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos, and Happy Canyon.

But at the end of 2020, Santa Barbara County finalized the approval process for its seventh appellation—Alisos Canyon AVA

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This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: March 20—26

Happy weekending, all. I’ve got your weekly dose of wine-related newsy items ready for you to peruse at your pleasure. Hope everyone is staying well and healthy. I’ve definitely been keeping busy with work-school balance—but all positive things. (How can it not be when it’s wine-work and wine-school?)

Did you miss this week’s posts? Make sure to check out my latest regional deep-dives and tastings: Tasting Rosé from PugliaTasting Wines of Roero—Arneis & NebbioloTasting Modern Day Chardonnay from Three Sonoma County AVAs

Cheers!

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Tasting Modern Day Chardonnay from Three Sonoma County AVAs

If there’s anything we know about Chardonnay, it’s that it is highly adaptable to its environment. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Oregon—heck even Canada—all have areas that produce premium Chardonnays. Yet all are so distinctly different, all so uniquely dependent on both environmental (soil, climate, altitude and latitude) and human factors (grape grower, winemaker).

In California, Chardonnay is our most-planted white wine grape variety. It’s produced all over the state and, given the size of the state and the amount of wine producers, it can be expressed in a number of different styles. Today I’m zeroing in on three specific AVAs: Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, and Dry Creek Valley—all part of the Northern Sonoma AVA in Sonoma County, Calif.

Northern Sonoma This AVA is as vast and amorphous as its name, encompassing Chalk Hill, Knights Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, most of Green Valley as well as portions of Rockpile and Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak.
Northern Sonoma, courtesy Sonoma County Vintners (sonomawine.com)
This AVA is as vast and amorphous as its name, encompassing Chalk Hill, Knights Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, most of Green Valley as well as portions of Rockpile and Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak.

The wines expressing these pieces of California terroir are all Chardonnays produced by Dutcher Crossing Winemaker, Nick Briggs, who walked me through a virtual tasting which included insight into the regional specificities from his growing partners: Charlie Chenoweth (Chenoweth Vineyards), Pam Bacigalupi (Bacigalupi Vineyards), Dan Rotlisberger (Redwood Empire Vineyard Management).

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