Month: August 2020

This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: August 22—August 28

Hello and happy weekend. I hope this post finds everyone safe and healthy and hopefully happy. Lots going on here in wine country—fires continue to rage on, but despite the smoke in the air bars, restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms are still attempting to serve people outdoors, per COVID rules. And in the midst of it all, earlier ripening varieties are ready for harvest, while later ripening varieties are being tested for potential smoke taint. Oi. Wine Spectator does a great job rounding up all these issues and more (such as labor shortages and the danger to our fieldworkers in the midst of our smokey-COVID environment).

In Sonoma, the Wine Industry Reckons with Wildfires and the Pandemic
WINE ENTHUSIAST: In Sonoma, the Wine Industry Reckons with Wildfires and the Pandemic READ MORE… The Walbridge Fire as seen from Santa Rosa, Sonoma County / Alamy

Over in the blog-o-sphere, Jason Haas of Tablas Creek talks about why wineries and tasting rooms—and their guests—should expect intermittent closures for the foreseeable future. (Just be prepared.) Monty Waldin speaks to the injustices to vineyard farmworkers around the world. And Eater gives us more info on why we won’t be seeing any James Beard awards awarded for at least another year.

Of course, you know me, I always like to share some happy news as well. Like this story from Eater about a Taco Truck feeding undocumented workers. And, I know this isn’t really wine-related, but I can’t help but include news about recent research showcasing the benefits to painting faces on cow’s butts. (Just read the article.)

As always, there’s tons more—so scroll through, catch up on stuff, have some fun. And don’t be shy…drop me a line and let me know how you’re doing and what else you’d like to see on my site. Cheers.



Tablas Creek Newest Releases: 2019 Picpoul Blanc, Picardan, and Bourboulenc

This is part deux in a two-part series featuring Tablas Creek Vineyards new (Summer 2020) releases. If you didn’t get a chance to read the winery’s background story and reviews of their red wines, hop over to Tablas Creek Newest Releases: 2018 Counoise, Grenache, and Mourvédre.

Sadie in Green Vineyard
Sadie in Green Vineyard

Did you know: Tablas Creek Vineyard is certified both organic and biodynamic? I think it’s a testament to the integrity of both certifications that they don’t flaunt these facts. Indeed, many folks I speak to who are familiar with the name and wines don’t realize these amazing efforts. Fun Fact: In February of 2019, Tablas Creek began taking part part in a pilot program of yet another, new farming practice called Regenerative Organic.


This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: August 16—August 21

Breathe. Everyone just take a deep breath in. (I know the air quality is bad.) Hold. Slowly release. We will get through this. We will get through this and 2020 will just be that year that happened that one time. We’re in the thick of it now, so it seems overwhelming and horrible and unforgivable. And it’s ok to feel that way. Let yourself feel that way. Then breathe. Then move forward. Move forward and let’s help each other through this.

Listen, much of the news this week centers around the fires that are strewn across California, many of which are concentrated in and around our state’s various (not just Napa/Sonoma) wine countries—North, Central and South. As a Sonoma resident, I’d like to let you all know that I am safe and healthy. Please send your thoughts, prayers, and charitable donations to those who are immediately affected. (Direct Relief, Napa Valley Community Foundation, California Fire Foundation, Red Cross, UndocuFund, Sonoma Family Meal)

A few helpful resources: County of Sonoma: Sonoma County Fire Incident Map; Press Democrat: What to pack in your evacuation bag

But let’s not forget, there’s still an election going on. And the US is not the only going going through issues at the moment—read about what’s happening in Australia cellar doors and international trade market and South Africa’s battle with prohibition.

I urge you, though, scroll through. It’s not all bad news. I love this profile piece by Dorothy Gaiter on Garry Farrell’s Theresa Heredia (cheers to this proud Latina, LGBTQ Sonoma winemaker); this first-person account by Jeanne Vito, an Afropean wine entrepreneur brought up in Chablis, working in the wine industry and living between South Africa, Togo, and Germany; and it looks like the Finnish are onto some kind of hangover cure

That’s all from me for now.

Breathe. Stay safe. Stay health. Stay positive. Breathe


Emeritus Vineyards 2018 Hallberg Blanc

I came into contact with Emeritus Vineyards when they started offering their monthly educational webinar series. I highly recommend them, and you can read more about the series here. It’s interesting to learn about their specific piece of Russian River Valley terroir. Indeed, the AVA is so huge, it really makes a difference which pocket you’re planting in. And what these different sections of the AVA offer are unique aroma, flavor, and textural profiles of the region’s most planted (and most well-known) red wine grape: Pinot Noir.

I previously reviewed the Emeritus Vineyards 2017 Pinot Hill Vineyards Pinot Noir. But this wine here is a point of difference. To make a Pinot Noir Blanc (note: not Pinot Blanc) Pinot Noir’s juices are immediately separated from the skins in order to prevent any color or tannin extraction. What this creates is a pure expression of how the extremely cool climate of Russian River’s Sebastopol neighborhood nurtures the delicate grape and allows it to maintain a pointed acidity and fresh fruit flavors. And with the Emeritus winemaking team’s minimalist techniques in the cellar, these innate characteristics shine through from first sip to lingering finish.


Tablas Creek Newest Releases: 2018 Counoise, Grenache, and Mourvédre

This is a first in a two-part series because, well, I just have that many (amazing) Tablas Creek wines to try.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Tablas Creek story, here’s a brief synopsis (Jason, feel free to step in and edit me if I got any of this wrong)…