A few weeks ago I participated in a virtual “getaway” to Bourgogne. My tour and tasting was lead by the always energetic award-winning sommelier and “virtual experience guru” Belinda Chang, along with expert Bourgogne consultant Anette Hanami. We also had a few guest speakers native to the region, including Anne Moreau from the Domaine Louis Moreau.
Of course, a virtual media tour is nothing like the real deal. But the event, hosted by Sopexa, was not just a lively discussion on Bourgogne as a whole, but a detailed breakdown of region’s nuanced classification system.
To discuss everything we learned would take several lengthy posts. So, I’m not going to do that. But what I do want to share are the two wines I received in conjunction with this event. In order to divide Bourgogne into digestible parts, we were split into “teams,” each of which focused on a separate region. I, along with three other women in wine, was on team Hautes Côtes de Beaune. The following two wines are just a small sip of what I experienced during Soprexa‘s “Escape to Bourgogne.”
Time for my weekly newsy catch-up. Hopefully you all are staying safe and smart out there. If you’re in wine country, you’ll be forced to be: The Press Democrat reports that Sonoma will soon join its fellow North Bay county neighbors and start implementing fines for those not adhering to COVID-courtesy rules. This includes folks not wearing masks as well as businesses not enforcing the proper protocol for employees and consumers. If you are a California tasting room and are not sure just what rules apply to you, the California Wine Institute has put together a list of tasting room re-opening resources just for you. And if any of this gets you down, check out this photo reel of 150 years of Sonoma picnics.
On the other side of the country, Wine Spectator reports on how New York tasting rooms are coping with their new re-opening rules and regulations dictated by Governor Cuomo. Meanwhile in Ohio, wineries have actually seen a boost in business. But, sadly, an Ohio winery event has been linked to a virus outbreak.
Oh, and you know what else has seen a boom in the age of corona? Weed.
Over in the blogosphere, check out Jason Haas’s letter opposing the looming wine tariffs. In that same post is a link where you can send in your oppositional vote as well. And, once again, it looks like there are a few posts that seem to be “speaking to each other:” Eric Asimov talks about his connection to nature and the outside world being the “greatest thing my job has ever given me.” (Personal note: As a wine journalist myself, I agree and relate to 100% to this piece.) Tim Atkins’ Margaret Rand talks about experiencing wine from an artistic point of view. And, meanwhile, Tim Gaiser gives us tips on logical, deductive wine tasting. Which point of view do you most relate to?
There’s loads more to read. So, scroll through, have some fun.
That’s all from me for now. Have a wonderful weekend.
Ripening is the third stage of Grape Development. Starting from the top…
During grape berry formation—the first stage of Grape Development— malic and tartaric acids begin to accumulate, aroma compounds and precursors begin to form (also check out Aromatic Compounds post), tannins start to accumulate. But the grapes themselves are green and quite bitter—very little sugar has accumulated at this point.
Another interesting anecdote is that water flow is quite high during grape berry formation, but too much water and nitrogen (please also see Stuck Fermentation to learn about soil nutrients) can prolong this phase, as it will encourage green growth, not grape growth. So “mild” water stress is the way to go here.
Veraisonis considered second stage of Grape Development. This is when grapes begin to change their color, skins become more supple, stretchy. But regarding the grape growth, it actually slows down. This phase is what many viticulturists refer to as a “lag phase.”
Last week I participated in a webinar, discussion, and virtual tasting highlighting the Paso Robles AVA through the eyes of three prominent winery representatives: Jason Haas, partner and general manager of Tablas Creek Vineyard; Jordan Fiorentini, vice president of winemaking and vineyards for Epoch Wine Estates; and Amanda Wittstrom Higgins, newly appointed executive vice president of Ancient Peaks Winery.
The main takeaway (at least to my eyes and ears): Paso rocks. I mean, yes, it rocks in the figurative sense as well. But I was really digging (pun sort of intended) all the geeky geological stuff these guys got into. The show-and-tell of vineyard rocks was one for the record books. Have you seen fossilized whale bone in your backyard? Thought not. And of course, how these soil types and topography of each vineyard’s location affects the wine style is a connection I love making.
So, I thought I’d take some time to talk a bit about each winery, why they “rock,” and of course include mini wine reviews for each. Please, enjoy.
If you’ve been sticking with me through my WSET studies, you’ll know that the last two posts were all about soil types and soil health. In keeping with that theme, I want to highlight a new-for-me winery, Notre Vue Estate from Windsor, California whose latest releases dive into the soil types and structures throughout their vineyard.
As I talked about in my Vineyard Soil post, it’s not just soil composition but vine row orientation—i.e. slope and aspect—that dictate what vines will thrive best where in the vineyard. So, let’s take a look at what viticulturist Daniel Charles has to say about the Notre Vue soils and then have a little taste of what those soils have produced…