This week was one of those crazy busy weeks. What month is it? What day is it? What time is it slash what time zone am I living in—mentally, emotionally, physically? Yah. But one must keep up on the wine news. So here it is. I do hope you appreciate and enjoy. Cheers to the weekend.


by studios Atelier Manasse, Viena, ca 1920s


NY Times: Another Variable in the Winemaking Process—Climate Change

After two years of fires, the California winery Donkey & Goat has learned to pivot, combining appellations and even vintages to turn despair into deliciousness.

If anyone doubts the jarring effect that climate change has already had on the California wine industry, ample evidence was on display in late March at Donkey & Goat’s outdoor tasting area in this neighborhood of motorcycle repair shops and urban wineries.

At picnic tables in front of a graffitied cinder block wall, visitors sampled Donkey & Goat’s newly released natural wines, a group that even the producer’s most ardent fans would not recognize.

Instead of the usual bottles highlighting the hyperspecific terroir characteristics of single vineyards in Northern California, stretching from Mendocino and Sonoma east to El Dorado and the Sierra Foothills, the 2021 Donkey & Goat wines available to taste were either labeled with the generic “California” appellation or came from vineyards that had not been part of its usual lineup. READ MORE

Eater: To Borrow His Favourite Catchphrase—Fuck Me, Gordon Ramsay’s New Show Is Bad

It begins with the swearmaster jumping into the sea for no real reason, and doesn’t improve from there

Gordon Ramsay is wearing a wetsuit while standing on the edge of a helicopter. Below is the blue water of the Cornish coast, while on a beach in front of him, 12 disciples wait with bated breath. They’re nervous; they can’t believe what they’re seeing. Ramsay edges towards the edge of the helicopter, and plunges. A brief panic. He emerges from the water, shaking his hair like he’s James Bond. He approaches the beach, stands in front of the contestants, and asks them to take a leap of faith with him.

No: this is not a biblical fever dream. This is Gordon Ramsay’s Future Food Stars, the worst TV show of the sweary chef’s career.

Here’s why. READ MORE

Pix: Inside the Twisty Mind of a Corkscrew Designer

It takes obsession, engineering, and plenty of patience to design a great corkscrew

Ed Kilduff needed just four weeks to develop the prototype of the Original Rabbit Corkscrew, but the actual product didn’t hit the market until three years later. During that time, the designer shuttled back and forth between his Brooklyn apartment and China, where the corkscrew was being made. When he was home, he would wait by the fax machine for nightly updates from the factory. “Usually the message was that certain parts were too thick to mold,” he says. Back to the computer he would go, “to amend the design by millimeters, and send it back to them.”

Corkscrews play a central role in the theater of wine. Great examples are celebrated: Sommeliers love to compare them, and “best of” lists love to rate them. The design journey from sketch to a bestseller is one that demands precision, patience, and practice, and many of today’s most trusted corkscrews have a backstory full of twists and turns. READ MORE

Wine-Searcher: Constellation Joins Oregon Wine Trail

The wine business is booming in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and for Constellation Brands, and now they can boom together.

On Thursday, the US’ fifth-largest wine company announced positive fiscal results and an accelerated stock buyback program. Constellation also announced, via Wine Spectator, that it is buying its first Oregon winery, Lingua Franca, founded by Master Sommelier Larry Stone a decade ago.

Lingua Franca suffered through a difficult year in 2020, choosing not to bottle any wine because of smoke damage. Stone told Wine Spectator he was looking for investors anyway; he had sold his wine collection to finance the initial purchase of land in 2012 in Willamette Valley’s Eola-Amity Hills, and one of his partners sold his retirement fund to finance planting it. READ MORE

Decanter: Sparkling Furmint from Tokaj – eight wines to try

Speaking of Tokaj, you may be more familiar with the luscious Aszú and the increasingly attractive dry Furmint. But did you know that the local producers have also started to make splendid sparkling wines with the versatile Furmint grape?

Surprising as it may sound, Hungary has had a long history of making sparkling wine since the 19th century. As a matter of fact, it used to be the world’s second-largest sparkling wine-producing country, only next to Champagne.

Similar to Champagne, the limestone quarried from the ancient underground wine cellars in Budafok, on the outskirts of Budapest, is said to have been used to build a number of magnificent historical buildings in the capital, including the parliament.

With producers trained in the French homeland, the Hungarian ‘pezsgő (sparkling wines)’ used to be crafted mainly using the Champagne grapes. The country’s leading sparkling producer Törley, established in 1882 in Budafok, carried on this tradition, though is also exploring other varieties, including Riesling and Zöldveltelini (Grüner Veltliner). READ MORE

Mashed: Why This Influencer Is Being Accused Of Threatening A Renowned Restaurant

It’s no secret that influencers often get special privileges from restaurants in exchange for exposure. However, having a big following doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get the royal treatment. You may recall the 2019 story about one blogger who was met with backlash after writing a one-star Yelp review for an Italian restaurant that refused to give her a discount (via Daily Mail). The moral of the story? There’s a fine line between negotiating with a business and straight-up weaponizing one’s status to get free stuff, and the latter is one of the fastest ways to get yourself blacklisted by restaurant owners. READ MORE

Press Democrat: 7 women sue over alleged sexual assault by former Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli; winery and service club named in case

Seven women have joined in a lawsuit accusing former Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli of sexual assault and alleging his Healdsburg winery and a local service club facilitated his misconduct.

The 30-page complaint, filed Monday in Sonoma County Superior Court, claimed Foppoli used his “power, connections and alcohol to prey upon dozens of women in Sonoma County.”

“We have patiently waited for some measure of justice from the criminal justice system, which has continued to be delayed, all while we have continued to suffer the emotional toll of Dominic Foppoli’s crimes against us. He has continued to live his life normally, while we have continued to process what he did to us and others,” the women said in a joint statement Tuesday.

“Today, we are taking charge of seeking justice in the Civil Court as we approach the one year anniversary of the beginning of this investigation.”

The lawsuit had not been served to Foppoli or the other defendants and was not available to The Press Democrat until Tuesday afternoon due to electronic filing problems at the Sonoma County courthouse.

The lawsuit also alleges that Christopher Creek Winery, owned by Foppoli and his brother, and the Santa Rosa affiliate of Active 20-30, a national service club, profited from Foppoli “luring Plaintiffs to events held at or on behalf of” the two institutions. READ MORE

Blogs Worth a Read

Taken from the list of Blogs and other media outlets I follow regularly, here are just a few posts from this past week I think are worth a read. Shoot me a note if you have suggestions of independent media to follow or want your outlet included on that list.

The Wine Gourd: How bad are wine scores, really?

Wine-scoring systems are many and various (see Wine by the numbers); and there is often a lot of cynicism about wine scores, which are the end-result of applying a number to a personal wine-tasting experience. Indeed, some wine writers have specialized in deriding them (eg. Jeff Siegel, the Wine Curmudgeon), and satirizing those wine publications that regularly employ numbers as a means of communication.

Now, there is nothing wrong with numbers per se, as any tax accountant will tell you. After all, finance is based on numbers, although for wine consumers the only financial number is actually the price of the container and its contents. READ MORE

Jancis Robinson: Hungary’s white grapes

A celebration of the white wines of Hungary.

With Central and Eastern Europe very much on our minds right now, it seems almost frivolous to be writing about Hungarian wines while refugees pour over her borders and her citizens are living with the shadow of war falling across their doorstep. As Lilla O’Connor, a Hungarian working in the UK wine trade, having been part of our backroom team last year, asked, ‘Where will this war end?’. But perhaps, as well as donating funds for humanitarian aid and opening our homes to refugees, we can do other small things to support those countries who are doing so much to help their neighbour during this brutal war; such as buying, drinking and championing their wines.

It’s important to point out, first of all, that the nomenclature of Central or Eastern Europe as ‘regions’ are a bit of a construct – few sources agree exactly which countries make up Central Europe and which countries make up Eastern Europe. Depending on your reference sources and who you are talking to, the political, cultural and geographical boundaries are a bit of blur. Nevertheless, the links between certain countries are unmistakeable; most often, it seems to me, through cuisine and the tendrils of language. READ MORE

Vinous: Soave—The Long Road Home

White Burgundy, Riesling from Germany, Carrricante from Mount Etna, Verdicchio and Trebbiano Abruzzese are among the world’s great wines. The all have the capacity to mature and evolve over the course of many years, and so does Soave. Unfortunately, Soave is the victim of its past success and of the producers who monopolized on that success to fill their pockets, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Soave region is located in Northeast Italy, the Veneto, and more specifically, immediately east of the city of Verona. Soave itself is a picturesque town enclosed by a Medieval castle and walls that surround its historic streets and buildings. The city imbues a sense of being, a gateway as you gaze out toward the vineyards, as if its walls and battlements are protecting the hills and valleys from anyone that may wish them harm. These valleys at the base of the Lessini mountains were formed by massive volcanic activity and the shifting of tectonic plates that took place under an ancient sea that once covered the region. This is what laid the foundation for much of the soils throughout Soave Classico, including volcanic, basaltic rocks but also densely stratified limestone and clay, known as Scaglia Rossa. It’s also the reason for the drastic elevations and steep hilly terrain of the region that quickly rises from 150 to 600 meters, something that must be seen to be believed. In fact, when touring the hillsides of the Classico region, or of Soave Colli Scaligeri, one cannot help but question: how can this region be associated with one of Italy’s most mass-produced and often uninteresting white wines? READ MORE

Vinophile: 3 Women Around the World Who Are Changing the Face of Wine

Three Winemakers Paving the Way for the Next Generation

You’ve heard it before: in the wine industry, women are seen as minority players. This is true in all areas of wine — especially in production. It is not uncommon in many wineries for entire cellar teams to be made up of only men. Statistically, the numbers do nothing to dispute this claim. In all facets of the wine industry, women are a minority and the most striking contrasts can be seen in a winery or restaurant’s most elite positions. According to the Court of Master Sommeliers website FAQ, of the 144 Master sommeliers in America, only 28 of them are women [1]. Unsurprisingly, women make up an even smaller percentage of the world’s winemakers, for example, only about 10% in California.[2]

It can be difficult to see the strides women have made in recent years when looking purely at the stats, but all over the world, passionate women in wine are continuing to make history by taking matters into their own hands and becoming the change they wish to see for a new generation. Acting as partners, mentors and leaders, these women have worked to shape the future of wine into a more equitable place for everyone. READ MORE

Corkscrew Concierge: Tasty Wine Under $15 That You Can Find Just About Anywhere

OK, I’ll admit that I don’t drink a lot of wine under $15, but I do occasionally indulge. I mean, I just did my taxes and your girl could definitely use a break! Part of it is in the name of research. I mean, somebody’s gotta do to. But part of it is remembering what got me into wine in the first place and recognizing that there is a place for anyone in wine that wants to be there – and at any price level. I discovered some of these wines many years ago when I started getting into wine, while others are more recent discoveries. And some, I went searching for to see what I could find in this price range. But what they all have in common is that they are solid wines that you can find just about anywhere. So here’s my wine under $15 under list…READ MORE

Vinography: Reminder—Todd White and Dry Farm Wines are Lying to Your Face

Like most of you, I’d expect, I get a lot of wine ads in my social media feeds. Most of them I ignore because I need to buy more wine like I need a hole in the head. But some of them I consistently report as fraud.

Why? Because Dry Farm Wines and their CEO Todd White are lying.

If your glass of wine has 10 grams of sugar in it, that means your bottle of wine (depending on how big a pour you make) has between 60 and 80 grams of residual sugar per liter. That’s not your average bottle of Barefoot Merlot, which probably clocks in at a mere 8 g/l. That’s Auslese Riesling. Or as Mark Fusco, who created the post that a friend shared on FB put it: “that’s not commercial wine, it’s dessert wine.”

Fusco also pointed out the obvious, that this idea of “commercial wine” is utter and complete bullshit. Every wine that is made to be sold is commercial wine, he said. And he’s 100% right. READ MORE

The Wine Economist: Wine Book Review—Britain, Imperialism, and the Wine World They Created

Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre, Imperial Wine: How the British Empire Made Wine’s New World. University of California Press, 2022.

Imperial Wine is a serious academic study of how imperial economic, political, and social relations between Great Britain and three of its colonies — South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand — shaped their wine industries and New World wine more generally from the time of the first plantings through to today.

This is an argument that I am glad to see examined in depth. In my books Wine Wars and the forthcoming Wine Wars II I nominate Great Britain as the center of the wine universe, so powerful, I think, is its influence on wine and the wine trade. READ MORE

Shana Bull: 7 Social Media Scheduling Tools To Post Content

I get it; remembering to post on social media day in and day out is the last thing anyone has time for.

Lucky for you, I have just the solution for making planning out social media content easy and (mostly) effortless: A social media scheduling tool! 

By using a social media scheduling tool, you can take the headache out of having to remember to post on social media every day. With most scheduling tools, all you need to do is create your content in advance and set a schedule for when you want it to go live. (I know, I know… that’s the hardest part, that’s where I can help (book a one-on-one strategy session with me).

By utilizing these tools, you can rest assured knowing that your social media presence is being taken care of without having to constantly check in and update your status. READ MORE

BriscoeBites officially accepts samples as well as conducts on-site and online interviews. Want to have your wine, winery or tasting room featured? Please visit the Sample Policy page where you can contact me directly. Cheers!

Educational posts are in no way intended as official WSET study materials. Study at your own risk. Read the full disclaimer.
**Please note: all reviews and opinions are my own and are not associated with any of my places of business. I will always state when a wine has been sent as a sample for review. Sending samples for review on my personal website in no way guarantees coverage in any other media outlet I may be currently associated with.**

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