Category Archives: New Zealand Wine

New Zealand Pinot Noir: Balance, Complexity & Great Value

Pinot Noirs of this complexity, minerality and balance can hardly be found at this price level elsewhere, so Pinot lovers looking for really good wines at $25 and under owe it to themselves to begin looking “down under.”
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San Francisco Pinot Days: Pinot from All Over

The eighth annual Pinot Days grand tasting visited San Francisco’s Fort Mason Festival Pavilion this past Saturday. This was my sixth year attending the event, and I’ve seen it shrink, particularly over the past couple years, from a two-day-plus extravaganza, featuring several seminars with winemakers in addition to the Sunday grand tasting, to now a single, half-day event on Saturday, without the winemaker seminars. Pinot Days claims to still be the biggest Pinot Noir festival in the world, with over 200 producers and around 500 wines. Nonetheless, this is not the three-day-weekend, wall-to-wall Pinot fest it used to be. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, New Zealand Wine, Pinot Noir, Russian River, Santa Barbara, Sonoma Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Acid & Smoke: The Styles of Sauvignon Blanc

What white wine goes well with a wide range of foods, from salads and vegetable dishes, to seafood dishes, lemon chicken and many cheeses? Sauvignon Blanc. And what’s one of the best values you can find on any restaurant wine list? Yup, again, Sauvignon Blanc. Continue reading

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Why I am Dubious of Wine Competitions: Medals for Everybody

I am intensely dubious about wine competitions. They are very common–it seems like almost every county fair in this country, and lots of newspapers, like the San Francisco Chronicle and Dallas Morning News, sponsor one. They do seem to be very important in Australia, where judges receive some training for them and I gather they have higher generally accepted standards for them than there are elsewhere. Almost universally, however, the wines that most of us in the fine wine world acknowledge as truly great never enter such competitions. Such wines are already well known, the wineries that produce them already experience more demand for those wines than they can satisfy, and such producers certainly don’t need to risk coming in second to some unknown producer in a blindtasting at the Fresno County Fair. That leaves a lot of unknown wines that are looking for any kind of recognition, or producers that feel the need for regular validation in the form of a bronze or silver medal at some local fair, as the usual participants for these kinds of things. Continue reading

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Pyramid Valley Tasting with winemaker Mike Weersing

I came away with a sense that these are unusual wines, and that the California-born-and-raised winemaker is something of a kook, who goes to a great deal of effort (some of it of questionable utility, as in the case of their “vineyard yeast” regime described below) in producing these artisanal creations. Continue reading

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