Wine Existentialism

My fellow colleagues-in-wine and I are always discussing, debating, and arguing about hot wine topics.  Sometimes it’s about oak, over-extraction of fruit, old world v. new world, and of course…terroir.  We also discuss what makes a wine good and what sells, and we often find that the good wines don’t sell.

A couple weeks ago, Patrick wrote about Malbec and it’s rise and fall.  Weeks before, Nic wrote about the concept of terroir. These blogs are the result of our on-going conversations.  Both blogs got my attention. Continue reading Wine Existentialism

Did you grow that, or is it just organic?

I take a very skeptical look at “green cred” wines. I think if you have to sell your product based on things like the winery’s carbon footprint, then there’s probably a reason that you haven’t been able to sell your wine based on its quality. That said, what I value in a bottle (after, of course, establishing that it is good) is uniqueness and expressiveness. I want to be convinced by the winemaker that what I’m drinking is different than any other bottle, opened any other day. He can’t convince me if he didn’t put in the time making something that reflects what he grew, and to start at that basic level comes the responsibility of keeping a vineyard and cellar that will continue to produce for a very long time to come.

Here’s the rub: quality wine must be produced sustainably. Wine growers are, at their most basic, farmers. If you do not farm sustainably, you wear out your land, and as such you are no longer able to farm. The fact that so much is being made of so-called “green” wines is mostly marketing, because producers had to work that way to begin with. If they weren’t, they probably weren’t making wine very carefully, either. Continue reading Did you grow that, or is it just organic?

Organic Revelation from Portugal

Every once and a while I taste a wine that redefines how I view a certain region or, perhaps, a certain grape variety…Portugal, deservedly famous for Port, has nothing to be ashamed of. But despite a lot of improvement in its three key red wine regions (the Douro, the Dao and Bairrada), non-fortified Portuguese wines have yet to make a big splash with American consumers. The delicious, approachable wines from Casa de Mouraz will certainly do its part to change that.

While both wines clearly owe their respective characters to their distinct regions of origin, their quality and appeal have everything to do with organic farming and skillful winemaking, the likes of which we’re seeing for the first time at this price level from Portugal.

Winemaker Antonio Lopes Ribeiro and his partner Sara Dionisio view organic farming as a means by which to capture the essence of regional character from their vineyards. The traditional methods they use to press and ferment the grapes guarantee the wines are truly hand made and convey a lot about where they are grown. The results will surprise you… Continue reading Organic Revelation from Portugal