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2014 Horton Vineyards Cotes d’Orange

Varietal: 89% Mourverde; 11% Pinotage
Region: Monticello AVA, Virginia – USA
Cost: ~$16

Winemaker’s Notes: In the glass, this wine presents a deep dark red. The nose is filled with baked cherries, pie crust, and plum. The silky smooth attack features red cherry tart and anise notes leading to …read more

Women in Wine: ¡Salud! Leda Isabel Garside

Women in Wine: ¡Salud! Leda Isabel Garside This week, I spotlight Leda Isabel Garside, RN, to highlight the work she does for the wine industry. She manages the outreach program of Tuality Healthcare ¡Salud! Services. Although she has had several roles at Tuality Heathcare over the last 20 years, Leda …read more

WBC15: Historic Seneca Lake Part 2

On the second day of our pre-conference excursion around Seneca Lake, the summer day greeted us in Geneva with a sparkling view, and I wandered down to check out Opus Coffee, owned by local chef Heather Tompkins (who prepared dinner the previous evening).

Thank goodness for caffeine! After an evening …read more

On Taco Bell selling wine

If more proof were needed that wine has become as mainstream in America as fast food, it was just supplied with Taco Bell’s announcement that the chain will begin serving wine at its stores, beginning in Chicago and San Francisco.

The Irvine CA-based company put out a press release …read more

Big beer may get bigger–and more irrelevant

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 4.42.37 PM

Have you heard–ABI may buy SAB? The resulting company, which could have an alphabet soup of a name, would be the biggest brewer in the world, combining the make of Stella and Budweiser (Belgium-based AB InBev) with the brewer of Miller and 200 other beers, including Peroni, Grolsch, and Pilsner …read more

Professional tasting, and more on the Wine Train (just a little)

The central paradox of wine tasting is this: While professionals indisputably have educated palates, nonetheless they disagree with each other concerning individual wines to a considerable degree.

How can this be?

The simple answer is that, wine tasters being merely human, and wine tasting not an exact science, you would expect …read more

Blanc de Blancs, In The Nude (Jacques Lassaigne Recent Releases)

Emmanuel Lassaigne

Emmanuel Lassaigne, measuring booze levels during press

If you’re in the bubbly business in the Aube (the southern region in France’s Champagne-Ardenne), then you have to make peace with the fact that, compared with the popular Épernay and Ay to the north, you’re basically the red-headed stepchild of Champagne.

Unless you’re Emmanuel …read more

Wine Folly Book Trailer (Video)

Wine Folly Book Trailer

We made a one-minute video unboxing that shows how to use Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine to find super awesome, yummy wine.

Wine Folly Book Trailer

Wine Folly Book TrailerThis is Wine Folly, the essential guide to wine. Let’s say you went to a party …read more

Sauvignon scandal: leading Friulian agronomist Giovanni Bigot speaks out

rosazzo abbeyAbove: a view from Rosazzo Abbey in the heart of Friulian wine country.

WineSurf: You work with some of the wineries that have been visited in recent day by [Italian] anti-adulteration authorities. Before we talk about the accusations, what exactly happened?

Giovanni Bigot: Someone motivated by envy pressed for the raids. Maybe because those wineries have Sauvignon [Blanc] that’s particularly interesting.

WS: It seems, in any case, that Ramon Persello is the focus of the whole affair. Do you know him?

GB: Yes, I know him.

WS: Have you worked together?

GB: Yes, we have. He’s an expert in bioclimatic design. My interaction with him was almost always related to bioclimatic design and climatology problems.

WS: Even though he works in climatology, there’s talk instead of Merlin the wizard’s magic potions.

GB: Yes, I’ve read that.

WS: In the light of this, do you think that it’s possible that Mr. X was selling substances to wineries A, B, and C to aromatize their wines?

GB: You see, I work and will continue to work with many different wineries to offer services aimed at the cultivation of Sauvignon [Blanc] but not just Sauvignon. Ultimately, the idea is to achieve different and distinct aromas from the wineries’ different vineyards. Distinct aromas that will create aromatic complexity in the final blend.

I said not just Sauvignon because at those very same wineries, different farming techniques have been created to obtain diversity and aromatic complexity. This diversity is found in the cellar and in the wines.

I couldn’t say how many analyses I’ve made of aroma precursors that correspond to those that we found in the grapes. But at the same time, what can I say? I’m the one who’s probably the most affected by the media attention. I’m the one who risks seeing his work wiped away because of these “potions.”

WS: If it’s true that “magic aromatic potions” are sold and about, how to we determine if they are in the wines? Let me be more precise: If we know that thiol Y imparts the aroma of passion fruit, how do I figure out if it comes from the work in the vineyards or through particular legitimate vinification techniques or if it comes from the little bottle that I poured into the wine?

GB: From an analytic point of view, I really couldn’t tell you precisely how it’s done. But I’d like to clarify something regarding the sensorial point of view: In wine, there isn’t just one aroma but rather a set of aromas. The aromatic character of a wine is never defined by a single aroma. That’s why you’ll never have just passion fruit but rather pineapple, pink grapefruit, and other aromas side-by-side with passion fruit, for example. The aromas by themselves can only be perceived in hydroalcoholic solutions that you find in a laboratory.

WS: From what you’ve been able to learn, what did they find in Persello’s laboratory? Hydroalcoholic solutions?

GB: I really don’t know. I only know what I read in the newspaper.

WS: I know that you were at one of the wineries when the officials arrived. What were they looking for?

GB: [They were looking for] yeasts that had been used, additives, and in general, anything that you use in vinification and aging. They looked in the warehouse where the winemaking products are stored — the normal products you find at a winery. It’s possible that they found yeasts for Sauvignon.

On Sunday, Italian wine writer Carlo Macchi, editor of, published the following interview with Giovanni Bigot, an agronomist and winery consultant who has been working in Friuli since 1998 (translation mine). In 2004, he began working on experimental techniques for the cultivation of Sauvignon Blanc in Friuli. …read more

The vertical of the Vall Llachs

On Saturday, August 29th, Albert Costa, the co-owner and winemaker of Vall Llach in Porrera along with famous folk singer and co-owner Lluís Llach, Priorat held a press tasting that featured a vertical of every single Vall Llach wine made from 1999-2008 and we were only missing the 1998 …read more