Archive for November, 2016

Colorado’s 2016 harvest shows size and promise

November 4, 2016 Leave a comment

The bright red leaves of St. Vincent, a cold-hardy hybrid new to western Colorado yet showing great promise. These vines are at Whitewater Hill Winery near Grand Junction. Photo Nancy Janes

The short-but-intense harvest season is about over in western Colorado and now every winemakers’ attention turns to the wineries. The 2016 Colorado wine-grape harvest is about “99.9-percent” finished, said state viticulturist Horst Caspari last week and growers are reporting another big crop.

“In 17 years this is the first time we’ve had back-to-back good crops,” Caspari said. “It’s never happened before but this is what our crop should be year in and year out.”

The large 2015 harvest last year allowed many winemakers to fill tanks and build their inventories depleted by severe shortages in 2013 and 2014. Now, this year’s follow-up fruit-rich harvest finds some winemakers running out of space.

A couple of wineries have purchased new tanks and oak barrels seeking to expand their capacity but Caspari said there still are going to be grapes left hanging this year because there’s no market or space for them.

Why the bounty? Two consecutive mild winters, no bud-damaging late-spring frosts or early fall frosts that nip the mature fruit, and recent plantings finally are old enough to bear fruit.

Nancy Janes at Whitewater Hill Winery on 32 Road several years ago planted about an acre of St. Vincent, a cold-hardy variety, and this year the fourth-leaf vines produced more than 800 gallons of wine. She says the wine already is bright and fruit-forward and only will improve with a few months in oak barrels.


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Iconic or edgy? Developing a wine list with the new gen in mind

November 1, 2016 Leave a comment

As the world of wine grows and expands, those who develop wine lists face unforeseen challenges in meeting the desires of their clients. Courtesy photo.

Among the social media sites I visit on a regular basis is a recent post from the much-respected wine writer Alfonso Cevola, who takes to task new-gen wine directors who Cevola accuses of ignoring “iconic and traditional” wines and “developing (a) blind spot for classic wines like Chianti Classico and Pauillac” in favor of building “labyrinthine” wine lists based on “edginess” and “coolness.”

“I want a wine list that doesn’t take so much effort to choose from, so that I can get on to the real reason for the evening. The getting together and the sharing of a meal,” writes Cevola on his blog, “On the Wine Trail in Italy.”

“It’s as if those wines, that have been venerated by generations of wine lovers and sommeliers, are being eradicated from the lexicon of wines once considered revered and, even more important, essential,” Cevola writes.

Among his fears is that by ignoring or dropping the classic Bordeaux, Tuscans and others, wine lists begin to look alike and, worse, customers aren’t exposed to those wines.

In response, Thomas Moësse, wine director at Houston’s Divino Italian restaurant, says, “If buyers are foregoing the classics on their lists, maybe it is because they are advocates for their guest first and foremost — both are being left behind by exponential pricing increases and the corresponding unattainability of those vins de garde.”

Gone, said Moësse, is the time when clients asked “what kind of Italian restaurant doesn’t have Tignanello?”

Today, somms and wine directors regularly field queries such as “what will go best with our food?” Moësse writes in a guest appearance on Jeremy Parzens blog, Do Bianchi. “Today’s consumer is not scanning a wine list for producers they recognize so much as they want some help with a discovery. Our job as wine service professionals is part curation and consultation.”

Which sounds as if Moësse is saying today’s younger wine drinkers aren’t tied to the “classic” and “traditional” way of selecting a wine. Lengthy wine lists put more importance on the individual roles of diner – knowing when to ask for help in finding a wine, as well as the role of the waiter/somm – being able to provide the right answer.

What’s your preference? Smaller lists with traditional producers or something offering “the bounty of wines” coming from around the world?

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