Grape Profile

BEYOND SAUVIGNON BLANC – PRIME TIME FOR PINOT NOIR IN NEW ZEALAND

BEYOND SAUVIGNON BLANC – PRIME TIME FOR PINOT NOIR IN NEW ZEALAND

Beyond Sauvignon Blanc – Prime Pinot Noir Time in New Zealand Catherine Fallis April 19, 2017 Food and Wine I love former West End actor Oz Clarke’s description of New Zealand’s brash, pungent Sauvignon Blanc, an iconic style created by Cloudy Bay winemaker Kevin Judd. He calls it a “cloudburst, thrilling, shocking, lime zest, capsicum, love […]

COOL COASTAL SIPPER

COOL COASTAL SIPPER

I like to say that Albariño is Miguel Migs. If you know music, you know this is the cool dude who mixes it up for the dance clubs in SoMa, San Francisco. With notes of apple, pear, lemon, lemon rind and toasted almond, tropical fruit, and occasionally, a vein of chalky minerality, this delicious, dry, […]

AUSTRIA’S WALTZING VARIETAL

AUSTRIA’S WALTZING VARIETAL

February/March 2016 The SOMM Journal planet grape by Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF RIESLING Benchmark old world Riesling is one of the world’s great vinous treasures, and Austria delivers it in spades. Supremely intense, rich, pungent and dry, quite different from the lacy, low alcohol, delicate, minerally, acidic […]

WHERE VIOGNIER SHINES

WHERE VIOGNIER SHINES

October/November 2016 The SOMM Journal planet grape by Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis THE ANCIENT GRAPE IS AT ITS BEST IN CONDRIEU AND SOUTH WEST FRANCE Viognier (vee oh nyay) was grown in the Northern Rhone during the Roman Empire. When the Romans were forced out of Gaul in the 5th Century, the vines remained uncultivated […]

BONNY DOON VINEYARD PRESENTS ‘GRAPETIONARY A-Z’

BONNY DOON VINEYARD PRESENTS ‘GRAPETIONARY A-Z’

Press Release Charles Communications Associates San Francisco Wednesday October 5, 2016   Taste 26 wines representing each letter of the alphabet from A-Z at Bonny Doon’s Popelouchum Estate Vineyard in San Juan Bautista Saturday, October 29, 2016   WHAT Swirl, Sniff, Savor. Repeat x 26.   Bonny Doon proprietor Randall Grahm invites you to stroll […]

AUSTRIA’S WALTZING VARIETAL – THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF RIESLING

AUSTRIA’S WALTZING VARIETAL – THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF RIESLING

Planet Grape  The SOMM Journal February/March 2016 Benchmark old world Riesling is one of the world’s great vinous treasures, and Austria delivers it in spades. Supremely intense, rich, pungent and dry, quite different from the lacy, low alcohol, delicate, minerally, acidic and lightly to very sweet German Rieslings, and the corpulent, tangy, often sweet Alsatian […]

THE MONK’S ELIXIR – Unique Sagrantino DOCG is Ripe for Discovery

THE MONK’S ELIXIR – Unique Sagrantino DOCG is Ripe for Discovery

Planet Grape  The SOMM Journal  October November 2015 While tourists flock to artistic, medieval Perugia and Assisi, landlocked Umbria’s bucolic green rolling hills provide idyllic growing conditions for spicy olives, lentils, wheat and spelt, and the tartufo nero (black truffle) di Norcia. Black pigs roam the verdant hills and lush forests, along with deer, sheep and cows. […]

Albarino

Albarino

I like to say that Albariño is Miguel Migs. If you know music, you know this is the cool dude who mixes it up for the dance clubs in SoMa, San Francisco. With notes of apple, pear, lemon, lemon rind and toasted almond, tropical fruit, and occasionally, a vein of chalky minerality, this delicious, dry, […]

Xinomavro

Xinomavro

Greece is home to some of the world’s most interesting grape varieties. For over 4,000 years, the rich, spicy red wines of the relatively frigid Macedonia region, especially those of Naoussa, have been highly regarded. Legend has it that Semele, mother of Dionysus—the Greek god of wine and fertility—called the area home. Established in 1972, […]

Zinfandel

Zinfandel

Many of the benchmark wines, role models for the world at large, are in France. While not American in origin, it is only here that zinfandel has excelled. Today the best zinfandels in the world are, without a doubt coming from the state of California. Possibly migrating from Greece, it turns out that Zinfandel is […]

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most ubiquitous red var­iety in the world. Bordeaux is its heartland, but up­starts in Napa Valley, California, Tuscany and South Australia are staking a claim. As a point of reference, Cabernet Sauvignon is the offspring of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. The patriarch of Bordeaux, even though it is outplanted by […]

Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a very old variety believed to have origins in South West France. It is the overlooked parent (along with Sauvignon Blanc) of Cabernet Sauvignon, and is used quite often inBordeauxblends. It is, along with Merlot, the dominant grape of St. Emilion, on the right bank of Bordeaux, and produces one of the […]

Malbec

Malbec

Malbec, one of the five varieties used in red Bordeaux, is thought to have originated in South West France, though in Cahors, the appellation it is most famous for today, the local name is Auxerrois, suggesting origins in Northern Burgundy. The grape is sensitive to frost, downy mildew, and rot, and has therefore come to […]

Merlot

Merlot

Chateau Le Pin, arguably the world’s most expensive wine, is a Merlot. Who knew? Merlot, reportedly named after the ”merle” bird which eats the grapes, is a major player in Bordeaux, where it is actually the most widely planted red varietal and responsible for its priciest wines. Merlot comes to the fore in the Right […]

Bordeaux Blend

Bordeaux Blend

In France, where wines are labeled not by their grape type but by recognized geographical origin (appellation), the various grapes grown in that area are conveniently grouped by “family” or “blend.” Thus, a “Rhone blend” is made up of the typical grapes grown in that area. The Bordeaux blend family members are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet […]

Mourvedre

Mourvedre

Mourvèdre is originally fromSpain – Murviedro was a town nearValencia-and is today the country’s second most planted red varietal after Garnacha. Known now as Monastrell (or, less commonly, BAlmansa,Valencia,Alicante, Jumilla, and Yecla onSpain’s southeastern Mediterranean coast. obal), it is the principal grape of In France, it is the mainstay of the red and rosé wines […]

Grenache

Grenache

Grenache is the fourth most planted variety in the world, and the first most planted in Spain, where it is known as Garnacha. Early-budding and late-ripening, Grenache is notorious for producing round, high alcohol wines if not planted in the right areas or cropped back. It loves the Mediterranean climate. In sandy, devigorated soil or where […]

Syrah

Syrah

Syrah may be the world’s oldest grape variety. Today it is famous for the great Hermitage and Cote Rotie wines of the Rhone Valley in France as well as the great reds of Australia. The Middle Eastern City of Shiraz was thought to be its origin. By one account, the Knight of Stérimberg brought the […]

Rhone Blend

Rhone Blend

Originating in France’s Rhone Valley, the Rhone blend generally refers to a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Grenache, the top three grapes of the area. These grapes, along with Cinsault, Muscardin, Cournoise, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Picpoul, Roussanne, Terret Noir, Picardan, and Vaccarese are the allowable varieties for the famous Châteauneuf du Pape, “the Pope’s new castle” […]

Tempranillo

Tempranillo

Spain is synonymous with Tempranillo, though many wine lovers are unaware of this because of its numerous and confusing aliases. The best and most famous regions are Rioja and Ribera del Duero (where it is known as Tinto Fino and Tinto del Pais) but fine examples can be found from Toro (as Tinta de Toro), Valdepeñas […]

Nero d’Avola

Nero d’Avola

Nero d’Avola is the grape with the highest quality potential of Sicily. It is also known “Calabrese,” suggesting origins in Calabria on the mainland. It also may be, according to another theory, an ‘italianization’ of the ancient vernacular name of Nero d’Avola, being ‘Calaurisi,’ which literally means ‘coming from Avola’. This “black grape of Avola, […]

Aglianico

Aglianico

Aglianico derives from Hellenic, or Ellenico, the Italian word for Greek, indicating that the centuries-old varietal was introduced by the Greeks who settled in Southern Italy as early as 700 B.C. It was blended into the historical Falernum, the most requested wine in the world at that time. Though also cultivated in Puglia, Molise, and […]

Sangiovese

Sangiovese

Sanguis Jovis, “blood of Jove” – an early name for the Roman god Jupiter –  is the Latin derivative of sangiovese. Believed to be indigenous to Tuscany, this grape has most likely has been growing there for nearly 2,000 years, though the first official records don’t appear until the 1700s. This is Italy’s most widely planted grape today. […]

Super Tuscan Blend

Super Tuscan Blend

Super Tuscan wines are either Sangiovese-dominant (Sangiovese is the mainstay of the area and most famous for Chianti), blended with the international Cabernet Sauvignon, the opposite, or somewhere in between. A Super Tuscan may be Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, or even Chardonnay for that matter, single varietal or blend. It is not an official, regulated […]