Taste New Australia: Cool Climate Wines of Jauma & Domaine Lucci

Talking about Australian wines these days can be a bit taboo. As American palates have shifted toward wines with lower alcohols and greater balance, the once ubiquitous fruits-bombs have simply fallen out of favor. Couple this decline in interest with a weak US dollar and you have a situation where Australian wines have become entirely too expensive for a market that doesn't want them anyway. (Such a sad situation could make a kangaroo cry!) But when's the last time you really tasted a wine from "Down Under"? Here are a few new discoveries that just might reignite your interest. Australia at the crossroads Here's the story: The financial crisis of 2008 was a significant global event. But ... Read More »

Inspired by Knoll, Powered by Graham Tatomer

Over the past few years, Gruner Vetliner has won wine lovers over, with its bracing minerality, fresh citrus and floral expressions, and its ability to age into a wine with compelling complexity and structure. While at home on the slopes of the Donau (Danube) River in Austria, Gruner can be found elsewhere, in places like Santa Barbara County, California.  Plantings in California are scarce, but from the few bottlings I’ve had a chance to try, the enjoyment is undeniable, and the potential ever more so. Graham Tatomer is one of the most promising California winemakers working with the grape. After training with legendary Wachau producer Weingut Knoll, Tatomer brought the expertise he ... Read More »

Memorable Austrian Riesling

The first wines that captured my attention and enticed me into this profession were Austrian Rieslings (followed quickly by Champagne of course). Now over a decade later two wines have prompted me to return to Austria; both at home in the glass and with an upcoming trip to the region. Both were 1997s from top producers and top vineyard sites in Kremstal and Wachau. The first was a 1997 Nikolaihof Riesling Steiner Hund consumed in early June over the course of a meal at Jungsik (not from their list, but a bottle my date generously brought). After 18 years, the initial onset of maturity was still contained within a prism of youthful energy. And though the wine seemed actualized, it was not resolved ... Read More »

Hidalgo Manzanilla Pasada “Pastrana”: Terroir Beyond the Bodega

One of the largest factors that sets Sherry apart from almost all other wines is the idea that “terroir” is imparted on the wine from inside the bodega, not the vineyard. Most Capataz, or “Cellar Masters,” in Sherry country have little or nothing to do with the wine until it arrives at the bodega. However, as is often the case in the land of Sherry, there is an exception to the rules: the wines of Hidalgo-La Gitana. As one of the few remaining family-run bodegas in the region, the Hidalgo clan enjoys the freedom of making wines as they please. For generations this has meant: wines produced traditionally with a special focus on single solera bottlings. But, in my opinion, what ... Read More »