Category:Wine trends

Dessert wines: An overview, part I

Port is aged in wood barrels, but its production is much more complicated than table wine. This is the first of two parts discussing dessert wines ? ports, sherries, sauternes, ice wine and the rest. Part II, which will offer dessert wine suggestions, is here.

The Wine Curmudgeon has a deep, dark guilty secret (and, no, it ?s not Yellow Tail). It ?s dessert wine ? sweet, rich, luscious, and often pricey dessert wine.

In those respects, it is frequently everything that drives me crazy about the wine business. But dessert wine almost always gets the benefit of my doubt, because it is that much fun to drink. Pour a glass after a dinner, sniff it, swirl it around in the glass, and sip it. More often than not, it caps off the evening without recourse to over-chocolated desserts, the current chef-fusion-fruit concoction or whatever form of cheesecake is making the rounds.

It ?s not necessarily a holiday wine, but it does pair well with this time of year.

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Wine clubs: Are they worth the effort?

Wine clubs are they worth the effortAt any given moment, the Wine Curmudgeon has a half a dozen pamphlets, mailings, and circulars sitting on his desk, all promising to send wines of great quality and fine value directly to my door every month. And practically for free! In addition, I get similar offers that arrive all the time via email from web retailers, wineries, and on-line shippers.

Is there anything to all hoopla? Perhaps — as long as you know what you ?re getting into.

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Tuesday tidbits 52: Wine scores, Beaujolais nouveau, red wine popularity

? Wine score uproar:  Steve Heimoff, a major U.S. wine writer, has lashed out at those of us who don ?t like scores. ?Just once, I ?d like to meet someone who bashes wine magazines and doesn ?t seem to have an ulterior motive ? making money. Hasn ?t happened yet. ? Mr. Heimoff, give me a call. I ?ll be happy to introduce myself and explain why scores are the wrong way to review wine. And no, I don ?t make any money by saying that. In fact, it probably costs me money. But no one ever accused the Wine Curmudgeon of being a good businessman.

? Beaujolais nouveau: The 2008 edition will be released on Nov. 20 (that ?s a week from tomorrow), and I ?ll have a review here on Nov. 21 (no scores, of course). I don ?t have high hopes for this vintage, mostly because the past several have been quite ordinary. But, as I always tell my wine students, drink the wine before you criticize it. It generally works better that way.

? More red wine? We likely drank more red wine than white in 2008, the first time that has happened in 32 years, according to a study from Impact Databank, which tracks wine sales. Among the projected big sellers? Pinot noir, expected to advance 12 percent; chardonnay, which should remain the most popular white wine; pinot grigio, which should increase 7 percent; and sauvignon blanc and riesling, where imports will rise at double-digit rates. The study attributes this change to two things ? the decline in sweet pink wine sales and red wine ?s supposed health benefits.

Restaurant wine: An inside look

Restaurants get a lot of criticism from the Wine Curmudgeon ?- poorly executed wine lists, crummy service, and armed robbery prices.

But that doesn ?t mean they aren ?t trying to do better. In the past couple of weeks, I did a couple of functions with representatives of two important U.S. restaurant chains. At each, I said I wanted to write about what they thought about wine and the problems that many restaurants have, and promised them anonymity. They agreed. What they told me was quite encouraging.

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Tuesday tidbits 48: David Lett,, wine speculation

image ? David Lett dies: Lett, the father of the Oregon wine business, died last week at the age of 69. He was always a treat to interview, and the fact that he did for Oregon what Robert Mondavi did for California never seemed to impress him very much. Equally as important, he was always trying to figure out how to make his wine better.

? Regional wine week: We had a great time with, and had some terrific visitor numbers. They surprised us, actually. My colleague in regional wine, Dave McIntyre, and I will probably keep the site going, adding several features over the next couple of months. We ?re always welcome to suggestions, as well. You can leave them in the comments here.

? Wine speculators taking hit: The global credit meltdown  may have put a damper on wine speculation. Private collectors, forced to raise cash, are trying to sell $10 million worth of wine to Vinfolio, a San Francisco-based company that buys and sells wine online. Normally the company has about $6 million offered to it. Among the rare vintages for sale are a 2003 Margaux and a 1990 Romanee-Conti.

Restaurant wine: What we’re drinking, part II

This is the second of two parts looking at restaurant wine and what Americans drink. Part I is here.

The good news, if anyone in the restaurant business is paying attention, is that Americans want to drink interesting, quality wine in restaurants ? if the restaurants will let them.

That was one of the most intriguing bits buried in this year ?s Top 100 Wine Brands and Top 100 Individual Wines, a report compiled by Restaurant Wine magazine tracking restaurant wine sales in 2007.

Sales of some of the least interesting traditional wines declined in 2007, and there were sales boosts for several newcomers that were not the same old stuff. What does this mean? Forward-thinking restaurateurs, and even those who work for chains and corporations, can put together a more appealing and less expensive wine list.

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Three Australian winemakers, part I

This is the first of two parts about selected Australian wine and winemakers. The second part is here.

One of the Wine Curmudgeon ?s favorite things to do is to taste wine with Australian winemakers, even though I ?m not a huge fan of the Australian style of wine.

So why is it so much fun? Because most of the Australians I have dealt with are genuine, sincere, open-minded, and plain-speaking. This is a welcome change from U.S. winemakers, many of whom are scared to death of critics, and quite a few Europeans, who aren ?t quite sure why they need to explain their wine to people like me.

But the Aussies? We just sit around and drink wine.

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