Tag Archives: Acrobat

Winebits 536: Cheap wine crisis, royal wedding wine, irrigation robots

cheap wine crisisThis week’s wine news: Cheap wine crisis continues with Acrobat sale, plus what will they drink at the royal wedding and robots may irrigate vineyards

Acrobat sold to high-end producer: Acrobat, the Oregon label owned by King Estates that specialized in wine costing less than $15, has been sold to California’s high-end Foley Family Wines. Why is this bad news for cheap wine drinkers? Because Foley, which describes itself as “a major producer, marketer and distributor of highly-acclaimed, handmade wines from some of the world’s greatest vineyards” did not buy Acrobat to continue selling quality Oregon pinot gris for $10 or $12. Expect to see price increases as Foley premiumizes the Acrobat wines, setting a niche for them between $18 and $22. The other sad part about this? I asked the King people a couple of years ago about the future of Acrobat, which was started to sell lower-priced wine, and they assured me Acrobat had a future with the company.

Bring on the British bubbly: The smart money is on Chapel Down, a British sparkling wine producer, as the wine for the upcoming Royal Wedding. Food Network reports that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will serve their guests bubbly from Chapel Down, the same English producer that provided the wine for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. Prices are about what yoiu’d expect to pay for French Champagne – $50 a bottle for the ordinary stuff.

Irrigation robots: California grape growers, worried about drought and a labor shortage, may be able to use an irrigation system that needs minimal human input. Robot-Assisted Precision Irrigation Delivery, or RAPID, uses a machine to monitor and adjust water emitters attached to irrigation lines. The RAPID robot will have GPS, so it can map its route around vineyards, and will rely on drone and satellite imagery to monitor the weather. It will also have a “grasping hand” so it can control the water emitters, increasing or decreasing the flow of water. The most efficient drip systems, which can be turned on and off remotely, always delivers the same amount of water.

Wine of the week: Acrobat Pinot Gris 2012

Wine of the week: Acrobat Pinot Gris 2012The Wine Curmudgeon has told this story before, but it’s worth repeating because it proves that all of us are guilty of judging a wine before we taste it.

Several years ago, I dismissed the Acrobat when I tasted it at home, mostly because it didn’t taste like I thought it should. By God, I knew pinot gris, and this wasn’t it. A couple of months later, I tasted the wine blind during a wine competition judging, and gave it a gold medal. The difference, of course, was blind tasting.

The current vintage of the Acrobat ($12, purchased, 12.5%) isn’t quite as wonderful as that wine, but it will do. It’s another fine effort from King Estate, a top-notch Oregon winery, to make affordable pinot gris that doesn’t taste like pinot grigo, something that not many wineries do. The fruit in the 2012 isn’t as bright as in previous vintages; more of a subdued lime, and it doesn’t zing quite as much as the gold medal winner did. But it’s still crisp and fresh and a solid effort that offers value.

Serve this chilled, and especially with seafood, something like spaghetti and clam sauce, or any kind of chicken braised in white wine with garlic and onions. And don’t forget to reserve judgement until you taste it.

Mini-reviews 39: Schug, Anne Amie, Acrobat, Colores del Sol

Reviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month. Today, wines to enjoy over the Labor Day weekend:

? Schug Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2010 ($25, sample): Elegant chardonnay that is a huge bargain at this price. It retains California freshness and fruit while showing some of the length and breadth of a fine white Burgundy.

? Anne Amie Pinot Noir Cuv e A 2010 ($25, sample): Classic Oregon pinot (and always a favorite), with berry fruit and earthiness that balance each other, and a fine value at this price.

? Acrobat Pinot Noir Rose 2011 ($10, purchased): Nothing really wrong with this Oregon rose, but mildly disappointing if only because it ?s not up to the quality of the Acrobat pinot gris. Tastes of red fruit with almost sauvignon blanc-like acidity.

? Colores Del Sol Malbec 2010 ($12, sample): At $8, this is a nicely done grocery store wine, featuring the typical blueberry cola aroma. But, unfortunately, it doesn ?t cost $8.