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Here From the Very Start




Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:01 pm

Reading The New W&S Mag....

by TomHill » Sat Apr 01, 2006 4:25 pm

The new April W&S magazine just came out. I must admit that I have become more&more
impressed with this publication; one you can actually read and LEARN something from.
Been yrs since I got that from the WineSphincter. A few of the articles that grabbed
my attention:
1. NoirTaboo by JordanMackay: This was a very interesting read on blended Pinots but
it left me we w/ some doubts in my mind. He points out that Calif Pinot acerage has
been relatively static (has it?) but sales of Calif Pinot has jumped 73% over the
last year (amazing, but may be correct). He points that this increase must come from
higher crop loads, which would producer lighter colored wines. He then cites the
increasingly dark color of Calif Pinots, particularly SantaLuciaHighlands one (which
have gotta be a small fraction of Calif Pinots) to suggest that this increased
production is coming from the surepitious, maybe illegal, blending w/ other varieties,
particularly Syrah and Cabernet. He then weaves some quotes from Pinot producers
(Adam Lee, GregLaFollette, Lynn Penner-Ash, MelKnox, LeoMcClosky, TerrySpeizer) into
a conspiracy theory that the use of blending other varieties into Pinot is rampant
throughout Calif, particularly big producers. Maybe/MaybeNot?? Lots of suspicions
and innuendos and suggestions that Pinot producers won't fess up to this practice and
that we Pinot lovers should be up in arms over the nasty practice, like we are over
We all know that the folklore is that Pinot should be 100% varietal, and that anything
less is an abomination. He cites the old practice of blending Rhone stuff into RedBurg
and suggests it may still transpire.
He then segues onto firmer ground by talking w/ producers who make acknowledged
Pinot blends and suggests maybe the folklore may be a bit restrictive/antiquaited.
Anyway, a very interested, if a bit shotgun approach, of a read.
2. Riesling'sHigherGround by DavidSchildnecht: A very well-written and interesting piece about
the reclamation of ancient terraced vnyds on the higher/colder slopes in the Rheingau/
Wachau and argues that many of the best wines in the recent warmer yrs have come from
these old vnyds and that maybe this is the answer to the continued global warming and
the production of great Riesling in traditional areas. A great read with lots of supportive
3. UndiscoveredItaly by AlanTardi: A very interesting description of some of the lesser
known/obscure varieties and DOCs (Verduno Pelaverga, Nas'cetta Langhe Bianco, Ruche
d'CastagnoleMonferrato, Birbet/ParzialmenteFermentato, Asprino d'Aversa, Casavecchia
Terra d'Volturno, Pallagrello Terre d'Volturno, Gragnano Peninsola Sorrentina...those all
sound familar??) in Piedmonte and Campania. I've been very interested in many of the
obscure Italian varieties, having followed Rouchet from the very start, and this article
really whets my appetite to try some of these. Now I just gotta find them.
4. ThrewAGlass,Darkly by DavidDarlington: David is one of my most favorite writers ever since
his Angel'sShare book came out. This opinion piece rails against hosts who serve wine to
us geeks in inappropriate containers. I'm w/ David on this one and might add to his list
of objectional stemware "Too Thin"; that glassware that makes you so antsy to drink wine
from because you're certain the bowl will shatter if you look crossways at it and the
stem will snap if you swirl the wine.
The piece did have one puzzling statement on discrediting plasticware: "I do have it
on good scientific authority that the surface density (??) of plastic is considerably
lower than that of glass (wouldn't argue that), preventing wine's volatile gases from
condensing and releasing perfume". (..) are my comments. First, I'm not at all sure what
"surface density" is. Secondly, the physicist in me would assert that release of volatiles
is a function of the surface finish, rather than any density effect. I'm pursuing this
with David and will report back here. Anyway, aother entertaining article by David, written
w/ that slight twinkle of humor that characterizes many of his pieces.
Anyway, the new W&S is a good read and worth picking up. It took me an order of magnitude
more time to read it than the last WS...and I learned something as well.
User avatar

Howie Hart


The Hart of Buffalo




Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:13 pm


Niagara Falls, NY

Re: Reading The New W&S Mag....

by Howie Hart » Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:06 pm

[quote="TomHill"]We all know that the folklore is that Pinot should be 100% varietal, and that anything less is an abomination. /quote]
Worth noting is that Leon Millot, a French-American Hybrid closely related to Foch, had been used in the past to blend into Pinot Noir (in Alsace, I believe) at rates of 5-10% to deepen color without adversely impacting quality. For this reason Leon Millot has been knicknamed "The Wine Doctor".

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