Archive for the Wine News Category

From Cork Taint to Coke Taint

Posted in Wine News on July 17, 2009 by winechef

wine-cokeAccording to Decanter, 714 liters of liquid cocaine were discovered under the guise of bottles of Bolivian Bodegas Kohlberg, but not until they arrived in Bulgaria where they were confiscated by customs officers. Of the 1,020 bottles, only 68 actually contained wine.

Apparently this has happened before.


What I’m Watching: Bottle Shock

Posted in Movie Review, Wine News, Winery Review on February 23, 2009 by winechef

bottleshockA story that many wine nerds and historians know by heart, the 1976 tasting of California wines versus the wines of France, in which Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay came out on top, alerting the world to the fact that our wines were a force to be reckoned with, made its way onto the big screen. An entertaining, yet overly dramatic movie featuring a cast of B list actors tell the tale of the Barrett’s, Steven Spurrier, and the most influential blind tasting of all time. While not a must see, it is available on Netflix Instant Watch, and goes well with almost any bottle of wine and a night off (which more and more of us seem to have plenty of).

Chateau Montelena on the other hand, is a winery not to be missed. cmcimg1542cmlake

The end of sulphites in wine?

Posted in Wine News on February 3, 2009 by winechef

Decanter recently published an article about a new UV technology that would eliminate the need for the addition of sulfur in wines.While many people claim to have adverse reactions to red wine because of this addition, the jury is still out as to what the real cause is.

What does sulfur do for wine?

Enobytes has a very in depth break down of what it is, what is does, and what it’s in, while Vineography makes a solid case for the traditional method as well as the new technology.

The effects of sulfur can be debated until the end of time (as can MSG’s), my thoughts? Keep it real, keep wines out of labs and in the vineyards. Oh, and don’t be scared of MSG.

Cameron Hughes

Posted in Sommelier, Wine News, Winery Review on October 14, 2008 by winechef

I stumbled onto this man and his company after researching Bay Area negotiants. I find what Cameron Hughes is doing inspiring, forward thinking, and his wines a ridiculous bargain. Cameron is a phantom producer, sourcing and then blending ultra premium wines from around the world and then selling them almost exclusively at Costco.

The wines are sourced from high end established wineries, blended, bottled and given the sleek and cryptic “Lot” label. Cryptic because we are given the unique appellation, but figuring out exactly who made the wine is up to us. Check out the Cameron Confidential portion of the Lot descriptions for even more exciting clues as to the wine’s origin. It’s possible that we are drinking an $80 of Silver Oak, or $70 Leeuwin for under $20.

Trying to find the wines can be like a Costco scavenger hunt. If you want to cheat just type in your zip code on the CH website and it will tell you where to find each wine, weather or not they still have them when you get there is another thing.

The two I was able to track down at my local Costco were the Lot  91 ’07 Chardonnay from Russian River Valley and the Lot 73 ’06 Cabernet from Chalk Hill Sonoma County. Just by doing a Google search it seems that the Cab could be anything from Herzog ($89.99) to Chalk Hill ($66.99). The Chard on the other hand is said to be priced at around $30 and I’m guessing is either Patz and Hall or Sabastiani given the clues about the legal reasons for passing on all of the fruit…my money’s on Sebastiani. Actually my money’s on Cameron. For an exceptional product at an even more exceptional price, I will purchase his wines with confidence and pour them for even the most discerning palates.

Read more about Cameron Hughes here.

RIP Robert Mondavi

Posted in Wine News on May 16, 2008 by winechef

Sadly, we have just learned of the passing of wine industry great, Robert Mondavi.

I’m sure many of us that lived in Napa Valley have beautiful memories of Bob. My personal favorite was when I was catering an event for a major wine group that included hundreds of industry VIP’s and he walked straight up to me in a tent filled with chefs, kissed me on the cheek and thanked me for the food. He was a beautiful man that did so much for the wine industry, California tourism, and touched so many lives through organizations, donations, motivation, and education.

Now I’m picturing the opening parade for Copia in 2001,where he and Julia Child rode down the street in a beautiful convertible, waving at everyone that had come to celebrate the triumphant commencment . Hopefully they will be reunited in the vineyard in the sky and know that they truly made the world a better place for so many.

Sisters are doin’ it for themselves!

Posted in Uncategorized, Wine News on March 15, 2008 by winechef
In current nun news: 
“An order of Sardinian nuns is the first convent to practice organic viticulture in Italy.”
Mother Superior Margherita Piludu began bottling the Vermantino based wines to guarantee funding for the communities various charities. The wine has been chosen “best value white wine” by Guida Vini d’Italia. 
In other nun related news:
Greek convent caught in cannabis bust!

Is this what Annie Lenox meant she she sang,
the conscious liberation of the female state?”

Santorini under attack!

Posted in Wine News on March 3, 2008 by winechef
Oh noes! My new favorite wine region is under attack by mother nature! The island of Santorini has not seen snow in fourteen years, yet this month the white death has blanketed these fragile vines. 
Decanter seems to believe that this isn’t so bad…
“Although unusual, the appearance of snow is unlikely to have an adverse effect on the vines. Plants which are now green may be affected but the now-dormant vines will not.”
Actually, it sounds quite beneficial. The winemaker Haridimos Hatzidakis says that the microorganisms that would “otherwise destroy the vine wood have become inactive”, the snow should cause an “irrigation effect” that will benefit the intensely dry soil, and help the wood of the vine to form!
As long as my Santorini Assyrtiko remains available, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.