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Pillar of Quality
GIRONDE, FRANCE: A cement column marks the edge of the vineyard under the evening light above Chateau Ausone in Gironde on Bordeaux's Right Bank near Saint-Émilion. Ausone is one of only 4 wines classified as Premier Grand Cru Classé in the Saint-Émilion classification.

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This image is from a series of photographs captured by Andy Katz in the process of shooting his most recent work The Club of Nine, a visual exploration and celebration of Bordeaux's top Chateaux. The book is available for $60 on Andy's web site.

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If you are interested in owning an archive quality, limited edition print of this image please contact Andy directly.

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Vinography regularly features images by photographer Andy Katz for readers' personal use as desktop backgrounds or screen savers. We hope you enjoy them. Please respect the copyright on these images. These images are not to be reposted on any web site or blog without the express permission of the photographer.



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Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week included a few really killer wines. In the white category, the two most impressive were the Macrostie rendition of the excellent Chardonnay from Kent Ritchie's vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Highly sought after by many top producers, this Chardonnay is a great rendition, and one of the least expensive wines made from that vineyard. I highly recommend it to lovers of California Chardonnay.

Also excellent was the 2017 Cariblanco from Kingston Family Vineyards which offered everything one could want in a Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp, green, refreshing, zingy. The adjectives go on and on, but the bottle finishes quickly.

Before I move on to reds, there were two unusual whites of note this week from Trinafour cellars, who are seeking out grape varieties off the beaten path. Their Colombard and Semillon are both very young and slightly austere (especially the Semillon which was doing a great impression of a Hunter Valley Semillon from Australia) but interesting and worthy of attention.

Now, on to the reds.

The big pleasure this week came from two fairly expected sources. The first is what some people refer to as the Mini Monte Bello -- the estate Cabernet from Ridge Vineyards. It's elegant, poised, delicious, and very ageworthy. A regal wine without the price tag of its big brother. I highly recommend it.

Nina Buty has been making excellent wines for many years in Washington State, and so it was no surprise that her somewhat unusual blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc was bright and delicious and gulpable.

In addition to these two standouts, there was a good Zinfandel from Ridge, a Carmenere blend from Chile, and a couple more Cabernets worth looking at.

All these and more below.

Enjoy!

2017 Trinafour "Lolonis Vineyard" Semillon, Mendocino County, California
Palest greenish gold in color, this wine smells of unripe pear, celery and lemon cucumber with a hint of white flowers. In the mouth, flavors of lemon cucumber and crabapple are tart and sour with a distinctly grassy undertone. Somewhat severe in its youth, not unlike the Hunter Valley Semillons that this is doing a reasonable job impersonating. Needs a bit of time, but boy would this go well with some raw oysters.... 13.4% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $23.

2017 Trinafour "Casa Verde Vineyard" French Colombard, Mendocino County, California
Near colorless in the glass, this wine smells of green apple and greengage plum. In the mouth, green apple and citrus pith flavors mix with grapefruit and a brisk wet chalkboard minerality that leaves a chalky texture in the mouth. High acid, snappy, and tasty for all that. 13.1% alcohol. Score: around 8.5 . Cost: $23.

2015 Macrostie "Kent Ritchie Vineyard" Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Light gold with a hint of green in the glass, this wine smells of wet chalkboard, pomelo pith and pink grapefruit. In the mouth, juicy and bright lemon curd, candied grapefruit, and a hint of pineapple are wonderfully zippy thanks to excellent acidity. Gorgeous silky texture and wonderful length across the palate. A stunner of a Chardonnay. 13.9% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $46.

2017 Kingston Family Vineyards "Cariblanco" Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of green apples, white flowers, and star fruit. In the mouth, gorgeous tart flavors of lime pith, kiwi, and star fruit have a nice wet pavement minerality and a beautiful balance with bright acidity. Lovely and distinctive. 13.1% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $22. click to buy.

2015 Buty Winery "Connor Lee Vineyard" Red Blend, Columbia Valley, Washington
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry, cola nut, and a touch of green tobacco. In the mouth, plum and cherry flavors are wonderfully bright with juicy acidity, as cola and some faint green herbal notes pinball around the palate. Mouthwatering and delicious. A blend of 67% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2015 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry, tobacco and a touch of coconut. In the mouth, a fine grained gauze of tannins drapes over flavors of cherry, sour cherry and a touch of sweet whiskey barrel. Wonderfully bright thanks to excellent acidity, and perfectly deserving of its "mini Monte Bello" moniker. Built for the long haul, but delicious today. A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $60. click to buy.

2016 Ridge Vineyards "Benito Dusi Ranch" Zinfandel, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of blackberry pie and licorice. In the mouth, licorice, blackberry, and blueberry compote flavors have excellent bounce thanks to bright acidity. Muscular tannins creep round the edges of the mouth, while sour cherry and black cherry notes linger in the finish with a hint of licorice. 14.6% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $35. click to buy.

2017 J. Bouchon "Canto Sur" Red Blend, Maule Valley, Chile
A bright medium purple in color, this wine smells of dried flowers, tomato leaf, and berries. In the mouth, a somewhat musky, gamey, smoky quality mixes with blackberry bramble and a hint of artichoke heart. An interesting, rustic composition that leaves notes of dusty road with leathery tannins in the finish. A blend of 45% Carmenere, 25% Carignan and 30% Pais. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $12. click to buy.

2015 Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry cola. In the mouth, flavors of cherry and tobacco and cola are nestled into a muscular bed of tannins that coat the mouth. Leans a bit high toned in the finish, but the wood is well integrated and good acidity keeps things fresh. A touch of green herbs lingers on the palate. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $24. click to buy.

2015 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Washington
Inky garnet in the glass, this wine smells of coffee and cocoa powder and dark fruit. In the mouth, cherry and black cherry are suffused with the espresso and vanilla notes of expensive oak. Rich on the palate, with a blanket of fleecy tannins thrown over the fruit, this wine has good acidity but too much wood influence at this point in its evolution to really wow me. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $99. click to buy.



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Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren't Flipboard inclined, here's everything I've strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.

Essential Online Wine Stats and Resources - 2018 Edition
Richard Hemming updates his excellent resource list.

Cool white wines from hot climates
Patrick Comiskey reports.

A Wine Billionaire Emerges in Bordeaux
The value of stewardship.

Get to Know Austria's Wine Regions
A primer.

The World's Most Underrated Wine Regions
Jason Wilson writes in promotion of his new book.

The grape debate: Setting the record straight on natural wine
What Australian winemakers think.

Has wine gone bad?
Mainstream media repeating old saws, but a thorough look at the history of natural wine.

Brooklyn Winery Busted For Running 'Dangerous' Illegal Moonshine Operation: Authorities
Don't mess with the NY Liquor board.

Exclusive: Burgundy's Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Leases Corton-Charlemagne Vineyard
More expensive (but good) Chardonnay coming.

Lessons From The California Fires: How Wine Country Should Plan For A Crisis
Liza Zimmerman has recommendations.

After a Fiery 2017, West Coast Winemakers are Adapting to a Changing Climate
Alan Goldfarb reports.

Why The Vines And Wines Of The Canary Islands Will Twist Your Head With Surprise
Because they're good.

Jefford on Monday: Weighing up Gimblett Gravels
Progress, progress, progress, says Andrew.

Is Bordeaux's reign as the king of wines over?
No, but it makes for nice headlines.

Koerner Rombauer, who popularized a rich style of Napa Chardonnay, dies at 83
Another Napa legend passes.

How Michael Mondavi's Hard-Won Wine Collection Proved California Wine Ages Well
Oldies but goodies.

The Best Bordeaux May Well be in Walla Walla Valley
Well, Bordeaux-style, anyway.

The Last Postcard from Spain
What Matt drank.

Rotten Vintage Challenges Champagne's Reserves
Tough times in Epernay.

A Vintner's Quest to Create a Truly American Wine
A lovely portrait of Randall Grahm at this moment in his trajectory.

Get to Know Four Mother-Daughter Winemaking Teams
Happy Mother's Day.

Anson: What drives people to make wine?
Noble reasons, apparently.

Makkas Winery reviving Cyprus' fine wine traditions
I want me some Cypriot wine.

Cape Drought Makes South African Wine Pricier But Tastier
11% is a big price jump!

How to Judge a Wine Without Tasting It
Some people aren't any fun.

Bottles of centuries-old wine could fetch $70K each at auction
Likely still drinkable.

Cleanup all but done on wreckage left by Wine Country wildfires
2.2 Million tons of debris.



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'It's so crisp and cool and clear, I just love it', said pensioner Diane Tibbs while her husband Brad nodded in agreement as they both tipped back their glasses to finish them off.

'Easily half of what I buy, especially after April, is Sauvignon Blanc', said Marika Klaver, a 30-year-old corporate interior designer, who went on to explain that the balance of her wine consumption is split between Pinot Grigio and Merlot, a red that she adds to the mix as autumn rolls around.

On 5 May, these consumers, and more than 300 others, made their way to Lake County, California, to attend the 2018 International Sauvignon Blanc Experience. Even so, most drinkers of California wine may not have heard of Lake County, nor the Sauvignon Blanc conference that the region hosts in an attempt to remedy that fact.

Despite its level of obscurity, Lake County remains one of California's most interesting and valuable wine regions. Located just over the Mayacamas and Vaca mountain ranges, 40 miles (65 km) to the north of the Napa Valley, the Lake County wine region currently hosts more than 10,000 acres of vineyards and almost 40 wineries.

If the disparity between the number of planted acres and number of wineries strikes you as unusual, then you may not be aware of a fact about which Lake County remains profoundly ambivalent. No one knows the exact amounts (or if they do, they aren't telling) but somewhere between 10% and 15% of Lake County fruit ends up in wines that are labelled with Napa Valley appellations and another estimated 20% to 25% goes into high-end, appellation-designated wines from elsewhere around the state. Under current California law, up to 15% of the wine in any bottle can come from outside the appellation printed on the label.

On the one hand, growing high-quality grapes deemed good enough to supplement $150 bottles of Napa Cabernet would represent a feather in most wine regions' caps. On the other hand, Lake County quite reasonably seeks to legitimise itself as a growing region in its own right - a terroir worthy of recognition and patronage.

Hence the weekend trade conference and consumer tasting of Sauvignon Blanc, a grape that Lake County hopes to make synonymous with the region.

Read the rest of the story on JancisRobinson.Com.

This article is my monthly column at JancisRobinson.Com, Alder on America, and is available only to subscribers of her web site. If you're not familiar with the site, I urge you to give it a try. It's only £8.50 a month or £85 per year ($11/mo or $111 a year for you Americans) and well worth the cost, especially considering you basically get free, searchable access to the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs. Click here to sign up.

Image of Vigilance Vineyards by Nathan DeHart, courtesy of the Lake County Winegrape Commission.



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The Juice
MARGAUX, FRANCE: Freshly crushed berries are pumped into a tank at Chateau Margaux during harvest in Bordeaux. Margaux is one of four original Premier Grand Cru classÉ wines according to the famous 1855 Bordeaux Classification. The estate is located in the commune of Margaux on the left bank of the Garonne estuary in the Médoc region, in the department of Gironde.

INSTRUCTIONS:
Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops.

To set the image as your desktop wallpaper, Mac users should follow these instructions, while PC users should follow these.

BUY THE BOOK:
This image is from a series of photographs captured by Andy Katz in the process of shooting his most recent work The Club of Nine, a visual exploration and celebration of Bordeaux's top Chateaux. The book is available for $60 on Andy's web site.

PRINTS:
If you are interested in owning an archive quality, limited edition print of this image please contact Andy directly.

ABOUT VINOGRAPHY IMAGES:
Vinography regularly features images by photographer Andy Katz for readers' personal use as desktop backgrounds or screen savers. We hope you enjoy them. Please respect the copyright on these images. These images are not to be reposted on any web site or blog without the express permission of the photographer.



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Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren't Flipboard inclined, here's everything I've strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.


Young Innovators Are Raising Puglian Wines' Quality and Image
John Mariani offers his picks.

5 Unexpected, but Totally Worthwhile, American Wine Trips
The tourist point of view.

The Vineyard Where Retired French Soldiers Make Wine
Reporting for duty among the vines.

Diversity in the World of Wine
Julia Coney tries not to take it personally.

Contrasting Fortunes for Fortified Wine
Jim Lawrence says it's murky.

Concern Over Accurate Labeling Grows
Liza Zimmerman reports.

The Complicated and Scandalous History of Islamic Wine Poetry
A scent sweeter than your beloved....

Swartland Wines
One blogger's POV.

Jefford on Monday: Mindfulness and wine
Andrew argues for meditative wine drinking.

How to Drink Natural Wine Like Someone Who Knows What They're Doing
Wait, there's a special way to drink it? Damn. Here's an article with ALL the tropes.

The Pioneering Family-Run Wineries of Washington
Good profiles, even if Sean has a little home-region bias.

German Wines Take Center Stage
And then they take a bow.

Bright and intriguing wines in full bloom at these four foothill wineries
Mike Dunne on newcomers and oldies in the foothills.

Austria's Red Wines are Ready for Prime Time
Actually they've been ready for years.

The Unwritten Rules of Tasting Room Etiquette
That no one seems to know.

Rod Smith Remembrance
A formidable wine writing talent, sadly lost too soon.

Why Moscato is Misunderstood
Not buying it. In both senses of that.

Napa Vintner and Entrepreneur Leslie Rudd Dies at 76
Another major wine industry figure gone.



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Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week included a few interesting wines. Let's start farthest afield with the dry Riesling from Gunderloch in Germany Rheinhessen. This is a very nice bottling with a wonderful balance that makes it quite easy to drink, and despite no real sweetness it avoids being too tart, instead opting for crisp and mouthwatering.

The other white wine this week was a perennial performer, the Rued Vineyard Chardonnay from Dutton Goldfield, which offers everything you'd really want in a California Chardonnay, especially if you were of the opinion that oak isn't one of those things. Oh there's wood there, to be sure, but it plays second fiddle to lemony goodness.

This week included three Pinots from Oregon -- two of the latest releases from Big Table Farm, showing their usual earthy and herbal character amidst bright fruit -- and a very easy-to-drink, entry-level option from Cooper Mountain Vineyards. At $25, it's a heck of a tasty bottle of Pinot.

There's also a solid Tempranillo from Lodi, a Zinfandel from the Russian River Valley, an unusual Solera-style blend of multiple vintages from the Santa Cruz Mountains, and two big reds worth remarking on individually.

The first is a wine known as High Dive, which smells like a carefully constructed brand play, as much as it does a very pretty blend of Bordeaux varieties with a judicious use of oak. If you're looking for a juicy wine and don't mind paying Napa prices, you'd do worse than to pick this one up. It's tasty.

Finally, the most intriguing (and disappointing) wine of the week was a bottling of Saint Macaire -- an obscure Bordeaux grape variety you'd be excused for never having heard of. I was quite excited to taste this wine, but after tasting it, I definitely am left still wondering exactly what that grape tastes like, since at 16% alcohol it was picked at a ripeness level that essentially equalizes almost all grapes to a general mean of "ripe red and black fruit." It's far from awful -- I am, after all, recommending it. But it definitely didn't live up to its potential.

Enjoy!

2015 Dutton Goldfield "Dutton Ranch - Rued Vineyard" Chardonnay, Green Valley, Sonoma, California
Light yellow gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd and cold cream. In the mouth, lemon curd, cold cream and lemon zest flavors mix with notes of pink grapefruit and citrus pith. Bright and zippy thanks to excellent acidity. Very little trace of oak. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $54. click to buy.

2015 Gunderloch Riesling Trocken, Rheinhessen, Germany
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of citrus pith, pear, and tangerine oil. In the mouth, zingy flavors of tangerine, Asian pear, and wet chalkboard have a crystalline transparency. Gorgeous stony minerality, and not a whiff of sweetness makes this an effortless, bright mouthful. 12% alcohol. Closed with screwcap. Score: around 9. Cost: $21. click to buy.

2014 Cooper Mountain Vineyards Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cranberry and cherry jam. In the mouth, bright cherry and raspberry fruit is boisterous thanks to excellent acidity. A touch of herbal earthiness emerges on the finish. Not complicated, but pretty damn tasty, especially for the price. 13% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $25 . click to buy.

2016 Big Table Farm Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of pine duff and raspberries and raspberry leaf. In the mouth, green herbs and fresh, ripe raspberries mix with deeper forest floor notes and a hint of mushroom. Faint, powdery tannins and gorgeous, filigreed acidity. Very tasty. 13.9% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $39. click to buy.

2016 Big Table Farm "Pelos Sandberg Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and raspberry jam with notes of wet dirt. In the mouth, exceedingly silky flavors of cherry and earth mix with herbs and a touch of dried flowers. The faintest of tannins hang at the edges of perception. Delicate acidity. 13.9% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $62. click to buy.

2014 Fields Family Wines "Lot 13 Vineyard" Tempranillo, Lodi, Central Valley, California
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry compote and dusty roads. In the mouth, rich cherry, sawdust and leather flavors are bright with excellent acidity and draped in lightly gauzy tannins. Sour cherry notes linger in the finish. Nicely balanced. 14.9% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $28. click to buy.

2016 Sidebar Cellars "Old Vine" Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of blackberries and blueberries and a touch of licorice. In the mouth, blueberry and blackberry fruit has a wonderful earthy backdrop and faint buttery tannins. Wonderfully floral and bright with hints of cedar bark. Excellent acidity. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $??.

2014 High Dive Cellars "High Dive" Proprietary Red, Napa Valley, California
Inky garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cocoa powder. In the mouth, cherry, dried cherry and cola flavors are juicy and bright with fine grained tannins and excellent acidity. Notes of cola nut and cedar and cocoa powder linger in the finish. A textbook Napa red with beautifully integrated (and barely perceptible) oak. Ripe, but not overdone. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $100. click to buy.

2015 Hanna Winery "Hanna Reserve - Red Ranch" Saint Macaire, Sonoma County, California
Inky opaque garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry, leather, and a hint of gaminess. In the mouth, rich and powerful cassis and black cherry flavors have a hint of sour cherry and a touch of wet dog funkiness to them. Notes of blackberry linger in the finish with thick but powdery tannins. This is perhaps the only varietal bottling of this obscure Bordeaux blending grape made in the United States, but thanks to being picked super-ripe, I'm not sure I fully understand what it tastes like, even though I've now tasted this wine. Clocks in at 16% alcohol, though it must be said, it doesn't betray too much of that on the palate. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $ . click to buy.

NV Left Bend "Mashup V3" Red Blend, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of whiskey barrel, coconut and red fruit. In the mouth, tasty flavors of cherry, cola nut, and black olives have a nicely savory salty quality blended with the sweet fruit and the grace notes of coconut and whiskey. Pretty tasty despite the rasher of American Oak. Faint tannins and good acidity. A blend of 50% Syrah, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Cabernet Franc from five vintages spanning 2010 to 2015, solera style. 75 cases made. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $58. click to buy.



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Episode 451 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and features a special segment by Erin Scala entitled The Aligoté Thread. It showcases interviews with Fanny Sabre of Domaine Fanny Sabre, Sylvain Pataille of Domaine Sylvain Pataille, Pierre de Benoist of Domaine A. & P. de Villaine, Frédéric Lafarge of Domaine Michel Lafarge, and more.

One of the advantages Burgundy has is that it can meet a drinker at any level. Whether you just want a glass of Pinot, or you would rather study minute differences in terroir expression or vintage character, Burgundy can reward you with what you are searching for. It is a complex whole that can also be easily grasped in parts. One of those parts that is often overlooked is Aligoté. How many times have you heard that red Burgundy is Pinot Noir and white Burgundy is Chardonnay? Well, that is not the whole story, and Aligoté can offer up its own complexities (and pleasures!) to those looking for them. It turns out that Aligoté is not even one thing, as Erin Scala discovered when she went around and spoke to top producers. Aligoté Doré is distinct from Aligoté Vert. Erin's explanation of those differences features commentary from producers which Erin recorded on-site, and the chorus effect that she achieves by incorporating those voices into the episode brings listeners along with her to the cellars of Burgundy. When Fanny Sabre announces on the tape that she adores Aligoté, the excitement in her voice provides ample inducement to give Aligoté another look, if you haven't already. And the other vigneron featured in the episode are just as compelling, such as the Aligoté luminaries Sylvain Pataille and Pierre de Benoist. If you want to better understand what Aligoté has to offer, check out this episode.

IDTT Wine 451: The Aligoté Thread - SoundCloud
(3002 secs long)Play in SoundCloud

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube or Spotify.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine



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Given their proximity, you might expect that the nouveau riche of Silicon Valley might have more awareness of the quality of the wine region practically (and in some cases quite literally) in their backyards, but the Santa Cruz Mountains wine region has been quite slow to rise in the consciousness of California wine consumers. Even with superstars such as Ridge Vineyards having clearly established the region's potential decades ago, it still remains a much less talked about and traveled wine region than its more famous brethren to the North, Napa and Sonoma.

This is a darn shame, because the Santa Cruz Mountains are turning out some of the most exciting wines made in California today. In particular, new Pinot Noir plantings are proving to be phenomenal in personality and quality, and new Cabernet plantings are showing great potential as well.

All of which is why anyone in Silicon Valley who considers themselves a wine lover should be attending the Silicon Valley Wine Auction. Launched in 2014 by the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Education Foundation and the associated Winegrowers Association, this auction and tasting has been raising millions for kids' education initiatives in Silicon Valley.

For wine lovers, the event, which features an exclusive dinner event, a silent auction and tasting offers the unique opportunity to do good while having a damn good time. More details can be found on the event's website, but the point of this posting is promote the chance for you to taste the wines from more than 40 Santa Cruz Mountains producers in a single location. These are great wines that are worthy of your attention. And the event is for a great cause that is worthy of your support.

So mark your calendars for Sunday May 20th, and go taste some of what the Santa Cruz Mountains have to offer.

2018 Silicon Valley Wine Auction
Grand Tasting Event
Sunday, May 20th
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Montalvo Arts Center
15400 Montalvo Rd
Saratoga, CA 95071 (map)

Tickets for the event cost $95 for general admission, or $145 for VIP access to the tasting 1 hour early and an oyster and sparkling wine bar, which sounds like the perfect thing for a Sunday afternoon. Tickets invariably sell out, so get yours online soon. There's a super fancy private winemaker dinner the evening before, and the price on the web site reads "call for tickets" which means something like "if you have to ask..."

My usual tips for public tastings apply: dress in dark colors in case of spills; get a good night's sleep and come hydrated and fed; leave off the perfume or cologne; and spit out your wine if you want to learn anything and last through the afternoon.



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Pure Light
SAUTERNES, FRANCE: The setting sun shines through a tree on the grounds of Château d'Yquem in Sauternes, an appellation within the Graves region of Bordeaux. In the famous 1855 Classification of Bordeaux, d'Yquem was the only winery in the Sauternes region to be accorded the status of Premiere Cru Supérieur. Its sweet dessert wines are among the most famous, and long lived, in the world. Today also happens to be International Sauvignon Blanc Day, and so it is worth remembering that almost all the Sauvignon Blanc planted in the US, and a good bit planted elsewhere in the world, comes from cuttings made at Chateau d'Yquem.

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To set the image as your desktop wallpaper, Mac users should follow these instructions, while PC users should follow these.

BUY THE BOOK:
This image is from a series of photographs captured by Andy Katz in the process of shooting his most recent work The Club of Nine, a visual exploration and celebration of Bordeaux's top Chateaux. The book is available for $60 on Andy's web site.

PRINTS:
If you are interested in owning an archive quality, limited edition print of this image please contact Andy directly.

ABOUT VINOGRAPHY IMAGES:
Vinography regularly features images by photographer Andy Katz for readers' personal use as desktop backgrounds or screen savers. We hope you enjoy them. Please respect the copyright on these images. These images are not to be reposted on any web site or blog without the express permission of the photographer.



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