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Winemakers Use Pied de Cuve Instead of Sulfur
An Alternative Method to Stabilizing Central Coast Whole Cluster Pinor Noir
Elaine Chukan Brown

TOGETHER RAJAT PARR AND Sashi Moorman are the winemakers behind Domaine de la Cote and Sandhi in the Sta Rita Hills and Evening Land in the Willamette Valley. Domaine de la Cote and Evening Land are made from estate vineyards, while Sandhi sources fruit from heritage sites in Santa Barbara County. Their focus is on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which undergo a rather less-frequented fermentation method: all three wineries forego the use of sulfur until bottling and allow fermentation to start with ambient, rather than inoculated, yeast.

To help counteract some of the microbial issues that can result from withholding the use of sulfur, the winemakers have begun to rely on a pied de cuve method to help start fermentation. The method has been particularly helpful in whole-cluster fermentation for Pinot Noir. While the volatile acidity (VA) levels have been reasonably low for all of their wines, Parr and Moorman were interested in ensuring that they would remain low. The pied de cuve has helped lower those levels even further. Moorman shared their approach to the pied de cuve.

No Sulfur Until Bottling

Since the advent of the Sandhi program in 2010, the winemaking has included no sulfur until bottling, as well as fermentation via ambient yeast. When Parr and Moorman started Domaine de la Cote and Evening Land, they continued the practice for those wines as well. The decision to avoid sulfur until after fermentation was made to allow greater complexity in the resulting wine by fostering …

To keep reading head on over to Wine Business Monthly where their August edition is now available free-for-all online. You can either down the full PDF of the magazine or peruse it online. You will have to sign in but there is no cost to read once you’ve done that. The rest of the article on Parr and Moorman’s pied de cuve approach begins on page 66 of the August 2017 edition.

Here’s the link: 

https://www.winebusiness.com/wbm/?go=getDigitalIssue&issueId=9428

Petaluma Gap – A windy AVA on hold 

harvest at McEvoy Azaya Ranch, courtesy of Doug Cover

Sonoma’s proposed Petaluma Gap AVA – known for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah – is all but approved but, due to slow-downs under the Trump administration, its final authorisation is currently on hold for an unknown period of time. The proposed AVA has gone through every stage of public commentary and consideration required by the TTB, and has thus fulfilled the requirements to become an official American Viticultural Area under federal law. However, the final step – the official endorsement signature from the Office of the Treasury – is unavailable thanks to several empty appointments in that office.

Within the US government, the president appoints top positions of major departments and federal offices. As a result, it is normal to see some delay in rulemaking during the transition from one presidential administration to another as new administrators are nominated and approved. The Trump administration, however, has had a higher rate of delay than typical as Trump fired an unusually high proportion of federal officials immediately upon taking office, came in with an unusually low number of appointments already in place, and the appointment of new administrators has been slowed by the current presidency’s numerous distractions such as the ongoing special investigations.

While the top position of the Office of the Treasury, the Secretary of the Treasury, has been confirmed, the second level, Deputy of the Treasury, has no nominee. The TTB falls specifically within the Treasury Office of Tax Policy. There, the President also appoints the top position, and while an official was nominated for the..

To keep reading this article, including tasting notes, head on over to JancisRobinson.com

Here’s the direct link: https://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/petaluma-gap-a-windy-ava-on-hold

Subscription to JancisRobinson.com is £8.50 a month or £85 per year ($12.20/mo or $122 a year for you Americans) and includes searchable access to the new 4th edition of the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the 7th edition to the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs, as well as interactive discussions on the Purple Pages. Click here to sign up.

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Viticulture in a Marginal Climate

With the return of interest in wines of freshness, energy, and more delicate presentation, interest in cool climate wines has also increased. Without a formal definition, the idea of cool climate gets applied generously to regions around the world. Climate classification systems based on growing degree days and mean temperature indexes provide only limited insight into the actual growing conditions of a region. Many regions commonly referred to as cool climate host daytime temperatures reaching highs comparable to recognized warmer climates, allowing plenty of ripeness for the right varieties.

Genuinely cool climates, however, tend to successfully grow only varieties that ripen earlier, before temperatures drop. Temperatures at harvest are often quite a bit cooler than those during the peak of the growing season, slowing metabolic processes in the vine. The temperature of the fruit itself at harvest is usually lower as well.

As winegrowing has extended into more regions around the globe, it has also pushed further into the edges of possible winegrowing. Such expansion has changed our views of viticulture. We’ve realized we can grow in more extreme conditions than previously believed. At the same time, these changes have required us to develop our understanding of how to more successfully grow in truly marginal climates.

But what are the conditions of a marginal climate?

To keep reading this article head on over the GuildSomm.com where it is free for all to read. The rest of the article considers the unique growing conditions of a marginal climate, and then looks at the fundamental viticulture needs of growing in that sort of environment. 

Here’s the direct link: 

https://www.guildsomm.com/public_content/features/features/b/elaine-chukan-brown/posts/marginal-climate-viticulture

Whoops! I made a mistake on the time this post will publish – the post is available to read now. My apologies for the confusion!

Adventures in Pie Club, Sonoma Edition

As some of you will recall, several of us formed an International Pie Club with members from New Zealand (of course), Australia, Sweden, Venezuela, the UK, Netherlands, Germany, and the United States. It’s serious. As such, we take our duties very seriously. Though proper savory pie shops are present most prolifically in New Zealand, Australia hosts a bevy of them as well. Outside the Antipodes the pie sources begin to run dry with only a trickle appearing occasionally across a vast pie desert. Gratefully, an oasis appeared in Sonoma County.

A Kiwi family relocated to Windsor, California, in the northern part of Sonoma County just off the 101, and opened a New Zealand inspired shop, BurtoNZ Bakery. In truth that means they make a lot of various baked things you could expect to find at a relatively Anglo-Saxon-descent bakery, but they also fit in a host of savory pies, and this weird Kiwi-Australian dessert I never have liked so don’t recall the name of either. But, as I said, THEY HAVE PIE.

So, a couple of us Pie Club members got together and did a proper tasting in two different visits. For one of the visits potential pie club members were invited to submit their application to pie club and demonstrate their pie club tasting and review skills. They were being vetted for their potential pie tasting prowess. In the other, actual founding members furthered the investigation. Two visits also means more pie, and the time to try a greater range of pie flavors as well.

Following are notes from the tastings.

Notes from Pie Club

BurtoNZ Bakery
9076 Brooks Rd S, Windsor, California

Pies Tasted: Mince & Cheese, Steak & Cheese, Vegetarian, Steak with Potato Top
Served: White Bag Take-Away, Eaten Outside
Tasting Notes:
Mince & Cheese tasted first. Good reliable standard crust. Reasonable mince & cheese filling. Cheese well dispersed and integrated. Mince far paler than that seen in a classic Mince & Cheese served in New Zealand. In a proper Kiwi Mince & Cheese pie one would expect the mince to be finely chopped and the details of the ingredients largely unrecognizable as a result, save for the occasional addition of light tomato. No tomato found here. No secrets either. All components of the mince were visibly recognizable due to larger chop size. Even so, solid workable pie. Good enough to cope with being away from New Zealand though no prize winner when back home.

Steak & Cheese. Good reliable standard crust. Cheese a bit more apparent alongside the steak than alongside the mince. Avoids dryness while also going light on the gravy. An okay pie. Mince & Cheese, however, is preferred here to Steak & Cheese.

Vegetarian. It is good and cute and friendly and nicely Californian of them to serve a vegetarian option. Way to integrate quickly into your newly adopted culture! However, as savory pie without meat seems a misnomer it is hard to take this pie too seriously. Nevertheless, one of the potential pie club members less indoctrinated into classic Kiwi pies felt the vegetarian pie was the best of the selections and chose it as his favorite. His application to pie club is unlikely to be accepted.

Steak with Potato Top. This is a damn good pie. Excellent steak filling with just enough gravy. The absence of cheese works to the advantage of this particular pie. Very good use of potato top. As everyone knows, a perfectly delivered potato top makes every one happy. It also offers a beautiful opportunity for alliteration when eaten in the proper location.

Behold!

Potato pie poised in my paw beside the Pacific!

I’ll be back to BurtoNZ for road pie next time I’m heading north. Steak with potato top was the clear winner.

For previous notes from Pie Club, Central Otago Edition:  http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2017/04/21/adventures-with-pie-club-for-david/

Copyright 2017 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com.

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Dan Petroski, photo courtesy of David Bayless

In 2009 Dan Petroski launched the entirely white-wine-focused brand Massican, sourcing fruit from iconic Napa Valley vineyards. In 2012, fruit from Russian River Valley was added to ensure adequate quantities for the various cuvées. Although Massican relies on fruit from California’s North Coast, the inspiration for the brand rests in the fresh, aromatic whites of north-eastern Italy. Petroski lived in Italy making wine for a year after leaving a publishing position with Time magazine, and fell in love with the high-acid whites of the country. Massican’s core blend, Annia, recalls the classic white wine blends of Friuli, bringing together the Italian grapes of that region with Chardonnay.

Since 2006 Petroski has also served as the winemaker for Larkmead Vineyards, one of north Napa Valley’s heritage wineries. There the wine programme centres more typically for Napa on red bordeaux blends, although it is also a source of old-vine Tocai Friulano. (In the United States the TTB still requires the variety be called by the full name, Tocai Friulano, even though international labelling laws demand it be called simply Friulano – see Farewell Tocai Friulano.)

Petroski’s decision to produce white wines only under the Massican label is unusual for Napa Valley. It hints at the potential diversity in a region that has so strongly aligned itself with Cabernet Sauvignon and structured reds. While Massican’s blends focus on Friuli’s characteristic white wine varieties, Petroski’s Sauvignon Blancs are also a stand out. His 100% varietal expression offers an example unique for the region, using just enough oak to give it pleasing palate texture, while in the end delivering a harmony of savoury notes, balanced by just enough sweet stone fruit, and just enough spice. The result is a serious but delicious example of Sauvignon that avoids its excesses or stereotypes.

At the end of April, Petroski opened complete verticals of every wine he has made for Massican. It provided a unique opportunity to taste his current 2016 releases and to revisit previous vintages to see how they have aged. While the earlier vintages of 2009 through 2011 show a sense of…

To keep reading this article, including tasting notes, head on over to JancisRobinson.com

Here’s the direct link: https://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/massican-italian-inspired-napa-whites

Subscription to JancisRobinson.com is £8.50 a month or £85 per year ($12.20/mo or $122 a year for you Americans) and includes searchable access to the new 4th edition of the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the 7th edition to the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs, as well as interactive discussions on the Purple Pages. Click here to sign up.

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Remi Leroy

From my recent adventures in France I mentioned wandering my way into Antic Wine shop in Lyon. It’s a wonderful place, a sort of mecca for wine lovers from outside Europe. At least, if like me, it just feels good to be near bottles of wine of that quality. (One of my early experiences in a really mind blowing wine cellar I remember the strange restorative comfort I took just from standing near irreplaceable bottles even if I was unlikely to taste them. I have also long had a strange sort of empathetic encounter where if I turn my attention to another person or a thing in a certain way I’ll get taste-flashes of what that person is tasting, or taste what a thing is like. So, to stand near amazing bottles sometimes feels as though I am experiencing the wine even when it hasn’t literally been opened and poured for me.)

Quite quickly into my multi-hour visit with Georges at Antic it was clear our wine interests overlapped enough and that I respected his palate enough that I would readily take his advice on wine. So, when he found out I love Champagne and had tuned into the kind of wine I like he recommended I buy this bottle of Rémi Leroy Blanc de blancs, and I immediately did.

Getting the bottle back home I was torn. I could feel through the glass the kind of wine it would be. To truly enjoy it all I wanted to do was stay home, drink it on my own, and fall asleep in low light wearing a silk negligee – I just knew it was going to have that sort of silken, delicate, ethereal-with-substance sort of feel to it that can only be captured by such an experience. But as a wine lover in a community of wine lovers it is also important to share unique wines with people that can appreciate it and so too can understand its importance. So, I brought the bottle with me on a recent trip to Canada and drank it with friends on Vancouver Island while visiting them all in Victoria.

The Remi Leroy Blanc de blancs grows, uniquely, in the Côte des Bars of Aube. The area is predominately planted to Pinot Noir, but it is also full of Kimmeridgean soils, which many believe are better suited to Chardonnay. So, some brave souls have risked planting the white grape even as it grows surrounded by the red. Leroy is one. He farms organically, with a focus on cover crops to encourage the health of the soils and then takes a more minimalist approach in the cellar while keeping the focus on clean, stable cuvées at the same time. It would be ridiculous to call a methode traditionelle wine program anything like natural or non-interventionist, as so many steps are integral to just making sparkling wine, but Leroy aims to reduce cellar techniques or inputs that would otherwise be unnecessary. It’s a kind of balance I admire.

So, what of the wine itself?

It is unbelievably beautiful. My original sense of falling asleep in low light, perhaps candles, in a silk negligee captured the feel of the wine. It’s a slower paced, end of the day sort of wine. That softened glow one gets from candles with their flickering light cast across the walls and ceiling resembles the mouthfeel and presence of this wine on the palate.

Candle light, without doubt, has a delicate nature to it but at the same time the mood it casts is powerful. It can change the feel of an entire day, regardless of how things have gone. There is intimacy to it and a calm, sensual openness. Candle light in its qualities resembles the feel of silk used for negligees or nightgowns – soft and smooth, while thin and satiny, exactly what we mean when we use the word silken. It is light, delicate, sensual, and, again, carries its own unique mood.

The Remi Leroy 2009 Blanc de blancs sits in the center of this family of feeling.

If I was to turn to regular tasting notes I’d have to admit in a strange way I don’t remember its flavors – they were chalky and pale yellow, high tone ethereal notes, without being shrill, like what one would hear at high voice from a choir singing in a well-tuned cathedral – the wine was so much more about its texture, mouthfeel, and mood. It’s finish was long.

When I bought the wine from Antic, there were few bottles left of this 2009, it turned out, and it doesn’t get exported from France. The Remi Leroy brut does make it to the United States, for those wanting to try some of the Leroy wines, but I confess I haven’t had it yet. Based on the Blanc de blancs I would be shocked if it isn’t wonderful and I intend to taste it as soon as I can.

Copyright 2017 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com.

Oregon’s Renascent Riesling

Photo by Andrea Johnson Photography, courtesy of Brooks Winery

In the last 10 to 15 years there has been a small resurgence of interest in Riesling in Oregon. Today around 40 producers work with the variety, meeting as a group a few times a year to taste each others’ wines, both before and after bottling. They also host public tastings once a year in conjunction with the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration in July. Together these producers hope to support and improve the overall quality of winemaking for the variety, to preserve and establish quality sites and to raise awareness of Oregon Riesling more broadly. Their efforts are not insignificant. While the Willamette Valley and even the Umpqua Valley in the south are both well suited to the variety, Riesling has faced challenges in the state.

The variety found its way to Oregon in the modern era in the 1960s when it was first planted in the southern portion of the state. Though much of Southern Oregon is quite warm, the Umpqua Valley is a cool zone that suits the variety and producers such as Brandborg continue to grow it.

By the 1980s, Riesling played a significant role in the Willamette Valley as well. For a time it was the dominant white wine grape constituting around 23% of the state’s plantings, but challenges in wine quality led to many of those vineyards being pulled out. Interest turned instead towards Pinot Gris. Wineries such as Chehalem, Elk Cove and Brooks kept…

 

To keep reading this article, including tasting notes on all of their 2014 wines, continue to JancisRobinson.com

Here’s the direct link: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/oregons-renascent-riesling

Subscription to JancisRobinson.com is £8.50 a month or £85 per year ($12.20/mo or $122 a year for you Americans) and includes searchable access to the new 4th edition of the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the 7th edition to the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs, as well as interactive discussions on the Purple Pages. Click here to sign up.

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Drinking Niepoort

My few days in Lyon included the unbelievable experience of drinking the first port Niepoort ever made, the Imperador made from a blend of vintages from 1842 to 1850. Beginning in 1842, Niepoort operated as a negociant style port house, as is typical for the region, buying port from families throughout the Douro and then blending, until the last two decades when Dirk Niepoort took over leadership as the fifth generation leading the family owned house.

At the end of the 1980s, Dirk began making table wine with grapes from the Duoro, sparking controversy through the region by breaking its mold, but Dirk’s still wine also inspired other winemakers to follow suit, with table wines from the Duoro now a relatively common practice. Since, Niepoort Vinhos has continued to produce some of the best still wines in Portugal, not only from the Duoro but also in small quantities from other key regions. Dirk has also shifted the house style on port away from being negociant-only to instead making the port wines from vine all the way to bottling as well. The shift in focus has brought incredible clarity to the style and an admirable elegance.

The Imperador was an unusual style for what the house would become – sweeter than what they went on to make after, and less robust, with less core palate density than wines that followed as well. Even so, it was a treasure to taste a wine not only of its age but its provenance. I have great admiration for the history of Niepoort so to enjoy a nip of their very first wine is irreplaceable.

Niepoort Garrafeira – a style Niepoort is one of the very few to make – proved to be not only the finest port I’ve ever tasted but also one of the finest wines I’ve ever had as well. Two years ago I was able to shadow Dirk through harvest in the Duoro for five days. Half way through the visit he had a special dinner to thank his winemakers and friends and I was also invited. Thanks to the longevity of the family house, his collection of aged ports is, of course, remarkable. Half way through the dinner he blinded us on two special bottles.

The first was a beautiful wine, elegant and concentrated, wonderfully aged and savory with an incredibly long finish and fully integrated sweetness – the experience was more about texture and mouthfeel, savor and well-aged spice than sweetness. It’s something Niepoort is known for – a less sweet style of port. There was a very light sense of angularity to the structure of the wine but it was pleasant, like the weave of shantung silk, with the more textural component integral to the delicate strength of the fabric. I was grateful for the wine and enjoyed it but in truth it wouldn’t have such strong place in my memory except for then tasting the wine that followed it.

The first of the two wines was a 1952 vintage port put into 5-gallon glass car boys in 1955 and aged that way until 1974 when it was bottled in a standard port bottle for market. The aging in car boy is integral to Garrafeira port, and Niepoort is one of the few to do this. Dirk told us the provenance of the wine only after we had also tasted the second.

Dirk then poured us the second wine blind. Tasting it, I couldn’t believe the experience. As soon as we sipped, we all fell silent. To this day it is the most exciting wine I’ve ever tasted – savory, palate stimulating, somehow glittering in its presentation. The wine was such a perfect experience it struck me as impossible to describe in regular terms. Later I told Dirk it felt like drinking mother of pearl – that iridescent, shimmering, metallic and pastel, sea blue inner layer of a nautilus shell. The wine was seamless, elegant, other worldly, the epitome of what we mean when we use the phrase fine wine.

Only after we tasted and discussed both wines did Dirk reveal to us what they were. The second wine had started its life as the exact same wine as the first – a vintage port from 1952 put into 5-gallon glass car boy in 1955. But while the first bottle was moved from car boy to bottle in 1974, this second remained in car boy longer, then bottled in 1987. Incredibly, the two wines had each spent exactly the same amount of time in glass, only the size of the glass had changed. The contrast between the two wines considering such a seamingly small change, and the discovery of their provenance and history was remarkable. It’s an experience I still reflect on often today – the importance of simple choices, the details, in relation to what develops later, the second wine such a testament to both experimentation and patience.

Returning all the way back to the very first Niepoort port, the Imperador, this week was inspired and charming. I’ll admit that while I admire the Imperador, it didn’t reach a place in the Pantheon for me as the 1952-87 Garrafeira did – one of the god heads of wine – but even so, it’s an experience I treasure. I learned about the history of Niepoort from tasting it, and it gave me great palate sense for how a wine like that ages – easily.

Copyright 2017 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com.

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Tasting at Antic Wine in Lyon

Georges and I taking a picture to send Dirk Niepoort

These days it’s rare that when I’m traveling it’s not for work and work trips are thick with scheduling. So, when I do happen to have a day or two on my own I prefer not to plan anything and instead take the time to do whatever happens to happen. I’m in France for the week and ended up with a day and a half on my own in Lyon here at the start of it. So, all day yesterday I spent just walking around the city until I happened upon a wine shop that looked interesting. It turns out my spontaneity unexpectedly hit gold.

Georges Dos Santos hosts what at first glance looks like a little shop, Antic Wine, in the heart of Lyon only a few hundred meters from the Saône River. The shop is brilliantly designed with all the choicest, affordable, quick grab morsels – this time of year that’s a lot of rosé – near the entrance, moving to progressively more esoteric wines further back. The whole upper floor though (at first glance) stays rather affordable with wines for the most part below 40 €. (It turns out at the very back there is a bit of a specialty room with old Sauternes, and often asked for higher end wines from the Rhone, Burgundy, and Bordeaux.) In the midst of it I found myself a favorite Chablis producer that does go into the United States but in such small quantities it’s almost impossible to find. It turned out my selection impressed Georges, which then led to our chatting for a moment. He invited me to look downstairs where serious treasure is kept.

The basement of Antic wine is full of Grand Cru, Premiere Cru Burgundy, magnums of Champagne, and select Rhone wines. Stepping back upstairs we chatted a bit more, which led to our realizing we know some of the same people in the wine world (see the photo above we sent to Dirk Niepoort as one such example), and the next thing I knew we were deep into an impromptu tasting of wines Georges likes and thought I would enjoy. That led to our then tasting through sample bottles he is deciding whether to carry in the shop, and then we were onto Champagnes that don’t enter the United States, obscure sake he hand carried back from Japan, 170 year old port, 70 year old sherry. Eventually I discovered the tiny shop also has a big storage room with some of the hardest to find bottles in the world. He doesn’t always open so many wines but my timing was perfect as he was also going to be hosting friends later who could help drink the wines.

The whole experience was a great example of the friendliness of the wine world and the benefits of being open to spontaneous experience. Though we tasted an impressive amount of wine over the course of five hours there are three I want to be sure to mention.

As many of you know, the last couple vintages in Burgundy have been brutal leading to some producers losing 100% of their fruit. In Chablis, Thomas Pico of Pattes Loup was one such vintner who lost all of his fruit in 2015/2016. To compensate slightly for the financial hardship of the lost vintage, he created a special small production, declassified cuvée made with fruit from other parts of France. Friends supplied him with what they could and he cofermented Chardonnay, Chenin and Clairette. Though the label says Chardonnay the wine tastes anything but – it’s fresh, energetic, herbal and naturally spiced with the viscosity of Chenin but the bones and length of Chardonnay. Utterly fascinating wine and absurdly affordable at less than 20 €. Unusual wines like this occur from necessity and are well worth supporting. It turns out Polaner brings it into the States in small quantities.

Dirk Niepoort has joined forces with his son Daniel, and winemaker Philipp Kettern to make Riesling from Mosel under the label Fio Wines, and it’s awesome. The Cabinett is, as it sounds, inspired by Kabinett style wines with just a hint of sweetness to balance the midpalate on an unbelievably long fresh wash of pure, bright acidity. That sense of purity is the real hallmark of both of the Fio Rieslings (there is also a third but I didn’t taste it here). The Cabinett is utterly drinkable and begs you to run down the street to grab spicy Thai food as it would keep that palate of yours sparkling alongside lemongrass, lime, and basil flavors with the touch of residual sugar balancing the heat. The Fio, the top end of the three Rieslings, is a mind bender – it’s utterly flinty on the nose and then full of slate minerality on the palate. Totally dry with an impressively long finish – you could run down the road, order your Thai food to go with the other wine, wait till they make it, then slowly walk back to eat it at home as if you haven’t a care in the world and so much time, and the Fio finish would still be going – but most of all it’s the purity. The Fio is one of those wines I’ll be thinking about for a while. The Cabinett was 28 € and the Fio around 40 € but in case you’re looking for it Antic is the only shop that will have it in France and distribution outside Germany will be minimal.

Next time you’re in Lyon be sure to visit Georges at Antic. It’s one of those finds that’s so good I’m probably breaking some kind of industry secret by telling you about the place. If so, that just reconfirms it’s worth the visit.

Copyright 2017 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com.

Decanter June Issue: Travel Washington State

The June issue of Decanter has just been released. It includes a look at the Bordeaux vintage from 2016, an in depth interview with Jean-Louis Chave considering the history and evolution of the Rhone, and also offers this year’s buying guide for Chablis. Smaller features include a look at what it means to make wine with a 100-point score – to what extent is it really about site versus cellar? – but also a glimpse at Corsica and of course the on going regular columns from the likes of Steven Spurrier and Andrew Jefford. It also includes a four-page wine travel article I wrote on Washington State.

The article takes a quick look at wine country across the state of Washington beginning in Seattle then moving East. While it starts with a look at Woodinville and Seattle’s big wine events, it turns quickly to life across the Cascades, the various wine appellations on that side of the state, and culminates in a focus on Walla Walla with key wineries, restaurants and places to stay.

The June issue is just out now online. It is also starting to arrive in subscriber mailboxes and will be in newsstands momentarily. Check it out!