Imperfect storage, blogging, new critics, Johnny Apple – sipped and spit

heitz marthas vineyard SPIT: controlled storage
James, who has taken a couple of classes of mine in the past year, wrote that he recently pulled the cork on a 1974 Heitz, Martha’s Vineyard for his 50th birthday and it was drinking fabulously. I asked him when he got the wine and he replied, “It was stored in a number of different environments since I had the wine since college in 1978. It was stored in my dormitory, then in my parents basement, then in my apartments, then in a controlled storage facility, and finally in a wine storage cooler. And it still turned out to be the best wine I have ever tasted.” Most excellent!

SIPPED: musical chairs
Jay Miller publicly states that he will no longer be reviewing Australian wines for the Wine Advocate. In other news, Wolfgang Weber, a senior editor at Wine & Spirits magazine and Italian wine critic, has announced that he will be leaving the magazine to join a boutique wine sales and marketing firm. In neither case has a successor been officially named. UPDATE: W&S Editor and Publisher Josh Greene writes in to say that he will be resuming the role of Italian wine critic for the magazine. UPDATE: Lisa Perrotti-Brown, based in Singapore, will be reviewing the wines of Australia (and New Zealand) for the Wine Advocate.

SPIT: blogging
John Mariani, a longtime wine and food writer, predicts a rise in vapid wine blogs. Sigh. We’ve seen this movie before. A more bold and original prediction would have been: The quality of blogs increases as journalists have fewer outlets. [Bloomberg]

NOT SIPPED: Johnny Apple’s wine
Betsey, widow of legendary NYT reporter Johnny Apple, will put his wine collection up for auction. The story repeatedly mentions his “enviably enormous expense account.” To which a former NYT executive editor says: “Johnny Apple would be impossible today, unfortunately.” Gawker reacts.

SPIT: alcohol
A buzz without inebriation? Instant sobriety? Such are the claims of an alcohol substitute being developed by Professor David Nutt, sacked as the UK government’s drug adviser last year. Should wine be threatened? Not if it is considered a food! [Telegraph]

SIPPED: kind words
The Winnipeg Free Press included this blog in their year-end roundup of notables. And my book, Wine Politics, receives a strong review in the current issue of the food journal, Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture. See the review here or more reviews on the new book review page.

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12 Responses to “Imperfect storage, blogging, new critics, Johnny Apple – sipped and spit”


  1. Heitz Martha’s Vineyard may be the poster child for ageworthy Napa Valley Cabs. Seemingly always has been since that superb wine was first offered by Mr. Heitz over thirty years ago.

    But, lest we forget, the ageworthiness of this wine is not a singular event in CA wine history. Many of the 1970 vintage Cabs are still drinking exceptionally well.

    And as if to underscore Mr. Heitz’ way with wines, I opened a bottle of 1962 Heitz Pinot Noir, rumored to have been grown at Hanzell, at a dinner a month or so ago, and it was spectacular beyond spectacular with nuances and layers and velvety texture and reminiscences of Pinot Noir fruit.

    Yes, Virginia, CA wines not only age well but take on the complexities, suppleness and sensual attractiveness we expect of older wines.


  2. As a junior collector without much extra $ for storage I’ve always been a little worried about my storage solution. Basically I just throw all my wine in boxes down in my storage room, which is beneath my appmnt building in SF. As long as I’ve been checking temp down there is been a pretty constant 55-60, but I only started checking in October. I’d imagine that it’s likely to get as warm as around 70-75 for a couple days during the occasional hot stretch we get around July/August sometimes. Is that enough to worry about? I dunno. But some of the science I’ve seen tends to indicate that that kind of variation isn’t likely to be harmful, especially since the rise would likely be very gradual and we’re talking the room temp of my storage area, not even the wine temp. itself.

    Good to see that a top shelf wine survived dorm closet time, apartment closet time, and even basement time and came out shining.


  3. I had the good fortune to drink 74 Heitz Martha’s in 2003. one of my most memorable wine-experiences ever. such delicate fragrance, such grace, just amazing.


  4. The Heitz story just goes to show that sometimes you CAN get away with storing your wines in ‘normal’ places like closets rather than ‘wine storage units’ (-:

    Good to see!!!!!

    Cheers!


  5. In a recent post on the eRobertParker.com bulletin boards, Mr. Parker provided a tentative calendar for the regions to be covered in the various Wine Advocate issues during 2010, and the critics who will report on each region. Lisa Perrotti-Brown is listed as having responsibility for the four planned reports on Australian wines. That seems to “sorta” qualify her as Jay Miller’s “official” successor for the Australian reviews in TWA.


  6. Charlie, yes, quite a few of those age-worthy cabs from the 70s are great today.

    Caroline – glad you have tried it!

    Larry – exactly.

    Matt – thanks. Since that link was broken, this one is what I think you meant.

    To amplify, Robert Parker states: “As you can see Lisa [Perrotti-Brown] is being given full coverage of Australia as we move to regional reports,in addition to wanting her to have greater and greater responsibilities. This also permits Jay to spend at least one full month on the ground in Spain(as his two week immersion courses in both Rioja and Ribera attest.”

    She will also share coverage of New Zealand with Neal Martin.


  7. […] some of you already know, I recently left Wine & Spirits, where I have been, successively (and oftentimes […]


  8. Vapid blogs? That’s unpossible!!!


  9. John Mariani’s quote from your link, Tyler: “As with all blogging, readers should be wary of the source of such claims.”

    Mariani has some nerve talking trash about wine blogs. This is the same John Mariani who wrote:

    Volnay has not yet achieved the reputations of other white wines in the Cote de Beaune, probably because they are more delicate and subtle than the bigger chardonnays in the area.

    Maybe, Mr. Mariani, Volnay has not achieved the reputation of other white wines in the Cote de Beaune BECAUSE THEY DON’T PRODUCE WHITE WINES.

    But we must distrust bloggers and trust olde tyme journalists, right? Right?

    Get off my lawn.


  10. OK, big guy, you made the Winnipeg Free Press, but can you make the London Free Press?


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