Archive for the 'American wine' Category

Francois Pinault buys Araujo Estate #billionaire #napa


The famed Eisele vineyard of Napa Valley has a new owner: Francois Pinault, number 74 on the Forbes billionaires list. Pinault’s Artemis Group, which owns Chateau Latour among other wine properties, has agreed to purchase Araujo Estate Wines from Bart and Daphne Araujo. The price for the 162 acres, including the 38-acre Eisele vineyard, was not disclosed in this statement.

“Araujo Estate and its jewel, the unique Eisele Vineyard, have been producing consistently one of the very best wines of Napa Valley,” Frédéric Engerer, CEO of Chateau Latour, said Read more…

Nude art labels from Jolie-Laide get approval


Jolie-Laide, a micro-wine label by Scott Schultz, has attracted out-sized attention for what’s in the bottles: Trousseau Gris, Pinot Gris, and Syrah, all from single-vineyards in California. But with the current vintage, the outside of the bottles have also been turning heads since the labels depict nude line drawings.

Schultz says he varies the labels of the Jolie-Laide (translated as “pretty-ugly”) wines every year. Last year, a calligrapher designed the labels. This year, it is tattoo artist Kapten Hanna who sketched the art for the 280-case production.

John Trinidad posted the above picture to Instagram with the comment, “This wine label is HAWT! And the wine is gorgeous, too.”

Schultz, a former sommelier who currently works at Wind Gap wines, said “We were hoping because it’s just black and grey sketch art, it would remove the sexuality and evoke more a simplistic, old-school approach to the wines.”

Apparently the TTB thought the labels were HAWT too–but not too HAWT to handle. The Pinot Gris (left above) and the syrah (not pictured) passed in the first go-round but the Trousseau Gris needed a second review before getting the green light on July 15. Interestingly, small wines can apply to the TTB for a “certificate of exemption from label approval” and sell their wines only in-state, bypassing the need for federal approval. But with the TTB’s stamp of approval, these wines can now be sold in markets such as New York City, where Shultz says the wines have some fans already.

What do you think — if you were an administrator, would you give these labels a thumbs up? Or, as a consumer, does it pique your interest in the wine?

Wine infographic of the day: the 7%

We flagged the 7% tasting in Sonoma last month for you. But the folks over at Chow Studios have had even more fun with the event, making your Wine Infographic of the Day about it.

While I have some quibbles with it (why call it a 7% “majority”? Why is Merlot mentioned in the middle graphic?), it nonetheless provides some good information at a glance. Check it out in reduced size here or in full res over at the Chow Studio site (or a KCET story about the tasting). It might even make you want to seek out something new–or even try for an uber-difficult domestic version of the Wine Century Club. Read more…

Rupert Murdoch buys LA vineyard


Rupert Murdoch, vintner? It’s true. Unlike fellow billionaire Warren Buffett who has invested on the less glamorous (but more profitable?) distribution side of the wine biz, the media magnate is going for the glitz–near Hollywood, no less. He’s buying what may well be the only commercial vineyard in LA, the 16-acre Moraga Estate in Bel Air that was listed for $29.5 million. Murdoch broke the story on Twitter of all places; now the story has been picked up real estate blogs, which have abundant photos. The seller is Tom Jones, former CEO of Northrop Grumman.

I wonder if the wine will now have a certain, er, foxiness to it? If he were to rename it, what would it be called?

Moraga Vineyards

Cicadas reemerge to a changed wine world


From North Carolina to Connecticut, billions of creatures with eyes the color of blood and bodies the color of coal are crawling out of the earth. Periodical cicadas are emerging en masse, clambering into trees and singing a shivering chorus that can be heard for miles.

What makes this emergence truly remarkable, however, is how long it’s been in the making. This month’s army of periodical cicadas was born in 1996. Their mothers laid their eggs in the branches of trees, where they developed for a few weeks before hatching and heading for the ground. “They just jumped out and rained down out of the trees,” said Chris Simon, a cicada biologist at the University of Connecticut.

Those Clinton-era larvae then squirmed into the dirt and spent the next 17 years sucking fluid from tree roots. NYT

Dear cicadas,

Welcome back! I’m sure after 17 years of sucking fluid from tree roots–as sweet as that is–you’re probably read for something a little stiffer, like a good glass of wine.

A lot has changed in the wine world since you were born in 1996 and then stumbled into your Rumpelstiltskin impression. Let’s start with that Bordeaux Read more…

Finger Lakes Riesling: what’s all the fuss?

ravines_rieslingFinger Lakes wines, particularly Rieslings, have gotten a lot of recent attention. So I thought I would check in with them for a piece currently on

One wine that came up repeatedly was the Ravines Dry Riesling (as well as their Argentsinger Vineyard one). I picked up two bottles of the 2012 for $14.99 each and poured them for discerning audiences. First, my wife, who is not generally a huge Riesling fan but she gave this one a thumbs up. I rated it a leading patio pounder for Summer of Riesling 2013. Then I opened the second bottle for my NYU class and poured it blind. Before revealing what it was, I asked them how many of them liked it. All hands went up. When the bag came off the bottle, they were all surprised and doubly impressed.

It seems to be a common reaction with the best Finger Lakes wines, as Thomas Pastuszak from NoMad shares in the piece.

Which are your favorite Finger Lakes wines? Do you think the region is overrated or underrated?

Mayacamas Vineyards sold to Charles Banks & co

Bob and Elinor Travers bought Mayacamas Vineyards in 1968 when they were just 30 years old. Bob made the wines from the vineyards high above the floor of the Napa Valley ever since. John Gilman lauds Mayacamas for not succumbing to the “tides of fashion,” calling it “one of the greatest cabernet sauvignon producers in the history of California.”

So it is big news today that the Travers have sold the property. The new owners are Charles Banks and Jay Schottenstein and his son Joey. While the Schottenstein family fortune come from retailing, such as American Eagle and DSW, Charles Banks heads Terroir Selections, a group focused on acquiring vineyards around the world. Banks was a former co-owner of Screaming Eagle.

With investments Sandhi and Wind Gap, in particular but also Fable in South Africa, Banks has become a major underwriter of restraint and balance in the wine world. Asked via Twitter who will be making the wines at Mayacamas, Banks replied, “Andy Erickson in the winery and Annie Favia in the vineyards. me making sure we keep the style and respect Bob Travers legacy.”

In an article about their new Favia wines in 2010, the SF Chronicle wrote “It’s hard to imagine a more formidable wine duo than Andy Erickson and Annie Favia.” And as to the big buzzword of the day, Favia said in the story that “the goal is balance, balance in your wines and balance in your life.”

A penny for your…wine?!?


From the aisles of California retail, a site reader sends in news of perhaps the ultimate closeout–wine for a penny a bottle.

What’s interesting is that this special offer, only available to CVS cardholders who also purchase a 18(!)-pack of Bud or Tecate (do they mean orange wine?). Incentivizing wine purchases through beer. Soft economy be damned–we’re going to boost that rise in per capita wine consumption going one way or another! Read more…


Wine Maps

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

See my op-eds in the NYT
"Drink Outside the Box"
"Red, White, and Green"


Monthly Archives


Blog posts via email



Wine industry jobs


One of the “fresh voices taking wine journalism in new and important directions.” -World of Fine Wine

“His reporting over the past six months has had seismic consequences, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a blog.”

"News of such activities, reported last month on a wine blog called Dr. Vino, have captivated wine enthusiasts and triggered a fierce online debate…" The Wall Street Journal

"...well-written, well-researched, calm and, dare we use the word, sober." -Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, WSJ

jbf07James Beard Foundation awards

Saveur, best drinks blog, finalist 2012.

Winner, Best Wine Blog

One of the "seven best wine blogs." Food & Wine,

One of the three best wine blogs, Fast Company

See more media...


Wine books on Amazon: