Archive for the 'wine picks' Category

Veni, vidi, Vietti – Vietti winery sold to Americans

vietti_winery
Vietti, the Barolo winery founded in 1893 and known for its single-vineyard wines, has been sold to the American Kyle J. Krause. According to Wine Spectator, the sale includes the winery in Barolo’s Castiglione Falleto, the brand and 84 acres of vineyards. Luca Currado, enologist and current head of the winery, will be staying on as CEO. The parties did not reveal the price paid.

The story is a curious since top vineyards in Barolo generally get sold to…people in Barolo. Perhaps the increased interest in the wines of Barolo is driving international investor interest in seeking real estate plays or trophy wineries. In any event, the recent dollar strength certainly helps American buyers. And the prices they are willing to pay are now high enough to pry the keys to the cellar out of the hands of some locals. Either way, Vietti seemed to really be on a roll with their wines and I am surprised to learn that they have sold.

Kyle Krause owns a chain of convenience stores based in Iowa known as Kum & Go. (The corporate umbrella of Krause Holdings includes Solar Transport, a hauler of refined fuel and the Des Moines Menace, a team in the fourth tier of the American pro soccer pyramid). It’s hard to imagine Vietti on the shelves of a convenience store but if that happens, it will certainly give Kum & Go a leg up over 7-Eleven’s wines! With 400 stores in 11 states and $2.1 billion in revenue, Kum & Go ranks 163rd in private companies in the US according to Forbes. It was founded in 1959 by William Krause as Hampton Oil Company.

krause-kyle-viettiKrause and has wife Sharon have five children. Krause told Wine Spectator that “My mother’s family is Italian and I have always had a passion for Italy and for Barolo.” He has been acquisitive in Barolo, purchasing some 30 acres of vineyards last year, though not always emerging as a successful bidder. The other sites Krause owns in Barolo will now be folded into Vietti. Currado says they will increase the quality of Perbacco, their Langhe Nebbiolo. Hopefully it will remain the great buy that it is today. The Barberas are also excellent values.

Related:
Wine Spectator story on Vietti purchase
Maker of Kedall-Jackson buys Copain
Constellation Wines buys The Prisoner for $300 million

State dinner wines for Justin Trudeau

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I had fun the other day when a new channel from Canada called. The reporter asked me which wines I would serve for tomorrow’s state dinner at the White House in honor of PM Justin Trudeau, the first state visit of a Canadian prime minister in 20 years.

Without knowing the menu, I recorded a quick video hit about my selections, playing fictional sommelier for a day. Since the piece may not make it online, here were my selections (BREAKING: the official wines chosen for the dinner have now been released and they follow below): Read more…

Value vino: Les Hexagonales, pinot noir, 2012

les_hexagonales
This is a bright, cheery pinot noir with lots of varietal character. You won’t mistake it for a Pommard, but that misses the point: This is a lovely value wine that is better than 99% of domestic pinot noirs under $15. Pinot under $15 (nay, $20!) is a tough category but this one comports itself well with a harmonious balance of fruit and acidity. If only varietal “pinot noir” wines offered by the glass at various clubs and airport lounges could be half as good as this. Find this wine at retail

It hails from the Loire, which is somewhat amusing. Not amusing that a good pinot hails from the Loire, since if you haven’t tried a good red Sancerre, then you are missing out. No, amusing because the back label bills it as a wine of place, which I’m sure it is, but it just doesn’t say which place that is exactly. We do learn a bit more on the importer’s site, such as that it is made by the Mérieau family on their 85-acre estate in the Touraine.

Wine under $20: Clos de la Roilette 2014

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Who doesn’t love a good wine under $20? I have a doozy here for you this Friday: Clos de la Roilette, Fleurie, 2014 (find this wine).

I’ve been a fan of the producer for a while. We recently uncorked a 2009 “cuvée tardive,” a barrel-aged selection from their old vines sprinkled in the manganese and clay soils of Fleurie. It was drinking superbly. A few weeks later, with that 09 still on my mind, I stumbled on the current release (2014) of the “regular” cuvée, which is aged in large foudres after a semi-carbonic maceration. We popped it and it was a joyous addition to the last weekend of summer (yes, a couple of weekends ago). With ebullient dark fruits and enlivening acidity, the wine gives the highest distinction to “gulpable” Beaujolais. A steal at $17.99.

Amazon tests one-hour wine (booze) delivery

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Amazon will bring booze to your door in an hour.

It is pretty amazing, even for the logistics champion. I mean bringing anything to your door that fast is pretty astonishing (why ever leave?) but wine/beer/liquor? Some people might become hermits.

The service is currently available only in the Seattle market. Delivery in an hour carries a $7.99 surcharge; delivery within two hours is free. There’s a limited number of products available but does include things as diverse as TVs and some groceries.

The folks at Geek Wire tried it out. They paid for the hour delivery and placed their order for a bottle of Absolut vodka, some orange juice, a six-pack of beer, and some chips. How did it go?

“Thirty-four minutes later, we were pouring screwdrivers in the break room.”

Impressive! Now just throw in some trousseau and you get the wine geeks clicking on the app. And bring the drones! The service delivers from 8 AM – midnight.

Amazon Prime Now is available (sans alcohol) in New York City, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago and various other markets.

“Amazon expands Prime Now, offers U.S. alcohol for first time” [Reuters]

Pop: Champagne delivery in 10 minutes

champagne_delivery
Have you ever urgently needed a bottle of Champagne? How about one delivered to you in 10 minutes?

Well, for all your romantic, corporate celebration, and dinner party needs, if you live in London, you are in luck. And, in a surprise, there are no drones involved! Gett, a ride hailing app service, is debuting the Champagne delivery within a limited part of London and only one brand of bubbles–Veuve Clicquot yellow label. The price is £50 ($75), apparently not that much of a markup over retail but still overpriced for mediocre champagne, and it does include two flutes. Interestingly, Gett will be using cabbies-in-training (who are studying for the notoriously difficult exam that black cab drivers must pass in London) to perform the deliveries on scooters.

The only crucial question: will it be chilled but not shaken?

Could this come to the US? It’s possible but it would vary by location since different municipalities have different rules and regs governing the sale of alcohol. But where there’s a will, there’s possibly a way!

HT Business Insider
Photo: Gett

Vinous SCOTUS

wine_bottles_gay_pride

Jill Bernheimer, the owner of Domaine LA in, well LA (6801 Melrose Ave) posted this vinous tribute to SCOTUS today on Instagram. Brilliant!

Q&A: Jean-Marc Roulot

roulot_meursaultI met up with Jean-Marc Roulot recently. Not only does he make the excellent wines at Domaine Guy Roulot in Meursault but he has pursued a parallel acting career, with 52 credits to his name including Haute Cuisine (fire it up on Netflix during this blizzard).

In case you missed it, you can check out the Q&A I did with him over on wine-searcher.com.


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