ELENA WALCH  |  Pinot Grigio 2016

(Alto Adige, Italy) $17

I’ve often thought that pinot grigio is like a white T-shirt—everyone needs one, but in terms of character, it’s serviceable at best. Elena Walch’s pinot grigio is different; it’s pinot grigio with a brain. Minerally, refreshing, and with just the right edge of lively flavor, it’s the kind of wine you can drink and drink. (I drink it on weekend afternoons when I’m cooking). Elena Walch and her daughters have won dozens of awards for their artisanal wines, all of which are from Alto Adige on the Italian side of the Alps. This is their simplest wine. But even here, you can sense the hand of a woman who knows what she’s doing. (13% abv)

89+ points KM

Available at Vivino.com

More Wines to Know…

Which one of the following wine regions is not exposed to a rain shadow effect?

A.  Bordeaux, France
B.  Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
C.  Mendoza, Argentina
D.  Central Otago, New Zealand

Here’s the answer…

The Eagle doesn’t scream—a visit to screaming eagle

A recent morning tasting Screaming Eagle has convinced me of one thing: it doesn’t scream. But it does soar with such an incredible lightness of being it hardly seems corporeal. I was more than impressed with the wine. I was moved by it.


Like everyone else in the wine business, I have heard Screaming Eagle mocked and scorned as the penultimate example of Napa Valley hubris. A $1,050 cabernet? A $500 sauvignon blanc? Are they mad? Or just maddeningly narcissistic?

About that, I don’t know. But, during the visit, this part was clear: Continue Reading…

Imaginary Foods—If Only They Were Real!

Atlas Obscura recently asked readers to list the best imaginary foods in literature and on film—foods the readers wished were actually real. Here are some. 

•    Roast Beast from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
•    Frobscottle from The BFG by Roald Dahl
•    Cauldron Cakes from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
•    Klingon Bloodwine from Star Trek: The Next Generation 
•    Bilbo Baggins’ Seed Cakes from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
•    Soy Pop from The Simpsons
•    Doozer Sticks from Fraggle Rock
•    Snozberries from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
•    Subtraction Stew from The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Over Achievers

CALERA “Jensen Vineyard” Pinot Noir 2015 (Mt. Harlan, California) $90
When they first came out, the Calera pinots were among the first in California with cult status. This shows why. Complex, with lots of gravitas. 
94 points KM

GROTH Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (Oakville, Napa Valley, CA) $140
Groth is like the Margaux of Napa Valley—it can be depended on to be elegant, beautifully modulated, structured, classic cabernet in every way. Plush but never overdone. 
95 points KM

CHAPPELLET “Pritchard Hill” Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (Napa Valley, California) $210
Chappellet’s PH cabernets always have a dark, sexy personality. They’re majestic wines, tight and even angular when young, but always hugely expressive and delicious. 
95 points KM

Tannin is a crucial component that all plants produce and build, not just grapes.

Answer: True. Tannin belongs to a class of complex compounds called phenols that all plants use for protection, preservation, and defense. Since Neolithic times, plant tannins have been used to prevent the spoilage of animal skins—when “tanning” hides into leather, for instance. As for grapes, tannin comes primarily from skins and seeds (although stems, too, have tannin, but stems aren’t typically used in winemaking). Different varieties of grapes are predisposed to have different amounts of tannin. Cabernet sauvignon, for example, has more tannin than pinot noir. The tannin structure in wine contributes to the wine’s overall ageability (which is why you can buy those Bordeaux from 50 years ago, and many still taste delicious).