Norton Safeweb

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Where are the bad wine reviews?

You see movie critics give rotten reviews when due. Book and music reviewers will do the same. So where the heck are the bad wine reviews? Some guesses.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Piquette - The Next Trend?

Current trends are in the alcohol biz are hard seltzer and orange wine. Maybe Piquette is next, or not. Hard seltzer is popular because it supposed to be healthier, refreshing, and easy drinking. Orange wine because it's different. Rosé is hot because it's easy to sip, guzzle, or quaff. And for the color, I guess.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Critiquing Wine

   In the past I've mentioned that you should be careful of wine criticism whether from a professional, maybe a wine writer or wine judge, or from an amateur like the rest of us. We all have our prejudices. Let's look at a couple of those preconceptions.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Balance in Wine Consumption

With many things too little or too much is bad when it comes to things we put in our body. With some less is always better. With alcohol there are mixed messages.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Wine Life in 2021

Once we have our vaccine and herd immunity (and I'm hoping this is in a few months) what happens to wine and the wine business? 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Smoke Taint in 2020 Wines?

This is a year of widespread wildfires in California and much of the West. The fire season in the Wine Country started in earnest in August from lightning strikes and is still going strong, unfortunately. What's in store for this vintage? The quick answer is nobody is sure yet.

What is smoke taint?

In short, the wine tastes like a smoky campfire. You can read in-depth about smoke taint at Wine Spectator, "Understanding Smoke Taint in Wine."

Previous years with smoke taint

The first time I remember smoke taint in wine was in 2008 when there were spring lightning strike fires to the north of Sonoma in Mendocino County. A smoky haze hung over the area for much of June of that year. Northern Sonoma and Napa and especially Mendocino County were the most affected. Then in 2017 wildfires happened at harvest time. I haven't had a lot of wine from this vintage, but it seems smoke taint is hit-or-miss. A reputable vintner should not be selling you smoke tainted wine anyway. 

What affect might it have this year?

You can read about that here from from Food & Wine, "Do California Grapes Have Smoke Taint from Wildfires?"

Friday, September 4, 2020

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

"Traveling" During Covid

Vacation travel isn't what it used to be. My wife and I like to go to Hawaii every year -- no one particular island as we switch among them. Since we can't go this year we try to recreate a vaca at home. Occasionally we eat something Hawaiian like macadamia nut-encrusted mahi mahi though right now we can't seem to even find fresh mahi mahi. Then we will get Koloa Hawaiian rum punch or mai tai pre-made cocktail mixes, eat outdoors on our "lanai" while playing surf sounds on the Bluetooth speaker, and pretend we're in Hawaii. 

Do you have a favorite wine region? This might be a great time to "vacation" there with a meal similar to a nice dinner you had and, of course, some wine from a favorite winery. Recreate your own little bit of California, Oregon, or wherever. Use a fine bottle of wine to take you back to a happy experience.

If some foods get any more scarce we may be recreating Hawaii with Spam and eggs. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Cabernet Franc on an Upswing?

Cabernet Franc is one of the so-called Big Five Bordeaux grapes, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. As with some of these it's often used as a blending grape. On its own you'll find a leaner, floral, and often herbaceous wine. The best have a nice complexity and can age.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Future Issues with the California Wine Industry

There are short- and long-term potential shake-ups coming to the local wine industry. Following are a few things that may have a large impact on the local wine biz.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Just as we're getting ready to pick grapes ...

No, there's no opportune time for a wildfire. These lightning strike fires in the Bay Area have come just about the time many are wanting to begin picking their grapes. The main wine areas affected are parts of Sonoma, Napa, and Santa Cruz.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Geyser Peak Winery

 Geyser Peak was the 29th bonded winery in the state when it started up in 1880. That's a seriously long time for a California winery to be around. In that long history there have been changes, of course, and not always for the best.