Linkin’ logs 10-23-17

Cool links unearthed while drowning in great wine in Sonoma:

• Day-um! I’m going to be in western North Carolina later this month, but not in time for a seriously cool-looking wine train excursion.

• “Baby, you’re a star,” a friend quipped after I posted this shameless self-promotion TV clip on Facebook.

• Proof that the world will never run out of wacky ideas: wine flour.

• Some fab photos here, and Decanter nailed the winner by George Rose.

• I’m grateful that these guys did it so I don;t have to: chape-wine throwdowns at Thrillist and the Washington Post.

• Finally, a worthy vocabulary expansion:


Linkin’ logs: 9-1-17

Scrollin’, scrollin’, scrollin’, keeps those cool links flowin’:

• It’s heeeeere, for better or whatever: blue wine.

• I love to garden almost as much as I love wine, so these ideas combining the two work for me.

• It’s possible that our wine predilections might be linked to our DNA. Not sure what that means for those of us who like pretty much everything.

• Guess I need to drink more wine so’s I can blog more. :o)

• O yeah: Here’s a great feature on my friend Bill Hooper and a cool, seriously tasty wine he makes

• Finally, being an ink-stained wretch is actually my “secret identity,” a la Clark Kent:




Linkin’ logs: 8-8-17

OK, so I’m waaaaay behind on this, and the first story is almost a month old (but still pretty cool):

• I don’t have many old wines in my cellar, but this cellar has only (really) old wines.

• Not a single one of us knows how much we snore on a given night. But wine might play a part in it.

• This is too much work for my lazy self, but going underwater for wine might appeal to more active sorts.

• Whew! Gabriel Froymovich makes a strong case that Americans are not turning away from wine.

• Love this idea: So wine syrups are a thing with savvy mixmasters.

• It’s back-to-school time is nigh, so VinePair provides some wine pairings for parents.

• Finally, in at least one way, wine makes us more articulate:


Linkin’ logs: 7-12-17

Some refreshing summer reading from the InterWebs:

• Huge news: The “natural wine” movement has reached the Vatican.

• Anyone wanting to visit a cool Minnesota winery should start at Chankaska Creek, and not just for table wine. Kudos to Lauren Vogt for a stellar in-depth look-see.

• Oregon’s King Estate is making wine for Amazon. I’m a longtime fan of their pinot gris.

• The latest on the health front from a centenarian: Wine is a key to longevity.

• My pal Peter penned a nice piece on enjoying wine. Some great tips therein.

• I’d love to try a ’96 Madeira — in this case (actually two), a 1796 Madeira.

• Finally, an oft-bandied-about statement in another realm gets its day on the vinous front:





Great Northwest gleanings

Some cool stuff I learned about people, places and fermented grape juice at the Northwest Wine Experience, by individual:

Chris Upchurch, DeLille Cellars
On malbec: “For years I never could see malbec on its own. It seemed everything it had certainly was provided from one of the other grapes. And then I went to Argentina and discovered there that it could stand up by itself. … We have a saying at DeLille, ‘never forget about delicious.’ Made properly, malbec never forgets about delicious.  … In Mendoza, they have high elevation and do extended maceration; they were doing six-week fermentations and even after that keeping it on the skins. Red Willow Vineyard is the highest elevation in Yakima, and we wanted to work to that Argentine aspect.”

David Merfeld, Northstar
On Washington merlot: “We have huge diversity [in styles]. You can create all kinds of different wines. You can do a Bordeaux-style with lots of acidity, or go bigger Napa style. … We used to say that cab softens the merlot, but to me it rounds out the blend.”

Walter Gehringer, Gehringer Brothers
On British Columbia’s wine evolution: “We went through a lot of hybrids. In the 1980s and ’90s, it was  a lot colder; global warming is a reality, and it has helped us. … What our region is going to be famous for is yet to be determined. Cab sauv does really well, sauv blanc, that genetic works here.”

On his journey: “We studied Germany. It just made sense: same parallel, similar winters. … We spent several years evaluating microclimates before we picked our land. It’s 13 miles north of the [U.S.] border, west side of the [South Okanagan] Valley. We have longer days and get more fruit flavor. The photogenesis thing trumps the warmer thing.”

Tony Rynders, several Oregon wineries
On Oregon conditions: PN needs a certain amount of stress to work … “We get about the same amount of moisture as Burgundy, but they get about the same [amount] every month. Our rain falls typically in winter and spring, and usually by early July it turns pretty arid. But be not afraid of rain because if you’re growing in Oregon, you’re going to get some. Mildew’s a problem every year. … Acidity is the lifeblood of pinot noir and something that’s very attainable in Oregon … 2014 was a wonderful year.”


Linkin’ logs: 6-21-17

Scrollin’, scrollin’, scrollin’, keep those Web links rollin’ …

• For your lady’s birthday (or early Xmas) list: a wine purse.

• “Bring us wine, stat!” said soldiers in the 6th century BC.

• WWJD? Here’s more on wine from the Way Back Machine.

• As someone who is guilty of this practice, I welcome this look at adding ice to wine.

• Thank you! Research shows that what we eat generally has more sulfites than wine. Maybe now people will shut up about that.

• Finally, this is my kind of interior design:




The latest on wine and health

My friend Bill Jacobs sent me this important announcement about health:

Do you ever have feelings of inadequacy?

Have you ever suffered from shyness?

Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions. It can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you’re ready and willing to do just about anything.

You will notice the benefits of Cabernet Sauvignon almost immediately and, with a regimen of regular doses, you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live.

Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will discover many talents you never knew you had. Stop hiding and start living.

Cabernet Sauvignon may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use it. However, women who wouldn’t mind nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it.

Side effects may include:

Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration, loss of motor control, loss of clothing, loss of money, loss of virginity, delusions of grandeur, table dancing, headache, dehydration, dry mouth, and a desire to sing Karaoke and play all-night rounds of Strip Poker, Truth Or Dare, and Naked Twister.



  • The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may make you think you are whispering when you are not.
  • The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.
  • The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may cause you to think you can sing.
  • The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter and better-looking than most people.

Please feel free to share this important information with as many people as you feel it may benefit!



Now, just imagine what you could achieve with a good Shiraz.


No borders for Chris Figgins’ exceptional talent

For some time, Chris Figgins has been my favorite Washington winemaker. He’s now in the running to become my favorite Oregon winemaker as well.

I got to break bread with Figgins (left) at the Northwest Wine Encounter earlier this spring, and also to hear him speak. He’s even more impressive, and just as expressive, as I expected.

His Figgins red blend has been my favorite Washington wine for a while, and he also makes the swell Leonetti Cellars reds. At the gathering, he shared his new Oregon pinot noir, Toil. Yum! I liked it so much I ordered three bottles from the winery.

Some highlights from Figgins’ presentation:

• Why he started Toil after spending decades making Bordeaux-style wines: “In the Northwest, you can only eat so much beef and pasta, especially in the summer when we have such great salmon and want lighter dishes. Seven years ago, I started looking around, and five years I really started thinking about it, and bringing in a little fruit.”

• How it evolved: “Initially going into pinot noir as a cab/merlot guy was kind of intimidating. People say pinot is fickle and difficult, and it is all that. I did a lot of listening to winemakers and a lot of experimentation with stems, fermentation, clusters.”

• How he chose Willamette’s Ribbon Ridge AVA for his sourcing: “I really like the sedimentary soils of Ribbon Ridge, and the black fruit flavors you get there. The volcanic sites [much of Willamette] are more red-fruited.”

• Juggling the duties of three wineries in two states: “Well, in 2016 we had all the pinot noir fermented and in barrels before we started picking cab and merlot in Washington.”

• Finding the vineyard for Figgins: “The day I found the site [left], I pulled the ‘for sale’ sign out of the ground and put it in the back of the truck. … We have super-deep soils, 30 feet of loess. And we’re in an area of Walla Walla that’s the backstop of the Blue Mountains, so we get 22 inches of rain a year, while other areas are getting as little as 4 inches.”

• How clay affects the vines: “You get more roundness and density, and in the midpalate it develops that thickness, but because of our high elevation we also get freshness.”

• Washington misc.: “In Washington the vines are all own-rooted, and so you can get really great wines off of young vines. … There are not a lot of whites where I work, but I think there will be more exploration of whites at higher elevations.”

• Why he makes sure his vineyards are farmed in an environmentally friendly manner: “We live, work and play there, and our kids run through the vineyard.”

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