The Grapevine

What They’re Reading – Wine Spectator, June 15, 2013; New York Times

May 16th, 2013

There’s a new frontier in California Pinot, and it’s in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley.

So says the cover of the latest issue of Wine Spectator. This month they  also have a review of red burgundies.

And the New York Times offers us both an interesting restaurant review and some affordable spring wine recommendations.[level-members]

Pinots from Mendocino, Burgundy
First, the California Pinots. No more “rustic” wines in the Anderson Valley. And no rustic wine prices. About 20 wines score 90 or better. They range in price from $42 to $75, with most falling in the $50 to $60 range. Top picks are from Black Kite (with the top 4 spots!), Toulouse, Walt, Breggo, and Davies Vineyards.

Their counterparts in Burgundy, of course, are far more dear. Top wines, all scoring 95 or above, range in price from $130 to $5,000. (That’s for the G. Roumier Musigny 2010.) Most fall between $250 and $500. I’d love to provide my personal perspective on these wines, but they’re more than a bit beyond our budget. Donations always welcome …

So the California Pinot’s may be the better starting point for conversations about Pinot with your customers. (Though the Burgundies do offer a more stark contrast in pricing …)

Sadly, there’s bad news out of Loire, my favorite wine region, where the whites in particular suffer in 2011 due to challenging weather. The 2012 vintage, not yet released, seems to promise more of the same.

At least I can drown my sorrows in chocolate. The Chocolate column features a peanut butter cup recipe. They’re one of my favorite food groups.

Pearl & Ash, New York
A quick hit from the New York Times: a very nice review of Pearl & Ash on The Bowery in New York, NY. Really fantastic wine list, much of it from private collections, presented without huge markups. If you’re near NYC or have clients headed that way, give them a good inside tip …

And one more from the NYTimes: Eric Asimov’s The Pour column this week is titled, Turn a Colorblind Eye to Your Spring Wine. He’s picked 20 wines he feels are great “spring wines.” Follow the link below for the wines, but the key paragraph was this:

“I often make the case that the great intersection between price and quality occurs in the range of $15 to $25 a bottle. Obviously, it’s possible to find a great value for $10 a bottle, but those wines are few and the odds of striking gold go up exponentially at a slightly higher price. In the range of $15 to $20, many bottles not only offer great pleasure simply because they are delicious, they also have something to say about where they came from and the people who made them. These wines appeal to the mind and heart as well as to the taste buds.”

This is worth thinking about as you stock your shop. Don’t stint on the bread-and-butter $10 to $12 bottles, but as you get to know a customer who is comfortable there, you can make a great case for exploring the value that $15 to $20 bottles represent.