The Grapevine

What Your Wine Shop Customers Are Reading – Wine Spectator 5/31/15

April 16th, 2015

The WS cover features a smiling Ken Wright, the “master of Pinot Noir in Oregon” as well as headlines for Chilean wines, Beaujolais, and throwing a casual party with wine. [level-members]

First, the front of the book. In the GrapeVine section, we learn that calorie information is now being required by the FDA for all chain restaurants. (A 5 oz glass is typically 120 to 130 calories, depending on the wine, its alcohol content, etc.) We wouldn’t be surprised to see this trickle down to other restaurants and eventually to wine labels themselves.

Bad news for small wine retailers: more wine is being bought in grocery stores than ever before. There remain only 15 states  where wine sales are restricted in grocery stores. California, Florida, Texas, Ohio and Virginia lead the way. Interestingly, consumers spend, on average, $28 more at the supermarket when they buy wine. Of that $28, $15 is for the wine and $13 is for additional groceries to accompany the wine.

James Laube tells us that the 2013 Napa Cabs are “stunning” and Matt Kramer gives us an interesting tour of how your palate might change as you gain more experience tasting and pairing wines.

The Chilean wines include a number of high-priced reds scoring over 90 points, and a reasonable selection of “Top Values” scoring in the low 90s that are priced in the $20 range. Altamana Malbec Maule Grande Reserve 2013 is a 91 point wine for $18.

Beaujolais is beginning to reclaim some of its deserved status as a fine wine after … overexposure? Overreaching? Whatever the cause the region is bouncing back from some of the disastrous perceptions about it. The top of the list is Georges Duboeuf’s Morgon Jean-Ernest Descombes 2012 for $19. It scores 91 on the WS scale.

The casual party includes some not-so-run-of-the-mill versions of run of the mill hot dogs and hamburgers, and pairs them with wines from New York’s Finger Lakes.

Have other party plans in mind? Dr. Vinny offers advice on party icebreakers – Prosecco is trendy and cheap, Champagne has the wow factor – as well as advice for matching wines to courses if you’re doing the whole app, entree, dessert thing. If you’re doing a more casual buffet, uncork multiple bottles to have wine easily within reach of all who want it. You should also plan on half a bottle per guest for most parties. If it’s a longer affair, one drink per hour per person is the norm.