The Grapevine

Wine Shop Conversation Starters – 5/14/15

May 14th, 2015

Here’s what your wine shop customers might be reading this week, and what you can turn them on to. [level-members]

Wine Spectator for 6/15/15 landed on our doorstep this week. Francis Ford Coppola makes the cover for his work to “resurrect a legendary wine.” Also on tap: top wines of South Africa, visiting Napa Valley, and sparklers from the US.

The letters column included responses to a March 12 article by Mitch Frank on the increase in wine sales in supermarkets. We’ll dive into that on Monday.

The Spirits column focuses on Scotch. Surprisingly, not single malt or even high-end blends, per se, but Scotch in mixed drinks. Suggested drinks include the Rob Roy and the Blood & Sand.

Spectator Selections include an $85 Amarone from Masi, Louis Latour’s Chambertin Cuvee Heritiers Latour 2012 for $310, and for the mere mortals, the $16 Columbia 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley and the Four Vines Chardonnay Santa Barbera County Naked Unoaked for $12. It’s also a 2013 bottling.

Domestic sparklers worth exploring includ Mumm Napa Brut Napa Valley Prestige NV, Gloria Ferrer Brut Sonoma County Sonoma NV, and Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley NV. All scored 90 or above and are priced below $25.

South African wines are on the rise, though recent vintages have been OK to good. 2014 looks slightly less promising, so perhaps now is a good time to snap up what you can of the 2011 and 2012 vintages, which were better. Still, good values remain with two 90-point wines available for $15 or $20 – Buitenverwachting Sauvignon Blanv Constantia Bayten 2014 and De Wetshof Chardonnay Robertson Bon Vallon 2013.

Fun facts worth sharing: a glass of Champagne contains about 1,000,000 bubbles. That’s a lot of carbon dioxide. Also, a popping Champagne cork can reach speeds of up to 37 miles an hour. Makes those 95 mph Major League fastballs even more amazing …