Editors' note: To close 2011, Palate Press: The online wine magazine will be featuring some of our top stories from the past year. Our fourth piece comes from columnist Evan Dawson, reporting on the uproar over rumors that California Pinot Noir producers beef their wines up with Syrah.
Franciacorta has the most demanding standards for any sparkling wine region in the world. They're a substitute for tradition, because the Italian region has been in the bubbles business for only 50 years, which is nothing in Europe.
The era of buying wine that is meant to age is gone like the era of intentionally oxidized white wines and undetected TCA in wineries. Undrinkability upon release is seen the same way by the marketplace—as a flaw. And that's not going away.
A group of wine lovers—Scorevolution— decide to create a digital “manifesto” decrying the current-day failings of the 100-point wine-rating scale. They encourage wine lovers, both individuals and organizations, to sign on in cyberspace.
Two Central Coast vintners walked through a pristine-looking vineyard last fall—it had no cover crop, a usual sign of organic or biodynamic farming—explaining why they use herbicides.
Winemakers who work hard to bring pure, outstanding Pinot Noir to their customers are sick of accusations about blending with Syrah. But cutting Pinot with Syrah or other varieties is perfectly legal. In California, a wine can be labeled “Pinot Noir” as long as 75% of the wine is Pinot. So why do we care if winemakers are cutting their Pinot?