1. They Feast on the Vines of Chianti, the Swine - The New York Times
"Fences are rising. There is talk of a brutal and destructive insurgency, invasions and a slaughter that could include hundreds of thousands in the years ahead.
If that sounds something like a war, the battlefield is the prized vineyards of Chianti, Italy’s vaunted wine region in the heart of the rolling hills of Tuscany."
New York Times reporter Gaia Pianigiani tackles the nuanced issue of the growing wild boar population in Tuscany, which has become an ever increasing concern for wine producers.
"For all its modesty, my collection has taken on a strange position in my imagination, becoming a synecdoche of the good life, manifesting in micro what I cannot have in macro. It is my own inverse telltale heart: not a locus of guilt, threatening to pull me into some foreboding darkness, but instead a repository of hope. Wine always evokes the pairing—food, obviously, but to be matched with something else, too: an evening, an event, a moment, another person."
Author Navneet Alang looks back at his upbringing as the son of an immigrant family and they way it has shaped his relationship with his wine collection.
3. 5 Wine Rules That Really Matter - Wine Spectator Magazine
"Take a chance. Be unpredictable. I have to say it: Too often everything about wine at table is predictable. You start with sparkling wine. Then you move to white wine and then to red. I've done it a million times myself. Quite unconsciously, we lose attention. It's familiar, even boring."
Matt Kramer offers up some compelling and often overlooked advice on how to serve wine at your next dinner party.
4. Etna Fumes and Spews, but the Winemaking Goes On - The New York Times
"Chiara Vigo was just a young girl at the time, but the eruption of Mount Etna in 1981 is burned into her memory. Her parents grew grapes, olives and hazelnuts on roughly 150 acres in the Etna foothills near the Alcantara River. A glowing cascade of lava as tall as an 18-wheeler and as wide as an avenue snaked toward the estate, scalding anything in its path. It was pointed directly at the estate’s vineyard and main house. The lava approached the grounds two days after the eruption. Ms. Vigo recalls the helpless feeling as the family discussed leaving everything behind to flee to the relative safety of the coastal towns, and she can still summon the fear of what they would find when they returned."
The Time's wine critic, Eric Asimov, beautifully captures the love-hate relationship between Sicily's active volcano, Mount Etna, and the area's winemakers. He features profiles on to of Cavinona's Mt. Etna producers: Graci and Fattorie Romeo del Castello.
"If it’s true that travel planning and anticipation bring as much if not more joy as the trip itself, then the post-holiday wintry start of the year is a great time to boost your “happy hormones” with a little wine travel porn. After spending most of my year in vineyards around the world, I compiled this month-to-month guide identifying the new frontiers of enotourism. Out of these twelve regions to see in 2017, some are up-and-coming, while others have been underrated for far too long, but all deliver high-quality wine, distinct food and hospitality, and beguiling scenery."
Master of Wine candidate, Lauren Mowery, has put together an insightful list of little known, but budding wine regions. We were happy to see that Ontario got a nod as well as Alto Piemonte, one of our favourite Italian wine regions.
"Liguria’s seat at the corner of where the Alps meet the Apennines means that the grapes, in their steep, craggy vineyards, are washed over by that crisp breeze, while also warmed by the air that rises off the Mediterranean. But vermentino’s not the only grape that’s benefitting from this climate. Here, it shares space with pigato, which makes wines that are equally, if not more, aromatic, and broader, with less high-toned acidity and a trademark bitter edge. Though they are indeed distinguishable in character, the catch is that they’re essentially fraternal twins."
Italian wine can be confusing! Case in point: the differences and similarities between Vermentino and Pigato. Journalist, Megan Krigbaum, interviews several wine producers from Liguria, including our very own Francesca Bruna of Bruna winery.
7. How Millennials (Almost) Killed the Wine Cork - The Atlantic
"Though it has recaptured some market share in recent years, the cork industry is now fighting against the newly discovered appeal of plastic and aluminum. A wine-shop manager told me screw caps have “just about taken over the market,” especially with lower-priced wines. Screw caps are just easier to use. “And people like that,” he said. “Even wine drinkers.” Aluminum screw caps once sealed primarily cheap malt liquors and quart bottles of beer; today they cap 20 percent of the world’s table wines."
To cork or not to cork? John Gifford, of The Atlantic, maps out the challenges for of the cork industry as millennials gravitate towards easy open bottles.
"The pleasure of “taking down” the wine industry is certainly understandable. There’s something devastating about knowing that other people are able to appreciate something that we can’t. It’s especially unsettling to know this about something we imbibe regularly, yet know we are not fully experiencing. There’s something mystical about wine – all those mouthfeels and blueberries and leather. What could be more delicious than to find out that those shamans, those mavens with their alienating knowledge, were nothing but charlatans, snake-oil peddlers whose knowledge was all a hoax?"
An entertaining read from Keith Beavers tackling the idea that cheap wines taste just as good as expensive wine. Hint: it doesn't.
"A wine's terroir is what makes it special, says Greg Allen. He's a California winemaker who has studied and worked in the industry for 20 years. "There's a rush of emotion when I think of terroir," he says. A wine's terroir may recall the slope of the hill where lush grapes grow — and maybe the angle of sunlight that warmed those grapes on that hill, or the way water moves through the soil that nourished them. But when Allen thinks of terroir, he also think about microbes — about bacteria and fungi."
NPR's Carolyn Beans presents a finding from UC Davis that may explain the ever confusing concept of terroir.
10. The Historical Cradles of Wine - Wine Enthusiast
"From grand temples and stone troughs, to shards of pottery and fossilized grape seeds, abundant clues highlight the importance of wine both at the table and in religion. Wine made many appearances in the prose and poetry of the ancient world, from the Phoenicians and Minoans through the Romans and Greeks, and in the religious texts of Jews and Christians alike."
History buffs will appreciate this round of of wine related archaeological findings sorted by region. For example, did you know that some of the oldest wine cultivation evidence comes from Georgia?