Bâtonnage: Some Thoughts On a New Wine Podcast

Earlier this month marked the debut of a new wine podcast (brave souls) hosted by food and wine maven, Fiona Beckett, and the seemingly tireless Master of Wine, Liam Steevenson. It’s called Bâtonnage—a play on the French term which in English means “to stir the lees”—and if the first episode is any indication the series […]

A Modest Proposal: Let’s Call Wine What It Is (or What We Want It to Be)

The excellent timatkin.com website recently featured an article by fellow Master of Wine, Christy Canterbury. In it she asks a very important question: Is an imitation wine better than a fake? It’s not a trick question. Wine forgeries, and the fraudsters who create them, are very much in the news lately as many of us […]

Book Review: Cépages Suisses: Histoires et Origines–José Vouillamoz (2017)

Cépages Suisses—Histoires et Origines  by José Vouillamoz, Éditions Favre (2017) When you think about Switzerland and its wine you probably don’t think of the incredible diversity of its vineyards (252 cultivars) or the tiny area that contains them (just under 15,000 hectares—the same as in Alsace). It’s safe to say the sheer volume of diverse genetic […]

Swiss Grapes: An Homage to Chasselas (and Indirectly to Roast Chicken)

Hang around Switzerland long enough and you’ll eventually grapple with the chasselas riddle: Why is this famously ordinary table grape — and the famously neutral wine that comes from it — given star billing in Swiss vineyards and held in such high regard by its proponents? After living with chasselas for a while, I can offer […]

Opinion: What’s Happening at the Wine Advocate?

After years as a lapsed Wine Advocate junkie (Parker free since 1992) I recently re-upped when it became apparent that the online newsletter is committed to covering Swiss wine in a meaningful way. I’m encouraged that Stephen Reinhardt, their Swiss commentator, appears to be passionate about the subject and has a pretty good grasp of […]

Opinion: The True Cost of Cheap Wine — An Update

Back in April I wrote a piece titled The True Cost of Cheap Wine in which I set out to advance the narrative that cheap, industrially made wine has cost consequences beyond the obvious. It was easily the most read piece in these humble pages, inspiring both praise and criticism alike. While it is the avowed purpose […]

Swiss Wine: Make It Good and They Will Come

2017 is beginning to feel like a breakout year for Swiss wine. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate kicked things off in January (Issue 228) with a comprehensive tasting of Swiss wine, a friendly tip of the hat to our local pinot noir, a gala gathering of the clan at its Matter of Taste event in Zürich and an implied […]

The Hailstone Shield: Anathema to Organic and Biodynamic Vineyards?

Recently the Association National d’Etude et de Lutte contre les Fléaux Atmosphériques (ANELFA) announced the purchase and installation of 125 silver iodide generators in a no-holds-barred effort to thwart the occurrence of destructive hail storms in the vineyards of Burgundy. On the surface this would appear to be a wise investment but is there an ancillary cost?  At least one commentator thinks so. Tom […]

Chardonnay in Switzerland: No Respect

To the casual observer of Swiss wine the primacy of pinot noir among the red varieties suggests that its stablemate, chardonnay, enjoys the same favored status among the whites. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though chardonnay ranks as the fifth most planted variety in the world—almost 200,000 hectares spread among countless winemaking nations—it’s monopolized by […]

Opinion: The True Cost of Cheap Wine

Since everyone seems to be weighing in on the Bianca Bosker-Cork Dork controversy I’d like to add my own two cents. I’m a bit disappointed that we missed a great opportunity for constructive debate on several key issues, but I’m truly beside myself that what little discussion did take place turned frivolous with petty charges of wine snobbery and elitism. Crowded out […]