Posts Tagged ‘wine in numbers’

Wednesday’s Meritage #147

September 23, 2020 1 comment

Meritage Time!

Let’s start with some interesting developments in the world of celebrity wines. We just recently pondered at the topic with the fellow wine writers (you can watch it here), and I mentioned Château Miraval as one of the celebrity wines (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) done right – with celebrities themselves very much involved in the process and website talking about wine passion instead of just trying to promote some irrelevant “merchandise”. It appears that the celebrity couple had ambitions going far beyond Provençal Rosé – after diligently working for 5 years, Fleur de Miraval Rosé Champagne is released to the market – at a hefty £290, according to The Drinks Business. This is a grower Champagne, produced by an apparent superstar Rodolphe Péters of the Pierre Péters estate in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. I would love to try that Champagne, but at around $370, I can only hope someone wants to surprise me – holidays are coming? While still talking about the same celebrity couple, I also want to mention that I just learned about new wine on the completely opposite side of the spectrum – a new Rosé called Studio by Miraval, which can be found for a mere $15.

Moving along, let’s now touch on the subject of wine numbers. I don’t know about you, but I love numbers. What are the total plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon in the world? Are the plantings of Pinot Noir are rising or declining? Does anyone still plant Merlot? Which country has the biggest plantings of Syrah? Of course, this information is far less valuable compared to knowing which stock will double in the value tomorrow, but these are still the numbers I’m happy to ponder at. If you are sharing my excitement about wine numbers, a book called “Which Winegrape Varieties are Grown Where? A Global Empirical Picture” (2nd Ed) by Kym Anderson and Signe Nelgen, is published by the University of Adelaide Press in Australia, and it is freely available on the publisher’s website. What might be even more interesting, on the same website, you can find a collection of the wine-related datasets, including, for example, the Annual Database of Global Wine Markets, 1835 (!) to 2018, freshly updated in January of this year. Love the numbers? Hit those links!

Now, let’s talk about our new reality – the virtual one, where you can see, but can’t touch. It works well if you need to solve a business problem or debug a complex algorithm, but virtual wine doesn’t offer a satisfying experience (whatever way you want to twist that word). I don’t know if the folks at Taste The World were expecting the pandemic to be besieged upon us, or just had a good business hunch, but the idea behind this operation sounds really good. You have an opportunity to get a set of wines for the blind tasting, hand-selected by the group of Master Sommeliers, with the promise of perfectly representative wines for the different categories. Each set includes 6 different wines, and you can get it once for $90, which I believe is reasonable for this offering, or as a subscription. Whether you are looking for a cool gift for the wine lover in your circle, or study for WSET, this sounds like a great help. Don’t get me the Fleur de Miraval, I would be quite content with Taste The World set.

Last one for today – how about some wine videos? Wine Spectator just completed the voting for their annual Video Contest, and here you can find all the videos selected for the final round. With the pandemic-appropriate theme of “Wine at Home”, you will find some truly creative videos – well worth a few minutes of your time.

That’s all I have for you today. The glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Cheers!


Wednesday’s Meritage – A Mini Quiz, 100 Point Scores, Super Rhone, Story of Pappy and more

October 22, 2014 8 comments

Yes, there been a lapse in the wine quizzes and subsequently, in these Meritage posts – the quizzes will resume at some point, I just think that I exhausted the ‘grape’ series and need to come up with another series which can last for a while – if you have any suggestions, please let me know. But – I came across quite a few interesting articles well worth sharing, and – I also have a mystery object for you to guess what it can be – so let’s have some fun!

Meritage time!

Instead of providing the answers for you today, I have a mini-quiz. A few people saw this and asked – “What is it????”. So the idea came – why don’t we make a quiz out of it? Please take a look at the picture below and let me know what do you think this is, and as a bonus part, name the place of origin of this object:

What Is It?

What is it?

Please provide your answers in the comments section, as usual.

And now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and web!

First, I came across an interesting article by Tim Atkin, Master of Wine and an author of a number of wine books. In this article Tim is talking about the problem with 100-points wines, which seem not to be a “universal truth” for everybody. He is talking about his personal experience with 3 of the 100-points wines, where his own ratings were not anywhere near that perfect score. I can also attest to having the same situation with two of the 100-pointers I was able to try. Yep, a classic case of YMMV – but read the article, it’s definitely worth your time.

We all know the carrying power the words “super-tuscan” have – attach those to the simplest bottle of wine, and everybody are immediately interested. Put some effort into that bottling – and you can easily ask for $90+ per bottle, and you will have no problems selling the wine at that price. Yes, the Super-Tuscan is an Italian phenomenon, and now some producers in France, in the Rhone valley to be precise, are trying to create something similar – a Super-Rhone wine. Here is the link for you to read more.

Have you heard of the Pappy Van Winkle? Well, if you didn’t, may be it is better to leave it like that? Pappy Van Winkle is an American whiskey, a Bourbon, which has such a cult following that while it costs a lot more than absolute majority of single-malt scotches of any age (prices for the simple 10 years old start from about $300), it is literally impossible to find, especially the well aged bottles of 15, 20 or 23 years old. I think it is one of the most fascinating stories for any of the alcoholic beverages, considering that it got to such a prominence in less than 10 years. The story of Pappy Van Winkle definitely worth few minutes of your time – here is the link to the article.

Bordeaux is coming back! Well, of course it never really left, but it lost its luster, especially in the eyes of the millennials, and finally the folks at Bordeaux decided to do something about it. The Bordeaux wine Bureau (CIVB) is starting a global campaign in US, China, Japan, UK and a few other countries to convince the wine buying public that Bordeaux is well and alive, and worth their hard earned money. You can find more details about the campaign here.

Last for today – a few words about 2014 harvest, which have mostly completed in thew Western hemisphere. This article from Wines and Vines presents some interesting numbers – for instance, the whole grape harvest in California was a bit less than 4 million tons. It also goes beyond the numbers and presents some of the trends – as an example, some growers in California Central Valley pull out the vines and replace them with the nuts – our sacred beverage, wine, is only a business for many, and it must be profitable, or else. Go read it for yourself.

And we are done here. The glass is empty – but the refill is on the way. Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, WTSO Fall Cheapskate Marathon, Costco Wines and more

October 1, 2014 5 comments

La Rioja Alta 890Meritage time!

Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #116: Harvest Time.

This quiz was dedicated to harvests and vintages, and as usual, contained 5 different questions.

Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Which one is missing:

1928, 1945, …, 1959, 1961, 1982

A1: 1947. The years above represent some of the best vintages in Bordeaux.

Q2: What is common between Vega Sicilia Unico, La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, Chateau d”Yquem Grand Vin and Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Riserva Barolo?

A2: All of the wines above are made only in the best years – they are not produced every year no matter what.

Q3: This sweet wine is one of the most prized wines in the world, and it had been produced only 3 times in the 21st century – 2000, 2003 and 2011. Do you know what wine this might be?

A3: Quinta do Noval Vintage Nacional Port. This Port in not only vintage, but it is also produced only in the exceptional years, without any regards to the Vintage declaration by IVDP. This port was produced only 3 times over the last 14 years.

Q4: Below is the list of some of the exceptionally good vintage years for this red wine – do you know what wine that might be?

1948, 1955, 1964, 1982, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2004

A4: Rioja. The telltale sign here are the 2001 and 2004 vintages, which were generally not the amazing years in most of the other regions, but exceptional in Rioja.

Q5: This wine was released for the first time in 1978, at the age of 100 years. It continues to be released every year since that time, always at the age of 100 years. Do you know what wine this might be and which country produces it?

A5: Seppeltsfield Seppelt Para 100 Year Old Tawny Port.

When it comes to the results, once again, the participation was rather low. But – this was a difficult quiz, so I think 4 correct answers out of 5 is a very good performance, thus we have a winner –oenophilogical, who gets the prize of unlimited bragging rights. Well done!

Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!

WTSO is on it again – the Cheapskate Marathon. Tuesday, October 14th, starting at 6 AM Eastern in the morning until midnight, the rules are usual – one wine at a time, offered for 15 minutes or until sold out, prices are from $7.99 to $18.99, 4 bottles minimum to get free shipping, no notifications of any sort except twitter. Yes, you know the drill. Happy hunting!

Do you ever buy wines at Coscto? Actually Coscto is the biggest alcohol retailer in US, with the 2013 sales totaling $3.1B, about 50% of which are wine sales. I thought you might be interested to read this interview with Annette Alvarez-Peters, an assistant GM for mechanizing, to learn what sells, what doesn’t sell at Costco, and what the future holds.

Next up – one of my favorite subjects for W’M – wine in numbers. Wine Market Council, a non-profit association, released the research about wine drinkers in the US, just in time for holidays. According to the research, out of the 230 million of adults in US (drinking age adults it is), 35% don’t drink any alcohol at all (if you ask me, I think at least 10% is lying, but never mind that statement). Another 21% drink alcohol, but not wine (pour souls), and only 44% drink wine. Those 44% are divided into two groups – 15% drink wine more than once a week (yay!), and 29% drink wine occasionally. There are more numbers in the research, of course, but I will leave it up to you to explore.

Last one for today is about nanotechnologies. Okay, fine. Wine and nanotechnologies. As reported by Dr. Vino, scientists in Denmark are working on the electronic tongue, which will take the difficult task of analyzing wine upon itself, and you will be left with the like/don’t like results, and of course,  the rating which will make Robert Parker green with envy. Anyway, I will let you be the judge of it.

And we are done here. The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way! Cheers!

[Wednesday’s] Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, High Tech Gadgets, Wine in Numbers and more

September 18, 2014 6 comments
Cvne Rioja Monopole

Cvne Rioja Monopole

Meritage time! Yes, I know it is a Thursday, but…

Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #114Grape Trivia – Viura / Macabeo.

In this quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about white grape called Viura in Rioja region of Spain, known as Macabeo through the rest of Spain and in Roussillon in France.

Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Which one doesn’t belong and why:

a. Chardonnay, b. Sauvignon Blanc, c. Trebbiano, d. Verdejo

A1: Trebbiano. The rest of the grapes are growing in Rioja and allowed to be blended with Viura in white Rioja wines.

Q2: True or false: Viura is one of the 10 most planted white grapes in the world

A2: True. According to 2010 data, there were 102,615 acres of Macabeo planted worldwide, which gives it a number 8 spot among the white grapes.

Q3: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 95-100 range Classic (the highest and the most prestigious category). True or False: there are no Viura/Macabeo-based wines rated in the Classic category

A3: False. I was able to find one (but only one!) white Rioja – 1918 Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta (yep, 1918!) rated at 95 point. But – one is more than none…

Q4: Which grape is missing: Chardonnay, Macabeo, Malvasia, …, Xarel-lo

A4: Parellada. All of the white grapes above are allowed to be used in production of the Cava.

Q5: Fill the gaps: If Macabeo is blended with Grenache Blanc and Malvasia, the resulting wine is most likely a ___from_____ ; if Macabeo is blended with Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris, the resulting wine probably a ___ from ___.

A5: White Rioja from Spain; a wine from Roussilon in France (can be both red and white).

When it comes to the results, we have a winner! apuginthekitchen answered all 5 questions correctly, so she gets to coveted prize of unlimited bragging rights! Well done!

Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!

Let’s talk about some useful gadgets and uneasy thoughts. When you are about to step out of the restaurant or the friends house, and before you get into your car, do you ever get that tough question, a whim of the uneasy thought on your mind – “did I drink too much”, or in the semi-scientific terms, “what is my blood alcohol level”? Of course you can rely on the common sense and watch the amount you drink (and you should), or have a designated driver (but still control that amount). But we live in the era of technology, don’t we? Yes we do. And if you happened to have an Android phone or tablet, you will be able to take the guesswork out that “BAC level” estimate, and use a little device called DrinkMate. Plug it into your phone, breathe into it- and an application will tell you exactly what your BAC is. The device is finishing up the Kickstarter campaign (they have already twice exceeded the goal), so jump in if you want one – here is the link with the information.

Next up is one of my very favorite subjects – numbers, and more numbers. Based on the article in Wines and Vines, it appears that the number of the wineries in US exceeded 8,000 – it stands at 8,049 as of September 1, 2014. The biggest growth is happening in Oregon, where the number of wineries increased by 10% in the last year. Still, Oregon is trailing Sonoma County, which has 782 wineries, with total number of wineries in California standing short of half of the total US amount at 3,798. I suggest you will head over to the original article for many more interesting numbers.

In the last week’s meritage I mentioned the Wine Video contest run by the Wine Spectator magazine. The contest concluded, and the winner was the video about Norton, the most American grape. Here is the link to the final contest information.

The last one for today is an interesting article from the new professional wine blog called SWIG. When I started reading the wine blogs years ago, I found it very surprising that many blog posts are written in rather an antagonistic fashion, and critical notes and comments are often flying in multiple directions. This post at SWIG, called “How To Respond to Attacks And Criticism in the Wine Industry”, is a very useful guide to the best course of action if you are the subject of such an attack. The idea can be well extended outside of the wine industry specifically, so it makes a good general reading on the subject.

And we are done here. The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way! Cheers!

VinItaly and Slow Wine 2014 – Fun, Education, and Lots of Wines

February 15, 2014 19 comments

VinItaly and Slow Wine logoThe story started 48 years ago, with the event called “Italian Wine Days”, which hosted a number of Italian wineries willing to present their wines to the world. Since then, VinItaly grew into one of the biggest wine shows in the world – its main 4 days event typically is taking place in April in Verona and attracts more than 140,000 visitors from 116 countries. Starting in 2013, VinItaly started the new initiative, called VinItaly International, with the goal of taking the Italian wines on the road and bringing them to the United States, Russia, China and other countries.

Outraged by the planned construction of McDonalds restaurant on Spanish Steps in Rome, the Slow Food movement was created in Italy in 1986, quickly becoming an international phenomenon, aiming at educating people about slow, real and delicious food, just the way it should be. Since then, Slow Food movement was embraced by millions of people in more than 160 countries around the world. Starting in 2010, Slow Food started publishing its wine guide, called (you guessed it) Slow Wine, dedicated to the wines which are best at demonstrating the Slow Food values, the wines with the sense of place.

For the second year in the row, I had a pleasure of attending combined VinItaly and Slow Wine event in New York city (here is the link to the post about last year’s event). This year, the pleasure was also greatly enhanced by the fact that I was joined by Oliver (the winegetter), his wife Nina and Stefano (Clicks & Corks) – as you can imagine, everything is better in a great company.

In addition to all of the wines being available for the walk around tasting, VinItaly also brought a great educational program to this year’s event. This educational program, consisting of the multiple seminars presented during the day, was part of the new VinItaly’s initiative, called Vinitaly International Academy (VIA). I talked to Stevie Kim, Managing Director of the VinItaly International, who explained that this new VIA program will offer both educational seminars (called Masterclass) on various Italian regions and wines, as well as unique tasting opportunities, such as for instance, a tasting of the vertical of Sassicaia – I really hope my invitation to such a Masterclass will not get lost in the mail. Dr. Ian D’Agata, a researcher, journalist and an author of a number of books about Italian wines, was appointed as the Scientific Director of VIA, and he was teaching a number of masterclasses presented at New York’s event. I was lucky enough to attend most of the Masterclasses offered during the VinItaly event – I will have separate posts for those, as subjects of Barolo Cannubi, Amarone and Franciacorta are well worth it.

Here is a small filmstip prepared by VinItaly with Stevie Kim and Ian D’Agata, explaining what the VIA is all about:

Via FilmstripBefore I will talk about some of the wine highlights from the event, I want to share some of the interesting stats offered during the press conference. The data below present various numbers regarding wine imports into the US – if you are in love with numbers as much as I am, these are the interesting stats, all shared as part of the information package by VinItaly tour. These are the various import statistics as presented by the US Department of Commerce:

Imports to US Jan - Sep 2013

Imports to US Jan – Sep 2013

Compare the data above with this one - Imports to Canada Jan - Sep 2013

Compare the data above with this one – Imports to Canada Jan – Sep 2013

Imports to US 2007- 2012 year over year data

Imports to US 2007- 2012 year over year data

Imports to US 2007- 2012 Still Wines

Imports to US 2007- 2012 Still Wines

Imports to US 2007- 2012 Sparkling Wines

Imports to US 2007- 2012 Sparkling Wines

I would assume you are sufficiently inundated by numbers, so let’s talk a bit about the wines before we round up this post.

With all the Masterclasses presented at VinItaly, this is where my focus really was – learning about and tasting lots of great wines, per-arranged by Ian D’Agata. I had about 2 hours of time on the tasting floor itself, primarily focused on giving a “rare varieties” whirlwind run tour to Nina. As usual, I took an extremely short notes and primarily used my trade show rating system of +. ++ and +++ (yes, with exceptions for ++-| and ++++). Below are some of the most memorable wines from that tasting:

2011 Aquila del Torre Riesling Friuli Venezia Giulia – +++ excellent

2010 Aquila del Torre Refosco Friuli Venezia Giulia – +++ clean, open

NV Brut Rosé Prima Nera Friuli Venezia Giulia – +++, very unusual sparkler made from the rare red grape called Schiopettino

2012 Cantine San Marco Romae Bianco, Lazio  – +++ clean, beautiful (this wine is made out of Malvasia del Lazio)

2012 Sant’Isidoro Colli Maceratesi Ribona Pausula,  Marche – ++-|, nice, good acidity (made out of rare grape Maceratino, which is a new grape for me!)

2010 G.D. Vajra Langhe Freisa Kyé, Piedmont – ++-|

Three great wines from Planeta (Planeta is a great producer from Sicily, and it rarely disappoints)

2011 Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico Dorilli , Sicily – +++. beautiful complexity

2008 Planeta Noto Nero d’Avola Santa Cecilia, Sicily – +++ power!

2012 Planeta Sicilia Fiano Cometa, Sicily – +++

2012 La Parrina Vermentino, Tuscany – +++

Montenidoli Il Templare, Tuscany  – +++, good

And then one and only – Caberlot!

2010 Podere Il Carnasciale Caberlot, Tuscany – ++++ nose, complexity!

2009 Podere Il Carnasciale Caberlot, Tuscany – ++++ spices, amazing

2011 Podere Il Carnasciale Il Carnasciale, Tuscany – +++ (this is second label of Caberlot wines)

2010 Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany – +++

2011 Leonido Pieropan Soave Classico La Rocca, Veneto – +++ beautiful

2011 Leonido Pieropan Valpolicella Superiore Ruberpan, Veneto – +++

2010 Antonelli San Marco Montefalco Rosso, Umbria – +++

2009 Tabarrini Montefalco Sagrantino Colle Grimaldesco, Umbria – +++

2010 Tabarrini Montefalco Rosso, Umbria – +++

And that concludes my first report from the VinItaly 2014 event in New York city – more posts to come, so stay tuned… Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Economics of Wine Collecting, Wine in Numbers, WTSO Marathon, and more

September 4, 2013 8 comments

endless_vineyardsMeritage Time!

Today we don’t have the quiz to talk about, so let’s get right to the interesting stuff around the vine and web.

An interesting article by Mike Veseth, who writes an excellent Wine Economist blog, is on the subject of wine collecting. Mike just started writing a new column for Wine Searcher online wine magazine, analyzing the world of wine collecting. While the article is pretty technical, it still makes a thought-provoking read, whether you are the wine collector or not.

W. Blake Gray published interesting numbers regarding volume of wine imported into the United States from different countries. Which country do you think is a number one importer? And then which country will take lead if you will disregard “big brands”? Check it out here.

Believe it or not, but the Wine Til Sold Out (WTSO) is doing it again! Free up some space in your cellars, and get ready for next Tuesday, September 10th – WTSO Cheapskate Marathon is coming! The rules have not changed – starting 6 AM Eastern time, WTSO will be offering new wines every 15 minutes or sooner if sold out. The only notification mechanism is Twitter (no e-mails), all the wines are priced in $7.99 – $18.99 range, free ground shipping on the orders of 4 or more. Marathon will continue until 11 PM Eastern time. Featured wines will include (among many others) Maroon Cabernet 2010, 2009 Red Blend from Shadowood, 2010 Valley Gate Chardonnay, Diamond Ridge Pinot Noir, Redheads Moonlight Cabernet, Sacoya Sauvignon Blanc. Make sure your account has all the right information ready, as the wines will be gone in a blink…

Steve Heimoff ponders at an interesting question – what will happen with the wine writing going forward? While he doesn’t offer any radical predictions, I’m sure many of you have the same question in mind from time to time. Check it out for yourself.

Last but no least – an article by Alder Yarrow talks about name protection gone too far. As you might know, the new Apple iPhone line will include new colors, one of them being champagne. Now the Interprofessional Committee for Champagne Wine (ICCW) is now getting concerned with Apple’s use of the word Champagne as a color descriptor and wants to have them stopped. Talk about complete waste of money and lawyers not having anything better to do…

And I think we are done here. Happy Rosh Hashanah to those who celebrates, and happy Wine Wednesday to all of you! Until the next time – cheers!

%d bloggers like this: