Wine Openers - Blog

Page 12 of 17

Storms make skiing unearthly good

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, December 22, 2008

I didn't quite make Friday's first ride up the lift at Telluride. The road conditions, even though the snow had stopped several hours earlier, still were pretty bad and that made for slow travel, particularly across Dallas Divide, the high point on the highway between Ridgway and Telluride. It's not really that high (the sign says 8,970 feet) but it gets a lot of wind across the top. This often makes for what Tom Watkinson of Telluride described as a hockey rink. "It can be ice-coated for ...

Waxing heavy on new snow

By Dave Buchanan
Thursday, December 18, 2008

The wind and snow stopped about noon at my house and for a while I was wondering if I made a mistake by not heading off early this morning for Telluride. But a friend called a bit after 1 p.m. and said he was stopped for a while on Dallas Divide by a combination of slick roads and a stuck 18-wheeler. So staying home was a good move. This entry really does have something to do about wine, although the fact that Telluride has received more than 4 feet of snow in the last week has my mind ...

Watching the cranes in the desert

By Dave Buchanan
Saturday, November 29, 2008

I spent the week before Thanksgiving in New Mexico at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge south of Socorro. This is way south in New Mexico, fewer than 200 miles from El Paso, Texas, and nine or so hours from home. It's in some of the northernmost reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert, the largest North American desert and a classic rain-shadow desert dominated by mesquite, agave (think tequila) and ocotillo. But the drive is worth the effort, for the Bosque is where thousands of ...

America’s taste for reds on rise

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Americans will consume a record 121 million cases of red wine this year, according to "The Wine Market: Impact Databank Review and Forecast," a report released by M. Shanken Communications,the parent company of Wine Spectator magazine. The report, which analyzes recent trends in the wine market, says Americans this year will drink about 3 percent more red wine than last, the third-consecutive year for an increase in red wine consumption. White wine consumption will grow also but at a ...

Southern reds worth a holiday smile

By Dave Buchanan
Friday, November 7, 2008

We're getting back to the red wines tasted recently at the Southern Wine & Spirits holiday show. This was a fairly small show (35 reds were offered) but the quality was such my tasting sheet has scribbled notes up and down the edges, across the bottom and even squeezed between lines of type. Southern has a good variety of Spanish and Italian reds to go with the New World reds you'd expect. I gravitated to the Old World wines since it's there you're more likely to find some delicious wines ...

Southern tasting shows new stuff

By Dave Buchanan
Sunday, November 2, 2008

The holiday wine and spirits show by Southern Wine & Spirits was held this year in the mostly empty expanse of a local florist, an interesting venue in that the smell of recently departed flowers and various greenery competed with the "sniffy sniff," as guru Gary Vaynerchuk might say. First, though a word or several about Southern Wine & Spirits. When someone, anyone, talks about consolidation in the liquor business, a couple of corporate names immediately come to mind. ...

Winemaking fun but serious

By Dave Buchanan
Sunday, November 2, 2008

Last post I talked about my introduction to hands-on winemaking, albeit in a minor way compared to what even the smallest commercial winery will produce. A few carboys of shiraz, now sitting in Sal Sassano's basement/winery, waiting for the yeast to finish off the last of the sugar so the wine is safe to bottle. I've witnessed first-hand how overwhelming the carbon dioxide from fermenting wines can be and some of my winemaker friends have joked about the effects of breathing that rarefied ...

Taking the step, or stomp

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I've never been foolish enough to suggest winemaking is an easy task. I've hung out with enough winemakers and wanna-be winemakers and even ex-winemakers to realize that winemaking, like farming, takes up too much time and energy to considered "fun," in the diversion sense of the word. It's not actually a burden, because if anything you do becomes a burden, it's time to no longer do that. But winemaking as fun, well, it's seems something awfully akin to raising children in that it takes ...

Is merlot making a sideways comeback?

By Dave Buchanan
Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm finally getting around to the red wines tasted at the Republic National Distribution Company's holiday show a few weeks ago. It's not the wines weren't nice but rather life got in the way of blogging. My friend Denny Barbour and I tasted through 50 or so reds during the three-hour show, plus another 50 or so whites and sparkling wines. Even when spitting it's nearly impossible not to absorb some alcohol so some of the notes I made toward the end of the evening are not nearly as funny ...

Winemaking 101

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I've spent many nights at Sal and Kathy's house, laughing and talking and drinking his excellent homemade wines, some of which are blends you'll never find in any liquor store. Sal isn't shy about mixing a couple varietals when he's short enough of one to make a batch, and so sometimes we'll have blends of sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon or maybe merlot and syrah and even some nebbiolo tossed in, when that grape is ripe and produces a crop. This year, however, Sal offered me the chance ...

Something new at holiday show

By Dave Buchanan
Sunday, September 28, 2008

Denny Barber and Paul DeCoste talk business at the Republic National Distributing Company Holiday Show last week. You might be just getting over your summer hangover but the big liquor companies already have an eye on the holidays. It's about this time each late summer/early autumn that the major distributors, at least in those states under the thumb of the three-tier distribution system, show off their latest wines and spirits to retailers, restaurateurs and other need-to-know people in ...

Traveling wines and vendemmia means harvest

By Dave Buchanan
Sunday, September 21, 2008

I just returned from a few days in the far northwest Colorado, another of the few places I know where cell phones and Internet don't interfere with life. The late days of summer (this is being written on Sept. 21, officially the start of autumn but in the high country the season unofficially began a couple weeks ago) mean hunting seasons and you'll see upland bird hunters camping near archery hunters camping near black-powder rifle hunters. My simple but efficient hunting camp. You'll ...

Back from ‘The Loneliest Road’

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This big sign greets you on the curve coming into Eureka, Nev. A break from the newspaper and blogging found me heading west to see family and friends in Utah and Nevada, driving through the delicious solitude of the basin-and-range portions of those states bisected by U.S. Highway 50, also known as "The Loneliest Road in America." In years' past I've spent an hour or more in those stretches without seeing another vehicle, 'cept maybe for the fleets of abandoned military wagons, trucks ...

Bursick’s first J vintage a delight

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, August 18, 2008

HEALDSBURG, Cal. — There's something special about meeting someone you've always admired from a distance, and so it was in early 2006 when George Bursick, the Sonoma County native who has become a winemaking legend in his own time, was introduced to me at at J Winery. This was a spring-time press tour, a small one but still the sort of thing where wineries go out of their way to impress the visitors. We saw a winemaker saber a bottle of American methode champenoise sparkling wine, ...

World of wine gets smaller

By Dave Buchanan
Thursday, August 14, 2008

I was wandering the aisles of a local wine store last week when I overheard someone complaining about the difficulties of finding Colorado wines in Front Range liquor stores. That's not surprising, given the number of liquor stores along the wrong side of the Continental Divide and how long it would take someone to forge their way through all those wine aisles to find what invariably will be a limited selection. Several reasons are at the root of this lack of visibility for Colorado ...

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