Gems from today's scanning of various wine-related websites:
- British wine columnist Jancis Robinson provides a concise yet comprehensive primer on underappreciated Italian wines from the grape aglianico. She mentions a couple of California producers working with the variety, including the ever-exploratory Kenneth Volk in Paso Robles, but not two others that deserve recognition: Terra d'Oro Winery and Amador Foothill Winery, both in Amador County's Shenandoah Valley. Just had a bottle of Terra d'Oro's 2008 the other night and found it to be light in build but with a lot of spunk and surprising complexity, including a floral smell and a flavor running to pomegranates and orange zest. Its suggestion of leather and its acidic snap brought to mind a finely tooled bullwhip.
- Coming to a natural-foods store near you any day now, no doubt: Vegan Vines, a line of wines made without the use of any animal products. While wine is popularly perceived as nothing more than fermented grape juice, several animal products commonly are used in making it, notably during fining and filtering. The list includes isinglass from the bladders of sturgeon, milk proteins and egg whites, the use of which is contrary to vegan principles. Though vegans constitute less than one percent of the population, their numbers are growing, prompting Clos LaChance Winery of San Martin to introduce three wines made without the use of animal products. Instead, the winery uses a filtering and fining method that involves bentonite and sodium bitartrate.
- Later this week I'll have a chance to reunite with my traveling buddy in Chile and Argentina this spring. That would be Joe Roberts, he of the wine blog 1 Wine Dude. We'll both be judges at the Lake County Wine Competition. Joe, who lives in Pennsylvania, gets around. For the past few days he's been in Charlottesville, VA, for the annual Wine Bloggers Conference. In his posting earlier today he lists and provides links to what was recognized as the country's best wine blogs in several categories - best writing on a wine blog, best new wine blog and so on. With his usual candor, he also discusses his role as one of the competition's judges. I'm looking forward to what he will have to say of the Lake County judging.
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