Here are some more wine facts and terms, courtesy of Winespeed, and Reverse Wine Snob websites.
Three of the most important wine words in Bordeaux are château, cuverie, and chai. Though we think of a château as a palatial estate, anything can be a château in Bordeaux—from a farmhouse to a garage. The word simply refers to a building attached to vineyards, with winemaking and storage facilities on the property. Within the château is the cuverie (coo-ver-EE), the building where the wine will be made, and the chai (pronounced shay), the cellar where it will be stored and aged.
And would you believe this? Spain has 260,000 bars and restaurants–the most per capita in the world. In particular, bars (which usually also serve food) are part of the DNA of Spain. In the years following the 2008 financial crisis, more than 25,000 Spanish bars closed. The decline has now begun to reverse, and new bars are opening in many parts of the country. I strongly suggest a visit to Spain, particularly the Costa del Sol for a vacation, wine tasting, and golf.
Are you among them? Over 140,000 people visit Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley each year. The winery, founded in 1966, was one of the first in the world to offer an extensive hospitality program of educational tours and tastings to the general public. The winery conducts visits in Mandarin, Korean, and Spanish, as well as in English. Wow!
The University of Oregon in Eugene was the first to bring the Dijon clones (clones are genetic subtypes of a variety) of chardonnay into the United States in the 2000s. The Dijon clones are named after Dijon, the city in Burgundy where France’s ONIVINS plant materials laboratory is located. These clones—with such exciting names as 115, 667, and 777—are heralded for their complex flavors and ability to ripen fully in cool climates. Obviously, this was a match made in heaven for Oregon wine country, which has a mostly cool climate.
Did you know that California makes 81% of all American wine? And we are the fourth leading producer with over 4,200 wineries, still with many family owned. The retail value in 2019 was $43.6 million, based on 242 million cases. In other words, three of every five bottles sold in the US is from our state. Of course, 2020 will be much different, unfortunately.
Estimates of the monetary losses due to the 2020 wildfires in Wine Country are beginning to materialize, and they look significant. The Glass Fire may have cost Napa’s wine industry as much as $1 billion, with $50 million in wage losses for vineyard workers, writes Barry Eberling in the Napa Valley Register.
From Winespeed: Although phylloxera ultimately ravaged vineyards in most wine-producing countries, Chile has never been affected. The country exists in near perfect seclusion. On the west is the Pacific Ocean; on the east, the massive Andes Mountains; to the north, the Atacama Desert; and to the south, about 400 miles (640 kilometers) across the water, frozen masses of Antarctic ice. Within these formidable natural boundaries exists an almost Eden-like environment for grapes and other crops. The Spanish settled Chile in the 16th century, bringing with them the grape variety called listán prieto (later called país, and also known as mission in the U.S.). Because of its pristine isolation, Chile has pais grape vines that today are hundreds of years old. Many of these very very old vines were grafted over to Bordeaux varieties in the mid-19th century. Rich Chilean landowners and mining barons who had begun building wine estates imported cuttings from Bordeaux in the decades just prior to phylloxera arriving in France. Today, some of the oldest malbec and carmenère vineyards can be found in Chile. (BTW, try a carmenere from Trader Joe’s next time you visit)
More from Winespeed: A change is about to happen in drinking because the world of wine grapes is shrinking. According to a recent University of Adelaide study, in 2000, the top 35 grape varieties in the world made up 59% of the world’s vineyards. Just ten years later in 2010, those top 35 grape varieties made up 66% of the world’s wine grape growing area. In particular, French varieties like cabernet sauvignon have grown in dominance (thanks in part to their adoption in the New World). In 2000, just 26% of the world’s wine grape acreage was devoted to French varieties. By 2010, it was 36%. Here are the ten top most widely planted grapes today 1) Cabernet Sauvignon; 2) Merlot; 3) Airen; 4) Tempranillo; 5) Chardonnay; 6) Syrah; 7) Grenache/Garnacha; 8) Sauvignon Blanc; 9) Trebbiano Toscano; 10) Pinot Noir.
No wine auction? This is the first year in the past forty that Napa Valley will not hold its world famous, star-studded auction, which has raised a total of $200 million. This past week the Board of the Napa Valley Vintners voted to reimagine new ways to fund the many charities it supports. The event was launched in 1981 by a small group of winery owners, including Robert and Margrit Mondavi, and, from the beginning, was held at Meadowood resort, parts of which were destroyed in the recent Napa Valley wildfires. Hey, I can’t afford it anyway!
Ullage (ULL-edge) is the air space that develops inside a wine bottle’s neck and shoulder because wine has been lost through leakage or evaporation. In a bottle with significant ullage, the wine will often be oxidized and spoiled. In a wine auction, a wine with even a small amount of ullage will not command a top price.
Can you believe? Astonishingly, 284 Percent more European wine exceeding 14% abv that America imported after the U.S. Trade Bureau levied 25% tariffs on wines under 14%. High-alcohol wine exports (primarily from France and Spain) are soaring, as consumers take advantage of lower prices on wines that avoid the punitive tax. According to U.S. Commerce Dep’t data, America historically imported $150 million a year in higher-alcohol wine compared to $434 million in the 12 months since the tariff took effect.
With that, perhaps this is my last wine post of the year. While we cannot travel, we can enjoy some good wine. If you had some great ones, please pass the info, or better yet, pass the bottle!!!