Interesting about Chile, where Mr. Mike and I did some serious wine tasting a few years back. Chile is the only major wine country in the world where no phylloxera exists. A lethal insect, phylloxera devastated most of the world’s vineyards in the 19th century, after which vines were necessarily grafted onto resistant rootstock. But most of the vines in Chile today remain ungrafted. Phylloxera’s curious absence is not fully understood.
More zin than cab?? Cabernet Sauvignon plantings superseded Zinfandel way back in 1998. Today there are 94,854 acres of Cabernet; but just 40,061 acres of Zinfandel. Most of the Cabernet is planted in Napa and San Luis Obispo counties. Most of the Zinfandel is planted in San Joaquin and Sonoma counties. (Winespeed) PS, I am not a big fan of most zinfandel.
Ever tried a dry, white Bordeaux? I have enjoyed a few over the last three years. The U.K is currently the leading importer of dry white Bordeaux wines—14% of all dry white Bordeaux is imported into that country. The U.S. and Japan aren’t far behind, importing 11% and 10% of all dry white Bordeaux respectively. But China doesn’t yet appear to be interested in Bordeaux’s amazing dry whites, the best of which (like Château Haut Brion Blanc) cost many hundreds of dollars a bottle. While China imports a whopping 65% of all red Bordeaux, it imports just 2% of white Bordeaux. (Winespeed) You can find some white Bordeaux at Trader Joe’s.
Funny? Sex in the vineyards? Right now in the Napa Valley where I live, there’s a lot of sex in the vineyards. Strictly between the vines, of course. Cultivated vines are hermaphroditic (the reproductive organs of both sexes are simultaneously present). Thus, come spring, grapevines pollinate themselves. But only if the moment is right. Grapevines, as it turns out, are rather particular. Too much wind? Forget it. A little chill in the air? The grapevines get a headache. Rain? May as well be a cold shower. Only when it’s calm, peaceful, and perfectly warm will grapevines procreate. The tender process is called flowering and indeed, if all goes well, tiny white flowers will result. With time, these tiny white flowers will become clusters of grapes. But if circumstances go awry and no flowers appear, there will be no grapes. (Sorry, buddy.) Winespeed
Moving on to Washington state, where was Columbia Valley their first AVA? Ok Washington State wine fans, this was a bit of a trick question. Even though the Columbia Valley is the largest and best known American Viticultural Area in Washington, the Yakima Valley, which is within Columbia Valley, was Washington’s first AVA, designated as such in 1983. Columbia Valley was named an AVA a year later. The Yakima Valley is the historic heart of Washington wine country. Vinifera wine grapes were planted here in the late 1930s by Seattle attorney William Bridgman who also pioneered irrigated agriculture in the region and planted some of the state’s first grapes including Semillon, Ruby Cabernet, Grenache, and Pinot Noir. Many of the state’s earliest wineries, including Chinook, Thurston-Wolfe, Portteus, and Barnard Griffin are in Yakima, and many other wineries buy Yakima grapes. A number of Washington’s most famous grower-owned vineyards are also here, notably, Boushey Vineyard and Red Willow Vineyard. (Winespeed)
It seems we tend to overlook the wines made right in our own backyard. Why not give Oregon and Washington a try? And here in California, how about Lodi?