Wine: March 2009 Archives

What to Sip This Spring? Why Pinot, Of Course!

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sundawg_wine.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

The 2007 Pinot Noir harvest in the Russian River Valley was a thing of beauty, leading to the production of wines with elegance and power, grace and personality. I know all this because I was there, working as a cellar scourge for a couple of glorious days when I played hooky from my responsibilities in the city. And now, as the results of that harvest begin to trickle in for release nationwide, I couldn't be more pleased to taste the positively delicious results in the bottle.

Wineries to Watch

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By Courtney Cochran

Each year I attend countless wine tasting events where I am inevitably plied with the wines of hundreds if not thousands of producers from our own backyard and the far corners of the globe.  Along the way, I sip, swirl and spit the likes of sparkling wines from Brazil, sweet wines from Sonoma, soulful reds from Lake County and intriguing, sea-scented whites from Galicia.  I also shake hands, take notes, snap pictures and invariably return home with piles upon piles of notes enthusing about the nuances of new wines and their various vintners.

What follows is a list of some of the more memorable wines I've sampled lately.

Geoff Kruth ~ Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant Wine Director

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wcPersonalityGeoffKruthFarmhouse.jpgMaster Sommelier Geoff Kruth brings vitality, passion and extensive knowledge to his role as wine director of Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant.  Having worked at some of America's finest dining establishments, Kruth is on a short list of up-and-coming young wine professionals.  In 2008 he became one of less than 150 people worldwide to have earned the designation of Master Sommelier.

His current position at Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant is a home coming of sorts for Kruth. The former Sonoma resident graduated from Sonoma State University with a bachelor of science in computer science before moving to Silicon Valley to pursue a career in the technology industry. 

A blossoming wine hobby became an obsession that lead to his enrollment in the French Culinary Institute's Classic Culinary Arts program in New York, where he honed his palate to taste professionally.  While a student, Kruth started working part time at Balthazar as a cellar master, moving on to assistant wine director upon his graduation in 2003.

Recession Proof?

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domperignon96.jpgBy Robert Farmer

You see the term "recession proof" tossed around a lot these days. Yet increasingly things that have been deemed to be so are turning out to be anything but. And so it was with great curiosity that I saw an item recently proclaiming select French wines to be valiantly resisting the downward economic trend. According to the global wine search website Wine Searcher.com, French wine has remained in high demand during this downward spiral into the financial abyss. Based on the data collected by the world's largest and most widely used wine search engine, shows that houses like Lafite, Margaux, and Dom Perignon remain in hot demand across the globe.

Crush on Bordeaux

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By Robert Farmer

You've heard me go on about how great custom winemaking programs are, and how a few of them go beyond the simple do-it-yourself drill to provide an experience you won't soon forget - and wine you can actually drink. One such program is the popular Crushpad, a Napa-based company that has helped set the standard for individual winemaking.

By the Glass Bargains - An Upside to the Recession

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By Courtney Cochran

When it comes to restaurant wine sales, the news is largely not good - for the restaurateurs, at least.  To that end, the Wine Market Council - in conjunction with The Nielsen Beverage Alcohol Team - reported this winter that on-premise sales of wine have slipped dramatically from 2007 and early 2008 levels, with some restaurants even forced to shut their doors as a result of sluggish sales.  Happily, there's a silver lining to this latest tale of recession-induced woe: by-the-glass sales at on-premise locations are still strong, and restaurants are responding by injecting new life - and appeal - into their BTG programs

Second Label Standouts

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goldeneye.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Just because your inner shopper is insisting upon a "save" rather than "splurge" strategy these days doesn't mean you can't still score a little of the good life in your glass.  Thanks to the "waste not, want not" mentality of many a high-end vintner, wine that doesn't make the cut for some of wine country's most sought-after labels is finding a home in cheaper bottlings from the same wineries - often at deep discounts from what you'd pay for the vintners' first-label offerings. 

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