Courtney Cochran: October 2009 Archives

By Courtney Cochran

A proverbial bomb dropped in the wine world late last week when online sales giant Amazon.com notified erstwhile winery partners it would no longer be getting into the online wine sales business. Reactions to the news ranged from astonished to relieved, with many speculating the cause of the ouster can be traced to fulfillment partner New Vine Logistics' recent bankruptcy and pressure from the government to prevent so-called third-party wine sales.

Nouveau Sips: Wines to Savor in 2010

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By Courtney Cochran

Let's face it: the recession taught us many of things, perhaps the most important: you've got to appreciate the small things in life. And with 2009 drawing to a close, we can all look forward a renewed perspective (not to mention uptrending economic indicators, whew!) in the new year. To go along with this reinvigorated view of things, we offer the following ten wines that are destined to be hot in 2010. Because if another thing is altogether clear as we head out of this strange era: wine is and always will be a hallmark of the good times. And, it's time for each and every one of us to start living the good life again.

So go on: The little things in life are beckoning - and go down swell with a swill of some excellent vino

Top Wine Faults & How To Deal

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By Courtney Cochran

We've all been there before: The wine you've ordered arrives at your table at the chichi restaurant and smells...wrong. You're not sure what's behind the malodorous scent, but you're quite sure it smacks of your Aunt Edna's moldy attic. You're desperate to send it back, but nervous the "dirty attic" excuse will come off as uninformed, inadequate and pathetically incorrect all at once. But take heart, worrisome wino: there is a method to the madness of decoding wine faults (as usual, we've got you covered).

Because no one - your Aunt Edna perhaps excluded - should have to suffer through the unpleasantness of a mold-imbued wine.

Boo Worthy Wines

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by Courtney Cochran

dessertWine1.jpgIn a curious twist of linguistic fate, some decidedly frightening-sounding statements have been lately transformed into vehicles of praise. Mostly refashioned, as far as I can tell, by loquacious members of the surfer/skater culture prevalent in California, the phrases run the gamut of topics and references, but given the time of year I've singled out two that undoubtedly invoke Halloween.

A sampling: .

"These [insert noun in the plural form] are scary good!"

Translation: These [things] are delicious.

"That [insert noun] was wicked bad."
Translation: That [thing] was very cool/extremely impressive. (Note: True to the ironic spirit of this group, the use of two negative descriptors - "wicked" and "bad" - in this one makes it all that much more complimentary.

And so, to borrow a page from this verbally adventuresome sub-culture, I'd like to say that the following sweet wines are scary good, and that serving them on Halloween this year would be wicked bad of you.





Crush 2009: Harvest of Love

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crush.JPGBy Courtney Cochran

The mood at the Napa Valley Vintners 2009 annual harvest report Monday, October 12 at San Francisco's Waterbar Restaurant was decidedly upbeat.  Almost giddy with the news, Honig Vineyards Winemaker Kristin Belair announced that she had actually had time to watch the Giants beat the Dodgers during harvest time this year - in person. Equally thrilled with the unusually mild year and mellow harvest, Judd's Hill's Judd Finkelstein announced proudly - if a little incredulously - that he'd even had time to take his daughter to the circus last Saturday.
PH-Oppenlander-06.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

In the world of wine as we know it, few winemakers have followed so circuitous a route to oenophilia as Toby Hill, owner/winemaker for Phillips-Hill Estates in Philo. A California native who grew up in Manhattan before returning to the Bay Area for high school, then heading back to New York to pursue a successful career as an artist and ultimately settling down in Mendocino, Hill literally began making wine on a whim when a friend gave him several bottles of unfinished wine one harvest. Several years later, the self-taught winemaker is turning heads with his extremely limited, Burgundian-style Pinots made from Mendo's emerging comptche sub-region. Read on for notes on my favorite of his current offerings.

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