Deus criou a água, mas o homem fez o Vinho







On Wednesday, the eyes of wine geeks and those in the wine industry will turn to the the Supreme Court. Wine will be on the docket, and, as you might expect, reds and whites do not map on to a political right and left. A love of wine is non-partisan even though no justice has ever proclaimed ?I love wine? during confirmation hearings (only beer gets this kind of admiration!). At stake on Wednesday is whether wine shops can ship across state lines.

The biggest wine case the Supreme Court ever decided was Granholm v Heald in 2005. In their decision, the majority ruled that states could not discriminate between out-of-state wineries and in-state wineries?either they had to open up to shipping from all wineries or close the whole thing down. Fortunately for wine enthusiasts, almost all state chose to open up so consumers across the country now at least have the right to order wine from wineries.

But it has remained an open legal question whether this freedom for wineries to ship also applies to wine shops. In fact, only a handful of states allow wine shipments from out-of-state wine shops. It is arguably more important for consumers to be able to have wine shops ship across state lines than it is for wineries: while it is good to be able to receive wines from wineries directly, being able to buy from shops offers more price competition not to mention foreign wines, which account for a third of all wine sales in America.

The case to be argued on Wednesday, formally called Tennessee Wine  Spirits Association vs Blair, on face value is about whether Total Wine, a big box wine retailer with about 200 locations, should be allowed to open a store in the state. Local shop owners sued when Total Wine applied for a permit, arguing that only residents who have lived in the state for two years could own shops in the state, or as one new retailer told Forbes, its a good ol boys systemeconomic protectionism at its worst. Eric Asimov of the NYT describes the dynamic of how interstate retail sales were effectively stopped:

Urged on by the wholesalers, who lobbied and contributed heavily to state political campaigns, states began to crack down on interstate retail shipping, and carriers like FedEx and United Parcel Service specifically. Those companies have told retailers in recent years that they would no longer accept out-of-state shipments of alcoholic beverages unless they were bound for one of 14 states (along with Washington, D.C.) that explicitly permit such interstate commerce. Interstate wine shopping effectively ended for many people.

Groups such as the National Association of Wine Retailers have filed a brief in the case, as has a group of consumers. Paul D. Clement, they lawyer who filed the consumer brief and a former Solicitor General, had a convincing quote in the NYT:

?Your typical winery has a production function and a retail function, and Granholm?s focus was on the retail side,? Mr. Clement said. ?The interstate activity protected by Granholm wasn?t production, it was sales.?

Case details on SCOTUSBLOG

The post Wine spills onto the docket at the Supreme Court appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


My good friend, chef Tim Labant, and I have ridden probably 15,000 miles together on our bikes the past few years. Weve had some epic adventures. Tim is the chef/owner of Schoolhouse at Cannondale, a new American spot in Wilton that celebrated its eleventh anniversary this past spring. About three years ago, Tim decided he wanted to bring his fine dining skills to a more casual environment. He loves pizza (who doesnt?), so he started developing his own dough recipe. He went to Pizza Expo in Las Vegas two years in a row, refining his recipe and researching ovens. As the restaurant was developing, he asked me to put together the wine list and I was only too happy to help.

Everything came together about five weeks ago when Parlor opened its doors. Tims dough uses two types of Italian (Caputo) flour and has a multiday fermentation and proofing. The pies get baked in a Pavesi oven thats fire-truck red. The dough has a chewy mouthfeel that makes you not even want to talk, just indulge in another bite until the pie is gone. The sautéed mushroom with taleggio is one of my favorites; the white clam sees fresh littlenecks steamed open, shucked and then placed on a creamy reduction sauce. The salads and sides are not to miss either.

To complement this simple but tasty menu, we put together a wine list that has something for everyonebut it may not be the exact something people thought they wanted when they came in. For example, a guest came in recently and asked for a glass of chardonnay. When I pointed out that we dont have one by the glass (but we do have the excellent Sandhi chardonnay by the bottle), I suggested an erbaluce from Luigi Ferrando, the celebrated (for his reds, mostly) producer from Carema in the north of Piedmont. I poured her a taste; she liked it and ordered a glass. Then another. So that was my mini triumph of the night, turning a generic chardonnay drinker into a two-glass erbaluce enthusiast.

The list has a smattering of fun wines over $100 and a bunch of crystal decanters. But sensitive to the value needs of a pizza place, the list also has ten wines by the the bottle under $30 and ten wines by the glass starting at $8. We have three wines on keg too (lower carbon footprint!) that we serve by the quartino. We have wines from Italy, France, New York, California, Spain and Austria on the list right now. We have orange wine and pet nat. We will rotate wines in and out and have some special pours too. The wine world is a big and exciting place right now and we are happy to show off some tasty portions of it.

Stop by and check it all out! Connecticut is beautiful, especially this time of year.

Parlor Pizza  Bar
5 River Rd
Wilton, CT
Open Tuesday  Sunday, 5:30 to close.
Lunch hours coming soon. No reservations.
Parlor site
CT bites

Brovia! Barbera!

High-level wine meeting :)

The post Slinging juice: my side hustle at Parlor Pizza appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


The Reboule du Rhone is back for a second edition! The event last year feted winemakers and wines from the Northern Rhone with dinners and tastings, raising over $300,000 for the charity No Kid Hungry. Above is a quick montage of scenes from last year.

This years encore edition will include a series of singular dinners, November 15-17. The first dinner (at a private residence 50 floors up) highlights legendary vintages of the last 50 years, the second dinner has a focus on the kings of Cornas, and the third is a BYOB extravaganza. For those looking for a more budget-friendly event, its hard to outdo the value of walk-around tasting at 1 PM Saturday the 17th. Winemakers and leading sommeliers will pour over 100 wines from the region.

The event is the brainchild of Thomas Pastuszak and Dustin Wilson. Profits go entirely to No Kid Hungry.

List of winemakers after the jump.


Related: Reboule du Rhone site
Reboule du Rhone [Dr. Vino]

The post Reboule du Rhone, second edition appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


Sothebys released a glossy report on their 2017 wine auction year today: the house racked up $63.8 million at 21 auctions in London, New York, and Hong Kong. That was good enough for third on the list of 2017 wine auction housesin all, the global wine auction market rose 12.7% to $381 million last year (WS had a summary piece back in January).

At Sothebys, as elsewhere, Burgundy rose and DRC dominated. Last fall, six bottles of Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Romanée Conti 1996, fetched $134,750, or $22,458 per bottle. Not too shabby for fermented grape juice! In total, $11.6 million worth of DRC sold at Sothebys auctions last year, making it the top wine for the fifth year in a row and more this year than Lafite, Pétrus, and Mouton combined (Bordeaux sales declined to less than 50% of total wines sold, by value). Whisky sales increased as some collectible consignments came up for sale. Asian buyers comprised 60% of wines sold by value.

Will DRC demand let up? It remains the most coveted wine at auction worldwide. Hopefully, someone out there actually pulls a cork from time to time to enjoy it in the glass, rather than on a balance sheet! (Above, evidence that this does happen from time to time.)

The post 2017 wine auction market seen through the crystal&wine glass appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


Last nights state dinner in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte was the first of Donald Trumps term. Would the current occupant of the White House shatter wine protocols at state dinners? Would the teetotaler whose name adorns a Virginia winery serve his own wine?

The White House has a tradition of serving only American wines at state dinners. This president was not going to put waves in that particular chardonnay glassMAGA and all that. The menu included a chardonnay and a pinot noir from Oregons Willamette Valley, the white from Domaine Serene and the red from Domaine Drouhin. The focus on Oregon is apt since it is an area that has attracted many French winemakers and makes many wines in a Burgundian style. The Drouhin family was the first French family to buy vineyard land in Oregon back in 1987. And perhaps because the White House Events usher who selects the wine likes symmetry, he put Domaine Serene on the menu as the family behind it bought a property in Burgundy in 2015.

The official announcement of the menu had some interesting verbiage, noting the vines at Domaine Serene were a combination of French plants from Dijon. The statement continues that the wine was aged in 40 percent French oak barrels for more than 12 monthswhat of the remaining 60%? The Domaine Serene site clarifies that the wine was aged in 40% *new* French oak barrels. That makes more sense. On the Domaine Drouhin Laurène, the state dinner site says that the wine was fermented in French Oak barrels. (Can you believe they found two wines made in America that were aged in French oak? :P) By contrast, the Domaine Drouhin site says that the wine was first fermented with indigenous yeasts, and then placed into barrels (French oak, never more than 20% new). Details!

The White House Events usher also has a predilection for pairing off-dry sparking wine with ice cream. So he subjected the diners to an off-dry sparkling wine with dessert. Hopefully, someone can have a summit with him to lay down all off-dry sparklers with dessert!

Also, check out how Trump is holding his wine glasseegad, someone alert Robert Mueller of this wine crime!

Full menu after the jump.
Also, check out this video of Emmanuel Macrons wine tasting skills in action.

Full Menu:
First Course:
Goat Cheese Gateau
Tomato Jam
Buttermilk Biscuit Crumbles
Young Variegated Lettuces
Domaine Serene Chardonnay ?Evenstad Reserve? 2015 (find this wine)

Main Course:
Rack of Spring Lamb
Burnt Cipollini Soubise
Carolina Gold Rice Jambalaya
Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir ?Laurène? 2014 (find this wine)

Nectarine Tart
Crème Fraîche Ice Cream
Schramsberg Demi-Sec ?Crémant? (find this wine)

Full leaders and liters of wine coverage

The post Trump  Macron state dinner wines appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


American wine has just gotten a dubious distinction: it features on a list of 128 items that may be subject to new Chinese tariffs. (spelling tip: tariffs ends in FFS!)

Saber rattling in trade between the US and China is escalating. The Trump administration announced $50 billion in tariffs on Wednesday and China responded yesterday with a more modest $3 billion. Of course, the two sides could be posturing and may come to an agreement before the tariffs hit the fan.

At any rate, wine featured on the list of items that would be hit with a 15% tariff into China. The US exports $79 million of wine to China, which seems like a drop in the Slavonian oak barrel of world trade. (Pretty small beer&) So even though it might sting in California, it is something of a backhanded compliment to US wine that it is seen as symbolically significant.

The US wine market is large and thirsty: by far the majority of wine produced in America gets consumed in America. California wine sold at retail fetched $35 billion in 2016. Beyond that, about a third of the wines consumed in the US are imported into what is a $60 billion market.

China is also a large and growing market for wine. As small as the US exports are to China, they were up a very healthy 47%. Australia, by contrast, with its small domestic market, has aggressively provided wine to the Chinese market. A new free trade agreement between the two countries means that Australian wine will have no tariff next year. France remains the largest source of foreign wine to China both in terms of value and volume.

The post China targets US wine in tariff showdown appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


Reboule du Rhone - 20Jan2019 14:49:24

About five years ago, Dustin Wilson became the wine director at Eleven Madison Park and Thomas Pastuszak became the wine director at NoMad. At a similar point in their careers at restaurants in the same group, the two bonded over their many shared interests, one of which was a love of the wines of the Northern Rhone.

Last year, when they were visiting cellars in the region together, they hatched the idea to have a weekend celebration of Northern Rhone wines in New York City. Thus Reboule du Rhone was born with the first weekend of events slated for November 17-19. Pastuszak says that some of the dozen producers invited have never been to New York before. Part of their motivation was to give the sommelier community a chance to get in front of these heralded producers, he says.

?We get really excited to serve these wines and drink these wines. But the region is somewhat under the radar. So it is exciting to give them wider exposure,? Wilson says.

With other weekend fetes on the New York City calendar of Burgundy, Champagne, and others, there was an opening for a Northern Rhone event. ?For us, we felt it was only a matter of time until somebody jumped on this. We?ve hit a point in our career where we are very well positioned and the timing was right for us to do it.

One further way to stand out is that fully 100% of the net proceeds will go to charity. The nonprofit they are working with is No Kid Hungry, an organization that works to improve childhood nutrition that has worked frequently with chefs and the restaurant community.

The flagship event is the Reboule, a $600/head BYOB dinner bacchanal with winemakers who will be bringing back-vintages from their cellars. Participating chefs include Daniel Humm of EMP and Abram Bissel of The Modern. But perhaps the best value is the walk-around afternoon tastings where the winemakers will be pouring their current releases.

The best wines from the Northern Rhone, syrahs ancestral homeland, represent something of a Lorelei to me, with their alluring, savory call of black olives and herbs. The producers here a veritable murderers row of producers from the region. So its hard to imagine what the Reboule will do for an encore. But thats a problem for next year.

Participating winemakers













The post Reboule du Rhone appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


Helping the wildfire recovery - 20Jan2019 14:49:24


The wine country fires caused a lot of damage, that we know. But as the fires come under control and some residents return to their greatly altered lives after mandatory evacuations, we are starting to get a handle on the extent of what happened. Here is a sad list of 22 wineries damaged by the fires in both Sonoma and Napa. And theres speculation that undocumented immigrant workers, vital to the system of wine making, may not return since they do not qualify for disaster aid and much of the low-cost housing was damaged.

Sadly, there have been reports of price gouging as well as insurance payouts being insufficient to cover some damage. One estimate put the total at $3  $6 billion.

Clearly, the regions need a lot of help. As wine consumers, the most obvious thing we can do is to buy wine from the affected areas. There are a variety of local charities to contribute too as well. And in the past few days, sommeliers and winemakers have organized a charity tastings to raise funds to aid the wildfire recovery effort. The first will be locally in Healdsburg, also in SF and NYC. I expect these will be very well attended.

Winemakers and sommeliers for California wildfire relief

Participating wineries:

The post Helping the wildfire recovery appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


Fires savage Napa and Sonoma - 20Jan2019 14:49:25

On Sunday night, a fire got out of control somewhere north of the Bay. Seasonally dry conditions had left the area like a tinderbox. So when whipping winds of up to 70 mph hit the initial flames, they spread, well, like wildfire. Tragically, the blaze has now prompted the evacuation of 20,000 people, burned over 1,500 homes, incinerated 73,000 acres and left 11 people dead.

Santa Rosa in Sonoma has been hit particularly hard. The flames have also jumped to Napa and Mendocino counties.

The NYT has some shocking photos from before and after. SFgate has coverage toothe video with the homes crackling as they burn really pulls on the heart strings. And this video driving down a street after the Tubbs fire is haunting. And these photos&Esther Mobley of the SF Chronicle has been tweeting tons of updates.

The vintage 2017 may be tough in many parts of the wine world, but this is by far the worst.

The post Fires savage Napa and Sonoma appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


Climate change is a bitch. Severe weather events have roiled wine growing areas with depressing regularity in recent years. Burgundy seems to be on the forefront of this plagued by floods, hail storms, late frosts and other events that have reduced (or in some places even eliminated) the crop.

Jeremy Seysses, owner and winemaker at Domaine Dujac, posted the above photo to instagram along with this description.

Yesterday night, 10th July, brought heartbreak in the form of hail. Of our vineyards, the top of the hill of Morey was hit hardest, Monts Luisants worst, probably 30-40% damage; Clos St Denis and Clos de la Roche next, then Combottes. Bonnes Mares had minor damage. The rest of the domaine seems ok. The leaves like they were put through a shredder. The fruit is pummeled. The shoots battered. Well still make some wine, though!

There was also severe weather in Beaujolais for the second year in a row&gah! I feel sorry for the vignerons who try to make a living in this increasingly unpredictable endeavor.

The post Hail strikes Burgundy and Beaujolais  again appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


The Golden State Warriors won their second NBA title in three seasons last night. As a hoops fan, the most impressive stat for me was 147 assists on 216 made basketsteamwork! But as a wine geek, we here at the Dr. Vino World Headquarters had to wonder&what would the team pop to celebrate in the locker room?
Would the owners cheap out as so many MLB owners do and use bubbly that could be picked up at any 7-11 on the way to the stadium?

We asked a Russian to hack the feed from the locker room to see what they sprayed. (Okay, our source was actually ESPNs Darren Rovell.) This Warriors team did not hold back! To celebrate this title the doused each other with magnums (natch) of Moët Impérial Golden Luminousa limited edition of the Moet nonvintage that Rovell says are valued at $1,200 each. (Search for this wine) Given the size of the ice bucket, that could have set the owners back about $200k, if the bubbly wasnt donated by LVMH.

If you want to celebrate in a similar style, the regular Moet Imperial is about $40. Or get a more singular wine with a grower Champagne for the same price. (Or even a new wave sparkler from the Golden State!) And throw in a Warriors Champions locker room towel for $17.99 and you can have a similar experience for a fraction of the price. Ski goggles optional.

The post Warriors toast NBA title with actual champagne! appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


Wine drip stains on white tablecloths have a new nemesis and his name is Daniel Perlman. The biophysicist at Brandeis University discovered that all it took to eliminate the bane of (red) wine pourers everywhere is to etch a small groove at the top of the bottle under the lip. We can but hope this catches on widely.

drip-free-wine-bottleProfessor Perlman studied slo-mo videos of wine being poured from a bottle. He found that drips cling to side of a bottle because bottles are hydrophilic! Now if that sounds more than PG-13, dont worry: it just means that the glass of the bottle attracts the drops of water (or wine) that then annoyingly cling to the side and make a big mess. He found that cutting a 2mm groove in the bottle with a diamond-studded cutting tool just below the lip was sufficient to break up the attachment issues between the glass and the wine. Behold the drip-free wine bottle! No wonder Perlman has 100 patents.

If this is effective and can be widely commercialized, then Perlman would have earned our enduring admirationas well as a hallowed place at the eternal (stain-free) table aside Bacchus.

Brandeis University media release

The post Behold the drip-free wine bottle! appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


The French presidential election is heating up. Polls show Emmanuel Macron defeating Marine Le Pen in the decisive second round on May 7 by 62-38 (yes, polls have been deceiving ahead of recent elections but this is a big margin).

We are single-issue voters around here and that issue is wine! Actually, thats not true but we will roll with it. Recent French presidents have hovered at or near zero when it comes to passion for wine. Jacques Chiracs tipple of choice was reportedly Corona. Nicolas Sarkozy famously didnt even like wine. Current president Francois Hollande sell off a chunk of the presidential wine cellarbut he also canceled a lunch with the Iranian president after the guest insisted no wine be served.

Macron, a former minister of Finance who is a mere 39 years old, exhibits some wine savvy. Although he was raised in Picardy, not a region known for wine growing, he says that his grandparents told him that red wine was guilt-free since it is an antioxidant.

The journalists from Terre de Vins and Sud-Ouest conducted a wide-ranging interview about wine. Among other things, Macron admitted that a meal without wine would be a little bit sad because wine is a part of the French table&our civilization. He even talks about the pleasure of food-wine pairings! It may not seem like it since youd expect all French presidents to support wine. But these are kind of fighting words right now as the rate of wine consumption has been in decline and the health crowd that takes a dim view of wine has been ascendant in policy circles.

Macron then submitted himself to a blind tasting with the journalists! (Video above) Can you imagine a leading presidential candidate doing that here? Usually they run away from it, heading toward beer, if anything. And a blind tasting? Thats high-risk stuff for anyone!

But Macron comports himself amazingly well, showing a breadth of knowledge (even though he did offer that the likes Miraval rosé, which comes from the estate of erstwhile Brangelina) as well as taste preferences (says he doesnt like high-acid whites). He correctly guessed both a Bordeaux blanc and a Coteaux de Provence by region, and even the red he guessed as a Bordeaux but was off by a few appellation (trust me, its easy to make mistakes&). Im sure he will pour some fun wines at the Elysée Palace over the next five years.

The post Vote Emmanuel Macron! A blind tasting appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


Wine class at Schoolhouse - 20Jan2019 14:49:25

How about some wine classes to shake off the winter blues (wait, what winter? Its 70 degrees!)?

Ive been doing a series of wine classes at Schoolhouse at Cannondale, a new American restaurant in Wilton, CT. Chef/owner Tim LaBantfriend of the bloghas been running some cooking classes and Ive been doing some wine classes on select Tuesdays. Two of my classes are in the bag but two more are coming up in the next two weeks. On 2/28, weve got Pinot Envy in which we will taste and talk through seven pinot noirs. And on 3/7, we will Drink Like a Hipster with tasting and discussing seven natural wines. It will be fun!

Reservations required. Timing is 7:00  8:30. Tickets are $75. Please email Francesca for reservations.

The post Wine class at Schoolhouse appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.


american wineEconomic policy has about as much clarity as a tank of Puligny after batonnage right now. There?s some reasonable certainty about various reforms (ahem, tax cuts) but one area that is shrouded in mystery: how imports will be taxed.

Trump made trade a big issue in the campaign and has continued in the same vein, doing industrial policy via Twitter since the election. Some policy wonks think that a huge change in the tax on imports may be forthcoming. A House bill from last year sought to impose punitive tariffs on imports to shame big box retailers such as Walmart, Home Depot and Target in their purchases from abroad.

Neil Irwin, writing in Sundays NYT sums up a relevant part of the destination-cased cash flow system:

A company that spent $80 making something that it sold overseas for $100 would pay no tax on its earnings. A company that imported goods worth $80 from abroad and them sold them domestically for $100 would pay tax on the full $100.

Perhaps there would be a carve-out for wine and gourmet items from abroad? Who knows. It?s not clear if this bill was targeting the retailers as importers or retailers, a key distinction in the wine world since the two ?tiers? are (mostly) legally separated. Either way, about one out of every three bottles of wine consumed in America comes from overseas and could be subject to a new import tax, if one becomes law. In certain areas, such as New York City, it?s more than one out of every three bottles that is imported. And certain wine lists and shops feature imports as perhaps eight or nine out of every ten bottles on the shelf/list.

Would such tariffs be legal under the WTO? Does Trump care? Would there be retaliation against US products in overseas markets? Again, not a lot of clarity here.

But if there were a wine import tax or border adjustments, would it make American wine better? Probably not. US producers cannot make enough wine to keep up with US consumption. And stylistically, imports can be quite different. So it might be craft beer producers that emerge as the real winners of such a policy.

Again, there?s so little that?s been fleshed out beyond 140 character nuggets or campaign epithets. More will come in the coming weeks and months. Until then, drink up, foreign or domestic.

The post Wine import tax: Make American Wine Great Again? appeared first on Dr Vinos wine blog.