Vineyards in Colorado are mostly nestled in the temperate, high elevation river valleys and mesas of Mesa and Delta counties, with some acreage in Montezuma county. Colorado’s grape growing regions range in elevation from 4,000 to 7,000 feet and are thus among the highest vineyards in the world, resulting in hot days accompanied by cool nights.
The ‘continental climate’ in these regions create day to night temperature variations topically ranging from 25 to 30 degrees during the grape maturation months of August and September. The long warm daylight hours of intense high-altitude sunlight mature the fruit completely and build the natural sugars. The cool evenings cause the grapes to retain the acids so vital to premium winemaking. However, the high altitude can also present a challenge to grape growers, in that the average frost free growing season ranges from 150 to 182 days.
Currently available in what is being called a “charter period,” SommTV is billed as “a new video streaming service that loves food and wine as much as you do.” The platform promises to offer entirely new shows, films, footage, and educational masterclasses, as well as the archives of the Somm movies (including things like trailers) and additional licensed content. Access is currently priced at $9.99 per month or $74.99 per year, though that may change once the service has its full launch which is apparently slated for this coming March. Content can be streamed worldwide on the usual suspects of devices: Apple, Android, Amazon, etc.
Champagne is a lot bigger than it seems. Vineyards can be up to an hour away from each other depending on traffic, so it’s best to pick a home base in the heart of the region. The luxurious Domaine Les Crayères was the former home of Madame Pommery’s daughter (Pommery was a 19th century French businesswoman who took over her husband’s successful wine business after he passed away). The space was transformed into a hotel in the early 1980s, where it still retains some of the Belle Époque sensibility from its previous owner.
Champagne is one of those places in the world that there’s truly no bad season to visit. Yet, before you let the bubbles get to your head, remember to plan everything in-advance as many vineyards are small, independently owned, and can’t always accommodate walk-ins. The place is also very spread out, so you should consider renting a car or hiring a driver if you’re booking several tastings. Luckily, getting to Champagne is easy, as it’s only a two-hour train ride from Paris. In fact, some travelers even opt to simply make a day trip out of it. Time spent aside, the grandiose French architecture all the way to the glow of the vineyards will warm your heart (no, it’s not just the alcohol) and have you immediately wanting to come back.
From a Wall Street Journal online article by Lettie Teague:
Many self-styled “wine educators” online claim to be certified sommeliers, but that doesn’t mean they have worked in a restaurant. Others are winemakers, adjunct professors or simply oenophiles with a pedagogical bent. Whether via video or podcast, the education they offer tends to fall into two categories: basic (grape names, how to hold a glass) or wonky (the role of tannins, grapevine blights).
LEARNING about wine online seems easy enough—not to mention affordable. Yet after exploring all manner of internet wine education, I’m not ready to declare it the ideal forum—at least not yet.
The educational content actual wine professionals produce mostly falls into the latter camp, and podcasts appear to be the preferred format. The decidedly wonky “Guild of Sommeliers Podcast”(guildpodcast.com) features sommeliers such as Geoff Kruth and Kelli White interviewing top talent. In an episode last fall, Mr. Kruth and Virginia Wilcox, winemaker at Vasse Felix in Western Australia, discussed tannins in a surprisingly lively chat. “I think you can make or break a wine by getting the tannins wrong,” Ms. Wilcox said. She enumerated various categories of tannin, including “astringent,” “squeaky,” “toothy,” “tongue” and “green”—the ones that “push to the back of your throat.” I learned a lot and plan to invoke the term “squeaky tannins” very soon.
Despite the overwhelming presence of boutique inns along the Atlantic, they’re not a strictly East Coast commodity. Case in point: Sonoma’s Farmhouse Inn.
The 25-room property, located just 30 minutes from Calistoga and Napa Valley, attracts visitors from near and far with guest rooms done up in homey, (you guessed it) farmstead-style decor (think: plaid throws and rustic tree limb end tables, all adhering to a neutral palette of white, beige, and brown), brightened up by bouquets of fresh seasonal flowers. Beyond its aesthetically-pleasing interiors, the inn also knows a thing or two about food—starting with a nightly turndown service that includes homemade cookies and milk, and ending with the Farmhouse Restaurant, an onsite Michelin-starred, farm-to-table dining experience with killer dishes like peach salad, chanterelle tortellini, and wild Alaskan halibut.
What makes this brasserie so popular? “A culture of hospitality comes from the top down,” explains Absinthe General Manager Brian Gavin. “Bill (our owner) is very gracious and the tone he sets makes everyone feel welcome.”
An homage to all things French, Absinthe is still one of my favorite places to eat in the city. Why? It’s a buzzy destination that feels glamorous and special, evoking a one-of-a-kind feeling of Belle Epoque-era Paris. It’s not just where I dine before the opera, symphony, ballet or SFJAZZ, but it is also where I always take out-of-towners, business associates, clients and staffers.
Collectors who have drunk most of their Pinot already may need another glass after seeing the results. By the end of 2018, red Burgundy had returned 497%, versus 279% for the s&p 500. (Our index does not extend to 2019, since many of the wines it contains have not been traded this year.)
The index has also been less volatile than stocks are, though this may be an artefact of how it is calculated: no one knows what each wine would have sold for in the crash of 2008-09. Bordeaux and Champagne rose by 214% in 2003-18; everywhere else did worse.
Wine collectors like to proclaim that “all roads lead to Burgundy.” They often wince at the plonk they drank when starting their hobby. In America and Australia, a common entry point is local “fruit bombs”: heavy, alcoholic wines that taste of plum or blackberry; bear the vanilla or mocha imprint of oak barrels; and should be drunk within a few years of bottling.