WineCompass Blog

  • Natural Wine at the Old Westminster Winery's Summer Solstice Festival
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    "Natural Wine is farmed organically (biodynamically, using permaculture or the like) and made (or rather transformed) without adding or removing anything in the cellar. No additives or processing aids are used, and ‘intervention’ in the naturally occurring fermentation process is kept to a minimum. As such neither fining nor (tight)…
  • Gonzalez Byass La Copa Vermouth - What Would Hemingway Do?
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    "That evening the priest from Henry’s mess comes to visit. He brings some presents for Henry: a mosquito net, a bottle of vermouth, and some English newspapers. Henry invites the priest to share some of the vermouth with him. The priest breaks off the cork on trying to open it…
  • Missouri Wine: Norton - Missouri's Official State Grape
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    The Norton grape has been the backbone of the Missouri wine industry through the industry's rise in the second half of the 19th century and the modern era. It was a Norton wine that was declared the "Best Red of All Nations" at an 1873 International competition in Vienna, Austria…
  • Navigating the Crus at the Beaujolais Road Show
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    Discover Beaujolais"In 1395 Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, ordered that all Gamay vines be uprooted by the following Easter. The Duke believed the cultivation methods used in raising Gamay were damaging the reputation of Pinot Noir. Although the decision sparked such uproar among the public, the Duke’s attempts at…
  • Missouri Wine: Excelsior Springs is a Craft Beverage Destination
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    In 1880, what is now downtown Excelsior Springs was a wheat field. Yet, within the end of the decade, Excelsior Springs was a vibrant town with transportation links provided by stage and rail and with a resort hotel – the Elms Hotel. The discovery of healing mineral springs instigated this…
  • River Hill Wine and Spirits - From Moonshine to Bourbon to Country Wine
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    I couple years ago I started purchasing the River Hill Distillery Corn Whiskey as it provides a clean, textured, sweet corn flavor with little burn. Hard to do that at 100 proof, but old family recipes have their secrets.  An opportunity occurred this month while driving past Lurey Caverns and…
  • Silver Branch Brewing Company - A World of Beer
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    As downtown Silver Spring Maryland revitalized it is also becoming a craft beverage destination with three breweries and a winery within a two-mile radius. Silver Branch Brewing Company opened in February 2019 as the latest addition and is well worth a visit. Proprietors Christian Layke and Brett A. Robison produce…
  • Old Westminster Winery, Burnt Hill Farm, & The Summer Solstice Festival
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    “We’re going to challenge current beliefs with unique and transparent wines – wines that offer balance, nuance, and character. We’re going to farm thoughtfully, using biodiverse cover crops, biodynamic principles and incorporating animals. And then, in the winery, we’re going to craft wines with a light hand, ferment with indigenous…
  • Villa Maria's First Sip Of Summer
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    This week Villa Maria Estate presented their seasonal #FirstSipNZ witter campaign and this chat featured a trio of ready for summer wines.  The winery is one of New Zealand's most famous having operated for six decades starting as a one acre - one man shop in 1961 and growing to…
  • Missouri Wine: Reviving American Heritage Grapes at Vox Vineyards
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    Albania, America, Brilliant, Carman, Cloeta, Delicatessen, Favorite, Lenoir, Lomanto, Marguerite, Muench, WetumkaThese are winegrapes that were once grown in Missouri and middle America prior to Prohibition. They are just a handful among the many grapes developed in the rigorous breeding programs of viticulture pioneers Thomas Volney Munson, Hermann Jaeger, George…
  • Lodi Wine: The Unique, Unusual, and Unconventional
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    During our Snooth - Lodi Wine trip there were dozens of wonderful wines that we sampled that could keep us writing for months. But in order to conclude this Lodi Wine series, this post will focus on several wines worth mentioning - emphasizing wines made from unconventional grapes or a unique Lodi heritage.…
  • Missouri Wine: The Basics
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    Source: Missouri Wine and Grape BoardIn the 1870s, 6 million acres of French vineyards were destroyed by a mysterious plague. Desperate, the French government invited Missouri's first entomologist Charles V. Riley to diagnose the situation. He determined that the vines were suffering by an infestation of phylloxera, most likely introduced…
  • A Tutorial on Left Coast Estate and Their Summer Wines
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    In the past when I received samples from Oregon's Left Coast Estate, I opened each bottle over the course of at least a week - sampling each wine multiple days.  Not so for this latest shipment of summer wines as I shared the four bottles with neighbors during an impromptu…
  • Lodi Wine: Prost from Mokelumne Glen Vineyards
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    During our Snooth trip to Lodi, a major theme stressed was the large diversity of grape varieties grown in the AVA.  Over 100 in fact.  But this number results primarily from the unique endeavor of one family, the Koths and Mokelumne Glen Vineyard. This vineyard is located on the east…
  • Tio Pepe Palomino Fino Jerez Xeres Sherry
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    "There can't be a more misunderstood type of wine than Sherry." The Misunderstood Genius that is Fino Sherry  - De Long BlogFino ("refined") is a dry, pale white sherry wine produced within the D.O. Jerez located in south-western Spain, near the coast and just northeast of Gibraltar. The Jerez DO…
  • The Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Gin: Enjoy Neat or with Tio Pepe Sherry
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    Most gin brands differentiate their products by the amount of juniper or other botanicals used in the process.  In general, the grain bill has less impact on the spirits as the botanicals drive the flavor.  This differentiation is definitely the case with the Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Gin ($35) as it consists of…
  • Harpers Ferry Brewing - Overlooking the Potomac and Maryland Heights
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    On September 13th, 1862 Confederate units under Brig. Gens. Joseph B. Kershaw assaulted the lightly defended Maryland Heights, the highest mountain overlooking the strategic transportation hub of Harpers Ferry. This town was strategically significant because it was built at the point where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac River with…
  • Lodi Wine: Turley Wine Cellars Old Vine Cinsault & Zinfandel
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    The quality of Lodi wine grapes is not only evident in the excellent wines made by Lodi wineries, but also the wines produced by non-Lodi wineries. One example is Turley Wine Cellars, who largely make single-vineyard designate wines, with several focusing on Lodi old vine Zinfandel & Cinsault. The winery…
  • The 2019 WineAmerica Wines of America Reception
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    After a week of meetings and lobbying, WineAmerica held its annual Wines of America Reception in coordination with the Congressional Wine Caucus; an event that features a wide selection of wines from across the United States. This year the states represented crossed the map from Georgia to Vermont, Texas to…
  • Lodi Wine: Mediterranean Mineral Vermentino
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    Vermentino -- the "thinking man’s Pinot Grigio", Jim Moore, winemaker/proprietor of Uvaggio (1)Like Albarino, our Snooth group quickly noticed another under-appreciated white wine grape grown in Lodi Wine county: Vermentino. This Mediterranean grape propers in the Italian regions of Liguria, Tuscany, Piedmont, Corsica, and Sardinia as well as in the…
  • The State of the Rhone Nation
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    Last month the Rhone Rangers presented a seminar on the State of the Rhone Nation at City Winery in Washington D.C. The seminar was moderated by local wine writer Dave McIntyre and featured seven prominent American wine growers who specialize in Rhone grape varieties. The Rangers mission is to promote…
  • Lodi Wine: Albarino Ascending
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    "When I first tasting Albarino, I became very excited about this grape and knew we had to grow it", Steve Felten, Owner\President Klinker Brick WineryAs a result in 2013, Felten regrafted 10 acres of under-performing Chardonnay in Ted's Vineyard (alongside Alpine Road) with the Rias Baixas clone. In this regard,…
  • Malbec World Day with the Hess Collection, Colomé, & Amalaya
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    "Malbec World Day" or "Malbec Mondo" as English speakers prefer to say is celebrated on April 17 to commemorate the day back in 1853 when Argentina's President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento officially made it his mission to transform Argentina's wine industry.  He asked Michel Aime Pouget, a French soil expert, to bring…
  • Lodi Wine: Old Vine Zinfandel & Ancient Vineyards
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    Marian's Vineyard atMohr Fry RanchesLodi is the "self-proclaimed Zinfandel Capital of the World" producing over 40 percent of California’s premium Zinfandel, with the vast majority of it grown in the Mokelumne River AVA. But to paraphrase a favorite song, " well...how did it get there"? According to Zinfandel: A History…
  • Wines of Navarra, the Camino de Santiago, and French Grape Varieties
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    The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and concluding at the shrine of St. James the Apostle in Santiago de Compostela in the Spanish province of Galicia. The pilgrimages started very shortly after the believed discovery of…