Wine Pricing Strategies and Bottle Barn

Note to Readers: In the article below is an announcement of a new feature we will be starting this week and which will appear on regular basis. It begins with the headline Bottle Barn, and is about a new program being started by this adventurous S… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome … Continue reading “Wine Pricing Strategies and Bottle Barn”

Grocery Outlet Sale: Issue 14 Addendum

Quick Update: The Santa Rosa store of Grocery Outlet is offering the 2016 Orleans Hill Syrah for about half its suggested retail price of $11. Very good value. The wine: Lighter weight in both color. But the entry and mid-palate fruit are charmin… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may login here. If you aren’t a … Continue reading “Grocery Outlet Sale: Issue 14 Addendum”

That Old Black Pepper Has Me in its Spell

By Dan Berger Rotundone is the somewhat esoteric chemical that certain varieties of grapes develop, notably Syrah and especially in very cool climates or in very cool vintages, and particularly in both. We have written about Rotundone since 200… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may login here. If you … Continue reading “That Old Black Pepper Has Me in its Spell”

Tasting Notes: Anecdotal Format

Note: All wines below are available, either directly from the producer or online. Additionally, all imports and many domestics are nationally distributed. Exceptional 2015 Latah Creek Carmenere, Wahluke Slope ($18; absolute bargain!) Chile i… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may login here. If you aren’t a subscriber, sign up here to … Continue reading “Tasting Notes: Anecdotal Format”

Robert Lawrence Balzer Memoir

My First Professional Wine Judging Another chapter in the 99-year life of the Los Angeles Times wine writer. My First Wine Competition, 1947 It was the first year, post-WW II, for the now famous Los Angeles County Fair Wine Judging in Pomon… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may … Continue reading “Robert Lawrence Balzer Memoir”

Wine of the Week

2015 Hexamer Grauburgunder “Vom Porphyr,” Trocken, Nahe ($19): If you ever wanted to embarrass a wine expert you know (especially those who often are pathetically egotistic about their wine knowledge), this is the perfect wine and you need not do any… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may login … Continue reading “Wine of the Week”

Bargain of the Week

2017 Franz Etz Grüner Veltliner, Austria ($13/1 liter): Grüner (as this wine’s front label calls itself, without the Veltliner) is a minerally grape that can make a very dry white wine. From its native Austria, it seems to be prized when it is richly… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – … Continue reading “Bargain of the Week”

On ‘Greatness’

By Dan Berger If you were to truly dissect the 100-point scoring schema, the most popular way of describing various wines’ quality levels, it quickly becomes clear that you’d run into some particularly nasty paradoxes. Any one of these could ea… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may login … Continue reading “On ‘Greatness’”

From the Unpublished Memoirs of Robert Lawrence Balzer

From 1961 Once in a blue moon, one encounters a golden wine from California that approaches the pulse-quickening majesty of the great French Montrachet. Ken Hansen, the taciturn Boniface of the famed Scandia Restaurant in Los Angeles, approached m… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may login here. If you … Continue reading “From the Unpublished Memoirs of Robert Lawrence Balzer”