If You Read Anything This Week: Wine News 3.31.2017

The wonderful middle: Bianca Bosker’s op-ed earlier this month has sparked an interesting debate about industrial and natural wine, democracy in the market, and more. Esther Mobley penned an excellent response, calling out the false dichotomy between the extremes of “biodynamic Gamay versus Two Buck Chuck” and noting that “most wines...fall somewhere in the wonderful middle.” [SF Chronicle]

Introducing Erbamat: The Franciacorta consortium has approved Erbamat for inclusion in Franciacorta DOCG wines, beginning with the 2017 harvest. Up to 10% will be allowed, along with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and up to 50% Pinot Blanc. Erbamat ripens late and is being called an “ally” in an era of climate change. [Decanter]

Sale in Pauillac: The Cazes family, which owns Château Lynch Bages, has purchased Château Haut-Batailley in a rare deal between families—Château Haut-Batailley had been owned by the Borie family since 1930. Both properties are fifth-growths in Pauillac, and with this sale, the Cazes family owns 15% of the appellation. [Wine Spectator]

Conviction in French Laundry heist: Davis Kiryakoz has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after his conviction on a conspiracy charge related to the December 2014 theft of over $500,000 of wine from the French Laundry. He pleaded guilty late last year. [LA Times]

Rare grapes to watch: Eric Asimov picks 12 of his favorite little-known grapes, including Batterle, Carricante, Trollinger, and more. He also links back to a similar list from 2012, where he called attention to grapes now much more familiar, even beyond the wine community. [NYT]

Highlighting female distillers: Despite the facts that the alembic still was invented by a woman and the work of distilling once fell to women in countries like Ireland and Scotland, the spirits industry has been dominated by men since the mid-20th century. These days, many women have returned to the industry. [Tasting Table]

What do you think?

Head to this thread to read MS Geoff Kruth's perspective on the debate prompted by Bosker's article, and chime in THERE with your thoughts!

What do you think of the changes in Franciacorta?

What are your favorite rare grapes? Did they make Asimov's list? Which esoteric grapes that you love have entered the broader conversation of wine over the last few years?

Do you think it's true that women are just now entering the spirits industry in numbers, or have there been many women there—perhaps going unnoticed—for some time?

What else have you been reading this week?

  • Native grapes as Erbamat in Franciacorta are always welcome, they give variety and identity to this French grape based, French-style Italian wine. As long as this grape is not just introduced to increase yields.

    Favorite rare grapes? I love brachetto, piedmonts solution to what to drink with breakfast (maple - bacon type of breakfast). Sparkling Misión. Love Grüner. It's still a rare grape where I'm from.
  • First of all thank you Stacy for continuing this thread every week!
    Italy has such plethora of interesting grapes, I love a good unoaked Arneis, Peccorino, Verdeca are other whites that come to mind. Italian reds, how about Aglianico, Montepulicano, and Lagrein.
    Leaving Italy, I enjoy some Mencia, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional, Romorantin(slightly botritised) , Furmint (dry style). I still think Chenin does not have enough recognition in regards to the general public.

    I agree with Franco as far as the inclusion of Erbamat, if it will give the wine a more local identity then great. That is of course if whatever small amount added will actually make any difference.

    Can I add that 15 months for the French Laundry heist seems like an incredibly small amount of time in jail.

    It seems to me that there has been a female presence in the scotch world for a while, obviously still out numbered by men, yet the few I've read about are powerhouses that command much respect in their industry.
  • Thanks for this post! Nice to look in one spot and see some of what is happening around the world.