Things Change ....or surprising news in the wine industry

I found this tidbit on WineBusiness.com this morning. Normally, I check in with Wine Business for the industry news at work M-F, but don't spend too much time there on weekends. I popped in randomly today after scanning the job board and - woah! Saturday headline- Sebastiani Winery sold to Foley Group. That wasn't there on Friday afternoon.

In case you were wondering, I don't work for Sebastiani. But I do work for a winery that was sold by the founding family to a corporation about a year and a half ago. The day they announced the sale was quite shocking to the employees. Despite a lot lip service from upper management in the first few weeks saying "nothing is going to change," lots of things changed. Some good and some not so good. Many months later I still have to remind myself that change in the business world is inevitable. Change can be good. "Hang on Viva," 'cause things will probably change again in the near future.

Unfortunately this is the future for the US wine industry for the next decade. I think we will continue to see a lot of consolidation as founding families decide to move on rather build a business that lasts more than one or two generations. This seems to be a rather American trait. We like to think of ourselves as individuals and as such, our cultural need for individualism pushes us to leave the past behind and strike out for new horizons. Compare these US family wineries, which have been sold, to the Antinori family, members of the Italian aristocracy who have been making wine for over 600 years.

My heart goes out to the Sebastiani employees. I know how it feels. Some of you will loose your jobs and some of you won't. About the only thing I can guarantee, no matter what the higher ups are saying, is that things WILL change.

A selection of white wines from around the world

2007 Foppoli Russian River Valley Chardonnay Sonoma. Clear and light with grapefruit and a bit of grass. Citrus flavors in the mouth. No oak or ML. Medium acids. Medium-long finish, nice intensity and balance. Nice with sweet/spicy Thai dishes or something heavy in basil.

2005 Fillaboa Albarino Rias Biaxas. Yellow-gold in tone with stone fruits and citrus in the first aromas. Honey, and a touch of jasmine follow. Lemon, apples and flint, with a hint of zested citrus. Medium bodied, with some oak, on the tongue and in the finish. High acids and a 12% aftertaste. Medium finish, and a nice complexity. Drink this with seafood and pasta dishes or creamy sauces.

2006 El Bully Albarino El Bino Rias Biaxas. Pale straw, with a touch of green. Citrus and apples; flinty edge with floral notes. More green apple in the flavor. Light body, no oak or tannins. Medium finish, and moderate in balance and complexity. Nice 12.5% alcohol content. I’m thinking shellfish with this one.

2005 Marques Casa Concha Chardonnay Chile. Clear yellow gold in tone; Aromas of honey, cream with straw and minerals. Touch of creaminess and spice. Tannins leave a bitter aftertaste. Medium bodied and on oak for 9 months, and surprisingly high in acid, this wine was a mouthful. Intense with a medium finish, but an unfocused complexity of flavors that leaves the taster vaguely unsatisfied, despite the intensity.

2005 Premier Cru Les Fourneaux Chablis. Pale straw color. First impression is tropical flavors with some minerality and floral notes. Apple and citrus flavors with a flinty edge and a bit of cream; light body without much oak; Medium-high acids. Medium-long finish, with good intensity and complexity. This would go well with a wide variety of meals.


I finished this post. Can I have my cookie now?

First of all- sorry to my (nonexistant) readers for not finishing that last post on Albarino. I know how disapointed you all were (not). I was overtaken by a cold virus, and may be on the verge of another one again. Crap.

But there is good news. Despite my unfinished post and new round of virus (viruses, virusii?) I did finish the presentation for class. It went over well, according to the professor. I also just finished a shit-ton of new wine reviews for that same class that I'm ready to post for your reading pleasure.

Next I'm about to bury my procrastinating self in writing a paper about email campaigns for the wine industry, then its finals, so I might not come up for air for a couple of weeks. But ya' never know.

A little bit of everything from the red wine category

2006 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi – Fruit driven, medium bodied, with just a hint of oak. Jammy black fruits with raspberry and boysenberry notes and soft floral aromas. Dense ruby red to purple color. This wine grabs the palate with it’s fruity intensity, but lacks the complexity. Medium finish. Drink now due to the lack of tannins, hint of residual sugars and intense fruit qualities. Would pair well with barbequed ribs or a spice rubbed flank steak.

2005 Forchini Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley Proprietor’s Reserve Sonoma- A dense dark purple with ruby tones. Aromas of cherries and blackberries with touch of creamy vanilla. The fruits go nicely on the palate but do not dominate the wine; herbal notes and a touch of bitterness give it balance. Medium-high tannins. The denseness of color belies the medium intensity and finish in this wine. The high alcohol – 14.7% gives it a bit of bite that contributes to its complexity. Would pair nicely with a ribeye steak with gorgonzola and frites.

2007 Gascon Malbec Argentina. Black berries, plum on the nose with a bit of barnyard; some oak on the nose. Dense colors of dark purplish ruby with moderate intense flavors to match. Jammy fruit, and a touch of pepper; heavy oak; low acid and high alcohol; medium-long finish, with a nice balance and complexity.

2005 Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec Argentina. A dense, purplish-black, boysenberry like color. Plum, blackberries, cherry jam on the nose with a bit of spice and a hint of earthy funkiness. More impact on the nose than on the palate, with a taste that called out dark cherries and tannins. The denseness of the color is followed through in the heavy body of this wine. I felt let down by the flavor after the symphony of aromas, but the 14.% alcohol content is sure to take care of that by the second glass.

2004 Casa La Postelle Cuvee Alexander Alpalto Vineyard Cabernet, Chile. Dense red with a touch of garnet around the edges. Tight on the nose in the beginning; berries, cedar, herbs, followed by a hint of leather. Opens up in the mouth with berries and spice. A heavy bodied wine, medium oak, and just enough acid to add complexity. Long finish and good intensity and complexity. May last another 5-8 years. Try this with tapas like lamb chop in a sweet/smokey marinade, or a garlicky steak.