More than $3 Million Raised at Napa Auction: It was quite a weekend at the Premiere Napa Valley wine auction, with 67 successful bidders dropping just over $3 million on wines from the region, according to this report.
Critics, the Advocate, and Big Change: Change comes slow in the wine world, in many cases, but it seems to be percolating at a faster pace among the leading critic cognoscenti. First, Robert Parker (pictured at right) decided to sell his influential Wine Advocate ratings and reviews empire to an Asian concern, and now one of the publication's most recognized voices, Antonio Galloni, is striking out on his own. All of these developments leave the state of wine criticism and ratings at an interesting juncture, according to this San Francisco Chronicle report.
Unified Inspiration: One of our favorite winery blogs, from Paso Robles, Calif.-based Tablas Creek Vineyard, offered some interesting thoughts on surviving consolidation in the current wine market, as part of a post in advance of this year’s Unified wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento, Calif. Check it out – It’s a good primer from a Central Coast success story.
$1.4 Billion in U.S. Wine Exports: The world continues to love U.S. wines, particularly from California, with exports in 2012 up for the third straight year, according to this Los Angeles Times report. Perhaps most interesting, exports to China grew 18 percent, thought it remains a small portion of total exports at $74 million, according to the report.
Will It Blend?: Of course we all decant our wines. Perhaps not everytime we pop or unscrew a bottle, but when that bottle is a special one - or even if it's not so special but could use a little breathing room to try and make it better - we break out our aerating toys. Inventor / chef Nathan Myhrvold believes wine should blended to really release a wine's full potential, according to this NBC News report. Myhrvold feels that the practice will let the wine breathe faster through the oxidization of certain flavor compounds, vent pent-up gases such as sulfur dioxide or release other volatile components from the wine. The 'Zilla plans to give this idea a spin.
Mandela Wine: It was announced that the family of South African Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president, Nelson Mandela, will be introducing House of Mandela wines to the U.S. market at Miami's South Beach Wine & Food Festival according to this Miami Hearlod report. House of Mandela has a two-tier line with prices ranging from $13 to $51.
Brunello Expands U.S. Focus: After focusing on large U.S. markets such as New York, California and Florida, the promotional group behind Sangiovese-based Brunello producers is targeting additional markets in the hopes of expanding exports from Italy, according to this report. Brunello is viewed as a more reasonable luxury option for many consumers, the report said.
Spring Mountain Pioneer Passes: Knight Michael Robbins, a Napa Valley pioneer who founded the Spring Mountain vineyard, passed away recently at the age of 89, according to this report. Though he left the industry in 1992, his impact on the Spring Mountain appellation (View from Barnett Vineyards of Spring Mountain at left) located above St. Helena, Calif. was huge. The 'Zilla delved into Spring Mountain in a series on the American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 2011.