The WineSpeed Blog


“Clos Du Papillon” Savennières

(Savennières, Loire Valley, France) $40

In wine, what we don’t know is often the most fascinating part of drinking. Take minerality. Scientists adamantly refute the notion that vines take up minerals from the earth in the easy way we might imagine. Nonetheless, minerality exists. You can taste it even if you can’t know it. This dry chenin blanc from the village of Savennières is an example. Close your eyes and you’re drinking crushed crystals. Drink it bracing cold, and its raciness is fantastic. It’s not knowingness masquerading as deliciousness. (13% abv)

89 points KM

Available at Pogo's Wine & Spirits

Bivalves, Meet Bubbles

Why are sparkling wines and oysters such a fine match? One reason is that their flavors are both complementary and contrasting. Oysters of course have a distinctive briny, saline quality that comes from the seawater the bivalves filter through their plump, rich bodies.  Sparkling wines have crisp acidity and sometimes a minerally quality that complements the brininess of the oysters. And while both oysters and sparkling wine  have fresh flavors, a sparkler’s acidity cuts through the oyster’s powerful sea flavors while refreshing the palate for another slurp. And finally, for anyone who loves texture, it’s hard to find two more textural indulgences than oysters and bubbly.

A. kékfrankos, sauvignon blanc, primitivo, and garganega

B. zweigelt, sauvignon gris, bonarda, colombard

C. st. laurent, sauvignonasse, plavac mali, and gros manseng

D. blaufränkisch, friulano, tribidrag, and ugni blanc


What’s called lemberger in New York State is known as blaufränkisch in Austria and kékfrankos in Hungary. Sauvignon vert, which is widely grown in Chile, is distinct from sauvignon blanc; sauvignon vert’s synonyms include sauvignonasse and friulano. Zinfandel is the same grape as primitivo in Italy and tribidrag in Croatia. Originally from Italy, trebbiano Toscano is called ugni blanc in the Cognac and Armagnac regions of France. Whew.

“The first obligation of any wine is to be delicious.”

Eileen Crane
Founding Winemaker/CEO of Domaine Carneros, Napa Valley, California


The decomposition of spent yeast cells. When a wine is left sur lie, or on the lees, it remains in contact with the spent yeasts that performed the fermentation. As the yeasts’ cell walls collapse, enzymes start to break down the cells themselves, producing mannoproteins and polysaccharides that are released into the wine. These impart an extra dimension of flavor, texture, viscosity, and complexity.

National Ice Cream Month

With July being National Ice Cream Month, the pressure’s on to answer a fundamental question: what wine is best with ice cream? Being something of a traditionalist, I’m going with vanilla ice cream and PX Sherry, one of the gastronomic gems of Spain.  But that was before I heard of Golden Opulence, a $1000 (that’s not a typo) sundae now being served at the New York ice cream shop Serendipity 3. Golden Opulence consists of 3 scoops (imagine!) of Tahitian vanilla ice cream infused with Madagascan vanilla beans, and covered in 23K edible gold (ok that’s impressive), placed in a Baccarat crystal goblet (of course it is) and drizzled with Tuscan chocolate from Amedei (the Amedei Chuao chocolate is said to be from beans grown off the coast of Venezuela but we’re down on Venezuela thanks). There’s also some accompanying Parisian candied fruit, Swiss chocolate truffles, and a gold-plated sugar orchid (which doesn’t sound that tasty).  A tiny bowl of Grande Passion caviar—a dessert caviar sweetened with passion fruit and Armagnac (finally some wine!)—is on the side. I think you get to keep the 18K gold spoon that the sundae is served with. Ok wine friends, what would you drink with this?


Year that Penfolds Grange was first made. Predominantly shiraz, Grange is considered one of Australia’s finest wines. The 1951 vintage, created by winemaker Max Schubert, was never sold, but given to friends and family. Fewer than 20 bottles of it are estimated to remain in the world. One of those bottles commanded just over $41,000 a few weeks ago at an auction in Melbourne, Australia.


Number of DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) regions in Italy as of July 2017. Established in 1963, DOCG is the highest category of “controlled and guaranteed” wine designations in Italy. Barolo, Barbaresco, and Brunello di Montalcino were among the first regions to achieve the title. Nizza in Piedmont (which makes red wine from barbera grapes) was the latest. It became a DOCG in 2014.


Minimum degrees in Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) that global wine regions are expected to warm by 2050. Many scientists, however, believe that warming rates will be higher—as much as 7.2 degrees F (4 degrees C) or more, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. Because of climate change, dozens of new wine regions are emerging or expanding, including wine regions in Sweden, Denmark, and Nova Scotia.

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