The WineSpeed Blog

WENTE “Eric’s” Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

(Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, CA) $26

Finding a fresh, crisp chardonnay that doesn’t have a thump of oak or a twang of sweetness is, well, rare.  (We taste hundreds of chardonnays and too many taste like ground up St. Joseph’s Aspirin for Children). But Wente’s “Eric’s” is the real deal—a chardonnay with lovely apple and pear flavors, and an aliveness on the palate that’s refreshing. Wente is one of the oldest great names in California chardonnay (many of the original chardonnay plant material came from this winery in the 1800s). Fifth generation winemaker Karl Wente made this in honor of his father, Eric. (13.5% abv)

90 points KM

Available at

The “Cristal” of Cavas?

Cava wants to be taken seriously. And Spain may finally have an answer with a new classification called Cava de Paraje Calificado (CdP for short). Only the best single-vineyard cavas (Spanish sparkling wines made by the traditional Champagne method) can be called CdP— and there’s a rigorous path to getting there. These top-tier cavas must originate from terrior deemed special, and they must be made with lower yields of grapes. CdP cavas are also aged longer— a minimum of 36 months on the lees. The end result are cavas with extraordinary characteristics that compete with other crème de la crème sparklings around the world.  (And yes, they are expensive).

A. sense of creaminess

B. spiciness

C. smell

D. mouthfeel


A wine’s oral somatosensory property is to mouthfeel. Scientists have long known that while we may think we like a wine for its flavors (“like cherries,” “lemony” and so on), a key driver of our perceptions and preferences is how the wine feels.

“I hover over the expensive Scotch and then the Armagnac, but finally settle on a glass of rich red claret. I put it near my nose and nearly pass out. It smells of old houses and aged wood and dark secrets, but also of hard, hot sunshine through ancient shutters and long, wicked afternoons in a four-poster bed. It’s not a wine, it’s a life, right there in the glass.”

—Nick Harkaway, author, The Gone-Away World

—Nick Harkaway, author, The Gone-Away World


Offensive-smelling compounds that result from poor winemaking when hydrogen sulfide combines with components in the wine. The aromas can include putrid food, skunk, and burnt rubber.


It’s called BIG POUR but maybe the wine should be called BIG BOOB. The label shows a blond woman—face obscured by shadow—whose right breast pokes out through a gauzy top, as if the breast itself was reaching for the wine glass. At first, I thought BIG POUR was a bra commercial (don’t over-think this). But then I realized it’s just another cheap-shot objectification of women—this time via a not-cheap cabernet blend ($90). What’s demoralizing is that it’s made by Kelly Fleming, a Napa Valley (female) vintner. Isn’t it #timesup for this sort of thing?


Number of beekeepers in New York City who keep hives on rooftops, in backyards, and sometimes in the living rooms of apartments in order to make honey. (Beekeeping has been legal in NYC since 2010). Each spring, millions of Italian honeybees are brought to the city and sold to avid keepers.


Number of spirits brands that sell more than $1 billion worth of their products. The six super power spirits are: Patrón Tequila, Hennessy Cognac, Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey, Smirnoff Vodka, Tito’s Vodka, and Crown Royal Canadian Whisky. Patrón made headlines recently when it was sold to Bacardi for an astronomical $5.1 billion.


Minimum cost (in U.S. dollars) of a “bubble bath” at the Il Salviatino hotel in Florence, Italy. Guests have a choice of bathing in Prosecco, Asti Spumante or Champagne. In addition, bathers are served glasses of whatever’s in the tub, providing a more or less “whole body” experience. The ultimate cost of the bubble bath is dependent on the type of bubbly selected.

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