The WineSpeed Blog

SCHLOSS GOBELSBURG “Renner” Erste Lage Grüner Veltliner 2015 

(Kamptal, Austria) $38

The single vineyard known as Renner is an “Erste Lage”—the equivalent of a Premier Cru. And it’s a sensational place for grüner veltliner vines which, when planted in the right spot, give a wine that is a bullet train of minerals and white pepper.  Gruner is the white grape of Austria, and it can make one of the most “alive” white wines in the world. I always find that Schloss Gobelsburg’s grüners are positively kinetic with energy.  You cannot go through the summer without tasting this. (13.5% abv)

92 points KM

Available at The Wine Cellarage

42nd Anniversary of the Judgment of Paris

Next Thursday, May 24, is the 42nd Anniversary of the Judgment of Paris, widely considered the tasting that vaulted California wine onto the international stage. We asked Steven Spurrier, the creator and organizer of that historic event, what the Judgment of Paris has meant to him.  Steven responded:

“A couple of years ago my 8 year old grandson asked ‘Grandpa, why are you famous?’  All I needed to do was to show him George Taber’s book ‘Judgment of Paris’ whose subtitle was ‘the historic 1976 Paris Tasting that revolutionized wine.’ While this event did make me famous, it turned out to be a ‘win-win’ situation for both California and France, but more importantly it created a template whereby unknown wines of quality could be tasted blind against known wines of quality and if the judges themselves were of quality, their opinion would be respected.  The best example of this was Eduardo Chadwick’s 2004 Berlin Tasting.  Paris 1976 opened the game to all comers.” 

A. A fungus that attacks any green part of the plant and damages the vine's shoots

B. A bacterial disease which is spread by an insect called a sharpshooter

C. A wilting of the vine caused by grape moths who feast on the leaves

D. A black rot which spreads after poorly handled vineyard equipment pierces the vine trunk


Pierce’s Disease, one of the most feared vine diseases, originated in the Americas and was initially called “Anaheim Disease” because it was first recognized in the southern California town of Anaheim in 1892. The sharpshooter is a leaf-hopping insect which transmits the disease while sucking out the fluid from a vine. Making sharpshooters particularly threatening are their ability to fly up to a quarter of a mile, survive cold winter temperatures, quickly build immunity to pesticides, and their tendency to appear in great numbers when they arrive.

 “I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it―unless I’m thirsty.”

― Lily Bollinger, (1899-1977), Bollinger Champagne

(This quote is dedicated to every wine drinking mother in honor of Mother’s Day.)

― Lily Bollinger, (1899-1977), Bollinger Champagne

(This quote is dedicated to every wine drinking mother in honor of Mother’s Day.)


País (pie EECE) is the historic grape behind Chile’s table wines. Originally known as criolla chica, pais (the name means “country”) is the same as California’s mission grape.  Based on DNA typing, both país and mission are the Spanish grape listán prieto, brought to Chile, Mexico, and Argentina in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by Spanish conquistadors and missionaries.

Nose at Your Own Risk

Ok all you English majors who love wine, this is for you. The next time you find yourself sniffing a wine that smells like a goat, you can oh-so-casually toss off one of the following which, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, are all synonyms for unpleasant odors. And yes, one of these bad smell words does mean “bad goaty” as opposed to “bad garlicky” which is also in this list: outstink, nidor, noisome, mephitic, alliaceous, stinkeroo, hircine, malodorous, reekingly, kakidrosis.


Percentage of U.S. wine drinkers in a new study by the Wine Market Council who say they are “fairly confident or quite sure” about the meaning of “wine made from organically grown grapes.” By contrast, fewer than 50% of all respondents were confident or sure about the meaning of “biodynamically produced wine.”


Number of years since a grape harvest In Europe has been as bad as the 2017 harvest. Throughout much of Spain, France, and Italy, vineyards were hammered mercilessly, first by severe spring frosts then scorching summer heat and drought, then brutal hailstorms in early fall. In parts of Tuscany and Sicily, the crop was reduced by 30% or more.


Average number of days needed for grapes to ripen on the vine, also known as hang time. In the Northern Hemisphere, the end of dormancy and the beginning of new growth (a period known as bud break) typically takes place in April. This month, the next steps occur—flowering and fruit set—when the grape clusters fertilize themselves. (Grapes are hermaphroditic).

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