“Breaking Ground” Pinot Noir 2015

(Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, OR) $45

David Adelsheim, a pioneer of the modern Oregon wine industry, has said that when it comes to fine wine, being true to a place—revealing a place—is more important than deliciousness per se. For my part, I know this: When the two come together, the result is deeply satisfying. Breaking Ground is a perfect example. A blend of wines from small vineyard blocks representing the three main types of Willamette Valley soils, it’s a precise and savory wine evocative of dark spices, rocks, red fruits and forest. The Adelsheim style has always been about restraint and true to form, this wine isn’t wearing any jewelry. What it does have is structure and it’s just waiting for roast chicken, grilled salmon or a huge platter of sautéed wild mushrooms. (13.5% abv)

93 points KM

Available at

The WineSpeed Blog

A. Chenin Blanc

B. No other grapes are grown; Sancerre can only be made from sauvignon blanc

C. Pinot Noir

D. Auxerrois


Yes, red Sancerre exists and it’s made from pinot noir. Although, most Sancerre today is made from sauvignon blanc grapes, that was not always the case. Before the phylloxera epidemic in the 19th century, the leading grapes in Sancerre were chasselas (a white grape also grown in Switzerland) and pinot noir. After phylloxera, growers replanted with sauvignon blanc (a high vigor variety) and by the 1930s, it was the area’s dominant grape. Pinot noir was also replanted after phylloxera, and today is experiencing a resurgence in Sancerre.

Answer: False.

While the two words are often used interchangeably to refer to especially prized soils in certain places (like parts of Champagne, Burgundy and the Loire Valley), the two are not exactly the same. Chalk is a type of limestone, but not all limestone is chalk. Limestone is a marine sedimentary rock made in part from marine skeletons that are high in calcium. Chalk, along with marl and marble, is a type of limestone. Chalk is soft and porous, so vine roots penetrate it easily.


A shallow, silver tasting cup used by a SOMMELIER who often hung it around his or her neck. The cup was designed with dimpled sides that would reflect candlelight in dark cellars and thereby allow the sommelier to see the color of the wine.

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From Bordeaux with Love

The now-popular name for the grape variety côt (CO), malbec (MAL-beck) is native to southwestern France. The offspring of two obscure French grapes—madeleine noire des Charentes and prunelard—malbec is the leading grape variety in Argentina, where it has been planted since the mid-nineteenth century after crossing the Atlantic from Bordeaux. Most Argentine wines labeled as malbecs are 100% that variety. Malbec tends to be lower in acidity and slightly less tannic than cabernet sauvignon. The best are inky rich wines with soft textures.


Number of berries per day that a new raspberry-picking robot will be able to pick. The U.K.-developed robot, guided by sensors and 3D cameras, uses artificial intelligence to determine fruit ripeness. The need for Robocrops (robots who pick crops) in the U.K. has emerged following Brexit-related shortages of seasonal workers.


Percentage of U.S. adults who order meal preparation kits (like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron) more than once a week, according to a recent Gallup poll. Indeed, 88% of U.S. adults have never ordered such a kit. According to the same study, only 1% of U.S. adults order groceries online for pickup more than once a week and 81% never have.


Age (in years) of a scuppernong grapevine thought to be the oldest vine in North America. Called “Mother Vine,” it’s located on North Carolina’s Roanoke Island and was probably planted either by Native Americans or an early colony of settlers on the island who mysteriously disappeared in 1590. The vine’s trellised canes stretch 30 feet by 120 feet.

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