The WineSpeed Blog


"The Y Series" Shiraz 2017

(South Australia, Australia) $11

Nobody does pure deliciousness better than the Australians. And this wine is a testament. Drinking it is like jumping into a pool of fresh blueberries and dark chocolate. Then a few seconds into that bit of hedonism, a nice blast of spiciness hits. It’s a wild ride—don’t miss it. Australian shiraz often used to be rather syrupy, but vintners have pulled back from that, and wines like this Yalumba Y Series Shiraz are now more beautifully balanced. And all for $11. Talk about over-delivering! (13.5% abv)

90 points KM

Available at

Wine with Sushi?

International Sushi Day is next week (June 18), so we asked our Facebook friends—What’s your most and least favorite wine with sushi? Champagne and sparkling wine got the most votes (no surprise there), followed by Austrian and German riesling, Austrian grüner veltliner, and Spanish albariño. California sauvignon blanc and French viognier were also favorites. But several traditionalists were adamant that nothing will ever beat sake. Said our friend the chef David Katz: “Wine is my least favorite option. Do we really need wine choices for cuisines developed, painstakingly, in the complete absence of wine? You kill the food, or you kill the wine, but often, you kill both. Champagne is lovely with everything, granted, but with sushi, it is kind of like a back rub in the middle of a car crash. Not a bad way to go, I suppose.” That chef David! Never one to, ahem, mince words.

A. Muscadelle

B. Chardonnay

C. Sauvignon Blanc

D. Sémillon


Chardonnay is not one of the grape varieties permitted in white Bordeaux wine. Seven grapes can comprise white Bordeaux: the main three—sémillon, sauvignon blanc, and muscadelle—plus these more unusual suspects: ugni blanc, colombard, merlot blanc, and sauvignon gris. The latter are used in extremely small amounts if at all.

Come, send round the wine, and leave points of belief
To simpleton sages and reasoning fools;
This moment’s a flower too fair and brief
To be wither’d and stain’d by the dust of the schools.
Your glass may be purple, and mine may be blue,
But, while they are fill’d from the same bright bowl,
The fool who would quarrel for difference of hue,
Deserves not the comfort they shed o’er the soul.

—Thomas Moore (1779-1852), Irish poet, from Irish Melodies, Vol. II


The failure of grapes to develop after flowering occurs. Poor weather conditions during the spring, such as overcast skies, very cold or very hot temperatures, wind, and rain can cause the flowers to stay closed or drop off the vine altogether, therefore remaining unfertilized. Each flower represents a potential grape, and vines that experience coulure (pronounced co-LURE), sometimes called “shatter” in English, have irregular bunches that are missing grapes.

Biodynamics—Old Techniques for a New Era

By Amanda McCrossin

What was once an unusual, alternative method to farming here in the U.S. and only found at a handful of obscure, environmentally conscious wineries, is now very much becoming commonplace. Biodynamic…

A Lucky Accident

This is really an “Oh No” only for a certain server at the British steakhouse Hawksmoor Manchester. It was definitely a “Yes, Please!” for the two lucky customers in question. According to the BBC, two diners ordered a £260 (or about $330) bottle of 2001 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Bordeaux. Lucky for them, their server made a mistake. The bottle of 2001 Château Le Pin Pomerol they were actually poured cost £4,500, or over $5,700. So pleased were the diners with their “selection,” they ordered another bottle—only to find that a second bottle was, sadly, unavailable. When the management found out about the accident, they took to Twitter, encouraging the hapless staffer to keep his/her “chin up” in spite of the mistake. On the bright side, reservations at the steakhouse skyrocketed—and the staff member in question was in high demand.


Number of molecules that, in the right concentrations, make up dark chocolate’s aroma. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, if these 25 molecules were isolated on their own, most of them would not have a pleasant smell. For example, the odor molecule with the highest concentrations in chocolate, acetic acid, smells like vinegar.


Percentage increase in gin consumption globally in 2018, the largest such gain in beverage alcohol consumption in the world that year, according to the International Wines and Spirits Record. One reason for the spike in gin consumption? The new popularity of pink gin, which sold more than 72 million cases last year.


Number of ancient yeast strains—estimated to be 5,000 years old—recently discovered in Israel. Scientists were able to successfully revitalize the yeasts to brew ancient beer. According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, this is the first time living yeasts have been excavated and used to produce an alcoholic beverage that was consumed in ancient times.

Get WineSpeed

Join tens of thousands of other wine lovers. Get each week’s edition of WineSpeed delivered to your inbox every Friday. It’s fast. It’s free. It’s the smartest way to stay up to speed on wine.
Email address
First Name
Last Name
Zip Code
Be sure to check your inbox to confim your subscription.