The WineSpeed Blog


Riesling Grand Cru “Brand” 2015

(Alsace, France) $79

You must drink this chilled on a warm evening sometime (very) soon. Bone dry and spring-loaded with vibrant pristine flavors, it’s a mouthwatering, mouthfilling kaleidoscope of fruits, minerals, spices, and exotica. Drinking riesling from Brand (one of the great Grand Cru vineyards of Alsace) is like listening to exciting jazz, the music going in every direction and yet ribbons of soulful harmony tying it all together (and wrapping you up in it at the same time). For wine lovers, the name Albert Boxler is synonymous with mind-bending deliciousness. From 40-year-old riesling vines planted in granite. (13.5% abv)

94 points KM

Available at Kermit Lynch

The Indescribability of Albariño

Albariño (al-bar-EEN-yo) is the great white grape of Rías Baixas in the province of Galicia in northwestern Spain. Albariños are light, snappy, dry white wines with terrific crispness. They aren’t full-bodied like most chardonnays, they aren’t green like a lot of sauvignon blancs, and they aren’t as fruity as rieslings can be. Rather, albariños have their own clean, fresh character with just a hint of peaches or almonds. Because fishing is the major industry in Galicia, it comes as no surprise that albariños are made with seafood in mind. Throw some shrimp on the grill, open a bottle, and you’ll see just what we mean.

A. Champagne

B. Bordeaux

C. Loire Valley

D. Burgundy


The Loire Valley of France, southwest of Paris. Coco Chanel, fashion legend and inventor of the little black dress (LBD), was born there in the village of Saumur. In the nearby village of Chinon, the peasant Joan of Arc presented herself to the Dauphin, later Charles VII, and asked to head his army.  And the valley’s majestic Château d’Ussé was the inspiration for Charles Perrault’s most famous books, Sleeping Beauty.

“He planned dinners, of enchanting aromatic foods that should be carried under the nose, snuffed and then thrown to the dogs … endless dinners, in which one could alternate flavour with flavour from sunset to dawn without satiety, while one breathed great draughts of the bouquet of old brandy.

Vile Bodies (1930) by Evelyn Waugh, as quoted by Charles Spence in Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating


Most vines are composed of two parts: the part above ground, the scion (SIGH-on) and the part that’s mostly below ground, the rootstock. The scion is grafted onto the rootstock. The scion is a particular grape variety. So a scion could be cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay or a thousand other varieties, for example.


Yeah, pretty clever to have figured out that cola spelled differently starts the word alcohol. And not a moment too soon, since Coca Cola has just released an alcopop—the company’s first alcoholic drink in 125 years, according to The Drinks Business. It’s lemon-flavored, lowish in alcohol, and sold only in Japan. Aimed at female drinkers (wow, now that’s a surprise), the alcopop is modelled on Japan’s “Chu-Hi” drinks which contain shōchū (a spirit usually distilled from sweet potatoes, barley, or rice), sparkling water, and fruit flavors. Coke says it’s not coming to the States. (But remember New Coke wasn’t supposed to happen either).


Average degrees (in Fahrenheit; 42.2 degrees Celsius) in the month of July in Death Valley, California, about 250 miles northeast of Los Angeles. It was the hottest average July temperature ever recorded there, and the hottest average temperature in the whole state for that month. In every part of California, across the entire state, July 2018 was the hottest July on record—ever.


Number of stations in September’s Marathon du Médoc in France that will offer wine, cheese, oysters, and foie gras to runners as they suffer their way along the grueling 26.2-mile course. What? You thought marathons were the purview of granola bars and blister Band-Aids?  How quaintly American of you. Pain, after all, is the French word for bread.


Number of days early that the German harvest will begin this year, making the 2018 harvest the earliest on record in Germany for the last thirty years. Grapes were picked in the Rheinhessen on August 6th.  According to German officials, the early harvest is the result of summer heat waves and the general trend of warming in northern Europe due to climate change.

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