• Jancis Robinson, author of 'American Wine'

    Author of ‘American Wine’ Doesn’t Seem to Know Much About American Wine

    In the introduction to her chapter on California in her newest book, American Wine, the preeminent British wine journalist Jancis Robinson writes, “California is the most important winegrowing state in the U.S., the granddaddy of them all in both prestige and production.” And of that small region within California, she says: “The Napa Valley AVA [...]

  • God-Save-The-100-Point-System

    With ‘Advocate’ Reviews in Legal Limbo How Will We Know What Sonoma Wines To Drink?

    At the center of a dispute between Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and former writer Antonio Galloni are hundreds of Sonoma wine reviews the Italian critic wrote while on a trip to Sonoma in January 2012. By his refusing to give the reviews to the Advocate and instead deciding to publish them on his own site, [...]

  • Old World or New? A Chardonnay Showdown

    Chardonnay, it is said, is the Queen of the grapes. But she is also, arguably moreso than any other variety, a voice of the vineyard and a blank canvas for winemaking, meaning that she is often misinterpreted and unfairly maligned. Table To Grave recently invited a panel of sommeliers, writers and one winemaker to discuss [...]

  • Napa Valley cab is king

    How Did Cab Come To Rule Napa Valley?

    “Carneros in 1957 was full of sheep,” observes Karen MacNeil as we prepare to taste the first commercial pinot noir ever made from the region that is now synonymous with that grape variety. It’s not the most obvious way to begin a two-day retrospective of Napa Valley wine, but what it did do is remind [...]

  • Whole cluster ready to go

    Is That a Whole Cluster in Your Pinot or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

    When you’re a tasting a glass of pinot noir, how do you know — can you even tell and does it matter — whether or not the wine was made with the whole clusters and not just the grapes? Percentage of stem inclusion doesn’t exactly make for the sexiest or most sparkling label copy, but [...]

  • botrytisgrapespink

    Not Just One, But Two Poems about Botrytis

    The following was first read at a Drink.Think a literary and drinking event held at Cantina in San Francisco. Should you be lucky enough to find yourself in France in the fall just before harvest, you might go for a walk in a vineyard with a winegrower. And you might see a cluster of grapes covered [...]

  • Hubble primordial clusters courtesy NASA

    Primordial Clusters, From Galaxies to Grapevines

    In January, 2012 NASA researchers made a very important discovery. The furthest protocluster of galaxies ever seen. Thirteen billion light years from Earth, scientists, with the help of a little guy named Hubble, saw a cluster of five galaxies just beginning to form. They referred to the galaxies as primordial clusters and predicted that they [...]

  • Rudy Mihal

    Rudy Brings Right Touch to Sonoma

    Restaurant Rudy might just be the best little restaurant in the heart of Wine Country you never heard of. Rudy Mihal, who left Spoonbar last year to start his own place, opened the new spot quietly this fall in Sonoma, in an unassuming space that has been a revolving door with three restaurants in a [...]



Sailor Jerry tattoo art

A Sailor Jerry Salute to Salty Seamen

Norman Collins made his own very particular contribution to military history, lore and culture. Namely tattooing mainly scantily clad ladies on the biceps, forearms, backs and chests of countless navy servicemen. Collins, who became better known as “Sailor Jerry,” as the blinking, neon-lit sign above his tattoo parlor proclaimed, inked drunken sailors on shore leave [...]

lounge

The Gastro-Goth Lounge Napa Never Knew It Needed

Empire, a new lounge and restaurant in Downtown Napa next to Andaz Hotel (formerly Avia), ushered in its arrival with not one, not two, but three nights of grand opening festivities. Small plate bites were passed offering a peek at the small but eclectic menu (mashed potatoes, meatballs and mac and cheese on the “nostalgia” [...]

BottleRock Napa

BottleRock Blasts Napa Valley

In its wake, BottleRock, which rolled through Napa May 9–12, and was an unheralded success, has left little doubt that that Valley could play host to festival of this size. Though that hasn’t stopped a few local denizens from carping about traffic (which was startlingly light), VINE bus delays (which were about what they normally [...]

How to Make a Classic Pisco Sour

Today is apparently national pisco day in Chile, which we thought was, like, everyday in Chile (it may be, since it seems there is also a National Pisco Sour Day in February). But no matter. We don’t care a whit if that is a legitimate thing. Does it matter? This is one BS day we [...]

Perry Farrell

The Good, The Bad Religion and the BottleRock

This weekend — and this may be difficult for the Napa Vintners to reconcile — more people descended on Napa Valley than ever before. And — this may be harder still for the Auction’s organizers to reconcile — they likely spent more than any other group that ever came before them. And they spent it [...]