Saturday, January 5, 2013

Top 10 Reasons Robert Parker Quit

All of the real wine bloggers have had their take on this subject, so I just thought I would add my take based upon no knowledge whatsoever.
10. He got tired of making up nonsensical phrases like “burnt Macaoan oak sliding like velvet on the tongue.” In fact the word 'horseshit' seemed to keep popping up more often than not.

9. The sheer number of wineries (over 775 at last count in Washington State alone) made selecting a few to review meaningless. In fact, even owning a winery is getting to be meaningless.

8. Circulation was down. He could see the writing on the wall. Not only did the recession cut into wine buyers discretionary spending on unnecessary items like the Advocate, they didn't have the big bucks to blow on overpriced wines that Parker reviewed. $6.87 at World of Wine? Hell, I can't tell the difference.

7. People don't care anymore. They don't need self-appointed professionals to tell them what they should be drinking. Wine drinkers in America have come of age. In fact, all wine publications are in trouble. Same old boring stories, same old boring reviews. Was it the '05 or '06 Shithouse Creek Cellars Merlot that got a 98? Hey, here is a '04 in the bargain bin. Must not be selling.

6. He got tired of free junkets to Bordeaux and having his boots licked by the Chinese. Chinese? Yes, it's a fact, the Chinese are buying up Bordeaux. Sacra Merde!

5. The insurance on his nose went up. Insuring his nose was going to cost more than his membership in the bar. He could make more by chasing ambulances.

4. He really prefers cocktails. (with hints of crème de Cacao, vanilla extract, and sweetness on the tongue.) (Read The Billionaires Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace.)

3. It got too hard to sort wine by bottle weights. Many wineries in their effort to 'go green' are using light-weight eco glass. It took too much effort to sort through all those wines in light-weight glass. You could no longer just pour out the wine and weigh the bottle.

2. Tax laws changed in 2013, so he got more in 2012 even if he took a hit on price.
And the number one reason:

He got a pile of money he couldn't refuse.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Annual Growing Degree Days

Each year since the approval of the Rattlesnake Hills AVA, I have reported the Growing Degree Days (GDD) for the major AVAs in Washington State. By major, I mean the ones where most of the grapes are grown – not discounting the importance of others. This all started because a group of people insisted that the area north of Prosser (Sagebrush Ridge) was the same climatically as the proposed Rattlesnake Hills AVA. Well, we proved them wrong and are still doing it.
Funny, one of our detractors who said he would ‘never put Rattlesnake Hills’ on his label, is planting ten additional acres of grapes in the AVA. He already has a vineyard here. Well, just keep putting Yakima Valley on your label and nobody will know where you grow your grapes. They could come from the Fort Road west of Toppenish for all anyone knows. Ah, but that would be too cowboy.
After a slow spring, it was a very good year for everyone. Rain was a factor in Walla Walla (as usual) and everywhere toward the end of the season. Those who sprayed for bunch rot were fine. Our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir came off before the rains, but the Riesling needed the extra spray.
Here is the summary:


Red Mountain
Sagebrush Ridge
Walla Walla
Horse Heaven
As usual, Wahluke is the workhorse AVA of the state. With a solid achor in Region III it is a consistent producer for wineries large and small.
Red Mountain, Horse Heaven, and Rattlesnake Hills all tied for second in a three-way tie with no statistical difference. These three AVAs are the major producers of top Bordeaux Reds, but also workhorses of major wineries like Ste. Michelle, Gallo, and Constellation. Gallo bought everything they could get their hands on in the Rattlesnake Hills.
Walla Walla suffered spring and summer thunder storms and fall rains. With about 2700 GDD, they ripened all their grapes. This is a tough place to grow grapes, but those who succeed get well rewarded.
Sagebrush Ridge (not an AVA, but could be one if anyone cared) came in barely in Region II with 2559 GDD. With less the 5 inches rainfall, this is a prime area for Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling and other cool climate whites that benefit from the dry climate.
This was a vintage year all over the state. Can’t wait? Bonair Winery will be releasing the 2012 Riesling in January!