HomeAbout UsWine ReviewsArchivesAdvertiseContact Us


Wine Columns

Wine Reviews

WineReviewOnline on Twitter

Critics Challenge

San Diego Challenge

Sommelier Challenge

Winemaker Challenge

Columns – Gerald D. Boyd

Tasting Wine
Gerald D. Boyd
Nov 27, 2012

The amount of attention that we, as wine drinkers, pay to the three primary parameters of wine judging - sight, smell and taste -- varies from person to person. The professional is acutely aware that he or she is judging a wine, while the consumer rarely judges a wine when the occasion is for pleasure. Understandably, wine drinkers spend the most time tasting. As important as the sense of smell is to the character of a wine and the impression that smelling leaves on the drinker, most wine consumers spend little time critically sniffing their wine. And even less time is spent looking at the wine's color.

Views on Zinfandel
Gerald D. Boyd
Oct 30, 2012

These days, Zinfandel has found its way into the mainstream of California red wine, thanks to a growing number of Zin specialists in the Sierra Foothills, Lodi, Paso Robles and Sonoma County's two hallmark sub-regions Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley. I've been a Zin fan since I started drinking California wine, closely watching the progress of Zinfandel move from ripe, jammy, and high alcohol to wines with finesse and appeal that mirror--dare I say it--Cabernet Sauvignon, but with more up-front fruit.

Soave on the Rebound
Gerald D. Boyd
Oct 2, 2012

For years, the image of Italian white wine held by many Americans, if they thought at all of Italian white wine, was Soave. Simple and fruity, Soave was the chilled white wine refresher that went down easily and wasn't encumbered with oak. What could be better? A lot, as it turns out. Like other wine consumers, I was a Soave drinker, but when the wines began to taste bland and simple, I moved on to something else. What had happened to Soave? I put that question and a few others to Giovanni Ponchia of the Soave and Recioto Soave Consorzio.

Talley Chardonnay
Gerald D. Boyd
Aug 28, 2012

If Chardonnay isn't California's greatest white wine, then what is it? Tough question, because I'm not sure many people know the answer, including me. One person that should know is Brian Talley, owner of Talley Vineyards in Arroyo Grande, California. Since the late 1980s, Talley Vineyards has built a reputation for Chardonnays that don't fit into any of the convenient boxes that seem to define California Chardonnay today. Talley Chardonnays are lean with mineral nuances, and with oak influence that lends a textural note much more than overt seasoning.

A Tour Through Piedmont, Over Dinner
Gerald D. Boyd
Aug 7, 2012

This would not be easy. I was scheduled to meet with Fiorenzo Dogliani, the amministratore delegato , for Beni di Batasiolo, a winery in Piedmont, at a restaurant called Risibisiā€¦and I don't speak Italian. My mono-lingual constitution was rattled, but Batasiolo has a reputation for primo Barolo and Barbaresco, so I'm hoping that Signore Dogliani speaks English.

Handley: Anderson Valley's Independent Spirit
Gerald D. Boyd
Jul 3, 2012

When Milla Handley graduated from the University of California-Davis in 1975, her aim was to find a place where the independent spirit of winemaking was still alive. It took three years, with a few stops along the way to learn about winemaking outside the classroom, before she settled in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino's cool climate outpost. 'I could follow my own path here, somewhat removed from the entrenched winemaking culture,' said Handley about her home since 1978. 'What attracted me is the independence of the people and the abiding spirit of the Anderson Valley. I wanted my wines to capture the essence of this extraordinary place,' explained Handley at a recent retrospective tasting of Handley Pinot Noir in Santa Rosa.

The Wonder of Oak
Gerald D. Boyd
Jun 12, 2012

Chardonnay is seldom made without it and most red wines seen today on store shelves certainly include it. The French carefully regulate its harvest. Winemakers in other countries covet what the French have and pay dearly for what the French will sell them. Americans work diligently to prove to the world that what they have, at lower prices, is as good as what the French parse out at higher prices. The highly-prized commodity is, of course, oak.

Oregon Pinot Gris
Gerald D. Boyd
May 8, 2012

There was a time when the Oregon wine industry was known as a one trick pony. To paraphrase Henry Ford's famous comment about the color of the Model-T, 'You can have any flavor of Oregon wine you want so long as it's Pinot Noir.' No question that Oregon had put the Pinot in Pinot Noir before California, even if some of the early Oregon winemakers were transplanted Californians, like David Lett of the Eyrie Vineyard who became known in Oregon as 'Papa Pinot.' But in today's market you can't survive on Pinot alone. So, in the late 1980s, Oregon winemakers began to realize that to compete in the national wine market--and eventually the world market--they had to have a white wine to go with their signature red.

Rioja Reads for 2012
Gerald D. Boyd
Apr 17, 2012

While it sometimes seems as though every word on wine today is to be found only online, the good news is paper and type wine books are still in print. Not as many as in previous years, perhaps, but for those of us who still treasure the heft and assurance of a book-book and profess an interest in Spanish wine, here are overviews of two recently published wine books that you might want to clear space for in your library.

There's Nothing Wacky About Greywacke
Gerald D. Boyd
Mar 13, 2012

My first taste of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was in 1993 at the World Vinifera Conference in Seattle and I was hooked. A quiet young man named Kevin Judd poured his Cloudy Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc loaded with aromatics and flavors that all but jumped out of my glass: Pungent tropical passion fruit, zesty mouth-watering lime juice and crisp zingy acidity. This was a wine to wow the senses!

Garagiste Model Takes Root in Paso Robles
Gerald D. Boyd
Feb 22, 2012

In November 2010, Paso Garagiste was founded and today is an active association of 45 underground winemakers, with each member committed to produce less than 1,200 cases a year. 'We knew there was a powerful artisan wine movement with deep roots in Paso Robles that simply needed the right vehicle to bring it to light,' says Paso Garagiste winemaker Stewart McLennan, who with fellow garagistes Doug Minnick and Dan Erland Andersen, founded Paso Garagiste. That vehicle was the first Paso Garagiste Festival held last November. Doug Minnick added that the goal of Paso Garagiste is to help nurture the next generation of artisan winemakers in the county and to donate funds to support the Cal-Poly Wine and Viticulture Program.

Roussillon's Complex Vins Doux Naturel
Gerald D. Boyd
Jan 17, 2012

In sheer scope, France is responsible for an impressive variety of different wines, each reflecting the uniqueness of a region, people, cuisine and vine culture. Nowhere is this truer than in the Mediterranean region of Roussillon, home to the unique vin doux naturel wines. As a group of specialty wines, Roussillon vins doux naturel (the local shorthand is simply VDN) include those carrying the appellations of Banyuls, Rivesaltes and Maury, with Banyuls the best known and arguably the highest quality.