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Columns – Roger Morris

Bob Mondavi & Associates
Roger Morris
Aug 3, 2022

August 3, 2022: Opus One, a brilliant idea that was actualized about a decade later, was just the first of the Bob Mondavi & Associates partnerships. In 1995, Mondavi set up a joint venture in Chile, Seña, with Eduardo Chadwick and in the same years established Luce in Montalcino with the Frescobaldi family. In 1999, he began buying shares in Ornellaia in Bolgheri and two years later completed purchase of the famous estate from the Antinori family, again in partnership with Frescobaldi. By 2002, Bob Mondavi's joint ventures had his company owning not only his flagship Robert Mondavi brand but also, in partnership, four of the world's most-revered wines - Opus One, Ornellaia, Luce and Seña. A four-pack of them today would cost about $1,000: $414 for Opus One, $255 for Ornellaia, Seña for $144 and Luce for $124.

Deconstructing the Holy Trinity of Winemaking
Roger Morris
Jun 22, 2022

June 22, 2022: As with all religions, winemaking has its myths and fables, its mainstream congregations and its heretic sects, its prophets and its sycophantic followers. And, like Christianity, winemaking has its Holy Trinity. But instead of the mystery of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, winegrowing is constantly pondering the relationship around Terroir, Vine and Winemaker. Everything boils down to those three and how they work together. If you get into a conversation with any winemaker - regardless of gender, age, race, native language or national origin - 99 percent of them will recite almost word for word what has become winemaker's Holy Creed: 'Wine is made in the Vineyard.' Or the currently most-recited creedal variant: 'I'm just trying to make a wine that speaks of place.' And they seem to actually believe it.

At Long Last: Premier Cru 2020 from Pouilly-Fuissé
Roger Morris
May 10, 2022

May 11, 2022: It was in November 2012 while attending the annual the Hospices de Beaune that I heard there would be a Pouilly-Fuissé presentation that afternoon at the Palais de Congress, an event that wasn't on my schedule. The subject was how the white-wine region of the Mâcon was working its way to being granted Premier Cru status about 80 years after other areas of Burgundy, including those on the Côtes d'Or, had been granted theirs in 1942. My kneejerk reaction was, 'won't happen.' Wholesale ranking changes don't take place in France's most rigid appellations - Burgundy and Bordeaux's Left Bank - although there have been rare adjustments on a case-by-case basis. Elevating several of Pouilly-Fuissé vineyards to Premier Cru ranking didn't seem likely.

Evolutionary Winemaking Comes to Patagonia
Roger Morris
Mar 15, 2022

Mar 15, 2022: Patagonia is particularly interesting because if you're a winemaker wanting to move further away from the Equator in search of cooler terroir as the Earth continues to heat up, Patagonia is about all that is left in the Southern Hemisphere to explore. Unlike the Northern Hemisphere, where England, Demark, Scandinavia, Siberia, Canada and maybe even Iceland all are beckoning the winemaker-cum-pioneer to come plant vines, the Southern Hemisphere has almost run out of new frontiers for farming. The Cape is as far south as South Africa can go, Australia stops after Tasmania, and New Zealand has pretty much reached the limits of its South Island. All these regions are already making commercial wines. So that leaves Patagonia as a place where daring winegrowers can heed call of global warming and ecological evolution.