Home > Lifestyle

WineSpeed | Barnett Vineyards

Weekly insights from veteran wine writer Karen MacNeil.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

(Spring Mountain, Napa Valley) $190

Is it too early to be thinking about Father’s Day? Because if it isn’t, this would be a phenomenal gift. Hemingway would have liked this wine—a wine stripped bare to its muscle. It’s made at the 2,000-foot top of Spring Mountain on a 35 degree slope of solid rock that had to be jack hammered into (a bit of) submission. “Masculine” only begins to describe it. And yet for all the magnificent structure here, there’s also a hint of juiciness and minerality which will emerge more fully as the wine ages. This part of Spring Mountain is notorious for its rattlesnakes. Who knew they had a fine sense of terroir?  (14.5% abv)

95 points KM

Available at Barnett Vineyards 

In the U.S., 60 percent of all book and music purchases are now made online. These days, 55 percent of all clothing sales happen via the internet. Some 34 percent of beauty product buys are made online, and even 18 percent of all packaged grocery food is now sold digitally. What percentage of alcoholic beverages is bought online?

A.    34 percent
B.    12 percent
C.    8 percent
D.   15 percent

Scroll down for the answer!

Queen (for More Than a Day)

The first wine queen in California (a state which has also anointed garlic queens, artichoke queens and so on) was crowned in 1913 in Escondido, San Diego County, a time when the state’s wine industry was centered in the south. Wine queen popularity grew in the 1920’s—curiously, during Prohibition. With their “hometown girl” beauty, wine queens were often the highlights of harvest celebrations and county fairs. In the 1930s, when wine production exceeded demand in Germany and later in Spain and Austria, those countries also began crowning wine queens to help promote wine consumption and sales. In the U.S., Lodi crowned its first wine queen in 1934 during the annual Lodi Grape Festival. (One of the Lodi queens is pictured above). Local queens often competed for an even grander title; being crowned the California State Fair wine queen was the height of queendom in the 1950s and 1960s. (By the way, what well known woman was named an honorary Artichoke Queen?) Before Wiki-checking, send your answer to winespeed@karenmacneil.com.

Champagne for Breakfast Was Just the Beginning

Note from Karen: This has got to be one of the most amusing reads you’ll have all year. In this guest blog, importer Bartholomew Broadbent describes a day in the drinking life of his father, the famous English wine merchant Michael Broadbent. Broadbent’s account first appeared in The Drinks Business in response to the article about the massive (nearly 7x) increase in size of wine glasses in Great Britain. (We also reported this in WineSpeed). Here’s Bartholomew Broadbent’s portrayal: 

“If you’ve been to one of my seminars, chances are you’ve heard the amusing story I tell about my father, which goes like this: ‘Though my parents were in the wine business, they aren’t big drinkers.  Continue Reading…

“Nobody is growing as fast as Oregon.”

—Danny Brager, Senior VP, Nielsen, commenting on recent data revealing that Oregon wine sales increased 17 percent last year, compared to 3 percent for California and 2.8 percent for the U.S. as a whole


The British often call red Bordeaux “claret.” The word comes from the French clairet, which originally referred to a light red wine (to distinguish it from Port). Today, of course, the top red Bordeaux are anything but light in color or in body.

C. According to the Nielsen Company, 8 percent of all wine and alcoholic beverages are bought online, an amount that industry observers expect to increase, although online sales of alcoholic beverages lag far behind other consumer products. Even the percentage of pet food sold online is considerably greater (20 percent of that is now bought online). Convoluted U.S. laws governing the sale and shipment of wine and alcoholic beverages are, of course, partly to blame.  


Related Articles