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WineSpeed with Karen MacNeil | Chappellet

Veteran wine writer Karen MacNeil shares insights with subscribers in her weekly newsletter, WineSpeed


(Napa Valley, California) $32 (750ml)

Among the white wines you should not miss this summer is this delicious legend. It’s snappy and creamy, limey and minerally, all in the same fantastic sip. And why a legend? Well, Molly Chappellet herself is one of the legendary Napa Valley pioneers. But also in 1969 during Napa’s “second Golden Age,” when she and her late husband Donn began their winery on Pritchard Hill, they found chenin blanc vines already growing. The family has continued to make the variety for nearly 50 years, despite bankers and brokers who, early on, kept insisting that that other grape which started with “ch” would be a much better idea. Um, not exactly. (14.1% abv)

89 points KM

Available at Chappellet

Compared in size to the Napa Valley, Bordeaux is:

  • A. Eight times larger than the Napa Valley
  • B. Two times larger than the Napa Valley
  • C. About the same size as the Napa Valley
  • D. Half as big as the Napa Valley

Scroll down for the answer!

“To drink Champagne in a flute glass is like going to a concert with earplugs in. You lose everything that is fragile and nuanced.”

—Margareth Henriquez, CEO, Krug Champange, on the necessity of using a wide white wine glass for Champange. At Krug, the preferred glass is “The Joseph,” created for the House by Riedel


The Gumboot Clone (“gumboot” is the New Zealand term for a rain boot)—also known as the Abel Clone—is the secret weapon behind many of NZ’s best pinot noirs. Apparently, a New Zealand rugby player returning from France in the 1970s tried to sneak pinot noir cuttings into the country in his rain boots. Rumor has it they were cuttings from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Burgundy (of course). The plants were found by a clever customs agent named Malcolm Abel, who also happened to be a grape grower. Abel passed the cuttings through customs and promptly planted them in his own vineyard and shared them with his friend Clive Paton of Ata Rangi Vineyard. After Abel passed away, Paton continued to grow the Gumboot Clone, which eventually spread across the country and now accounts for some of the most exciting pinot noirs in New Zealand.


Also called glycerol, glycerine is a colorless, odorless, slightly sweet, oily substance that is a minor byproduct of fermentation. Though often commented on by tasters, glycerine probably makes no more than a negligible contribution to a dry wine’s viscosity, and it is not responsible for a wine’s so-called “legs” or “tears.” The wines with the highest glycerine levels are sweet botrytized wines. In these wines, glycerine may contribute slightly to the wine’s sweetness and unctuous feel.

A.Bordeaux is one of the largest fine wine regions in the world. By comparison, the Napa Valley is tiny. With fewer than 50,000 acres of vines, Napa Valley produces just 4 percent of all the wine made in California.


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