Uncorkings 12.5.11

News and notes from the world of wine.


Napa Valley-based Domaine Chandon and Newton Vineyard appointed Matt Wood estate director. Wood will oversee all business operations at these two wineries, including Domaine Chandon’s Michelin-rated restaurant, étoile.

Domaine Clarence Dillon, renowned producer of Chateaus Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion in Bordeaux’s Pessac-Léognan appellation, is scheduled to participate in the 2012 Naples Winter Wine Festival from January 27–29 in Naples, Florida.  A limited-edition wine storage unit filled with rare wines from the chateaus—including bottles from the 1945, 1959 and 1961 vintages—will be auctioned off at the event. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Naples Children & Education Foundation.

Napa Valley’s Charles Krug Winery has announced plans to create a new tasting room and visitor center in the winery’s Redwood Cellar, a historic structure built by Charles Krug in 1872 after Krug’s original structure was destroyed in a fire. The hospitality center will inhabit the ground floor and the mezzanine of the Redwood Cellar, totaling 11,000 square feet. The new structure is slated to open by fall 2013.

Robert Lawrence Balzer, one of California’s first wine writers, has passed away on Friday, December 2, at the age of 99. Balzer was famous for his wine column in The Los Angeles Times, which ran for 32 years, and for his newsletter, Robert Lawrence Balzer’s Private Guide to Food & Wine.

An unnamed buyer purchased the iconic Napa Valley mansion of the late Robert Mondavi for an undisclosed amount last week on Wednesday, November 30. The home was originally listed for auction in October 2011 with the starting bid set at $13.9 million.

Scientists from the Australian Wine Research Institute have cracked the genetic code of the brettanomyces genome. Also referred to as brett, the spoilage yeast organism is known to contaminate wine with dirty, medicinal or metallic aromas. It is hoped that the will help create a strategy to prevent future spoilage risks.

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