Entries by Max Roher

Wine Production Part 1 – Growing and Husbandry for the Grapevine

Great vines are made in the vineyard, with little intervention in winemaking. As the old saying goes – “You can make bad wine out of good grapes, but you can’t make good wine out of bad grapes.” Annual Vineyard Cycle Budbreak – Day 1: Winter pruning has already commenced (see below). Budbreak occurs at 50 […]

A Guide to Drinking Old Wine – Part 3 – Decanting

Once opened, older wine will need to be decanted. This is done to remove the sediment which has accumulated over time. Decanting older wine is considered basic know-how for anyone in the wine industry, and is essential knowledge in the Sommelier exams. Pour the wine into a decanter or glass carafe, leaving the sediment behind. […]

A Guide to Drinking Old Wine – Part 2 – Storing and Opening

Older reds and a few whites will have sediment, made up of yeast, tannin, and tartrates. It tastes gritty and unpleasant and must be removed. Sediment will mix into the wine with any touch, so it is best to lay the bottle on its side for a couple weeks. The sediment will sink to the […]

The Champagne Region

Climate – Champagne is one of the most northern regions for fine wine production. This is a marginal climate for grape growing, with an average summer temperature of 60 degrees (16C). Proximity to the sea is the only reason grapes are able to ripen this far from the equator. A long but marginally warm season […]

Production of Champagne and other Traditional Method Sparkling Wines

In Champagne, growers make as much as possible as the climate is so precarious. As much as one-third of grapes go unpicked every year, due to damage from spring frosts and fungal disease. The soil is infertile, causing the roots to penetrate downwards as far as 40 meters (130 feet). The majority of land needs […]

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand has set a new standard for Sauvignon Blanc in the world. These wines are not oaked (with rare exception) and have high acidity. New Zealand’s combination of moderate temperature and intense sunshine lead to a long hang time, while cold nights preserve precious acidity. The resulting wines are fresh with medium to high […]

Which Wine Do I Order? – A guide to California Wine

We’ve all been a similar situation before: you are going to visit some friends for dinner and they asked that you bring the wine. Or perhaps it happens this way: you are at a restaurant with your boss or clients and need to select a bottle for everyone’s meal. All of a sudden you are […]

Ripeness and the Rise of the International Style

The world of wine has changed more in the last forty or so years than it ever has. Grapes are picked much riper, and the resulting wines are becoming more similar regardless of where they are grown. Is this new international style the future of wine? Or are we losing our heritage? The wine tastes […]

A Beginner’s Guide to Madeira Wine

History Madeira was rediscovered in the mid-14th century. It is the largest in a group of volcanic islands off the coast of Morocco. The high jagged peaks are covered in thick vegetation, with the very word Madeira meaning woods. Prince Henry of Portugal ordered his best man, Zarco the One Eyed to have it planted […]

Everything You Need to Know About Oaking Wine

The Forest Wine has been made in wood for hundreds of years. While woods like pine and chestnut have fallen out of favor, oak remains as the best and only choice. Oak is easy to cut, yet very hard.  It is good at holding liquids and helps clarify the wine by encouraging natural precipitation of […]

A Guide to Drinking Old Wine (Part One – Determining quality)

Determining quality Old bottles are rare and treasured. Occasionally, they can be found in wine stores or come from friends that have cellared wines for a long time. Both whites and reds will age well, particularly if they are from a better producer. Reds with more tannin age longer. I always think of tannin like […]