Swafford on Wine: Aug. 2019

Excuse me, signora. You didn’t look a day over 49...

It is nice to get a response to Swafford on Wine from a great distance, like New York! In the July column, I commented on the great and venerable Antinori Winery Estates whose headquarters are in Florence, Italy, and whose public relations firm for the U. S. is in New York City.  

Leila Thomas of the Magrino PR firm emailed me and diplomatically called my attention to several errors I had made and which I want to correct right now: “The new CEO President of this 634-year-old family winery is Albiero Albiera Antinori, 50 52, the oldest of Piero Antinori’s daughters--he had no sons—and the first woman to head the family business in 27 26 generations.” I apologized for careless research and pointed out that, as a retired wine merchant, I had sold (and consumed) many bottles of Antinori and have developed a great respect for these wines. When Christina and I were in Tuscany twenty years ago, we missed out on visiting Antinori’s Santa Christina Vineyard because the invitation did not reach us before we left home. We would drop everything now and be off to Tuscany instantly if a new invitation—plus airfare—should arrive in the mail!


Update on Solidarity: By now many of you are familiar with the actions of a large California winery that had purchased Oregon grapes, made a Pinot noir and then labeled it with false claims of being a premium Oregon wine from the wrong locales in the state. When an Oregon wine producer charged the Californians with damaging the reputation of quality Oregon wines and asked that the offending bottles be taken off the shelves, two things happened: the lawyers bellied up to the bar and the California winery canceled previous contracts to purchase grapes from several small Rogue Valley growers at the very last minute, leaving them with a very ripe and unsold crop that would be ruined. Four Oregon wineries together rallied to purchase the grapes, make the wine, market it and donate the profits to the beleaguered growers. Willamette Valley Vineyards, Eyrie, Silvan Ridge and King Estates are the four wineries that bottled and released a Rosé and Chardonnay earlier this year and, here in August, a Pinot noir, all under the label: Solidarity. So, we who support and take pride in the quality wines and the close-knit family of growers and winemakers in our state should seek out Solidarity wines. It is a win-win situation.


From the marketing departments: Hollywood is shooting a new Star Trek series. In it, Commander Jean-Luc Picard has retired from flitting about in deep space and has settled down to his vineyard on earth, Château Picard. It so happens there is an existing real-life Château Picard with several centuries of history in Bordeaux and a deal has been struck to feature the current vintage--2016--a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, in the futuristic series. In the fictional Château Picard, the vintage is 2386, a very good year since they had over three hundred years to find a solution to global warming.

Oregon’s Adelsheim Vineyard is releasing a Portland Trail Blazer special label Rip City Pinot and Chardonnay to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the team. With gold graphics and special references to highlights of the team’s first half-century, the label is eye-catching. TrailBlazer guard C.J. McCollum knows his way around a wine cellar (he contains 600 bottles) almost as well as the basketball court and he cites Adelsheim’s A Breaking Ground Pinot noir as a favorite, with red berry flavors—cherry and raspberry—and high acidity.



Joseph Swafford 


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