Second Quarter 2021 Reviews

Second quarter 2021 is showing much more optimism that had been absent for the past year. Optimism to travel and to seeing family and friends, be in public spaces and dining out.

And to enjoy sparkling wine–yes–there is a different perspective on sparkling wine in the US say compared to the UK. In the good category is that people in the US are finding a reason to enjoy sparkling but in the not so good category is that sparkling wine is still an ‘occasion only’ wine. Sparkling wine has not made it past as a normalised wine drinking experience. I don’t wait for a special occasion; I enjoy a glass once weekly. I cannot imagine subjugating sparkling wine as something you might drink once/twice a year? So it is not uncommon and, in fact, that is how people enjoy sparkling wine in the US. And yes there are people who enjoy a bottle more frequently but those people are certainly not in the majority of sparkling wine consumers.

I have seen a few wine events announced but it is still a trickle. I do think wine event producers want to start having wine events sooner rather than later. While there is a pent up demand the wine event we have seen in the past I believe will change considerably. I hope we are in a pattern of being in public wine event recovery but at the time of this writing.

I do think traditional wine event cities that have hosted trade and consumer wine events will be fewer. On premise, while it is showing sales increases it is no where near 2019 in terms of sales but perhaps it might be by EOY. Regardless trade events will come back to some US cities but I do expect a change in how often and where a region will visit–certainly I doubt we will see the grand tours of the past.

I have seen many Somms leave the trade and some have left because simply they lost their job during the pandemic. Being a Somm has meant challenging compensation (in the best of times) and yet having to dress as if you made much more income. Some left the trade as being exhausted by a demanding role with few benefits and challenging compensation. I did a survey which had just a few responses but what was selected for leaving the trade was ‘compensation/benefits’. And the hours of weekends and evenings is hard for many people to balance a family life. If the survey had more respondents I am sure it would look similar to this below:

Luxury Napa Valley Wine Tastings

Napa Valley’s super luxury tastings came out in the #surprising and yet #notsurprising departments. Napa’s $500-$750 per person (PP) tastings, taking flight in a bi-wing plane and Baccarat glasses, etc. caught a lot of attention this quarter. I use to think $125 per person tastings as expensive!

I am not sure what one would get from spending $500-750 PP in that tasting to be compelled to pay that price?

One could enjoy a fine, fine dinner for way under $500 a person. I also think of this as my personal Burberry Index – this is the cost of a Burberry Trench Coat divided by the cost of an object or experience (to put costs into perspective). The $750 PP tasting at Theorem Vineyards is 1/3 cost of a Burberry trench coat?! I guess you can relish the memory of a tasting but I might relish a coat that I will always have. And, of course, for those who can afford it may not think in those terms. But the cost of something tangible versus something that goes as quickly as it comes can highlight the cost of expensive. You can create your own index and do the math for what experiences cost. Is this a fade at this point? NO. Napa Valley expensive tasting fees are here to stay and I think what will happen is the creeping of tasting fees will be a minimum of $100-$125/PP for many tasting rooms. And I do think the soon to be former $125/PP tastings will move upward to $175-$200/PP shortly–this is way beyond simple inflation. But I do think there are limits–we will see.

Until next quarter – I hope you have a wonderful summer with your family and friends and enjoying being out and about in the world.

Santé, James

Here are the wines I tasted this quarter:

Cartuxa EA Vinho Regional Alentejano 2018

‘This wine is a composition of Aragonez 35%, Trincadeira 30%, Alicante Bouschet 20%, and Syrah 15%. ABV 13.5% ABV – SRP: $9.00

Nose: Underbrush in autumnal forest, Boysenberry, black cherry, suede, lavender, and freshly ground spices.

Palate: Black cherry, clove, white pepper and Thyme

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jtwg-92-points-white-background-trimmed.png

Adega de Borba Premium Alentejo DOC Red Wine 2018

This wine is a composition of Trincadeira, Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon (the tech sheet doesn’t list it and the back label has a portion where it is not legible to read the breakdown). This is a 14% ABV wine and a very nice SRP of $15 and it spends six months in The wine aged for six months in a combination of French, American oak and chestnut barrels.

Nose: Cassis, blackberry, clove, suede, dense forest and purple flowers

Palate: Black cherry, red pepper, violets and freshly ground spices

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jtwg-92-points-white-background-trimmed.png

Herdade do Rocim Amphora Alentejo DOC Tinto 2019

This wine assembles Moreto 50%, Tinta Grossa 30%, Trincadeira 15%, and Aragonez 5%. I routinely drink wines consisting of Trincadeira and Aragonez from Portugal and rarely do I ever get to taste Moreto or Tinta Grossa–a very nice experience. The SRP is $18. As the name might suggest ‘Amphora’ this wine is vinified in clay pots and indigenous yeast is utilised. 13% ABV. All around the wine to me represents a marked difference of wines from this specific area in Portugal but a very nice approach to winemaking style and it certainly comes out that way in the glass.

Nose: Red fruit, suedey, forest floor, wood pile and crushed dried flower petals.

Palate: Black cherry, blackberry – Bordeaux-esque in terms of its lovely herbaceous character, hit of chocolate powder, white pepper and red floral notes.

Roaming Dog Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

This wine is Cabernet Sauvignon 88%, Malbec 11% and Merlot 1%; This wine is aged in tank and barrel aged for 18 months and a $15 price point.

Nose: Blackberry, freshly ground spices and dried flower petals.

Palate: Black cherry, freshly ground clove and pepper, violets and Thyme.

Video Reviews



© 2021 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original content, drawings, art work, graphs, photographs, logo, brand name, rating, rating, taxonomy, graphic and award, my original art work and all designs of James the Wine Guy.  James the Wine Guy is also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:


About James Melendez

II love wine and business. I am obsessed with the subject, the art, the history, the sciences, organization management, and making things less complex I have been a former national wine marketing manager for a large off-premise food and wine retailer (280+ retail locations in 30 US States); the love for wine taught me the good practice of using the best methodologies to right side a business which unto itself is complex. Further complexity is wine. Wine simple to enjoy and yet profoundly complex because of many factors: Many grape varieties States of wine: sparkling, still and fortified wines Vintage Blends Regions/AVAs/DOCs etc. Many producer styles Many producers Limited supply Limited and often restricted distribution My experience is still a lot of intimidation with respect to wine. Wine means many things to many people; status, fear, success, ‘you’ve arrived’, enjoyment, good times, tradition and even ceremony. I have consulted with wine producers and association. I have spoken on Wine and Social Media, Wine and Video and The Business of Wine in conferences in the United States and Europe. Beer and spirits do have the same dynamics–there are many producers but compared to wine there is no other consumer product like it. I have been writing about since November 2006 on my site and I have over 2,890 wine videos on my YouTube channel talking about general wine subject matter as well as specific educational topics on wine and reviews. I have been a wine judge and have traveled to many wine countries in the new and old world. Wine has taken me to great places. Life is tough for most of us and it is nice to celebrate life with those near and even far. What wine is really about is sitting around a table with family and friends raising your wine glass and saying—to life! I love to write about travel, food, technology and business–please subscribe! Salute, *** A plethora of wine reviews from wines regions around the world. Read more of my wine © 2020, 2018, 2017, 2010 James P. Melendez – All Rights Reserved.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.