Archive | December, 2013

Top Posts From 2013

31 Dec

It’s great fun to look back and see what posts had powerful reactions. I’m surprised at the number of discrete visitors my blog experienced, as well as what people enjoyed.

Here are the top five most visited posts from 2013 on JvBUnCorked, with appropriate links:

Am I surprised at what was popular? You bet. I never thought that my commentary on wine stores or new models of tasting would get so many views. As far as the wines I have reviewed and the smaller winemakers that I like to champion, I think they are heartily and well deserved. Don’t you?

I’m serious about the question. Let me know what you think. If there are topics you’d like to see more of, things you’d like to see on JvBUnCorked, comments or even constructive criticism, I’m open to suggestions. Email me at with your thoughts.

Wishing you the happiest of new years, and a lovely 2014.


à votre santé!



The 2014 Wine Challenge

28 Dec

Here’s my 2014 Wine Challenge for you! There’s something for everyone, I promise:

-For those who love the Italian wines of Tuscany and Piedmont, I challenge you to try more wines of the Southern Tyrol, Trentino, and Campania regions of Italy.

-For those who love the French wines of Bordeaux, I challenge to you try more wines from Languedoc, Rhone, the Loire Valley, and Alsace regions of France.

-For those who love new world wines from the west coast, I challenge you to seek out and try small, quality winemakers instead of depending solely on major name establishments.

-For those who love old-world wines and classic chateaux, I challenge you to find and share the petite chateau bargains that can be found with just a little work.

-For those who prefer bold red wines, I challenge you to ignore your mainstays and remind yourself of the wines from Spain, Argentina, Portugal, Chile, South Africa and Australia- and try Rioja, Syrah, Old Vine Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Touriga Nacional and Tempranillo.

-For those who prefer delicate red wines like the French Gamay and Pinot Noir, I challenge you to try an Italian Lambrusco, Valpolicella, and a Lagrein– and vice versa!

-For those who prefer white wines, I challenge you to try Vinho Verde, Alabarino, Pino Gris, Kerner, Ugni Blanc, and Gruner Veltliner to compete with the classic Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Pinot Grigio wines you know so well.

-For those who love Champagne, Cava and Prosecco, I challenge you to try a Sparking Riesling.

-For those who love Sauternes, I challenge you to taste a Banyuls Blanc and an Eiswine.

For all of us, let us challenge one another to try something new and share it with friends. Host a wine tasting or a dinner, for wine is meant to be a shared joy.

Wishing you a “wine-derful” 2014! 

-Jim vanBergen, JvBUnCorked

à votre santé!


Searching for the Wine World’s Walter White

3 Dec

We need the next Walter White. But not the meth lab’s Walter White. We need that character’s ‘Heisenberg’ of the wine world…perhaps, our own reinvented Jean-Antoine Chaptal! (Never heard of him? He was an 18th Century chemist who added sugar to wine prior to fermentation to increase the alcohol content. But we digress!)

It’s time. It is time, my friends. We are ready to open that bottle of 1949 Latour, have a half glass, re-cork it, and not worry about the air that gets into the bottle being enough to turn the wine into vinegar. It is time because we want to be able to do that, but in reality, we simply can not at this time. Even by removing air from the bottle and refrigerating, a wine will only keep for so long.  But, we are now on the precipice of a new possibility!

Bethany Brookshire of The Science Times reported on Dec 2, 2013 in her article, “Keeping Wine Fine for a Longer Time” about studies done at Penn State and UC Davis in which tests were done a model wine with the intention of adding a metal chelator, ferrozine, to wine, to slow or reduce oxidation in wine. As we all know from experience, oxidation and reduction happen naturally in the process of opening a bottle and extracting wine,  which allows both the poured wine as well as the rest of the wine still in the bottle to be exposed to air, eventually discolor, and spoil.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to open a bottle and have it LAST? Of course you would.

Now, if you’re inclined, I suggest you click the links and read the article, and then the actual study on which the article is based to understand the scientific perspective. While still in the early stages, the ideas are incredibly exciting. BRAVO to these programs at Penn and UC Davis, and to the paper’s authors Kreitman, Cantu, Waterhouse, and Elias for their forward thinking and commitment to oenological development!

So what if the concept isn’t ready for primetime at the moment. It happens to be good work on a great idea! Yes, it’s got problems at the moment. It was simply a study, perhaps the first (or even the twenty-first) attempt. But that didn’t stop Edison, and nor should it stop this movement. The successful reality is probably years off. There are obvious concerns: yes, we actually want fewer additives in our wine, and prefer organic wines simply because we know intrinsically that mother nature knows best. We don’t want hormone-induced anything in our bodies or, heaven forbid, our children’s bodies. Yes, it has to be FDA approved. Yes, it can’t be bad for either the human or the wine. But those concerns are simply minor framework in the big picture.

Imagine being able to put a spray of something FDA approved in a glass before you pour wine in it, and once you pour, have that wine NOT change. Imagine having a glass of wine, and putting a single drop of a chemical in the bottle to retain its perfection, so you can come back to it in a week, a month, a year, a decade. It’s a cool concept. Would it be even better if you buy a bottle of wine that has been re-corked with a specific additive so that whenever you open it, it should be good? What if your beaujolais nouveau, instead of turning to salad dressing, could really stay nouveau indefinitely? What if you could open that ’49 Latour every New Year’s Eve and drink an once, enjoying the perfection, year after year?

It is very exciting news. While not ready for our use at the moment, it IS very promising! And that’s how I feel when I look at the tons of grapes on a hillside. I can’t drink them now, but imagine how wonderful they might be to enjoy in a decade or more, assuming we find the wine world’s Walter White or JeanAntoine Chaptal, to make the perfect connection and concoction. It’s something to consider: The Possibilities of What May Come!

Chaptal? We’re ready for you!  

à votre santé!


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