Wine news January 20, 2015

Jancis Robinson in the Financial Times visits Romania and drinks some wine. "Overall, I was agreeably surprised by the general competence of the winemaking, even if some Romanians are still in thrall to the oak barrique, seeing it as a way to compensate for picking too early or yields that are too high."

Lettie Teague in The Wall Street Journal on the surprising elevation of supermarket wines which she points out account for 42% of all US wine consumption. "I was impressed by how many good—and affordable—wines we found. "

Andy Purdue in the Seattle Times toasts Tannat. "Tannat is a big wine, a tannic monster that is bigger than cabernet sauvignon and perhaps even the massive petite sirah. A well-balanced tannat could easily age for decades, I suspect."

Dave McIntyre in the Washington Post on how to spice up your wine life.

The Wine Economist offers perspectives on Italian wine's US renaissance and previews the Italian wine event Vino 2015.

Tom Wark declares the old school wine critic is not dead.

Forbes offers advice on how to start a wine collection.

W. Blake Gray takes on boxed wine.

Jamie Goode on the effect of herbicides on soil structure.

Wine flash sales are going strong reports Wines and Vines. "The total offers for all 16 flash sites tracked by Wines Vines Analytics in 2015 was 6,234, or 15% higher than the 5,402 total offers from 2013."

The Drinks Business on the top 10 winery dogs.

The Wine Enthusiast on Santa Barbara's urban wine wave.

Since even certified experts have trouble differentiating vintages, it's hard for the lay drinker to justify paying a premium for bottles from well-regarded regions argues The Atlantic.

The BBC on a new wine sales trend Avon-like direct selling. "Similar to an Avon representative who comes to a customer’s home with cosmetics to show, try and sell, representatives who handle direct-to-consumer wines arrive with five or six bottles for a tasting."

The Huffington Post on a wine made for Pope Francis. "“Cabernet FRANCis,” a 2012 red wine from Trinitas, a Catholic-owned winery nestled behind the iconic grape crusher statue at the southern foot of the Napa Valley."