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Pinot Briefs —Newsletter 6.7

** Overproduction of wine, decreased demand for exports, and reduced consumption at home have vignerons in France selling their juice, even bottled wine, to ethanol plants for conversion to automobile fuel. According to the December issue of Food Arts, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah offer the best miles-per-gallon (45 highway, 35 city), while Merlot and Petit Verdot ranked last (17 highway, 9 city). Muscadet has performed poorly on the road but is a good radiator coolant. No word on Pinot Noir.

** One of the latest innovations for bars and restaurants is serving wine directly from a keg. This allows wine to be served at a lower cost, with no concerns of corked bottles. Cuvée, a restaurant in Sonoma, offers up to 12 wines on tap, including Pinot Noir from owner Roger Roessler’s Roessler Cellars.

** The Michael Mondavi family purchased Carneros Creek Winery this summer and will produce wines for the Hangtime, I’M Wine and Oberon brands there. Also, Scott Wright, of Scott Paul Winery in Carlton, Oregon, is making about 1,500 cases of Oregon Pinot Noir for the I’M label.

** Currently, 80% of California wine production is controlled by less than ten producers. But the high-revenue wines over fifteen dollars a bottle, including most Pinot Noir, is almost completely owned by small producers.

** Lookout Ridge Winery owner Gordon Holmes will donate a wheelchair to a person in need, in the buyer’s name, for each case of wine purchased. Holmes’ wife has multiple sclerosis and needs a wheelchair to get around. Lookout Ridge began in 2000 and noted winemaker Greg La Follette makes the winery’s Pinot Noir. Lookout Ridge has been named “The Next Generation Cult Wine.” The wines are sold exclusively through a mailing list at

** Wine Spectator recently named “The Magnificent 30 Pinot Noir Producers.” They were: Aubert, Bonaccorsi Wine Company, Chasseur, Clos Pepe Vineyards, Domaine Alfred, DuMol, Merry Edwards Wines, Failla, Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Goldeneye Winery, Paul Hobbs, Kistler Vineyards, Kosta Browne Winery, Littorai, Loring Wine Company, MacPhail, Marcassin, Martinelli Winery, Peter Michael Winery, Mueller, The Ojai Vineyard, Papapietro Perry, Patz & Hall, Roar, Sea Smoke Cellars, Siduri, W.H. Smith Wines, Talley Vineyards, Vision Cellars, and Williams Selyem.

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