More wine tidbits

More notes of interest from the wine world:

• Leonardo da Vinci was a master of many things, including wine. Da Vinci’s writings and notes demonstrate he was a wine connoisseur and wine maker. Next month you could buy wine from his vineyard.

The story begins when the Duke of Milan gave da Vinci a 2.5-acre vineyard. France conquered Milan in 1499 and da Vinci fled. The French asked da Vinci to return to finish some of his works. Da Vinci agreed, but only if he got his vineyard back. Over the next 500 years, wars and fires, particularly Allied bombing in World War II, destroyed the winery and vineyard. Da Vinci’s wine operation appeared lost.

Well, not so fast. The fires created a layer of debris that protected the vines’ nucleotides, a DNA jackpot that allowed scientists at the University of Milan to bring the vines back to life, identifying them as a white grape, Malvasia di Candia Aromatica. The da Vinci vineyard was reconstructed using photographs taken before the destruction and the vines planted in the same rows da Vinci planted more than 500 years earlier.

The vineyard opened as a tourist attraction in 2015. The vines matured. The first harvest was in 2018. And this September, 330 bottles will go to auction to benefit the Museo Vigna di Leonardo in Milan.

• A recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists paints a painful long-term issue for the wine industry—increasing days of extreme heat. Heat extremes threaten some wine making regions even now—while opening up other regions that historically were too cold—but, overall, warming is a threat to wine.

Wine grapes don’t do well under extreme heat. That’s one problem. Neither do human beings. Research in Mediterranean wine regions note a dramatic drop in harvest productivity for both vines and vineyard workers when temperatures soar above 100 degrees day after day, and those days are a clear trend.

Tasting notes:

• Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling, Columbia Valley 2017: Extremely delicious, sleek, soft in the mouth; nicely balancing acidity; vividly expressed fruit dominates. $7-11 Link to my review

• Feudo Principi di Butera Nero d’Avola, Sicilia IGT 2014: Substantial red doesn’t pummel your palate, has enough tannin, structure to work with rich red meats. $14-17 Link to my review

• Four Vines The Kinker Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles 2016: Bold, fruit-forward, full California cab with plenty of dark fruits. $17-19. Link to my review

Last round: The only problem I have with wine is when I do not have any wine.