10 Questions for Alder Yarrow


Welcome to The Grapevine! In this new weekly feature, we'll be asking our favorite experts the questions that really matter: how they fell in love with wine, what wine trend they'd love to see end, and what they'll be drinking on their deathbed.
Before there were wine blogs dedicated to nearly every grape, region, and price point, there was Vinography, Alder Yarrow's award-winning site dedicated to straightforward wine commentary. Yarrow launched the blog in the winter of 2004 as a personal project; Vinography has since become one of the most respected destinations for non-mainstream wine reviews.

1.) Which wine first won your heart?

Like a lot of naïve beginning wine drinkers, I first fell in love with pink wine.  In my case it was Mateus, a rosé from Portugal that comes in a funky looking bottle.  I thought it was refreshing, went with a lot of different kinds of foods, and, well, the bottle was really cool looking.

2.) If you could have an endless supply of just one bottle, what would it be?

It would probably be the 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais. While it’s a virtually unknown Burgundy without a pedigree, it remains one of the best things I have ever put into my mouth.

3.) What would you pour for someone who swears they don't like wine?

Provided they didn’t have a problem with a little sweetness, a 1988 Chateau Climens Sauternes.

4.) If you could settle in any major wine region, which would it be (and why)?

This is an incredibly difficult question to answer, but I think if money were no object and many other things in my life were in place, I’d want to live in Siena or maybe Montepulciano in the heart of Tuscany.

5.) What wine trend do you think (or hope) is almost over?

The winemakers of Spain abusing their beautiful wines with egregious amounts of new oak.

6.) What trends do you see on the horizon?

Unfortunately, a lot of consolidation and bankruptcy in the California wine market.  The shit has not yet fully hit the fan, but it will.

7.) What are the biggest values on the market today?

Chilean wine is still an incredible value; both German and Austrian Riesling, as well as Alsatian whites are all quite reasonably priced for their quality.

8.) What’s the biggest myth about wine you’d like to dispel?

That you need to know a lot about wine to enjoy it.

9.) What’s the best food and wine pairing you’ve ever had?

Oysters and Champagne.

10.) You're on your deathbed, and you can get one final glass: What’ll it be?

The wine that means the most to me at the time, and I don’t know what that will be right now.  But I’m sure that when I’m there, there will be a bottle that contains, along with fermented grape juice, some of my life’s most precious memories, and I will be pleased to savor that kind of magic that can be poured into a glass.

1988 Chateau Climens Sauternes

Pour this for a comitted wine-hater, and watch them change their mind.

1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais

"While it’s a virtually unknown Burgundy without a pedigree, it remains one of the best things I have ever put into my mouth."

Mentioned in this article


  • I enjoy a good white wine with fish an have a small glass of Burgundy at bed time.

    Apr 05, 2010 at 2:12 PM

  • Snooth User: Philip James
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    1 12,575

    Alder - thanks for agreeing to do this, and keep up the good work.

    Apr 05, 2010 at 5:11 PM

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