Published on 2012-06-13 00:40:43
I’m very excited at this new option for U.S. wine lovers to buy direct from some of Europe’s greatest. I also think Kevin and his team have done an admirable job in setting up a model that’s as transparent, and simply aimed at connecting producers with their U.S. fans, as possible.
Published on 2012-06-06 01:10:14
When I talk to people who say they really like California Cabernet, but who don’t otherwise seem all that knowledgeable about wine, nine times out of ten they tell me Silver Oak is one of their favorites and/or the one they collect. Silver Oak has also long been among the top selling wines at restaurants, and was number two again in 2012 on Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Restaurant Top 50 list of top selling Cabernets. For wine geeks, on the other hand, few major labels are more regularly derided [..]
Published on 2012-05-31 02:31:44
This month’s IntoWineTV episode focuses on up and coming wine regions and sources for great wine bargains.
Published on 2012-05-30 03:25:03
This month I toured some of California’s oldest vineyards with a group of winemakers who make wines from these vineyards. The vineyard tour and the dinner that followed were organized to raise funds for the Historic Vineyard Society, whose mission is to document and preserve these precious pieces of California’s vinous heritage.
Published on 2012-05-23 01:21:08
I’ve previously written here about the long lived, complex Chardonnays of Mount Eden, and on my blog about the great Chards from Rhys and Ridge. The other Chardonnays from this region in the same league come from a vineyard in Portola Valley planted by identical twin brothers, Bob and Jim Varner. The keys to the Varners’ terrific Chardonnays are meticulous farming and very gentle winemaking techniques.
Published on 2012-05-16 01:19:55
A few tastings of current Spanish releases in recent weeks, including the Spanish Wine Cellar trade show last month, have driven home for me two facts: Spanish wines are not only great bargains, they are also ideally suited to the American palate.
Published on 2012-05-12 23:00:31
Domaine Jean-Louis Chave is one of the Northern Rhone’s most important producers, along with Chapoutier and Thierry Allemand. The Chaves are also one of the world’s great winemaking dynasties, like the Antinoris in Tuscany and Hugels in Alsace. Chave produces not only excellent red Hermitage—a blend of grapes from parcels in seven different sections of that summit of Syrah—but also one of the world’s great white wines—Chave Hermitage Blanc.
Published on 2012-05-08 22:23:54
What is intriguing to no end for me about the phenomenon of wine is the sheer unknowable wonder of it. I am constantly in awe of the impenetrable mystery at wine’s core.
Published on 2012-05-02 03:32:17
Planting vines in the cool, high altitude Santa Cruz Mountains is a quixotic endeavor. Trying to grow and make great wine out of notoriously fickle Pinot Noir in these climes is particularly challenging. Nonetheless, a few driven producers over the years have made some brilliant, minerally, complex, cool climate Pinot in these parts.
Published on 2012-04-26 21:14:57
This month's IntoWineTV episode discusses the byzantine legal restrictions on wines sales in many states in the U.S. that prevent consumers from getting access to many wines, and to getting the best possible prices on wines. These laws also prevent wineries from access to a great many potential markets in this country.
Published on 2012-04-25 03:54:26
Here in the San Francisco Bay area we are blessed with many opportunities to taste and find out what we like before we buy. In my view, the single best resource both for wine newbies and those looking to deepen their knowledge of different types of wine are the neighborhood wine retailers that offer regular tastings.
Published on 2012-04-18 01:53:43
The wine world includes a lot of small, family-owned producers. Many produce good wines, and a multitude don’t. Occasionally, however, the results are outstanding—truly among the ranks of the region’s very best. That’s the case with Charter Oak—a tiny, Napa Valley based producer that operates out of a family’s backyard and basement cellar.
Published on 2012-04-12 02:39:27
Based on last week's tasting of 72 wines from this appellation, I am happy to report this region is definitely starting to fulfill its promise as a source of characterful, balanced and terroir-driven wines—from flavorful Chardonnay and Viognier to minerally and complex Pinot Noir and Syrah. I was, in fact, thoroughly delighted with the wines overall.
Published on 2012-04-04 00:56:33
The biggest Rhône grape success story in California in terms of quality of offerings and relative value is Syrah. I’ve written previously here about the different styles of Syrah. California produces a lot of great Syrah, including cooler climate Syrahs that have savory and peppery characteristics reminiscent of Northern Rhône Syrah.
California also does well with Viognier, the white grape that produces the very expensive, floral and peach flavored wines of Northern Rhône’s tiny Condrieu [..]
Published on 2012-04-02 23:47:33
This month's IntoWineTV episode discusses the relative value of critics, sommeliers and other sources of information about wine, like CellarTracker.
Published on 2012-04-01 00:57:58
I think there are probably a number of factors that went into accelerating the age cycle for the 2001s we tasted, but the higher alcohol levels and lower acidities in these wines, as compared to very ageworthy Cabernets from the '60s, '70s and early '80s I've enjoyed, certainly must have played a major role in making many of these wines more enjoyable in their youth than 11 years on. While there was rich, plush fruit on many of the best of these, few of them were showing the kind of structure re [..]
Published on 2012-03-28 10:21:52
It’s an exciting time to be following the wine industry in California. Things are changing. The dominance of big, fruit-forward, super-ripe wines is starting to fade. The diversity of wine styles available to the consumer is growing. This includes lower alcohol, higher acid, more minerally wines that winemakers are striving for by picking earlier, growing in cooler locations, and using less new oak, among other things.
Published on 2012-03-21 03:04:03
Mount Eden produces some of the most admirable, consistent and ageworthy expressions of terroir to be found anywhere in California. Their wines—Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate vineyard at the top of Table Mountain, 2000 feet above the Silicon Valley town of Saratoga--have gone from strength to strength in the past two decades.
Published on 2012-03-14 10:37:38
The ultimate expression of Sangiovese for me is the 100% Sangiovese from the Montalcino area in Tuscany, known as Brunello di Montalcino. Montalcino is a relatively warm and dry micro climate where the Sangiovese grape can experience a longer growing period than virtually anywhere else in Italy.
Published on 2012-03-14 01:50:20
My favorite producers present, each responsible for one or more wines that I rated 92 points or higher, were Banfi, Barbi, Campogiovanni, Capanna, Coldisole, Collemattoni, Fanti, Il Poggione, Le Chiuse, Loacker Corte Pavone, Luce, Oliveto, Pinino, Poggio Salvi, Uccelliera and Voliero. I definitely experienced Brunello heaven for good long stretches at this event.
Published on 2012-03-07 03:12:08
There’s a lot more to sparkling wine in Italy than Prosecco. Italy has the largest proliferation of different kinds of sparkling wines of any country. And the price ranges for most of these wines are quite low compared to Champagne and most sparkling wine produced in California.
Published on 2012-03-06 02:59:41
What I found most compelling is the new DOCG’s producers’ drive to upgrade standards to distinguish their product from a foaming sea of Italian sparklers. Conegliano and Valdobbediane are home to a very distinct, hilly, cooler climate terroir, and producers here appear to be doing everything they can to make the best quality and most appealing wines possible from the grapes that have proven to grow best there, using processes they have developed and refined over a period of nearly 150 years.
Published on 2012-02-29 03:30:34
The vineyards of Burgundy are the world's most long and carefully studied. This study gave rise to the concept of "terroir." They're also the source of the world's most cherished and imitated wines.
Published on 2012-02-29 02:51:02
2012 LA PAULÉE DE SAN FRANCISCO GRAND TASTING – Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, California (2/25/2012) singing Tastevins at La Paulée (photo by Gary Chevsky) Since March 2000, when the first of these events was held in New York City, Daniel Johnnes has organized a weekend of Burgundy events called La Paulée, named after the [...]
Published on 2012-02-21 19:47:44
Producers who do an excellent job with the grape, and whose wines have a track record of aging well, include Corté Riva, Foley, Freemark Abbey, Ridge, Robert Biale, Rosenblum, Stags' Leap and Turley. Other newer producers who are producing delicious versions are Aver Family, David Fulton, Gustafson, Heringer Estates, Mettler Family, Stanton and Tres Sabores. A brand new, small Sonoma-based producer I was quite impressed with is Trueheart. Good producers of bargain priced versions of Petite Sira [..]
Published on 2012-02-20 14:10:47
There's been a lot of buzz about Burgundy's 2010 vintage as a very special year for both whites and reds, following on the already much ballyhooed 2009 vintage. This annual trade tasting through Frederick Wildman's Burgundy producers was my first opportunity to sample a range of 2010s. I was very impressed.
Published on 2012-02-15 06:48:49
What white wine goes well with a wide range of foods, from salads and vegetable dishes, to seafood dishes, lemon chicken and many cheeses? Sauvignon Blanc. And what's one of the best values you can find on any restaurant wine list? Yup, again, Sauvignon Blanc.
Published on 2012-02-08 03:30:18
America’s in the midst of a much bigger wine phenomenon than the sudden upswing in Pinot Noir sales following the 2004 release of the movie “Sideways.” Sales of slightly sparkling sweet wines with underlying acidity made from the Muscat grape have exploded over the past two years among younger buyers, especially Millenials—the 21 to 30 age group.
Published on 2012-02-06 02:40:14
This was another delicious and enlightening Rare Wine Company dinner, this time focused on wines from one particular, and very special, Barbaresco vineyard--Martinenga. Martinenga sits between the more famous vineyard sites of Asili and Rabaja. Rare Wine Company owner Mannie Berk collected the wines for this event for eight years. These are tremendously impressive Barbarescos, with delicious, detailed fruit; lacy texture and elegant structure. I found myself especially admiring the Camp Gros bot [..]
Published on 2012-02-01 02:45:34
Zins, especially those made from low yielding, ancient vines—vines that are over 80 to 100-plus years old, like we are blessed to have in California--can be as complex and balanced as any red wine, although usually less ageworthy than more tannic and structured Cabernets and Syrahs. Others, however, are extremely high alcohol fruit bombs. In other words, Zin styles range from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Published on 2012-01-31 01:57:14
I know that it is hard to grow Zinfandel, in part because individual grapes tend to ripen at very different rates. It seems clear from a tasting like this that it is not so easy to make very good Zinfandel either. I applaud the producers who manage to do so, crafting complex and intensely flavorful wines, often from very old, extremely low yielding vines.
Published on 2012-01-25 00:56:23
Syrah is a black grape that, unlike Pinot Noir, is relatively easy to grow and to make great wines from. Unfortunately, while it is a grape that is popular with winemakers, and there are many very well made and reasonably priced bottlings on the market, it has yet to gain much respect among U.S. consumers.
Published on 2012-01-23 00:06:42
Bottom line: much of the hype for this vintage is, in my opinion, justified. The ripe fruit absorbed the oak treatments much better than the prior few years, and the sheer deliciousness and appealing nature of the vintage, from top to bottom, is pretty self evident. I don't think it's quite a top vintage for Sauternes, due to lower than ideal acidities, but it's a very good one. For white and red Bordeaux, it doesn't get much better than this.
Published on 2012-01-18 01:41:01
The greatest, most pleasurable aspect of wine tends to be hidden from most consumers. You can buy wine from the store, purchase a glass or bottle at a restaurant, or attend a tasting at most wine stores or consumer tasting events and be totally oblivious of the phenomenon that is the holy grail for fine wine lovers. That is the incredible, often jaw-droppingly complex aromas, flavors and sublime beauty of a great wine that has been aged to maturity.
Published on 2012-01-11 00:54:14
So what are the different styles of Pinot Noir? Since so many growers and winemakers refer to it as a “fickle” grape, explaining that it is both hard to grow and often tricky to make wine out of, perhaps we should refer to the “moods” of Pinot rather than styles.
Published on 2012-01-09 00:59:47
The very top producers at this tasting, for me, responsible for one or more wines I rated 92 points or higher, were Balletto, Benovia, Big Basin, Keefer Ranch, Littorai, Mount Eden, Small Vines, Sojourn and Windy Oaks.
Published on 2011-07-02 21:02:12
What wines from this region typically lack, however, is refinement and finesse. For this reason, they are virtually never my go to wines on any occasion when I'm drinking for pleasure. The one exception to that statement is the white wine that I thin
Published on 2011-06-29 01:34:05
So far, 2009s are showing expressive fruit and balance, with many producers having dialed back on the ripeness levels of two and three years ago. The regrettable trend that I wrote about last year, and that I'm continuing to see too many examples of,
Published on 2011-06-27 00:26:23
One of the great producers of traditional style Barbaresco is Produttori del Barbaresco. This producer is actually a co-operative, whose grapes derive from the vineyards of its grower members, currently numbering over 55, with a combined vineyard own
Published on 2011-06-25 00:34:23
There were really no runts in this litter--my lowest score was 90+ points, for the very good 1977 and the 1990. The 1977 had clearly reached its peak, but will hang in there for many years yet to come. The '90 should go for at least eight to 10 years
Published on 2011-06-24 01:58:24
The combination of the wines, well matched food courses from Donato chef Pedro Ayala and the excellent company generated in me a very distinct feeling of mellowness and well being. I'm not sure in what precise measure the wines of the Jura contribute
Published on 2011-06-22 01:01:11
I've enjoyed wines from Marin County, mainly Pinot Noir, that I've tried over the years. I've wanted to attend this event for the past few years, and was finally able to make it to the 7th Annual Marin County Wine Celebration this year. This tasting
Published on 2011-06-21 21:25:05
I'm bursting with excitement this evening with the news that this blog was listed today as one of five nominees in each of two categories for a 2011 Wine Blog Award. The two categories are best writing and best overall wine blog.
Published on 2011-06-18 01:57:28
I wasn't expecting much from 2008 Northern Rhones after reading about the heavy rains that fell there, especially in early September, and the predominantly cool and overcast weather that hung over most of the growing season. So it was exciting to tas
Published on 2011-06-17 01:58:56
I believe the most successful Spanish import to the U.S. so far has been Albariño, with its refreshing high acidity and ability to pair with lots of foods. It does well when aged in stainless steel as well as oak, and its high acidity gives it some
Published on 2011-06-15 03:12:40
Most wine geeks have heard of and tasted López de Heredia's traditional style, long barrel and bottle aged Riojas. Many in the U.S. seem to have the impression that López de Heredia is unique in producing wines of this style, apparently imagining t
Published on 2011-06-12 12:16:46
We started with a sparkling wine, a Crémant de Limoux, and proceeded to a flight of dry whites, including two Picpoul-de-Pinets. A flight of verticals of L'Oustal Blanc and Mas de Daumas Gassac followed. The L'Oustal Blancs were very good, and the '
Published on 2011-06-09 01:58:02
My rosé of the year so far, and the best non-sparkling rosé I’ve ever tasted, with a score of 93 points, is François Chidaine’s Touraine Val de Loire. Not only is it an admirable wine on its own–with complexity, definition and delicacy–it
Published on 2011-06-04 14:19:57
This was an exciting tasting. The wines--whites from indigenous varietals, an orange wine, and reds from Bordeaux varietals--are not merely well made. They have something I can only describe as an energy to them, a special vitality that makes them em
Published on 2011-06-02 00:51:32
I just received a copy yesterday of the expanded second edition of one of my all-time favorite wine books, Noël Cossart’s Madeira: The Island Vineyard. This second edition contains new material by Emanuel Berk, including a lengthy new introduction
Published on 2011-05-28 00:58:51
Since Memorial Day is upon us and summer is officially at hand, it's time for my first rosé report of the season. This Beltramo's tasting focused on French rosés from appellations responsible for much of France's rosé production: Provence, Langued
Published on 2011-05-27 00:40:05
This is a very enjoyable annual event--a celebration of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA's greatest wine, and one of California's most ageworthy, with a track record back to 1962 for Ridge (1892 was the very first vintage from the vines planted on this b
Published on 2011-05-26 01:52:53
This was a great opportunity for me to taste through more of the 2009 vintage, from producers whose wines I try most every year. I'd only sampled about forty 2009 red Burgundies prior to this tasting, including some absolutely stunning barrel samples
Published on 2011-05-23 20:54:57
The eight wines for the judging portion were all mature or maturing Bordeaux and Cali Cabs--four of each. I found it pretty easy to tell the French from the Californians in this flight. My favorite wine, second for the group, was the 2000 Figeac, whi
Published on 2011-05-19 00:56:15
The tasting was irresistible for me because it included four wines from the great and benchmark producer Domaine Leflaive, three from J.M. Boillot, three from Thomas Morey and three from Bernard Morey. I was less interested in the Paul Pernots, but t
Published on 2011-05-18 01:05:19
In this tasting, we got to taste a representative sample of Domaine Perrot-Minot Burgundies from the 2007 and 2008 vintages. I found them elegant and balanced, with the kind of concentrated and expressive fruit that typically comes from old vines.
Published on 2011-05-13 01:47:12
The overall effect of the day was to remind me what a food friendly wine Spanish Tempranillo is. It is lighter bodied than most big red wines these days, which, like lighter bodied Pinot Noir, makes it work with a wider variety of foods. The Spanish
Published on 2011-05-11 23:11:34
This was an unusual chance to taste through the Domaine Sérafin line up. Our guide was Peter Weygandt of Weygandt Wines, who recently became the importer for Sérafin.
Published on 2011-05-10 00:22:54
The Suckling is the kind of blow hard, egomaniacal, ethics-less wine world jerk who could start to make Robert Parker look like a saint.
Published on 2011-05-04 22:42:16
I'm not really a Napa guy. Big, high-powered and often oaky Napa Cabs are just not my thing, both because they're bad matches with food and because I prefer the balanced, elegant Napa Cabs of the '70s and early '80s, before Parker's ratings and influ
Published on 2011-05-03 23:46:43
This was a fun and informative look back at older vintages of Cabernets from one of the most influential makers of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon in the '70s and '80s--Robert Mondavi. For our flight of mature Mondavi Cabs, we tasted either the Reserve Cab o
Published on 2011-05-02 00:28:15
To date, my top 15 wines, wines that I’ve rated 99 points or higher, are dominated by some of the world’s priciest first growth Bordeaux, rare vintage Madeira, and powerful, great Rhônes. There’s six Bordeaux, four vintage Madeiras, and three
Published on 2011-04-29 00:55:36
Most everything, except for a corked SQN Covert Fingers, showed very well, and my three wines of the night--'89 Vega Sicilia Unico, '03 Pégaü and '90 d'Yquem--were gorgeous. The Unico was particularly moving, reminiscent of a great old Barolo, and
Published on 2011-04-28 00:51:10
Out of the 27 producers whose wines I tasted, I found eight who offered at least one wine that I rated 91 points or higher. Most of these eight producers were new to me, so the event did give me the opportunity to make some new finds. There is also a
Published on 2011-04-24 18:20:00
In general, as was the case last year with a different set of producers, I found a great number of terrific values in dry wines from Portugal, with retail prices as low as $5 to $10 for some fairly well made and adequate drinkers. I also found a sign
Published on 2011-04-21 01:17:15
This Loire-themed edition of our monthly Euro lunch was one of the most delightful yet. Not only did our wines show well, and we had a couple very interesting verticals, but the food, which was excellent as usual, also paired beautifully with each co
Published on 2011-04-17 15:31:01
This was a delightful evening tasting event at Beltramo's, of 31 samples of the 2009 vintage from 14 different producers. I very much enjoyed most of the wines, and am looking forward to tasting more '09s as they become available. These were all cask
Published on 2011-04-14 09:45:17
I have to admit to being pretty bored with Sauvignon Blanc in recent years. It's easy to grow and has become ubiquitous, so perfectly decent versions of it are available from everywhere: California, Washington, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand, Austr
Published on 2011-04-13 00:09:42
Seventy invited guests came to Copain recently for a preview of wines to be released this year, Wells Guthrie's lecture about Anderson Valley and Yorkville Highlands, and then a sit down lunch prepared by Copain's chef Ariel Ross. The food and settin
Published on 2011-04-11 00:35:49
A large gang--about 50 of us--turned out recently to sample the wines of two producers over dinner in Oakland. The two producers are Ceritas, maker of single vineyard Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs; and Halcón Vineyards, owner of vineyards in the Yorkv
Published on 2011-04-09 12:47:15
So what's my takeaway from this tasting? Well, it's just one more data point: a sample of a wine meant for aging, nearly 14 years from the vintage, where the Stelvin closed bottle resulted in a tastier, plusher sample, with more fruit and some develo
Published on 2011-04-06 01:57:59
I had mixed feelings about the organization of the day's tasting--in terms of flights, and the lack of opening and decanting some of these older wines before they were poured--but there were some incredible wines in this tasting, many of which, event
Published on 2011-04-03 14:12:16
The Plavac Malis in our blindtasting ranged from a bottling that is traditionally raised, in large casks, with no new oak; to wines that are raised all or partially in small barriques; to a bottling produced in consultation with Michel Rolland. Our w
Published on 2011-04-01 17:49:38
This was my first Rhone Rangers gathering in four years, and I appreciated the focus and smooth organization of the event, as well as the excellent program listing the wines. I managed to make it to nearly 30 producers and to sample 128 wines. Due to
Published on 2011-03-31 13:45:14
Louis Carillon is a highly respected source of white Burgundy, known for very minerally, balanced wines from their vineyards in Puligny-Montrachet. Jasper Morris, in his recently published Inside Burgundy, characterizes Louis Carillon as "one of Puli
Published on 2011-03-28 21:03:21
This was a fun Friday evening tasting with three very engaging and enthusiastic young winemakers from the Piedmont. All three of them belong to families that have somehow been involved with growing grapes and/or producing wine in the region for a lon
Published on 2011-03-27 01:07:46
This time my San Francisco group chose to focus on a few favorite Burgundy villages: Meursault, Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny. My wines of the night were the '03 Coche-Dury Meursault, the '01 Henri Boillot Meursault Les Charmes, and the '99
Published on 2011-03-22 20:00:56
It is generally accepted at this point that Robert Parker went overboard in his enthusiasm and high scores for Aussie wines in the last decade. Lots of us fine wine people bought these wines based on Parker's high scores, and too often found the wine
Published on 2011-03-19 15:12:51
This special tasting of the first assemblage of the latest Monte Bello and its components at Ridge is an annual tradition for those of us who love and admire the Monte Bello--one of California's last great meritages, IMHO. It's also always a fun even
Published on 2011-03-16 14:15:12
Patrick Piuze is a new negociant producer in Chablis who has received quite a bit of media attention already even though he's only produced two vintages so far. He also has major international distribution already--in the U.S., Hong Kong and elsewher
Published on 2011-03-15 01:03:14
Can Chianti be elegant and sophisticated? And if so, is there a market for Chianti priced at over $150 a bottle? After tasting the basic and single vineyard Chiantis from Castello di Ama, I can enthusiastically answer yes to the first question. I'm v
Published on 2011-03-12 01:58:32
Can one have a tasty, satisfying, multi-course wine lunch with Champagne only? Of course you can. Champagne is amazingly versatile with food, and Donato Enoteca made for a delightful spot, as usual, for our leisurely Sunday Euro lunch, with delicious
Published on 2011-03-10 19:01:32
How often does one get to enjoy an evening devoted to the wines of Collioure and Banyuls? All I know is, this was my first. The venue was the semiweekly blindtasting group in this area that has been going for over 30 years. The organizer of these tas
Published on 2011-03-09 01:42:41
Is there an AVA in California that has more charisma than Sta. Rita Hills? I'm hard pressed to think of one. For me, it has to do with the fairly unique sense of camaraderie and mutual support amongst the longer time winemakers in this AVA, which off
Published on 2011-03-05 02:54:51
How often does one get to try Eastern European wines? The varietal Debit? Wines raised in beeswax lined amphorae? The varietal Refošk? Balkan wine? Here in the otherwise rich and vibrant fine wine world of the San Francisco Bay area, not often enoug
Published on 2011-03-04 10:32:00
How can one go wrong with an evening of great Rhones, from Condrieu, to white Hermitage, to lovely Chateauneuf-du-Papes, to Hermitage and Cote-Rotie? I have no idea, and we certainly didn't. Add to the great wines some excellent company, and a huge q
Published on 2011-03-02 02:43:57
Barolos, Brunellos and Barbarescos from 2004 and 2006, vintages I've already been very much enjoying, stood out for me at this tasting, as did Amarones from 2005 and 2006. I note that my list of those I rated the highest is dominated by the big wines
Published on 2011-03-01 01:13:45
The single most awesome wine of the tasting was the 2000 La Tâche. This was the eighth vintage of La Tâche I've tried (others, going back to '67, include delicious but still tight '96s, and very good '89s, '88s and '98s), and I gave it the highest
Published on 2011-02-26 00:18:49
I had a chance to try several more '09s, from a handful of the more well known producers--Dönnhoff, Dr. Loosen, Joh. Jos. Prüm, Willi Schaefer, Schäfer-Fröhlich and Selbach-Oster--at back-to-back tastings at Vintage Wine Merchants and Vin Vino Wi
Published on 2011-02-23 17:04:40
All in all, I’m glad that Mr. Greene took the time to read my blog and says he “enjoyed” it. I certainly enjoy the events, which are very well organized, and which include dozens of producers that I am happy to see in a wine publication’s Top
Published on 2011-02-23 00:46:58
I thought the lineup reflected both the best and worst of California Petite Sirah. Not counting the JC Cellars, which was corked, our worst were the Girard and Rosenblum, which were big and concentrated, and somewhat alcoholic, but lacking in charm o
Published on 2011-02-18 15:37:31
As Harry explains in the video clip below, he conceived of the tasting as an opportunity to show California winemakers that Grenache-based wines, raised in almost all cases with no new oak, develop and age very well. A few of these wines supported Ha
Published on 2011-02-16 12:41:33
This tasting (along with similar ones I've done in the past) indicated that I'm a bigger fan of '89 wines, at least in the case of bottles that are relatively brett free, but both vintages produced some pretty fabulous wines from this appellation I r
Published on 2011-02-15 23:34:11
I have been really enjoying Domaine Faiveley's richer, earlier accessible wines under Erwan Faiveley's regime, starting with the '06 vintage, and really showing in '07, with renovations to the cellars and changes in vinification under General Manager
Published on 2011-02-11 01:22:35
The '08 vintage of Tempiers I tasted this weekend blew me away as the most delicious and impressive young Tempiers I've ever had. These will need several years to soften some of their huge tannins, and develop more of the complexity that's already th
Published on 2011-02-08 01:55:55
The Chardonnays are awesome, and will continue and augment the great reputation Rhys Chardonnays already have. I believe they are the best Chardonnays in California at this point. The Pinot and Syrah barrel samples were easily the most exciting Pinot
Published on 2011-02-07 01:55:29
This was another delicious, leisurely monthly Euro lunch at Donato Enoteca with great food from Chef Pedro Ayala. In our continuing, several month tour of the great regions of France, this month's lunch was devoted to wonderful, mature Right Bank Bor
Published on 2011-02-04 00:26:01
I came away pleased by the quality of the wines overall, and delighted by how well new releases from '07 and '09 are showing from many producers. The producers responsible for wines that I scored 92 points or higher at this event were: Dolce (under t
Published on 2011-02-02 11:01:33
I don't think Scavino's wines are made for the long haul in the way that the traditional producers whose wines I tasted the previous night--Giacomo Conterno, Bartollo Mascarello, Oddero, Cappellano and Francesco Rinaldi--were. With the heavy new oak
Published on 2011-01-31 02:55:09
This book is a great looking, beautifully designed, fact-filled labor of love by Harry Karis and his son, photographer and graphic designer Phil Karis. I give Harry and Phil major kudos for their all-out effort, and the way in which the layout and gr
Published on 2011-01-27 01:54:33
This was a very memorable old Barolo tasting, for a number of reasons. It was my first opportunity to meet and hear from John Gilman, publisher of the View from the Cellar Newsletter, who has become quite an expert on older Barolos in general, and a
Published on 2011-01-24 23:47:08
I’m delighted to let my readers know that my dear friend Martin Weiner, whom I call my “wine teacher,” is featured on a new Grape Radio podcast. Martin has been in the wine business since the early 60s, when he was California’s first independ
Published on 2011-01-22 15:52:39
My conclusion on the vintage from this tasting is that it is a relatively light vintage that favored the Left Bank, particularly St. Julien and Pauillac. There is less concentration in this vintage than average, and low acidities in many cases (inclu
Published on 2011-01-18 01:29:46
This tasting of bottlings from Domenico Clerico, Renato Corino, Luigi Pira and Revello certainly reinforced my impression that '06 is a delicious, appealing and ageworthy vintage for Barolo. The Clericos, in particular, are complex, tasty and most im
Published on 2011-01-14 01:08:05
So back at the beginning of the '00s, when cult Cabs were still riding high, it must have made some calculated business sense to try to launch yet another cult wine, this time based on Merlot, with a partner who was an established cult winemaker. In
Published on 2011-01-12 23:59:58
This was another fascinating look at this much ballyhooed vintage for Beaujolas--this time a dozen bottlings, in a blindtasting format--mainly cru Beaujolais, and one villages. The cru Beaujolais came from five of Beaujolais's 10 crus--from the light
Published on 2011-01-11 00:24:08
Once in awhile everything comes together for a memorable culinary moment that deserves to be immortalized. In this case, great friends, good wines and awesome food came together for this pre-Thanksgiving dinner, turning it into my most memorable meal
Published on 2011-01-07 01:55:41
Montée de Tonnerre is consistently cited as the top premier cru vineyard in Chablis. Like the other two top Chablis premier crus, Fourchaume and Mont de Milieu, it lies on the right bank of the Serien, immediately southeast of the Grand Crus, sharin
Published on 2011-01-06 00:46:56
This was a tasting of 2009 vintage wines from two very interesting but quite different German producers: the long established southern German producer Müller-Catoir, and a very young, new producer in the Mosel, A. J. Adam.
Published on 2011-01-04 01:45:42
Comte de Vogüé is, without doubt, one of my favorite Burgundy producers, and since the early '90s, one that I consider amongst the most reliable. I’ve rated more Comte de Vogüé wines at 95 points or higher than those of any other red Burgundy p