james laube

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Oct. 31, 2013 Issue  :  Columns

Natural Confusion

Posted: October 31, 2013  By James Laube

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Let the Consumers Decide if Natural Wines Are Popular

An interview with Kermit Lynch asserts that ripe wines are off the menu, but sales don't bear that out

Posted: October 30, 2013  By James Laube

Last week, while in New York for the Wine Spectator Wine Experience, many people brought up Kermit Lynch's interview in the New York Times, in which he discusses high-alcohol wines, the 100-point rating system, terroir and natural wines, among other hot-button wine topics. I have a few thoughts of my own to offer …

Lynch isn't much a fan of California wine, yet it appears that he disqualifies himself from passing judgment on the mere basis that he hasn't and doesn't follow California's wines as closely as many. His import business is based in St. Helena, in Napa Valley, run by a Napa vintner, Bruce Neyers, and I suspect Lynch pays far greater attention to California wine than he allows. He is, after all, a businessman who competes against California.

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

11 Noteworthy California Reds

New reviews of Rhône-style wines from Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County

Posted: October 28, 2013  By James Laube

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Do I Smell Mocha in this Wine?

I find the caffè mocha aromas of coffee and chocolate in today's wines much more frequently than those of yesteryear

Posted: October 23, 2013  By James Laube

"Mocha" has worked its way into my vocabulary as a wine descriptor over the past decade or so. I use it in reference to the aroma of a caffè mocha, particularly that dusting of cocoa powder on top of the foamed milk.

I first used "mocha" as a tasting descriptor in the magazine in 1998. In 2000, it appeared in 43 Cailfornia wine reviews and 150 Wine Spectator reviews from around the world; in 2005, it appeared in 134 and 246, respectively. So far this year, "mocha" has popped up in 232 reviews of California wines (out of more than 3,700 total), and it's been used in 614 reviews of nearly 20,000 wines around the world, so it's not just me: Mocha's popularity as a tasting descriptor is at an all-time high.

But where does that mocha aroma come from?

News & Features  :  Retrospective / Vertical

30 Vintages of Shafer Hillside Select: The Evolution of a Classic Napa Cabernet

Shafer Vineyards' first vintage was an accidental success; the winery really hit its stride in the early 1990s

Posted: October 22, 2013  By James Laube

Oct. 15, 2013 Issue  :  Columns

Numbers Game

Posted: October 15, 2013  By James Laube

Oct. 15, 2013 Issue  :  News

Caymus Pays Large Fine for Bottling Too Much Wine

Posted: October 15, 2013  By James Laube

Oct. 15, 2013 Issue  :  Tasting Reports

Six to Watch

Posted: October 15, 2013  By MaryAnn Worobiec, Augustus Weed, Aaron Romano, James Laube

Oct. 15, 2013 Issue  :  Tasting Reports

California Pinot Noir Cools Off in 2011

A chilly summer and rainy harvest slow the momentum of recent vintages

Posted: October 15, 2013  By James Laube

Oct. 15, 2013 Issue  :  Features

Understanding Calera Pinots: From Vineyard to Bottle

Posted: October 15, 2013  By James Laube

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