james laube

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Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Priced Out

Rising prices have become an inevitability when it comes to fine wine

Posted: November 25, 2013  By James Laube

One of the hard truths about wine is that eventually you'll get priced out. That is, the wines you gravitate to and find so comfortably affordable will cost more.

These are often wines your special go-to wines, the wines you "discovered," and didn't want anyone else to find out about. Barring your own dramatic shifts in good fortune, they will eventually extend beyond your financial reach. The main reason is that quality wines will almost always reach a broader audience, which inevitably leads to higher prices.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Restrained View of California Wine

Jon Bonné's 'The New California Wine' offers rewarding vignettes, but minimizes much of what California's established vintners have accomplished

Posted: November 18, 2013  By James Laube

Jon Bonné insists he doesn’t dislike all California wine, but he’s hardly enamored with much of it. He makes that point clear in his new book, The New California Wine, A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste (Ten Speed Press, $35).

Nov. 15, 2013 Issue  :  Features

A New Fall Classic

Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver crafts a powerful Cabernet from Napa's Diamond Mountain

Posted: November 15, 2013  By James Laube

Nov. 15, 2013 Issue  :  Columns

The Critical Role of Tannins

Posted: November 15, 2013  By James Laube

Nov. 15, 2013 Issue  :  Features

At Age 10, 2003 Cabernets Show Year’s Difficulties

Twenty wines shine in a recent tasting, but the vintage comes up short overall

Posted: November 15, 2013  By James Laube

Nov. 15, 2013 Issue  :  Features

Cool Victory for Cabernet

The 2010 wines from California are dense, balanced, and ideal for the cellar

Posted: November 15, 2013  By James Laube

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Grading the 100-Point Scale

Winemakers have come to embrace the 100-point rating system as much as consumers have

Posted: November 11, 2013  By James Laube

One big benefit of the 100-point scale is that it has given winemakers a target. It's one way for critics to show vintners where their strike zone lies.

Consumers embraced the scoring system a long time ago. Vintners were more skeptical and cautious. They can rate their own wines intellectually, by flavor, density, balance—any number of ways—but assigning a number, or even using the esoteric descriptors most wine writers use, hasn't fit their comfort zone.

That's changed.

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

10 Bold California Reds

New reviews of Syrah and Grenache from the Central Coast

Posted: November 11, 2013  By James Laube

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

No Time Like the Present

There's no guarantee when it comes to aging wines

Posted: November 4, 2013  By James Laube

More than one person asked me during the Wine Spectator Wine Experience, "What is the fascination with wines aging?" To one man's ears, several vintners emphasized not only the youth of their wines but that they had long lives ahead. Since I'm not a fan of aged wines, the answer was easy and came in parts.

In my experience, and to my tastes, most wines don't improve with age. Most of the time they stay about the same for the first few years of their lives. Therefore, there's little motivation to cellar them.

But there are just as many wine lovers on the other side of the ledger. Old or long-lived wines evoke excitement among connoisseurs, a sort of time travel that can provide a unique drinking experience, provided you like the wines once they've aged. The biggest tradeoff that comes with age affects its fruit profile. The compromise: pure fruit vitality for the subtle nuances that may come with time.

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.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

In Rare Harmony with Matt Kramer

At Matt Kramer's Wine Experience seminar, our wine tastes aligned

Posted: October 31, 2013  By James Laube

It happens. Not often, but it happens: Matt Kramer and I agree on a wine. In this case, three wines.

Kramer had just led a seminar of Portuguese and Spanish wines from terraced vineyards, and I complimented him on his wine selections, which momentarily caught him off balance.

"I'm happy," I offered in jest. "Your palate is really coming around."

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