james laube

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Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Napa's BottleRock Pairs Aging Classics with Fresh Acts

It's better to catch an older band than none at all, but like wine, they're best experienced in their prime

Posted: June 3, 2014  By James Laube

Just like that, BottleRock came and went. The three-day music festival in Napa attracted tens of thousands to hear 60 bands, from cutting edge Indies to aging rockers, perform on four stages at the Napa Valley Expo.

Watching acts from yesteryear has limited appeal to me. Occasionally I attend concerts by performers decades past their heyday, and when they're on they can be inspiring. Usually, though, I'm disappointed, and almost always find myself thinking they were so much better in their prime. It reminds me of the way some people act when they extol a wine made decades ago.

May 31, 2014 Issue  :  Columns

Picking Lemon's Sweet Spots

Posted: May 31, 2014  By James Laube

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Three-Pronged Winemaking Approach Yields Outstanding Results

Cattleya's Bibiana Gonzáles Rave brings France, California and Colombia to her wines

Posted: May 29, 2014  By James Laube

Bibiana Gonzáles Rave approaches winemaking from at least three perspectives. The first is French, and the exacting standards she learned and rigorous training she received during her five vintages in France. Then there's the free-spirited, emotional South American approach that comes from growing up in Colombia. The third is what she's learned since making California her home.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Globetrotting Winemaker's Sonoma Roots Grow Deeper

Native Colombian Bibiana González Rave wound her way through France, South Africa and California before making Sonoma home

Posted: May 27, 2014  By James Laube

Bibiana González Rave is, to my knowledge, the first Sonoma winemaker born and raised in Colombia. In California, she enjoyed her initial winemaking successes with Lynmar Pinot Noir, and as a result she has become something of a national celebrity in her homeland.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Birth-Year and Graduation Wine Advice

Save your generosity for loved ones who've figured out what they like

Posted: May 19, 2014  By James Laube

A reader asked me to recommend some wines to cellar for their newborn, which means candidates to age 20 to 25 years or more, when junior or sissy is of drinking age. My answer is the same I would give for those seeking appropriate wine gifts for graduates, which is another common query at this time of year.

It's best to pass along a gift of wine after you've learned what the recipient likes to drink, as in, once they themselves have become adults.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Bob Sessions Had Something to Show

He always looked forward to the next vertical of old Hanzell wines

Posted: May 16, 2014  By James Laube

When the "food wine" craze hit California in the early 1980s, many vintners talked about changing their style. But there were two winemakers I knew wouldn't.

One was Joe Heitz. Bob Sessions, who died earlier this week at age 82, was the other. Both took a dim view of the new direction. Food wines—made by harvesting grapes at lower sugar levels, with higher acidity—were merely a passing fad in their minds. Grapes picked early had plenty of zip, yet lacked sufficient flavor and body, and neither winemaker had any intention of scrapping their style.

News & Features  :  News

Former Hanzell Winemaker Bob Sessions Dies at 82

Winemaker spent 28 vintages making iconic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at Sonoma winery

Posted: May 14, 2014  By James Laube

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

It's the Humidity

Keeping corks healthy means keeping the humidity just right

Posted: May 6, 2014  By James Laube

When it comes to cellaring wine, I've never paid much attention to humidity. But I've always been curious about the topic.

The debate over the importance of humidity has long been taken up by wine folks. One school of thought is that high humidity keeps a cork damp so it won't dry out or crumble, possibly exposing the wine to oxygen. My fellow columnist Matt Kramer is skeptical of the role humidity plays in the cellar. My general distrust of corks includes the crumbling effect. Usually, older corks are susceptible to cracking and crumbling. But I find younger corks are just as big a pain. No one likes to fish crumbled cork out of their glass of wine, even if it hasn't been oxidized.

News & Features  :  News

Jewelry V. Wine: Cartier Sues Carter Cellars

Executives at the international jeweler believe the Napa winery's label looks too familiar

Posted: May 1, 2014  By James Laube

April 30, 2014 Issue  :  Features

California Faces Historic Drought

Posted: April 30, 2014  By James Laube, Tim Fish

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