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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.
Posted: May 31, 2014 By James Laube
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted: May 14, 2014 By James Laube
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.
Posted: May 1, 2014 By James Laube
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