Posted: May 8, 2014 By Mitch Frank
At the end of the month, a federal judge will decide how serious the crime of wine counterfeiting is. Rudy Kurniawan, convicted of selling an estimated $2 million to $7 million worth of fakes (no one is quite sure how many prized bottles he counterfeited), will be sentenced. He faces up to 40 years in prison.
His lawyers have made their plea for leniency, asking the judge to sentence Kurniawan to time served since his arrest—roughly 27 months. But what of their argument that counterfeit wine is just a game?
Posted: May 1, 2014 By Mitch Frank
Should a biodynamic winegrower be forced to use pesticides against his will? Your answer probably depends on how much faith you put in science.
Posted: April 10, 2014 By Mitch Frank
Call it the sommelier's dilemma. Wine professionals like sommeliers and retailers spend their days tasting the most interesting wines on earth. That is their passion. But the majority of their customers are looking for safe, reliable wines, ones that don't challenge the brain or the palate. Those wines pay the sommelier's salary.
Posted: March 20, 2014 By Mitch Frank
If you're looking to simplify Riesling, to make it easy to understand, don't look to me. I visited Germany for the first time last month, and I hoped that a week in the Mosel, the Rheingau and the Rheinhessen—time spent strolling some of Riesling's most storied vineyards—would finally bring me clarity. Afterward, if someone asked me, "I want to try a great Riesling. Where should I start?" I could confidently reply with a list of wines that would teach them why Riesling is so special.
After a week in Germany, what I can say is that Riesling is a delicious and bewilderingly complex variety. And that's OK. That's what makes it an iconic grape.
Posted: February 28, 2014 By Mitch Frank
Posted: February 6, 2014 By Mitch Frank
The first time I met Nicolas Potel, I was legitimately concerned that his hair would burst into flame at some point during the day we spent together. I was visiting Burgundy in early 2009 to write a story on the négociant, and I found a man busting at the seams with energy, trying to grow his eponymous winery—which had gotten an infusion of capital from new owners—and devote some time to a few small but ambitious side projects.
I came away feeling like Potel, then 40, was going to be a success, if he could hold it all together. But two months after I left, his juggling act came crashing down. The new owners of Maison Nicolas Potel fired Nicolas Potel. (The wines still bear his name today, but he has no role in them.) When I checked in with him before my story appeared, he was putting the pieces back together, launching a new négociant and looking for vineyards to start a small domaine. His energy was still there. But I wondered if it was all too much.
Today, Potel remains full of energy, ambition and ideas. But he also seems more at peace.
Posted: January 14, 2014 By Mitch Frank
Chinese businessman Lam Kok's deal to fulfill his dream of owning a Bordeaux château with the purchase of Château La Rivière turned tragic when he and la Rivière's former owner died in a helicopter crash.
Now someone has decided to take advantage of the tragedy. A group calling itself the Agricultural Action Committee has sent a letter to a local newspaper and numerous real-estate agents, claiming that Gregoire "paid with his life for selling the vineyard to a foreign buyer exactly 10 days after we had warned him not to."
Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.
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