ben o'donnell

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Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

How to Buy Bordeaux

Bordeaux wine is having its turn as whipping boy, as longtime fans groan and turn away. Just means more for you

Posted: April 29, 2014  By Ben O'Donnell

Bordeaux futures is an old-timey and kind of archaic way to buy a commodity like wine. Nowadays, you won't save or make much, if any, money off Bordeaux futures, but that's not why you buy wine, right? "A lot of people like that it's something different, it's a little exciting," said Chuck Hayward, Bordeaux buyer for online retailer J.J. Buckley. "You figure, what the heck, why not buy it now and have something in a couple years? It's almost like a treat for them."

The 2013 futures campaign is a good one to practice on. Once you know how it's done, if 2014 turns out to be an exciting vintage, you'll know what kinds of prices to look for and which wines are rare enough that they're worth snagging early.

News & Features  :  Seasonal

Who Will Win the 2014 Final Four Wine Taste-Off?

Wine Spectator's annual March Madness competition puts wineries from Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and Wisconsin on the court

Posted: April 4, 2014  By Robert Taylor, Ben O'Donnell, Esther Mobley

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Fly Your Freak Flag

Pushing the boundaries in pursuit of betterment at Red Hook Winery and Channing Daughters in New York

Posted: April 2, 2014  By Ben O'Donnell

The world of winemakers has no shortage of madmen, fire-eaters, swashbucklers, prophets-a confederacy of crazy from the contrarians in California planting obscure Italian varieties to the biodynamic scofflaws of France who tussle with the governmental agency that regulates wines. Of course, that's why we love them: With great risks can come great wines. Without maverick spirits guiding them, we wouldn't have some of the world's iconic wines, like Penfolds Grange or Dagueneau Silex.

Both the Finger Lakes and Long Island are young regions, for vinifera anyway, and in nascent fine wine regions, to get to the next level, you have to go outside your own and your peers' vision of what those wines can be. To do that, you have to be defiant, ballsy, risky, crazy. I want to focus here on two wineries I recently visited where the driving philosophy is to get weird in the service of better wine.

March 31, 2014 Issue  :  News

In Brief: Oregon Land Rush, Under Water, Buying Yverdon

Posted: March 31, 2014  By Harvey Steiman, Ben O'Donnell, Aaron Romano

News & Features  :  Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Drink Brooklyn

A new wave of urban wineries welcomes thirsty travelers

Posted: March 31, 2014  By Ben O'Donnell

News & Features  :  News

Winter Inflicts Damage on Cool-Climate Wine Regions

Growers in New York state, Ontario and the Midwest assess damage to vine buds

Posted: March 24, 2014  By Ben O'Donnell

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

When to Put a Cork in It

The trials of two winemakers with screw caps are part of broader momentum shifts in the Great Closure Wars

Posted: January 7, 2014  By Ben O'Donnell

In recent years, the shift from cork to screw cap seemed inevitable. Forward-thinking regions like Australia and New Zealand now use screw caps for around 70 percent and 90 percent, respectively, of all their wine to better protect the quality.

So it came as a surprise two years ago, when winemaker Adam Mason, working for South Africa's Klein Constantia at the time, announced that he'd be returning the Perdeblokke Sauvignon Blanc to cork, after four vintages under screw cap—for technical reasons. Not long after, Christian Canute of Barossa's Rusden Wines made the same switchback on the Driftsand Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre, after five years under metal, despite an Australian wine press hostile to cork. "There is a fear that non-conformity on this issue might affect how a producer's wines are rated," Canute told me.

News & Features  :  News

Hurricane-Ravaged New York Wine Storage Company Liquidated

Fourteen months after Sandy damaged WineCare's cellars, customers hope to finally see their wines again

Posted: December 31, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

Dec. 31, 2013 Issue  :  Features

Food, Wine and Fun

Posted: December 31, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

Dec. 31, 2013 Issue  :  Features

Cristal Shines Through the Years

Posted: December 31, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

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