ben o'donnell

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Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

In Praise of Outsiders

There's a romantic notion of winemakers rooted to ancestral terroir. Many of the best aren't

Posted: August 20, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

In Old World regions especially, we tend to think of estates as regencies to be passed down from generation to generation, the longer the pedigree, the stronger the bind to the terroir. A certain breed of purists sneers at "flying winemakers," spreading their seed in every corner of the wine world and leaving the next morning. What does Bordeaux's Michel Rolland know about Argentina, anyway?

The reality is that many of the most daring, and sometimes the greatest, wines today are made by individuals who come into a region as outsiders, with little incentive other than to innovate and little regard for the supposed limitations of the terroir and culture.

News & Features  :  News

Forecasting Wine's Future

America is now wine's biggest market, and younger drinkers are starting to shape it

Posted: August 7, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

News & Features  :  News

Wine Challenging Beer as America's Drink of Choice

A new Gallup poll shows consumers split between wine and beer, as young people, minorities and women shift to wine

Posted: August 5, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

July 31, 2013 Issue  :  News

Bordeaux Drops Prices But Not Enough to Spark Sales

Posted: July 31, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell, Suzanne Mustacich

July 31, 2013 Issue  :  People

Steak and Wine, Done Right

Del Frisco wine director David O’Day oversees 31 award-winning wine lists

Posted: July 31, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

July 31, 2013 Issue  :  News

World Briefs

Posted: July 31, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell, Suzanne Mustacich

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

The Trouble with Blind Tasting

Blindly nailing down a wine's identity is a neat trick. But should it be a job requirement?

Posted: July 18, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

If you're an American in the wine industry and are within my age range (mid-twenties to early thirties, not to put too fine a point on it), you have, or are somewhere on the path toward, a Master Sommelier diploma. That is barely an exaggeration. (Some folks pursue a Wine & Spirits Education Trust diploma, or go on to a Master of Wine, instead.) For a generation that purports to care little about what the so-called experts have to say about wine, it seems we all want to become one anyway.

"It definitely helps to have it on the résumé when it comes to scoring a great job in the wine world," said Dustin Wilson, wine director at Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning Eleven Madison Park and MS class of '11. "It's a title that earns you some automatic respect."

News & Features  :  Wine Tips

Wine Tip: Steak and Wine Done Right

Posted: July 1, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

News & Features  :  News

French Wine Regions Slammed by Hailstorms

Vouvray is reeling from a historically brutal storm; Chinon and Cahors hit as well

Posted: June 27, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Legalize It: Why Sugar Additions Should Be Allowed in California Wine

The state's law against chaptalization is antiquated, useless and an insult to the growing diversity of the state's terroirs

Posted: June 20, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

"We have chaptalized. We have done in it California, on rare occasions, but we have, and we've done it in wines from Oregon, again on fairly rare occasions." That's probably not something you'd expect to hear from any veteran winemaker, much less Adam Lee, co-owner of Siduri and Novy Family, whose current releases total 37 single-vineyard and appellation bottlings, from the Sta. Rita Hills in California's Central Coast up to the Chehalem Mountains, in Oregon's Willamette Valley. After all, in California, chaptalization—the addition of sugar during fermentation—has long been illegal.

It's time to change that.

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