As I prepare for a few days of R&R, I leave you with one thought that’s been on my mind for some time. It's also an issue that's been articulately discussed by Tom Selfridge, one of California's wine veterans.
A long, long, long time ago, when I had just started writing about wine, I typed (on a typewriter) a piece for a now-defunct magazine about the importance of getting on wineries’ mailing lists. In the article, I wrote that I enjoyed reading the newsletters.
I first caught wind of Matt Kramer ’s new book on Italian wine last September when I was traveling through Tuscany. I was tasting as many wines as I comfortably could—and time and again wondering how to figure out all of their idiosyncrasies and nuances of the wines and regions and reading back labels that didn't tell you much.
John Anthony isn’t using his last name on his wine label for obvious reasons: Truchard is already taken by Jo Ann and Tony, his parents, for their vineyard and winery in Carneros. Truth is, John, 34, is intent on making his name and reputation without trading off of theirs, which is already well-known to many wine drinkers.
Do California vintners have their own case of March Madness? In Santa Barbara, vintners in the Happy Canyon area are finalizing a petition to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in support of dividing the region into subappellations.
Being comfortable grading or rating wines takes time and experience. It took me years of tasting before I felt fully confident about assessing wines and describing them, and even now, I come across wines that are hard to size up.
One of our readers, Roger, just posted a good question in response to a recent blog. “When do you think is the earliest point to open a 2001 [Cabernet]?” I think 2001s should drink well from now until they’re 15 or 20 years old, maybe longer, assuming they’re properly stored.
Napa Cabernet drinkers should be focusing on top-rated wines from recent vintages, especially the 2003s and 2004s that are making their way to the market right now. Though '03 wasn't a great year, some great wines were made.
Why does it seem, as a couple of readers have asked, that there are fewer bad vintages of late? And not just in California, but also in places like Germany, Oregon and Burgundy? Warmer weather, for starters.
In response to my blogs about vintages and vintage ratings last week, a few of you posted related questions. One dealt with my Cabernet vintage ratings and, in a roundabout way, whether excessive ripeness and alcohol levels were a factor.
This week took on a personality of its own, as weeks sometimes do. There’s no way I could have predicted some of the coincidences, which triggered several flashbacks, some good memories, and the sense that this is a very small world indeed.
Vintner Jamie Kutch, 33, started out with nothing. No grapes, no winery, no experience and no real idea whether his dream to make wine would work out. But it has. At age 31, he opted to quit his job as a New York investment banker and stock trader and change careers.
Vineyard owner Belle Rhodes' death on Feb. 13 went largely unnoticed in the wine world, even in Napa Valley, where she resided for most of her 87 years. In her prime, Belle and her husband, Barney, kept a low profile and shunned the limelight.
Over on Chuck Wagner’s blog , a reader from Michigan asked why (among other things) my ratings for Napa Valley Cabernet have been so “abysmal” of late. If he’d used the words "critical" or "tough" or even "biased against" 2003, I wouldn’t have minded.
The wax came off and the cork came out of a 1989 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet on Saturday night. This wine was from what Napa winemakers dubbed “the vintage from hell.” Part of it might have been their fault: They hung a huge crop, and then at about the time the grapes were ready to come off the vine, it rained and stayed damp.
If airline passengers can draft a customer’s bill of rights, surely we wine drinkers can offer our thoughts about what rights or protections we think we’re entitled to when we buy a bottle of wine.
Ernest Gallo's death yesterday brought back lots of memories. Everyone who's been in the wine business for any length of time knows what a great contribution he made to wine, and one thought that made me smile was the first time I sat down with him and his brother for a formal interview in 1993.
When you live in an intimate winegrowing area where everyone knows everyone else, own a high-profile wine shop and a prominent restaurant with an award-winning wine list, you might think that entering the winemaking business would be risky.
Are the owners of Duckhorn Vineyards ready to cash out? Dan Duckhorn, CEO and board chairman of the Napa Valley Merlot and Cabernet specialist, says that’s one option the six-person board of directors will debate within the next few weeks.
As I finish my Santa Barbara tasting of barrel samples, my thoughts are drifting from Grenache and Syrah to an entirely different subject. I’m thinking about the Zodiac. This is not a new wine or an inflatable boat or even an attempt to link wine to astrological forecasts or biodynamic farming.
Today and tomorrow, a delegation of Santa Barbara County wines arrives at Wine Spectator ’s Napa office for what has become an annual event. I will be doing a blind tasting of some of the wines being sold as futures through Wine Cask, a Santa Barbara retailer.
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