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james laube's wine flights archive

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James Laube
Archives

June 2007

No Passing the Buck: Here's My Take
Posted: Jun 29, 2007 11:58am ET
OK, so how good is Two-Buck Chuck Chardonnay, the reigning champion , and low-price leader of California Chardonnay? It didn’t take my staff long to buy a bottle from Trader Joe’s (and a second bottle was sent to my office in Napa) and slip it into yesterday’s blind tasting of Sonoma Chardonnays (even though Two Buck carries a California appellation and the appellation was not disclosed in my tasting).
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A Chardonnay Shocker From the California State Fair
Posted: Jun 27, 2007 12:25pm ET
During yesterday’s blind tasting in Napa, amid a flight of sumptuous 2005 Sonoma Coast Chardonnays from the likes of Paul Hobbs and Chasseur, came a news flash across my computer screen. Glad I was sitting down.
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Safari to Sell Sierra Cabernet
Posted: Jun 26, 2007 12:52pm ET
I was at a party a while ago and a bottle of wine caught my eye. It had what one might consider a behemoth of critter labels—a colorfully etched bull elephant with its tusks crossed. The wine was a 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon from El Dorado, in the Sierra foothills, and it sells for $28 a bottle.
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One Way to Measure California Pinot's Popularity
Posted: Jun 25, 2007 2:03pm ET
We all know California Pinot Noir is hot. In fact, Wine Spectator 's tasting department has tasted a lot of Pinot Noir in the past few months, and it appears that we may have set a record for a single varietal in one year.
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Having An Old Friend For Dinner
Posted: Jun 20, 2007 5:24pm ET
The other night I had dinner with an old friend and we indulged in an old friend for dinner—the 1983 Guigal La Mouline … The wine brought back lots of fond memories. I’ve been drinking it since the 1980s and enjoyed it perhaps a dozen times since then.
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When Notes and Scores Don't Add Up
Posted: Jun 18, 2007 3:57pm ET
Periodically people send me their tasting notes—sometimes in cases where we agree about a wine, but more often when we don’t. What I sometimes find fascinating is how differently people can perceive quality, as well as positives or negatives, and the words they choose to describe their impressions.
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Deciding Which Bottle to Review
Posted: Jun 15, 2007 1:39pm ET
I’m always pleased when I hear that a vintner is trying out twist-offs. The tide of acceptance is turning as more of us tire of bad corks and appreciate how safe and easy twisties are to use. Still, I have one concern: Some wineries are splitting the difference on closures, bottling a portion of their wine under cork and the rest with twisties, causing us to debate which bottling we should review.
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2007 Grape Forecast Looks Bright and Sunny
Posted: Jun 14, 2007 12:41pm ET
Thanks to Scott McLeod's spring prediction that 2007 would be a banner year, I’ve paid more attention to the grape set in California than ever before. McLeod's forecast seems to be right on target, so far.
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Talking About Wine Reviews With Bill Harlan
Posted: Jun 13, 2007 11:55am ET
The other night at our magnum party in Napa I spent a few minutes with Bill Harlan , of Harlan Estate, talking about Napa Valley wines. As we sipped a glass of Schrader’s delicious 2005 Old Sparky, bottled the day before, we discussed the proliferation of new wine labels and what the future holds for a market that some think is teetering on being oversaturated with expensive wines.
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New Winemakers At Key Napa Wineries
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 1:21pm ET
There are times when winemakers changing jobs resembles musical chairs. Here are three key changes in Napa Valley of late that bear watching. Quintessa has a new winemaker. Aaron Pott, who joined the Napa winery several years ago, has departed to focus on his consulting business.
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Notes From Friday's Barrel Tasting
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 1:28pm ET
The most pleasant surprise at Friday’s barrel tasting: how well the 2005 Cabernets showed. The last time I tried a group of these wines they struck me as elegant, balanced and understated, the kind of vintage that slowly unfolds and reveals itself over time rather than being up front, showy and opulent.
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How to Approach a Big Barrel Tasting
Posted: Jun 8, 2007 11:30am ET
Today I’m headed to the Auction Napa Valley barrel tasting in St. Helena. More than 100 wineries will be pouring new wines, from a mix of new vintages, including 2005s and 2006s. All of these wines are available for sale as auction lots, and bidding is already under way.
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Auction Napa Valley's Diamond Award
Posted: Jun 6, 2007 6:37pm ET
I've been browsing through the Auction Napa Valley catalog (viewable at napavintners.com/anv) the past few days, reflecting on how this annual charity fundraiser has changed and evolved over the years.
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Why Pinot Prices Are Headed Higher
Posted: Jun 5, 2007 4:25pm ET
One sale hardly signals a trend, yet the sale of Amber Ridge Vineyard makes perfect sense: Pinot Noir is hot, and prime Pinot vineyard land in Sonoma County is in demand. From a grower’s perspective, the time might be right to cash out, and certainly if the asking price is met, properties can be acquired.
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A Cool Nooner in Napa This Week
Posted: Jun 4, 2007 1:50pm ET
Auction Napa Valley is taking center stage in Napa Valley this week. There are lots of events, dinners, tastings, open houses (with still more tastings) and the live auction itself on Saturday night. For many people, if not most, you have to register (and pay) to attend, and most of the events have already sold out.
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