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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

November 2007

Looking back at the Cabs of '77
Posted: Nov 30, 2007 5:02pm ET
The best way to learn how wines age is to drink older wines. Sure, you can trust the opinions of others who have experience with mature wines. But there’s nothing like firsthand knowledge. Every year I taste hundreds of aged wines in various settings.
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Young Wines Can Offer Rare and Distinct Flavors
Posted: Nov 29, 2007 2:40pm ET
Wines keep getting released earlier and earlier, and I'm not talking about Beaujolais Nouveau. Sometimes that’s a good thing, because you get a rare glimpse of fruit flavors that are so pure, vivid and distinctive.
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Harvesting Olives at Rutherford's Round Pond
Posted: Nov 28, 2007 4:55pm ET
Ryan MacDonnell stood next to a row of olive trees, which bumps up against a row of grapevines. The grapes are long gone, but the olive harvest is in full swing. MacDonnell, who wears two hats overseeing both Round Pond winery and its olive oil mill, is holding a dozen small berries that are about to be pressed into oil.
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Rotten Grapes Yield Liquid Gold
Posted: Nov 27, 2007 12:55pm ET
If you didn’t know better, you might think you'd just stepped into the vineyard from hell. It’s Nov. 27, a month after most of the grapes in Napa Valley have been picked, yet there are still grapes on the vines here in this rural Coombsville vineyard, hidden by a grove of trees east of Napa.
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Harvest 2007 Ends With Exotic Rewards
Posted: Nov 26, 2007 6:08pm ET
Harvest 2007 in California is mostly in the barn. But there are at least two crops that are still in play. One is late-harvest, dessert-wine bound grapes, such as Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. In some areas, winemakers are still waiting on late-ripeneing Gewürztraminer and Riesling grapes as well.
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At Age 20, Does Meritage Still Deserve Merit?
Posted: Nov 21, 2007 11:13am ET
Meritage, a term coined to break the varietal jam among California’s Bordeaux-inspired reds and whites, is about to turn 20. Whether there’s reason to celebrate or not is our weekend food for thought.
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Aaron Pott's New Label and Clients
Posted: Nov 19, 2007 2:00pm ET
Aaron Pott left a full-time winemaking position at Quintessa in Napa Valley last year to pursue a career as a consultant, and already he’s a busy man. He still has ties with Rutherford-based Quintessa, which focuses on its namesake Bordeaux-style red table wine, as well as a second label called Faust.
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Napa's Corra Cabernet Takes Flight
Posted: Nov 16, 2007 1:39pm ET
It’s not much wine but it will do. One barrel of 2006 Sauvignon Blanc and 11 barrels of 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, but that’s enough to get Celia Welch Masyczek’s new label, Corra, off the ground. I consider Masyczek one of California’s best winemakers.
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A Day With Wine, Vineyards and Winemakers
Posted: Nov 15, 2007 1:56pm ET
Yesterday I did what some people think I do every day. I hung out with winemakers. At 9 a.m. I met Celia Welch Masyczek to barrel sample her 2006 Corra Napa Valley Cabernet (more on Corra tomorrow), and then, since she’s making her wine at Keever, a new winery in Yountville, I met the Keevers, toured their winery, saw their vineyard and tasted their wines.
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Taste Memories Can Be Fond or Fowl
Posted: Nov 13, 2007 12:49pm ET
Where do we come up with some of our wine descriptors? Many of our taste memories are tied to our youth and early taste sensations and they stick with us. I can still think back to feeding ducks and geese as a kid, and later with my own kids, and I know a duck pond when I smell it.
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Inspiring New Wines From Saxum
Posted: Nov 12, 2007 1:19pm ET
Saxum has a new-look label, with wood block prints. But more importantly, the new releases are its best wines ever. Aside from winemaker Justin Smith’s personal achievements , which are momentous, his wines are vital to his hometown of Paso Robles because they show what can be accomplished in this still new and evolving appellation.
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From Behrens & Hitchcock Comes Erna Schein
Posted: Nov 9, 2007 1:37pm ET
When Behrens & Hitchcock dissolved their partnership in 2005, ending a run of both classy and racy red wines, Les Behrens and his wife, Lisa Drinkward, took over the Spring Mountain winery and reinvented themselves as Erna Schein Handcrafted Wines.
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A Clean Hit From Paso Robles
Posted: Nov 8, 2007 1:43pm ET
Each new day brings at least one new label, and two of the wines that stood out in yesterday’s blind tasting came from a name that’s new to me: Terry Hoage Vineyards. The wines alone would have merited mention.
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Lake County Delivers Some Great Syrah Values
Posted: Nov 7, 2007 12:34pm ET
Escalating land and grape prices in Napa and Sonoma have led many North Coast vintners to Lake County grapes, which typically sell for about one-third of Napa’s top varieties. Easy math means the wines can sell for about one-third as well.
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The Year in Corks
Posted: Nov 6, 2007 4:14pm ET
I missed the debate about wine closures in Napa on Oct. 27, which featured To Cork or Not to Cork author George M. Taber , along with other industry experts, who discussed twist offs and synthetic closures.
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The Carbon Footprint Police May Have Your Bottle's Number
Posted: Nov 5, 2007 3:48pm ET
I’ve noticed in recent weeks that more people in the industry are talking about "high-end" bottles and how much they weigh and how awkward they are to pour. There’s also the issue of drinking from a heavy bottle … you always think there’s more wine in it even when it’s empty.
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Threshholds, Flaws and Final Reviews
Posted: Nov 2, 2007 7:19pm ET
The winemaker wanted to know why I’d rated his wine in the 70s, or “mediocre” on our 100-point scale. The rating had just appeared in the magazine, but without a tasting note. That’s because we no longer publish complete reviews for all wines.
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A Few Parting Thoughts on the Wine Experience
Posted: Nov 1, 2007 1:25pm ET
Of all the comments and exchanges I had with readers at the New York Wine Experience, these three surprised me most. One reader approached me at one of the Grand Tastings to complain about ratings—not low ones, and not high ones, but ones that weren’t high enough.
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