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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

May 2008

The Dirt on Unworthy, Funky Wines
Posted: May 29, 2008 2:08pm ET
A couple of weeks ago I shared some of the superlatives I typically use in tasting notes to describe outstanding wines, those that score 90 points or higher. A reader asked for and shall now receive some of the terms that typically show up in reviews for wines that dip below the 80-point mark.
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Reflecting on Different Interpretations in Film and Wine
Posted: May 28, 2008 1:31pm ET
Filmmaker Sydney Pollack was one of the first artists I heard discuss his works in person—what he intended to portray on the big screen and how they were interpreted. Pollack, who died yesterday, directed and starred in many great films, among them They Shoot Horses Don’t They , Jeremiah Johnson , Tootsie and Out of Africa.
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Shiners Are a Secret Part of the Wine Business
Posted: May 27, 2008 2:28pm ET
Shiners are a big part of the wine business. But most people have never heard of them, even though they drink shiners all the time. That’s because shiners get a complete makeover and these otherwise often undistinguished wines are disguised by their labels.
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Napans Mourn The Passing of Mondavi
Posted: May 21, 2008 1:13pm ET
As I’ve driven around Napa and Sonoma counties the past few days in the wake of Robert Mondavi’s death , I’ve noticed how many American flags have been hanging at half mast. It’s impossible to know whether these flags have been lowered in his memory or to honor fallen soldiers or in tribute to anyone else, but I’m heartened by how many of the people I’ve talked to about Mr.
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Williams Resigns from Phelps After 32 Vintages
Posted: May 19, 2008 4:49pm ET
Craig Williams and Tom Shelton, winemaker and president/CEO, respectively, of Joseph Phelps Vineyards, resigned from the Napa winery on Friday afternoon, according to their attorney. The two longtime executives' departures from the famed Phelps winery was not a surprise, sources said, since they had been been mired in a drawn-out dispute over compensation.
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Farewell to the Man and Mentor
Posted: May 16, 2008 2:25pm ET
We knew this was coming. Still, when Rob Mondavi called today at 9:53 a.m., with word that his grandfather Robert Mondavi had passed away quietly and peacefully this morning, chills ran up my spine. As I set the phone down, I felt an eerie mix of loss and sadness.
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A Bold Question That Requires Some Finesse
Posted: May 15, 2008 5:19pm ET
One of our readers, Emily, asked a good question about yesterday’s blog , and I’m glad she did. I’m going to offer an extended reply, since this subject comes up periodically “Many people accuse you of only liking very young ‘over blown,’ very tannic styles of wines.
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No Waiting Game for New Wine Arrivals
Posted: May 14, 2008 4:43pm ET
It’s been a long-time ritual of mine. Like so many customary habits that become simple routines, whenever I buy a new wine, I open a bottle that same night. It doesn’t much matter if the winemaker warns not to touch it for four weeks or for four months.
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About Those Reviews, and Agreeing to Disagree
Posted: May 13, 2008 1:04pm ET
I enjoyed the exchanges about my wine reviews blog as much as any and want to address a couple of questions, queries and, perhaps, concerns. We know our reviews carry weight and we take that responsibility seriously.
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Upon Further Review, There Is No Review
Posted: May 9, 2008 1:55pm ET
Readers, and for that matter vintners as well, often wonder how we decide which wines we review. There is no simple answer, except to say we try to taste as many wines as we can and target the wines we think will be of the most interest to you.
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The Chappellet Way: Talking About a Shared Vision
Posted: May 8, 2008 2:35pm ET
Wineries hoping to keep their business in the family can’t start planning too soon, says Carissa Chappellet. Communication is crucial. “Once you start having the discussions, you’ve only begun,” she explained, and “when you think you’ve talked it out, even in the abstract, you’re only at the stage when you’re starting.
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Changing Times: More Wineries Gear Up to Sell
Posted: May 7, 2008 3:06pm ET
The sale last year of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars put the spotlight on the fate or fortunes of family-owned wineries. In coming years more of these wineries, which typically annually sell 3,000 to 50,000 cases of wine, will decide whether to sell or transition to heirs.
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Highs and Woes with 2006 Pinot Noirs
Posted: May 6, 2008 1:23pm ET
We’re heading down the homestretch with our Pinot Noir tastings for our annual report, due in September. Nearly 500 wines have been reviewed, with another 100 to 150 still in bags. Most of the best wines will be featured on WineSpectator.
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To Spit or Not to Spit at the Grand Tour
Posted: May 1, 2008 4:31pm ET
It was my first vertical of Château Lafite Rothschild and I wasn’t about to spit out anything. A formal sit-down tasting at one of the early California Wine Experiences, the host, Baron Eric de Rothschild, had chosen 10 great vintages of this famous first-growth, dating to the 1940s, to share with about 1,000 of us.
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