Tomorrow I’m speaking at the Institute of Masters of Wine Symposium in Napa. It’s a three-day affair that this year is exploring, among other subjects, changing consumer expectations. I’m on a panel, with Jancis Robinson and James Halliday.
As much as any California vintner of his time, Al Brounstein did it his way. He decided to make mountain-grown Cabernet and stuck to his guns. But he borrowed a page from Burgundy and kept his vineyards separate.
On Friday, I did what many folks think I do every day. I tasted some great new wines and then had lunch with the men behind the wines, Kevin Harvey and Jason Jardine. Harvey is the owner of two labels, Rhys (pronounced Reese) Vineyards and Alesia.
Charles Banks is a relative newcomer to wine. But the 38-year-old has deep pockets, knows his way around financial markets, appears to be a quick learner and has some refreshing insights and perspectives on the business, even as he cuts his teeth presiding over his new winery in Napa Valley, Screaming Eagle.
Charles Banks looks at the wine business the same way he views a pro-sports franchise. Not a surprise when you consider that his partner owns two pro franchises and he has close ties to many stars and star athletes.
Charles Banks, the new owner of Screaming Eagle , has some lofty ambitions for his recent acquisition. Here’s the flight plan for Napa’s Cabernet darling: The most important thing is to uphold the high standards set by Screaming Eagle’s founder, Jean Phillips.
I know why people don’t like what they consider to be overripe wines. They complain about prune and raisin notes in reds and high alcohol in whites. And I completely understand their perspective because I’m on the other side of the debate, or perhaps more precisely, somewhere in the middle.
Celebrity wines have been around for as long as I can remember. We used to showcase an Always Elvis bottle in our San Francisco office in the 1980s. Not sure what kind of wine it was, but it came in a narrow, green Riesling-shaped bottle with the King on the label.
Readers often ask where they can find the best values. Beyond the obvious starting point, price, one area I suggest is to look for wines in the 88-point range. These are wines that we consider very good, or excellent, but shy of outstanding.
Received a note from a reader recently, indicating that one of my favorite Pinot Noir producers was downsizing -- going to smaller bottles. What a relief. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to take a weight-lifting class just to hoist a bottle and pour.
Made my first two dives into the frigid Pacific Ocean over the weekend in search of abalone. The two forays could hardly have been more different. On Saturday afternoon, when I arrived at my friend Greg’s place in Mendocino, off Salmon Creek, my enthusiasm got the better of me.
Starting today, for a 24-hour period ( this post is now closed to further questions ), I'll be taking my turn at "Ask the Editors." My tasting beat is California, but if you’ve got questions about other regions or about wine in general on which I can share my views, I’ll give it my best shot.
Here are an e-mail address and a fax number that Cabernet lovers should jot down: firstname.lastname@example.org and (707) 963-1282. That's the way to get on the mailing list for the new Bob Levy-Martha McClellan Levy Cabernet Sauvignon.
Auction Napa Valley is less about wine these days than raising money for Napa area health services and other good causes. At that, it is a resounding success. The top bid -- $1.05 million for a luxury tour of France’s great wine estates – helped vintners raise $8.
Ready for a Pope Valley appellation? I am. It’s long overdue. This remote valley in the northeast area of Napa County deserves its own identity, yet legally it’s part of Napa Valley, which has some huge benefits for Napa vintners.
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