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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

March 2009

A Magnificent 1974 Napa Petite Sirah
Posted: Mar 31, 2009 1:15pm ET
Carl Doumani sounded excited. He'd found a few bottles of one of his long lost favorite Petite Sirahs, the 1974 vintage from his Stag's Leap Winery days, and wanted to share it. Contrarian Carl has always marched to his own beat.
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Spring Arrives, And With It the Threat of Frost
Posted: Mar 30, 2009 1:40pm ET
Spring arrived in much of California this past week, and now it's up to its usual mood swings. It was very hot (85 F degrees), dry and windy on Friday, warm again on Saturday and a bit cooler and breezier on Sunday.
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Paloma's Jim Richards' Battle With Cancer
Posted: Mar 26, 2009 11:34pm ET
Paloma’s Jim Richards has been battling cancer for more than a year. It’s his second go-round with this silent, deadly killer, and this bout has been tougher. But Richards, 77, is one tough guy. The deck may be stacked against him now, but he’s fighting back.
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Tough Times Call for Tough Shoes
Posted: Mar 25, 2009 1:44pm ET
Wineries in California are dealing with the recession in the same way most of us are: tightening their belts. Many have cut staff and salaries. A few winemakers I’ve talked to gave their staffs raises to keep morale high, but cut their own salary.
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Test Your Tasting Talent With Black Wine Glasses
Posted: Mar 24, 2009 2:00pm ET
We sometimes forget how important color and temperature are in assessing wines. Years ago I participated in a blind-tasting competition in which all of the wines – a mix of reds and whites from Europe and California -- were all served at room temperature and poured into black glasses.
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A Savvy Investor Buys into Napa's Buccella Cabernet
Posted: Mar 23, 2009 3:29pm ET
Bill Price is a popular guy these days. He’s a shrewd businessman who knows wine and has access to capital. While he sees turbulent times ahead for wine, he also likes the opportunities of today’s wine market.
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10,000 Hours—That’s All It Takes
Posted: Mar 20, 2009 1:14pm ET
I wish I’d taken up fly-fishing years ago. By now I would have logged enough hours on rivers, lakes and streams to be proficient, maybe even an expert. I’m often asked how much time it takes to develop expertise about wine.
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Dana Estates: Designs for Great Napa Cabernet
Posted: Mar 19, 2009 1:51pm ET
South Korean businessman Hi Sang Lee’s fascination with Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon—and the difficulty of buying it and other great wines in his home country—led him to start a wine-import firm.
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Should We Lower the Legal Age for Drinking?
Posted: Mar 17, 2009 2:25pm ET
France is considering raising its drinking age. Should we consider lowering ours? A bill under consideration would raise the legal drinking age in France from 16 to 18 for wine and beer, according to published reports.
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Former NFL Exec Takes a Stab at Napa Cabernet
Posted: Mar 16, 2009 2:50pm ET
Carmen Policy thought competition was tough in the NFL. Now he’s competing on a rigorous new playing field—making wine in Napa Valley. The former San Francisco 49ers president presided over that team's rise to greatness—starting in 1977, building five championship teams from 1981 through 1995 (he proudly displays his Super Bowl rings in his home office in Yountville)—and the team's unraveling, when then-owner Eddie DeBartolo lost control of the team.
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The 100-Point Question
Posted: Mar 11, 2009 3:48pm ET
You can’t please all the people all the time. For example, when it comes to judging wines, some people think I give out too many high scores, while others consider me stingy because I have so rarely given out 100-point ratings.
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Remembering Mondavi's Call to Retain the Competitive Edge
Posted: Mar 10, 2009 12:52pm ET
When Robert Mondavi was in his heyday, he often held court in the Vineyard Room of his Oakville winery. From the 1970s through the 1990s, the Vineyard Room served as a hospitality center for dignitaries and a venue where great chefs showcased their culinary skills paired with Mondavi wines.
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Antinori's Slow Road to Success in Napa
Posted: Mar 6, 2009 3:53pm ET
Wine has plenty of overnight sensations, with wineries that hit a grand slam, or at least a homer, with their first at bat. Then there’s Antica, short for Antinori of California , a case study on how difficult the road to success in wine can be.
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Tracking the Arrival of New Brands
Posted: Mar 4, 2009 2:09pm ET
One measure of how the wine market is going can be gauged at the front door of Wine Spectator’s Napa office. That’s where new release wines arrive for possible review. Lately that traffic volume has been heavy.
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When Investing in Wine Might Make Sense
Posted: Mar 3, 2009 2:49pm ET
Warren Buffett and John Bogle are two of my favorite financial gurus. The two are opposites in many ways. Buffett is a shrewd investor (I don’t own any of his Berkshire Hathaway shares) and more a risk-taker than Bogle, the founder and former CEO of Vanguard (where I do have some investments).
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Help Wanted: Expertise in S&M
Posted: Mar 2, 2009 12:55pm ET
They're often ridiculed as bean counters, number crunchers, slick salesmen, case movers, hypesters, purveyors of propaganda or _________. (You fill in the blank. I’m looking forward to your descriptions …) But now is the time for the minds in sales and marketing (S&M) to have their turn at fixing or salvaging the wine market.
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