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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

April 2009

High Stakes for All in Economic Turmoil
Posted: Apr 30, 2009 2:17pm ET
While wine lovers welcome the wine market price correction, there's little comfort in knowing the hardships most people are experiencing – in or outside the wine business. Wine lovers have a much smaller stake in the economic turbulence than those who grow grapes, or make wine, or work in the trade.
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What to Do With a 1937 Montelena Cabernet?
Posted: Apr 30, 2009 12:18pm ET
When David Rojas told me he’d inherited a bottle of 1937 Chateau Montelena Cabernet from a friend, I was skeptical. I was under the impression that the Napa Valley winery, founded in 1882, hadn’t made wines after Prohibition (1920-1933) and didn't resume production until 1972, when the Barrett family rejuvenated the facility.
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Signs of the Times: Price Cuts and Waived Corkage
Posted: Apr 29, 2009 12:19pm ET
Prices and corkage fees are two things to keep an eye on as the economy struggles to find traction. Just last week, after praising a Chappellet Reserve Cabernet in a blog, and citing the suggested retail price of $52, a winery spokesman wrote in saying the price had been cut to $42.
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Reacquainted With a Great Napa Cabernet
Posted: Apr 27, 2009 5:19pm ET
David Long got straight to the point. "We took our eye off the ball," said the owner of David Arthur Vineyards today when discussing the mostly ups but also a few big downs with his Napa Valley wines. I was perplexed by my experiences with Long's flagship wine, the Elevation 1147 (which refers to the elevation where the grapes are grown on Pritchard Hill), and the 1997 vintage in particular.
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The Rising Tide of the 2007 Vintage Lifts Quality in California
Posted: Apr 23, 2009 5:51pm ET
I expected 2007 to be a great year for California wine, and indeed it's shaping up that way across the board for all varietals. Tim Fish has tasted some amazing 2007 Zinfandels. MaryAnn Worobiec has been seeing wonderful Sauvignons.
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Discovering a Rarity: A Great $8 Pinot Noir
Posted: Apr 22, 2009 1:50pm ET
You rarely find the words "excellent" and "inexpensive" in the same sentence as Pinot Noir. But yesterday I found that rarest of rarities—an $8 Pinot Noir that is an amazing buy, with a very good rating.
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Another Super Bonus Round of Cabernets
Posted: Apr 20, 2009 3:43pm ET
On Friday I had what I like to call a " super bonus round " of blind tastings, and once again Napa Cabernet provided the excitement, with more than a dozen 2006s (and a couple of earlier vintages) that would make any Cabernet drinker smile.
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Delightfully Eccentric Rhône Reds from SQN
Posted: Apr 16, 2009 1:49pm ET
I've had many incredible wines from Sine Qua Non , Manfred Krankl’s eccentric label. He's made dozens of great wines and each one is different; hence each has its own name and a label designed by the master himself.
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Stunning New Napa Cabernets from Hall
Posted: Apr 15, 2009 3:02pm ET
I can’t think of a couple who’re more bullish on Napa Valley wine – or wine anywhere in the world -- than Craig and Kathryn Hall. In a 2003 Wine Spectator interview, the billionaire couple laid out their ambitious plans and said they expected to invest perhaps $100 million on their various wine projects.
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A Surprising Visit with the Doc
Posted: Apr 14, 2009 4:56pm ET
I was paid an unexpected compliment today, at the doctor’s office of all places. During a routine check up, I was asking my doctor (a youngish Doogie Howser sort) about medications for things such as blood pressure and cholesterol.
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Exciting New Pinots From Saintsbury
Posted: Apr 13, 2009 2:32pm ET
Things are looking up for Saintsbury Pinot Noir , and that can only be good news for Pinot lovers. This Carneros winery is an important player in the Pinot world. It offers a range of wines that extends from the $20 Garnet bottling (with 13,000 cases) to its Carneros appellation bottling ($35, 24,000 cases) to its single-vineyard bottlings topped by the $60 Brown Ranch.
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What Lies Ahead for Screaming Eagle?
Posted: Apr 10, 2009 12:00pm ET
In his short tenure as the public face of Screaming Eagle (see our news story about his departure) , Charles Banks brought a refreshingly candid and enthusiastic air to an industry that can sometimes be aloof and arrogant.
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Why We Cling To First Wine Memories
Posted: Apr 8, 2009 12:57pm ET
There’s an explanation for why we are so cognizant of the first wine that changed our lives--our first wine "a-ha" moment (which was also the subject of a recent  Wine Spectator video ). I'm asked this question as often as any other (the answer: Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet 1968 ).
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A Pair of Surprises from Santa Barbara
Posted: Apr 6, 2009 5:00pm ET
When I unbagged a couple of delicious Cabernets in one of my recent blind tastings, I hadn’t paid attention to the appellation. So I was pleasantly surprised times two to see these two wines came from Happy Canyon in Santa Barbara’s Santa Ynez Valley.
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The Hype Before The Wine
Posted: Apr 3, 2009 2:18pm ET
All kinds of pitches and press releases cross my desk. Few, however, are accompanied by the level of hype and hyperbole that characterized the press kit for a new winegrowing estate called Captûre. It's located on Pine Mountain in Sonoma's Alexander Valley, near Cloverdale, at an elevation of 2,450 feet.
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Mop-Up Tasting Days Can Be Ugly
Posted: Apr 2, 2009 9:24am ET
I’m finishing up my tastings for the Chardonnay report that will appear in the July issue of Wine Spectator. I’ll end up tasting some 550 Chardonnays since our last report. Most will be from 2007 and 2006, and there have been some sensational wines from both years.
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