My Italian is about as good as my Spanish or French or German. I can get by--barely, at times--and have to rely on either the good English of the person I’m talking to or interviewing, or the use of a translator.
My Mother used to keep a sign in her office that read: “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” I had every good reason to lose my mind the other night as I dined with the dashing, fun-loving, cork-popping, magnum-obsessed and forever dangerous and unpredictable wine maven James Suckling.
I made it to Florence in pretty good shape. Not so for my luggage. It decided to stay at Heathrow, in London, while I carried on with my laptop and tote bag. My luggage took the path less traveled, which left me clothes-less in Florence, which wasn’t so bad for the first 24 hours.
I’m headed off to Tuscany and points beyond for a fortnight. I could make up something about needing a vacation, or change of scenery, or new blogging material. But the truth is I’m going to catch up with my old friend and colleague, James Suckling, and help him drain of some of the oversize bottles of Barolo and Brunello that are clogging his cellar.
I’m headed off to Italy in a few days, so last night I drank Bordeaux. My son and I were having dinner – a guys' grill night, with rib eyes and some random, token greens. He hasn’t shown much interest in wine, despite the fact that it’s always been around.
Harvest is always full of surprises. No one year is quite like the next. The action in Napa and Sonoma is building momentum. Winemakers who haven’t set foot in a church in years now talk about their daily prayers.
With age comes beauty. At least you hope so when it comes to cellaring wines. I drank a couple of terrific Talbott Chardonnays over the weekend, a 2002 Diamond T Estate ($65) and 2003 Cuvée Cynthia ($60), both from Monterey County.
I connected with a couple of famous, long-time Napa Valley winemakers recently, and their tales are worth passing along, though I’m withholding their identities because our discussions were casual and not part of an interview.
I’ve received a couple of queries from readers about a new high-end 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet, from a well-regarded vineyard and a superstar winemaking team. But so far, I’m not impressed by the wine and not too sure you should be either.
Ran into an old friend yesterday at my favorite wine bar (aka Wine Spectator 's Napa tasting room). I immediately recognized the face. But then I noticed he had a new outfit, and he’d put on a little weight.
Time was, red wines from California's Edna Valley--south of San Luis Obispo--were typically light in color, seemingly more anemic than healthy. I still remember my first impressions of early 1980s Pinot Noir from Edna Valley Vineyard – pale red garnet in color, with decent flavors, but nothing to get excited about.
Corks were flying at our Napa office on Friday, and that was a good thing. Tim Fish and I tasted a couple dozen new releases of California sparkling wine for our annual report, due later this year, and this research turned into an exciting afternoon of sparklers.
Right idea. Right wine. The owners of Paloma have started a second label, and it’s a move that makes sense. The producers of what is arguably California’s preeminent Merlot realized that putting all their eggs in the Merlot basket had its risks.
You might be surprised to learn – as I was – that two of the most expensive red wine grapes in Napa Valley this year are a couple of orphans from Bordeaux. I’m talking about Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, both of which are used primarily for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and occasionally with Merlot.
Right idea. Wrong wine? The other day, in a regular blind tasting, I sampled a new Pinot Noir, vintage 2005. Nothing outstanding. Fresh, snappy cherry and strawberry fruit, which I rated in the good category (defined as 80-84 points on Wine Spectator 's 100-point scale).
In California, vintners are on the final approach to harvest, for what has been a very mixed and trying year. As my winegrower friend C.J. predicted in April , it has been an expensive year to farm, with an abundance of spring rain and a late, uneven grape set.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions