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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

November 2012

Can Randall Grahm Change His Stripes?
The irrepressible Bonny Doon proprietor wants to be taken more seriously, and his newest wines are backing him up
Posted: Nov 15, 2012 2:00pm ET

Randall Grahm insists he's grown up, as in matured. For those who have followed the zigzags of his career, one wonders whether the new pose is for real, or whether it's just a front for the irrepressible jester in him. He has recast and reinvented himself so many times in the past 30 years that it's natural to wonder which Randall Grahm we're dealing with. Indeed, the new Grahm can't entirely escape the old Grahm.

This much seemed apparent recently when he visited me in at my office to convey his desire to shed his whimsical nature and strike a more serious stance. That his new wines are among the best he's made adds credence to his desire to reboot his livelihood.

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Character in Restraint
The Cep Sonoma Coast Syrah 2010 keeps the alcohol (and price) in check without sacrificing flavor
Posted: Nov 12, 2012 5:00pm ET

I don't see many sub-13 percent alcohol wines these days.

Most of the wines reviewed by Wine Spectator are north of 14 percent alcohol, and for sure California has some of the ripest wines going, so I was understandably intrigued when the bag came off of a Syrah I'd liked in a recent blind tasting and it turned out to be lower alcohol.

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Syrah Finds a Companion Grape in Napa
Lagier Meredith's Mondeuse is a tempting surprise
Posted: Nov 8, 2012 11:00am ET

It seems only fitting that one of the world's top authorities on grape-type identification would find success with a grape most wine lovers have never heard of.

The Mondeuse grape is rare in California (with only a few hundred acres planted, max), and a star nowhere (though it is embraced in the Savoie region of France). That fact played into the mindset of Carole Meredith and her winemaker husband, Steve Lagier, owners of Lagier Meredith, when they planted it on their property high atop Mount Veeder in Napa Valley.

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