Since I began covering South Africa in 2000, I haven’t exactly been the biggest fan of Pinotage, the country’s former signature grape. There are, however, exceptions. And though the grape has receded from the top lineup of varieties now pacing the South African category here in the U.S. market, there are still a few wineries that manage to make very good to outstanding versions, and Kanonkop's is a cellar-worthy treasure for its price. Here are my notes on a nine-vintage vertical tasting.
When Daniel Pi took over as head winemaker at Argentina’s Trapiche winery in 2002, he had a big task in front him. The large operation had grown listless, producing volume brands that provided little genuine interest or excitement. But in recent vintages, Pi has added a lineup of single-vineyard bottlings that have proven to be consistently outstanding since they debuted in the 2003 vintage. A recent 15-wine vertical tasting back to the debut 2003s provided an opportunity to see a track record developing. Here are my tasting notes.
I sat down with Adolfo Hurtado, the winemaker for Chile’s Viña Cono Sur. The winery, which is owned by Concha y Toro but operates independently, has quickly established itself as one of the best sources for value in cool-climate varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made in a Burgundian style.
I had a quick sit down with Claudia Gómez of Chile’s Viña Garcés Silva earlier this week. The winery has been working with the Chilean terroir hunter Pedro Parra for about a year now and is already producing wines that are among the more exciting new, cool-climate bottlings to come from Chile in recent vintages.
Tablas Creek was a pioneer when it started in 1989, planting Rhône varieties at a time when there were none in the area. But despite being a high-profile joint-venture, Tablas Creek hasn’t been a splashy, sudden rise-to-fame winery. Instead, it’s grown steadily and quietly, into one of the leading California Rhône producers. While visiting the Paso Robles area for the annual Hospices de Rhône event, I stopped by Tablas Creek and tasted through a lineup of 10 Esprit de Beaucastel reds and whites dating back to 2000. Here are my tasting notes.
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