Secretly, I breathed a sigh of relief Saturday after my fellow Wine Spectator taster-editors and I concluded a blind tasting in front of 1,200 of our closest friends at the New York Wine Experience. I wiped my brow because no one put us on the spot and demanded we identify the wines in the tasting.
Oregon has loosened up its regulations for varietal labels on wine, but before you get alarmed, it all makes perfect sense. The state Liquor Control Commission decided to amend its rules for certain grape varieties, the ones that are commonly used in blends, to put the wineries that make them on the same footing as wineries in all the other states.
Sometimes we Wine Spectator critics take flak for rating wines on the 100-point scale, because anything that scores below 89 or 90 seems not worth drinking. That, of course, is the perception of snobby buyers.
Robert Manne, now the winemaker at Australia's Cape Mentelle in Margaret River, grew up in Swan Valley, just outside Perth in Western Australia. It's a warm region where his family has been making wine for more than 100 years.
Planning a visit to Oregon's Willamette Valley to hobnob with the top Pinot Noir producers and their wineries? To date, finding a place to stay has been a challenge. The area lacks the kind of accommodation infrastructure familiar to visitors to California's notable regions.
When four blogging wine writers come together in New York to share dinner and several big-time Italian wines, you know none of us can resist throwing in our couple of pennies' worth online. James Suckling got us together for dinner at Babbo last night, while all of us are together in New York.
Pinot Noir producers wrestle with the idea of terroir , that French-inspired notion that place makes the wine, and none more so than those who run into confounding evidence that maybe it's not always the end-all and be-all of wine.
After tasting through more than a dozen leading Oregon wineries' 2006 Pinot Noirs last week, including some of the best in the state, I predict consumers will love them. The producers are of two minds.
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