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Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Defining Wine Quality

Posted: June 30, 2006  By James Laube

Tomorrow I’m speaking at the Institute of Masters of Wine Symposium in Napa. It’s a three-day affair that this year is exploring, among other subjects, changing consumer expectations. I’m on a panel, with Jancis Robinson and James Halliday.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

One of the Last, But Not Less

Posted: June 29, 2006  By James Suckling

Today Château Le Pin – Pomerol’s ultra-collectible, tiny-production, pure Merlot – released a few thousand bottles worth of 2005 futures on the Bordeaux market at 450 euros from its cellar, and the wine was bought up in minutes.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Good Cheap Aussie Pinot? Don't Laugh

Posted: June 28, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

Conventional wisdom says that Australia does great at Shiraz and pretty well at Cabernet. But Merlot? Pinot Noir? Not on the radar. Especially, you might think, at the low end. So explain this. I am blind-tasting through a lot of low- to mid-priced reds as I prepare my next Australia red wine report, which Wine Spectator will publish in the fall.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Reflections on Al Brounstein

Posted: June 28, 2006  By James Laube

As much as any California vintner of his time, Al Brounstein did it his way. He decided to make mountain-grown Cabernet and stuck to his guns. But he borrowed a page from Burgundy and kept his vineyards separate.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

$550 For A Bottle Of Wine? Well, If It's The Right Wine...

Posted: June 28, 2006  By James Molesworth

I just spent $550 on a bottle of wine. Want to take a guess what it was. ’05 Latour? Nope. Haut-Brion? Nope. Margaux, Mouton or Lafite? Zip, zilch, nada. No, there are 15,000 to 20,000 cases made of each of those wines, and they’ll be in the marketplace from now until they mature.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Time Will Tell

Posted: June 28, 2006  By James Suckling

There is apparently a limit for prices for 2005 futures in Bordeaux. Yquem closed its 2005 en primeur sales this afternoon at 3 p.m. in Europe following a less-than-enthusiastic response from the marketplace, according to sources in Bordeaux.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Toast To Al Brounstein

Posted: June 27, 2006  By James Molesworth

With the passing of Al Brounstein , we lose a pioneer of the California wine industry and a wonderful character. I remember one of my first trips to Napa in the early '90s and a visit to Diamond Creek.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

A New Reality, Or Do We Drink Pepsi?

Posted: June 27, 2006  By James Suckling

“Yes, it is crazy,” I said to a source in Bordeaux when I heard that the insanity continued today there with Cheval-Blanc and Yquem offered to the trade at 400 euros a bottle. That means the wines are going to be offered to the U.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Two Hot New Labels To Look For

Posted: June 27, 2006  By James Laube

On Friday, I did what many folks think I do every day. I tasted some great new wines and then had lunch with the men behind the wines, Kevin Harvey and Jason Jardine. Harvey is the owner of two labels, Rhys (pronounced Reese) Vineyards and Alesia.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Star Blinding Prices....

Posted: June 26, 2006  By James Suckling

Call it a shooting star, or whatever. But Ausone, the tiny superstar from St.-Emilion, came out today to the Bordeaux trade for 500 euros a bottle, and, yes…believe it or not, the wine trade couldn’t get enough of it.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

The Stars are the Limit

Posted: June 23, 2006  By James Suckling

Today Latour and Margaux (two potential 100-pointers in my mind) put their 2005 futures on the market for 350 euros ex-chateau to the Bordeaux wine trade. They were quickly trading at 410 to 420 euros to clients around the world.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The American Palate - One Dimensional, or Growing Up?

Posted: June 23, 2006  By James Molesworth

The American palate prefers only fruit-forward wines. It’s a statement that you hear often these days – by terroir -driven wine producers and purist wine lovers who decry what they see as a trend toward a homogenization of wine styles.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

The New French Surrealism

Posted: June 22, 2006  By James Suckling

I am speechless. Lafite and Mouton released their 2005 futures to the Bordeaux wine trade in the last 24 hours for 300 euros a bottle, and the global wine trade can’t get enough. In fact, I have been told that many are reordering! This means that Lafite and Mouton 2005 will be about $650 a bottle to American consumers – or more.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Michelin Makes San Francisco Chefs Nervous

Posted: June 22, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

If San Francisco's chefs and restaurateurs look pale these days, blame it on the Michelin Man. Or men. The restaurant inspectors have been visiting the city's eateries recently for the Michelin Guide's first book on San Francisco, due out in October.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Screaming Eagle Part 3: Banks' Views on Napa and Beyond

Posted: June 22, 2006  By James Laube

Charles Banks is a relative newcomer to wine. But the 38-year-old has deep pockets, knows his way around financial markets, appears to be a quick learner and has some refreshing insights and perspectives on the business, even as he cuts his teeth presiding over his new winery in Napa Valley, Screaming Eagle.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Sit-Down With Alexandra Marnier-Lapostolle

Posted: June 21, 2006  By James Molesworth

I sat down with Alexandra Marnier-Lapostolle the other day. The owner of Chile’s Casa Lapostolle tempted me with a complete vertical of her Clos Apalta , a blend of Carmenère, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from a small, old-vine plot in the Apalta area of Chile’s Colchagua Valley.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Screaming Eagle Part 2: The New Team

Posted: June 21, 2006  By James Laube

Charles Banks looks at the wine business the same way he views a pro-sports franchise. Not a surprise when you consider that his partner owns two pro franchises and he has close ties to many stars and star athletes.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Latour for Dummies

Posted: June 21, 2006  By James Suckling

Had some friends over for dinner; a number were Tuscan winemakers, along with the head of Cuban cigar imports in Italy. The latter is a very keen wine drinker. In fact, he used to write about wine for a number of Italian wine publications years ago.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Silence is Golden?

Posted: June 20, 2006  By James Suckling

Why won’t the first growths release their prices? The whole world is waiting. We all know it’s going to be expensive. So just get it over with…. I would guess that they are going to be between 220 and 240 euros a bottle from the châteaus to the Bordeaux wine trade, and American consumers are not going to see much change from a $500 bill.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Penfolds' Sidelines

Posted: June 20, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

As the winemaker for Penfolds , Peter Gago is responsible for some of the iconic wines of Australia, including Grange and Bin 707. Who knew he had a jones for Gewürztraminer and Sangiovese? On a recent visit to San Francisco, over lunch at Ame, he poured a few wines that are, well, out of Penfolds' mainstream.

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