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Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Behind Every Great Glass of Wine Is a Person with a Great Story

The Wine Experience isn't just about wine

Posted: October 16, 2014  By Mitch Frank

If you walk into a room where more than 260 of the world's best wines are being poured, your initial thought is undoubtedly, “Where do I get a glass?” The Wine Spectator Wine Experience begins Thursday night with the first of two Grand Tastings, where wine lovers get to grab a glass and taste. For more than a week now, many of my colleagues have been offering advice on which wines you shouldn't miss.

But here's my advice: Don't forget about the folks pouring the wine.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Our Tasting Is Designed for You

The Wine Experience Grand Tasting floor map will take attendees on a wine journey around the world

Posted: October 15, 2014  By Bruce Sanderson

For a dozen years or so, I have worked with our events department organizing the floor plan for the Grand Tastings at the Wine Spectator Wine Experience. The primary goal is to create an interesting flow of regions, grape varieties and wineries for the attendees. The collateral benefit is that I get a preview of the more than 260 producers who will be there and the wines they are presenting.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Not Just Another Silicon Valley Wine Wannabe

Sir Peter Michael builds a lasting legacy in Sonoma’s Knights Valley

Posted: October 15, 2014  By Tim Fish

One of the occasional benefits of writing about wine is the opportunity to interview someone who's famous for something other than wine. Take actor and vintner Dan Aykroyd for example. He was so down to earth I could have chatted about Saturday Night Live for hours. The same with John Lasseter of Pixar and his classic animated movies. I was more interested in asking film director Francis Ford Coppola about The Conversation than his Godfather films. But my job was to talk wine, so I stayed focused during the interviews.

I had a similar experience with Sir Peter Michael, who I profile in the Nov. 15 issue and who is also being honored as the winner of this year's Wine Spectator Distinguished Service Award.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Riesling in Oregon

It's not just Chardonnay and Pinot Gris for white wines

Posted: October 14, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

Riesling, an off-and-on success in Oregon, has started to shine brighter in recent vintages. Of the 40 Oregon Rieslings to receive scores of 90 points or higher (Outstanding on the Wine Spectator 100-point scale), 26 have come since the 2010 vintage.

What's causing this? Partly, it's the emergence of wineries concentrating on the varietal, most notably Trisaetum (first vintage 2007). James Frey's operation makes eight different Rieslings, sorted by vineyard source and whether they're dry or off-dry, and no Chardonnay or Pinot Gris, Oregon's signature white wines.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Phenomenal Nebbiolo

The 2010 vintage in Barolo is delivering on its early promise

Posted: October 13, 2014  By Bruce Sanderson

To date, I have tasted more than 100 Barolos from the 2010 vintage. I was very excited about the vintage after visiting the region in November 2013. My tastings of the young 2010s, either from cask or bottle, indicated fabulous potential. The '10s appeared to be a hybrid of 2004, 2006 and 2008, offering purity, elegance, balance and complexity. The best should have the ability to age for decades.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

To Hail and Back

A freewheeling Provence winemaker’s ride from ruin to recovery

Posted: October 13, 2014  By Robert Camuto

Raimond de Villeneuve grins like he's won the French Loto as he looks over rows of Syrah vines loaded with dark, healthy grapes.

"It's my first real harvest since 2011," says the 52-year-old producer, who is in his 20th vintage at his Château de Roquefort in Provence.

It's a happy chapter in a story that looked like a tragedy two years ago after a hail storm destroyed his entire 62-acre crop and left half his vines damaged for the next vintage.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Pinot with a View—of Marcassin

A look at Fred and Carol Schrader's new Boars' View Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Posted: October 10, 2014  By James Laube

Fred and Carol Schrader's new label could easily have been called Boars' View of Marcassin, because that's the story behind its name.

The Schraders' Boars' View looks out at Marcassin (which is French for young wild boar), the adjacent vineyard and winery owned by Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer in the Fort Ross-Seaview appellation of Sonoma Coast. It's in a remote, tree-shrouded area, a few miles inland from the Pacific, but clearly warm enough to fully ripen grapes.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

A Manhattan Wine Story

Looking forward to the Wine Spectator Wine Experience Grand Tastings

Posted: October 10, 2014  By MaryAnn Worobiec

I have a running joke with one of my best friends. It's about drinking Manhattans in Manhattan. Whenever we are in New York, we order the classic cocktail, and send a photo of it out to each other, a cheesy reminder of our friendship.

I'm headed to New York again next week for the Wine Spectator Wine Experience, but this time there aren't any Manhattans on my agenda. There are so many terrific wines to try at the Wine Experience Grand Tour, instead I'll be snapping photos of glasses of Champagne and bottles of red wine. I know my friend will understand.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Grand Plan for the Grand Tastings

Don't walk into a room with 260 of the world's best wines without a strategy

Posted: October 9, 2014  By James Molesworth

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth unveils his game plan for the Grand Tastings at the Wine Spectator Wine Experience in New York next week.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Legalize It

New York is cracking down on illegal direct shipping. Why are retailers and wine lovers outraged over enforcement rather than lobbying to legalize it?

Posted: October 9, 2014  By Robert Taylor

The New York State Liquor Authority (NYSLA) has been making waves in the wine industry, ramping up enforcement on a range of fair-business guidelines intended to even the playing field among large and small retailers and distributors. Most of the $3 million-plus in fines levied over the past three years have resulted from illegal transactions between wholesalers and retailers, having little effect on consumers, but one recent NYSLA filing has wine lovers up in arms: 16 charges of improper conduct for Albany-based retailer Empire Wine for shipping wine to consumers in other states.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Fine-Tune Your Palate

Next week's Wine Spectator Wine Experience is the place to be

Posted: October 8, 2014  By James Laube

Think of it as a one-night tour of the wine world, with many of its superstar wines and their makers under one roof.

Think of it as a crash-course refresher on those iconic wines from those celebrated regions from the Old World and a glimpse of what lies ahead from the New World.

It's all on stage at next week's New York Wine Experience, where more than 260 of the world's greatest wines will be on display at the Grand Tastings.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Oregon Pinot Noir on a Roll

Even 2013, which looked like a disaster, is worth a good look

Posted: October 7, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

When it happened, Oregon's 2013 Pinot Noir vintage looked like a flop. A warm growing season climaxed with a couple of heat spikes in mid-September. And then it rained. And rained. And rained some more. Some vineyards counted 9 inches of rain in a week. Most of Willamette Valley got around 4 inches. "I never saw rain so sideways here, and it hit when everything was pretty damn ripe," said Rollin Soles of Roco.

Now that the wines are ready to bottle, many 2013s I tasted last week displayed precise flavors and even the sort of delicacy that made 2010 and 2011 so charming. It all depends on how carefully the grapes were sorted and when they were picked.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

How It Should Be Done

Two New York sommeliers balance old and new styles eclectically

Posted: October 2, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

At Hearth restaurant and his various Terroir wine bars in New York, owner Paul Grieco fills his wine lists with offbeat wines made from grapes unfamiliar to casual wine drinkers in regions that seldom come up in conversation except for serious wine geeks. In person he has cultivated a wild-man image that has endeared him to those who want anything but a nice Chardonnay or a big Napa Cabernet.

So what's a 1992 Harlan Cabernet doing on his list at Hearth? "Oh, that's from the cellar of one of the partners [in the restaurant]," he shrugged. "Helluva wine, too." Much as he champions "who's that?" wines, he also has an eclectic palate. And it extends to his sommelier at Hearth, Christine Wright, who strode confidently to our table on a recent visit. With me were colleagues James Laube, whose recent Wine Spectator column, "Dim Somms," stirred up howls of protest, and executive editor Thomas Matthews, who suggested the restaurant.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

An Exciting New Santa Barbara Red

Tensley and TGIC Importers team up for a unique blend

Posted: October 1, 2014  By James Laube

Joey Tensley and Alex Guarachi have teamed up to make an exciting new red wine from Santa Barbara that is exactly what wine lovers are looking for: an outstanding wine that's affordable and available.

They have collaborated on a wine called Tenshen, a $25 red with 3,500 cases made. The first vintage, 2013, exhibits a fresh, lively array of flavors, extending from ripe, juicy plum and black cherry to subtler dried herb, tar and rose petal.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Discovering the New and the Classics

With more than 250 wines to taste at the Grand Tasting, everyone needs a game plan

Posted: October 1, 2014  By Tim Fish

I remember walking into my first Grand Tasting 16 years ago. I was just a young wine nerd and not yet on the Wine Spectator staff and I wanted more than anything to come off as poised and urbane, but at the sight of all those rare wines, my eyes shot out of my head like a cartoon character's.

The chance to taste 250 wines, with winemakers and owners right there at the table, can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. Overwhelming as in awesome, awesome as in stuttering to say something insightful as your wine is poured, insightful as in, "uhm … Hi."

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Mapping Out the Grand Tastings

Wines to make a beeline to sample at the 2014 Wine Spectator Wine Experience

Posted: September 29, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

The Grand Tastings at the New York Wine Experience are a playground for those of us who can't get enough great wine. Two floors of the Marriott Marquis Hotel house 267 producers those of us who review the wines nominated as our choices to be there. It's a who's who of wine, an opportunity to taste wines that are hard to find or so expensive the cost of a ticket wouldn't even buy one bottle.

Even though each producer can only pour one wine, it requires some forethought to get the most out of the experience. I scope out which ones I am gung-ho to get to, especially wines I don't get to taste regularly. When I walk through the door at the Grand Tastings Oct. 16 and 17, I'll have a plan. To help with yours (and to give you an idea of the kinds of wines on tap), here are some of the highlights of my list.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The 2014 Cape Winemakers Guild Wines

New reviews of 47 new additions to the Cape Winemakers Guild auction in South Africa

Posted: September 26, 2014  By James Molesworth

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth reviews the rare one-offs, new single-vineyard bottlings, experimental blends and more that will be up for sale at the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction on Oct. 4.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Last of the Summer Wine

Hang on to those sunny days with these good-value reds

Posted: September 24, 2014  By Tim Fish

Summer ended officially this week but I’m in denial about it. The warm weather took its time getting here in the first place and now it’s heading south again already.

We’re not letting it go without a fight, are we? Damn straight. Repeat after me: Summer isn’t over. Summer isn’t over.

In defiance of fall, I’ve selected five of my favorite summer wines from reviews published in our Oct. 31, 2014 issue. All of the wines are Zinfandel or Zin-based reds, which are the ideal wines with sunny weather and summer food. I drink them with everything from pasta and chicken to grilled steak and smoked ribs.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

California Harvest Heats Up

With rain on the horizon, winemakers in Napa and Sonoma are starting to bring in more grapes

Posted: September 23, 2014  By James Laube

With rain in the forecast for Northern California in the next few days, the harvest will accelerate in many quarters. No one expects the rain to cause much concern. But grapes close to full ripeness and susceptible to rain, such as Pinot Noir, will be best harvested sooner than later. No one wants to slosh through another year like 2011.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

The Wrath of My Grapes

A hard-learned winemaking lesson: Growing is the tough part

Posted: September 22, 2014  By Robert Camuto

This was the year I coulda been a contender. Instead, here I am crying in my grape juice.

The 2014 harvest was going to be the one when my small, 100-vine plot of Syrah on a patch of earth in southern France was going to shine. I am not a professional winemaker so there was no hope of my wine being tasted and scored 95 points by Wine Spectator. But it was going to put a smile on the faces of friends and vignerons who drank it.

Today I have one word: fuhgeddaboudit.

1234567 >>  Last (186)

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