Posted: September 12, 2014 By James Laube
Whenever I come face to face with a bottle of Penfolds Grange, as I did on two nights this week, several thoughts quickly come to mind.
I'm reminded of how fantastic this wine remains, and why it is still revered as one of Australia's greatest wines. I think too of its creator, Max Schubert, and the time we met in the 1980s, one of those special moments where I felt as if I were standing next to a legend, an original.
Posted: September 10, 2014 By Tim Fish
Wine Spectator senior editor Tim Fish offers tips for visiting winery tasting rooms, from etiquette to what to expect to pay to what and who to bring.
Posted: September 9, 2014 By Harvey Steiman
There are those who say only steely, lean wines can express terroir, but the style of Millbrandt's Chardonnay The Estates 2013 ($20) runs counter to that. This is a rich, plush Washington white, but the spicy aromatics and creamy texture play against vibrant acidity, a core of peach and melon finishing with length and a sense of elegance.
Millbrandt, a big vineyard owner in eastern Washington, sells grapes to a roster of A-list wineries, and makes its own wines as well. The Estates Chardonnay comes from its Evergreen Vineyard in the cool-climate Ancient Lakes AVA. It lies on shallow soils littered with chalk and limestone that are earning a reputation for crisp, minerally white wines. You can taste it in this wine.
Posted: September 9, 2014 By Bruce Sanderson
I'm typically in Tuscany in late March or April, when its abundant bounty of fruit and vegetables is in its earlier stages of development, so it was a welcome change to spend a week there in late August.
Every meal was a delight of fresh, local products, from ripe, juicy and flavorful tomatoes, succulent peaches, plums and apricots, zucchini, carrots, beans and local herbs. Even better that most of the dishes were accompanied by tangy olive oil and washed down with (mostly) local wines.
Posted: September 8, 2014 By Robert Camuto
In a corner of eastern Piedmont you probably haven't heard of, Walter Massa is considered something of a prophet.
At 58, Massa is known as the farmer and visionary in Monleale (pop. 600+) who resurrected the local white Timorasso grape from near extinction with wines celebrated in Italy and beyond. In the U.S in recent years, his bottlings have found an important niche on top Italian wine lists.
Posted: September 5, 2014 By James Laube
Wine Spectator senior editor James Laube says that the extent of Napa's earthquake damage is still unknown.
Posted: September 4, 2014 By Harvey Steiman
As I tasted through an impressive array of 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs last week, my nose picked up unexpected aromatics. In one I smelled apricots. In another, unmistakable nuances of pineapple and coconut. Fresh lime zest informed the character of a third red, an expression of the wine's lively acid balance. These are attributes most of us associate with white wines.
Pinot Noir famously and notoriously produces unusual flavors and aromatics. The usual catalog of red and black fruits, earth and spice notes may not be all that's there. As a wine critic, I should home in on what distinguishes the wine before me from all the others. It could be structural, or textural. Or an unexpected flavor note.
Posted: September 4, 2014 By Ben O'Donnell
By the late 2000s, the wine minds of Treviso had noticed that Prosecco exports had begun to accelerate, even while the American love affair with the drink was still in first bloom.
In 2009, when most drinkers considered Prosecco cheap, if they considered it at all, the folks who made it were thinking ahead. That year, to give it a prestige boost and better define the wine as being from a precise region rather than simply a style, the Italian government bumped the Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOC, from the hilly areas of the region, up to the loftier Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, a name unwieldy enough to confer distinction. At the same time, the areas surrounding that zone, where Prosecco was made with an IGT designation, became the protected Prosecco DOC. Around the same time, the producers started calling the grape "Glera" instead of "Prosecco"; now Prosecco, like Burgundy or Port, meant coordinates on a map, no knockoffs allowed.
Posted: September 3, 2014 By Ben O'Donnell
WineSpectator.com assistant editor Ben O'Donnell looks at the staying power of Italy's Prosecco, the inexpensive sparkling wine that burst onto the scene three years ago but is poised to stick around.
Posted: September 3, 2014 By James Laube
Wine Spectator senior editor James Laube says Napa is still picking up the pieces after last month's earthquake, but harvest is also in full swing.
Posted: September 3, 2014 By Tim Fish
Wine Spectator senior editor Tim Fish attends the Taste of Sonoma wine and food festival.
Posted: August 27, 2014 By Mitch Frank
Wine Spectator associate editor Mitch Frank reacts to internet hyperbole and the recent hoax that Two-Buck Chuck wine is made with animal blood.
Posted: August 25, 2014 By MaryAnn Worobiec
I'm from Cleveland, so when I moved to California in 1996, a lot of my friends warned me about "The Big One." I assured them that I'd rather go years of maybe having an earthquake to knowing that I'd have to endure year after year of dreadful winters.
On Sunday morning, The Pretty Big One hit. It woke us up at 3:20 a.m. I live about 15 miles from the epicenter. It's an uneasy feeling, the ground rumbling underneath you, hearing things fall and break in your house, long seconds of wondering when it will be over. Thankfully, I'm fine, along with everyone I know.
Posted: August 25, 2014 By Robert Camuto
Summer rosé season is nearly over, Champagne time is coming, and more Provence winemakers are thinking about bubbles and pink. To sum up the trend: Why not make traditional Provence rosé sparkle à la Champagne?
Posted: August 22, 2014 By Harvey Steiman
I recently had a chance to blind-taste all 12 finished and bottled vintages of Two Hands Ares, one of Australia's top Shiraz, with owner Michael Twelftree at Aspen's Casa Tua restaurant, with the help of sommelier Jill Zimorski.
Posted: August 21, 2014 By James Molesworth
Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth is back in Bordeaux, this time to kick the dirt in the vineyards. Today he visited Château Gazin in Pomerol.
Posted: August 20, 2014 By James Laube
In the past few weeks, much of my attention has been directed toward reviewing Napa Valley Cabernets from the 2011 vintage. 2011 was tough across the board in California. But interspersed with the Napa 2011s were a sprinkling of 2012s and the hint of better days ahead. Not only were many of the 2012s richer and riper, better made and better balanced, I came across some rather staggering figures, evidence of Cabernet's importance to Napa wineries' bottom lines and California's image as a whole.
Posted: August 20, 2014 By Tim Fish
Wine Spectator senior editor Tim Fish gets an update on California's 2014 harvest, now well under way.
Posted: August 18, 2014 By James Molesworth
Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth is back in Bordeaux, this time to kick the dirt in the vineyards. Today he visited Château Pétrus in Pomerol to taste and review the 2013 Pétrus.
Posted: August 13, 2014 By Tim Fish
The 2011 and 2010 California Merlots, for the most part, are hard and herbal, plus they lacked depth and Merlot's telltale appealing texture. Nature just didn't play fair those years.
However, I'm beginning to taste 2012s as I prepare the annual Merlot report, and there's good news. The 2012s are downright fun to drink, and what they lack in depth, they balance with luscious fruit and silky body. That makes it a great year for value hounds.
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