Posted: August 8, 2006 By James Laube
Is this the beginning of the end? Or just a market correction blip? One of my major concerns about the 2003 vintage of California Cabernet has been pricing. I’ve tasted more than 250 of the wines now, and I think many of them would be a lot more appealing at discounted prices.
Posted: August 7, 2006 By James Laube
Sometimes stories cross my desk that don't fall into my typical coverage, but are just too interesting to pass up. Take this one, for instance. What does it take to make a fine California wine? Grapes, water, sunshine, the skilled hand of a master vintner – and, now for the punch line – a few thousand dead fish.
Posted: August 7, 2006 By James Suckling
This past weekend, I was thinking about the greatness of the 1997 Tua Rita Redigaffi, which I blogged about last week, and how wonderful the 2004 is. Apparently, the latter is being shipped to the United States later this year and will be on the market in 2007.
Posted: August 7, 2006 By James Molesworth
I sat down the other day with Francisco Baettig, head winemaker at Chile’s Viña Errázuriz winery, located in the Aconcagua Valley. Baettig, 36, took over the reins there in mid-2003, and the 2004 vintage is the first under his direct control.
Posted: August 4, 2006 By James Laube
A couple of weeks ago, during one of those July heat blasts, I went to a poolside potluck and opted to shuck a few dozen Kumamoto oysters as my contribution to the day’s spread. I made a couple of simple vinaigrettes, with lemon, vinegar, horseradish and the like, and decided not to grill the oysters due to the heat.
Posted: August 4, 2006 By James Molesworth
Most days it is - other than being a touring golf pro, there's not much else I'd rather do in life. But some days it isn't. Like today. The heat has finally broken in New York, and my mind is on the weekend.
Posted: August 4, 2006 By James Suckling
I had dinner last night with Stefano Frascolla, who is the son-in-law of the owners of Tua Rita , the Tuscan cult wine producer in Suvereto, on the coast south of Bolgheri. Stefano oversees the estate, which is one of the best in Tuscany, if not Italy.
Posted: August 3, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Somebody asked Vinny the other day how to open a screwcapped wine bottle when the screwcap won't loosen easily. Dr. Vinifera , the ever helpful super mouse, or whatever he is, suggested a device that functions like one of those jar-lid removers.
Posted: August 3, 2006 By James Laube
When you taste wines, seriously or for fun, do yourself a favor. Take notes. Written ones. This was an important lesson I learned early on in my career. Before I wrote about wine, when I simply drank it, one way my friends and I kept track of what we liked was to place the empty bottles on the hearth above the fireplace.
Posted: August 2, 2006 By James Laube
Without a doubt, one of the greatest pleasures of being a wine critic is being able to direct readers to great wines that are also great values. One of our recent office favorites is a tiny wine company called Olabisi (Nigerian for “joy multiplied”), which is based in Napa Valley.
Posted: August 2, 2006 By James Suckling
How’s this for a friend? Hoyt Hill Jr. of Nashville commented on my blog yesterday, on drinking great wines on ice in hot weather, writing this: “I recently handled the wine service at the wake for a close friend with a large wine collection.
Posted: August 2, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
I pulled the bag off an Australian Chardonnay I had just tasted and a sea horse was looking at me. This, I thought, is one critter I never thought I would see on a bottle of wine. But there it was on the bottle of Promised Land Chardonnay.
Posted: August 1, 2006 By James Laube
When I read stories like Tim Fish’s on the possibility of labor shortages in U.S. vineyards , I wonder how long it will be before mechanical harvesting is the norm here in California. Many people thought machines would be doing much of this work by now.
Posted: August 1, 2006 By James Suckling
I dined last week at the osteria below my house with my buddy Thomas and two wine merchant friends from Burgundy, and I came late to what appeared to be an incredible fest of awesome wines including 1973 DRC Montrachet and 1959 Latour.
Posted: July 31, 2006 By James Molesworth
Well, I just finished my last flight of Rhône wines this morning, and now I get set to write my next tasting report on the region (slated for the Nov. 15 issue). As I run the numbers, I see I tasted 626 wines in total - a big jump over the previous year, when I tasted 401.
Posted: July 31, 2006 By James Suckling
Marco Pallanti, the new president of the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium (Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico), wrote me this letter in Italian last week following a blog post I wrote on his region. I thought you would find the letter (translated, of course) interesting to read: Dear James, I feel honored to receive your approval for my new position, and I thank you for the extremely nice words you said about me.
Posted: July 28, 2006 By James Laube
When you taste thousands of wines each year, there are many painful moments, and you have to keep a sense of humor. There are days when we taste dozens of wines, but none are outstanding. And there are days when so many of the wines are so strange that it makes us wonder how anyone could possibly make a wine like that and how those wineries survive.
Posted: July 27, 2006 By James Molesworth
I'm going to throw the floor open to questions, comments, criticisms and praise of our Restaurant Awards Program, which announced this year's winners in the current Aug. 31 issue. Just a quick run-down first though: The program presents awards based on a restaurant's wine program.
Posted: July 27, 2006 By James Suckling
Couple nights ago, my buddy Thomas and his Korean friends hosted a dinner at the restaurant below my house for a dozen or so Italian wine producers, from Tuscany and Piedmont. It’s become an annual event with people attending like Lamberto Frescobaldi, Giacomo Neri of Casanova di Neri, Leonardo Raspini of Ornellaia, Enrico and Enrica Scavino, Luigi Scavino of Azelia, Carlo Revello…you get the idea.
Posted: July 27, 2006 By James Laube
The heat wave finally broke in most of California on Wednesday, so I’ll give the global warming issue a rest for now. But be assured, this is a story that won’t be going away anytime soon. As some readers have pointed out, climatic changes could (and may well) have a major impact on the kinds of wines we drink in the future.
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