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Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

The Most Dangerous Terroir

Syria is again proving capable of yielding the fine wine it once did for the Romans, says a renowned consultant—if vineyards stay out of ISIS' hands

Posted: March 10, 2015  By Ben O'Donnell

Prohibition took an axe to the booming American wine industry. But Prohibition lasted only 13 years—many vines survived, an institutional memory for technique remained, and the people were thirsty again. What if, instead, Prohibition had lasted 1,300 years? This has effectively been the case in a huge swath of the Mediterranean world, from Morocco in the west to Turkey in the east, where Muslim countries have, with intermittent exceptions, been in a wine washout for centuries. Only now is the sea parting. I recently spoke with two wine pros working in Muslim wine cultures that are wildly different.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Is It All in the Funk?

How "natural wines" can polarize wine drinkers

Posted: March 9, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

I love the idea of natural wines. I'm all in favor of encouraging biological diversity in soils and avoiding pesticides, something the best conventional winegrowers do, too. It's immensely appealing to think of wine fermented, aged and bottled without any intervention. Just let the grapes ferment and stopper up the result. I admire the sense of completeness and harmony that wines from these "natural" winemakers can achieve, when all goes well.

But I keep remembering the words of the late California winemaker André Tchelistcheff. Left to her own devices, Mother Nature is trying to make vinegar, he liked to say.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

To Boca with Love

The quest to revive a near-lost Nebbiolo terroir in northern Piedmont

Posted: March 9, 2015  By Robert Camuto

Wine Spectator contributing editor Robert Camuto visits Christoph Künzli in the tiny northern Piedmont appellation of Boca, where Kunzli makes ephemeral Nebbiolos.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Are the 2012 Zins Rock Stars?

A snapshot of the vintage as the annual report approaches

Posted: March 4, 2015  By Tim Fish

My expectations for the 2012 California Zinfandels were high from the beginning. Winemakers were giddy, even beyond the typical "best vintage ever" BS you hear after harvest every year. The question is how have those early reactions played out? Therein lies my story.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Taking No Prisoners

Winemaker Jen Beloz faces the challenges (and criticisms) of taking over a beloved brand

Posted: March 3, 2015  By MaryAnn Worobiec

I recently met winemaker Jen Beloz of The Prisoner Wine Company. You've probably heard of the wine, a widely distributed California Zinfandel–based blend with a Francisco Goya etching on the label. It has a huge following.

Thoughtful and energetic, Beloz originally planned to be a marine biologist, but was thrown off course when she first walked into a winery. "The smell of the barrel room got into my soul," she explained. I can relate.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Champy Moves Forward

A reorganization shifts the focus to négociant activities for the Burgundy maison

Posted: March 2, 2015  By Bruce Sanderson

Wine Spectator senior editor Bruce Sanderson is in France, visiting domaines and tasting the recent vintages of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in Burgundy. members can read his scores and tasting notes. Today he reports on his visit to Maison Champy.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Pleasant Surprises from the Cellar

Two California wines still good long past their drink-by dates

Posted: February 27, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

I often rummage through the cellar for an older wine to open for dinner. With too many wines I expected to drink up sooner, I'll grab the last bottle remaining of something now forgotten that looked interesting when I acquired it. Two California wines with more age on them than originally anticipated turned out to be pleasant surprises at dinner this week, and with two instructive results.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Let's Not Write Off a Generation Just Yet

Craft beer's success has wineries worried about losing young customers; they're actually gaining potential customers with better palates

Posted: February 27, 2015  By Mitch Frank

Some wine-industry folks are worried that younger consumers are just as open-minded about what they drink. At a Feb. 6 presentation in Napa for the Wine Market Council, longtime analyst John Gillespie shared data illustrating that high-frequency wine drinkers—particularly younger drinkers—increasingly enjoy beer and spirits too.

The younger you are, the more likely you're enjoying beer as well as wine. The survey found that 95 percent of Millennials, 94 percent of Gen Xers and 78 percent of Baby Boomers drink beer at least once per week. The fear is that wine is losing a generation, particularly twenty-something men, to craft beer.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Belt-Tightening Wines for Tax Time

No need to bite the bullet when values abound

Posted: February 25, 2015  By Tim Fish

Yes, friends, it's tax time. Those of you expecting a refund have no doubt already filed and perhaps have received a check by now, and the rest of us, quite candidly, hate your stinking guts.

With all the hardworking Americans writing big fat checks to the government, there may not be a lot of cash left for the necessities … you know, like wine. Not to worry. I've put together a case of terrific wines that cost $25 or less and also have good availability. That's a rare combo these days.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Tilting at Balance

The In Pursuit of Balance tasting revealed some fine wines, but is the group too focused on an imaginary foe?

Posted: February 24, 2015  By James Molesworth

Last night I attended the In Pursuit Of Balance (IPOB) tasting held in New York. The consumer portion ($125), a 3-hour walkaround tasting, featured more than 30 wineries pouring Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Early-Morning Purple Grins

Tasting at Premiere Napa Valley include Petite Sirah for Breakfast

Posted: February 24, 2015  By MaryAnn Worobiec

It's 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I'm standing in a huge room with a couple hundred other wine lovers and just as many barrel samples. My mouth is dry, my cheeks feeling the tug of tannins. My right index finger is stained purple—a side effect of people pouring wine into my glass as I'm still extending it.

Welcome to Premiere Napa Valley.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

Tradition vs. Terroir in France Profonde

Laurent Macle defies a Jura family tradition

Posted: February 23, 2015  By Robert Camuto

Wine Spectator contributing editor Robert Camuto visits Laurent Macle in France's Jura, where Macle's traditional Burgundy-style Chardonnays are very out of the ordinary in the land of vin jaune.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

The Great Exchange

A strong dollar in the 1980s turned Bordeaux first-growths into steals for U.S. wine drinkers

Posted: February 20, 2015  By James Laube

There was a time when currency exchange rates created a bonanza for American wine drinkers. My first real exposure to the benefits of a strong dollar occurred in the mid-1980s, when the dollar bought the equivalent of 10 French francs. The fanciest of French wines became bargains for American wine drinkers.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Monkey See, Monkey Drink

What you see on TV and in the movies may influence what you eat and drink more than you think

Posted: February 19, 2015  By Robert Taylor

Wine Spectator assistant managing editor Robert Taylor looks at the ways television and the media have influenced our eating and drinking habits, from ABC's Scandal and Bethenny Frankel to Julia Child and Orson Welles.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Seeking the Rest of Australian Wine

More wineries look to find wine drinkers in America

Posted: February 19, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

Wine Spectator editor at large Harvey Steiman visits the annual WineAustralia tasting in San Francisco to get a look at what American consumers haven't had a chance to taste, and highlights some of the best Australian wines we might be seeing soon.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Embracing Freshness and Fruit at Bouchard Père & Fils

A broad look at the 2013 vintage in Burgundy with winemaker Frédéric Weber

Posted: February 18, 2015  By Bruce Sanderson

Wine Spectator senior editor Bruce Sanderson is in France, visiting domaines and tasting the recent vintages of red and white Burgundies. members can read his scores and tasting notes. Today he continues with more scores and tasting notes from Bouchard Père & Fils.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

50 Years in Wine and a Cellar to Prove It

Winemaker Richard Arrowood stages a remarkable retrospective of his wines through the years

Posted: February 18, 2015  By Tim Fish members: Read senior editor Tim Fish's scores and tasting notes for a vertical of Richard Arrowood's Sonoma Cabernets from Chateau St. Jean and Arrowood going back to 1975.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

The Restaurant in the Cellar

Honolulu hideaway looks like the one to watch

Posted: February 13, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

Who would expect to find one of America's great restaurants hidden in the basement of a big shopping center in Honolulu? The archway entrance in the middle of the Ala Moana Shopping Center's lower parking level makes it feel like sneaking into a very fancy speakeasy. The meal I had there last week left me dazzled.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Domaine Jean Grivot Pivots Toward Elegance

Etiènne Grivot seeks elegance and purity in his Burgundy climats, which play into the character of the 2013 vintage

Posted: February 13, 2015  By Bruce Sanderson

Wine Spectator senior editor Bruce Sanderson is in France, visiting domaines and tasting the recent vintages of red and white Burgundies. members can read his scores and tasting notes. Today he continues with more scores and tasting notes from Domaine Jean Grivot.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Cabernet Franc's Time

The Cabernet in the shadows may be the next great varietal among American enophiles

Posted: February 12, 2015  By Ben O'Donnell

With Americans developing a taste in red Loire wines and winemakers around the world discovering the pleasures of the variety, Cabernet Franc is poised to become the next big thing among enophiles.

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