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Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

From One Marathon to the Next

Having just run the New York Marathon, I'm off to another marathon—of wine tasting—in France's Rhône Valley

Posted: November 7, 2014  By James Molesworth

Well, I successfully wrapped up my New Year's resolutions this past weekend, running the 2014 TCS NYC Marathon for the first time. And that's in addition to drinking a lot more Cornas over this past year …

And I'll be drinking—OK, tasting—more Cornas in the next few days. That's because I'm off to the Rhône again. In fact, this November marks my 10th anniversary traveling through the Rhône for Wine Spectator to taste at domaines and kick the dirt in the vineyards. Time flies.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Key Time to Assess Quality

A wine’s character starts to reveal itself after fermentation and before going into barrel

Posted: November 6, 2014  By James Laube

At this time of year, winemakers in the Northern Hemisphere are getting what some consider the most important look at their infant red wines.

The period between harvest and fermentation and then when the young reds go into barrel are two of the best times to assess the quality captured at harvest.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

A Burgundy Domaine on the Move

Domaine Clos de la Chapelle’s Mark O’Connell discusses recent vineyard acquisitions in Volnay and Pommard

Posted: November 5, 2014  By Bruce Sanderson

Acquiring vineyards in Burgundy is no small feat. It can be even more difficult if you are an outsider. American businessman Mark O'Connell started Domaine Clos de la Chapelle (DCC) in 2011, with the help of Pierre Meurgey, then president of Beaune négociant Champy and attorney Philippe Remoissenet.

The three purchased the Louis Boillot estate, encompassing 3.1 acres in Volnay and Pommard. Over the past year, O'Connell and Meurgey have purchased additional vineyards and inked deals on leases to bring DCC to a total of 10 acres, all premiers or grands crus.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Origin Story: How My Love for Wine Took Off

A happenstance trip, a good story, and an affordable, delicious red

Posted: November 4, 2014  By MaryAnn Worobiec

I'm a sucker for origin stories, in part because it's something that superheroes and wine lovers have in common. Just as Spiderman was bitten by a radioactive spider, most wine lovers have stories about getting bit by the wine bug. Sometimes our wine mythology is based in destiny, sometimes it's chance. There's usually a great bottle of wine at the beginning, although mine was quite modest.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Two Lands: A New Cal-Aussie Collaboration

Guess who's making wine in Australia now

Posted: November 3, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

Jacob's Creek's wine reputation rests on a popular fruit-driven style rooted in Barossa Valley and South Australia. Ehren Jordan, owner-winemaker of Failla, is a prominent member of In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB), a brigade of California wineries professing to seek lighter, more elegant expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Now Jordan and Jacob's Creek are collaborating on a new brand, Two Lands, due for release in early 2015.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Stylistic Considerations: To Buy or Not

The 2012 Sonoma Pinot Noirs will require patience

Posted: October 30, 2014  By James Laube

I've been tasting more 2012 Sonoma-grown Pinot Noirs of late, and the same pattern of quality and style emerges as I've discussed previously: These are fairly tannic, tight, backward wines that are not showy, or fruity, or generous, terms often applied to California Pinots (and California wines in general).

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Cyrus Blooms Again in Alexander Valley

After two years on hiatus, top Sonoma restaurant reboots in a new locale

Posted: October 29, 2014  By Tim Fish

Cyrus was Sonoma County's top restaurant when it closed two years ago. The timing was ironic, since Healdsburg's dining scene in 2012 was almost red hot, a fire that Cyrus helped ignite when it opened in 2005.

Partners Nick Peyton and Douglas Keane always said Cyrus was only on hiatus, and now the reboot is officially in the works. Sorry, reservations aren't being accepted yet. You'll have to wait until 2016. That's a long time, but considering what Keane, Peyton and their investors have in mind, it's just around the corner.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Next Wave of Oregon Vineyards

Wineries finding more special sites for their Pinot Noirs

Posted: October 27, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

For Pinot Noir, the vineyard defines the potential of any wine made from its grapes. As Oregon has established itself, every winery with ambition seems to compete for access to the same well-known independent vineyards—among them Shea, Guadalupe, Hyland, Meredith Mitchell, Momtazi, Stoller, Temperance Hill and Freedom Hill. In my own tastings and on visits in Oregon recently, unfamiliar names are starting to show their moxie. Two vintners, in particular, make a point of it.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

Beauty in the Beast

Coaxing subtlety from an Italian monster

Posted: October 27, 2014  By Robert Camuto

Giampaolo Tabarrini knows Sagrantino. He is a fourth-generation winemaker whose father and grandfather sold their Sagrantino wines in bulk to French and Luxembourg merchants. He still lives on the family farm in a rural hamlet outside Montefalco, with his wife, son, parents and assorted other Tabarrini.

Fifteen years ago, his father handed more than 50 acres of vineyards and the wine business over to him. When he started putting his own wine in bottles, Tabarrini noticed differences in his three principal Sagrantino vineyards, all located in a cool part of the wine zone that is one of the last to be harvested in late October. With the 2003 vintage, he started bottling the wines separately.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Hallowed Ground: Burgundy's Comte Georges de Vogüé

Refinement shows in a vertical tasting of Musigny Vieilles Vignes and the rare Musigny Blanc

Posted: October 24, 2014  By Bruce Sanderson

As the largest owner of Musigny, with roughly two-thirds of the grand cru holdings, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé is an important player in Burgundy. I tasted 8 vintages of Musigny Vieilles Vignes and the rare Musigny Blanc, going back to 1992. Here are my notes.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

The French Keep Coming

Big-name Burgundians have arrived in Willamette Valley

Posted: October 21, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

It was a moment of validation for Oregon wine in 1987 when Robert Drouhin, patriarch of the Beaune-based négociant firm, bought land for a vineyard in Willamette Valley. Over the years Domaine Drouhin Oregon's wines, made by his daughter Véronique Drouhin-Boss, earned a reputation for finesse and consistency.

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.

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