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Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Silver Oak's Return to Form

Winemaker Dan Baron and the team at this longtime Napa Cabernet estate have made big changes at the winery, and they show in the 2010 vintage

Posted: March 30, 2015  By James Laube

It's not often that a venerable 40-year-old winery suddenly makes one of its best wines, perhaps in decades. But that may be the case with Silver Oak and its 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: Wine of the Vintage Candidates at Cheval-Blanc and Yquem

Pierre Lurton and Pierre-Olivier Clouet have two showstoppers at this year's en primeur

Posted: March 30, 2015  By James Molesworth

At Château Cheval-Blanc, both director Pierre Lurton and technical director Pierre-Olivier Clouet seem to bubble with enthusiasm at all times. I guess it's because they've settled into the new chai, which is both visually stunning and an inspiration in itself, as well as being one of the smartest modern showpiece cellars I've ever seen. Rows of 52 pear shaped cement vats line a massive room, each individually sized to accommodate the 45 different parcels that form the 96 acres of vines here.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: The New Generation at Léoville Barton

Lilian Barton-Sartorius is taking the lead at this dialed-in St.-Julien estate

Posted: March 27, 2015  By James Molesworth

Next up on my 2014 Bordeaux barrel tasting tour is Château Léoville Barton. This was my first stop at the St.-Julien estate since 2011 (I try to see different châteaus on every visit—Bordeaux is a big region), and so my first time catching up with the new generation here: Lilian Barton-Sartorius.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Beringer Vineyards Brings Back a Beringer

Mark Beringer has been named the new head winemaker at the Napa icon

Posted: March 26, 2015  By James Laube

Anytime Beringer Vineyards puts a new winemaker in charge, it's news, because it doesn't happen very often. Laurie Hook is stepping back as chief winemaker at Beringer, where she has been a guiding force for more than two decades, and chief winemaker since 2000. She will remain with the winery as winemaker emeritus.

Her successor, Mark Beringer, is coming home.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: Patience Pays at Lafite Rothschild

Director Charles Chevalier waited for ripeness at Domaines Barons de Rothschild properties Lafite, L'Evangile and Rieussec

Posted: March 26, 2015  By James Molesworth

Next up in my 2014 Bordeaux barrel tasting tour of the first-growths is Château Lafite Rothschild. Director Charles Chevalier noted that the oddity of August's cool temperatures meant his vineyard team had extra work to do, both in terms of viticulture, to ensure ripening, and then extra diligence at harvest for sorting.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: Full Steam Ahead at Mouton-Rothschild

Director Philippe Dhalluin has admirably steered Mouton-Rothschild and its stable of wines to the top of the Bordeaux hierarchy

Posted: March 25, 2015  By James Molesworth

It's been a tumultuous stretch lately at Château Mouton-Rothschild, with a new cellar completed recently, and the passing of the legendary Baroness Philippine. Yet if anything could power forward through rough, it would be the S.S. Mouton-Rothschild, and director Philippe Dhalluin is admirably steering the ship.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

How Real is Minerality?

In controlled study, tasters in France and New Zealand agree on it

Posted: March 24, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

The character of minerality in wine can confound wine lovers, to the point where some question whether we can actually agree on exactly what we are tasting. Scientists and tasters on opposite sides of the world put this to the test, and darned if they didn't use the same words to describe the same wines.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: Another Shining White at Haut-Brion

Jean-Philippe Delmas has his best vintage yet for St.-Emilion's Quintus, while La Mission and Haut-Brion remain Pessac-Léognan benchmarks

Posted: March 24, 2015  By James Molesworth

Following my 2014 Bordeaux barrel tasting visits in Margaux, I headed to Domaine Clarence Dillon to taste the 2014 vintages of Château Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion and Quintus with Jean-Philippe Delmas.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: Measured Enthusiasm at Château Margaux

Paul Pontallier presents the 2014 grand vin, Pavillon Rouge and the not-to-be-missed Pavillon Blanc

Posted: March 23, 2015  By James Molesworth

After making my first 2014 Bordeaux barrel tasting stop on in the Margaux appellation at Château Palmer, I headed to Château Margaux, where Paul Pontallier says the 2014 grand vin offers plenty of tannins balanced by freshness and acidity.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

A Youthful Obsession

Northern Piedmont’s wine wunderkind explores the varied expressions of Nebbiolo

Posted: March 23, 2015  By Robert Camuto

Wine Spectator contributing editor Robert Camuto visits Cristiano Garella, the wine wunderkind of northern Piedmont exploring region's the varied expressions of Nebbiolo.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: A Biodynamic Vintage at Château Palmer

Thomas Duroux's first fully biodynamic vintage in Margaux

Posted: March 20, 2015  By James Molesworth

At Château Palmer, director Thomas Duroux remains just as committed to organic vinegrowing as ever, putting him at the vanguard of this still nascent movement in Bordeaux. Here are my notes on the 2014 Château Palmer Margaux and Alter Ego.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Chardonnay Convert

Longtime Zinfandel advocate Pete Seghesio charts a new wine path

Posted: March 19, 2015  By James Laube

There was a time not so long ago when Pete Seghesio bled Zinfandel. His family owned Seghesio Family Vineyards, one of California' top Zinfandel wineries, and he stood not only as the family spokesman but as one of the industry's strongest advocates for that often underappreciated wine.

In an about-face few could foresee, Seghesio, long a Chardonnay antagonist, learned to love California's premier white wine.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Curiosity Created the Wine Writer

How do you develop your wine vocabulary? Smell everything

Posted: March 19, 2015  By MaryAnn Worobiec

Looking back now, there were early signs that working for Wine Spectator would be a good job for me. I remember sitting in the junior high–school cafeteria and describing to my friends, in great detail, an amazing meal I had eaten. I was met with deadpan stares. "It was a burger," they reminded me flatly.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Value Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Value wines abound, no matter what price point you consider to be a "value"

Posted: March 18, 2015  By Tim Fish

Wine Spectator is always a rich source for value wines. Check out our many resources for hunting that inexpensive bottle you've been thirsting for,

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Getting a Handle on Old Vines

Barossa's Langmeil The Freedom focuses in on 1843 Shiraz vines

Posted: March 17, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

Wine Spectator editor at large Harvey Steiman recently tasted six vintages of Langmeil Shiraz Barossa The Freedom 1843, made from some of the world's oldest producing vineyards. WineSpectator.com members can read his scores and tasting notes.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Falling Down, Getting Up

A big part of winemaking is learning from your failures, as an unusual seminar shows at the In Pursuit of Balance tasting

Posted: March 16, 2015  By Ben O'Donnell

"In this seminar, each winemaker will present a pair of wines that expresses their thinking about the challenges of creating balanced wine. One wine will demonstrate where they think they missed the mark, and one where they think they nailed it." The description caught my attention. At a $125-a-ticket public seminar, admitting that half the wines kinda flopped is gutsy.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Dialed In

In the fickle wine business, only a few wines offer consistency and quality

Posted: March 13, 2015  By James Molesworth

The wine business is one where Mother Nature plays an enormous role. Combine that with the role that the fallible hand of mankind plays in winemaking, and you can easily see why there are no sure things. So you have to tip your cap to the "dialed-in" wines, as I call them. The ones that have remarkable consistency in both quality and style. These are the wines that you can blindly grab a bottle of any time, in any vintage, and know exactly what you're going to get. Here are two of my favorites.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Where We Buy Wine Is Changing. That's Good, I Think

Wine sales are surging in grocery stores, but winemakers have mixed feelings on the trend

Posted: March 12, 2015  By Mitch Frank

For winemakers, grocery stores are a blessing they're not sure they want.

Over dinner the other night, a California winemaker mentioned that he would be pouring his entry-level wine at one of the country's largest grocery chains in a few days. I assumed he'd be happy about this. His winery sells tens of thousands of cases of this wine at this chain each vintage. But he had mixed feelings.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Wine for Chinese Cuisine? Try Oz

Older classics shine with refined dishes

Posted: March 12, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

A myth persists that Chinese food is bad for wine. And yet, some of my most memorable wine-and-food experiences have involved Peking duck, ginger-laced steamed fish and spicy salt-and-pepper seafood. And the wines transcend the cliché choices of German Riesling and Alsace Gewürztraminer. Last week, for our annual dinner to benefit the Central Coast Wine Classic, Archie McLaren and I gathered the high bidders for our lot and some mature Australian bottles from my cellar at Hakkasan in San Francisco.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Morocco Awakens: Wine in the Muslim World

From the ashes of an industry once built to serve France's bulk market, a wine scene cautiously rises in a progressive Muslim nation

Posted: March 11, 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.

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