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Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Case of a Super Sample

Posted: December 8, 2006  By James Laube

This week, I've received a couple of e-mails about Wither Hills, a New Zealand winery at the center of a controversy. Wither Hills was accused of creating a special bottling of its Sauvignon Blanc to enhance its chances in wine competitions.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Big Plans for an Old Horse

Posted: December 7, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

What does a restaurant do when the fast-growing wine world has rendered its once-glorious wine cellar less of a big deal than it used to be? It could give up, figuring it's not worth it to stay in the game.

Blogs  :  On Tour with Steven Page

A Willamette Thanksgiving, Part 2

Posted: December 7, 2006  By Steven Page

One of the highlights at the Penner-Ash Thanksgiving dinner was a smoked turkey brought by Kurt Johnson, national sales manager for Beaux Frères winery. So, early the next morning, I set out for this small winery with the cult-like following.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Who Gets Your Vote for the Best-Priced Wine List?

Posted: December 7, 2006  By James Molesworth

While Marvin has challenged restaurants to lower their wine prices on his blog , I'm curious to find out who you think has already done it. The number of restaurants with really customer-friendly wine list prices is limited.

Blogs  :  On Tour with Steven Page

A Willamette Thanksgiving, Part 1

Posted: December 6, 2006  By Steven Page

Thanksgiving weekend is one of two times each year when the Willamette Valley’s wineries throw open their doors for wine lovers to come explore, taste, and buy some of Oregon’s finest wines. This year, our band was fortunate enough to have a couple of days off in Portland, and I was able to experience the Thanksgiving winery madness.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

An Exciting Discovery From Paso Robles

Posted: December 6, 2006  By James Laube

When you can say that a winery makes a lot of great wine at terrific prices, well, that’s a magical thing. This week I discovered such a winery—Four Vines, founded in 1996. In the words of one of its owners, "This is one of the largest wineries in Paso Robles you’ve never heard of.

Blogs  :  Marvin R. Shanken's Blog

Best Wine Buys at Restaurants

Posted: December 6, 2006  By Marvin R. Shanken

Most of the time when I dine out, it’s tough to find a great wine buy for, say, under $40. And most of the time, I have to spend $60 to $100 to reach up to a very good wine.   Now, I’m all for making the restaurant owner happy (and the sommelier, if they have one).

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Secrets of Dungeness Crab

Posted: December 6, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

My colleague Jim Laube sounds like he had a great day crabbing (as he described so vividly in his blog ). I'm lazier. I buy my crabs, although I do prefer them alive and kicking (literally). Fortunately, an Oriental market opened recently in my San Francisco neighborhood that sells live crabs, which are kept in seawater-filled tanks.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Hiding Out with 2004 Bordeaux

Posted: December 5, 2006  By James Suckling

I haven't been blogging with my normal frequency because I've been lying low in Bordeaux, reviewing hundreds of 2004 reds from bottle in blind tastings here at Les Sources de Caudalie , a beautiful hotel in Pessac-Leognan.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Consistency Is Often Underappreciated

Posted: December 5, 2006  By James Laube

Today's conversation is about consistency in style, which is often overlooked or minimized in evaluating wineries and winemakers. A winery that routinely makes wines that are similar in style and quality can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Sit Down With Aurelio Montes

Posted: December 5, 2006  By James Molesworth

Yesterday, I sat down with Aurelio Montes , owner and winemaker of Chile's Viña Montes. I was tempted by the opportunity to taste a complete vertical of his top two wines— Folly , a 100 percent Syrah, and Alpha M , a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend.

Blogs  :  Claudine Pépin

Eating at Home (Part 1)

Posted: December 4, 2006  By Claudine Pépin

“What’s for dinner?” I used to ask my mom that every day, and she always said the same thing: "Food."  And that was the truth. We always sat down together as a family to eat. No one called it "family time," although I know now that it was family time—our time to reconnect, discuss our day, and just be together.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Wine Is Often Full of Surprises

Posted: December 4, 2006  By James Laube

One way for a wine critic to look like an absolute genius is for his barrel reviews to match up perfectly with his scores for the released wines. Imagine how impressed everyone would be if every wine that scored 95-100 points out of barrel hit the same score range when it was released.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Precept Swallows Waterbrook

Posted: December 4, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

From the beginning in 1983, Eric Rindal always focused on producing good value wines at his Waterbrook winery. Only the fourth winery bonded in Walla Walla, it didn't even have a public tasting room until recently.

Blogs  :  Kevin Vogt: From the Floor

Nature vs. Nurture

Posted: December 1, 2006  By Kevin Vogt

I have this rather idyllic perception of how wines should be made. The K.I.S.S. method (Keep It Simple, Stupid) in life seems to be the better approach more times than not. I really appreciate the effort involved when I hear that a winemaker went out of his way to produce a wine with as little intervention as possible, although that may not always be practical.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Pinot Mystery Perhaps Solved

Posted: December 1, 2006  By James Laube

In my Dec. 15 column , I wrote about my experiences with Beaulieu Vineyard's 1946 and 1947 Pinot Noirs. Those incredible wines were an early inspiration to anyone who tasted them, and they were the best vintages ever made by the late André Tchelistcheff (pronounced Chell-a-cheff ).

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

2004 Barolos and Barbarescos Have Spoken

Posted: December 1, 2006  By James Suckling

I had dinner last night  in the Piedmont village of Treviso, at the restaurant La Ciau del Tornavento , with about two dozen producers of the best Barbarescos and Barolos. They were all there, from Bruno Rocca to Domenico Clerico to Enrica Scavino.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Domaine de Mourchon: Big Wines From a Small Place

Posted: November 30, 2006  By James Molesworth

Outside of the glamour appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, there are numerous domaines in the southern Rhône that produce wine in relative obscurity. Many of these lie in the broad Côtes du Rhône and slightly more specific Côtes du Rhône-Villages appellations.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Good Reason to Be Crabby

Posted: November 30, 2006  By James Laube

It’s Dungeness crab season in the San Francisco Bay area and points north. It’s an annual, seasonal treat for those of us who live here, since it’s easy to obtain these fresh, live crustaceans and cook them at home.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Star Chef to Leave Fifth Floor

Posted: November 30, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

When young chefs have made a splash cooking in someone else's restaurant, having their own place can look so tempting. Especially when friends with money are urging them to take the plunge. Melissa Perello is not so sure, but she's taking some time off to think it over.

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