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Posted: March 20, 2007 By James Laube
Why does it seem, as a couple of readers have asked, that there are fewer bad vintages of late? And not just in California, but also in places like Germany, Oregon and Burgundy? Warmer weather, for starters.
Posted: March 19, 2007 By Jean-Guillaume Prats
What is the en primeur system and what is its purpose? Many of you might find it hard to understand this 50-year-old system of selling wines in Bordeaux. After the second World War, most of the châteaus were very poorly run and very much underfinanced, and they struggled to pay their bills.
Posted: March 19, 2007 By James Laube
In response to my blogs about vintages and vintage ratings last week, a few of you posted related questions. One dealt with my Cabernet vintage ratings and, in a roundabout way, whether excessive ripeness and alcohol levels were a factor.
Posted: March 19, 2007 By James Molesworth
Usually when I travel to a region for the first time, I meet with two, maybe three winemakers a day. Today I broke the rules and went for a lucky seven. My first stop was at De Toren , where winemaker Albie Koch has been turning out a consistently polished, outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon–based blend called Fusion V.
Posted: March 18, 2007 By James Molesworth
It’s Sunday, but no rest for me. First stop this morning was Meerlust , the historic estate that has been owned for over 250 years by the Myburgh family. It’s a gorgeous property, set off the main road as you head into Stellenbosch, with 400 hectares, 120 of which are under vine.
Posted: March 17, 2007 By James Molesworth
As I left my hotel this morning, I was greeted by some early-morning rain and high winds on the way to Stellenbosch—the first bad weather of the entire trip. It wasn’t all bad though: A huge double rainbow spread over the Cape Town as we drove out.
Posted: March 16, 2007 By James Molesworth
Today, I sandwiched visits to two small producers around one big producer—all family-owned. It’s always fun to mix appointments like this and see how different personalities find their own individual space in the wine industry.
Posted: March 16, 2007 By James Laube
This week took on a personality of its own, as weeks sometimes do. There’s no way I could have predicted some of the coincidences, which triggered several flashbacks, some good memories, and the sense that this is a very small world indeed.
Posted: March 16, 2007 By Harvey Steiman
Picking a wine to go with steak ought to be the simplest of tasks. After all, it's plain red meat. What could go wrong? In truth, not much can get in the way. But various red wines can turn in different directions, depending on how the steak is done and how it's seasoned or dressed.
Posted: March 16, 2007 By Jean-Guillaume Prats
We are now seriously getting ready for the intense two weeks of tasting in Bordeaux. All around Bordeaux vineyards, tasters are rushing from one estate to the other and hoping not being caught by the French gendarmerie ! There are two ways the Bordeaux châteaus present their wines for the en primeur tastings.
Posted: March 15, 2007 By James Suckling
This comment, left by Karl Mark on my most recent blog post , made me think this morning over my coffee: "Advances in winemaking technique, vineyard management and several other aspects have allowed winemakers to make good wine in even bad weather.
Posted: March 15, 2007 By James Molesworth
My day typically starts out with a lively conversation with my driver, Havelin—politics, South African history, local etiquette, languages—you name it, we talk about it. I just roll out of bed, grab an apple on the way out the door, and off we go.
Posted: March 15, 2007 By James Laube
Vintner Jamie Kutch, 33, started out with nothing. No grapes, no winery, no experience and no real idea whether his dream to make wine would work out. But it has. At age 31, he opted to quit his job as a New York investment banker and stock trader and change careers.
Posted: March 15, 2007 By Eric Ripert
When I am able to find some time away from the Le Bernardin kitchen, I love to visit wineries, meet with winemakers, and taste great wines. One of the challenges for me during these visits is not to get drunk, since I never spit what I taste.
Posted: March 14, 2007 By James Molesworth
I traveled along more dusty, unpaved roads today as I headed up to see Willie and Tania de Waal at Scali Vineyards, in the Voor-Paardeberg region of Paarl. This small ward only got its designation in 2003, but with Scali and other wineries like Sadie Family in the neighborhood, you'll probably start hearing about it soon.
Posted: March 14, 2007 By James Laube
Vineyard owner Belle Rhodes' death on Feb. 13 went largely unnoticed in the wine world, even in Napa Valley, where she resided for most of her 87 years. In her prime, Belle and her husband, Barney, kept a low profile and shunned the limelight.
Posted: March 14, 2007 By James Suckling
I've heard that, tomorrow, Sopexa USA and Cercle Rive Droite are holding a 2006 Bordeaux barrel tasting in New York, and I have to wonder if this is a sign of desperation for some wine producers in Bordeaux.
Posted: March 13, 2007 By James Molesworth
“You’ve seen enough of the fancy Stellenbosch side," quipped vintner Charles Back of Fairview Wines when he picked me up this morning. "So I thought I’d take you to see the ‘other side’ to see some real vineyards.
Posted: March 13, 2007 By James Laube
Over on Chuck Wagner’s blog , a reader from Michigan asked why (among other things) my ratings for Napa Valley Cabernet have been so “abysmal” of late. If he’d used the words "critical" or "tough" or even "biased against" 2003, I wouldn’t have minded.
Posted: March 12, 2007 By James Molesworth
Today, I spent time with Marc Kent of Boekenhoutskloof and David Finlayson of Glen Carlou. Kent makes top-flight Cabernet, Syrah and Sémillon, while Finlayson produces excellent Cabernet, Syrah and Chardonnay.
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