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Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

What Is Minerality, Exactly?

Definitions differ, but it's definitely there

Posted: April 1, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

A reader responding to my recent blog "How Real Is Minerality?" likened explaining minerality to defining jazz, and quoted Louis Armstrong's famous line, "Man, if you have to ask, you'll never know."

Satchmo was right about jazz, of course, and I can see where his elliptical reasoning could apply to the idea of minerality in wine. But several paragraphs into writing a comment in response, it occurred to me that the answer might be worth wrestling with at greater length. So here goes.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

A Jackpot of California Rhône Reds

The 2012 vintage is loaded with plump, rich wines

Posted: April 1, 2015  By Tim Fish

The market overflowed with California Rhône reds in recent years, so it's easy to take the wines for granted. That's unfortunate, because there are loads of superb wines from 2012. Here are 5 of my top value picks for Syrah, Grenache and more.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: The Fruit and Nothing but the Fruit at Château Le Pin

Nicholas Thienpont presents the 2014 Vieux Château Certan and Le Pin Pomerols

Posted: April 1, 2015  By James Molesworth

The reserved Alexandre Thienpont continues to pursue the fine details as he manages Vieux Château Certan and Le Pin, and he has been joined by his seemingly equally gifted son Guillaume since 2011. "2014 is classic in style. It's fresh, so it's both rich and with energy," said Alexandre. "With the richness it's also easily digestible. It's not hard or delicate."

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Sisyphus Could've Been a Cheesemaker

Even more so than wine, artisanal cheese is a living thing, forever changing

Posted: March 31, 2015  By Robert Taylor

Wine Spectator assistant managing editor Robert Taylor attends a cheese seminar in which two Hafod cheddars from Neal's Yard Dairy illustrate the fragile nature of cheese quality, and the thrill of tasting a cheese for the first time, every time.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: Christian Moueix's Stable of Pomerols

Tasting the 2014 Right Bank reds from Châteaus Trotanoy, La Fleur-Pétrus, Latour à Pomerol and more

Posted: March 31, 2015  By James Molesworth

Through my tastings of the 2014 Bordeaux barrels at various châteaus, I haven't been able to peg the vintage in comparison to another. When I mentioned that to Christian Moueix, he took his customary pause before answering. "We had something like this in 1978," he said. "Of course today we are better than '78 because viticulture has improved so much."

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.

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