Posted: July 28, 2006 By James Laube
When you taste thousands of wines each year, there are many painful moments, and you have to keep a sense of humor. There are days when we taste dozens of wines, but none are outstanding. And there are days when so many of the wines are so strange that it makes us wonder how anyone could possibly make a wine like that and how those wineries survive.
Posted: July 27, 2006 By James Molesworth
I'm going to throw the floor open to questions, comments, criticisms and praise of our Restaurant Awards Program, which announced this year's winners in the current Aug. 31 issue. Just a quick run-down first though: The program presents awards based on a restaurant's wine program.
Posted: July 27, 2006 By James Suckling
Couple nights ago, my buddy Thomas and his Korean friends hosted a dinner at the restaurant below my house for a dozen or so Italian wine producers, from Tuscany and Piedmont. It’s become an annual event with people attending like Lamberto Frescobaldi, Giacomo Neri of Casanova di Neri, Leonardo Raspini of Ornellaia, Enrico and Enrica Scavino, Luigi Scavino of Azelia, Carlo Revello…you get the idea.
Posted: July 27, 2006 By James Laube
The heat wave finally broke in most of California on Wednesday, so I’ll give the global warming issue a rest for now. But be assured, this is a story that won’t be going away anytime soon. As some readers have pointed out, climatic changes could (and may well) have a major impact on the kinds of wines we drink in the future.
Posted: July 26, 2006 By James Laube
Our brand loyalty has little to do with our desire to support a favored vintner. Usually we’re driven away from our pet wines due to one of two factors (sometimes both), which have been bantered about in this space the past few days and weeks.
Posted: July 26, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Before I arrived here in Aspen for my annual summer stay in Colorado, I asked everyone I knew in town what new restaurants I should try. Virtually everyone I asked said, "D19." Dena Moreno, who had pleased so many taste buds with her soulful Italian food (and white truffle fries) at Ajax Tavern, has joined up with the owners of The Wild Fig and the Popcorn Wagon to take over one of the prime corners in Aspen.
Posted: July 25, 2006 By James Laube
Maybe it’s a coincidence. Maybe not. In the past few months, I’ve heard several winery owners talk about rebalancing their businesses. They emphasize, above all, rededicating their efforts on wine quality.
Posted: July 25, 2006 By James Suckling
You have to be careful leaving open olive-oil bottles on the dinner table, especially late at night and when the olive-oil bottles look like wine bottles. Last night, my buddy Thomas and his two Korean girlfriends came for dinner.
Posted: July 24, 2006 By James Laube
Ok, so a heat wave or two does not necessarily constitute global warning (or whatever you want to call it). Still, after eight days (or nine, or 10, or whatever) of scorching heat in California and much of the country, with no let-up in sight, it was easy to buy into the argument that indeed planet Earth is getting hotter.
Posted: July 23, 2006 By James Suckling
Talk about “brutta figura” -- making a bad impression, as Italians say. I was at a birthday party last night in Castiligone della Pescaia for a very pretty friend of mine. About 20 of us came for her 39th -- again.
Posted: July 21, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Envious at the commercial success of Cajun, Creole, Tex-Mex and Southwestern cuisines, the folks in one part of our country are testing the waters for a new one. It's called Cascadian Cuisine. OK, I'll give you a few minutes to figure out where that might be.
Posted: July 21, 2006 By James Laube
With its new $500-a-bottle cost, Screaming Eagle Cabernet becomes the undisputed price leader in California. The move to raise the price for Screaming Eagle from $300 to $500 has, of course, infuriated many long-time mailing list customers.
Posted: July 21, 2006 By James Molesworth
I sat down with Bruce Jack the other day, to get caught up on things in South Africa. Jack, 36, is the owner and winemaker at Flagstone winery, and he’s what I consider a typical South African vintner: quality oriented, producing a moderate volume (about 70,000 cases a year) and focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc (the Cape’s best grapes, along with Chenin Blanc).
Posted: July 19, 2006 By James Laube
Hardly a week passes without us learning about a new celebrity wine connection or convert. I don’t suppose it much matters what one’s calling in life has to do with a fondness for wine. It is fascinating to see how wine works its way into both the mainstream and niches of our society.
Posted: July 19, 2006 By James Molesworth
I just got excited over a flight of Côtes du Rhône, not exactly the wines I normally get fired up over. Sure, there are plenty of good ones, and even the occasional outstanding one. They’re great with bistro fare or when you want to knock something back without paying big bucks or having to think too much about it.
Posted: July 19, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
It's always nice to hear from readers who discover a terrific wine because I recommended it. Recently, a blog reader exclaimed over Two Hands Shiraz Barossa Valley Bella's Garden 2004, a $50 wine that I had rated 95 points.
Posted: July 19, 2006 By James Suckling
A couple of days ago Marco Pallanti was named the new president of the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium (Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico), which boasts that it represents 96 percent of the bottled wine of the region.
Posted: July 18, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Earlier this month, the Yamhill County Commission approved an application for a hilltop hotel in the Dundee Hills next door to Domaine Drouhin. It would be Willamette Valley's first luxury hotel, something the wine region has long needed.
Posted: July 18, 2006 By James Suckling
The other night I was at a friend’s summer rental house located near my home at Il Borro near Arezzo. We were having dinner by the pool, and some local carabinieri walked down the driveway. I was a bit worried at first.
Posted: July 18, 2006 By James Laube
Ran into Chris Steltzner at the gym on Monday morning, and she described one weapon for the searing heat of the past few days in California, no matter, it seemed, where you were. The owner of Steltzner Vineyards in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley told me about sitting out at her pool on Sunday evening, with a tumbler of ice filled with maybe a half bottle of Steltzner Sauvignon Blanc.
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