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Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Sails, Steaks and Syrah

Posted: May 15, 2006  By James Suckling

PORTOFINO: Spent the weekend here watching the Zegna Regatta, a sailboat race for mostly Swan, Wally and Transpac boats. The race, sponsored by the fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna, is now in its 25th year and has become one of the cool spring events in Europe, with plenty of weekend parties in this small northern Italian village on the Ligurian coast.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Look At The 2005 Cabernets

Posted: May 14, 2006  By James Laube

This week is my first comprehensive look at the 2005 vintage of California Cabernet Sauvignon, which according to winemakers, should be a dandy. This year, I'll be doing a blind tasting of barrel samples from more than 60 producers, mostly from Napa Valley.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Money, Money, Money

Posted: May 13, 2006  By James Suckling

FLORENCE -- Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, the Tuscan wine giant, announced yesterday that it has spun off some of its top wine estates into a new company, Tenute di Toscana, and then sold a small part of it to foreign investors, including Russian vodka producer SPI Group (whose brands include Stolichnaya) and former Napa Valley vintner Michael Mondavi, who now runs an import company.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Cold War in the Wine World

Posted: May 12, 2006  By James Molesworth

I recently read a story by Stephen Yafa on The San Francisco Chronicle website. The story was an interesting interview with four San Francisco-based sommeliers and their opinions on how to order wine in a restaurant.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Red, Red Wine Stains

Posted: May 12, 2006  By James Laube

Tasting wine for a living -- or at least part of it -- sounds like a ton of fun. But it’s also a lot of work. For all those glorious days when the wines sing and dance, there are often long stretches of dull, dreary, soulless wines.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Back in Bella (and Cold) Italia

Posted: May 11, 2006  By James Suckling

ROME – Arrived in Fumicino Airport this morning at about 8:30 a.m., following an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles via New York. After trying to start my car (I left the lights on over a week ago when I left!), I finally worked it out and left down the highway for home.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Pinot Noir Find

Posted: May 11, 2006  By James Laube

Occasionally you hear complaints about there being too many single-vineyard wines. Lately Pinot Noir has been one of those wines under fire for this supposed excess. I have a hard time comprehending this problem , unless people are grumbling about too many overpriced single-vineyard Pinots, or single-vineyard Pinots that are good but not great.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Sit Down with Achával-Ferrer...

Posted: May 11, 2006  By James Molesworth

The other day I sat down with Santiago Achával, owner of Argentina’s Achával-Ferrer, to taste a few samples of his 2005s. The wines are settling in tanks and are slated for bottling in the coming weeks.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Surprises on Coi's Little Wine List

Posted: May 10, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

New, high-end restaurants with aspirations for their food usually try to put together a serious wine list. Coi, the tiny new San Francisco restaurant from outspoken chef Daniel Patterson , offers only 40 wines, at least for now.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Bling Bling on the Plate and in the Glass

Posted: May 10, 2006  By James Suckling

LOS ANGELES -- I had dinner in a hipster-sushi-bar-style (i.e. Joel Robuchon L’Atelier in Paris and in Vegas), European-Japanese-fusion restaurant in West L.A., and I was blown away. Maybe I was influenced by the incredible bottle of 1999 Marcassin Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Marcassin Vineyard, but this was a no-BS-no-flash place that is off the radar screen -- especially for a large number of people in La La who only care about the buzz of a place and not the food on the plate.

Blogs  :  Marvin R. Shanken's Blog

Las Vegas Grand Tour Finishes With Boos!

Posted: May 10, 2006  By Marvin R. Shanken

More than 2,000 wine lovers attended the Wine Spectator Grand Tour Saturday night at The Venetian Hotel Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The event began at 7:00 p.m. Pouring wines were more than 200 of the best producers from around the world.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Cooking With Marcassin

Posted: May 10, 2006  By James Laube

If you cook much, you know how important it is to use good wine (and it’s crucial not to use bad or spoiled wine). No one would expect you to pour Montrachet into your soup, but I came close a few weeks ago.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Partner, It's Moderner

Posted: May 8, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

One of the raps against the modern style of winemaking--primarily meaning forward fruit, polished texture and maybe some prominent oak--is that it makes all wine taste alike. My colleague James Suckling touched on it in his blog, wondering whether calling a wine "international" in style has a negative connotation.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

It's Only a Phrase

Posted: May 8, 2006  By James Suckling

LAS VEGAS: Got into a cool debate with my fellow editors during a meeting in Sin City today about the phrase “international style.” I have always thought that this phrase was rather negative. It meant a wine with dark color, fruit forward, lots of perfumes, high in alcohol, big juicy tannins and a long fruity finish.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Pétrus and Burgers?

Posted: May 7, 2006  By James Suckling

I read this comment today from Brett Allen about a couple that drank a bottle of 1982 Petrus with Wendy’s burgers: "Hey gang - here's one for you! This past Saturday, a guest called and asked if he could have a table to 'just drink very good wine.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

"Tip Me. I Poured The Damn Wine!"

Posted: May 7, 2006  By James Molesworth

What a coincidence, that with all the back and forth on tipping on wine , that I would have a so-so wine experience at dinner this week. Normally my wife and I (both of us have worked in the restaurant industry previously) always tip 20 percent on food and wine (pre-tax).

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Family Goodbyes at Montrose and Pichon-Lalande

Posted: May 6, 2006  By James Suckling

LOS ANGELES – I had dinner last night at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant Chinoise on Main for a vertical tasting of Trimbach Clos Ste.-Hune and Cuvée Frederic Emile. As good as the wines were, the most impressive part of the tasting was a short conversation I had with Jean-Michel Cazes of Château Lynch-Bages.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Tax on Restaurant Service Charge? It's a Double Whammy

Posted: May 6, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

Until now, I have had no objection to restaurants that tack on an automatic service charge in lieu of a tip. Usually it's 15 to 18 percent. I normally leave 20 percent for good service anyway, so it's no skin off my nose.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Bring Your Own: Grange Hermitage

Posted: May 5, 2006  By James Suckling

LOS ANGELES – This is a city where many restaurants do not seem to mind if you bring your own bottle to dinner or lunch as long as it’s something serious. I have been to dozens of places with friends who pack serious bottles in leather cases to take to restaurants in La La.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Marcassin Experience

Posted: May 4, 2006  By James Laube

John Wetlaufer invited me to a tasting of all the Marcassin estate wines in June. That was last June. Then nearly a year passed before we sat down to the wines. In March, out came the corks from 17 bottles, and this could only be described as one incredible tasting.

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