Posted: February 5, 2015 By Mitch Frank
Last week, Adam and Dianna Lee signed a deal selling Siduri, which produces 20,000 cases of California Pinot Noir a year, and Novy, a 5,000-case brand, to Jackson Family Wines—which owns more than two dozen wineries. Neither side will talk price, but based on other recent deals, we're talking tens of millions of dollars.
Some days, it feels like there are no small wineries left in California. Of course that's not true, but I'm often editing news of a larger wine company swallowing a smaller one.
Posted: February 4, 2015 By Bruce Sanderson
Wine Spectator senior editor Bruce Sanderson is in France, visiting domaines and tasting the recent vintages of red and white Burgundies. WineSpectator.com members can read his scores and tasting notes. Today he continues with more scores and tasting notes from Domaine Leroy.
Posted: February 4, 2015 By Tim Fish
Wait a minute. What's that clear, soggy stuff falling from the sky?
Winemakers and grapegrowers might ask that question on Thursday when the first major rainstorm since Christmas is expected to hit Northern California.
Posted: February 2, 2015 By Harvey Steiman
My cousin, coffee guru Shawn Steiman, agreed to try three different wines with three distinct kinds of coffee with me, to compare how both beverages might reflect where they were grown and how they were made. I chose a fresh white wine, a lighter style of red and a full-bodied red, and Shawn used three different coffees in three styles: drip, full-immersion and espresso.
Posted: January 29, 2015 By James Laube
WineSpectator.com members: Read James Laube's scores and tasting notes for 19 vintages of Groth Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve.
Posted: January 28, 2015 By James Laube
Along with the mystical allure of safaris, shark-cage diving ranks high on any thrill-seeker's list. It's been on mine for many years, and while on vacation in South Africa, I finally got my chance.
Posted: January 28, 2015 By Tim Fish
When Jake and Scot Bilbro took over Limerick Lane winery and vineyard in 2011, it seemed an ideal match. The estate has a rich history of producing outstanding Zinfandel, and the brothers Bilbro grew up in the Sonoma County wine business with their dad, Chris Bilbro, at Marietta Cellars.
Posted: January 27, 2015 By Harvey Steiman
The Washington winery that snagged the winemaker from Bryant Family, a California cult favorite, has added to the intrigue by bringing Helen Keplinger into the fold, too. Keplinger was Bryant's winemaker for two years before going off on her own in 2012 to focus on Grenache.
Now she's signed on to consult with the innovative Force Majeure, where her former assistant at Bryant, Todd Alexander, was named winemaker last year. Alexander worked at PlumpJack and followed Keplinger as Bryant's ace in the cellar, a position Philippe Melka, Helen Turley and Mark Aubert held previously. Starry names, all.
Posted: January 27, 2015 By Bruce Sanderson
Wine Spectator senior editor Bruce Sanderson is in France, visiting domaines and tasting the recent vintages of red and white Burgundies. WineSpectator.com members can read his scores and tasting notes. Today he visited Domaine Leroy.
Posted: January 26, 2015 By Robert Camuto
Wine Spectator contributing editor Robert Camuto talks to Luc de Conti about his unorthodox decision to pull up his red-wine grapevines in southwest France and replace them with Sauvignon Blanc and other white varieties.
Posted: January 23, 2015 By James Laube
Wine Spectator senior editor James Laube looks at South African vintners' efforts to make wines that can age for decades.
Posted: January 22, 2015 By Harvey Steiman
The biggest divide in the wine world isn't between high alcohol and low alcohol, it's between fruit and savory. Many people shy away from the wet earth, cedar, meat and herb qualities preferred by those who go for savory styles. Most people like fruit. The contrasting 2011 and 2012 Oregon Pinot Noir vintages offer a perfect illustration.
Posted: January 21, 2015 By James Laube
Wine Spectator senior editor James Laube returns from South Africa with impressions of the improving wine region.
Posted: January 14, 2015 By Tim Fish
Here are a few of the things I'm looking forward to in 2015, including eating more foie gras and drinking more Merlot and Zindandel.
Posted: January 14, 2015 By Robert Camuto
This past week, the words "Je suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie") have traveled the world in sympathy with the victims of the deadly jihadist terrorist attack on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Among the slain were five of France's most celebrated cartoonists. Three of them were also among the country's most outrageous wine label designers.
"They were my friends," explains Bordeaux winemaker Gérard Descrambe, 65. For more than 40 years, Descrambes commissioned Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and others to make eye-catching labels that varied from drunken to suggestive to sexually explicit humor.
Posted: January 13, 2015 By Harvey Steiman
The restaurant that jump-started fine dining in Napa Valley closed Jan. 1, to be converted into an elaborate tasting room. Étoile had too much competition from the long list of great restaurants that stretch from Napa to Calistoga these days, and its operators reportedy could not reach an agreement on lease arrangements.
Posted: January 12, 2015 By Robert Camuto
Wine Spectator contributing editor Robert Camuto visits Bruno Bilancini, owner and winemaker at Château Tirecul La Gravière, where Bilancini makes delicious, highly sought dessert wines in the unappreciated Monbazillac appellation of southwest France.
Posted: January 8, 2015 By Ben O'Donnell
Kirkland Signature may be a generic house brand, but it's from one of the biggest wine retailers on the planet. Now with an all-star lineup of partners, Costco may just be bottling your favorite vineyard in that $20 Napa Cab.
Posted: January 6, 2015 By Harvey Steiman
Technology is changing how we book restaurant tables and pay for dinner. The people behind Alinea and Next in Chicago are making their innovative system, Tock, available to other restaurants. Per Se in New York and, when it reopens later this year, the French Laundry in Napa Valley are both switching to this system. Trois Mec in Los Angeles has been ticketing since it opened last year, and Coi in San Francisco has been using it as well.
It works like any event ticket. Pay in advance and show up at the appointed time. Walk out when you're finished.
Posted: January 5, 2015 By MaryAnn Worobiec
I was saddened to learn of the passing of Arthur "Jay" Fritz Jr. over the weekend. A long time ago, before my nearly 18-year-so-far (yikes!) tenure at Wine Spectator, I worked for J. Fritz Winery (now called the Fritz Underground Winery), and Jay was my boss.
Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.
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