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Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Here I Go Again. Again.

Back to Bordeaux, this time to kick the dirt in the vineyards at Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey in Sauternes

Posted: July 29, 2014  By James Molesworth

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth is back in Bordeaux, this time to kick the dirt in the vineyards, starting at Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey in Sauternes.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

When Is a Wine No Longer Good to Drink?

Not until you've opened the bottle and decided for yourself

Posted: July 29, 2014  By Dana Nigro

Wine Spectator senior editor Dana Nigro answers the question, How do you know if a wine is still good to drink? (Open it!)

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Tasmania Sneaks Under the Radar

Slowly, Australia's southerly island might be making inroads in the United States

Posted: July 25, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

Tasmania, already a favorite among Australian wine drinkers for its crisp Chardonnays, juicy Pinot Noirs and bright sparkling wines, has made little impact in the U.S. Most of the wineries are small, so there isn't much volume to go around, and until recently the often-tart styles have not been able to find a welcome.

Most Americans have no clue where Tassie is. Says George Galey of American Estate Wines, which has had wines from the island in its import portfolio for 20 years, "I actually used to carry a world map around with me and asked people to point out Tasmania. Restaurateurs and retailers usually pointed to Madagascar." Only off by about 5,800 miles. That's changing.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

What Will the Future Hold for Quixote?

Carl Doumani has sold his Napa winery to Chinese interests

Posted: July 23, 2014  By James Laube

The decision about what wine to make is often as basic as what you like to drink and what you can sell. Winemakers figure if they make a wine they can't sell, they can drink it themselves. Up to a point.

Carl Doumani always liked Petite Syrah (his spelling), a drop in Napa Valley's bigger sea of Cabernet. When he bought the original Stags' Leap Winery property in 1971, it came with blocks of old-vine Petite that suited Doumani just fine. And true to his contrarian nature, he hung his white hat on Chenin Blanc, another old-time favorite that was losing steam. Selling those two wines amounted to paddling upstream as Cabernet and Chardonnay become the marquee wines of Napa, and favorites of American wine drinkers.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The White Wine with the Red Name

In the tiny appellation of Cassis, Clos Ste.-Magdeleine offers stunning views and crisp, breezy whites and rosés

Posted: July 23, 2014  By James Molesworth

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth is back in France. Today he visited Clos Ste.-Magdeleine in Cassis. Here are his notes on the white wine with a red name.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Making It in the Big City

Can Long Island wines deliver in the crucible of the New York restaurant scene? Some somms' thoughts

Posted: July 22, 2014  By Ben O'Donnell

New York Restaurant Week is upon us in the city, a time when restaurants that are well north of my supper budget open their doors a little wider with prix-fixe specials. I always look for spots that offer wine specials as well, and in past years have found that New York wines are often given this platform to shine.

When I interviewed Long Island winemakers for my June 15 issue feature on the region, they felt confident that their wines could equal the best. But what did our high-end restaurant wine directors think?

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A 'La-La' Trio of Bandol's Own

An early look at the 2012 and 2013 reds from Domaine Tempier

Posted: July 22, 2014  By James Molesworth

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth is back in France. Today he visited Domaine Tempier in Bandol. Here are his notes on the reds.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

How Le Bernardin Does It

A moment in the life of a new dish reflects the search to get things right

Posted: July 21, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

One key moment stands out when I was researching my Wine Spectator Aug. 31 issue profile of Eric Ripert, chef and partner of New York's fabled fish restaurant, Le Bernardin. It was the creative meeting.

Ripert and his top-ranking chefs meet daily in a small conference room, away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, to perfect their ideas for new dishes. The menu is constantly in flux. Anyone in the kitchen can present an idea, then work out the details until the results get the approval of Ripert and his lieutenants. They bring trays full of the latest iteration of the dish, along with some options they are considering, all in an effort to keep things fresh and lively.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Domaine Tempier Rising

Bandol lifer Daniel Ravier takes a historic property to new heights

Posted: July 21, 2014  By James Molesworth

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth is back in France. Today he visited Domaine Tempier in Bandol. Here are his notes.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

Brothers in Wine

In the shadow of Cannes, the monks’ island turns out high-end reds and whites

Posted: July 21, 2014  By Robert Camuto

Wine Spectator contributing editor Robert Camuto visits the Abbaye de Lérins, a Cistercian monastery on the tiny, idyllic island of Saint Honorat, about two miles and a 15-minute ferry ride off the yacht-jammed Cannes coast where winemaker Frère Marie turns out high-end reds and whites.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

From Dairy to Domaine

Domaine de la Tour du Bon has been a welcome change of pace for Agnès Henry

Posted: July 18, 2014  By James Molesworth

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth is back in France. Today he visited Domaine de la Tour du Bon in Bandol to taste the recent vintages of rosé, red and white wine. Here are his notes.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Don't Know Much About Enology

When it comes to wine, what's better: technical knowledge or on-the-job training?

Posted: July 17, 2014  By Mitch Frank

Wine has a duality of School of Books versus School of Real World. Once upon a not-so-long-ago time, most American sommeliers got their jobs because they were the only waiter who actually drank wine. "Like wine, kid?" the owner would ask one day, handing them the list. "You're wine director. Don't screw up."

As diners have grown more thirsty, sommeliers have gone to school. The Court of Master Sommeliers, in particular, has worked to raise standards by making sure more wine people receive proper training.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Bright Future for Jolie-Pitt & Perrin

Marc Perrin shows off Château Miraval and its myriad terroirs

Posted: July 16, 2014  By James Molesworth

The Jolie-Pitt & Perrin joint venture has gotten a fair amount of publicity, thanks to its Hollywood A-list owners Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. They hooked up with the Perrin family of the Rhône Valley's Château de Beaucastel to help make their rosé and white wine from the Château Miraval estate. The resources of Pitt and Jolie and the viticulture and winemaking expertise of the Perrin family count for a lot. But ultimately the terroir will have its say, and with that in mind, Marc Perrin was eager to show me the dirt and roots behind the project.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

This Is Not a Pesto

But it's great with tomatoes or pasta, and a glass of rosé

Posted: July 16, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

Wine Spectator editor at large Harvey Steiman offers his recipe for Not Pesto, a basil-and-pine nut puree perfect over sliced heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella or burrata and paired with a crisp rosé.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

An All-Star Game from a Past Life

As tonight's All-Stars play ball, I'm reminded of my press box debut at the 1967 All-Star Game

Posted: July 15, 2014  By James Laube

I thought I'd been offered a plum assignment, covering the 1967 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, held for the first time in my hometown of Anaheim, Calif., in its new stadium. I was a cub reporter for the Anaheim Bulletin and contributed little to our coverage. All the newspapers' front-line baseball writers were on hand and my editor, Doug Miles, sent as many of us to the game as wanted, likely me just for the experience. Only later did I find out why not all the staffers cared to go.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Is It OK to Be a Wine Tourist?

A visit to California "destination" wineries proves it's possible show both good wines and good times

Posted: July 15, 2014  By Ben O'Donnell

"We don't allow the buses here" is a proud refrain at Long Island wineries these days. Not so long ago, Long Island wine travel was considered rowdy and unserious, just as Napa is tarred in some circles as overpriced and impersonal—both regions magnets for the much-scorned wine tourist. And yet: What fun those folks always seem to be having.

So when I visited California wine country in June, I decided to stop at a few places that unabashedly cater to "tourists." One was Sonoma's Francis Ford Coppola Winery, which boasts a swimming pool, bocce lanes, a restaurant and a movie memorabilia collection. It's not just about the wine, but is that the same as not caring about the wine?

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

An Early Look at 2011 Napa Cabernets

A mixed vintage is off the pace, but stars can be found

Posted: July 15, 2014  By James Laube

To best appreciate how far viticultural and winemaking practices have come in the past decade, one need look no further than the 2011 Napa Valley Cabernets.

By most accounts this was the most damning vintage in perhaps 15 years. An altogether cool, damp year ended with heavy storms, and by some estimates as much as 50 percent of the grapes were of little or no use. I've talked with vintners who made about one-fourth of what they might have in a better year. Severe thinning led to a quarter-ton or less per acre. Thinning proved a winning strategy if only to salvage what might otherwise have been a dismal year. But based on nearly 200 reviews, the quality of the 2011 Napa Cabernets ranges from fair to, on a few occasions, outstanding.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Negotiating the Languedoc and Provence at Hecht & Bannier

A pair of schoolmates starts from scratch

Posted: July 14, 2014  By James Molesworth

Today I visited Hecht & Bannier's Gregory Hecht and François Bannier at their négociant office in Aix-en-Provence to taste their 2013 Provence wines and a recent vertical of their Bandols. Here are my notes.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Contrasting Vintages at Domaines St.-Préfert and Ferrando

Isabel Ferrando's Châteauneuf domaines remain reference points as her holdings have grown

Posted: July 11, 2014  By James Molesworth

Domaine St.-Préfert and Domaine Ferrando, the joint domaines owned by Isabel Ferrando, have become reference points for red and white Châteauneuf-du-Pape since they were founded in 2002 and 2004, respectively. On this visit, I tasted both the 2012 and 2013 lineups. Here are my notes.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Always Something New at Château de St.-Cosme

Louis Barruol sets the bar in Gigondas

Posted: July 10, 2014  By James Molesworth

Louis Barruol no longer needs an introduction on this blog. I've visited Château de St.-Cosme regularly for several years, so you can reference background information starting with my most recent entry. This remains the reference-point estate for Gigondas, as well as one of the most dynamic estates in all of the Rhône Valley, south or north. Here are my notes on the 2012 lineup here.

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