Posted: December 11, 2006 By James Laube
He might be a hero to fans of Two-Buck Chuck, but there's a reason Fred Franzia has a bad boy reputation in wine circles—he knows how to stir things up. For years, Napa Valley vintners battled the feisty owner of Bronco Wine Co.
Posted: December 11, 2006 By James Molesworth
I've created a monster. A monster palate, that is. The problem is, it's not mine—it's my wife's. When we first met, she was a wine lover—but not a discriminating one. Her wine fridge was full of mostly cookie-cutter California Chardonnay.
Posted: December 8, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
It's a question that dogs all of us who review and rate wines for a living. Are the wines we taste the same ones you can buy? After all, how easy would it be for an unscrupulous winery to keep a small lot of extra-specially good stuff to bottle up and submit to reviewers and wine competitions? Plenty easy, as a recent scandal in New Zealand proves.
Posted: December 8, 2006 By James Suckling
I survived my 2004 Bordeaux tasting. I never caught the cold. I tasted perfectly. The only thing that went bad was my stomach. Zantac didn't work. Neither did Rennie. But I tasted about 350 reds from 2004 and a couple dozen Sauternes, and I was pleased.
Posted: December 8, 2006 By Steven Page
After leaving Lemelson, I drove around, lost, wasting a precious hour, cursing Google Maps for creating a road over the Dundee Hills that apparently doesn’t exist. I did see some beautiful countryside along the way, and cranked the Walkmen’s shockingly faithful rerecording of Harry Nilsson and John Lennon’s Pussycats album, eventually making it to the oasis that is Domaine Serene.
Posted: December 8, 2006 By Claudine Pépin
I grew up in a home that was often filled with people, especially at dinnertime. My parents' friends always brought food and wine to our house, and we did the same when we visited their homes. I love having guests in my home, and I am lucky to have friends who like to bring wine and home-cooked food to share.
Posted: December 8, 2006 By James Laube
This week, I've received a couple of e-mails about Wither Hills, a New Zealand winery at the center of a controversy. Wither Hills was accused of creating a special bottling of its Sauvignon Blanc to enhance its chances in wine competitions.
Posted: December 7, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
What does a restaurant do when the fast-growing wine world has rendered its once-glorious wine cellar less of a big deal than it used to be? It could give up, figuring it's not worth it to stay in the game.
Posted: December 7, 2006 By Steven Page
One of the highlights at the Penner-Ash Thanksgiving dinner was a smoked turkey brought by Kurt Johnson, national sales manager for Beaux Frères winery. So, early the next morning, I set out for this small winery with the cult-like following.
Posted: December 7, 2006 By James Molesworth
While Marvin has challenged restaurants to lower their wine prices on his blog , I'm curious to find out who you think has already done it. The number of restaurants with really customer-friendly wine list prices is limited.
Posted: December 6, 2006 By Steven Page
Thanksgiving weekend is one of two times each year when the Willamette Valley’s wineries throw open their doors for wine lovers to come explore, taste, and buy some of Oregon’s finest wines. This year, our band was fortunate enough to have a couple of days off in Portland, and I was able to experience the Thanksgiving winery madness.
Posted: December 6, 2006 By James Laube
When you can say that a winery makes a lot of great wine at terrific prices, well, that’s a magical thing. This week I discovered such a winery—Four Vines, founded in 1996. In the words of one of its owners, "This is one of the largest wineries in Paso Robles you’ve never heard of.
Posted: December 6, 2006 By Marvin R. Shanken
Most of the time when I dine out, it’s tough to find a great wine buy for, say, under $40. And most of the time, I have to spend $60 to $100 to reach up to a very good wine. Now, I’m all for making the restaurant owner happy (and the sommelier, if they have one).
Posted: December 6, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
My colleague Jim Laube sounds like he had a great day crabbing (as he described so vividly in his blog ). I'm lazier. I buy my crabs, although I do prefer them alive and kicking (literally). Fortunately, an Oriental market opened recently in my San Francisco neighborhood that sells live crabs, which are kept in seawater-filled tanks.
Posted: December 5, 2006 By James Suckling
I haven't been blogging with my normal frequency because I've been lying low in Bordeaux, reviewing hundreds of 2004 reds from bottle in blind tastings here at Les Sources de Caudalie , a beautiful hotel in Pessac-Leognan.
Posted: December 5, 2006 By James Laube
Today's conversation is about consistency in style, which is often overlooked or minimized in evaluating wineries and winemakers. A winery that routinely makes wines that are similar in style and quality can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
Posted: December 5, 2006 By James Molesworth
Yesterday, I sat down with Aurelio Montes , owner and winemaker of Chile's Viña Montes. I was tempted by the opportunity to taste a complete vertical of his top two wines— Folly , a 100 percent Syrah, and Alpha M , a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend.
Posted: December 4, 2006 By Claudine Pépin
“What’s for dinner?” I used to ask my mom that every day, and she always said the same thing: "Food." And that was the truth. We always sat down together as a family to eat. No one called it "family time," although I know now that it was family time—our time to reconnect, discuss our day, and just be together.
Posted: December 4, 2006 By James Laube
One way for a wine critic to look like an absolute genius is for his barrel reviews to match up perfectly with his scores for the released wines. Imagine how impressed everyone would be if every wine that scored 95-100 points out of barrel hit the same score range when it was released.
Posted: December 4, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
From the beginning in 1983, Eric Rindal always focused on producing good value wines at his Waterbrook winery. Only the fourth winery bonded in Walla Walla, it didn't even have a public tasting room until recently.
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