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Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The Côte-Rôtie Kid Waits for Maturity with 2013

Stéphane Ogier had his latest harvest ever, and his 2013 wines were rewarded for it

Posted: November 13, 2014  By James Molesworth

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth is back in France's Rhône Valley, tasting the newest wines at wineries in Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Condrieu and more. Today he visited Stéphane Ogier to taste the 2013 vintage.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Lights, Camera, Napa

Napa Valley Film Festival and Flavor Napa Valley bring plenty of energy to wine country in November

Posted: November 13, 2014  By MaryAnn Worobiec

Napa doesn't really have an off-season: Wine lovers can appreciate the views, delicious wines and awesome dining options any time of year. Even so, it used to be that November was one of the sleepier times around here—the period between the rush of harvest and the twinkling of holiday lights. But two relatively new events are turning November in Napa into one of the most exciting times to visit: the Napa Valley Film Festival and Flavor Napa Valley.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Back to an Old-School Cornas Cellar

Olivier Clape keeps things traditional at his family's Cornas domaine

Posted: November 12, 2014  By James Molesworth

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth is back in France's Rhône Valley, tasting the newest wines at wineries in Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Condrieu and more. Today he visited Domaine A. Clape in Cornas to taste the 2013 Syrahs, and a limited-production white.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

The Perfect $25 Bottle of Wine

Go on a quest to find your sweet spot

Posted: November 12, 2014  By Tim Fish

Twenty-five bucks is my sweet spot when it comes to buying wine. I don't expect miracles at $25. At that retail price, a bottle isn't a splurge, but it still has to deliver in the quality department.

These are bottles that wine geeks routinely open during the week and casual drinkers keep for the weekend. A sweet-spot wine, for me, should show balance and persistence, varietal correctness and good complexity. A sense of place and a distinctive personality are highly valued, but not a deal breaker if absent.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Into Cornas, with Franck Balthazar

Classic quality is on the horizon for this Northern Rhône Valley estate

Posted: November 11, 2014  By James Molesworth

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth is back in France's Rhône Valley, tasting the newest wines at wineries in Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Condrieu and more. Today he visited Franck Balthazar to taste the 2013 and 2012 vintages.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Jacques Pépin, One More Time

The chefs' chef talks about TV, Julia Child and wine

Posted: November 11, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

Jacques Pépin, the chef who taught several generations of American chefs about cooking, turns 80 next year. The celebration has only just started. I caught up with Pépin while he was in San Francisco shooting his final cooking series, Jacques Pépin: Heart & Soul.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

First Stop: Condrieu

Back in France's Rhône Valley, tasting a range of wines at Domaine Georges Vernay

Posted: November 10, 2014  By James Molesworth

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth is back in France's Rhône Valley, tasting the newest wines at wineries in Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and more. Today he visited Domaine Georges Vernay.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Oregon’s 2012s Are Just the Controversy the State Needs

A riper vintage challenges stylistic considerations

Posted: November 10, 2014  By James Laube

A controversy over the 2012 Oregon Pinot Noirs is the best thing that could happen to this exciting region.

Oregon isn't my beat, and I don't get to try as many wines as my colleague Harvey Steiman. But I've tasted enough of the 2012 Pinot Noirs to believe this is a monumental, game-changing vintage, one that is likely to give many Pinot lovers pause to take a closer look at these exciting wines.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

Low-Hype Barolo

Cavallotto may be the best wine estate you don’t know

Posted: November 10, 2014  By Robert Camuto

Wine Spectator contributing editor Robert Camuto visits one of Barolo's best-kept secrets, Tenuta Cavallotto.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

From One Marathon to the Next

Having just run the New York Marathon, I'm off to another marathon—of wine tasting—in France's Rhône Valley

Posted: November 7, 2014  By James Molesworth

Well, I successfully wrapped up my New Year's resolutions this past weekend, running the 2014 TCS NYC Marathon for the first time. And that's in addition to drinking a lot more Cornas over this past year …

And I'll be drinking—OK, tasting—more Cornas in the next few days. That's because I'm off to the Rhône again. In fact, this November marks my 10th anniversary traveling through the Rhône for Wine Spectator to taste at domaines and kick the dirt in the vineyards. Time flies.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Key Time to Assess Quality

A wine’s character starts to reveal itself after fermentation and before going into barrel

Posted: November 6, 2014  By James Laube

At this time of year, winemakers in the Northern Hemisphere are getting what some consider the most important look at their infant red wines.

The period between harvest and fermentation and then when the young reds go into barrel are two of the best times to assess the quality captured at harvest.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

A Burgundy Domaine on the Move

Domaine Clos de la Chapelle’s Mark O’Connell discusses recent vineyard acquisitions in Volnay and Pommard

Posted: November 5, 2014  By Bruce Sanderson

Acquiring vineyards in Burgundy is no small feat. It can be even more difficult if you are an outsider. American businessman Mark O'Connell started Domaine Clos de la Chapelle (DCC) in 2011, with the help of Pierre Meurgey, then president of Beaune négociant Champy and attorney Philippe Remoissenet.

The three purchased the Louis Boillot estate, encompassing 3.1 acres in Volnay and Pommard. Over the past year, O'Connell and Meurgey have purchased additional vineyards and inked deals on leases to bring DCC to a total of 10 acres, all premiers or grands crus.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Origin Story: How My Love for Wine Took Off

A happenstance trip, a good story, and an affordable, delicious red

Posted: November 4, 2014  By MaryAnn Worobiec

I'm a sucker for origin stories, in part because it's something that superheroes and wine lovers have in common. Just as Spiderman was bitten by a radioactive spider, most wine lovers have stories about getting bit by the wine bug. Sometimes our wine mythology is based in destiny, sometimes it's chance. There's usually a great bottle of wine at the beginning, although mine was quite modest.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Two Lands: A New Cal-Aussie Collaboration

Guess who's making wine in Australia now

Posted: November 3, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

Jacob's Creek's wine reputation rests on a popular fruit-driven style rooted in Barossa Valley and South Australia. Ehren Jordan, owner-winemaker of Failla, is a prominent member of In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB), a brigade of California wineries professing to seek lighter, more elegant expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Now Jordan and Jacob's Creek are collaborating on a new brand, Two Lands, due for release in early 2015.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Stylistic Considerations: To Buy or Not

The 2012 Sonoma Pinot Noirs will require patience

Posted: October 30, 2014  By James Laube

I've been tasting more 2012 Sonoma-grown Pinot Noirs of late, and the same pattern of quality and style emerges as I've discussed previously: These are fairly tannic, tight, backward wines that are not showy, or fruity, or generous, terms often applied to California Pinots (and California wines in general).

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Cyrus Blooms Again in Alexander Valley

After two years on hiatus, top Sonoma restaurant reboots in a new locale

Posted: October 29, 2014  By Tim Fish

Cyrus was Sonoma County's top restaurant when it closed two years ago. The timing was ironic, since Healdsburg's dining scene in 2012 was almost red hot, a fire that Cyrus helped ignite when it opened in 2005.

Partners Nick Peyton and Douglas Keane always said Cyrus was only on hiatus, and now the reboot is officially in the works. Sorry, reservations aren't being accepted yet. You'll have to wait until 2016. That's a long time, but considering what Keane, Peyton and their investors have in mind, it's just around the corner.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Next Wave of Oregon Vineyards

Wineries finding more special sites for their Pinot Noirs

Posted: October 27, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

For Pinot Noir, the vineyard defines the potential of any wine made from its grapes. As Oregon has established itself, every winery with ambition seems to compete for access to the same well-known independent vineyards—among them Shea, Guadalupe, Hyland, Meredith Mitchell, Momtazi, Stoller, Temperance Hill and Freedom Hill. In my own tastings and on visits in Oregon recently, unfamiliar names are starting to show their moxie. Two vintners, in particular, make a point of it.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

Beauty in the Beast

Coaxing subtlety from an Italian monster

Posted: October 27, 2014  By Robert Camuto

Giampaolo Tabarrini knows Sagrantino. He is a fourth-generation winemaker whose father and grandfather sold their Sagrantino wines in bulk to French and Luxembourg merchants. He still lives on the family farm in a rural hamlet outside Montefalco, with his wife, son, parents and assorted other Tabarrini.

Fifteen years ago, his father handed more than 50 acres of vineyards and the wine business over to him. When he started putting his own wine in bottles, Tabarrini noticed differences in his three principal Sagrantino vineyards, all located in a cool part of the wine zone that is one of the last to be harvested in late October. With the 2003 vintage, he started bottling the wines separately.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Hallowed Ground: Burgundy's Comte Georges de Vogüé

Refinement shows in a vertical tasting of Musigny Vieilles Vignes and the rare Musigny Blanc

Posted: October 24, 2014  By Bruce Sanderson

As the largest owner of Musigny, with roughly two-thirds of the grand cru holdings, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé is an important player in Burgundy. I tasted 8 vintages of Musigny Vieilles Vignes and the rare Musigny Blanc, going back to 1992. Here are my notes.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

The French Keep Coming

Big-name Burgundians have arrived in Willamette Valley

Posted: October 21, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

It was a moment of validation for Oregon wine in 1987 when Robert Drouhin, patriarch of the Beaune-based négociant firm, bought land for a vineyard in Willamette Valley. Over the years Domaine Drouhin Oregon's wines, made by his daughter Véronique Drouhin-Boss, earned a reputation for finesse and consistency.

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