Posted: November 9, 2006 By James Suckling
I woke up this morning to offers of more than 500 cases of first growth Bordeaux, and that was only in three e-mails. I am in Southern California visiting my parents, so I haven’t even had my morning wake up java from Starbucks yet! And I feel a bit down.
Posted: November 8, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
When Bill Hatcher left his job managing Domaine Drouhin for the Drouhin family of Burgundy in 2000, he didn't know what he was going to do next. He just didn't want to run a big winery any more. Guess what? He just took on the biggest in Oregon.
Posted: November 8, 2006 By Kevin Vogt
I recently received a comment on one of my blog posts here by Paul Frank, owner of Gemstone Vineyard. Paul asked, “Kevin, if you could educate restaurant guests to avoid the one or two things that annoy sommeliers most, what might it be? Also, on the other hand, what are the things that sommeliers appreciate most from considerate and knowledgeable guests? How's that for putting you on the spot!?” Since these are such great questions, and the answers are related, I feel that they deserve their own post.
Posted: November 8, 2006 By James Molesworth
I left Condrieu and drove down south this morning to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The drive is a bit of a drag—a little less than two hours and no vineyards from Valence until you hit CdP itself. You know you’re close though when you see Mornas, the ruins of a rugged, 11th-century castle that sit atop a striking white cliff face.
Posted: November 8, 2006 By James Suckling
I just heard word from Jean-Michel Cazes, the patriarch of the family who owns Bordeaux’s Lynch-Bages among others, that he has decided to pass the reins of his wine operation to his 32-year-old son, Jean-Charles.
Posted: November 8, 2006 By James Laube
When I met with Opus One CEO David Pearson ( see my previous post ) and winemaker Michael Silacci, they had arranged for a select vertical of their wines. I had also asked Pearson, partly in jest, if we could taste the wines blind with a few ringers.
Posted: November 7, 2006 By James Molesworth
All this Côte-Rôtie is hard work. So I started my last day in Ampuis with a visit to some white wine producers—Château-Grillet and André Perret. Château-Grillet is a bit of a ghost wine. A property that is its own appellation (à la Romanée-Conti or Coulée de Serrant), it sits in a perfect spot in the heart of Condrieu, with ideal exposure and fine-grained, sandy, granite soils that every vigneron in the appellation drools over.
Posted: November 7, 2006 By James Suckling
One topic of conversation during a Lafleur tasting last Sunday in Beverly Hills was fake bottles. Many of the two dozen or so wine collectors at the tasting were upset over what they perceived as an increase in the trafficking of fake, high-end bottles.
Posted: November 7, 2006 By James Laube
On opposite walls in David Pearson’s office are two imposing photos of wine legends. One is dead. One is still alive. To Pearson’s right is a black-and-white photo of Baron Philippe de Rothschild. “His eyes follow you around the room,” says Pearson, the CEO of Opus One, acting as if it’s both reassuring and intimidating.
Posted: November 6, 2006 By Brian Loring
Matt Kramer commented in a recent column that if you’re not sure which wine to buy, you can feel confident that you’ll be getting a good wine if the grapes were grown biodynamically. Last night I saw a wine list that noted which wines were biodynamic.
Posted: November 6, 2006 By James Molesworth
Sigh. Just another day in Côte-Rôtie. I started at one of my favorite domaines, R. Rostaing. And for the first time, I actually preferred the Côte Blonde cuvée to La Landonne—in the 2004 vintage).
Posted: November 6, 2006 By James Molesworth
The last two days I have been in Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu, with a few more days still to come. The 2005 reds are superb young wines, with big tannins and lots of ripe fruit. It’s going to be a great vintage for cellaring.
Posted: November 6, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Devastating spring frosts are expected to reduce Australia's wine production for 2007 by as much as 50 million cases. Given Australia's looming surplus of 100 million cases of wine, that might seem fortuitous.
Posted: November 6, 2006 By James Suckling
Are there some wines that you have always wanted to taste in your life but never have? One for me is the legendary 1947 Château Lafleur , the small-production Pomerol made from Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Posted: November 4, 2006 By James Molesworth
I guess you could call it a journey of self discovery, even though it only took less than two hours. It was the end of a long day, and I was sitting alone in the dining room. The object was to have a quick bite and finally get some rest for a change, as opposed to the five or six hours of very restless sleep a night I’ve been getting on this trip.
Posted: November 3, 2006 By Kevin Vogt
Have you ever gone to a restaurant and been approached by a sommelier wearing a chain around his neck with some keys and a device that looks like a silver ashtray dangling from it? I have, and I don’t like it.
Posted: November 3, 2006 By James Molesworth
I finally got my first real truffle fix of the trip, with a gouda soufflé topped with black truffles at Pic. That definitely moves the needle up a touch. How's the wait for truffles going on that side of the pond? Do any of you have any special plans for when they get there? The weather here was beautiful my first two days—warm and dry with little wind.
Posted: November 3, 2006 By James Laube
If you get a chance, check out today’s Wall Street Journal and their wine columnists’ review of Napa’s cult Cabernets ("A Cult Worth Joining"). I enjoy reading Dorothy J. Gaiter’s and John Brecher’s weekly column, "Tastings," and today they report on their experience with Napa’s rarest and most expensive wines.
Posted: November 3, 2006 By James Suckling
I think it is scandalous for wine importers not to use refrigerated containers when they are shipping. It only costs a few dollars a case more, and it is the best way to maintain the quality of the wine.
Posted: November 2, 2006 By James Laube
It’s the end of an era. Sort of. Maybe. Two of the most influential winemakers of this era—the wife-and-husband team of winemaker Helen Turley and viticulturist John Wetlaufer—have cut their consulting business to one client.
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