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Posted: March 15, 2007 By Eric Ripert
When I am able to find some time away from the Le Bernardin kitchen, I love to visit wineries, meet with winemakers, and taste great wines. One of the challenges for me during these visits is not to get drunk, since I never spit what I taste.
Posted: March 14, 2007 By James Molesworth
I traveled along more dusty, unpaved roads today as I headed up to see Willie and Tania de Waal at Scali Vineyards, in the Voor-Paardeberg region of Paarl. This small ward only got its designation in 2003, but with Scali and other wineries like Sadie Family in the neighborhood, you'll probably start hearing about it soon.
Posted: March 14, 2007 By James Laube
Vineyard owner Belle Rhodes' death on Feb. 13 went largely unnoticed in the wine world, even in Napa Valley, where she resided for most of her 87 years. In her prime, Belle and her husband, Barney, kept a low profile and shunned the limelight.
Posted: March 14, 2007 By James Suckling
I've heard that, tomorrow, Sopexa USA and Cercle Rive Droite are holding a 2006 Bordeaux barrel tasting in New York, and I have to wonder if this is a sign of desperation for some wine producers in Bordeaux.
Posted: March 13, 2007 By James Molesworth
“You’ve seen enough of the fancy Stellenbosch side," quipped vintner Charles Back of Fairview Wines when he picked me up this morning. "So I thought I’d take you to see the ‘other side’ to see some real vineyards.
Posted: March 13, 2007 By James Laube
Over on Chuck Wagner’s blog , a reader from Michigan asked why (among other things) my ratings for Napa Valley Cabernet have been so “abysmal” of late. If he’d used the words "critical" or "tough" or even "biased against" 2003, I wouldn’t have minded.
Posted: March 12, 2007 By James Molesworth
Today, I spent time with Marc Kent of Boekenhoutskloof and David Finlayson of Glen Carlou. Kent makes top-flight Cabernet, Syrah and Sémillon, while Finlayson produces excellent Cabernet, Syrah and Chardonnay.
Posted: March 12, 2007 By Harvey Steiman
In shooting the videos for this site, in which I pair wine with Michael Mina 's food, the sommelier Rajat Parr and I face a problem. How do you narrow down the choices? He had scoured his cellar for six wine possibilities to match with the three versions of roast duck on Mina's tasting plate.
Posted: March 12, 2007 By James Laube
The wax came off and the cork came out of a 1989 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet on Saturday night. This wine was from what Napa winemakers dubbed “the vintage from hell.” Part of it might have been their fault: They hung a huge crop, and then at about the time the grapes were ready to come off the vine, it rained and stayed damp.
Posted: March 12, 2007 By Jean-Guillaume Prats
Wine Spectator has asked me to join them as a guest blogger, which is for me a real challenge. Indeed, a Frenchman from the northern Médoc contributing to an American media outlet should lead to an interesting situation … Nevertheless, I will try to play the "game.
Posted: March 12, 2007 By James Suckling
Was it a dream? Did it really happen? For some reason, I find it almost hard to believe that on Saturday night, I drank every vintage of Château Le Pin ever bottled (1979-2004), and in Hong Kong no less.
Posted: March 11, 2007 By James Molesworth
Today, I spent the day with Jean Engelbrecht, a former commercial airline pilot turned vintner. Engelbrecht (who drives like he’s still flying jets) has become one of South Africa’s de facto ambassadors of wine, along with other high-profile vintners such as Charles Back, Mike Ratcliffe and Ken Forrester, who spend lots of time in the U.
Posted: March 10, 2007 By James Molesworth
Today was spent with Mike Ratcliffe, one of the Cape's young go-getters. He currently runs his family estate, Warwick , as well as Vilafonté , his joint venture with California winemaker Zelma Long. Warwick is on a nice saddle of land between the Kanonkop and Klapmutskop, two hills that stretch out from Stellenbosch.
Posted: March 9, 2007 By James Molesworth
Today started off with a tour of L’Ormarins estate, where Johann Rupert has taken charge of his family’s wine business, following after his late father and brother. Nestled in the warm Franschhoek valley, L’Ormarins sits beneath the majestic Drakenstein mountains, with sprawling horse pastures at the bottom part of the estate and vineyards carved out of the hillsides further up.
Posted: March 9, 2007 By Chuck Wagner
In many of the world’s great wine regions, the best wines show some similarity of character. I have been making wines in Napa Valley for more than 30 years now, and I believe we are reaching this point.
Posted: March 9, 2007 By James Laube
If airline passengers can draft a customer’s bill of rights, surely we wine drinkers can offer our thoughts about what rights or protections we think we’re entitled to when we buy a bottle of wine.
Posted: March 9, 2007 By James Suckling
I think that people seem to forget that the same family who make the ultra-collectible and ultra-expensive Château Le Pin also make Vieux-Château-Certan. In fact, the Thienpont family has been making VCC for a hell of a lot longer than Le Pin.
Posted: March 8, 2007 By Harvey Steiman
Recently, Starbucks CEO Howard Schwartz wrote an internal memo that expressed regret that Starbucks had gotten so big. He wrote that the stores had lost some of their charm, in part because they don't smell like coffee any more now that the beans come in sealed packages.
Posted: March 8, 2007 By Larry Stone
In my last few blogs, I talked about having had some trouble with corky bottles of wine. This is a problem that all of us have experienced. I have been unfortunate to open bottles of Krug Collection 1964 , DRC La Tâche 1978 , Pichon-Lalande 1982 , and other great wines that have been corked – even Rubicon.
Posted: March 8, 2007 By James Molesworth
Well, I finally made it. In transit for two days, and not a hitch—that’s got to be a modern-day record for commercial air travel. After landing in Cape Town, I spent my first hour crawling through traffic on the way to my hotel.
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