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Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Assessing Older Vintages Has Its Challenges

Posted: November 15, 2006  By James Laube

Yesterday, I tasted two flights of 1996 Cabernets as part of a series on older California wines. Each year for the past 20 years, I’ve conducted retrospective tastings. It’s the only way to assess how the wines age, and it’s both instructive for me and useful for people who collect these wines.

Blogs  :  Claudine Pépin

Jacques and Me

Posted: November 15, 2006  By Claudine Pépin

Hello! My name is Claudine Pépin, aka "the Daughter," and I am delighted, honored and somewhat mystified that I have been invited by the staff at Wine Spectator to chat with (and at) all of you. I hope that you'll all ask lots of questions, or it's going to be a very long month.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

When Friendship Means Too Much

Posted: November 14, 2006  By James Suckling

Are two dinners in one night over doing it? Yes! I’ll be honest. And – ouch -- I have a slight hangover. But it was worth it. I wanted to see a good friend from Mexico City and he was only in Manhattan for one night.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

What Am I? A Cork-Taint Magnet?

Posted: November 14, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

When I was on my anti-cork soapbox recently, one reader wrote to ask how it can be that I find cork-tainted wines so often when he seldom does. I thought of that again when I endured yet another frustrating experience over what should have been a nice meal.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

With Age Comes Beauty

Posted: November 14, 2006  By James Laube

Winemakers periodically send me older wines to show me how their wines are aging (which is usually a good thing) or, more diplomatically, to demonstrate what I missed the first time around. And about one-third of the 5,000 or so wines that I taste each year are older wines, as opposed to new releases.

Blogs  :  Brian Loring: Ramblings from Pinot Prison

Here a Bin, There a Bin, Everywhere …

Posted: November 14, 2006  By Brian Loring

One of the essential pieces of winery gear is the picking bin. The industry standard here on the West Coast of the United States is the Macro 24-A-S, which holds about 1,000 pounds (a half-ton) of fruit, is very durable and stacks nicely.

Blogs  :  On Tour with Steven Page

Auction Fever

Posted: November 13, 2006  By Steven Page

A few weeks ago, I spent some time at the huge annual wine auction held in Toronto. Commercial auctions are a relatively new occurrence for us, and the only legal one is run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, our state-run alcohol monopoly.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Cult-Wine Corkscrew Massacre

Posted: November 13, 2006  By James Laube

On Saturday, a friend invited me to a dinner party and mentioned some of her friends were, well, wine geeks. No kidding. Turns out her friends, nearly a dozen, were that and more. These folks knew how to shop for gourmet breads and cheeses, cook a savory mixed grill of tri-tips, shrimp and chicken on the barbie, set tables, buy wine, pull corks and wash dishes—sometimes seemingly all at the same time.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Family Sunday Dinner

Posted: November 13, 2006  By James Suckling

I had dinner with my father, stepmother and sister at her house in Ridgefield, Conn. My dad was visiting from San Diego, and he was really excited to try a couple of wines that he bought at the local wine shop, which apparently had “shelf talkers” with my scores attached to them.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

La Beaugravière, Then Pic, and Now Waiting for My Flight

Posted: November 11, 2006  By James Molesworth

La Beaugravière delivered fine back-to-back performances. A gateau de foie gras with truffle sauce to start, followed by an egg soufflé with truffles and a ’96 Paul Coulon & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine de Beaurenard white—a perfect match.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

High Priced Wine Life in LA LA

Posted: November 10, 2006  By James Suckling

From your comments on yesterday’s blog, I am carrying on the genre in the spirit of all good and bad writers in Los Angeles. So this is how my day began. I decided to forgo Starbucks this morning in LA and head down to a coffee shop on Beverly Boulevard called Swingers.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Pajama Party Treats

Posted: November 10, 2006  By James Laube

If you’ve only got one bottle of a special wine, do you drink it or hold it? I'm often asked that question, and I have a couple of thoughts that merit consideration the next time you’re facing that dilemma.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Remembering Ed Bradley

Posted: November 10, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

Ed Bradley, who died this week at 65 of leukemia, was best known for his 25 years of sterling journalistic work on television's 60 Minutes. He also had an immense love of fine wine. In a 1994 interview with me, he described how he turned one bedroom in his seven-room New York apartment into a wine cellar.

Blogs  :  Brian Loring: Ramblings from Pinot Prison

Wondering About Whole-Cluster Fermentation

Posted: November 10, 2006  By Brian Loring

In a previous blog entry about optimal berry size, Michael Donohue made the following statements: “One of the beauties of wine is that is the sole alcoholic beverage that occurs completely 'sui generis' - NO additional hops or distillation required.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Clos des Papes for Breakfast, Truffles for Dinner

Posted: November 9, 2006  By James Molesworth

Spent the day in Châteauneuf-du-Pape again today. Unlike the chilly north, the weather down here is almost summer-like—the temperature was over 70 degrees today, and the terrace at La Mere Germaine was filled up for lunch.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A New Face in Napa Valley

Posted: November 9, 2006  By James Laube

On Monday, Kapcsandy Family Winery brought in the last of the grapes for 2006 from its State Lane Vineyard in Yountville, wrapping up its fourth harvest. Earlier this year, I reviewed the winery’s debut wine , a rather oaky 2003 Cabernet-based red.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Good Morning Bordeaux First Growths

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.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Behind A to Z's Purchase of Rex Hill

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.

Blogs  :  Kevin Vogt: From the Floor

How to Frustrate Sommeliers or Win Them Over

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.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

From Condrieu to CdP

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.

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