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Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

1996 Clarets and How to Avoid Pocketbook Pain

Posted: September 15, 2006  By James Suckling

Went to a friend's house for dinner last night in Arezzo, and in addition to inviting a beautiful leggy brunette from Atlanta for the evening, he also pulled out two pretty 1996s for dinner – La Mission and Latour.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Life Is Good for Clarendon's Bratasiuk

Posted: September 15, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

Clarendon Hills makes some of the most expensive wine in Australia. Owner Roman Bratasiuk only makes single-vineyard Syrah (he won't call it Shiraz), Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Astralis, his signature Syrah, goes for $325.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Not Yet For A New Napa Cabernet

Posted: September 14, 2006  By James Laube

I’ve received a couple of queries from readers about a new high-end 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet, from a well-regarded vineyard and a superstar winemaking team. But so far, I’m not impressed by the wine and not too sure you should be either.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Does James Bond Even Drink Wine Anymore?

Posted: September 14, 2006  By James Molesworth

It’s sad to see the new James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, drawing such fire. My wife says, “He’s not even handsome. How could they do that?” Ouch. I’m ambivalent on that particular subject.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Brunello, Brunello and More Brunello

Posted: September 14, 2006  By James Suckling

I had dinner last night at Osteria Le Logge Restaurant in Siena with Roberto Guerrini and two other friends. Roberto runs his family’s winery, Eredi Fuligni in Montalcino, and it’s one of the best in the region.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Meet the New Old Kid on the Block

Posted: September 13, 2006  By James Laube

Ran into an old friend yesterday at my favorite wine bar (aka Wine Spectator 's Napa tasting room). I immediately recognized the face. But then I noticed he had a new outfit, and he’d put on a little weight.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Corks on Shaky Ground

Posted: September 13, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

I've been around long enough to know a leading question when I see one, but this one took me aback it was so breathtaking. It was on an e-mail survey purporting to ask about consumer attitudes about cork vs.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Sit Down With Donald Hess...

Posted: September 13, 2006  By James Molesworth

All wineries require hard work – good ones even more so. The work is often all-consuming, and the returns can be minimal. Some pay off handsomely though, as has Bodega Colomé, an Argentinean winery owned by Donald Hess, the Swiss multimillionaire who founded, but has since retired from, the Hess Collection winery in Napa Valley.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Darker Shade Of Red

Posted: September 12, 2006  By James Laube

Time was, red wines from California's Edna Valley--south of San Luis Obispo--were typically light in color, seemingly more anemic than healthy. I still remember my first impressions of early 1980s Pinot Noir from Edna Valley Vineyard – pale red garnet in color, with decent flavors, but nothing to get excited about.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Enjoying Hedonism

Posted: September 12, 2006  By James Molesworth

Last night, my merry band of BYOB-loving wine geeks got together for our pseudo-monthly wine night, this time at Nice Matin. When we planned it, we realized it fell on Sept. 11, and we had a collective pause before agreeing to proceed, despite the anniversary.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Pichon-Lalande in London and 1996 Versus '95

Posted: September 11, 2006  By James Suckling

I am sitting at Zafferano, the best Italian restaurant in London, with Gildas d’Ollone, general manager of Château Pichon-Longueville-Lalande. We just finished tasting 14 vintages of Pichon-Lalande during a Farr Vintners' tasting.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Sit Down With Marcelo Papa...

Posted: September 11, 2006  By James Molesworth

I sat down last week with Marcelo Papa, one of Concha y Toro’s winemakers. He is responsible for the Casillero del Diablo and Marqués de Casa Concha lines, two sources of consistently very good to outstanding values.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

New Sparkling Wines Are Exciting

Posted: September 11, 2006  By James Laube

Corks were flying at our Napa office on Friday, and that was a good thing. Tim Fish and I tasted a couple dozen new releases of California sparkling wine for our annual report, due later this year, and this research turned into an exciting afternoon of sparklers.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

When It Comes to Great Wine, Puck Takes His Cut

Posted: September 11, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

So many restaurateurs and sommeliers gripe and grumble about customers who bring in wines that it was refreshing to hear Wolfgang Puck say, "I don't care, as long as they give me a taste." We were talking about his new Beverly Hills steakhouse, Cut, which has been open since June.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Ten Years On With 1996 Bordeaux

Posted: September 8, 2006  By James Suckling

Just got done evaluating 65 Left Bank Bordeaux from the 1996 vintage in a blind tasting organized in London by wine merchants Farr Vintners. All I can say is that I am not surprised with the results. There were some exciting wines, such as the first growths, Cos-d’Estournel and Léoville-Las-Cases, but in general, it was not a great day of tasting.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Merlot Star Returns To Syrah

Posted: September 8, 2006  By James Laube

Right idea. Right wine. The owners of Paloma have started a second label, and it’s a move that makes sense. The producers of what is arguably California’s preeminent Merlot realized that putting all their eggs in the Merlot basket had its risks.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

An Early Look At The Northern Rhône

Posted: September 8, 2006  By James Molesworth

The northern Rhône is gearing up for harvest as well, and it seems the area also has outstanding potential in 2006. Here are some early comments from some of the region's top vignerons and domaines...

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

An Early Look At The Southern Rhône

Posted: September 8, 2006  By James Molesworth

While we're all enjoying the weekend, harvest is starting in the Rhône. I received numerous updates from vigerons who make Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Rhône this week; here are just a few of their comments.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

How the West Was Lost

Posted: September 7, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

Normally, I don't like to dump on restaurants because of a single visit, but this story is too good. It involves a world-renowned opera singer, a new Los Angeles steakhouse, some unpleasant surprises on the wine list and a wildly overcooked steak.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

The High Price of "Blending" Grapes

Posted: September 7, 2006  By James Laube

You might be surprised to learn – as I was – that two of the most expensive red wine grapes in Napa Valley this year are a couple of orphans from Bordeaux. I’m talking about Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, both of which are used primarily for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and occasionally with Merlot.

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