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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.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Asking Questions about Piedmont in Tuscany

Posted: September 6, 2006  By James Suckling

It’s really hot here in Tuscany. It’s still in the high 70s tonight, and it was in the mid-90s today. Thank God for the air-conditioning in my office. It’s really strange. It’s humid as well. My assistant Rosanne said it reminded her of Australia in the summer, and she grew up near the seaside.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Weekend In The Hudson Valley

Posted: September 6, 2006  By James Molesworth

I spent last weekend in the Hudson Valley of New York. It was rainy most of the time, but still beautiful. Rolling farm land, some good restaurants, and more than a handful of local wineries. I took the time to stop in at two of them.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Aiming For Pinot Noir Value

Posted: September 6, 2006  By James Laube

Right idea. Wrong wine? The other day, in a regular blind tasting, I sampled a new Pinot Noir, vintage 2005. Nothing outstanding. Fresh, snappy cherry and strawberry fruit, which I rated in the good category (defined as 80-84 points on Wine Spectator 's 100-point scale).

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Home Sweet Home

Posted: September 5, 2006  By James Suckling

I'm back at home after a couple of weeks on the road. I was happy my two dogs, Archie and Annie, still remembered me. The cat, Monty, was meowing at my door at 6 a.m. for food. I guess my local restaurant wasn’t throwing him tidbits.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

An Early Look At 2006 In The Loire...

Posted: September 5, 2006  By James Molesworth

I know you're all bored of me talking about the Rhône all the time. So here's an update on the other French wine region I cover - the Loire. I thought you might be interested to read a few of the comments that I've received from vignerons over the last few days as they get ready for the 2006 harvest.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Defining A Vintage's Quality

Posted: September 5, 2006  By James Laube

In California, vintners are on the final approach to harvest, for what has been a very mixed and trying year. As my winegrower friend C.J. predicted in April , it has been an expensive year to farm, with an abundance of spring rain and a late, uneven grape set.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Making Wine When Life Gives You Lemonade

Posted: September 5, 2006  By Harvey Steiman

Duncan McGillivray made a success of Two Dogs, an Australian brand of alcoholic lemonade, and a chain of brewpubs in Australia. When he sold it all to Pernod-Ricard in 1995, he finally had enough money to do what he always wanted: plant a vineyard and make wine.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Not a Wedding Crasher in Brussels

Posted: September 5, 2006  By James Suckling

Went to a Jewish wedding in Brussels over the weekend. I felt like an actor in Wedding Crashers ! From the moment the bride and groom arrived at the reception from the synagogue, it was a non-stop party.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Never Sleeping in Israel

Posted: September 1, 2006  By James Suckling

Tel Aviv never sleeps. I left a subterranean club called Breakfast at 4 this morning, and it was just getting started. When I reached outside, the streets in town were gridlocked with people and automobiles.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Dinner With A Wine Geek

Posted: August 31, 2006  By James Laube

The first time I used the expression “wine geek” to describe a persnickety wine scribe at a winery-hosted luncheon, in 1983, my colleagues laughed. The words just came out of my mouth (and fit this guy’s personality perfectly).

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Tasting in Tel Aviv

Posted: August 31, 2006  By James Suckling

Flew into Tel Aviv for a few days with some friends yesterday on a whim. Everything was quiet, except for the occasional military helicopter speeding by overhead. It is my first time to Israel, and it is a trip I have wanted to make for a very long time.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Raising The Ante On Prices

Posted: August 30, 2006  By James Laube

Prices for a few elite California wines are heating up--although given the small size of these wineries, the rise is more like an outdoor patio heating lamp than a roaring bonfire on campus before a big football game.

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