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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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