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Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Waste Not

Tax Season is prime time to examine your wine budget

Posted: February 9, 2015  By James Laube

I've kept track of most of my wine expenditures over the years for tax records, and I've come to see those costs in the light of the wines I didn't drink: Saving and wasting are connected. If you buy more wine than you drink and let bottles slide over the hill, that's wasted money.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

Seeing Red in Provence

On a stunning mountainscape, a father and son aim higher than rosé

Posted: February 9, 2015  By Robert Camuto

Among Provence winemakers, Henning and Sylvain Hoesch are close to being heretics. The father and son have made wine for a combined 40 years at Domaine Richeaume on the west flanks of Montagne Sainte-Victoire, just east of Aix-en-Provence, but they've shunned the local rosé tradition in favor of exciting, full-bodied reds.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Coffee and Wine, Part II

Cooking with coffee—everything but the drink itself

Posted: February 6, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

Has anyone ever put together an eight-course menu in which every dish involves coffee—and mostly without using the beans themselves or the drink made from them? Frank Kramm, the chef at Daylight Mind, my cousin's ambitious coffee bar, café, restaurant and coffee school in Kona, Hawaii, creatively pureed the coffee fruit itself to flavor a butter, burned chaff from roasting the beans to smoke roast duck, and sprinkled coffee-flavored salt over slices of raw fish. We paired the dishes with Roederer Champagne Cristal, Château Margaux, Beaux Fréres Pinot Noir and a Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Are Small Wineries Doomed?

What the sale of Siduri says about the state of California wine

Posted: February 5, 2015  By Mitch Frank

Last week, Adam and Dianna Lee signed a deal selling Siduri, which produces 20,000 cases of California Pinot Noir a year, and Novy, a 5,000-case brand, to Jackson Family Wines—which owns more than two dozen wineries. Neither side will talk price, but based on other recent deals, we're talking tens of millions of dollars.

Some days, it feels like there are no small wineries left in California. Of course that's not true, but I'm often editing news of a larger wine company swallowing a smaller one.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Tasting Excellence at Domaine Leroy, Part II

Exorbitantly expensive and extremely rare, the grands crus are benchmarks for Burgundy

Posted: February 4, 2015  By Bruce Sanderson

Wine Spectator senior editor Bruce Sanderson is in France, visiting domaines and tasting the recent vintages of red and white Burgundies. members can read his scores and tasting notes. Today he continues with more scores and tasting notes from Domaine Leroy.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Praying for Rain in California

With a storm in the forecast, can wine country catch up from the driest January on record?

Posted: February 4, 2015  By Tim Fish

Wait a minute. What's that clear, soggy stuff falling from the sky?

Winemakers and grapegrowers might ask that question on Thursday when the first major rainstorm since Christmas is expected to hit Northern California.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Coffee and Wine, Part I

Finding parallels with different brews and wines

Posted: February 2, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

My cousin, coffee guru Shawn Steiman, agreed to try three different wines with three distinct kinds of coffee with me, to compare how both beverages might reflect where they were grown and how they were made. I chose a fresh white wine, a lighter style of red and a full-bodied red, and Shawn used three different coffees in three styles: drip, full-immersion and espresso.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Hit-and-Miss Vertical Tasting of Groth Cabernet Reserve

The best of 19 vintages of Napa Cabernet show the inconsistencies of weaker years

Posted: January 29, 2015  By James Laube members: Read James Laube's scores and tasting notes for 19 vintages of Groth Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Where the Great Whites Roam

A swim with South Africa's most notorious apex predator

Posted: January 28, 2015  By James Laube

Along with the mystical allure of safaris, shark-cage diving ranks high on any thrill-seeker's list. It's been on mine for many years, and while on vacation in South Africa, I finally got my chance.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

A House of Zinfandel Reborn

Brothers Jake and Scot Bilbro revitalize Sonoma’s Limerick Lane

Posted: January 28, 2015  By Tim Fish

When Jake and Scot Bilbro took over Limerick Lane winery and vineyard in 2011, it seemed an ideal match. The estate has a rich history of producing outstanding Zinfandel, and the brothers Bilbro grew up in the Sonoma County wine business with their dad, Chris Bilbro, at Marietta Cellars.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

A Washington Winery with California Connections

Helen Keplinger takes on a new role as consultant at Force Majeure

Posted: January 27, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

The Washington winery that snagged the winemaker from Bryant Family, a California cult favorite, has added to the intrigue by bringing Helen Keplinger into the fold, too. Keplinger was Bryant's winemaker for two years before going off on her own in 2012 to focus on Grenache.

Now she's signed on to consult with the innovative Force Majeure, where her former assistant at Bryant, Todd Alexander, was named winemaker last year. Alexander worked at PlumpJack and followed Keplinger as Bryant's ace in the cellar, a position Philippe Melka, Helen Turley and Mark Aubert held previously. Starry names, all.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Tasting Excellence at Domaine Leroy: Part I

An overview of several vintages of some of Burgundy’s benchmark wines

Posted: January 27, 2015  By Bruce Sanderson

Wine Spectator senior editor Bruce Sanderson is in France, visiting domaines and tasting the recent vintages of red and white Burgundies. members can read his scores and tasting notes. Today he visited Domaine Leroy.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

The Vinarchiste of Bergerac

Why would a formidable Frenchman shift from reds to whites?

Posted: January 26, 2015  By Robert Camuto

Wine Spectator contributing editor Robert Camuto talks to Luc de Conti about his unorthodox decision to pull up his red-wine grapevines in southwest France and replace them with Sauvignon Blanc and other white varieties.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Aiming for Wines of Longevity

South African vintners shoot for wines that last decades

Posted: January 23, 2015  By James Laube

Wine Spectator senior editor James Laube looks at South African vintners' efforts to make wines that can age for decades.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Thorny Brambles vs. Sunny Fruit

Warring sides among today's wine lovers

Posted: January 22, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

The biggest divide in the wine world isn't between high alcohol and low alcohol, it's between fruit and savory. Many people shy away from the wet earth, cedar, meat and herb qualities preferred by those who go for savory styles. Most people like fruit. The contrasting 2011 and 2012 Oregon Pinot Noir vintages offer a perfect illustration.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

An Introduction to the Cape

The wines of South Africa can be challenging, but the effort is rewarded

Posted: January 21, 2015  By James Laube

Wine Spectator senior editor James Laube returns from South Africa with impressions of the improving wine region.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

A Wish List for 2015

No one can predict the future, but here are my anticipated highlights of the year ahead

Posted: January 14, 2015  By Tim Fish

Here are a few of the things I'm looking forward to in 2015, including eating more foie gras and drinking more Merlot and Zindandel.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

Charlie's Labels

The terror attack in Paris also took the lives of three of France's most outrageous wine label designers

Posted: January 14, 2015  By Robert Camuto

This past week, the words "Je suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie") have traveled the world in sympathy with the victims of the deadly jihadist terrorist attack on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Among the slain were five of France's most celebrated cartoonists. Three of them were also among the country's most outrageous wine label designers.

"They were my friends," explains Bordeaux winemaker Gérard Descrambe, 65. For more than 40 years, Descrambes commissioned Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and others to make eye-catching labels that varied from drunken to suggestive to sexually explicit humor.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

A Seminal Star Winks Out

Étoile, the restaurant at Domaine Chandon, launched an era

Posted: January 13, 2015  By Harvey Steiman

The restaurant that jump-started fine dining in Napa Valley closed Jan. 1, to be converted into an elaborate tasting room. Étoile had too much competition from the long list of great restaurants that stretch from Napa to Calistoga these days, and its operators reportedy could not reach an agreement on lease arrangements.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

The Sweet Life

Can this Monbazillac open your mind?

Posted: January 12, 2015  By Robert Camuto

Wine Spectator contributing editor Robert Camuto visits Bruno Bilancini, owner and winemaker at Château Tirecul La Gravière, where Bilancini makes delicious, highly sought dessert wines in the unappreciated Monbazillac appellation of southwest France.

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