Posted: March 26, 2007 By James Suckling
"You can't make a great wine every year, or at least as great as 2005," I said last night to a number of château owners during a cool dinner party at the house of wine merchant Pierre Lawton and his wife, Sophie, in Bordeaux.
Posted: March 23, 2007 By James Laube
Being comfortable grading or rating wines takes time and experience. It took me years of tasting before I felt fully confident about assessing wines and describing them, and even now, I come across wines that are hard to size up.
Posted: March 23, 2007 By James Suckling
I am writing this from the passenger seat of my sports car with tasting coordinator Jo Cooke at the wheel as we drive toward Bordeaux through the Cote d’Azur. No ticket yet! It takes about 11 hours from Tuscany to Bordeaux.
Posted: March 22, 2007 By James Laube
One of our readers, Roger, just posted a good question in response to a recent blog. “When do you think is the earliest point to open a 2001 [Cabernet]?” I think 2001s should drink well from now until they’re 15 or 20 years old, maybe longer, assuming they’re properly stored.
Posted: March 21, 2007 By James Laube
Napa Cabernet drinkers should be focusing on top-rated wines from recent vintages, especially the 2003s and 2004s that are making their way to the market right now. Though '03 wasn't a great year, some great wines were made.
Posted: March 21, 2007 By James Molesworth
It’s a national holiday here today: Human Rights Day. It’s cooler than it’s been so far on my trip, and summer seems to be finally winding down here. To celebrate the holiday, I allowed myself to be a tourist for a day.
Posted: March 21, 2007 By Harvey Steiman
The august New York Times splashed a big story over its food pages this week, the big news being that you shouldn't use a great wine in cooking. What a surprise. The writer, Julia Moskin, seems to have deliberately set out to misunderstand the oft-repeated advice to "use a wine you would drink.
Posted: March 20, 2007 By James Suckling
It’s probably going to snow tonight in Tuscany. I am really cold. The central heating system is not what it should be in my house! It made me think about how warm and comfortable it was in Hong Kong last week.
Posted: March 20, 2007 By James Molesworth
Walker Bay is about a 90-minute drive from Cape Town, past the well-known wine lands of Stellenbosch, and up over the Hottentot mountains (where a vista point along the road affords a dramatic view of False Bay).
Posted: March 20, 2007 By Eric Ripert
The hospitality industry has seduced a lot of young people, and even some career-changers, who come from very interesting and diverse backgrounds. The media has helped to bring a lot of awareness to our industry.
Posted: March 20, 2007 By James Laube
Why does it seem, as a couple of readers have asked, that there are fewer bad vintages of late? And not just in California, but also in places like Germany, Oregon and Burgundy? Warmer weather, for starters.
Posted: March 19, 2007 By Jean-Guillaume Prats
What is the en primeur system and what is its purpose? Many of you might find it hard to understand this 50-year-old system of selling wines in Bordeaux. After the second World War, most of the châteaus were very poorly run and very much underfinanced, and they struggled to pay their bills.
Posted: March 19, 2007 By James Laube
In response to my blogs about vintages and vintage ratings last week, a few of you posted related questions. One dealt with my Cabernet vintage ratings and, in a roundabout way, whether excessive ripeness and alcohol levels were a factor.
Posted: March 19, 2007 By James Molesworth
Usually when I travel to a region for the first time, I meet with two, maybe three winemakers a day. Today I broke the rules and went for a lucky seven. My first stop was at De Toren , where winemaker Albie Koch has been turning out a consistently polished, outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon–based blend called Fusion V.
Posted: March 18, 2007 By James Molesworth
It’s Sunday, but no rest for me. First stop this morning was Meerlust , the historic estate that has been owned for over 250 years by the Myburgh family. It’s a gorgeous property, set off the main road as you head into Stellenbosch, with 400 hectares, 120 of which are under vine.
Posted: March 17, 2007 By James Molesworth
As I left my hotel this morning, I was greeted by some early-morning rain and high winds on the way to Stellenbosch—the first bad weather of the entire trip. It wasn’t all bad though: A huge double rainbow spread over the Cape Town as we drove out.
Posted: March 16, 2007 By James Molesworth
Today, I sandwiched visits to two small producers around one big producer—all family-owned. It’s always fun to mix appointments like this and see how different personalities find their own individual space in the wine industry.
Posted: March 16, 2007 By James Laube
This week took on a personality of its own, as weeks sometimes do. There’s no way I could have predicted some of the coincidences, which triggered several flashbacks, some good memories, and the sense that this is a very small world indeed.
Posted: March 16, 2007 By Harvey Steiman
Picking a wine to go with steak ought to be the simplest of tasks. After all, it's plain red meat. What could go wrong? In truth, not much can get in the way. But various red wines can turn in different directions, depending on how the steak is done and how it's seasoned or dressed.
Posted: March 16, 2007 By Jean-Guillaume Prats
We are now seriously getting ready for the intense two weeks of tasting in Bordeaux. All around Bordeaux vineyards, tasters are rushing from one estate to the other and hoping not being caught by the French gendarmerie ! There are two ways the Bordeaux châteaus present their wines for the en primeur tastings.
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