Posted: March 10, 2007 By James Molesworth
Today was spent with Mike Ratcliffe, one of the Cape's young go-getters. He currently runs his family estate, Warwick , as well as Vilafonté , his joint venture with California winemaker Zelma Long. Warwick is on a nice saddle of land between the Kanonkop and Klapmutskop, two hills that stretch out from Stellenbosch.
Posted: March 9, 2007 By James Molesworth
Today started off with a tour of L’Ormarins estate, where Johann Rupert has taken charge of his family’s wine business, following after his late father and brother. Nestled in the warm Franschhoek valley, L’Ormarins sits beneath the majestic Drakenstein mountains, with sprawling horse pastures at the bottom part of the estate and vineyards carved out of the hillsides further up.
Posted: March 9, 2007 By Chuck Wagner
In many of the world’s great wine regions, the best wines show some similarity of character. I have been making wines in Napa Valley for more than 30 years now, and I believe we are reaching this point.
Posted: March 9, 2007 By James Laube
If airline passengers can draft a customer’s bill of rights, surely we wine drinkers can offer our thoughts about what rights or protections we think we’re entitled to when we buy a bottle of wine.
Posted: March 9, 2007 By James Suckling
I think that people seem to forget that the same family who make the ultra-collectible and ultra-expensive Château Le Pin also make Vieux-Château-Certan. In fact, the Thienpont family has been making VCC for a hell of a lot longer than Le Pin.
Posted: March 8, 2007 By Harvey Steiman
Recently, Starbucks CEO Howard Schwartz wrote an internal memo that expressed regret that Starbucks had gotten so big. He wrote that the stores had lost some of their charm, in part because they don't smell like coffee any more now that the beans come in sealed packages.
Posted: March 8, 2007 By Larry Stone
In my last few blogs, I talked about having had some trouble with corky bottles of wine. This is a problem that all of us have experienced. I have been unfortunate to open bottles of Krug Collection 1964 , DRC La Tâche 1978 , Pichon-Lalande 1982 , and other great wines that have been corked – even Rubicon.
Posted: March 8, 2007 By James Molesworth
Well, I finally made it. In transit for two days, and not a hitch—that’s got to be a modern-day record for commercial air travel. After landing in Cape Town, I spent my first hour crawling through traffic on the way to my hotel.
Posted: March 8, 2007 By James Suckling
I am writing this while huddled on a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong for what is expected to be “the” tasting of the year – every vintage of Château Le Pin ever produced. Owner Jacques Thienpont and his two cousins, François and Alexandre, are coming as well.
Posted: March 7, 2007 By James Laube
Ernest Gallo's death yesterday brought back lots of memories. Everyone who's been in the wine business for any length of time knows what a great contribution he made to wine, and one thought that made me smile was the first time I sat down with him and his brother for a formal interview in 1993.
Posted: March 7, 2007 By Eric Ripert
You could say that this blog entry started with a guilty conscience. Two weeks ago, my partner Maguy Le Coze and I were honored at a tribute dinner at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami. We got up on stage to say a few words of thanks to the crowd, and I thanked my wife and family and my team at Le Bernardin for helping to make everything possible.
Posted: March 6, 2007 By Bruce Sanderson
The biggest problem at La Paulée de New York is keeping up and keeping track of all the great Burgundies circulating. I wasn’t the only one at my end of the table taking notes; however, there was some question as to my stamina.
Posted: March 6, 2007 By James Molesworth
Well, I’m off to South Africa. Marvin finally agreed to send me—probably because he got sick of me talking about it, and he just wanted me out of his hair for a few weeks! It’s been a while since a Wine Spectator editor made an official visit to the Cape—not since my colleague James Suckling was there shortly after apartheid ended in 1994.
Posted: March 6, 2007 By James Laube
When you live in an intimate winegrowing area where everyone knows everyone else, own a high-profile wine shop and a prominent restaurant with an award-winning wine list, you might think that entering the winemaking business would be risky.
Posted: March 6, 2007 By Harvey Steiman
What's the best food and wine experience you have ever had on an airplane? Chances are it did not come out of a 747's galley. Airlines try hard to make the food good in first class, but the rest of the plane gets something that may be decent if seldom memorable.
Posted: March 6, 2007 By James Suckling
A wine exporter left an angry comment at the end of my previous blog about the mediocre quality of 2002 Brunello. Some of what he said was so inflammatory that it had to be edited by my office in New York.
Posted: March 6, 2007 By Maynard James Keenan
Now that I'm off for a bit, I'm able to participate in some of the fun activities here at the winery. We blind-tasted through all the '06 Syrahs--lots of chewy tannins this year. In the first flight, we tasted the free run and then in the second flight, we tasted the pressed wine.
Posted: March 5, 2007 By James Laube
Are the owners of Duckhorn Vineyards ready to cash out? Dan Duckhorn, CEO and board chairman of the Napa Valley Merlot and Cabernet specialist, says that’s one option the six-person board of directors will debate within the next few weeks.
Posted: March 2, 2007 By James Laube
As I finish my Santa Barbara tasting of barrel samples, my thoughts are drifting from Grenache and Syrah to an entirely different subject. I’m thinking about the Zodiac. This is not a new wine or an inflatable boat or even an attempt to link wine to astrological forecasts or biodynamic farming.
Posted: March 2, 2007 By James Molesworth
I sat down this week with José and Rafael Guilisasti of Viñedos Emiliana in Chile. Emiliana is the organically run arm of Concha y Toro , best known for producing the $5 Walnut Crest line. The Guilisasti family owns a lot of vineyards—about 3,500 acres.
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