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Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Remembering a Napa Belle

Posted: March 14, 2007  By James Laube

Vineyard owner Belle Rhodes' death on Feb. 13 went largely unnoticed in the wine world, even in Napa Valley, where she resided for most of her 87 years. In her prime, Belle and her husband, Barney, kept a low profile and shunned the limelight.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Bordeaux Barrels in the Big Apple?

Posted: March 14, 2007  By James Suckling

I've heard that, tomorrow, Sopexa USA and Cercle Rive Droite are holding a 2006 Bordeaux barrel tasting in New York, and I have to wonder if this is a sign of desperation for some wine producers in Bordeaux.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

South Africa: Day 6—A Vineyard Safari

Posted: March 13, 2007  By James Molesworth

“You’ve seen enough of the fancy Stellenbosch side," quipped vintner  Charles Back  of Fairview Wines when he picked me up this morning. "So I thought I’d take you to see the ‘other side’ to see some real vineyards.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

You'll Know When a Vintage Is Abysmal

Posted: March 13, 2007  By James Laube

Over on Chuck Wagner’s blog , a reader from Michigan asked why (among other things) my ratings for Napa Valley Cabernet have been so “abysmal” of late. If he’d used the words "critical" or "tough" or even "biased against" 2003, I wouldn’t have minded.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

South Africa: Day 5—The Country’s First Classic Wine?

Posted: March 12, 2007  By James Molesworth

Today, I spent time with Marc Kent of Boekenhoutskloof and David Finlayson of Glen Carlou. Kent makes top-flight Cabernet, Syrah and Sémillon, while Finlayson produces excellent Cabernet, Syrah and Chardonnay.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Behind the Wine Choices

Posted: March 12, 2007  By Harvey Steiman

In shooting the videos for this site, in which I pair wine with Michael Mina 's food, the sommelier Rajat Parr and I face a problem. How do you narrow down the choices? He had scoured his cellar for six wine possibilities to match with the three versions of roast duck on Mina's tasting plate.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Drinking Dunn: Massive and Messy

Posted: March 12, 2007  By James Laube

The wax came off and the cork came out of a 1989 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet on Saturday night. This wine was from what Napa winemakers dubbed “the vintage from hell.” Part of it might have been their fault: They hung a huge crop, and then at about the time the grapes were ready to come off the vine, it rained and stayed damp.

Blogs  :  Jean-Guillaume Prats

A New Challenge Amid En Primeur

Posted: March 12, 2007  By Jean-Guillaume Prats

Wine Spectator has asked me to join them as a guest blogger, which is for me a real challenge. Indeed, a Frenchman from the northern Médoc contributing to an American media outlet should lead to an interesting situation … Nevertheless, I will try to play the "game.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Flash in Le Pin

Posted: March 12, 2007  By James Suckling

Was it a dream? Did it really happen? For some reason, I find it almost hard to believe that on Saturday night, I drank every vintage of Château Le Pin ever bottled (1979-2004), and in Hong Kong no less.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

South Africa: Day 4, No Frequent-Flier Miles

Posted: March 11, 2007  By James Molesworth

Today, I spent the day with Jean Engelbrecht, a former commercial airline pilot turned vintner. Engelbrecht (who drives like he’s still flying jets) has become one of South Africa’s de facto ambassadors of wine, along with other high-profile vintners such as Charles Back, Mike Ratcliffe and Ken Forrester, who spend lots of time in the U.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

South Africa: Day 3

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.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

South Africa: Day 2

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.

Blogs  :  Chuck Wagner: At Home with Caymus

Quite a Character

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.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Do Wine Drinkers Need a Bill of Rights?

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.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

You, Me and VCC

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.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Can Espresso Machines Teach Us Something About Wine?

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.

Blogs  :  Larry Stone's Blog

Corks: Can't Live With 'em or Without 'em

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.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

In the Cape: Day 1

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.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

The Yin and the Yang of Wine

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.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

The Day Ernest Gallo Interviewed Me

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.

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