Posted: August 3, 2006 By James Laube
When you taste wines, seriously or for fun, do yourself a favor. Take notes. Written ones. This was an important lesson I learned early on in my career. Before I wrote about wine, when I simply drank it, one way my friends and I kept track of what we liked was to place the empty bottles on the hearth above the fireplace.
Posted: August 2, 2006 By James Laube
Without a doubt, one of the greatest pleasures of being a wine critic is being able to direct readers to great wines that are also great values. One of our recent office favorites is a tiny wine company called Olabisi (Nigerian for “joy multiplied”), which is based in Napa Valley.
Posted: August 2, 2006 By James Suckling
How’s this for a friend? Hoyt Hill Jr. of Nashville commented on my blog yesterday, on drinking great wines on ice in hot weather, writing this: “I recently handled the wine service at the wake for a close friend with a large wine collection.
Posted: August 2, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
I pulled the bag off an Australian Chardonnay I had just tasted and a sea horse was looking at me. This, I thought, is one critter I never thought I would see on a bottle of wine. But there it was on the bottle of Promised Land Chardonnay.
Posted: August 1, 2006 By James Laube
When I read stories like Tim Fish’s on the possibility of labor shortages in U.S. vineyards , I wonder how long it will be before mechanical harvesting is the norm here in California. Many people thought machines would be doing much of this work by now.
Posted: August 1, 2006 By James Suckling
I dined last week at the osteria below my house with my buddy Thomas and two wine merchant friends from Burgundy, and I came late to what appeared to be an incredible fest of awesome wines including 1973 DRC Montrachet and 1959 Latour.
Posted: July 31, 2006 By James Molesworth
Well, I just finished my last flight of Rhône wines this morning, and now I get set to write my next tasting report on the region (slated for the Nov. 15 issue). As I run the numbers, I see I tasted 626 wines in total - a big jump over the previous year, when I tasted 401.
Posted: July 31, 2006 By James Suckling
Marco Pallanti, the new president of the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium (Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico), wrote me this letter in Italian last week following a blog post I wrote on his region. I thought you would find the letter (translated, of course) interesting to read: Dear James, I feel honored to receive your approval for my new position, and I thank you for the extremely nice words you said about me.
Posted: July 28, 2006 By James Laube
When you taste thousands of wines each year, there are many painful moments, and you have to keep a sense of humor. There are days when we taste dozens of wines, but none are outstanding. And there are days when so many of the wines are so strange that it makes us wonder how anyone could possibly make a wine like that and how those wineries survive.
Posted: July 27, 2006 By James Molesworth
I'm going to throw the floor open to questions, comments, criticisms and praise of our Restaurant Awards Program, which announced this year's winners in the current Aug. 31 issue. Just a quick run-down first though: The program presents awards based on a restaurant's wine program.
Posted: July 27, 2006 By James Suckling
Couple nights ago, my buddy Thomas and his Korean friends hosted a dinner at the restaurant below my house for a dozen or so Italian wine producers, from Tuscany and Piedmont. It’s become an annual event with people attending like Lamberto Frescobaldi, Giacomo Neri of Casanova di Neri, Leonardo Raspini of Ornellaia, Enrico and Enrica Scavino, Luigi Scavino of Azelia, Carlo Revello…you get the idea.
Posted: July 27, 2006 By James Laube
The heat wave finally broke in most of California on Wednesday, so I’ll give the global warming issue a rest for now. But be assured, this is a story that won’t be going away anytime soon. As some readers have pointed out, climatic changes could (and may well) have a major impact on the kinds of wines we drink in the future.
Posted: July 26, 2006 By James Laube
Our brand loyalty has little to do with our desire to support a favored vintner. Usually we’re driven away from our pet wines due to one of two factors (sometimes both), which have been bantered about in this space the past few days and weeks.
Posted: July 26, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Before I arrived here in Aspen for my annual summer stay in Colorado, I asked everyone I knew in town what new restaurants I should try. Virtually everyone I asked said, "D19." Dena Moreno, who had pleased so many taste buds with her soulful Italian food (and white truffle fries) at Ajax Tavern, has joined up with the owners of The Wild Fig and the Popcorn Wagon to take over one of the prime corners in Aspen.
Posted: July 25, 2006 By James Laube
Maybe it’s a coincidence. Maybe not. In the past few months, I’ve heard several winery owners talk about rebalancing their businesses. They emphasize, above all, rededicating their efforts on wine quality.
Posted: July 25, 2006 By James Suckling
You have to be careful leaving open olive-oil bottles on the dinner table, especially late at night and when the olive-oil bottles look like wine bottles. Last night, my buddy Thomas and his two Korean girlfriends came for dinner.
Posted: July 24, 2006 By James Laube
Ok, so a heat wave or two does not necessarily constitute global warning (or whatever you want to call it). Still, after eight days (or nine, or 10, or whatever) of scorching heat in California and much of the country, with no let-up in sight, it was easy to buy into the argument that indeed planet Earth is getting hotter.
Posted: July 23, 2006 By James Suckling
Talk about “brutta figura” -- making a bad impression, as Italians say. I was at a birthday party last night in Castiligone della Pescaia for a very pretty friend of mine. About 20 of us came for her 39th -- again.
Posted: July 21, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Envious at the commercial success of Cajun, Creole, Tex-Mex and Southwestern cuisines, the folks in one part of our country are testing the waters for a new one. It's called Cascadian Cuisine. OK, I'll give you a few minutes to figure out where that might be.
Posted: July 21, 2006 By James Laube
With its new $500-a-bottle cost, Screaming Eagle Cabernet becomes the undisputed price leader in California. The move to raise the price for Screaming Eagle from $300 to $500 has, of course, infuriated many long-time mailing list customers.
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