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In the Nov. 30, 2016 Issue

Joe Wagner

"I'd like to give my kids the opportunity to do their own thing, much like my dad did for me. I told [my dad], I didn't think it's the easy way, but looking down the road I think it's the right one."—Joe Wagner

California Merlot: A free chart offers an alphabetical list of all Rhône Valley wines reviewed for the tasting report in this issue.

Cover Story

Thinking Big
- Scion of a California wine dynasty that includes Napa's iconic Caymus Cabernet, Joe Wagner could have remained sheltered in the family fold. Instead, he set out to write his own story
Copper Cane
- Wagner's company takes in a diverse portfolio of wines, and much more
Family Ties and Terroir
- With deep roots in the California soil, three generations of Wagners have driven wine's progress in the state


Tasting Reports

Back-to-Back Classics
- The stunning 2013 vintage of California Cabernet follows close on the heels of the equally impressive 2012
Producers to Watch
- A diverse group of vintners alter the Napa landscape
Alphabetical Guide to California Cabernet

WineSpectator.com: BONUS VIDEOS Discover the Stags Leap District: Why does this sliver of Napa Valley excel with Cabernet Sauvignon? Chimney Rock winemaker Elizabeth Vianna explains the geography and climate, then delves into the differences expressed in an estate blend versus a single-vineyard bottling.


A Hanukkah Feast
- Acclaimed cookbook author Joan Nathan shares classic Jewish recipes for a sumptuous holiday meal


California Merlot
FREE: California Merlot Alphabetical Listing - More than 130 wines were reviewed for this report. A free alphabetical list is available. WineSpectator.com members can access complete reviews for all the wines tasted using the online Wine Ratings Search.



Terroir's Charles Banks Indicted for Wire Fraud

WineSpectator.com: Keep up with breaking news as well as the people, places and happenings that wine lovers are talking about.


Illinois Tightens Direct Shipping Laws
Major Editorial Shifts at Wine Spectator



WineSpectator.com: Find restaurants with great wine lists in our Restaurant Search. With more than 3,500 award winners, pick the perfect dining spot by location, award level, wine strengths, cuisine type and more.

Wine Auctions

Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction Breaks Record

WineSpectator.com: Members: Make smart buying decisions using our Auction Price Database, updated quarterly with the latest data from commercial auctions. Find out what your wine is worth before you sell, and track the recent performance of wines you want to buy. Check out the current values.

Auction of Washington Wines Raises $3 Million


2006 California Cabernet
- At age 10, the best 2006 California Cabs have the stuffing to go the distance

WineSpectator.com: For full tasting notes on 74 of James Laube's top-scoring 2005 California Cabernets, WineSpectator.com members can read his report.


FAQ: Merlot

WineSpectator.com: Want more from Dr. Vinny? Our advice expert provides saucy answers to all sorts of questions—from tough topics about the technical aspects of winemaking to the finer points of wine etiquette—three days a week on WineSpectator.com. Submit your questions at www.winespectator.com/drvinny or on Twitter via @AskDrVinny.

This Issue/Marvin R. Shanken

This Issue
- Marvin R. Shanken



Savvy Shopper

Loire Valley Selections, New World Standouts, Picks from Across Europe


James Molesworth
- Reviewing Sour Grapes
Matt Kramer
- Underground revolution

WineSpectator.com: For more of Matt Kramer's provocative essays and lively online discussions. (Only members may post comments but all visitors may read them.)

The Buying Guide

For more than 348,000 tasting notes, use WineSpectator.com's Wine Ratings Search, where you can sort by region, variety, vintage, price, score and tasting date.

TOP 100 COUNTDOWN On Nov. 28, we begin unveiling the Top 10 wines of 2016—with videos, tasting notes and more—culminating with the Wine of the Year on Dec. 2 and the complete Top 100 list on Dec. 5. Don't miss the year's most exciting wines!

NEW YORK WINE EXPERIENCE Relive your favorite moments or catch up on what you missed at this year's great lineup of tastings and seminars. Our full coverage of the event, held Oct. 20–22, brings the world's best winemakers and chefs to you with photos, articles and videos.

BREAKING NEWS Find out what wine lovers are talking about. From the latest on fires in wine country to lawsuits pitting sports stars against winery owners to challenges that prevent retailers from shipping wine to customers in other states, we've got it covered.

WINE SPECTATOR VIDEO Watch all our great wine tips, winemaker interviews and tastings on your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. Tune in each week for a new mobile-friendly video.

  • Cabernet From Chile: If you love California versions of this classic red grape, broaden your horizons with winemaker Aurelio Montes, who helped put Cabernet from Chile in Americans' glasses. He chats with senior editor Kim Marcus about what makes Chilean Cabs different from those in other countries.
  • Pinot Style—Carneros vs. Russian River Valley: Anne Moller-Racke, president of California Pinot Noir leader Donum, compares the wines from the Russian River Valley and the more southeasterly Carneros appellation.
  • Waaaaay Down South in Central Otago: Discover another cool-climate region that's great for aromatic varieties such as Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Check out this chilly part of New Zealand with Prophet's Rock winemaker Paul Pujol.

TASTING HIGHLIGHTS Get the latest reviews on hot new-release California Cabernets, Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, Syrahs and more. Every week, we run Tasting Highlights with the latest noteworthy reviews straight from our editors' tastings, with one edition dedicated entirely to wines from California.

CALIFORNIA CABERNET IN-DEPTH Take Wine Spectator School's online seminar and discover the differences made by price levels and growing regions. Learn from top winemakers, and explore the important appellations for California Cabernet. This and nine other fun, informative courses are included in your WineSpectator.com membership, only $49 per year.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 300,000+ ratings.