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In the Oct. 15, 2011 Issue

California Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is known as one of the toughest grapes to grow and vinify, even as it tantalizes with the capability of making elegant and ageable reds that at their height can be mesmerizing, ethereal experiences.

FREE Wine Chart:

Spain: A free chart offers an alphabetical list of all Spanish wines reviewed for the tasting report in this issue.

Cover Story

Sonoma Pinot Noir - In the early 1980s, an unlikely pair helped spark the quality revolution that has turned apple orchards and redwood-fringed meadows into some of the finest terroir for Pinot Noir outside Burgundy

    Best Wines - An insider's guide to the finest bottlings, and what makes them distinctive

    Best Vineyards - Mapping the top sites for this finicky grape, from the wilds of the Sonoma Coast to the rolling countryside of Carneros


    Tasting Reports

    Almost Perfect - The 2009 vintage is the finest in the history of California Pinot Noir, as the ranks of exceptional producers continues to expand

    Values Roundup - 200 wines that represent the best bargains from around the world Our website's Value Wines section keeps you updated on great buys year-round. Browse our exclusive lists of the world's top wine values, top value producers and easy-to-find wines.

    Spain's Rising Star - The Toro region is the latest to make a quality breakout in this diverse winemaking nation

      Cune Imperial - A retrospective tasting highlights the elegance of the venerable Rioja





    World Watch - Pomerol Ponies, Liquid Gold and Frescobaldi in Friuli


    Sommelier Bernard Sun - Wine director Bernard Sun has worked in the some of world’s most famous dining rooms


    Things We Like

    Wine Auctions

    Second-Quarter Index Shows Small Drop - Wine Spectator Auction Index is down 3.6 percent, but Hong Kong prices soar Research before you buy at the fall auctions. Website members can check the latest auction highlights and track prices for more than 12,000 collectible wines in our Auction Price Database.

    Cellars / Collections


    This Issue/Marvin R. Shanken


    Savvy Shopper


    A Perfect Match

The Buying Guide

The Buying Guide for this issue is available here.

Improve Your Tasting Skills  How do experts consistently recognize, identify and describe wines? With Wine Spectator School's online Sensory Evaluation course, you'll see—and smell and taste—wine in a whole new way. This and nine other courses are free with your membership, only $49 per year.

Value Wines  Always on the hunt for a bargain? Browse our frequently updated lists of Top Values, high-scoring wines at great prices; Easy Finds, inexpensive, quality wines made in large quantities; and Wineries for Value, producers that have made the most values in their region.

Harvest 101  How do winegrowers decide when to pick? How does the weather affect wine quality and character? What actually happens once the grapes get to the winery? Learn all about it in our step-by-step guide to crush.

Kosher Picks for the High Holidays  Get our editors' recommendations of recently rated, high-scoring kosher wines from around the world, plus a fresh new recipe.

Wine Storage: Seven Need-to-Know Tips  Learn how to keep your wines safe until you're ready to drink them.

New On Wine Spectator Video  Tune in each week for a new video. Don't miss these recent additions:

  • Video Contest Finalists:  Find out who made the cut in Wine Spectator's fifth annual wine video competition, and who won the viewers' top vote to earn the grand prize! Finalists will be posted Sept. 12; the winner will be revealed Sept. 20.
  • Santorini Styles:  Discover the crisp, minerally white wines made on this Greek island. Watch as a leading winemaker introduces three different styles made from the Assyrtiko grape: unoaked, oaked and sweet.


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