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In the Dec. 15, 2015 Issue

Champagne

Today in Champagne, improving winemaking has led to innovative new bottlings, more emphasis on quality vineyard sources and even greater precision to an already complex production process. It all adds up to an exciting time for the region as a whole, with the groundwork that was laid decades years ago now bearing fruit.

FREE Wine Charts:

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

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

Cover Story

Turning Cristal Into Gold - A favorite of royalty and celebrities for more than a century, Louis Roederer is one of the last major Champagne houses to remain 100 percent family owned. Under the guidance of former and current CEOs Jean-Claude Rouzaud and his son Frédéric, the brand has maintained its status as a symbol of luxury and quality while expanding its holdings to cement itself as a leader in the modern wine world
A Federation of Artisans - From California to Portugal to Bordeaux, the Roederer Group's 11 wine estates offer diverse styles from distinctive terroirs

Features

Tasting Reports

Bubbling Over - Champagne may be the world’s leading sparkling wine region, but it isn’t resting on its laurels. Producers are pushing ahead with innovative new bottlings and vineyard sources
Alphabetical Guide to Champagne
Austrian Ambition - A new generation of winemakers is taking the reins in the Danube River valley, producing vivid whites from Grüner Veltliner and Riesling
FREE: Austria Alphabetical Listing

WineSpectator.com: FREE: Austria Alphabetical Listing - More than 275 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.

Travel

Destination Vancouver - This Pacific Northwest hub offers spectacular natural vistas in addition to world-class dining, drinking and accommodations

WineSpectator.com: Find great wine lists around the world in our Restaurant Search. With more than 3,600 winners for 2015, pick the perfect dining spot by location, award level, wine strengths, cuisine type and more.

People

Skin in the Game - With his Failla label, winemaker Ehren Jordan is carving out his own niche in California

Grapevine

California Petite Sirah - Despite challenges, California Petite Sirah is gaining acreage and winning fans
California's Petit Sirah Tasting

WineSpectator.com: FREE: California Petit Sirah Alphabetical Listing - More than 65 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.

Business

Airline Wine Programs Prepare for Takeoff

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

World

Lawsuits Filed Against California Wine Retailer
In Memoriam: Syrah Icon Noël Verset
Jackass Hill Wins Wine Spectator's Video Contest

Cheese

Gifts for Cheese Lovers

Coffee

Roasting Beans at Home

WineSpectator.com: Members can reference our full archives of Mark Pendergrast's columns and other articles about coffee.

Spirits

Brandy Cocktails

WineSpectator.com: Members can reference our full archives of Jack Bettridge's columns and other articles about spirits.

Travel

A Top View in Tokyo; Olive Picking in Turkey

WineSpectator.com: Find restaurants with great wine lists in our Restaurant Search. With more than 3,600 award winners for 2015, pick the perfect dining spot by location, award level, wine strengths, cuisine type and more.

Departments

FAQ: Demystifying Wine Service

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

Letters

Feedback

Savvy Shopper

Washington Gems, Spanish Selections, Italian Whites

Columns

James Laube - Truth in labels

WineSpectator.com: In his blogs, James Laube shares updates from his recent tastings and visits with winemakers, and discusses hot-button issues in the wine industry. Join the conversation with other members.

Matt Kramer - What the vinyl boom means for wine

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.)

James Molesworth - Eye on South Africa

WineSpectator.com: In his blogs, James Molesworth shares updates from his recent tastings, visits and chats with winemakers in regions as diverse as Bordeaux, Provence, the Rhône and South Africa. Join the conversation with other members.


The Buying Guide


The Buying Guide for this issue is available here.

TOP 100 COUNTDOWN On Nov. 9, we'll begin unveiling the Top 10 wines of 2014—with videos, tasting notes and more— culminating with the Wine of the Year on Nov. 13 and the complete Top 100 list on Nov. 16. Enter our free Top 100 sweepstakes to win two tickets to the 2016 Wine Experience in New York, where you'll taste this year's Top 10 winners! Don't miss out on this exciting event.

LETTER FROM EUROPE Contributing editor Robert Camuto is living a wine lover's dream, traveling through southern France, along Italy's coasts and mountain ranges and into sleepy Spanish villages. Along the way, he uncovers fascinating stories of winemakers following their passions. Read about his journeys in his twice-monthly blogs.

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. Don't miss these recent additions:

  • Winston Churchill's Champagne: How did the British statesman come to have a French bubbly named in his honor? Christian Pol-Roger recounts stories of his family's Pol Roger Champagne house dating back to World War II. Then he and senior editor Alison Napjus explain the difference between a tête de cuvée and a non-vintage blend.
  • Masseto Magic—Making a Tuscan Icon: What does it take to create one of the world's great Merlots? Winemaker Axel Heinz and senior editor Bruce Sanderson discuss the vineyard, winemaking and character of Masseto, as they taste the 2012 vintage.
  • Brunello Beauty: Join Riccardo Illy of Mastrojanni and Wine Spectator's Gloria Maroti Frazee to explore the differences between a regional Brunello di Montalcino blended from a few vineyards and a single-vineyard wine.


NOTES ON NEW RELEASES Seductive Syrahs, bold Cabernets, rich Malbecs—it's time for wines that pair well with hearty autumn and winter fare. Get the best of our editors' latest reviews straight from the tasting room each week in our Tasting Highlights.

WINE SPECTATOR SCHOOL Get more enjoyment out of the wines you drink with our 10 online courses—all of them included in your WineSpectator.com membership. Learn what to look for in a glass of wine with ABCs of Wine Tasting, develop a deeper appreciation with Understanding Wine, or take a seminar on Wine and Food Pairing. Share the step-by-step tasting with family and friends—a great way to get together over the holidays!


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