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Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

There's Dirt, and Then There's Dirt

Dominus Estate's terroir shines through in a tasting of the 2012, '10, '04 and '01 vintages

Posted: June 9, 2014  By James Molesworth

I'll admit, I was a little anxious to get to the historic Dominus Estate property and kick the dirt. Sure, the winery is as suave a bit of architecture as you're likely to find. But the dirt is where it's at for me. Today I tasted the 2012, 2010, 2004 and 2001 vintages. Here are my notes.

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

12 Alluring California Values

New reviews of reds and rosés for summer sipping, each for less than $25

Posted: June 9, 2014  By Augustus Weed

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Auction Napa Valley Raises $18.7 Million

Nation's highest-earning charity wine auction raises a record-breaking sum for a second straight year

Posted: June 9, 2014  By MaryAnn Worobiec

News & Features  :  News

Artesa Vineyards Will Sell Contested Sonoma Coast Property

Environmentalists who fought vineyard plans see it as affirmation; winery says it's focusing on Napa

Posted: June 6, 2014  By Kasey Carpenter

News & Features  :  Features

No Better Way to Double Your Fun Than Two Magnum Parties

Wine Spectator's Bring Your Own Magnum parties attract a who's who in Napa and Sonoma

Posted: June 6, 2014  By Augustus Weed, Aaron Romano

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Shakespeare's Favorite Vineyard

Jamie Kutch is making distinctive Pinot Noirs from Falstaff Vineyard and beyond, stems and all

Posted: June 6, 2014  By James Molesworth

Jamie Kutch is living the life. After cashing out on his Wall Street gig, the native New Yorker picked up and headed west to start his own wine label, which debuted in the 2005 vintage. He had success early and, now in his tenth vintage, he seems to be settling, producing cool-climate Pinot Noirs with a distinctive profile. I tasted through his 2013 Pinots; here are my notes.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

An Afternoon with Pax, Agharta and Jolie-Laide

Tasting the newest wines from Pax Mahle and his cellar master, Scott Schultz

Posted: June 5, 2014  By James Molesworth

On my first day of winery visits in California, I visited Pax Mahle and tasted through his lineup of recent Wind Gap wines. Following that, we tasted through his Pax and Agharta labels, and then I tasted the Jolie-Laide Wines made by Scott Schultz. Here are my notes on the wines I tasted.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Napa's BottleRock Pairs Aging Classics with Fresh Acts

It's better to catch an older band than none at all, but like wine, they're best experienced in their prime

Posted: June 3, 2014  By James Laube

Just like that, BottleRock came and went. The three-day music festival in Napa attracted tens of thousands to hear 60 bands, from cutting edge Indies to aging rockers, perform on four stages at the Napa Valley Expo.

Watching acts from yesteryear has limited appeal to me. Occasionally I attend concerts by performers decades past their heyday, and when they're on they can be inspiring. Usually, though, I'm disappointed, and almost always find myself thinking they were so much better in their prime. It reminds me of the way some people act when they extol a wine made decades ago.

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

10 Distinctive California Pinot Noirs

New reviews from the 2012 vintage in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley

Posted: June 2, 2014  By Augustus Weed

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Back to Cali

A return to California wine country to visit more wineries in Napa and Sonoma

Posted: June 2, 2014  By James Molesworth

I can't help but think of that song from my teenaged years every time I head back to California. Luckily, it's become a regular thing, making an annual visit to the Golden State. Not only getting to attend the Wine Spectator magnum parties in Sonoma and Napa that kick off the summer in wine country, but also getting to make a few stops at wineries.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Three-Pronged Winemaking Approach Yields Outstanding Results

Cattleya's Bibiana Gonzáles Rave brings France, California and Colombia to her wines

Posted: May 29, 2014  By James Laube

Bibiana Gonzáles Rave approaches winemaking from at least three perspectives. The first is French, and the exacting standards she learned and rigorous training she received during her five vintages in France. Then there's the free-spirited, emotional South American approach that comes from growing up in Colombia. The third is what she's learned since making California her home.

News & Features  :  News

Charles Banks Firm Buys Big Stake in Napa’s Whetstone Cellars, Taps Winemaker for Evening Land

Winemaker Jamey Whetstone gains financial backing and will take post at Evening Land's Sonoma winery

Posted: May 28, 2014  By Aaron Romano, Mitch Frank

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Globetrotting Winemaker's Sonoma Roots Grow Deeper

Native Colombian Bibiana González Rave wound her way through France, South Africa and California before making Sonoma home

Posted: May 27, 2014  By James Laube

Bibiana González Rave is, to my knowledge, the first Sonoma winemaker born and raised in Colombia. In California, she enjoyed her initial winemaking successes with Lynmar Pinot Noir, and as a result she has become something of a national celebrity in her homeland.

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

10 California Rosés to Brighten Your Day

New reviews of intriguing pink wines from the 2013 vintage

Posted: May 19, 2014  By Tim Fish

News & Features  :  News

Hirsch Vineyards Owner Hurt in Tractor Accident

Sonoma Coast pioneer is in stable condition; helped put region on the map

Posted: May 15, 2014  By Aaron Romano

News & Features  :  News

Former Hanzell Winemaker Bob Sessions Dies at 82

Winemaker spent 28 vintages making iconic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at Sonoma winery

Posted: May 14, 2014  By James Laube

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

12 Seductive California Pinot Noirs

New reviews from the 2012 vintage in the Russian River Valley

Posted: May 12, 2014  By Augustus Weed

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

California’s Vintage 2014 Kicks into Gear

It looks like an early season as winemakers and growers hope for more rain

Posted: May 7, 2014  By Tim Fish

Things are getting busy in the vineyards of California right now. Vines are blooming in all but the coolest regions of the state. Those little flowers will turn into tiny grapes before you know it. I checked with a few winemakers and growers for the latest in the vineyards. The season is running early throughout the state, generally two weeks earlier than normal, but in some areas it's more than that. Which means that unless summer sends a weather curve ball, it will be another early harvest like 2013. Here are their reports from Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and more.

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

10 Tempting California Chardonnays

New reviews from the 2012 vintage in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley

Posted: May 5, 2014  By Augustus Weed

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Good Merlot for Less Than $20?

Winemaker Nick Goldschmidt makes winning values that retain a sense of place

Posted: April 30, 2014  By Tim Fish

Nick Goldschmidt is one of the busiest winemakers I know. He's more under-the-radar than his friends Michel Rolland and Paul Hobbs, but spends five months a year on the road consulting for 26 wineries in seven countries, including Mission Hill in New Zealand, Viña Errázuriz in Chile and Don Sebastiani & Sons in California.

His Alexander and Dry Creek Valley Merlots are well-made, true to the variety and sell for $20 or less. Here are my notes on five of his recently-released 2012s.

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