Posted: November 20, 2006 By James Laube
Lately, as Pinot Noir has become a hotter ticket, I’ve been asked if some vintners add a splash of Syrah to their Pinot cuvée. The answer, according to a few winemakers I’ve talked with, is yes. They say many of the lesser-priced Pinots—in the $15 and under category—do have a small amount of Syrah.
Posted: November 17, 2006 By James Laube
Right now Brian Larky is on a plane, probably somewhere over the Atlantic, headed home from Tuscany, where part of his business is based. When he gets back to his digs in Napa, he’s going to have a box full of e-mails and plenty of calls from his hundreds of new best friends.
Posted: November 16, 2006 By James Laube
When our Wine of the Year is announced tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. EST, one reader who won’t be glued to his computer screen is Tom Malloy. Oh, that’s not because he’s disinterested. He’s been drinking and collecting wine for longer than most of us have been alive, by a long shot.
Posted: November 16, 2006 By Bruce Sanderson
Recently, I had half a dozen wines from the 1990 vintage. And at the age of “sweet sixteen,” those wines showed how great this vintage is. I blind-tasted two Champagnes from the 1990 vintage in August, during my annual Champagne tasting.
Posted: November 15, 2006 By James Laube
Yesterday, I tasted two flights of 1996 Cabernets as part of a series on older California wines. Each year for the past 20 years, I’ve conducted retrospective tastings. It’s the only way to assess how the wines age, and it’s both instructive for me and useful for people who collect these wines.
Posted: November 14, 2006 By James Laube
Winemakers periodically send me older wines to show me how their wines are aging (which is usually a good thing) or, more diplomatically, to demonstrate what I missed the first time around. And about one-third of the 5,000 or so wines that I taste each year are older wines, as opposed to new releases.
Posted: November 13, 2006 By James Laube
On Saturday, a friend invited me to a dinner party and mentioned some of her friends were, well, wine geeks. No kidding. Turns out her friends, nearly a dozen, were that and more. These folks knew how to shop for gourmet breads and cheeses, cook a savory mixed grill of tri-tips, shrimp and chicken on the barbie, set tables, buy wine, pull corks and wash dishes—sometimes seemingly all at the same time.
Posted: November 9, 2006 By James Laube
On Monday, Kapcsandy Family Winery brought in the last of the grapes for 2006 from its State Lane Vineyard in Yountville, wrapping up its fourth harvest. Earlier this year, I reviewed the winery’s debut wine , a rather oaky 2003 Cabernet-based red.
Posted: November 8, 2006 By James Laube
When I met with Opus One CEO David Pearson ( see my previous post ) and winemaker Michael Silacci, they had arranged for a select vertical of their wines. I had also asked Pearson, partly in jest, if we could taste the wines blind with a few ringers.
Posted: November 4, 2006 By James Molesworth
I guess you could call it a journey of self discovery, even though it only took less than two hours. It was the end of a long day, and I was sitting alone in the dining room. The object was to have a quick bite and finally get some rest for a change, as opposed to the five or six hours of very restless sleep a night I’ve been getting on this trip.
Posted: November 2, 2006 By James Molesworth
We were rummaging around in Jean-Luc Colombo ’s cellar, trying to find something to go with the grilled entrecote du boeuf that was being served for dinner. Well, I was in Cornas, so why not an older Cornas, I suggested? I should’ve bit my tongue, since Jean-Luc decided to go old-school on me, and show me a bit of Cornas history.
Posted: October 25, 2006 By James Laube
People often ask me if I ever get tired of tasting wine. Yes, there are tough days, when the wines are uninspiring and tasting seems more like work than the fun it usually is. But with my beat, California, there are almost always exciting wines in the wings, in their brown paper bags, waiting to be tasted.
Posted: October 18, 2006 By James Molesworth
On Monday, my merry band of BYOB friends descended on Triomphe for our monthly wine night. The food was excellent, with arguably one of the best racks of lamb I've ever tasted and a dynamite chicken liver crostini appetizer.
Posted: October 16, 2006 By James Laube
On Friday, a friend called and invited me to join a group headed for an impromptu dinner at Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller’s new Napa Valley restaurant in Yountville, Calif. Keller also owns notable restaurants such as French Laundry , also in Yountville, and Per Se in New York, and though Ad Hoc has only been open for a few weeks, it's already creating quite a buzz.
Posted: September 29, 2006 By James Laube
My Mother used to keep a sign in her office that read: “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” I had every good reason to lose my mind the other night as I dined with the dashing, fun-loving, cork-popping, magnum-obsessed and forever dangerous and unpredictable wine maven James Suckling.
Posted: September 26, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
I tasted some older wines while in Oregon last week, visiting winemakers in Willamette Valley. What strikes me, looking over my notes, is how consistently good they all were. Of course, what vintner would show a bad wine to a visiting journalist? The greatest number of bottles showed up at dinner with David Millman, general manager of Domaine Drouhin, and Tony Rynders, winemaker at Domaine Serene.
Posted: September 25, 2006 By James Molesworth
We were cleaning up from lunch on Sunday when I asked my wife, Nancy, what she had thought of the red. It was a social lunch with guests, so Nancy hadn't seen the bottle--only tasted the wine. "It was really good," she said.
Posted: July 5, 2006 By James Molesworth
Thanks to the four-day weekend, I was able to pillage my cellar a little bit more than usual. And when I looked back on the carnage of empty bottles (the heavier the recycling bin, the better the weekend, I say), I saw how the weekend could be divided up into its own wine flights.
Posted: July 5, 2006 By James Laube
Following up on last week's blog post , I participated in a panel of wine critics this past Saturday, at the Institute of Masters of Wine event in Napa, and the three of us used similar terms to describe our perception of wine quality.
Posted: June 9, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
A few months ago, Oregon winemaker Harry Peterson-Nedry called with an idea that went right to my heart. A charity auction he was involved in wanted to offer a weekend in San Francisco that would include two performances at the San Francisco Opera and dinner at Jardinière.
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