Posted: October 15, 2012 By Harvey Steiman
After tasting select wines from barrel last year, I said that 2010 would be a polarizing vintage for Oregon’s Pinot Noirs. Those who crave delicacy in Pinot Noir, who prize pretty aromas and flavors, will love it. Others may find it wimpy and wonder what all the fuss is about.
Now that I have blind-tasted out of the bottle more than half of the 2010s I expect to review, I still believe that. Time after time I hesitated after writing a tasting note that described the charms of pretty fruit character, delicate structure, and a welcome sense of transparency to it all. Lovely wines, but I wondered, did they have the depth, the length, the complexity to qualify as great? These elements make a wine truly memorable.
The answer, more often than not, was yes, although more than a few of the wines came up just a bit short on those factors.
Posted: September 20, 2012
Posted: September 18, 2012 By Robert Taylor
The Northern Hemisphere harvest begins this month, and in the vast, vast majority of the world's vineyards, it starts with a heavy machinery operator turning the ignition on a mechanical grape harvester.
Many wine lovers might imagine—or might prefer—a scenario that involved skilled harvesters gently selecting the very best bunches of grapes, all by hand. But the half-dozen experts I polled—including industry insiders, vintners and mechanical harvester operators—conceded that 90 percent or more of the world's wine grapes are likely harvested mechanically.
If you're interested in the intersection of quality and value, you should be grateful.
Posted: September 12, 2012 By Tim Fish
It's half-past September and do you know what California winemakers are drinking?
No, it's not a joke. There's an old saying, in fact: "It takes a lot of beer to make wine."
Posted: August 21, 2012 By Thomas Matthews
Posted: August 7, 2012 By Harvey Steiman
Posted: July 6, 2012 By Kim Marcus
Posted: July 2, 2012 By James Molesworth
Cornas and Côte-Rôtie: same grape, same region, but two totally different wines. Cornas is all about controlled rusticity, with olive, bramble and chalk notes that need to be massaged into a core of fruit. Few producers manage to do it well, but at its best, it's arguably the Northern Rhône's most distinctive wine.
In Côte-Rôtie, it's about controlling amplitude of fruit to find balance. Letting the sanguine and mineral notes edge out from a ripe blackberry and plum core, as well as a sometimes-exuberant new oak élevage employed by a few vignerons, is key.
Put the two together, and Cornas and Côte-Rôtie are the yin and yang of Northern Rhône Syrah. Today I visited A. Clape and Stéphane Ogier.
Posted: July 2, 2012 By Bruce Sanderson
Posted: June 29, 2012 By James Molesworth
On my fifth day in France's Rhône Valley, I visited Château de St.-Cosme in Gigondas, then headed north to Paul Jaboulet Aîné. Here are my tasting notes on the 2010 Northern Rhônes at both domaines, and much more.
Posted: June 27, 2012 By James Molesworth
On my fourth day in France's Rhône Valley, I made one last stop in Châteauneuf-du-Pape at the new La Consonniere domaine, then headed up into the hills to Séguret, where I checked out the family-run operation at Domaine de Mourchon. Here are my tasting notes on the 2010 Châteauneufs at both domaines, and much more.
Posted: June 25, 2012 By James Molesworth
On my third day in France's Rhône Valley, I visited a few benchmarks of the south, starting with Château de Beaucastel. After that I visited Isabel Ferrando at Domaine St.-Préfert, followed by a trip to Château Cabrières. Here are my tasting notes on the 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Papes and more.
Posted: June 22, 2012 By James Molesworth
On my second day back in France's Rhône Valley, I visited three domaines to check out the 2010 vintage (and a few 2011s), beginning with Domaine Jean Royer. I then checked out Ogier, followed by Domaine de Cristia. Here are my tasting notes.
Posted: June 21, 2012
Posted: June 20, 2012
Posted: June 19, 2012 By James Molesworth
My flight was on time. My train was on time. And I even figured out the rental car in short order, getting that frustrating "eco" function off to avoid the maddening engine stop at red lights, as well as figuring out where the parking brake was.
After a quick lunch at La Mère Germain, I visited with Jean-Charles Cazes at Sénéchaux and Daniel and Frédéric Coulon at Beaurenard, where the 2010s are superb.
Here are my tasting notes.
Posted: June 19, 2012
Posted: June 11, 2012 By Harvey Steiman
After a week in Willamette Valley tasting Oregon’s 2010 and 2011 Pinot Noirs, I am impressed. If delicacy is what you crave, these vintages provided the framework for it. If you love rich wines and think delicate Pinot Noirs can’t have ripe flavors, these vintages might persuade you otherwise.
My enthusiasm comes with a couple of caveats, however. One is the weather, which posed serious challenges in both vintages. Unlike 2008, when making exceptional wine was pretty much a no-brainer, negotiating the cool, rainy conditions of 2010 and 2011 required skills that only those who had experienced them before could muster. As a result, you can’t just pluck a bottle off the shelf. A significant percentage of producers missed. Some missed by a wide margin.
Posted: June 4, 2012 By James Laube
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