Wine lovers enjoy tasting and drinking, of course, but enjoyment also stems from learning about the regions, terroirs and history that come together to make every bottle special. In 2015, winemakers from around the world told the stories behind their wines to Wine Spectator’s video team, and we had the great honor of sharing these stories with you.
When we glance back at our year in video, we see tales told from around the world, from Australia to Oregon to Hungary. We paired wine with chocolate, learned about a cutting-edge green winery and even made our very first television commercial!
But which videos did our viewers most enjoy? Our most-watched were interviews from American, French and Italian winemakers. Venerable wine stars—two Gajas, a Harlan and a Baron—brought their expertise and charm in our popular Wine Experience clips. And the No. 1 video of our Top 100 Wines and the first-place video in our annual Video Contest enjoyed their respective moments in the sun. Join us as we take a look at the best of our 2015 videos.
Wine of the Year 2015
Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wines of the year are always among our most popular videos, attracting global attention from wine lovers curious about our editors' reasons behind their choices for the most exciting wines. Our No. 1 wine for 2015 came from a small, previously little-known vineyard in Napa Valley’s Oakville District that was acquired by a famous Sonoma winery. The wine epitomizes the modern style of Napa Cabernet and is a textbook example of the way passionate investment, technical skill and an outstanding vineyard can create compelling wines, said senior editor James Laube. Don't miss the full set of videos for all Top 10 wines of 2015, and learn how Wine Spectator chooses the Top 100.
Video Contest 2015 Winner: The Legacy of Jackass Hill
What's it like to grow grapes in a vineyard with a 60-degree slope? We found out with the winning video of the Wine Spectator annual Video Contest. Ten entries made it to the final round in 2015 where the winner was picked by popular vote. Viewers met tenacious Sonoma winegrower Lee Martinelli Sr., who shared the challenges and dangers of working on Jackass Hill, which his family has been farming since the 1890s. Learn how filmmakers Tim Clott and Noel Resnick used drones to take impressive shots of the Jackass Hill Vineyard and check out the entire 2015 Video Contest lineup.
Video Contest 2015, 3rd Place: The Next Evolution in Winemaking: Single-Berry Ferment
The pursuit for individual wines of great character continues—and some wineries are aiming for a never-before-seen level. “We are able to take it further with the Single-Berry Ferment,” claims Miles MacDonnell, owner of Round Pond Estate in Napa Valley. Hear from the winemaking team about this challenging, cutting-edge philosophy.
Decanting and Napa History
Two wines made nearly four decades apart show the evolution of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Learn the difference in decanting fully mature and young Cabernets as well as what to look for in these wines with Peter Mondavi Jr. of the 150-year-old Charles Krug Winery.
Grenache vs. Syrah, Paso Style with Austin Hope
A great way to learn about grape varieties is to taste two varietal bottlings side-by-side. Get to know Grenache and Syrah as Austin Hope, of Hope Family Wines in California's Paso Robles region, pours and discusses these key Rhône reds.
How Antinori Redefined Tuscany, Part 1: Introducing Super Tuscans Tignanello and Solaia
Piero Antinori was among the first Tuscan producers to go outside the strict classification system to make high-quality wines. Antinori describes why he broke with tradition, defines Super Tuscan and introduces Tignanello and Solaia. In the other parts of this seminar, he explores the vineyards that produce these outstanding wines, compares their unique terroirs and explains how he and his winemaker Renzo Cotarella craft these wines, both in the vineyard and the cellar.
Masseto Magic: Making, Decanting & Tasting a Tuscan Icon
What does it take to make one of the world's great Merlots? Senior editor Bruce Sanderson and winemaker Axel Heinz discuss all things Masseto as they taste the 2012 vintage.
Guigal, Master of the Northern Rhône, Part 1: Intro & Condrieu
In this master class on the Northern Rhône, Philippe Guigal, one of the region's top winemakers, presents a lineup of E. Guigal's most sought-after wines, starting with Condrieu and followed by St.-Joseph, Côte-Rôtie's Château d'Ampuis, La Mouline and La Landonne and Ermitage Ex Voto.
Sancerre vs. Pouilly-Fumé: Taste the Difference with Saget La Perrière
Why does Sauvignon Blanc grown in neighboring regions produce distinctly different wines? And how do the styles compare? Get the answers as ninth-generation vigneron Arnaud Saget joins Wine Spectator's Gloria Maroti Frazee to talk terroir and wine character.
Wine Stars Angelo & Gaia Gaja: Climate Change Challenge
At the 35th annual Wine Spectator Wine Experience, Angelo Gaja and his daughter Gaia described how their vineyard practices are changing with the climate. Their enlightening—and humorous—presentation touched on compost, worms, insect mating habits, beehives, Pope Francis and oh, so much more.
Wine Star Bill Harlan: Building a Legacy in Napa Valley
A businessman and a romantic, Bill Harlan has built one of Napa Valley's most impressive collections of vineyards and Cabernet-based wines. At the 2015 New York Wine Experience, Harlan shared his evolution as a wine lover and winery owner, from a boyhood bicycle ride to Robert Mondavi's influence.
Wine Star Baron Eric de Rothschild: Lafite’s Charming Ambassador
After Wine Spectator editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken surprised and thrilled Baron Eric de Rothschild by showing a nostalgic video clip from the 1983 Wine Experience, the Baron delighted the present-day crowd with stories of his mischievous youth, British trade unions, Greta Garbo and his favorite daily wine, as he poured the classic 2003 Lafite at this year's Wine Experience.
Our Wine Tip videos are perennial favorites. Our viewers love to go back to basics with these informational videos that never go out of style. Among the useful videos they returned to again and again in 2015 were How To: Pull A Cork—elegantly, 30-Second Wine Tip: 5 Pink Pointers as rosé's popularity continued through 2015, 30-Second Wine Tip: Pop That Bubbly (check it out before your New Year's Eve party!) and How To: Order Wine in a Restaurant without breaking the bank.
Below are the newest additions to the Wine Tips that rose to the top this year. We hope they'll continue to be useful to everyone for years to come.
Sancerre vs. Pouilly-Fumé 101: Tasting & Pairing Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire
Learn the basics of Sauvignon Blanc from two of the Loire grape's most famous regions, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, and compare pairing tips from Wine Spectator's Gloria Maroti Frazee and ninth-generation vigneron Arnaud Saget.
Label Lingo: Premier Cru vs. Grand Cru Champagne with Duval-Leroy
What does it mean when you see premier cru or grand cru on a Champagne label? Learn the difference as Wine Spectator senior editor Alison Napjus speaks with Duval-Leroy's chef du cave (master winemaker) Sandrine Logette-Jardin.
Pinot Noir 101: Tasting and Pairing
How does Pinot Noir taste and what are some great food pairings? Get the answers as Gloria Maroti Frazee and Sonoma winegrower Regina Martinelli talk Pinot.