It was yet another eventful year in the wine world, and our editors had no shortage of hot takes. We looked at up-and-coming wine regions, new winemakers on the rise (and old winemakers with exciting new projects), off-the-radar wines that deserve your attention, and talked to Joe Wagner about his Pinot Noir growing pains.
Ordered alphabetically by editor, here are our top blog posts of 2018.
Robert Camuto: Going Native in Europe
Following the 2018 edition of Sicily’s Contrade dell'Etna barrel tasting, Wine Spectator contributing editor Robert Camuto reflected on how much Etna’s wine scene has evolved in the past 10 years, and what changes are still to come. Lately, he says, it's been difficult to keep up with the number of outsiders showing up, lured by the prospect of working with Etna's singular varieties on one of Europe's most active volcanoes.
Oregon Strikes Gold with 2016 Pinot Noirs
Aug. 8, 2018
New Pinot Noir Stars of Oregon
Aug. 28, 2018
Senior editor Tim Fish, Wine Spectator's lead taster for the wines of Oregon, reported that a series of warm, excellent vintages is boosting the growing excitement for Willamette Valley Pinots. He says the 2016s are polished and sleek, playing right into the hands of a coterie of new Oregon Pinot stars.
2017 Bordeaux Barrel Tastings
March 15, 2018
Senior editor James Molesworth, Wine Spectator's lead taster for the wines of Bordeaux, made his annual spring pilgrimage to Bordeaux for the en primeur tastings for a first look at the newest vintage in barrel. He posted 16 dispatches from top estates, checking in at first-growths Haut-Brion, Lafite, Mouton, Margaux and Latour, as well as Right Bank all-stars Pétrus and Cheval-Blanc. Plus, WineSpectator.com members can read his barrel tasting scores and tasting notes for more than 250 wines.
Sale of Henri Jayer's Cellar Shatters Auction Record
June 21, 2018
Robert Drouhin to Sell Collection of Rare DRCs
Oct. 4, 2018
Senior editor Bruce Sanderson, Wine Spectator's lead taster for the wines of Burgundy, shed some light on some of the most highly coveted wines at auction—and their ability to go supernova when provenance is as pristine as the personal cellars of Burgundy legends Henri Jayer and Robert Drouhin. The sale of the late Jayer's last bottles of Pinot Noir fetched nearly $35 million. Drouhin, who was selling some of his decades-old collection of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti bottles (along with a handful from his own domaine), saw one of his bottles of 1945 DRC Romanée-Conti sell for more than half a million dollars, the most ever paid for a single bottle of wine. Get Bruce's take on these record-setting sales.
The Music of Wine
March 21, 2018
Wine Spectator editor at large Harvey Steiman says he often thinks of wines in musical terms—and vice versa. He credits the late Burgundy vigneron Vincent Leflaive for setting him on the path of pairing wine in music, recounting a visit to Leflaive's cellar many years ago. Can synergies with music make a wine in the glass better, and add something extra to the music on the sound system? Steiman argues it can improve both sides of the equation.
Mixed Case: Emma Balter
An Ode to White Bordeaux
April 6, 2018
When was the last time you had a glass of white Bordeaux? Assistant editor Emma Balter champions Bordeaux's dry white blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, saying the region abounds with inexpensive versions that punch above their weight. She also tries her hand at blending a white Bordeaux of her own.
Mixed Case: Mitch Frank
Is Oregon Wine Afraid of Meiomi-zation?
Dec. 10, 2018
How did a dispute over appellations and the marketing of Joe Wagner’s Elouan Pinot Noir turn into an all-out rumble? News editor Mitch Frank says the true cause may be Meiomi and competing visions of Oregon wine’s future.
Mixed Case: Ben O'Donnell
Costco Meets the Millennials
July 25, 2018
"Will Millennials kill Costco?" wondered a Washington Post headline earlier this year. It was hardly the first story to question how big-box retailers could adapt to a generation that is painted as allergic to the supermarket run and the mall day, preferring to shop online for everything from from books to beer. Associate editor Ben O'Donnell says Costco continues to thrive with its singular appeal, including having one thing Millennials love: all the wine.
Mixed Case: Aleks Zecevic
Own Rooted vs. Grafted Vines: Which Make Better Wines?
April 13, 2018
Today, due to the scourge of the phylloxera louse, the vast majority of the world’s fine-wine grapevines are grafted onto native American rootstocks. However, scattered across the world are small pockets of surviving vines planted on their own roots. Working with these vines is risky. Associate tasting coordinator Aleks Zecevic talked to Bedrock winery founder Morgan Twain-Peterson and Germany's Dr. Ulrich Stein about the pros and cons.