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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

February 2007

Skylark Wines: Right on the Money
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 2:45pm ET
This has unexpectedly become sommelier-turns-winemaker week. First, we learned master sommelier Kevin Vogt is donning a vintner’s hat , and now we have two more sommeliers unveiling a new winery and some delicious new releases.
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Kevin Vogt's New 'Mastery': Napa Cabernet
Posted: Feb 26, 2007 10:25pm ET
Well, "bleaders," one of our former bloggers, Kevin Vogt , has joined the ranks of the Napa Valley winemaking community. So the next time you run into him as he crisscrosses the country praising the pleasures of the fermented grape, you can personally extend your congratulations.
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An Amazing Sticky That Survived
Posted: Feb 26, 2007 12:54pm ET
My second glass of Campbells Merchant Prince Rutherglen Brown Muscat went down as easily as the first. That in itself isn’t particularly noteworthy—until you consider that I drank my first glass from the same bottle 17 years ago.
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Wine X Didn't Mark The Spot
Posted: Feb 23, 2007 12:29pm ET
Wine X, a magazine aimed at the twenty-something crowd, folded recently. I thought it had vanished years ago, and many of us wondered how and why it lasted this long. Targeting a younger, hipper, hip-hopper audience – the next generation of wine drinkers – Wine X had a market.
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Are Wine Buffs Really Wine Bluffs?
Posted: Feb 22, 2007 11:02am ET
A while back, I wrote about some of the differences between the way men and women think about and approach wine. Now I’m worried that I may have grossly underestimated some of those discrepancies. It turns out that not only are many men shameless point-chasing, label drinking, know-it-alls who equate price with quality, but it’s worse than that.
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Price Shouldn't Influence Your Tastes
Posted: Feb 21, 2007 11:20am ET
This morning at the gym, I worked out alongside an old friend. He's a great chef who now travels worldwide for one of Napa Valley’s big wine companies to put on food and wine pairings and demonstrations.
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A Discovery on the Sonoma Coast
Posted: Feb 20, 2007 1:13pm ET
Fort Ross Vineyard has found a groove. It's a relatively new brand of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that wine lovers should pay serious attention to. Linda and Lester Schwartz, who came to California from Cape Town, South Africa, in 1976, own the 44-acre vineyard.
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Cult Cabernet Winemaker Shakeup
Posted: Feb 16, 2007 2:01pm ET
Two of Napa Valley’s cult Cabernet producers rotated winemakers this week. Mark Aubert, who had been consulting winemaker at Colgin since 1999 , is leaving and will now be overseeing the winemaking at Bryant Family Vineyard , according to owner Don Bryant.
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Rites of Spring in Thy Cellar
Posted: Feb 16, 2007 12:15pm ET
Spring weather arrived in Northern California this week. Today the temperature will reach 70 degrees in Napa Valley, and it’s bright, clear and sunny, with no wind. While I know folks in Baltimore, Buffalo and Billings, Mont.
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Why Some 1996 Cabernets Were Oxidized
Posted: Feb 15, 2007 12:34pm ET
Not all wineries store their wines in perfect cellar conditions. More wine gets moved around than you might imagine, and that can greatly impact the quality of the wine, especially as it ages. When several bottles of 1996 Cabernet from two prominent Napa Valley wineries tasted oxidized while I was working on my '96 retrospective report , I asked the owners-winemakers how the wines had been stored.
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Reflections on the 1996 Cabernet Report
Posted: Feb 14, 2007 1:30pm ET
This is a perfect time to discuss older vintages. In a recent blog , Chuck Wagner writes about a wine's moment—which can be fleeting. In my report on the 1996 Cabernets , I was disappointed by how many of the wines showed, for various reasons.
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A Heavyweight Food-and-Wine Dinner
Posted: Feb 13, 2007 12:25pm ET
On Saturday night, I was invited to a dinner party here in Napa. All I was asked to bring was some wine. We'd be grilling meat, I was told, so I took a couple of huge, rich, massive, inky dark, ultraripe Cabernets in hefty supersized, barbell-weight bottles.
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A Back Label That Fills in the Facts
Posted: Feb 12, 2007 12:35pm ET
Last night for dinner, I opened a bottle of 2003 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard (92 points, $45). As I poured a glass, a couple of thoughts crossed my mind. Calera used to make one of the ripest styles of Pinot Noir in California, so much so that I once described them as ultraripe bordering on jammy.
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Wine Times: They Are a Changing
Posted: Feb 9, 2007 12:58pm ET
I wondered if my kids (now young adults) would ever embrace wine. Unlike me, they grew up in a wine culture, in Napa Valley, where wine is everywhere and everywhere we’ve traveled. While I hoped they would grow to appreciate the world’s most amazing beverage, I also harbored anxiety about what might happen if they liked it too much.
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Vinolocity Revealed
Posted: Feb 8, 2007 12:19pm ET
Wine certainly has its own language. Some of the oddest prose can be found on the back of wine labels. Often the verbiage is mundane, canned copy that is useless and a waste of space and opportunity. Occasionally, though, it's useful and insightful and contributes to your knowledge of what's in the bottle.
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If a Wine Is Flawed, Let the Winery Know
Posted: Feb 7, 2007 9:09am ET
I can sympathsize with William Beitz’s frustration. He opened a 2001 Hundred Acre Napa Valley Cabernet during Sunday’s Super Bowl game—a wine he had been patiently storing in his Eurocave since buying it—only to be sorely disappointed.
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Sonoma's Brice Jones Sees Red With Pinot Noir
Posted: Feb 5, 2007 9:58pm ET
As of last weekend, Brice Jones was still wrestling with a name for his new venture. “I can tell you one thing,” he quipped. “It won’t be Sonoma-Jones.” Sonoma-Jones would be a play on words akin to the name of his last venture, Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards , in which he attached his middle name, Cutrer, to Sonoma, where his business was based.
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The Moment We've Been Waiting For
Posted: Feb 5, 2007 12:31pm ET
“Here goes,” said Tom Malloy as he picked up a glass of 2001 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova and took a sip. “Mmm, that’s good... That’s really good.” It took a while to find a date for all of us to uncork Wine Spectator’ s Wine of the Year for Tom, who I wrote about in November.
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