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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

March 2007

The Perils of Success
Posted: Mar 31, 2007 10:00am ET
As I prepare for a few days of R&R, I leave you with one thought that’s been on my mind for some time. It's also an issue that's been articulately discussed by Tom Selfridge, one of California's wine veterans.
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Don't Always Swing at the First Pitch
Posted: Mar 29, 2007 11:00am ET
A long, long, long time ago, when I had just started writing about wine, I typed (on a typewriter) a piece for a now-defunct magazine about the importance of getting on wineries’ mailing lists. In the article, I wrote that I enjoyed reading the newsletters.
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Lost in Italy? Let Kramer Be Your Driver
Posted: Mar 28, 2007 1:43pm ET
I first caught wind of Matt Kramer ’s new book on Italian wine last September when I was traveling through Tuscany. I was tasting as many wines as I comfortably could—and time and again wondering how to figure out all of their idiosyncrasies and nuances of the wines and regions and reading back labels that didn't tell you much.
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Following in His Parents' Footsteps
Posted: Mar 27, 2007 1:32pm ET
John Anthony isn’t using his last name on his wine label for obvious reasons: Truchard is already taken by Jo Ann and Tony, his parents, for their vineyard and winery in Carneros. Truth is, John, 34, is intent on making his name and reputation without trading off of theirs, which is already well-known to many wine drinkers.
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Appellation Madness in California
Posted: Mar 26, 2007 2:15pm ET
Do California vintners have their own case of March Madness? In Santa Barbara, vintners in the Happy Canyon area are finalizing a petition to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in support of dividing the region into subappellations.
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No Substitute for Experience When Judging Wines
Posted: Mar 23, 2007 12:51pm ET
Being comfortable grading or rating wines takes time and experience. It took me years of tasting before I felt fully confident about assessing wines and describing them, and even now, I come across wines that are hard to size up.
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When to Drink a Wine Can Be a Dilemma
Posted: Mar 22, 2007 12:34pm ET
One of our readers, Roger, just posted a good question in response to a recent blog. “When do you think is the earliest point to open a 2001 [Cabernet]?” I think 2001s should drink well from now until they’re 15 or 20 years old, maybe longer, assuming they’re properly stored.
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2005 Should Have Some Cabernet Values
Posted: Mar 21, 2007 2:17pm ET
Napa Cabernet drinkers should be focusing on top-rated wines from recent vintages, especially the 2003s and 2004s that are making their way to the market right now. Though '03 wasn't a great year, some great wines were made.
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Quality Is Usually About Selection
Posted: Mar 20, 2007 12:21pm ET
Why does it seem, as a couple of readers have asked, that there are fewer bad vintages of late? And not just in California, but also in places like Germany, Oregon and Burgundy? Warmer weather, for starters.
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Thoughts on Vintages, Ripeness and Alcohol
Posted: Mar 19, 2007 12:57pm ET
In response to my blogs about vintages and vintage ratings last week, a few of you posted related questions. One dealt with my Cabernet vintage ratings and, in a roundabout way, whether excessive ripeness and alcohol levels were a factor.
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It Can Be a Very Small Wine World
Posted: Mar 16, 2007 12:56pm ET
This week took on a personality of its own, as weeks sometimes do. There’s no way I could have predicted some of the coincidences, which triggered several flashbacks, some good memories, and the sense that this is a very small world indeed.
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The Romance of Pinot Noir
Posted: Mar 15, 2007 2:25pm ET
Vintner Jamie Kutch, 33, started out with nothing. No grapes, no winery, no experience and no real idea whether his dream to make wine would work out. But it has. At age 31, he opted to quit his job as a New York investment banker and stock trader and change careers.
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Remembering a Napa Belle
Posted: Mar 14, 2007 2:03pm ET
Vineyard owner Belle Rhodes' death on Feb. 13 went largely unnoticed in the wine world, even in Napa Valley, where she resided for most of her 87 years. In her prime, Belle and her husband, Barney, kept a low profile and shunned the limelight.
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You'll Know When a Vintage Is Abysmal
Posted: Mar 13, 2007 2:18pm ET
Over on Chuck Wagner’s blog , a reader from Michigan asked why (among other things) my ratings for Napa Valley Cabernet have been so “abysmal” of late. If he’d used the words "critical" or "tough" or even "biased against" 2003, I wouldn’t have minded.
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Drinking Dunn: Massive and Messy
Posted: Mar 12, 2007 12:44pm ET
The wax came off and the cork came out of a 1989 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet on Saturday night. This wine was from what Napa winemakers dubbed “the vintage from hell.” Part of it might have been their fault: They hung a huge crop, and then at about the time the grapes were ready to come off the vine, it rained and stayed damp.
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Do Wine Drinkers Need a Bill of Rights?
Posted: Mar 9, 2007 12:38pm ET
If airline passengers can draft a customer’s bill of rights, surely we wine drinkers can offer our thoughts about what rights or protections we think we’re entitled to when we buy a bottle of wine.
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The Day Ernest Gallo Interviewed Me
Posted: Mar 7, 2007 1:20pm ET
Ernest Gallo's death yesterday brought back lots of memories. Everyone who's been in the wine business for any length of time knows what a great contribution he made to wine, and one thought that made me smile was the first time I sat down with him and his brother for a formal interview in 1993.
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Raising the Stakes in Santa Barbara
Posted: Mar 6, 2007 12:19pm ET
When you live in an intimate winegrowing area where everyone knows everyone else, own a high-profile wine shop and a prominent restaurant with an award-winning wine list, you might think that entering the winemaking business would be risky.
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Napa's Duckhorn: Ready to Sell?
Posted: Mar 5, 2007 4:17pm ET
Are the owners of Duckhorn Vineyards ready to cash out? Dan Duckhorn, CEO and board chairman of the Napa Valley Merlot and Cabernet specialist, says that’s one option the six-person board of directors will debate within the next few weeks.
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There are Many Ways to Witness Wines
Posted: Mar 2, 2007 12:18pm ET
As I finish my Santa Barbara tasting of barrel samples, my thoughts are drifting from Grenache and Syrah to an entirely different subject. I’m thinking about the Zodiac. This is not a new wine or an inflatable boat or even an attempt to link wine to astrological forecasts or biodynamic farming.
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Gearing Up for Santa Barbara Futures
Posted: Mar 1, 2007 11:46am ET
Today and tomorrow, a delegation of Santa Barbara County wines arrives at Wine Spectator ’s Napa office for what has become an annual event. I will be doing a blind tasting of some of the wines being sold as futures through Wine Cask, a Santa Barbara retailer.
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