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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

January 2008

Nostalgia Has Its Limits with Older Wines
Posted: Jan 31, 2008 1:42pm ET
Wine Spectator 's senior editors blind tasted a series of old California reds this week, and the tasting, about which James Suckling has also written , demonstrated how well most of these wines aged. Our editors agreed on a few stars.
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Rosenblum's Sale Crucial for Zinfandel Lovers
Posted: Jan 30, 2008 5:50pm ET
The sale of Rosenblum to Diageo is important on several fronts. Rosenblum has been one of the state’s biggest champions of Zinfandel. In any given year it can bottle up to two dozen single-vineyard wines from this grape as well as other often underdog varietals and, perhaps more significantly, it has emphasized value, which all wine drinkers prize.
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Running into an Old Friend in Hawaii
Posted: Jan 24, 2008 10:56am ET
I arrived in Waimea Monday night for a week’s stay and immediately ran into a friend in the wine section of the local store— Kaena. This was about the last place I expected to see a wine of this caliber this far away from its home town.
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Curran Departs Sea Smoke for New Pinot Venture
Posted: Jan 18, 2008 8:41pm ET
Kris Curran called late today with more news than typically comes this time of day on a Friday, just as I prepared to shut down my computer and head out of town for a couple of weeks. Curran said she is leaving Sea Smoke, the Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir estate where she’s worked the past seven years and helped shape into one of the area’s defining wineries, to join a new venture headed by William Foley, owner of Foley winery, also in Santa Rita Hills.
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Tried or Not, They've Got Opinions
Posted: Jan 17, 2008 5:50pm ET
While my colleague Harvey Steiman wonders whether people really understand the diversity of Australian wine , I have another somewhat related question. One reason, if not the main one, that people don’t understand Australian wines is they either haven’t tried enough of them, or they have a mindset that stereotypes the wines.
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Harlan '97 Cabernet Polarizing to Harlan Too
Posted: Jan 15, 2008 3:46pm ET
Bill Harlan extended an invitation to meet over lunch after the holidays. "No agenda," he said, "let's just catch up." Luckily for me I had a topic in mind and Harlan was more than game. Yesterday’s visit at Julia’s Kitchen in Napa provided the perfect opportunity to talk about the 1997 Harlan Estate Napa Valley Cabernet.
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A Standoff in the Homemade Wine Showdown
Posted: Jan 14, 2008 3:46pm ET
Midway through Saturday’s tasting of homemade wines , one of my friends summed up what had transpired: “What Mother Nature giveth, Father Time taketh away.” We uncorked more than 20 wines in the span of three hours and there were some wonderful surprises, a few duds, a few corked bottles, yet overall enough evidence to suggest that even amateurs can make pretty good wine, as the homies stood up to some of the big guns.
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A Look Back at Some Homemade Wines
Posted: Jan 11, 2008 5:39pm ET
Tomorrow I’m tasting a group of homemade wines from the 1980s and early 1990s, several of which I played a very small role in making. I helped pick the grapes and occasionally hopped in the fermentor, applying my size 13 stompers to the freshly squeezed must.
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Sbragia Leaving Beringer After 32 Years
Posted: Jan 10, 2008 5:46pm ET
After an illustrious career spanning 32 vintages, Ed Sbragia is leaving Beringer. The exact wording of his new association with Beringer will be wine master emeritus. But as he told me today, he’s effectively turning over winemaking duties to his long-time assistant, Laurie Hook, who has worked with him for 21 years, and he will be a paid consultant.
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Dark Horse Zin in the Winner's Circle
Posted: Jan 9, 2008 7:42pm ET
I like the vibe from Dark Horse, a new Dry Creek winery. It calls itself "The wine for cowboys, not to mention cowgirls, cowhands, hell, even the cows themselves. Pigs and chickens too." Michael Loykasek is the winemaker, a veteran from this northern Sonoma appellation, who worked at Meeker and Armida before starting his own label, and he consults for De La Montoya and Hauck Cellars.
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Talking Baseball And Wine With Tim McCarver
Posted: Jan 8, 2008 2:51pm ET
It’s not often that I visit with other critics, especially those who work in other fields. So it was with great pleasure that I sat down for lunch yesterday in Napa with baseball analyst Tim McCarver to talk about our national pastime, wine, sports in general and calling them the way you see them.
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The Case for an Upper-Case Boysenberry
Posted: Jan 7, 2008 1:15pm ET
When I was growing up in Anaheim in the 1950s, we frequently visited Knott’s Berry Farm in nearby Buena Park. Back then, Knott’s was a homey theme park, set in a western cowboy motif. It was the only show in town until Disneyland arrived.
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Rising Waters in California Wine Country
Posted: Jan 4, 2008 2:35pm ET
Much needed rain arrived in Northern California last night and as much as I enjoy the wet weather, and the greenery and fast-running rivers and streams that come with it, I’ve come to learn that a little can go a long way fast.
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An Excellent Napa Cabernet for $20
Posted: Jan 3, 2008 4:15pm ET
Napa Valley’s 2005 bumper grape crop has created plenty of opportunities. Producers can select their finest wines for their top labels and discard wines that don’t fit into those blends. There’s often lots of good wine that doesn’t fit in those cuvées, which is where the opportunities lie.
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Back to Work and Expanding California Wine Coverage
Posted: Jan 2, 2008 1:11pm ET
Today is a work reentry day for many of us. It’s also the start of a new tasting year, a year in which we’re hoping to significantly increase the number of reviews of California wine. Getting back to work is welcomed for me.
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