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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

February 2008

The City of Napa Gets a Bit More Hip
Posted: Feb 29, 2008 2:13pm ET
Just like that and Napa’s a little hipper and a little cooler. Oh, sure, you say. Napa Valley’s been hip and cool for a long time. But I’m not talking about the valley and its vineyards and wineries and wine-tourist magnets such as Calistoga or St.
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Stag’s Leap Cabernets Due for a Quality Tuneup
Posted: Feb 28, 2008 1:41pm ET
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars owns two driver vineyards, Fay and S.L.V., that are among the best in Napa Valley. But the celebrated winery hasn’t been getting great mileage out of either one as of late, and its flagship wine, Cask 23, has been underperforming as well.
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A Defensive Letter Reveals Buddy’s "46"
Posted: Feb 27, 2008 12:48pm ET
Each week I receive hundreds of communiqués. Most are e-mails. But a few are prepared and delivered the old- fashioned way, where someone takes the time to pen a hand-written note or typed letter (and stick it in an envelope with a 41-cent stamp on it.
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$37,301 Per Ton for Napa Cabernet
Posted: Feb 26, 2008 1:26pm ET
By far the hottest grape in California is Napa Valley Cabernet, which is the reason so many of the wines offered at Premiere Napa Valley (which I wrote a blog about yesterday) are of this variety. It commands big bucks.
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Premiere Napa Valley Rolls to Another Auction Record
Posted: Feb 25, 2008 1:36pm ET
The wines were tight, but not the bidding. Everyone seemed to agree that the 2006 reds on display at Premiere Napa Valley on Saturday were tightly wound, as if buttoned down for the night’s storm. But bidders spent freely once again.
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Eureka For Wine Lovers And A Perfect Pancake
Posted: Feb 22, 2008 5:28pm ET
Ambiance and company are part of most dining experiences -- and sometimes they are crucial elements. So is one’s hunger level. When you’re famished or thirsty, most things – even simple fare and ordinary wines -- taste pretty good.
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Two Great Estates with Room to Grow
Posted: Feb 21, 2008 3:40pm ET
When a winery loses a “driver” vineyard, or changes grape sources, it’s bound to change the quality of the wine. Yesterday’s blog touched on wineries that used to buy a small portion of the Scarecrow Cabernet grapes, which is but one small and recent example.
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Tasting the 2005 Scarecrow (But Beware the Ghost)
Posted: Feb 20, 2008 5:22pm ET
Yesterday Celia Welch Masyczek poured me the new Scarecrow Cabernets, including the bottled 2005, a barrel sample of 2006 and several vineyard blocks of the 2007, which has just finished malolactic. Masyczek ( who also makes wines under the Corra label ) makes Scarecrow for owners Bret Lopez and Mimi DeBlasio from their property in Rutherford.
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Farewell To Our Oldest Reader
Posted: Feb 19, 2008 10:49am ET
The last time I wrote about Tom Malloy was after I’d sat down to dinner with him and friends to drink the 2006 Wine of the Year, the 2001 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova. A kind reader, Tim Johnson, of Portland, Ore.
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Help Wanted: What's Fair with Restaurant Wine Pricing
Posted: Feb 15, 2008 3:00pm ET
I’m packing my fly rod for a weekend of steelhead fishing in the rivers north of Eureka, but not before offering to help an old friend with his new restaurant wine list. And since he’s wrestling with a concept that I’m sure would delight most of you, I thought I’d seek your input, which in turn we can share with him.
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Two Pioneers with Different Styles
Posted: Feb 14, 2008 2:51pm ET
We lost two pioneers of the California wine industry this past week. They were about as opposite as they could be, but they shared a dream. Peter Newton built one of Napa’s architectural icons in Sterling Vineyards , then sold it and started another winery, Newton.
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The Rarity—and Importance—of Tasting DRC
Posted: Feb 13, 2008 3:49pm ET
I just finished reading Bruce Sanderson’s notes on the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti tasting. I’m glad that the domaine is showing its wines and envious that Bruce has tasted the wines twice. Like most Burgundy lovers, DRC tasting opportunities and drinking experiences are not to be missed.
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Sneak Preview of the 2005 Rubicon
Posted: Feb 12, 2008 4:17pm ET
I had a sneak preview of the 2005 Rubicon last week and this should be one of the greatest wines from this storied Napa Valley estate. Owner Francis Ford Coppola is obsessed with making Rubicon one of Napa's first-growths, and he has the vineyard and winemaking talent to do so.
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Bear and Rattlesnake with Jackass Zin
Posted: Feb 11, 2008 5:03pm ET
School fund-raisers ain’t what they used to be. Forget bake and garage sales. How about grilled rattlesnake with a double magnum of 2002 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir to wash it down? On Friday I was invited to a wild game feast hosted by vintners Pam and Lee Martinelli.
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Layer Cake Aims for Quality and Value
Posted: Feb 7, 2008 6:18pm ET
Layer Cake is another of Jayson Woodbridge’s passion plays. But unlike his $250-a-bottle Hundred Acre Cabernet, or his new designer vineyard acquisition , Pickett Road, LC is aimed at value wines and hopefully will subsidize Woodbridge’s more ambitious vinous pursuits.
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Steep Price Might Be a Record for Napa Cabernet Land
Posted: Feb 6, 2008 3:42pm ET
This might be one for the record books. There have been bigger land deals in Napa Valley, both in terms of acreage and total value. But depending on how you massage the figures, Jayson Woodbridge’s purchase of the Pickett Road Vineyard in California's Napa Valley this week goes down as one of the most expensive per-acre vineyard acquisitions in Napa history.
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A New Sonoma Label wIth Zesty Wines
Posted: Feb 5, 2008 1:36pm ET
It came down to this. When Charlie Dollbaum wanted to start his own commercial winery, after making homemade wines for years, he turned to a friend, Dick Keenan, who had what he thought was an excellent vineyard.
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