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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

July 2011

Everyone Has Their Price
Some offers for Napa wineries and vineyards are too good to refuse
Posted: Jul 28, 2011 1:00pm ET

When someone pays $40 million for a boutique winery in Napa Valley, as someone apparently did last month, it essentially means that everyone is for sale. Who would turn down $40 million for a 12-acre, 600-case operation, even if the Cabernet sells for $600 a bottle?

As rumors of the sale spread, several names were mentioned. When I asked a few owners about the numbers, and whether they would sell for that kind of price, all said they'd definitely consider it.

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The Brilliant 2008 Dominus
Bordeaux great Christian Moueix hits upon a winner with his Napa Cabernet blend
Posted: Jul 21, 2011 11:00am ET
Wine Spectator senior editor James Laube is excited by the latest release, 2008, of Bordeaux all-star Christian Moueix's Napa Cabernet blend, Dominus. Past vintages have perplexed him at times, but the latest is the best in his recent memory. It serves as an object lesson in how different producers excel in different vintages.
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Sizing Up Sonoma Pinot
Both quality and individual bottlings are rapidly growing
Posted: Jul 14, 2011 4:00pm ET

I've been noticing a trend among California's two priciest red grapes in recent years. Productions are getting smaller and smaller; the number of labels is getting larger and larger.

There are perhaps 800 individual bottlings of Napa Valley Cabernet, according to our best guesstimates, the important thing being that that's a lot of competing brands (including labels cannibalizing their own sales with competing cuvées).

Here’s another striking figure: Sonoma County may have 500 individual bottlings of Pinot Noir. The numbers continue to grow rather rapidly. Consider that some wineries (Siduri, Kosta Browne, Lynmar) already have close to a dozen individual bottlings.

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2009 California Pinot Noir: Best Vintage Yet?
I've nearly finished my tasting of 2009 California Pinot Noirs, and the numbers are off the charts
Posted: Jul 5, 2011 11:00am ET

Pinot lovers have never had it this good.

We're finishing our tastings of mostly 2009s and, the trending is amazing: We've already rated more outstanding 2009s than in any other vintage. So far, more than 50 percent of the wines reviewed have been outstanding or better, an unprecedented number.

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