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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

February 2012

A Report Card on Kiwi Wines
Pinot Noir is New Zealand's rising star, but don't sleep on Riesling
Posted: Feb 29, 2012 5:00pm ET

I came away with a few New Zealand wine superlatives based on my recent visit and input from Kiwi winemakers. Here are my best, worst and more from the Land of the Long White Cloud.

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2010s Shine at Premiere Napa Valley
The Napa Valley Vintners barrel auction has a record weekend, bringing in more than $3 million
Posted: Feb 27, 2012 3:00pm ET

If the Premiere Napa Valley 2012 wine auction is a harbinger of things to come, the recession—at least for the rarest wines from some of Napa's elite wineries—is over.

Certainly the mood at Premiere was upbeat. Held Saturday at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Premiere raised $3.1 million from the sale of 200 lots of wine futures, an impressive 31 percent increase over last year's event.

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A Twist of Fate
Back from New Zealand, where corkscrews aren’t necessary
Posted: Feb 24, 2012 2:00pm ET

Near the end of my two-week tour of New Zealand, Rippon winemaker Nick Mills led me through his new community hall and tasting room. There in the hall, hanging on the wall, looking rather lonely and deserted, was a framed, mounted collection of corkscrews.

What made Rippon's corkscrew collection stand out is that one rarely sees corkscrews in New Zealand. Most of the country's 650-plus wineries prefer twist-off closures for most of their wines. Of the 200 or so wines I tasted there on my visit, only a handful came with corks.

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