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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

November 2006

A Good Reason to Be Crabby
Posted: Nov 30, 2006 1:40pm ET
It’s Dungeness crab season in the San Francisco Bay area and points north. It’s an annual, seasonal treat for those of us who live here, since it’s easy to obtain these fresh, live crustaceans and cook them at home.
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New Napa Winery Has All-Star Cast
Posted: Nov 29, 2006 5:23pm ET
Ovid (pronounced Ah-vid ) is a spectacular new winery in Napa Valley's Pritchard Hill area, on a steep winding road that I’ve come to refer to as the Rodeo Drive of Napa. This area, in the eastern hills overlooking Oakville, is home to several showcase estates, including Bryant Family, Chappellet, David Arthur, Colgin, Versant and, further up the road, Cloud View, yet another start-up.
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When Will the Wine Glut Disappear?
Posted: Nov 28, 2006 10:03am ET
Yesterday a reporter for U.S. News & World Report called to discuss the global wine glut. It was the kind of interview where you can spend hours answering a seemingly endless stream of questions. Reporters are like that.
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Chances to Taste Older Wines
Posted: Nov 24, 2006 1:18pm ET
Since I get many queries about tasting older wines, a couple of items that were brought to my attention this week are worth mentioning and passing along. Beaulieu Vineyard is hosting a tasting of its library wines on Dec.
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That's Right, Women Are Smarter
Posted: Nov 21, 2006 1:15pm ET
Kevin Vogt’s assertion that women are better tasters than men certainly has merit. I've tasted with most of the women he mentions, and hundreds of other professionals, and more often than not there's agreement about which wines are the best and which wines lack merit or taste or are flawed.
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Some Pinots Do Have Syrah
Posted: Nov 20, 2006 1:19pm ET
Lately, as Pinot Noir has become a hotter ticket, I’ve been asked if some vintners add a splash of Syrah to their Pinot cuvée. The answer, according to a few winemakers I’ve talked with, is yes. They say many of the lesser-priced Pinots—in the $15 and under category—do have a small amount of Syrah.
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The Thrill of Victory
Posted: Nov 17, 2006 12:37pm ET
Right now Brian Larky is on a plane, probably somewhere over the Atlantic, headed home from Tuscany, where part of his business is based. When he gets back to his digs in Napa, he’s going to have a box full of e-mails and plenty of calls from his hundreds of new best friends.
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Our Oldest Reader Is Ready
Posted: Nov 16, 2006 3:09pm ET
When our Wine of the Year is announced tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. EST, one reader who won’t be glued to his computer screen is Tom Malloy. Oh, that’s not because he’s disinterested. He’s been drinking and collecting wine for longer than most of us have been alive, by a long shot.
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Assessing Older Vintages Has Its Challenges
Posted: Nov 15, 2006 12:36pm ET
Yesterday, I tasted two flights of 1996 Cabernets as part of a series on older California wines. Each year for the past 20 years, I’ve conducted retrospective tastings. It’s the only way to assess how the wines age, and it’s both instructive for me and useful for people who collect these wines.
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With Age Comes Beauty
Posted: Nov 14, 2006 11:46am ET
Winemakers periodically send me older wines to show me how their wines are aging (which is usually a good thing) or, more diplomatically, to demonstrate what I missed the first time around. And about one-third of the 5,000 or so wines that I taste each year are older wines, as opposed to new releases.
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A Cult-Wine Corkscrew Massacre
Posted: Nov 13, 2006 2:17pm ET
On Saturday, a friend invited me to a dinner party and mentioned some of her friends were, well, wine geeks. No kidding. Turns out her friends, nearly a dozen, were that and more. These folks knew how to shop for gourmet breads and cheeses, cook a savory mixed grill of tri-tips, shrimp and chicken on the barbie, set tables, buy wine, pull corks and wash dishes—sometimes seemingly all at the same time.
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Pajama Party Treats
Posted: Nov 10, 2006 12:52pm ET
If you’ve only got one bottle of a special wine, do you drink it or hold it? I'm often asked that question, and I have a couple of thoughts that merit consideration the next time you’re facing that dilemma.
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A New Face in Napa Valley
Posted: Nov 9, 2006 12:51pm ET
On Monday, Kapcsandy Family Winery brought in the last of the grapes for 2006 from its State Lane Vineyard in Yountville, wrapping up its fourth harvest. Earlier this year, I reviewed the winery’s debut wine , a rather oaky 2003 Cabernet-based red.
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Tasting Opus Alone and With Its Competitors
Posted: Nov 8, 2006 9:57am ET
When I met with Opus One CEO David Pearson ( see my previous post ) and winemaker Michael Silacci, they had arranged for a select vertical of their wines. I had also asked Pearson, partly in jest, if we could taste the wines blind with a few ringers.
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Opus One Looks Ahead
Posted: Nov 7, 2006 9:54am ET
On opposite walls in David Pearson’s office are two imposing photos of wine legends. One is dead. One is still alive. To Pearson’s right is a black-and-white photo of Baron Philippe de Rothschild. “His eyes follow you around the room,” says Pearson, the CEO of Opus One, acting as if it’s both reassuring and intimidating.
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On "A Cult Worth Joining"
Posted: Nov 3, 2006 2:57pm ET
If you get a chance, check out today’s Wall Street Journal and their wine columnists’ review of Napa’s cult Cabernets ("A Cult Worth Joining"). I enjoy reading Dorothy J. Gaiter’s and John Brecher’s weekly column, "Tastings," and today they report on their experience with Napa’s rarest and most expensive wines.
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Turley and Wetlaufer Scale Back
Posted: Nov 2, 2006 8:43pm ET
It’s the end of an era. Sort of. Maybe. Two of the most influential winemakers of this era—the wife-and-husband team of winemaker Helen Turley and viticulturist John Wetlaufer—have cut their consulting business to one client.
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Is It a Twist or a Screw?
Posted: Nov 2, 2006 11:40am ET
The other night at a rollicking party in Napa, a woman who works in the wine business approached me about alternative closures. She works for a big company in the valley and they are tired of the hassles with corks.
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A Deal on Napa Cabernet
Posted: Nov 1, 2006 1:05pm ET
Cabernet drinkers, er, make that Napa Valley Cabernet drinkers, are frustrated a lot these days. Too many high prices and hard-to-get wines is a common refrain I hear from readers. So, just when you think that a luscious Napa Cabernet for $30 is an endangered species, along comes a pleasant surprise.
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