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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

March 2013

Struggles Show for California's 2011 Vintage
Chardonnays and Pinots are lighter and short on flavor; Cabernet won’t be much better
Posted: Mar 27, 2013 4:00pm ET

The difficulties of the 2011 vintage for California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are more evident with every tasting. The 2011 Cabernets are a year away, but you can expect much of the same: variability and a lesser year. It's something you should consider when buying the current Cabernet vintages on the market.

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At the Intersection of Wine and Baseball
It's that time of year again
Posted: Mar 15, 2013 12:00pm ET

There are quite a few parallels between two of my longtime favorite pastimes, wine and baseball. In fact, the analogies between the two fit like a glove.

The wine and baseball seasons each begin in the winter and end in the fall, with baseball club managers pruning rosters in spring training not long after vineyard managers have finished some pruning of their own. Ballplayers who get sheared find themselves back in the farm system.

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The Costs of Blind Tasting
Handling nearly 20,000 wines a year requires serious investment in infrastructure and personnel
Posted: Mar 11, 2013 3:00pm ET

Recently, my colleague Harvey Steiman tackled many of the issues, pro and con, of blind vs. non-blind tasting. One aspect I'd like to address is one that's rarely discussed: the cost of staffing and staging blind tastings.

Over the course of more than 20 years, Wine Spectator has developed a methodology for our blind tastings, one designed to keep them independent, consistent and fair to the wines. When you factor in the costs of handling nearly 20,000 wines each year, that methodology costs serious money.

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