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In the Oct. 15, 2011 Issue

California Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is known as one of the toughest grapes to grow and vinify, even as it tantalizes with the capability of making elegant and ageable reds that at their height can be mesmerizing, ethereal experiences.

FREE Wine Chart:

Spain: A free chart offers an alphabetical list of all Spanish wines reviewed for the tasting report in this issue.

Cover Story

Sonoma Pinot Noir - In the early 1980s, an unlikely pair helped spark the quality revolution that has turned apple orchards and redwood-fringed meadows into some of the finest terroir for Pinot Noir outside Burgundy
Best Wines - An insider's guide to the finest bottlings, and what makes them distinctive
Best Vineyards - Mapping the top sites for this finicky grape, from the wilds of the Sonoma Coast to the rolling countryside of Carneros


Tasting Reports

Almost Perfect - The 2009 vintage is the finest in the history of California Pinot Noir, as the ranks of exceptional producers continues to expand
Values Roundup - 200 wines that represent the best bargains from around the world

WineSpectator.com: Our website's Value Wines section keeps you updated on great buys year-round. Browse our exclusive lists of the world's top wine values, top value producers and easy-to-find wines.

Spain's Rising Star - The Toro region is the latest to make a quality breakout in this diverse winemaking nation
FREE: Spain Alphabetical Listing

WineSpectator.com: More than 675 wines were reviewed for this report. A free alphabetical list is available. WineSpectator.com members can access complete reviews for all the wines tasted using the online Wine Ratings Search.

Cune Imperial - A retrospective tasting highlights the elegance of the venerable Rioja


Enjoying San Sebastián - This seaside city is home to some of Spain's most exciting restaurants
Small Tastes of Heaven - Where to go, eat and sleep in Spain's San Sebastián



Pace of California Winery Acquisitions Accelerates

WineSpectator.com: Keep up with breaking news as well as the people, places and happenings that wine lovers are talking about.


2010 Bordeaux Futures Campaign Gets Mixed Reviews
There’s Crying in Winemaking
World Watch - Pomerol Ponies, Liquid Gold and Frescobaldi in Friuli


Sommelier Bernard Sun - Wine director Bernard Sun has worked in the some of world’s most famous dining rooms


The Manhattan: King of Cocktails

WineSpectator.com: Members can reference our full archive of Jack Bettridge’s columns, and other articles on spirits.

Things We Like

Ken Burns on Prohibition
Florida Bottarga
A Must-Have Knife

Wine Auctions

Second-Quarter Index Shows Small Drop - Wine Spectator Auction Index is down 3.6 percent, but Hong Kong prices soar

WineSpectator.com: Research before you buy at the fall auctions. Website members can check the latest auction highlights and track prices for more than 12,000 collectible wines in our Auction Price Database.

Central Coast Auction Raises $725K for Charity

Cellars / Collections

An All-Star Collection - Hockey star Ron Francis keeps his collection just off the dining room


This Issue/Marvin R. Shanken

This Issue - Marvin R. Shanken



Savvy Shopper

Reds from California, Italy and France


James Laube - Napa's Allure

WineSpectator.com: In his latest blogs, James Laube finds the Dominus 2008 Cabernet blend to be the estateís most exciting vintage in recent years, and claims that every vintner has a price at which they'll sell their winery. WineSpectator.com members can join the conversation.

Matt Kramer - How to Buy Wine

WineSpectator.com: Don't miss Matt Kramer's web-exclusive essays and lively online discussions. (Only members may post comments, but all visitors may read them.)

A Perfect Match

Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier's Poached Salmon With Pinot Noir - Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, Arrows Restaurant, Ogunquit, Maine

The Buying Guide

The Buying Guide for this issue is available here.

Improve Your Tasting Skills  How do experts consistently recognize, identify and describe wines? With Wine Spectator School's online Sensory Evaluation course, you'll see—and smell and taste—wine in a whole new way. This and nine other courses are free with your WineSpectator.com membership, only $49 per year.

Value Wines  Always on the hunt for a bargain? Browse our frequently updated lists of Top Values, high-scoring wines at great prices; Easy Finds, inexpensive, quality wines made in large quantities; and Wineries for Value, producers that have made the most values in their region.

Harvest 101  How do winegrowers decide when to pick? How does the weather affect wine quality and character? What actually happens once the grapes get to the winery? Learn all about it in our step-by-step guide to crush.

Kosher Picks for the High Holidays  Get our editors' recommendations of recently rated, high-scoring kosher wines from around the world, plus a fresh new recipe.

Wine Storage: Seven Need-to-Know Tips  Learn how to keep your wines safe until you're ready to drink them.

New On Wine Spectator Video  Tune in each week for a new video. Don't miss these recent additions:

  • Video Contest Finalists:  Find out who made the cut in Wine Spectator's fifth annual wine video competition, and who won the viewers' top vote to earn the grand prize! Finalists will be posted Sept. 12; the winner will be revealed Sept. 20.
  • Santorini Styles:  Discover the crisp, minerally white wines made on this Greek island. Watch as a leading winemaker introduces three different styles made from the Assyrtiko grape: unoaked, oaked and sweet.

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