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In the Nov. 30, 2011 Issue

France's Rhône Valley

The 2009 vintage delivers high quality across the board, led by the Northern Rhône. With half of the nearly 1,100 wines tasted scoring 90 points or higher, there are plenty of delicious wines, from fruity Côtes du Rhônes to powerful Côte-Rôties.

FREE Wine Charts:

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

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

Cover Story

Rhône Valley Bonanza - In the north, the 2009 vintage delivers classic quality, while the south continues its run of success
FREE: Rhône Valley Alphabetical Listing

WineSpectator.com: More than 1,000 wines were reviewed for the Rhône Valley 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.

Peak Performance - The Northern Rhône produces its finest vintage in a decade, with racy reds and full-bodied whites
Côte-Rôtie Up Close - Profiles of the leading vintners who have turned this small appellation into the mother lode for Syrah

WineSpectator.com: BONUS VIDEO: Take a field trip to Côte-Rôtie with James Molesworth as he visits the vineyards of some of the appellation’s stars.

Back on Track - After struggling in 2008, the Southern Rhône delivers the goods in 2009, led by Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas

WineSpectator.com: BONUS VIDEO: Explore the Rhône in more depth, with video tastings, interviews with top producers, explorations of key appellations and a pairing of Rhône reds and ribs.

Soil Hunters - The Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel digs deep to make memorable reds


Tasting Reports

California Merlot - Challenging growing conditions tested the mettle of winemakers in 2008
FREE: California Merlot Alphabetical Listing

WineSpectator.com: More than 110 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.


Down-Home Hospitality - Wine-friendly recipes from the American South for the holiday table


Tradition and Modernity - A new winemaker makes his mark at Champagne’s Moët & Chandon



Vintners Crack the QR Code - Wineries add ‘smart’ tags to bottles, but will digital marketing sell more wine?

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


Rights Group Criticizes South Africa - Criticisms allege inhumane treatment of agricultural workers on fruit farms and in vineyards


Padma Lakshmi - The Top Chef host talks global cuisine, wine and hosting tips
‘Zinfandel—Paso’s Wine’ Wins 2011 Wine Spectator Video Contest

Savvy Shopper

Crackling Whites and Juicy Reds


Norman Conquests

WineSpectator.com: Members can reference our full archives of Sam Gugino’s columns and other articles on cheese.


In Your Wineglass

WineSpectator.com: Members can reference our full archives of Owen Dugan’s columns and other articles on chocolate.


2001 Côte-Rôtie - At 10 years old, the 2001 Côte-Rôtie vintage performs well

WineSpectator.com: WineSpectator.com members can read more about 2001 Côte-Rôtie in James Molesworth’s blog.

Cellars / Collections

Michael Mina - The star chef completed an outdoor sanctuary for entertaining guests


This Issue/Marvin R. Shanken

This Issue - Marvin R. Shanken




James Laube - Recessionary relief

WineSpectator.com: Among his latest blogs, James Laube shares details of Williams Selyems founder Burt Williams’ new California Pinot Noir project. WineSpectator.com members can join the conversation.

Matt Kramer - Expensive tastes

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

Sean Brock’s Catfish With Riesling - Chef Sean Brock, Husk, Charleston, S.C.

The Buying Guide

The Buying Guide for this issue is available here.

TOP 100 COUNTDOWN: FREE SITE ACCESS On Nov. 14, we'll begin unveiling the Top 10 wines of 2011, followed by the complete Top 100 list. As a bonus, for two weeks we'll be offering all visitors free trial access to our website's members-only features. Don't miss out on this exciting event!

FREE E-MAIL NEWSLETTERS Our e-letters have been redesigned:

    Sips & Tips: A great new value wine in every weekly edition, plus recipes and tips on wine, dining and travel.

    Wine & Healthy Living: Learn how wine can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, with biweekly reports on research, plus recipes and other tips.

    Collecting & Auctions: A new collectible wine pick in each biweekly edition, plus expert tips on collecting and auction news.

    Video Theater: Biweekly alerts for every new video, plus favorites from our library.

NEW YORK WINE EXPERIENCE Couldn't join us for this year's great lineup of tastings and seminars? Our full coverage of the event will bring the world's best winemakers and chefs to you with photos, articles and videos.

NEW ON WINE SPECTATOR VIDEO Tune in each week for a new video. Don't miss this recent addition:

  • Value and Terroir in Roussillon: You know Michel Chapoutier for his brilliant Rhône wines, but he also makes delicious values in Roussillon. Learn what makes this region special in this interview.

BECOME A BETTER TASTER Experts consistently recognize, identify and describe wines. How do they do it? How can you improve your own tasting ability? Take our Sensory Evaluation course—included free with your WineSpectator.com membership—and you'll see, smell and taste wine in a whole new way.

COLLECTING & AUCTIONS Build your cellar through smart bidding. Our online tools can help you find good investments and values in today's market:

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.