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In the June 15, 2012 Issue


Sonoma County offers an amazing range of wines waiting to be discovered. There’s cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, sun-drenched Zinfandel, supple Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, plus sparkling wine and more.

FREE Wine Charts:

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

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

Cover Story

Exploring Sonoma - From continent’s edge to rugged foothills, the vineyards of California’s Sonoma County unfurl like a complex tapestry. Our insider’s guide to one of the most inviting wine country destinations in the United States
Best Menus - Talented chefs and savvy wine lists have transformed the dining scene
Where to Stay - From country inns to luxury hotels
Sonoma Day Trips: Sonoma Valley - Birthplace of the California wine industry
Sonoma Day Trips: Carneros - Gateway to wine country
Sonoma Day Trips: Alexander Valley - Where Cabernet meets Zinfandel
Sonoma Day Trips: Dry Creek Valley - Beautiful back roads
Sonoma Day Trips: Russian River Valley - Pinot lovers' paradise
Sonoma Day Trips: Sonoma Coast - Call of the wild

WineSpectator.com: Planning to visit Napa Valley too? For our editors’ recommendations of wineries, restaurants, hotels and attractions to visit, check out the 2012 edition of our iPad app, Wine Spectator's Guide to Napa Valley, available in the App Store.


Tasting Reports

New Zealand’s Pinot Express - The excellent 2010 vintage puts Pinot Noir on the fast track, with rising quality across the board
FREE: New Zealand Alphabetical Listing

WineSpectator.com: More than 300 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.

Pinot Noir Names to Know - A recent visit finds leading winemakers upping the ante
Sauvignon Blanc Shines On - The wine that made the country’s reputation continues to satisfy

WineSpectator.com: BONUS VIDEO: Central Otago winemaker Blair Walter defines Pinot Noir character for this region in New Zealand’s South Island.

France’s Loire Valley - This diverse region offers a flavorful cornucopia from 2009 and 2010, with lighter-style reds and elegant whites perfect for warm-weather sipping
FREE: Loire Valley Alphabetical Listing

WineSpectator.com: More than 440 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.



French Wine Sales Boom in the U.S.
Banfi Buys Kenwood Vineyards From Korbel

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


Italy’s Best Under One Roof
Wine Spectator Now Available as Digital Edition
California Faces a Vine Shortage


Jazz Pianist Jacky Terrasson - The musician honed his love for wine on the road in Europe
Louis J. Foppiano Dies

The Environment

Sustainability in Chile
Green Talk: Miguel Torres Jr.


Rwanda Revival

WineSpectator.com: Members can reference our full archives of Mark Pendergrast's columns and other articles on coffee.


This Issue/Marvin R. Shanken

This Issue - Marvin R. Shanken



Savvy Shopper

Stylish Chardonnays, Rhône-Style Reds and New Zealand Wines


James Laube - 1982: Bordeaux breakout

WineSpectator.com: In his recent blogs, James Laube declares that the White House shouldn’t keep the state dinner wine lists secret and checks out the new lines of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from prominent sommelier Rajat Parr and Napa Cabernet producer Kathyrn Hall. Join the conversation with other members.

Matt Kramer - Debunking objectivity

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

Mandy Oser and Amorette Casaus’ Flank Steak and Salsa Verde With Malbec - Owner Mandy Oser and chef Amorette Casaus, Ardesia, New York

The Buying Guide

The Buying Guide for this issue is available here.


Wine Spectator has updated and expanded its iPad app with 50 additional recommendations and more than 100 new wine reviews to help wine lovers plan the perfect trip to Napa Valley or simply learn more about its wines. Wine Spectator’s Guide to Napa Valley shares our editors’ picks for the best hotels, restaurants, attractions and wineries of the region. The app also contains rich articles, beautiful photographs, maps, recipes to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon and reviews of more than 400 highscoring Napa wines. Wine Spectator’s Guide to Napa Valley 2012 Edition can be purchased from the App Store.

SUMMER ENTERTAINING Memorial Day weekend kicks off the season for barbecues, beach-going and backyard bashes. Find new warm-weather recipes and recently rated wines to keep you refreshed.

NEW ON WINE SPECTATOR VIDEO Tune in each week for a new video. Don’t miss these recent additions:

  • Baseball Legend Tom Seaver: The Hall of Famer shares the story behind his California vineyard, from which he and his team are now producing top-notch Cabernet.
  • Single-Vineyard Barolo: The wines of Barolo are often blended from numerous vineyards. But Renato Ratti is focusing on single sites. Learn more about these intense wines with Pietro Ratti.

FREE VINTAGE CHART APP Faced with an unfamiliar bottle in a restaurant? Want to know which wine to drink now and which to hold? Try our VintageChart+ app, with 54 dynamically updated charts for the world’s major wine regions and grape varieties, so you can compare quality and check drinking windows. VintageChart+ is available as an iPhone app and as a Web app compatible with most current smartphones. Download it free.

2011 BORDEAUX BARREL TASTINGS What should you buy as futures from this tricky vintage? James Molesworth spent two weeks in Bordeaux tasting barrel samples of the young wines to find out. His full report will appear in our June 30 issue. But right now, members can read his on-the-scene blogs for highlights from top châteaus. Plus, get his scores and tasting notes for hundreds of reds, dry whites and sweet wines.

LEARN ABOUT NEW ZEALAND Wines from Down Under offer diversity and value. Get to know the key growing regions and taste the distinct wine styles with Wine Spectator School’s online course on Australia and New Zealand. This and nine other courses are included with your WineSpectator.com membership.

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