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In the Dec. 15, 2014 Issue

Penfolds Winery

A recent tasting of more than 100 wines at the Penfolds winery amply demonstrated why collectors scramble for available bottles of Grange, and why Penfolds' best wines deserve their place in the wine world's gallery of stars.

FREE Wine Charts:

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

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

Cover Story

Penfolds Grange and the Rise of a Wine Empire - A visit to Bordeaux in 1948 inspired Penfolds winemaker Max Schubert to bring Old World techniques to Australia-grown Shiraz. From its inaugural vintages in the 1950s to its refined, consistently impressive incarnation today, the Grange bottling is a towering presence in the modern wine world. The story of how this legendary wine ushered Penfolds from humble beginnings to the forefront of Australian producers
Tasting Grange - Reviewing five decades of Penfolds' iconic Shiraz, from 1955 to 2010
Decoding Penfolds Bin Numbers - A look at the history, naming conventions and unique qualities of Penfolds' well-known range of "bin" wines

WineSpectator.com: BONUS VIDEO Penfolds Perfection: When Wine Spectator's editors picked their most memorable wines of the 20th century, the 1955 Penfolds Grange made the cut. The 2008 Grange received a rare 100 points. Learn why this Shiraz is so spectacular with winemaker Peter Gago.


Tasting Reports

Another Side of Washington - Best known for bold reds, the Evergreen State offers stunning Chardonnays in 2012
FREE: Washington Alphabetical Listing

WineSpectator.com: FREE: Washington Alphabetical Listing - More than 800 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.

WineSpectator.com: BONUS VIDEO Washington's Red Mountain: Why is this one of the state's top AVAs? Get the answer and insights on the appellation's wine styles as Col Solare winemaker Darel Alwine joins Wine Spectator's Gloria Maroti Frazee.

Petite Goes Big - Rich, mouthcoating bottlings of Petite Sirah are winning fans in California
FREE: California Petite Sirah Alphabetical Listing

WineSpectator.com: FREE: California Petite Sirah Alphabetical Listing - More than 120 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.


Lone Star Dining - World-class steak houses flank a growing number of innovative eateries in Houston

WineSpectator.com: Find nearly 3,800 dining spots with award-winning wine lists in our online Restaurant Search.

Food & Drink

The Call of Cognac - From artisan producers to major houses, France’s classic brandy stands tall


Finding Terroir - Charles Banks has assembled an expansive portfolio of wineries, from Napa to South Africa
Italy's Culinary Superstar - Massimo Bottura is blazing new trails at the three-star Osteria Francescana



Napa's Earthquake Recovery

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

Roederer Launches New Cuvée
Manfred Krankl Recovers After Motorcycle Accident
Major League Magnum; Tannin Technology
Austrian Grüner Veltliner - From light and crisp, to rich and creamy, this white excels at the holiday table


Winemaker Anthony Yount - Anthony Yount achieves outstanding results with experimental techniques in Paso Robles


Costa Rica's Café Britt

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

Things We Like

Mail-Order Delectables for the Holidays - This year, spread cheer with mail-order foods


2004 Napa Cabernet - A steady growing season and a late burst of heat put 2004 wines in the sweet spot

WineSpectator.com: See the full tasting notes on all the 2004 Cabernets reviewed for this article.

Cellars / Collections

Florida Couple Sandi and Tom Moran - A Florida couple created a showcase space for a wine cellar

WineSpectator.com: Want to build up your cellar? Sign up for our free Collecting & Auctions email: Get a new collectible wine pick in each edition, plus expert tips on collecting, news and analysis.


This Issue/Marvin R. Shanken

This Issue - Marvin R. Shanken



Savvy Shopper

Washington Mixed Case, Chenin Blanc from the Loire, Italian Reds


James Laube - Warning signs

WineSpectator.com: In his blogs, James Laube shares updates from his recent tastings and visits with winemakers, and discusses hot-button issues in the wine industry. Join the conversation with other members.

Matt Kramer - Tasting in context

WineSpectator.com: For more of Matt Kramer's provocative essays and lively online discussions. (Only members may post comments but all visitors may read them.)

A Perfect Match

Juan Bochenski's Grilled Flat Iron Steak and Flaky Potatoes, with Malbec - Chef Juan Bochenski, Anasazi Restaurant, Santa Fe, N.M.

The Buying Guide

The Buying Guide for this issue is available here.

TOP 100 COUNTDOWN AND SWEEPSTAKES On Nov. 10, we'll begin unveiling the Top 10 wines of 2014—with videos, tasting notes and more—culminating with the Wine of the Year on Nov. 14 and the complete Top 100 list on Nov. 17. Starting in October, you can enter Wine Spectator's free Top 100 sweepstakes to win fabulous prizes. Don't miss out on these exciting events!

PARTY PICKS Need new ideas for your holiday table? We're highlighting great recipes and value wines in our series of holiday entertaining features, running from Thanksgiving through the New Year.

HEALTH ON THE MENU You don't have to forgo delicious food to stay slim, with the help of some of the world's leading chefs. George Mendes of Aldea in New York shares three Portuguese recipes, all full of flavor and healthy ingredients. And French chef Michel Guerard, known for his spa cuisine, shows you how to make traditional French dishes with a fraction of their normal calorie content. Wine Spectator shares wine matches for each of the dishes.

MOBILE-FRIENDLY WINE SPECTATOR VIDEO You can now watch all our great wine tips, winemaker interviews and tastings on your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. Tune in each week for a new video. Don't miss these recent additions:

  • Defining Fine Wine, With Paul Draper: How did the Ridge Vineyards veteran, one of California's top winemakers, learn to make wine? And what is fine wine, exactly? Meet Paul Draper and learn from the best.
  • Sicily's Local Reds: Get the inside scoop on this Italian island's indigenous varieties as senior editor Alison Napjus tastes wines made from Nero d'Avola and Frappato with Francesca Planeta.

INTRODUCING... RATINGS FLASH This new e-mail alert will let you know when we've added new wine ratings to our Wine Ratings Search database from your favorite wine regions. Just enter your e-mail address, as well as your preferred regions, and we'll do the rest!

WINE CLASSES FROM WINE SPECTATOR SCHOOL Get more enjoyment out of the wines you drink with Wine Spectator School's 10 online courses—all of them included in your WineSpectator.com membership. Learn what to look for in a glass of wine with ABCs of Wine Tasting, develop a deeper appreciation with Understanding Wine, or take a seminar on Wine and Food Pairing. Our courses make great holiday gifts, too, and you can share the step-by-step tastings with family and friends.

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