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Cellar Favorites: A Duo of Piedmont 2004s

Cellar Favorites, Italy: Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, May 2016

Two thousand four has long been one of my favorite vintages in Piedmont. The Nebbiolo perfume that lifted into the sky in the weeks following the harvest was pure seduction. In barrel and later in bottle, the 2004s have always been exceptionally finessed wines. After having tasted quite a few 2004s in recent months, I was tempted to open these two bottles. The 2004s continue to age gracefully, although on this night I found both of these wines less expressive than they have been in the recent past.

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A Birthday Dinner at Momofuku Ko, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, May 2016

The private dining room of David Chang’s Momofuku Ko was the site of this recent birthday dinner. Food, wine and service were all terrific, but as always, it’s the people who make a celebration truly special. Over the years, this group has tasted some pretty memorable wines together. That was once again the case on this night.

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Vietti Barolo Rocche: A Historical Retrospective 1961-2011

Verticals & Retrospectives, Italy: Piedmont, featured

Antonio Galloni, May 2016

Sometimes everything just works. That isn't always the case with older, artisan wines that can at times be moody, but on this night I had a feeling the late Alfredo Currado was looking down on us as we embarked on a search to understand the essence of his family’s iconic Barolo Rocche through seventeen vintages going all the way back to the inaugural 1961. Proprietors Luca and Elena Currado were on hand to add their invaluable insights as we travelled through the history of one of Italy’s most iconic wines.

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Vertical Tastings of Mondavi’s Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and I Block To Kalon Vineyard Fumé Blanc

Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California, featured

Stephen Tanzer, May 2016

Since 1971, Robert Mondavi Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve has been one of California’s most renowned red wines, and it’s better today than ever as it now comes entirely from the extraordinary To Kalon vineyard in Oakville. But how many consumers have tasted Mondavi’s remarkable Fumé Blanc from the I Block of the same sprawling vineyard? During my double vertical tasting of both of these special bottlings in March, it was the white wine that hit me like lightning.

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Salvioni: Brunello di Montalcino 1985-2011

Italy: Tuscany, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Antonio Galloni, May 2016

Several years in the making, this truly once in a lifetime vertical traced the arc of Giulio Salvioni’s Brunello di Montalcino back to the inaugural 1985 vintage. From the outset, Salvioni’s Brunellos attracted a great deal of acclaim, and with good reason. The early vintages remain monuments to the potential of Sangiovese in Montalcino, while many of the more recent vintages are contemporary masterpieces.

Dujac 2005 malconsorts vinous cellar favorite

Cellar Favorite: 2005 Dujac Fils & Père Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts 1er Cru

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, May 2016

Dujac’s 2005 Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts is just entering the early part of its drinking window, although it could use another few years to soften a bit further. Intense, bold and totally sensual, the 2005 is beautifully centered, with a poised core of fruit and plenty of floral and spice overtones that add nuance.

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Ad Hoc, Yountville, California

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, May 2016

This was my first time having dinner at Ad Hoc’s bar, and it won’t be the last. For starters, choices are much more flexible at the bar than in the main room, where only one menu (with an optional middle course) is offered for everyone.

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New Zealand’s Pellucid Wines: More Light Than Heat

featured, New Zealand

Stephen Tanzer, May 2016

New Zealand’s wine industry and its grape vines continue to grow and mature. I experienced the country’s blinding summer sunshine up close and personal earlier this year, but its vibrant wines kept me consistently refreshed. I tasted more wines than ever before that deliver complexity and place character, not just varietal fruit. And the recent succession of benevolent growing seasons has been a boon for ripeness without heaviness.

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Vertical Tasting of Domaine Dirler-Cadé’s Sylvaner

Italy: Center & South, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Ian D'Agata, May 2016

One reason I never miss a chance to visit Jean Dirler and his family is that the Dirler-Cadé estate in Bergholtz makes outstanding wines from several different Alsace varieties. Its Sylvaner, a grape often treated as an afterthought in Alsatian wine-production circles, is especially noteworthy. I do not feel that I am exaggerating when I describe it as a world-class wine, and the fact that it ages extremely well is an added bonus.

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2014 and 2013 Gigondas: Wines to Drink, Not Hold

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, May 2016

Fans of approachable southern Rhône red wines will find plenty to like from the 2014 vintage in Gigondas, wines that resemble the elegant 2008s and 2004s. Those two earlier vintages, which were widely overlooked by buyers in a rush to snag the hyped 2003s, 2005s 2007s and 2009s that bookended them, have emerged in recent years as exemplars of the southern Rhône in a minor key. I’m betting that the 2014s will also initially be overlooked because of what’s shaping up to be overheated pursuit of the 2015s.