Italy: Piedmont, featured
I found much to admire in the 2014 and 2013 Barbarescos I tasted during my most recent visit to the region this past August. The best 2014s and 2013s are exciting, thrilling wines that capture all the qualities that make Nebbiolo such a compelling grape. But far too often, the gap between the top estates and the rest is simply too wide for a region with the potential to make truly world-class wines.
On my recent trip to the Finger Lakes I made the gross miscalculation of flying in to New York City, which left me with a near 5-hour drive to my hotel. Somewhere around Ithaca I began to get hungry. By the time I hit Trumansburg I was famished. Driving down the main street I happened past Hazelnut Kitchen, which had been recommended by multiple people. Bedraggled from the long drive, I shuffled inside and sat down to the best meal of my trip.
Italy: Tuscany, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured
Revisiting the 2005 and 2004 Brunellos is a terrific opportunity to gain further insights on these two very different vintages given that some time has passed since the wines were first released. The best Brunellos from both vintages have plenty to offer, although the finest 2004s are truly superb.
Rest of the World, featured
Believe it or not, the Maritime provinces of Canada’s eastern seabord (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island) are not just producing wine, but in some cases very good wine. In particular, a combination of extremely cool climate and suitable geology have made this part of eastern Canada a region of note for sparkling wines.
Cellar Favorites, France: Champagne
Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne has long been a personal favorite. Among other things, Comtes ages spectacularly well, is relatively easy to find (despite its small production) and is very well priced for the quality relative to its peers.
Italy: Piedmont, Vinous Table
Piedmont is strikingly beautiful pretty much all the time, but it is especially magical this time of year. The last days of summer melt into fall, temperatures drop, leaves burst into glorious expressions of color and the buzz of harvest is in the air. Mushrooms and white truffles add to the natural bounty of the Piedmontese table. There is no better season to explore Piedmont’s vinous and gastronomical riches.
United States: California, Santa Lucia Highlands, featured
Two thousand fourteen has provided fans of Santa Lucia Highlands wines with a bevy of rich yet energetic wines that showcase intense, highly perfumed fruit without excess weight. A picture-perfect growing season resulted in healthy small berries. The result was wines that lead with their fruit but also have the depth and structure to age.
Argentina, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured
Trailblazer Nicolás Catena launched his Nicolás Catena Zapata blend in 1997 to prove that Argentina could make a world-class Bordeaux-style wine with a long and graceful aging curve. My vertical tasting in September made it clear that he was successful from the outset.
Italy: Center & South, Sardinia, featured
There are few more exciting wine-production areas in Italy today than Sardinia. Family-run estates and cooperatives are producing a bevy of high-quality, generally inexpensive red and white wines that deserve to be better known. Add in some of Italy’s best rosés and sweet wines, and Sardinia offers something for everyone, beginners and experts alike.
Many believe Gérard Chave made the best red Hermitage of the vintage in 1985. Admittedly, it’s hard to argue with the wine’s supple, ultra-suave style redolent of sweet spices, dried red fruit, earth tones, and old leather aromas and flavors.