featured, Germany, Germany: Ruwer, Germany: Saar
The Saar and Ruwer yielded a wealth of wines with improbable balance and finesse considering the meteorological extremes that characterized the 2016 growing season.
featured, France: Burgundy, Verticals & Retrospectives
It was like a thunderbolt hitting my senses: the tension, the complexity and intensity sent shivers down my spine. It was difficult to put down in words, yet this wine became instantly and indelibly etched onto my brain. Now I understood why oenophiles genuflected at the altar of white Burgundy.
Tracey Thorn’s ascent to national treasure status is something that in retrospect was inevitable. After forming the Marine Girls in the 1980s, she is best known as the lead singer of duo “Everything But The Girl” and their chart-toppers “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” and ubiquitous mid-1990s anthem, the Todd Terry enhanced “Missing”. Together with partner/husband Ben Watt, they occupied a liminal point between fey indie band and unorthodox pop stars, loitering on the periphery of music as a niche act that stumbled upon fleeting fame every few years. Thorn herself was aesthetically the antithesis of what a pop star ought to look like: too tall and rangy, lacking the sex appeal, too intelligent to all but nerds who could imagine her stepping off the stage of Top of the Pops to cram for her upcoming English Lit exam in the university library.
featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais
Following the often opulent 2015s, the 2016 vintage in Beaujolais marks a return to the classic expression of the region, producing bright, energetic wines that show real charm and early appeal.
featured, Portugal, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite
My love affair with Madeira began whilst holidaying on the namesake Atlantic volcanic island in 2003, where in a pique of curiosity I ordered a 1927 Bual. Afterwards I understood why those with good taste revere this profound, time-buckling, ethereal and enigmatic wine. Madeira is so unfashionable it is the epitome of cool. These are the latest releases from Blandy's.
Da Nando, Aosta’s best trattoria, is revered by locals and tourists alike for an excellent wine selection, hearty, traditional food and very fair prices.
featured, United States: California
“Selling Monte Bello en primeur came about totally by accident,” Paul Draper told me recently. “In 1984, Bordeaux had a very weak harvest. The London merchants told us the vintage did not look all that promising and asked us if we would be interested in selling Monte Bello futures." I recently had a chance to taste the 2017 Monte Bello in component lots and in a core base blend with Draper and current Ridge Winemaker Eric Baugher, who worked alongside Draper for more than twenty years before taking over the helm when Draper retired from day to day operations in 2016.
featured, France: Bordeaux
This report, my first on the 2015 Bordeaux for Vinous, focuses on affordable wines. You could buy some of these with a twenty-dollar bill and still come home with change. I will offer my views on the Grand Cru Classé and First Growths in the coming weeks.
featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Burgundy
From the outset, the 1999 red Burgundies offered a rare combination of charm and power. Most of the better wines were balanced and alluring from the start, but they are evolving very slowly and still have plenty of life ahead of them. While many of the ’99s I sampled with the producers this winter in the course of my tastings of ’16s and ’15s have gone through sullen stages in bottle, most of them have launched into their periods of peak drinkability. If you own these wines – and especially if you chose wisely at the outset – you will be amply rewarded.
France: Rhône & Beaujolais, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite
Thierry Allemand’s 2005 Cornas Chaillot is fabulous. Bold and pungent at the outset, with tons of whole cluster nuance, the 2005s offer striking interplay of bold, racy fruit and more floral/savory layers that are woven into the wine’s fabric.