The famed hermitage vineyards rise above tain'l'hermitage  as viewed from tournon copy

2015 Northern Rhônes: Outstanding Wines for the Long Haul

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2017

More than a few producers I visited this winter called 2015 “a vintage marked more by the climate than by terroir,” with the fruit and the warm conditions speaking more strongly than place character. That may be true for now but I also believe that 2015 is a seriously great vintage and one of the best in a generation for the northern Rhône.

Early december  post 2016 harvest in cha%cc%82teauneuf du pape copy

2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Power and Balance

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2017

While the 2015 growing season was very warm in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this vintage is no replay of the high-octane 2007 or 2003. The ‘15s are hardly shrinking violets but they also display healthy balancing acidity and freshness.

Casablancavalleysantarita2 copy

New Releases from Chile: The Tail Wags the Dog

Chile, featured

Josh Raynolds, Feb 2017

After years of percolating beneath the surface of an ocean of corporate, albeit frequently well-made wines, Chile’s small-scale winemakers are slowly but steadily rising to the consciousness of wine lovers. At the same time, a number of the country's largest wineries are stepping up their own quality game, making these exciting vinous times for Chile, which for too long was spoken of more for its quality potential than for the actual merit of its wines.

Photo mas martinet

2017 New Releases From Spain, Part 1

Spain

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2017

Overall quality of Spanish wines continues to rise, as does their availability in export markets. The result is a rapidly increasing number of wines that are worthy of consumers’ attention. This year we will be publishing several articles throughout the year in order to align coverage with what has become a continuous stream of new releases.

Late spring near brouilly copy

2015 Beaujolais Part 2: A Vintage of Richness and Energy

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2017

The last three vintages for Beaujolais have been a string of home runs, but 2015 is likely to be the one that delivers the greatest impact and pleasure for most wine lovers. Two thousand fifteen has plenty of candidates for wine of the year; wines that deliver concentration and energy, with opulent fruit character and the classic core of acidity that gives Beaujolais its trademark vivacity. These wines are also built to age but at the same time display an exuberance that makes many of them pretty irresistible now.

Photo chehalem mountains copy

Oregon: Beyond Pinot Noir

United States: Oregon, featured

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2017

Pinot Noir dominates Oregon’s wine production to the point where wine lovers are often totally unaware of the rising quality of many of the State’s other varieties. Most of these wines are produced in small quantities, but in many cases a search of the market is more than worth the effort, and pricing is often favorable as well.

The bishop creek vineyard in yamhill carlton  now owned by nicolas jay copy

Oregon Pinot Noir: The Exceptional 2014s and Often Surprising 2013s

United States: Oregon, featured

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2016

Two thousand fourteen heralds what by all indications will be an unprecedented run of three exceptional vintages for Oregon Pinot Noir. Now that I’ve had the chance to taste finished 2014s from most of the best producers, I can say with confidence that this is the strongest and most consistently pleasurable vintage, overall, that I’ve tasted in my 31 years of following Oregon Pinot Noir.

Morning fog slowly burning off over hahn vineyard copy

Santa Lucia Highlands: New Releases

United States: California, Santa Lucia Highlands, featured

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2016

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.

The view from daou's hilltop winery in the adelaida district copy

Paso Robles: Taming the Beast

United States: California, featured

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2016

Recent vintages in Paso Robles have been exceptional, quality-wise, but an extended drought has slashed fruit yields between 25% and 50%, resulting in a classic “good news, bad news” situation that is driving producers and wine lovers nuts. Fans of full-throttle wines will find plenty to like from Paso Robles in 2014, although sourcing the wines may prove to be more of a challenge.

Beaujolais 2015 vineyard   new

2015 Beaujolais Preview: Atypically Brawny but Often Excellent

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Aug 2016

While Beaujolais has been on as strong a roll as any wine region in France over most of the last decade, the 2015 vintage in Beaujolais has been receiving more attention than any I can recall, including the outstanding 2014 and 2013. But do the ‘15s justify the hype, especially for veteran fans of these wines?