2017 07 29 16.05.29 copy

Cayuse Vineyards’ Syrah Bionic Frog: 2000 – 2014

featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: Washington

Stephen Tanzer, Oct 2017

Christophe Baron’s adventures in Walla Walla Valley quickly bore fruit. Since the turn of the new century his wines — especially his Syrahs — have consistently stood out from the crowd in Washington State. Baron’s Bionic Frog bottling is the best of them, as a comprehensive recent vertical tasting made clear.

Meursault les grands charron and le tesson in late spring of 2017 cover

2016 & 2015 White Burgundy

featured, France: Burgundy

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2017

It was quality over quantity in 2016, as a fraught growing season with sharply reduced production appears to have produced charming, aromatically appealing wines that will give early pleasure. The best 2015s are denser, deeper and more serious but rarely show the austerity of wines from more classic high-acid years.

Spottswoode(cover) copy

Vintage Retrospective: The 1997 Napa Valley Cabernets

featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2017

For a year with wall-to-wall sunshine and a very early harvest, the 1997 Napa Valley Cabernets are surprisingly classic in style. The better wines have aged beautifully on their sheer strength of material and balance, and often show striking aromatic complexity, not to mention uncanny retention of fresh fruit. Some of the best ‘97s are from higher-altitude vineyards that enjoyed extra hang time owing to cooler afternoon temperatures and yielded more structured wines.

L'homme mort  the northernmost premier cru of chablis copy

Chablis 2016 & 2015: Quality Over Quantity

featured, France: Burgundy

Stephen Tanzer, Aug 2017

Extreme weather conditions vexed growers in Chablis in 2016 and 2015, but both vintages produced many very good to excellent wines that avoid the tooth-rattling acidity and forbidding austerity of examples from more classic years. Today the 2016s appear to be more transparent to their terroirs but the best ‘15s may surprise us with their vineyard specificity after they’ve had a chance to burn off some of their considerable baby fat.

4 two vineyards and their very different soil copy 2

Verticals of Ramey’s Hyde & Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnays

featured, United States: California

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2017

David Ramey, one of California’s proven masters of Chardonnay, has compiled an admirable track record for making rich, complex wines with uncanny staying power, as a recent tasting of his Chardonnays from the Hyde and Ritchie vineyards made clear.

Vineyards in mendoza 1

Argentina New Releases: Cool Times in the Desert

featured, Argentina

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2017

Within just the last six weeks I’ve experienced global warming up close and personal: 92-degree late-May weather in Burgundy, 102 degrees in Walla Walla before the end of June, and the steam heat of a New York City summer. But somehow Mendoza, Argentina’s engine of wine production, a semi-arid desert region that could not produce wine without irrigation from melting Andes snow, has not had a classically warm, dry growing season since 2012 – until this year, that is.

An embarrassment of riches 1

A Bond Extravaganza

featured, United States: California

Stephen Tanzer, Jun 2017

A remarkable comprehensive tasting at Bond Estates in March spotlighted the consistently high quality of the Bond wines and brought their distinctive terroir character into sharp relief.

2007 napa cabs copy

Vintage Retrospective: The 2007 Napa Valley Cabernets

featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California

Stephen Tanzer, May 2017

At the level of the better producers, 2007 was a splendid vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. These very dense, ripe, deeply fruity yet lively wines are evolving slowly and gracefully.

2010 napa article cover photo

Bryant’s Cabernet Sauvignon: 1994-2014

featured, United States: California, Verticals & Retrospectives

Stephen Tanzer, May 2017

A number of accomplished cooks have stirred the broth at Bryant over a quarter-century of winemaking, but the power, purity and personality of this elite Pritchard Hill site have always come through in the maturing wines.

Morning at boekenhoutskloof in franschhoek

A Splendid 2015 Vintage in South Africa—Time To Discover Swartland’s Wines

featured, South Africa

Stephen Tanzer, May 2017

South Africa’s more ambitious wines—whites as well as reds—are fresher and better than ever, and they have never offered more stunning value in export markets than they do today.