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Focus on Washington: Hot Times in the Desert

United States: Washington, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2016

The recent string of extra-hot years has forced Washington State’s growers and winemakers to respond proactively to extreme conditions. But the most successful players have been able to harvest strong raw materials and produce seriously rich, balanced wines.

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Cellar Favorite: 2005 Domaine Arnaud Ente Meursault La Sève du Clos

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2016

Opening ten-year old white Burgundies can be fraught with peril, owing to the category’s ongoing issues with premature oxidation. But I needn’t have worried about this remarkable village wine from Arnaud Ente, who is routinely one of the earliest pickers in Meursault.

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Mâconnais: The Headspinning 2015s and The Classic 2014s

France: Burgundy, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Oct 2016

As on the Côte de Beaune, the Mâconnais produced classically taut, mineral-driven 2014s followed by very rich and in some cases exotic 2015s from a very warm, dry, early growing season. In short, the two vintages offer intriguing choices for every Chardonnay lover.

Bottles

Vertical Tasting of the Nicolás Catena Zapata 1997-2012

Argentina, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Oct 2016

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.

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The 2014 White Burgundies: What’s Not To Like?

France: Burgundy, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2016

Two thousand fourteen is a modern classic for white Burgundy, having produced concentrated, vibrant wines with uncommon balance, aromatic complexity, pure fruit flavors and compelling saline minerality.

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The 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction: Distinctive Wines from South Africa

South Africa, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2016

My annual late-summer tasting of the new crop of Cape Winemakers Guild auction wines has become one of my favorite group tastings of each year. The four dozen or so wines offered at each year’s auction provide a stunning overview of the remarkable diversity of South Africa’s wine industry. A weak South African rand in conjunction with highly distinctive wines of consistently high quality make this year’s CWG auction a unique buying opportunity for international wine lovers.

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The 2015 White Burgundies: A Year of Sunshine

France: Burgundy, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2016

The very warm, dry growing season of 2015 yielded Burgundy’s fleshiest, most opulent white wines since at least 2009. The 2015 whites are clean, pure and rich, favoring ripe orchard and soft citrus fruits over minerality, as is typical of very warm, sunny years.

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Chablis Gets the Côte de Beaune Treatment from Mother Nature

France: Burgundy, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2016

The very warm, early growing season of 2015 yielded ripe, rich wines that lead with their fruit, but the harvest was complicated by a hailstorm just before picking began. Meanwhile, 2014 has turned out to be a modern classic for Chablis.

The daily menu at la maison du colombier

Vinous Table: La Maison du Colombier, Beaune, France

Vinous Table

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2016

Roland Chanliaud looks up from the tiny counter of his open kitchen and beams as you enter the restaurant of La Maison du Colombier in Beaune. For years Chanliaud was the wizard in the kitchen at Le Jardin des Remparts, a restaurant known for its classic cuisine though decidedly not for the warmth of its accueil. Now he and his new wife preside over this self-styled gastro-bar...

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Vertical Tasting of Shafer’s Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select

Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2016

John Shafer, who was then in the publishing business, bought this estate in Stags Leap in 1972 and moved here the following year. Shafer was not “a wine guy,” according to his son Doug Shafer; he had come to check out Napa Valley as an investor and was specifically looking for hillside vineyards.