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2017 Napa Valley – First Impressions

featured, United States: California, napa

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2018

Two thousand seventeen will mostly be remembered for the October wildfires that ravaged Northern California. However, the keys to understanding the vintage and wines are much more nuanced than just what happened over that period of about ten days during which the survival of Napa Valley and surrounding counties felt severely threatened by relentless, advancing fires and high winds.


Vinous Table: Marino Ristorante, Hollywood, CA

Vinous Table, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2018

This intimate dinner with a small group of close friends came together literally at the last minute. Getting a reservation for six on a Saturday night in LA with no notice is not exactly the easiest thing to do, but I was thrilled we were able to get in.

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Cellar Favorites: David Abreu – Revisiting the 2008s

featured, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, May 2018

Readers will find much to admire in David Abreu’s 2008s. In most vintages, the Abreu wines are very slow to develop, but the 2008s have largely entered an early plateau of maturity where they are quite expressive.


Vinous Table: Zuni Café, San Francisco, CA

United States: California, Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, May 2018

A San Francisco institution, Zuni Café has kept guests well fed since 1979, eons by the standards with which restaurants open and close in the United States. The cozy, two-story, rustic dining room is bustling with energy as we settle in for this mid-week lunch.

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Turley Zinfandel Hayne Vineyard: 1993 – 2015

Verticals & Retrospectives, featured, United States: California

Stephen Tanzer, May 2018

Three years ago I had the good fortune to taste a complete set of Turley Wine Cellars’ Hayne Vineyard Petite Syrah, made from vines planted in 1953. This past March I followed up with a comprehensive look at Turley’s first—and arguably greatest—Zinfandel bottling, also from Hayne Vineyard, in this case from vines planted in 1903!

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Vintage Retrospective: The 2008 Napa Valley Cabernets

featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California

Stephen Tanzer, May 2018

The crazy weather year of 2008 on California’s North Coast somehow managed to produce many highly concentrated, stylish, complex and balanced wines that are just now entering their periods of peak pleasure.

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Vinous Table: Dry Creek Kitchen, Healdsburg, CA

Vinous Table, United States: California

Stephen Tanzer, Apr 2018

Charlie Palmer opened his Dry Creek Kitchen restaurant in the Hotel Healdsburg on the town’s historic plaza in 2001. A number of executive chefs succeeded him over the years with varying degrees of success, but when Scott Romano, veteran of the Palmer and Puck organizations, assumed the role in 2016, he re-established Dry Creek as a destination for foodies.

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Sonoma’s Stellar 2016s

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2018

Two thousand sixteen is a fabulous vintage in Sonoma. On the heels of 2015, a year of freakishly low yields that resulted in abnormally intense wines, 2016 marks a return to a much more relaxed, growing season with ideal conditions for making wines endowed with energy, freshness and delineation that provide a striking foil to California’s natural radiance. Simply put, 2016 is one of the most consistently brilliant and alluring young vintages I have ever tasted in Sonoma.

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O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Howell Mountain: 2000–2015

Verticals & Retrospectives, featured, United States: California

Stephen Tanzer, Apr 2018

O’Shaughnessy Estate is the project of Minnesotan Betty O’Shaughnessy, who prior to her Napa Valley adventure had a career in real estate investment and development followed by a stint as owner and teacher of a cooking school in Minneapolis. After falling for Napa Valley, she purchased a parcel of land in Oakville in 1990 where she built a home, then bought additional vineyards over the next decade on Howell Mountain (beginning in 1996) and Mount Veeder (in 2000). O’Shaughnessy's Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is actually a unique blend that can feature up to seven Bordeaux varieties.

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Crocker & Starr Cabernet Sauvignon Stone Place: 1999 – 2015

Verticals & Retrospectives, featured, United States: California

Stephen Tanzer, Apr 2018

Crocker & Starr’s Stone Place Cabernet Sauvignon has flown under the radar of enophiles who gravitate to more flamboyant cult wines, but in my recent vertical tasting demonstrated remarkably consistent quality and old-vines concentration.