featured, Italy: Piedmont
Held this past February, La Festa del Barolo brought together producers, sommeliers and wine lovers from around the world for a memorable weekend of wine, food and conversation. Guests shared an unreal number of rare and collectible bottles at the Gala Dinner, while the 2012 Barolo Masterclass provided a great opportunity for attendees to taste new releases while hearing directly from the growers in an intimate and highly interactive setting.
Dry wines are all the rage nowadays, but throughout most of history, sweet wines ruled the table. Italians are especially adept at making both white and red sweet wines; certainly, no country in the world offers as many good choices of the latter.
featured, Cellar Favorites, France: Champagne
Wine lovers often debate which is the greatest vintage of the 1960s in Champagne. To be sure, it is a magical decade, with several candidates for that honor. Perhaps even more importantly though, the 1960s mark a sort of transition into modern times in Champagne.
featured, Austria, Germany
The weather extremes experienced in so many recent vintages have been accompanied increasingly by years featuring remarkably similar meteorological and growing patterns that stretch from the Mosel to parts of Austria nearly 400 flight miles distant. In the end, ironically, the drama that preceded it led to a 2016 Riesling harvest as stress-free as many Austrian and German growers could recall, and to grapes whose very gradual ripening and modest eventual must weights would have seemed more familiar to growers of the mid-20th century.
featured, United States: California
Santa Barbara is one of the most exciting and dynamic regions anywhere in the world. Each year, new vineyards, estates and projects pop up seemingly without end in this expansive yet pristine stretch of land that encompasses Santa Barbara County. The daring, innovative spirit embodied by the region’s young producers and a vast range of first-class sites creates conditions that are ideal for the production of distinctive, pedigreed wines of the highest level. Best of all, with few exceptions, these wines remain under the radar and very fairly priced relative to global peers.
featured, Italy: North, Verticals & Retrospectives
Prà’s distinctive and atypical Soave Classico Monte Grande bottling offers an important glimpse of the quality that other great Soaves might deliver in the future.
featured, napa, Verticals & Retrospectives
I was thrilled to moderate this charity tasting at the Naples Winter Wine Festival this past January. For the occasion, Harlan presented ten vintages of their flagship wine going back to 1992, which also happens to be the first vintage of Harlan Estate I tasted on release. Needless to say, it was fascinating to taste a cross-section of vintages ranging from the estate’s early days to the present, including a number of modern-day reference-points.
featured, Austria, Germany
It seems as though the climatic changes that help explain so many 21st century Riesling growing seasons of unprecedented extremes in weather are having this additional effect: For the third year in a row, in 2017 one can characterize the growing season for Riesling in Bernkastel on the Mosel in very similar terms to that in Krems on the Danube, exactly 400 crow-flying miles distant.
featured, Italy: Piedmont, Cellar Favorites
When I asked a dear friend what I could bring to his birthday party, the answer was simple: 1989 Barolo. I was more than happy to oblige, as 1989 is one of the all-time great Piedmont vintages.
featured, France: Burgundy
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.