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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.

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Cellar Favorite: 1993 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé

Cellar Favorites, France: Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2017

The 1993 Comtes de Champagne Rosé has not changed much since I last tasted it three years ago. Soft, aromatically open and super-expressive, the 1993 possesses exceptional balance and class.

Da wines

Vinous Table: Trattoria Al Pompiere, Verona, Italy

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

Readers spending time in Verona and looking for a hearty meal with well-cooked dishes and a fairly priced wine list especially rich in local wines of the Veneto (with some older vintages going back to 1995), would do well to check out Trattoria Al Pompiere. Super popular, Al Pompiere is always packed. Italians and foreigners alike fill the tightly spaced tables in two rooms decorated with exposed wooden beams, old photos of past and current patrons and host of other rustic charms. One caveat - the noteworthy din made up of happy chatter and laughs does not make for an especially romantic evening. The eye gazes over the cheese corner, where about 100 different Italian cheeses are in full view, before moving to the charcuterie corner, which is a filled with about 40 different salumi. As if that weren’t enough, prosciuttos and salamis hang from the rafters in true postcard style.

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2014 Red Burgundies: Delicious Terroir-Driven Midweights

France: Burgundy, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2017

The best 2014 red Burgundies show exhilarating definition and lift, typically with high-pitched aromas and flavors of tangy red fruits, minerals, spices and flowers. And with mostly moderate levels of alcohol and baby fat, the 2014s are clear reflections of their terroirs.

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Tramin Pinot Grigio Unterebner: 2002-2015

Italy: North, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

Thinking of Pinot Grigio only in terms of insipid or boring wines is one of the biggest mistake made by wine lovers and wine experts today. The fact is Pinot Grigio is one of the world’s noble grapes. Tramin’s top of the line Unterebner bottling showcases the greatness the variety and wines are capable of.

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Cellar Favorite: 1988 Francesco Rinaldi Barolo La Brunata

Cellar Favorites, Italy: Piedmont

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

I have always enjoyed Francesco Rinaldi’s single vineyard Barolos, both of which are made from two of the denominazione’s greatest sites, Brunate and Cannubi.

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Vinous Table: Da Fiore, Venice, Italy

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

In the eyes, mind and taste buds of many, Da Fiore is the best restaurant in Venice. A few of the city’s most famous recipes are tweaked with creative touches and lightened up, but the culinary wizardry of owner/chef Mara Martin is such that her traditional renditions of Venetian classics are hard to beat.

Montecillo vinous

Sonoma’s Sensational 2015s, Part One

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2017

Challenging spring conditions, warm weather and a very early harvest produced rich, sumptuous Pinot Noirs, Zinfandels and Syrahs that offer a compelling interplay of dense fruit and vibrant, pulsating acidity. The best 2015s are exotic, viscerally thrilling wines endowed with phenomenal purity, depth and intensity.

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Bruno Giacosa: Barbaresco Santo Stefano 1964-2007

Italy: Piedmont, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2017

Over the years I have been fortunate to taste many of Bruno Giacosa’s wines. This comprehensive vertical of the Barbaresco Santo Stefano, held over two evenings and going back to the inaugural 1964, was truly unforgettable. There were plenty of surprises from a number of dark horse vintages, while the epic Red Label Riservas once again proved why these are some of the most coveted wines in the world. Above all else, though, the wines were a poignant reminder of the genius of Bruno Giacosa.

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Cellar Favorite: 1970 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2017

I haven’t tasted Beaulieu Vineyard’s 1970 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour in a few years. Time has been kind to the 1970. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say the 1970 has been kind to time.