featured, France: Alsace
The 2016 and 2015 vintages in Alsace are diametric opposites: fresh and crisp in 2016, richer and more opulent in 2015. Pinot varieties excelled in ‘16, while it was mostly Gewürztraminer that stole the show in ‘15.
featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Burgundy
The first article that I ever published on the subject of wine was not some breathless puff on a 100-point Chilean Merlot discovered two-for-one down at my local Tesco. Embarrassingly, my first vinous words (not Vinous words) regaled a morning in the company of the recently bottled 1999s from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti at Corney & Barrow. In my mind, there was never any chance of a rerun through those 1999s. So I make do with the memories and remain grateful that I have tasted every release since the 1995 vintage. The latest, the 2015s, is one of the domaine’s best.
France: Champagne, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite
AG will probably kill me if he reads this, so please don’t tell him, but I once wrote something along the lines: “if you want to drink mature Champagne then you might as well pour a prematurely oxidized Meursault into a Sodastream.”
featured, Italy: North
Simply put, there have been fewer better, nicer, more knowledgeable and more important people in the world of Italian wine than Leonildo (Nino) Pieropan. Words are truly incapable of expressing who Pieropan was and what he stood for.
Italy, Italy: North, Vinous Table
Owner Stefano Enrico Sganzerla was born in a specialty food shop (literally) and so it is safe to say his destiny was sealed right from birth. From childhood onwards, Sganzerla’s life-beat has hummed along notes of food and wine. In his youth, he began working in the specialty food store, and then at his father’s coffee bar. That job description was not in tune with the young man’s aspirations, and so Sganzerla decided to open a trattoria, which is how he eventually realized his heart was in haute cuisine.
featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais
At first glance, 2016 and 2015 in the Northern Rhône Valley would appear to have yielded wines with utterly disparate personalities. On paper and by reputation the 2016s and 2015s couldn’t be more different. So the received wisdom goes. In reality, though, the closer one looks at these two outstanding vintages, the more similarities start to reveal themselves. My recent extensive tastings of bottled wines from both years, sampled side-by-side at many estates, have only confirmed my impressions of these two superb vintages.
featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Bordeaux
This is the story of Beau-Séjour Bécot’s genesis and traumatic loss of status from a human perspective. It is a story of how the estate regained classification as a Premier Grand Cru Classé “A” and how a new chapter is opening.
featured, United States: California
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.
France: Bordeaux, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite
Yet the quality of this 1973 was undeniable. I had encountered it once before, a bottle opened for my brother to celebrate his birth-year over a decade ago when such off-vintages, eschewed by all but the reckless, were affordable. But I could not remember it being this fine.
featured, Italy: Tuscany
Readers will find much to admire in these current releases from Tuscany’s Maremma, Montepulciano and smaller neighboring appellations. As always, it is the extraordinary diversity of regions, microclimates and varieties that define Italy’s rich oenological landscape. Best of all, with few exceptions, pricing for so many wines remains quite modest in today’s world.