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2016 Champagne: Harvest Report

France: Champagne, featured

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2017

My annual spring tastings of vins clairs suggest 2016 is an uneven vintage in Champagne. The wines I tasted were on the softer, more open-knit side of things relative to how vins clairs show in the very best vintages. Of course, vins clairs will go through several transformations as they are blended and bottled to become Champagne, and then aged prior to being disgorged and ultimately released, a process that takes a minimum of a few years. These are some early observations.

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Cellar Favorite: 1990 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino

Cellar Favorites, Italy: Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2017

Over the years, I have been fortunate to taste and drink more than my fair share of the 1990 Monfortino, but this is the first time I have tasted the wine at the winery, from a bottle that has never moved.

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Vinous Table: Aquila Nigra, Mantova, Italy

Vinous Table, Italy: North

Ian D'Agata, Apr 2017

Aquila Nigra, Mantova’s best restaurant, is where generations of the city’s denizens have spent, at least ones, a family Sunday lunch or celebrated an important life event. It’s one of Italy’s best restaurants for outstanding dishes steeped in local tradition and authenticity.

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The 2001 Red Burgundies at Age 15

France: Burgundy, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Apr 2017

Owing to tricky weather conditions during the weeks leading up to the harvest, the 2001 red Burgundies received mixed reviews at the outset. Growers themselves expressed reservations about the wines. But the 2001s have evolved gracefully and the better examples are pure, classic red Burgundies with noteworthy transparency to site.

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The Wines of Basilicata: Paradise Lost and Regained

Italy: Center & South, featured

Ian D'Agata, Apr 2017

The combination of the majestic Vulture volcano’s soil and microclimate and a world-class grape variety, Aglianico, should have ensured Basilicata and its wines worldwide fame and fortune decades ago. But it’s only now that a new generation of young winemakers is making fresh, precise, site-specific wines.

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Cellar Favorite: 1996 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Falletto

Cellar Favorites, Italy: Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2017

Bruno Giacosa’s 1996 Barolo Riserva Falletto more than lives up to its lofty reputation. The wine needs time in the decanter for some initial VA funk to blow off, but when it does, what emerges is a Barolo of utterly captivating beauty.

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Vinous Table: Il Ridotto

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

If it’s not Venice’s best restaurant today, Il Ridotto certainly has the city’s most interesting and inventive food. The small dining room offers a gourmet dining experience enhanced by fine ingredients and a fairly priced, well thought out wine list.

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Domaine Leroy: The 2014s from Bottle

France: Burgundy, featured

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2017

Lalou Bize-Leroy doesn’t miss a beat. The years may pass, but Bize-Leroy remains a beacon of uncompromising quality and a fountain of strong, deeply held convictions. Leroy’s 2014s are tense, brilliant wines endowed with remarkable energy, translucence and expression of site, all of which give them a sense of classicism that will thrill Burgundy lovers.

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Larcis Ducasse Retrospective: 1945-2014

France: Bordeaux, featured

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2017

This comprehensive retrospective at Larcis Ducasse spanned a remarkable eight decades and included wines all the way back to 1945 that trace the evolution of the estate during the three distinct eras that bridge those years.

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Cellar Favorite: 1989 Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny Amoureuses 1er Cru

Cellar Favorites, France: Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2017

Roumier’s 1989 Chambolle-Musigny Amoureuses is a lovely, mature Burgundy to drink now and over the next handful of years. Dried flowers, tobacco, leather, spice and dark-fleshed fruit overtones all waft out of the glass with effortless grace.