Terraced vineyards in valdeorras  overlooking the river sil. today  this relatively obscure zone is emerging as one of spain's most exciting growing regions copy

Spain’s Northern Regions Keep It Cool

featured, Spain

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2019

Spain’s northern, Atlantic Ocean–influenced winegrowing zones were virtually unknown to most wine lovers only a decade ago, but things have changed dramatically. The popularity of some of Spain’s high-quality red wines and racy whites from the area continues a steep upward trajectory.

Rioja's beneficial microclimate owes a great deal to the sierra cantabria mountain range  which shelters the vineyards from rain and cold winds that pour down from the atlantic ocean copy

Rioja Looks Back and Ahead

featured, Spain

Josh Raynolds, Feb 2019

Traditionally made Riojas are having a moment. Old-school, elegant Riojas have caught the attention of collectors and sommeliers around the world, putting pressure on the supply of some of the region’s most famous wines. At the same time, a number of modern-leaning producers have begun to throttle back on assertive oak, extraction and alcohol levels, which is a highly welcome development. The recent 2016, 2015 and 2014 vintages have been very good to outstanding, with healthy yields that ensure there’s plenty of wine to go around.

The marine derived  sandy soils and cold winds from the pacific ocean give the wines of coastal san luis obispo their distinctive freshness and energy

San Luis Obispo County Plays It Cool

United States: California, featured

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2019

The greater San Luis Obispo County winegrowing region is best known for the mostly brawny, high-octane Rhône-variety-based wines of its famous AVA, Paso Robles, but the elegant and energetic wines from its cool, Pacific Ocean–influenced vineyards are increasingly making their case in the market as well.

Brasserie georges 8 copy

2018 Dining & Drinking Memories

featured

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2019

I was fortunate to enjoy dozens of fantastic meals, casual as well as over-the-top, indulgent and gastronomic, as well as literally hundreds of superb wines, ranging from remarkable values to rarities this year, many of which will likely never pass my lips again. Choosing which ones were “best” is, frankly, impossible but here is a highly pared down selection of those meals and wines that made some of the strongest and most lasting impressions on me in 2018.

Late spring in the vacqueyras vineyards copy

Vacqueyras 2016 and 2015: Value and Consistency

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2018

Vacqueyras enjoyed virtually flawless growing seasons in 2016 and 2015 and its producers responded by making wines of consistently high quality. While prices have been steadily rising for current releases from neighboring Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas, pricing for Vacqueyras wines has mostly been holding steady, which is terrific news for wine lovers.

Ch%c3%a2teau de beaucastel has long produced some of the region%e2%80%99s benchmark white wines cover

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc: 2016 & 2017

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2018

White wines are just a drop in the bucket of Châteauneuf-du-Pape production, but that doesn’t mean vignerons don’t give them a lot of love. On the contrary, these are among the most exciting wines being produced in the Rhône Valley today. Three outstanding vintages are now in the market or on deck.

Late afternoon fog rolling through the santa lucia highlands cover

New Releases from Santa Lucia Highlands & Neighbors

Santa Lucia Highlands, United States: California, featured

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2018

Two thousand sixteen in the Santa Lucia Highlands and across Monterey County brought a long, problem-free growing season, with abundant beneficial rain throughout the year followed by an extended, generous harvest of clean, ripe fruit. In sum, it was a nearly ideal year, and that comes through in the wines.

The mineral rich soils of the willow creek district produce wines of uncanny freshness for such a hot region copy

Paso Robles 2016 & 2015: New Releases

United States: California, featured

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2018

Paso Robles ranks among the most dynamic wine regions anywhere in the world, in spite of a string of drought-affected vintages. There’s a youthful energy and open-mindedness here that’s palpable, and it comes through clearly in the wines, many of which are outstanding in the 2016 and 2015 vintages.

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Make Way for Even More Rosé

Rest of the World, featured

Josh Raynolds, Aug 2018

This summer gave me an opportunity to sample a number of high-quality Rosés, wines that are ideal companions to hot-weather food or for just enjoying by themselves. But don’t be in a hurry as their adaptability at the table often makes them year-round drinking options.

Cover the gigondas vineyards that lie just beneath the dentelles de montmirail mountains produce deep but energetis and ageworthy wines copy 2

2016 Gigondas – A Slam Dunk

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Aug 2018

Two thousand sixteen in Gigondas, as in the rest of the southern Rhône, experienced a growing season for the record books, yet again – producing expressive, intense, fruit-driven wines of often profound depth as well as energy.