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Loire Chenin Blanc: Underrated No More

featured, France: Loire

Jason Wilson, Jul 2020

One of the immutable, unwritten laws of wine writing has been that you must describe Chenin Blanc with one or more of the following terms: underappreciated, underrated or underdog. But the reality is that some of the most exciting white wines in the world are Chenin Blancs from Anjou and Touraine, in famed appellations such as Montlouis, Vouvray and Savennières, as well as from a wave of producers in Anjou who’ve shunned the traditional appellations and chosen to bottle their wines as Vin de France.

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Big Love for Loire

featured, France: Loire

Jason Wilson, Jul 2020

The Loire wine scene is full of youthful energy. It’s no surprise that the region has also become an epicenter of the organic, biodynamic and natural winemaking that appeals to a younger generation. The first part of my coverage looks at Cabernet Franc with a focus mostly on Chinon, Bourgueil and Saumur-Champigny, as well as others from Anjou and Touraine.

At keuka springs winery overlooking keuka lake

Finger Lakes With a Flourish

featured, United States: New York

Jason Wilson, Dec 2019

It’s time to take America’s premier cool-climate wine region more seriously. The Finger Lakes has been branded an “up-and-coming” wine region for almost two decades. So, at this point, it’s a reasonable question to ask: Have the wines finally arrived? Well, yes and no.

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Unraveling the Secrets of Cognac

Fortified Wines & Spirits, Fortified Wines & Spirits, France, featured

Jason Wilson, Sep 2019

When Cognac is well-made, it’s among the finest spirits known to humanity. But Cognac is a secretive, confounding place. In this report, I unravel the mysteries of Cognac, covering more than 50 brands and offering reviews and ratings on more than 200 bottles.

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Calvados: The Apple Of A Brandy Drinker’s Eye

Fortified Wines & Spirits, France: Normandy, France, featured, France: Other

Jason Wilson, Nov 2018

Forget about grapes in Normandy. Here, the apple is king. Each fall, dozens of apple varieties, in field blends, are harvested, crushed and pressed into cider. In Calvados, much of that cider is distilled into the exquisite apple brandy. It has taken time, but slowly over the past two decades, a serious generation of Calvados producers have elevated the spirit into a conversation with the world’s other great brandies.

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Exploring the World of Armagnac

France: Armagnac, Spirits, Fortified Wines & Spirits, France, featured, France: Other

Jason Wilson, Jul 2018

Armagnac is perhaps the most wine-like of spirits, and so it makes sense that, at Vinous, we begin our foray into the high-proof world of liquor by looking deeply into this classic brandy from Gascony. With a history that goes back more than 700 years, Armagnac offers authenticity, character and tradition, all of which are reflected in spirits that are imbued with notable complexity.

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Book Excerpt: Appellation Napa Valley – Stags Leap District

United States: California, featured

Richard Mendelson, Jul 2017

In this excerpt from his book Appellation Napa Valley – Building and Protecting an American Treasure, Richard Mendelson shares his first-hand account of the early days in the creation of the Stags Leap District AVA and the many untold stories that took place during this important and formative period in Napa Valley’s history.

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Grower Spotlight: Dick Steltzner

United States: California, featured

Kelli White, Jan 2017

Dick Steltzner was born and raised in Piedmont, California – just outside of Oakland. His mother was a member of the extended Schilling family of Schilling spices (now McCormick). Although this particular branch of the family had effectively run through their fortune by the time Steltzner came along, the name still carried weight within San Francisco society, and they retained a handful of aristocratic tendencies, such as regular travel to Europe and the drinking of wine with dinner.

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Vinous Table: Absinthe Brasserie & Bar - San Francisco

Vinous Table

Kelli White, Jan 2017

It really was by accident that I found myself eating at the bar at Absinthe in Hayes Valley a few weeks ago. Absinthe has been a staple of the neighborhood since it first opened in 1998. Both the interior and the menu are styled in the fashion of a French brasserie. Although the setting is darkly romantic, the penetrating nostalgia of both cuisine and scene make for a dining experience that is warmly comforting above all.

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Cellar Favorite: 1990 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir

United States: Oregon, Cellar Favorites

Kelli White, Jan 2017

A friend recently blind tasted me on a bottle of 1990 Domaine Drouhin (Oregon) Pinot Noir, and while the variety was immediately obvious (always a good sign), the country of origin was not.