Old school farming at bien nacido  santa maria

Santa Barbara Dreamin'… Part One

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2018

I first visited Santa Barbara over a decade ago. Immediately I was struck by the finesse of wines born from microclimates that are strongly influenced by the Pacific Ocean. Subsequent visits have only reinforced my long-held view that Santa Barbara is one of the world’s elite grape growing and wine producing regions. This report focuses mostly on the 2016s, which are just being released onto the market. In 2016 Mother Nature gifted producers with the conditions to make striking wines of grace and nuance.

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Double Vertical of Ridge's Geyserville and Lytton Springs

Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Aug 2018

Ridge Vineyards was one of the earliest champions of single-vineyard Zinfandels from ancient vines. Their top two estate bottlings have admirably withstood the test of time.

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Santa Cruz Mountains – The Gorgeous 2016s

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2018

Readers who appreciate the transparency and nuance of site-specific Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Bordeaux blends will adore the 2016s from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The wines are aromatically nuanced, delineated and highly expressive of their origins. After brutally low yields in 2015, Mother Nature was more generous in 2016. Yields are never especially high in the mountains, but producers had enough fruit to bottle all of their labels, a highly positive development compared to 2015, when a number of wines weren't made at all. As always, I am struck by the complexity and world-class pedigree that seems to come naturally in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a bucolic, seemingly remote region that is in reality quite close to Silicon Valley and some of the most vibrant communities in the United States.

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Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain: 1979–2014

Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Aug 2018

From the outset, Randy Dunn’s flagship Cabernet has been one of Napa Valley’s slowest agers and most consistently outstanding wines. This retrospective going back to the inaugural 1979 vintage showed the Howell Mountain Cabernet to be a wine of great intensity and staying power but also of restraint and class.

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Vinous Table: SingleThread Farms

Vinous Table, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2018

This recent dinner at SingleThread was one of the most remarkable meals I have had in a very long time. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, everything was simply perfect. Fabulous food, a welcoming atmosphere and first-class service make SingleThread a must for readers visiting Northern California wine country.

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Vintage Retrospective: 1991 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2018

My tasting of the 1991 Napa Valley Cabernets this spring brought decidedly mixed results. A handful of wines were truly spectacular and full of life, but I was struck by the notion that, at just over a quarter-century old, there was very little middle ground: wines were either in full flower, capable of going on for years, or in decline.

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Sonoma & Napa Valley Supplement 2018

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2018

As I look at the producers I regularly cover in Sonoma and Napa Valley, I am astonished by the number of wineries that did not exist just five years ago when I founded Vinous. Many of those that were around offer a wider range of wines today than they did back then. All of that makes keeping up with new releases from California a huge but also rewarding challenge. Most importantly, though, the number of new, high-quality wineries that continue to pop up is one of the main reasons I remain so excited about the future of California wine. Our Sonoma and Napa Valley Supplement mostly covers wines that for one reason or another I was unable to taste during the course of my focused regional tastings.

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Williams Selyem: Pinot Noir Allen Vineyard 1987–2016

Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Jun 2018

Whether a grand cru or a fine premier cru, Williams Selyem’s second flagship Pinot has established a 30-year record for individuality, longevity and consistency.

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2017 Napa Valley – First Impressions

napa, United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2018

Two thousand seventeen will mostly be remembered for the October wildfires that ravaged Northern California. However, the keys to understanding the vintage and wines are much more nuanced than just what happened over that period of about ten days during which the survival of Napa Valley and surrounding counties felt severely threatened by relentless, advancing fires and high winds.

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Vinous Table: Marino Ristorante, Hollywood, CA

Vinous Table, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2018

This intimate dinner with a small group of close friends came together literally at the last minute. Getting a reservation for six on a Saturday night in LA with no notice is not exactly the easiest thing to do, but I was thrilled we were able to get in.