featured, Italy: Piedmont
I came away from my late summer tastings of Barbarescos deeply impressed. Reference-point estates are upping their game, while a number of ambitious, young winemakers are making significant improvements in quality. The 2016 Barbarescos, wines from a potentially historic vintage, are hugely promising. As I traveled from producer to producer, I experienced that sense of excitement and energy I always feel when in the presence of important vintages and wines.
Verticals & Retrospectives, Italy: Tuscany, featured
Despite its short history, Le Potazzine is universally regarded as one of Montalcino’s top dozen or so wineries. The estate is known for remarkably refined Brunellos that speak of vintage, place and grape variety with utmost precision.
France: Burgundy, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured
Photographs so often convey history better than words. They can stimulate our imagination and trigger emotions. A photograph presents minimal information, its temporal limitation governed by the click of the lens that ensnares a moment in time. Our minds are left to colour in what comes before and after. This retrospective traces the history of Domaine Henri Gouges through eight decades and more than fifty wines.
United States: California, featured, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites
Mayacamas continues to make striking wines under its new ownership. In addition to a host of current and upcoming releases (covered in my forthcoming Napa Valley report) I also had a chance to revisit two Cabernets from the estate’s library.
Santa Lucia Highlands, United States: California, featured
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.
France, France: Other, featured
The halcyon days of Vins Doux Naturels lie back in the 1940s and 1950s. Tastes moved on. This is the story of how forgotten barrels and vats, dormant for decades, are being “rescued” from obscurity. These remnants of a bygone age can be quite profound – and they won’t break the bank.
Verticals & Retrospectives, featured, Italy: Piedmont, Piedmont
Arneis is an Italian native white grape that can give remarkably charming wines with early appeal and juicy fruitiness. Malvirà’s outstanding Vigna Renesio bottling shows that Arneis can also produce layered, ageworthy wines.
A growing season that presented enormous challenges also harbored opportunities, on which Austria’s top practitioners of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling capitalized to make sleek, invitingly fragrant wines of intricacy, charm and alcoholic moderation. The best are often more exciting than their 2015 counterparts.
Verticals & Retrospectives, featured, France: Bordeaux
Cos d’Estournel is without doubt one of the most eye-catching châteaux in Bordeaux. It stops passers-by in their tracks and, likewise, so can its wine. This extraordinary vertical tasting spans ten decades and covers the entire history of the property from its origins to the present day. After reading, you may be compelled to pay a visit to the gentleman seated under the tree.
France: Burgundy, featured
Two thousand sixteen is a potentially classic white Burgundy vintage marked by a devastating frost event that sharply reduced overall production and dramatically complicated the lives of growers. Now long-time Burgundy collectors must navigate their own set of challenges to find the best bottles.