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Champagne: 2021 New Releases

France: Champagne, featured

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2021

After a brutal year in 2020 in which sales slumped dramatically, Champagne has come back with a vengeance. Demand and enthusiasm are high, no doubt buoyed by a return to more or less ‘normal’ conditions, whatever that means these days. Readers will find an extraordinary range of Champagnes in the market that span the entire stylistic spectrum ranging from the glitziest grande marque new releases to small-production artisan bottlings.

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Breaking News: Justin Willett Acquires Iconic Fiddlestix Vineyard

United States: California, General Interest, featured

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2021

Justin Willett’s acquisition of the iconic Fiddlestix Vineyard is sure to make waves for many reasons. For over a decade Willett's superb wines at Tyler have placed him in the upper echelon of Santa Barbara producers. With this investment Willett sends a strong message that the future of Tyler is very much as an estate winery in the Sta. Rita Hills and makes him one of the biggest advocates of the appellation. At Fiddlestix, Willett leads a team with partners Erik Mallea and Todd Gray of Willett-Mallea Farming and entrepreneur/wine lover William Borgers.

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Argentina on the Couch: Malbec, Terroir and Other Trends

Argentina, featured

Joaquín Hidalgo, Nov 2021

In this extensive report, I take a look at the current state of the wine scene in Argentina, a country where creativity is necessary for survival. Malbecs have grown increasingly diverse and reflect the range of terroirs, while a number of new trends are developing. From Cabernet Franc to Pinot Noir, high altitude vineyards are lending real energy and quality to a host of different reds.

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Muscadet: A Region in Crus Control

France: Loire, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Nov 2021

Life has not been kind to Muscadet producers in recent decades, but with the advent of a cru system, focusing on local terroir and extensive lees ageing, there are reasons for optimism. In my report, I ask if this is the rocket fuel this under-appreciated region needs to revive its fortunes or is it a case of Mission Impossible?

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Don’t Rain on My Parade: Mâconnais 2019/2020

France: Burgundy, featured

Neal Martin, Nov 2021

Mâconnais has experienced highs this year with its first Premier Crus and lows in terms of devastating frost and hail. Although I could not author a full write-up during my two days there in June, this report covers 2019s and 2020s from some of the region’s finest producers.

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Chablis’ Satellites: Irancy & Saint-Bris

France: Burgundy, featured

Neal Martin, Nov 2021

Irancy and Saint-Bris are both located within close ambit of Chablis. Rather than lump them in with Chablis, I chose to author a separate report, since the wines are fundamentally different and moreover, well-deserving of focus.

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Italy's Food and Wine Epicenter: Emilia-Romagna

Italy: North, featured

Eric Guido, Nov 2021

Emilia-Romagna is the source of Italy’s most beloved culinary creations. Can you imagine a world without Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto di Parma and aceto balsamico? Yet what we don’t often consider are the wines that make a perfect pairing for this rich and hearty cuisine. Add in one of Italy’s undiscovered sources of Sangiovese, and you have a region that no wine lover should ignore.

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Enduring Precision: The Latest Cellar-Worthy Wines from Argentina

Argentina, featured

Joaquín Hidalgo, Nov 2021

Precise management of high-altitude vineyards has resulted in new, attractive, balanced reds with excellent cellar potential that draw on Argentina’s long winemaking heritage. Some négociants from Bordeaux are already selling a few of them across the world, paving Argentina’s way into the fine wine market. In this report, I present an overview of the latest cellar-worthy wines.

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Santa Barbara: On the Road…Finally!

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2021

Santa Barbara continues its streak of superb vintages with the 2019s. Chardonnay and red Rhône varieties are particularly strong, while the Pinots are just a bit less consistent. There’s plenty more to explore in this report, including Bordeaux blends and the first of the 2020s. As I have written before, the vinous landscape in Santa Barbara has so much to offer.

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2017 Barolo, Part 2: The Late Releases

Italy: Piedmont, featured

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2021

As always, our fall Barolo article focuses on wines that were bottled this past summer and other late releases. Two thousand and seventeen is a tricky vintage with a degree of variability that requires selection. Many wines are gorgeous, but others are disappointing.