featured, France, France: Other, France: Normandy, Fortified Wines & Spirits
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.
featured, Italy: Center & South
Campania is one of Italy’s best sources of distinctive white wines. A large number of indigenous grapes are matched to an equally diverse set of microclimates that give birth to striking wines. The reds are a bit of a mixed bag and run the gamut from extraordinary to overoaked and rustic wines that don’t always capture the full potential the region has to offer. Even so, Campania’s finest reds remain captivating.
featured, France: Bordeaux
Lafleur is a property that I have researched and written about extensively over the years. And yet something enigmatic remains about this Pomerol château. This article lifts the lid on its history, the vineyard, its winemaker, and the Robin and Guinaudeau families, charting the progress of its wines over several decades courtesy of two extraordinary verticals and some spellbinding wines.
featured, France: Burgundy, Verticals & Retrospectives
I still remember the first time I visited Domaine Leroy. It was a much earlier time in my tasting and writing career. As I walked into the understated winery in Vosne-Romanée I noticed the walls covered with photographs of what looked like incredible tastings. Gently softened by the passage of time, those photos bore testament to the extraordinary legacy built by Lalou Bize-Leroy and her late husband, Marcel Bize, over the six decades they spent together. My mind wandered as I imagined what it might be like to attend one of those events. Little did I know that in the coming years I would have the opportunity to participate in several historic tastings at both Domaine Leroy and Domaine d’Auvenay, Lalou Bize-Leroy’s home estate in the hills outside Meursault.
featured, Italy, Verticals & Retrospectives
Long overlooked and underrated, Verdicchio is starting to make a name for itself, not just for delicious, easily affordable site-specific whites, but for surprisingly ageworthy wines too.
featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais
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.
featured, France: Alsace, Verticals & Retrospectives
Albert Mann is admired for wines of remarkable purity and precision. Arguably most famous for their Riesling Schlossberg and Pinot Noir bottlings, the estate’s Gewurztraminer Furstentum is just as outstanding, showcasing how well this variety can age in Alsace.
featured, France: Bordeaux
Given the price of its elite, it seems absurd to claim that Bordeaux is one of the best value regions in the world. But it is true. In my first look at the 2016s in bottle, I examine what I call the “real Bordeaux”. Away from the glitz and glamour lies an ocean of Cru Bourgeois and Bordeaux Supérieur that can offer quality at exceptional value. All you need to know is what to look for.
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.
featured, Italy: Tuscany, Verticals & Retrospectives
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.