featured, France: Other, France, Spirits, France: Armagnac
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.
featured, France: Bordeaux, Cellar Journal
The Japanese have a custom called “fukubukuro”. It literally translates as “lucky grab bags”. Every New Year, department stores sell these bags giving no indication what they might contain. Such is the popularity of fukubukuro that people queue for hours in order to purchase a bag, take it home and see what is inside. In a sense, we see “Cellar Journal” as a vinous “fukubukuro”. Think of it as your lucky bag. Of course, there will be a theme, more often than not, Bordeaux or Burgundy, but the exact bottles contained within each article will be a surprise....
featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais
Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s monumental 2015 vintage was a tough act to follow, but 2016 was up to the challenge. In fact, in many cases the wines from this uniformly outstanding warm year actually outclass – or at least outmuscle – their older siblings.
featured, France: Burgundy
Aware that some Burgundy lovers might point out that they have known some of the growers included in this report since they produced their first vintage back in 1903, nevertheless, Burgundy remains a vast ocean of growers beyond the most famous names. Nothing gives me more pleasure than foraging for winemakers unknown to myself, or those that I have never visited. There are innumerable “under-the-radar” growers in Burgundy, and I use that term knowing that some oenophile’s radars are better than others. There is always one more grower that you have to visit around the corner. When it comes to Burgundy there is no full stop.
featured, France: Burgundy, France
Question: What do you get if you cross the best wine list in the world, mature Burgundy of perfect provenance, a party of Burgundy-obsessed hedonistic wine-lovers from the Far East, one patient sommelier, one Vinous scribe and four days in Paris? Answer: A journey through Burgundy at its finest and a reminder that humble bottles can turn out to be the most memorable.
featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California
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.
featured, France: Bordeaux, Verticals & Retrospectives
The de Rothschild family celebrates 150 years since Baron James de Rothschild’s acquisition of Lafite-Rothschild in 1868 with three intimate dinners. Each soirée is bejeweled with unique combinations of vintages: young and old, renowned and derided, famous and forgotten, as well as varied groups of guests. The notes in this article originate not only from the tasting at the property, but also a dinner in Hong Kong that I attended a few weeks earlier, and several other recent tastings. Together they offer a time-arching overview of Lafite-Rothschild and the wines as the château enters a new era under the stewardship of Chairman Saskia de Rothschild and CEO Jean-Guillaume Prats.
featured, United States: California
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.
featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Bordeaux
Having toured through the five First Growths in my “Bordeaux In Excelsis” article, I now turn the spotlight onto Château Latour. Though the “first” in “First Growth” denotes Latour’s official status as per the 1855 Classification, personally speaking, the word has alternative meanings.
Like their counterparts from Rheinhessen, the top Pfalz Rieslings of 2016 are wines of delicious and animating complexity that managed to benefit from the growing season’s chilly October.