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Neal Martin's Review of 2019

General Interest, United Kingdom, featured

Neal Martin, Dec 2019

A fellow scribe confessed that earlier this year, a winemaker had offered his condolences about my untimely death. This annual review confirms that in fact I did reach the end of 2019. The last 12 months were full of highs and deepest of lows - yet there was always wine, music and a tomorrow.

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Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault Perrières 1984-2014

Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Burgundy, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Dec 2019

The finest vintages made by Dominique Lafon at his family domaine clearly demonstrate that Meursault’s mineral-driven premier cru Les Perrières is capable of producing wines with grand cru mineral intensity, precision, nuance and longevity.

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Mount Eden Pinot Noir: 1984-2016

Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2019

Trends come and go, but classics never go out of style. This comprehensive tasting back to 1984 showcased the astonishing quality of Mount Eden's Pinot Noir over the last four decades. It was also a poignant reminder of the enormous potential in the Santa Cruz Mountains to produce ageworthy, world-class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Bordeaux blends of the very highest level. I have long admired Mount Eden for their complex, highly nuanced wines. Needless to say, an opportunity to survey a deep collection of Pinot vintages was a real thrill.

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The Riches and Richness of Chateauneuf-du-Pape

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2019

Châteauneuf-du-Pape fans will find plenty to like from 2017, a vintage marked by consistently warm to hot weather that yielded distinctly rich, fleshy, fruit-driven wines. The growing season presented its share of challenges, and yet the best wines are compelling. Even so, readers need to be selective, as the style of the year is quite particular, and some wines are overdone.

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La Ricolma: A Complete Retrospective

Italy: Tuscany, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2019

So many of Tuscany’s most famous wines achieved their vaunted status by accident. That is the case with Sassicaia, Masseto and Solaia. What about San Giusto a Rentennano’s Merlot La Ricolma? Well, it turns out La Ricolma has a pretty interesting story too. This complete vertical of La Ricolma, the first ever held at the estate, provided a fabulous opportunity to learn more about the wine and the Martini di Cigala family’s rich lineage.

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Cristal in Magnum: It’s Another World

Verticals & Retrospectives, featured, France: Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2019

I have had a number of unforgettable and deeply educational tastings at Roederer over the years. This was one of the most fascinating. It is well known that wines show better from magnums. That is especially true with Champagne. But why? Roederer’s long time Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon pulled out a remarkable selection of Cristal and Cristal Rosés earlier this year to show exactly why.

At keuka springs winery overlooking keuka lake

Finger Lakes With a Flourish

featured, United States: New York

Jason Wilson, Dec 2019

It’s time to take America’s premier cool-climate wine region more seriously. The Finger Lakes has been branded an “up-and-coming” wine region for almost two decades. So, at this point, it’s a reasonable question to ask: Have the wines finally arrived? Well, yes and no.

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The Vinous 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

General Interest, featured

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2019

The Vinous Holiday Gift Guide is packed with gift ideas for the wine lover in your life. You’ll find a tantalizing selection of the latest books, glassware, openers, maps and more in this curated list of the year’s most tempting gifts.

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Grosjean Petite Arvine: 1997-2016

Verticals & Retrospectives, Italy: North, featured

Ian D'Agata, Dec 2019

Although the birthplace of Petite Arvine is contested between the Switzerland’s Valais and Italy’s Valle d’Aosta, there is no doubt both countries make beautiful wines. The Grosjean family’s Petite Arvine is especially fine, and it ages well, too.

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Champagne – 2019 Fall Releases

featured, France: Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2019

Readers will find a wide range of new releases in the market this fall, everything from tiny-production Champagnes to the latest from the grandes marques. The pace of change in Champagne continues to be incredibly rapid, with new, small domaines popping up left and right while the big brands expand their ranges and increase quality. All of that makes Champagne an incredibly exciting and dynamic region to follow.