Nr soho choux

Vinous Table: Noble Rot Soho, London, UK

United Kingdom, Vinous Table

Neal Martin, Sep 2020

When restaurants are valiantly forming a rearguard action against COVID, the opening of Noble Rot Soho at this moment represents a rare event as neighbors remain mothballed for fear what winter will bring.

Img 3459 copy

Chianti Classico: More Than Meets The Eye

featured, Italy: Tuscany

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2020

For the first time in many, many years I was not able to make my summer trip to Tuscany to taste the wines of Chianti Classico. That’s 2020 for you. But you know what? There is something to be said for the perspective gained by tasting the wines far away from those stunning hillside vineyards, removed from the charming towns, without any of that amazing food. Would the wines be as impressive as I have long thought?

Srh br1 (1)

The Sta. Rita Hills: Wine & People of the Wild West

United States: California, featured

Brenna Ritchey, Sep 2020

Better understanding the Sta. Rita Hills appellation has been a project of mine for a while now (before a certain global pandemic threw a very heavy, very rusted wrench in those plans). My postgrad job working at a local tasting room in Santa Barbara had convinced me that I knew next to nothing about the wheres and whens and whos of the wines I was selling. Names like Brewer-Clifton, Sanford and Au Bon Climat that I grew up seeing my parents enjoy in the 1990s and early 2000s, my 9-year-old eyes level with the kitchen countertop, were an early inspiration and pointed me towards the Sta. Rita Hills as a great place to start.

Le marche in the foothills of the apennines sartarelli balciana vineyard copycover

Verdicchio – Italy’s Killer V

Italy: Center & South, featured

Eric Guido, Sep 2020

Verdicchio is one of the most versatile grapes in all of Italy. It can be vibrant and remarkably fresh, or crafted in a more serious style with the potential to mature for upwards of a decade. When harvested late, Verdicchio takes on textural depths and ripeness that balance wonderfully against naturally high acidity. Oak? It can handle that too, while still communicating purity. No matter what the expression, Verdicchio almost always makes a killer wine, and yet it still does not get the full attention it deserves.


Cellar Favorite: 1978 & 1989 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Collina Rionda

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2020

Bruno Giacosa is no longer with us, but these Barolos from his prime remain riveting testaments to an extraordinary legacy.

Casita tarta copycover

Vinous Table: La Casita, Guildford, UK

United Kingdom, Vinous Table

Neal Martin, Sep 2020

I have not returned to Spain for a long time, though my penchant for its cuisine has never abated. Therefore, every now and again I book a table at my local tapas restaurant, La Casita – in my estimation, one of the finest in Guildford.

Scm cover

Santa Cruz Mountains: Wines of Breathtaking Pedigree

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2020

I tasted more truly exceptional wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains this year than at any time over the past decade. The 2018 Pinots are utterly breathtaking, while the 2017 and 2016 Bordeaux reds and 2016 Rhônes aren’t too far behind. I have long believed that the Santa Cruz Mountains is one of the world's preeminent regions for fine whites and reds that speak of place. These new releases certainly make a statement.

Klein constantia vineyard

Constance Craving: Vin de Constance 1992-2017

South Africa, featured

Neal Martin, Sep 2020

In Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility, one of literature’s finest works detailing the ups and downs of courtship and matters of the heart, Mrs. Jennings suggests to Elinor Dashwood that she drink a slug of finest old Constantia to recover from a fever brought on by her romantic interest, John Willoughby. Jennings counsels that the sweet wine not only cures “colicky gout,” but possesses “healing powers on a disappointed heart.” Like those characters in Austen’s novel, I do appreciate one of the iconic sweet wines of the world – one that, as I shall describe, is undergoing a quiet revolution.

Blandy's wicker

Cellar Favorite: Blandy’s New Releases

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Sep 2020

I don’t need to tell you that I review the contents of a bottle, not its aesthetic virtues. However, hats off to the Madeira Wine Company, whose quartet of new releases in conveniently sized 5cl bottles came nestled in a wicker box lined with linen in traditional Madeira colors of green and red.

Some of oregon's finest and most graceful chardonnays are grown in the compact ribbon ridge ava  which lies within the chehalem mountains appellationcopy

Oregon Outside the Pinot Noir Box

featured, United States: Oregon

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2020

For many wine lovers, Oregon, and especially the Willamette Valley, is all Pinot Noir, all the time. Perhaps no other region in the New World is so closely associated with a single variety. And yet there’s so much more happening here, especially with Chardonnay. White wine and reds not made from Pinot Noir are approaching almost half of our annual Oregon coverage, which is a remarkable development over the last decade.