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Sonoma’s Stellar 2016s

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2018

Two thousand sixteen is a fabulous vintage in Sonoma. On the heels of 2015, a year of freakishly low yields that resulted in abnormally intense wines, 2016 marks a return to a much more relaxed, growing season with ideal conditions for making wines endowed with energy, freshness and delineation that provide a striking foil to California’s natural radiance. Simply put, 2016 is one of the most consistently brilliant and alluring young vintages I have ever tasted in Sonoma.

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Vinous Table: The Peacock Room, Shanghai, China

China, Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Apr 2018

The Peacock Room is a beautiful new restaurant in Shanghai that offers high quality, precise Sichuan cuisine in a remarkably supercool, sleek and modernist setting.

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Alsace: The 2016s & Late-Released 2015s

featured, France: Alsace

Ian D'Agata, Apr 2018

The 2016 and 2015 vintages in Alsace are diametric opposites: fresh and crisp in 2016, richer and more opulent in 2015. Pinot varieties excelled in ‘16, while it was mostly Gewürztraminer that stole the show in ‘15.

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Life Is Funny Like That: 1999 & 2015 DRC

featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Burgundy

Neal Martin, Apr 2018

The first article that I ever published on the subject of wine was not some breathless puff on a 100-point Chilean Merlot discovered two-for-one down at my local Tesco. Embarrassingly, my first vinous words (not Vinous words) regaled a morning in the company of the recently bottled 1999s from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti at Corney & Barrow. In my mind, there was never any chance of a rerun through those 1999s. So I make do with the memories and remain grateful that I have tasted every release since the 1995 vintage. The latest, the 2015s, is one of the domaine’s best.

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Cellar Favorite: 1966 Heidsieck & Co. Brut Rosé Dry Monopole

France: Champagne, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Apr 2018

AG will probably kill me if he reads this, so please don’t tell him, but I once wrote something along the lines: “if you want to drink mature Champagne then you might as well pour a prematurely oxidized Meursault into a Sodastream.”

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In Memory of Leonildo Pieropan

featured, Italy: North

Ian D'Agata, Apr 2018

Simply put, there have been fewer better, nicer, more knowledgeable and more important people in the world of Italian wine than Leonildo (Nino) Pieropan. Words are truly incapable of expressing who Pieropan was and what he stood for.

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Vinous Table: Osteria Mondodoro, Verona, Italy

Italy, Italy: North, Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Apr 2018

Owner Stefano Enrico Sganzerla was born in a specialty food shop (literally) and so it is safe to say his destiny was sealed right from birth. From childhood onwards, Sganzerla’s life-beat has hummed along notes of food and wine. In his youth, he began working in the specialty food store, and then at his father’s coffee bar. That job description was not in tune with the young man’s aspirations, and so Sganzerla decided to open a trattoria, which is how he eventually realized his heart was in haute cuisine.

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'16 vs. '15 Northern Rhône: Heads You Win, Tails You Win

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2018

At first glance, 2016 and 2015 in the Northern Rhône Valley would appear to have yielded wines with utterly disparate personalities. On paper and by reputation the 2016s and 2015s couldn’t be more different. So the received wisdom goes. In reality, though, the closer one looks at these two outstanding vintages, the more similarities start to reveal themselves. My recent extensive tastings of bottled wines from both years, sampled side-by-side at many estates, have only confirmed my impressions of these two superb vintages.

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A Beautiful Stay: Beau-Séjour Bécot 1970-2015

featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Apr 2018

This is the story of Beau-Séjour Bécot’s genesis and traumatic loss of status from a human perspective. It is a story of how the estate regained classification as a Premier Grand Cru Classé “A” and how a new chapter is opening.

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Crocker & Starr Cabernet Sauvignon Stone Place: 1999 – 2015

featured, United States: California

Stephen Tanzer, Apr 2018

Crocker & Starr’s Stone Place Cabernet Sauvignon has flown under the radar of enophiles who gravitate to more flamboyant cult wines, but in my recent vertical tasting demonstrated remarkably consistent quality and old-vines concentration.