France: Burgundy, featured, Verticals & Retrospectives
The annual presentation of new releases from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in early March was the last tasting I attended before lockdown. Initially I thought I would publish this article as a bookend, when things returned to normal. Back then, I could have never imagined where we would be today. After reading Neal Martin’s article Complex, Not Complicated: 2017 DRC in Bottle chronicling the London edition, I decided to shamelessly rip off his format. So, here you have my version…
France: Bordeaux, featured
“You must really like your wine,” the FedEx delivery person said as he dropped off yet another stack of boxes shipped from Bordeaux. The global lockdown that began in March ended any hopes of en primeur tastings in the spring. After weeks of indecision, the Bordelais finally moved ahead with a summer en primeur campaign, setting in motion a flurry of shipments across the ocean and a series of equally fast releases. Do the 2019s live up to the early hype?
featured, General Interest
As the world grapples with several major crises, the outlook for the future has never been less certain. Things change from day to day, often unpredictably. Beyond what is obvious from reading headlines full of stories on the COVID-19 pandemic, major economic duress and racism, it is clear the current situation is causing levels of stress and anxiety that are hard to quantify, but that are clearly exerting a heavy toll. “I have real misgivings about promoting my wines right now given what is going on in the world” numerous industry professionals have told me. “Is wine really all that essential?” others have asked. Well, these are my thoughts…
France: Bordeaux, featured, Verticals & Retrospectives
Pavie-Macquin is one of the great success stories of Saint-Émilion. This retrospective going all the way back to 1928 provided a remarkable opportunity to witness the evolution of the property from underachiever to superstar, with all of the highs and lows that invariably accompany an extensive vertical that spans epic, average and challenging vintages. For the occasion, estate manager Nicolas Thienpont and consulting oenologist Stéphane Derenoncourt gathered every wine they have made at Pavie-Macquin, with a few surprises thrown into the mix.
I will admit it, I am not impartial. Rush was a big part of my musical education. I remember one of my best friends in school handing me an album with a burning red star floating in a galaxy. It was, of course “2112.” The album opened to reveal a photo of the band dressed in what looked like satin cream and white kimonos, a look that was at once weirdly futuristic and ancient. The term “WTF” did not exist back then, but if it had, that’s exactly what I would have uttered. Then I put the record on the turntable, and my whole idea of what rock music could be changed. Forever. So, to say I am a huge Rush fan is an understatement.
Italy: North, featured, Italy: Piedmont
There is no question that Nebbiolo is one of the world’s greatest and most noble red grapes. An ability to convey the essence of site and vintage through the lens of producer style places Nebbiolo in rarified company. Once consumers experience the magic of Nebbiolo – most often through the wines of the Langhe – it is only natural to ask: What else is out there? The answer is Alto Piemonte and Valtellina, two separate and distinct regions, both of which offer so much to explore.
featured, United States: California
Two thousand eighteen is shaping up to be a spectacular vintage for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel-based reds. The 2018s are bright, vivid and exceptionally beautiful. Moreover, the wines are incredibly expressive of site, making 2018 a fabulous vintage for readers who want to explore the many nuances of top vineyards in Sonoma and Anderson Valley.
featured, Italy: Tuscany
This first installment of our Tuscany coverage looks at a wide range of new releases across a region that is vast, wonderfully diverse and full of wines that are well worth exploring. From the big, bold reds of Maremma to those of perhaps slightly lesser known appellations such as Carmignano, Montepulciano, Cortona and Orcia, Tuscany offers readers so much to discover. The journey with Italian wines is truly never-ending. Tuscany alone is a great example of that. Best of all, many of the wines in this article also offer terrific value in today’s world.
featured, Italy: Piedmont
With its plethora of appellations and indigenous grape varieties, Piedmont is one of the most intriguing regions in Italy. The range and diversity of wines is just breathtaking. Although Barolo and Barbaresco continue to command quite a bit of attention, the reality is most of us can’t afford to drink Barolo or Barbaresco every day. I certainly can’t. But Piedmont has much to offer beyond those famous areas, including so many wines that deliver superb quality for the money. Readers will find plenty of gorgeous, affordable wines in this report.
featured, Italy: Piedmont, Vinous Remembers
I was deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of Renato Vacca at just 51. Painfully shy and introverted, Vacca crafted gorgeous wines that capture all the pedigree nestled within the striking hillside vineyards of Barbaresco. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him and all those who his wines touched.