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Best New Releases from Sonoma and Beyond

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, May 2019

Readers will find a breathtaking array of wines from Sonoma, Anderson Valley and Mendocino in this report. The 2017s have turned out to be a big surprise given the challenges of a growing season punctuated by three significant heat events. Pinot Noirs and Syrahs are the most consistent varieties, but there are peaks of brilliance in Zinfandel-based wines and Chardonnay as well. As always, the sheer diversity and breadth of Sonoma County and its neighboring appellations are truly remarkable.

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Vintage Retrospective: The 1999 Napa Valley Cabernets

Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California, featured

Stephen Tanzer, May 2019

Napa Valley’s Cabernet crop in the mostly cool growing season of ’99 benefited from a late burst of heat, yielding lively, moderately dense, aromatically complex wines with very good staying power.

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Lail Vineyards J. Daniel Cuvée: 1997-2016

United States: California, featured

Stephen Tanzer, May 2019

Lail Vineyards’ J. Daniel Cuvée, Robin Lail’s 21st-century interpretation of her family’s famed Cabernet-based wines of the past, has never been better than it is today.

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Beaulieu’s Georges de Latour Private Reserve: 1965–2016

Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Apr 2019

Beaulieu Vineyard’s Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet is California’s first cult Cabernet. Adamantly Médoc-like in its earlier decades, it has evolved with the times. Recent vintages are as remarkable as ever, if in a more modern style.

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Cellar Favorite: 1982 Kistler California Cabernet Sauvignon Veeder Hills Vineyard

United States: California, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, March 2019

I was absolutely floored by Steve Kistler’s 1982 Cabernet Sauvignon Veeder Hills Vineyard, a wine I had never come across before.

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Cellar Favorite: 1986 Ravenswood Pickberry Vineyard

United States: California, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2019

Joel Peterson’s Ravenswood wines have a track record of aging brilliantly, so I was intrigued to check in on this 30+ year-old Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc-based blend.

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Inspire Napa Valley 2018

United States: California, featured, napa

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2019

I was thrilled to serve on the Honorary Committee for the inaugural edition of Inspire Napa Valley, along with Brad Grimes, Ray Isle, Samantha Rudd, David & Monica Stevens and Fran Tarkenton. The brainchild of Kerrin Laz, Inspire Napa Valley is a weekend of fabulous tastings, seminars and dinners held to benefit Alzheimers’ research. In its first edition, Inspire Napa Valley raised over $1 million.

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The Art of the Blend

United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2019

Early one morning Philip Norfleet, Director of the Napa Valley Reserve, and I were discussing a series of events and tastings for 2018 and 2019. A crazy idea flashed across my mind. I asked Norfleet if I could blend a barrel of wine at the Reserve to auction off for charity. “Let me ask around,” he said. “I will get back to you soon.” A few hours later I had my response…

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San Luis Obispo County Plays It Cool

United States: California, featured

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2019

The greater San Luis Obispo County winegrowing region is best known for the mostly brawny, high-octane Rhône-variety-based wines of its famous AVA, Paso Robles, but the elegant and energetic wines from its cool, Pacific Ocean–influenced vineyards are increasingly making their case in the market as well.

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Sonoma Preview: January 2019 New Releases

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2019

As is our custom, the Sonoma Preview highlights wines that are just entering the market now, in January, typically a very busy time for new releases. Readers will find much to like this year, including a number of stunning 2017s that show the vintage was much better and far more consistent for Burgundian varieties in Sonoma than it was for Bordeaux varieties in Napa Valley.