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…
United Kingdom, featured
I used to groan when an ordinary English sparkling wine was heaped with praise. My palate has not changed; what has changed is the quality of English fizz – a category that now needs to be taken seriously on the world stage. It’s time to discover the leading producers.
France: Bordeaux, featured, Verticals & Retrospectives
Continuing my focus on Bordeaux wines that offer both quality and value, my final château visit before lockdown was to Meyney in Saint-Estèphe. How has their wine improved so much in recent years?
Germany: Saar, featured
The precocious 2018 vintage with its hot, dry summer, held the potential for wines short on acidity and high in alcohol. Fortunately, adept growers worked successfully to avoid that outcome, and estate owners nearly everywhere saw a combination of generous ripeness with unexpectedly abundant yields. This report focuses on the Saar, whose hills and side valleys are known for being cooler and breezier, and for birthing Rieslings correspondingly more acid-retentive and buoyant.
featured, Italy: Center & South
Sangiovese is most often associated with Tuscany, where it is the variety that informs virtually all of the region’s top wines. What if I told you that by staying within the confines of Tuscany’s top DOCGs of Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile, you were missing out on some of the most interesting and value-oriented Sangioveses being produced today? It’s time to discover some of central Italy’s best-kept secrets.
A third general declaration in a row is unthinkable for Port, however 2018 has seen the release of some exceptional Single Quintas, which gives the Port-lover an opportunity to taste a number of intriguing site-specific fortified Douro wines.
featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, United States: California
Sandwiched between three cool years and three growing seasons affected by late-season heat spikes, 2001 has proven to be a Napa Valley classic for Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. The better wines are in fine form today.
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?
France: Bordeaux, featured
Born into an uncertain world, how certain are we that the 2019 Bordeaux vintage belongs amongst true greats? Several weeks ago I assumed lockdown would make it impossible to find out. Then 900 samples landed at my door...
featured, France, Rest of the World
The Rosé season has started, but definitely not at the frenetic pace of the last several years. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on demand for all wines. Even the ever-popular pink versions aren’t immune to market realities. That said, the best 2019 Rosés are generous, soft and versatile at the dinner table.