United States: Washington, featured
Since enduring record heat in 2015, Washington’s growers and winemakers have enjoyed an unprecedented string of very good to exceptional vintages. Even 2020, so tricky in Oregon and parts of California owing to massive wildfires up and down the West Coast, appears to have been very successful in Washington. This year’s report features mostly red wines from 2018 and 2017 and whites from 2019 and 2018. All three of these growing seasons were capable of yielding outstanding wines.
All serious drinkers collect wine. Some to commemorate significant moments, others, especially those with access to a cellar, because the vintages are of such quality that their value will accrue over time. Whatever the reason, it’s a significant and prestigious feather in the cap for a producer to make it onto a collector’s rack. No one would dare to question the merit of output from hallowed ground such as Pomerol or Barolo, and this is reflected in the wines' desirability and price tags. But what about other regions in the world? It’s often the case that collectors are skeptical about wines whose credentials seem to lack historical precedent. Generally, Argentina falls into this category although in many ways it is also a unique case unto itself.
France: Rhône & Beaujolais, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured
One of the world’s iconic estates, Domaine Auguste Clape has long set the standard for the Cornas appellation and has featured on any Rhône aficionado’s short list of the region’s very best properties. With a mere eight hectares of vines spread across Cornas, Saint-Péray and Côtes-du-Rhône, the Clapes produce two different examples of Cornas, a Saint-Péray, a red Côtes-du-Rhône and a red Vin de France. All of the reds are made with whole clusters and fermented in concrete vats before being moved into ancient, traditional oval foudres for aging. Because of small production (roughly 2,500 cases per vintage, total) and longtime worldwide demand, especially for the flagship Cornas, the wines are not always easy to find. Unfortunately, the world has caught on, and prices have risen sharply as well. These are structured, long-lived wines that are definitely built for the patient consumer. As this retrospective shows, patience is consistently rewarded, even in tough vintages.
Italy: Tuscany, featured
In this year of incredible stress, heartache and forced changes to the way that we all have to live, there is certainly a comfort in looking at past vintages that are only now being released. Never before have these wines been more like a time capsule. There is no other vintage or category of wine that I’ve been looking forward to more than the 2016 Brunello di Montalcinos. The big question is: Do the 2016s live up to our expectations?
France: Champagne, featured
For the first time in a dozen years, this past spring I was unable to travel to Champagne to taste the new vintage and survey the latest releases. Given the extraordinary challenges this year of both traveling and collecting hundreds of samples in a timely fashion, we will be publishing Champagne reviews within this article in a continuous stream over coming weeks and months, as I taste the wines. This latest installment covers wines tasted in October and November 2020. The best way to stay up to date on additions is to make sure you are receiving our emails and turn on notifications within the Vinous app.
France, Germany, Spain, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured
Two extraordinary 1959-themed dinners at the end of last year presented a mouthwatering opportunity to examine this legendary vintage. This article looks at those wines and some of the stories that lie behind them.
For any oenophiles still unaware – or seeking proof – that Rheinhessen justifies a buzz of critical acclaim and consumer excitement currently unsurpassed worldwide by any Riesling growing region, a perusal of the wines turned out in 2018 should do the trick.
New Zealand, featured
In her first report for Vinous, Rebecca Gibb MW takes the temperature of the New Zealand white wine scene and uncovers the latest vintages: 2019 and 2020.
germany: Mosel, featured
It’s the rare wine among Mosel Rieslings of 2018 – a generally forthcoming, even effusive bunch – that seems to demand cellaring, and then usually only because a surfeit of sweetness is among a given wine’s generous-to-a-fault characteristics. Continuing upstream, I offer my second of two reports on the 2018 vintage Mosel Rieslings, here including those from estates based along the Ruwer.
Italy: North, featured
As if engrossed in a Tolkienesque fantasy novel, we delve into the labyrinth of producers, varieties, labels, languages and the diverse terroirs of Trentino and Alto Adige. However, while traversing this realm where Italian meets Austrian meets German, it quickly becomes apparent that the effort we put in to comprehending its people and the array of fascinating and stimulating wines they produce is truly worthwhile. Together, let's take a trip down the rabbit hole to better understand two of Italy’s most under-the-radar regions.