Rioja's beneficial microclimate owes a great deal to the sierra cantabria mountain range  which shelters the vineyards from rain and cold winds that pour down from the atlantic ocean copy

Rioja Looks Back and Ahead

featured, Spain

Josh Raynolds, Feb 2019

Traditionally made Riojas are having a moment. Old-school, elegant Riojas have caught the attention of collectors and sommeliers around the world, putting pressure on the supply of some of the region’s most famous wines. At the same time, a number of modern-leaning producers have begun to throttle back on assertive oak, extraction and alcohol levels, which is a highly welcome development. The recent 2016, 2015 and 2014 vintages have been very good to outstanding, with healthy yields that ensure there’s plenty of wine to go around.

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Caught Somewhere in Time: Clos de Tart 1887-2016

France, France: Burgundy, featured

Neal Martin, Feb 2019

Over the years, I have been fortunate to participate in three or four verticals of Clos de Tart. Yet I had never undertaken a comprehensive tasting that spans decades until Jordi Oriols-Gil organized a unique retrospective covering more than 50 years at Ten Trinity in London.

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Alsace: The 2017s And Late-Released 2016s, Part 2

France, featured, France: Alsace

Ian D'Agata, Feb 2019

Alsace, one of the most blessed winegrowing regions in the world, is in the midst of a generational change. Young growers are bringing a fresh mindset to the region’s viticulture and winemaking, its many outstanding wine grapes and its first-rate terroirs.

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2015 Barolo…The Bigger Picture

Italy, Italy: Piedmont, Piedmont, featured

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2019

Barolo lovers have become spoiled over the last fifteen years or so. While 2015 is clearly a mixed vintage, in any other previous era there is little doubt it would have been considered outstanding. Readers will find a number of dazzling 2015s, even if quality is uneven across the board. More importantly, though, the number of young growers and re-born older estates making compelling wines is greater than at any time since I first visited Piedmont in 1997. Quite simply, Barolo, and Piedmont more broadly, is going through a remarkable boom. I came away from my tastings more energized than ever.

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To Paint A Picture: Kumeu River Chardonnay 2006-2017

New Zealand, featured

Neal Martin, Feb 2019

Kumeu River is New Zealand's greatest Chardonnay producer, one that is genuinely world class. Following the most comprehensive tasting ever conducted, this article traces the story of the Brajkovich family, details their vineyards and philosophies, to find out how they make such bloody good Chardonnay.

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Drouhin’s Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc: 1979-2016

France, France: Burgundy, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Feb 2019

Joseph Drouhin’s Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc is an oxymoron of a Burgundy: an insider’s wine that’s normally made in generous quantities. While some wine oenophiles may turn up their noses at the very idea of white wine from Beaune—not to mention the appellation in particular, as it possesses no Grand Crus, red or white—this Premier Cru is way more interesting, and serious, than it has any right to be.

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Inspire Napa Valley 2018

napa, United States: California, featured

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.

Drc 2016 bottle line up

The Picardy Third: 2016 DRC In Bottle

France: Burgundy, featured

Neal Martin, Feb 2019

Everyone is at the mercy of Mother Nature, including the most famous domaine in Burgundy. Late spring frost denied Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s three releases of their 2016 vintage, but how do the surviving crus fare now that they are in bottle? Do they finish on a major or minor chord?

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Vertical Tasting of Louis Jadot’s Corton Pougets

Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Burgundy, featured

Stephen Tanzer, Feb 2019

Jadot’s perfumed, distinctly feminine Corton Grand Cru—a red wine from white wine soil—has established a long track record for graceful evolution in bottle.

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Alsace & Luxembourg: 2017s and Late-Released 2016s

featured, France: Alsace

Ian D'Agata, Jan 2019

Alsace has always produced some of the world’s greatest white wines. The good news is that it ismaking some increasingly exciting red wines, most of them from Pinot Noir, although recently some wineries have also planted small plots of Syrah and even St. Laurent as well. In nearby Luxembourg a number of privately owned domaines are also making outstanding wines too, hence their inclusion in this article.