featured, Italy: Center & South
There was a time when I believed wine lovers were ready to give up on the idea that Sicily might ever shrug off its reputation for large cooperatives, bulk production and false starts to fine-wine glory. Luckily, that day never came. Quite simply, the wines of Sicily have never been better than they are right now. The combination of drastically diverse terroirs, a huge uptick in quality and a vast number of varieties has created an embarrassment of riches for the discerning wine lover.
featured, Australia, Verticals & Retrospectives
Maybe, like me, you have forgotten the joy a bottle of top-notch Australian Cabernet can bring. In a brief diversion away from tasting Bordeaux primeur, I sampled several wines that jogged my memory.
featured, Rest of the World
Rosé continues to be a hot category around the world. As our coverage expands, this year we offer one combined report from our team of editors to make these reviews easier to search and reference. Our editors take a look at some of the issues driving the production of Rosés during the second year of a global pandemic. We will continue to update this report in the coming weeks and months as more wines enter the market.
featured, France: Bordeaux
Two thousand-twenty was a year of ups and downs. A number of challenges during the growing season kept vineyard managers and winemakers on their toes, just as the world grappled with the most serious health crisis in living memory. Now that the 2020s are being released en primeur, the Bordelais refer to the vintage as the third in a ‘trilogy’ that includes 2018 and 2019, but it’s not always easy to separate the marketing buzz from reality. How did the wines turn out?
featured, France: Bordeaux
Twenty-twenty was a year that turned out like no other, yet Nature ploughs on regardless, another Bordeaux vintage, another primeur and another report from barrel. Does 2020 complete the triumvirate? Does it really belong up there with the greatest vintages? As usual, I ignored all the hype and tell it how I find it.
featured, France: Bordeaux, Verticals & Retrospectives
Jean-Antoine Nony was one of the first winemakers I ever interviewed for Wine-Journal in 2003. Almost two decades later, I finally return to Grand Mayne to conduct a comprehensive vertical and discover more about this ascendant Saint-Émilion estate.
featured, Italy: Piedmont
What makes a great Barolo vintage? Unlike some regions, Bordeaux being the most notable, Piedmont does not have an established framework that sets out the criteria required for a vintage to be considered very high in potential quality. What follows is my framework of objective criteria that are necessary in order for a Barolo (or Barbaresco) vintage to be considered truly great. It is inspired by the late Denis Dubourdieu and the model he developed for assessing young Bordeaux vintages and the research my colleague Alessandro Masnaghetti has done in collecting and analyzing weather, harvest dates and other data. To that, I add my 20+ years of visiting the region and all of the information I have gathered in speaking with winemakers, agronomists and other professionals over that time, plus drinking more than my fair share of the wines. As with Dubourdieu’s model, this framework addresses the growing season, and does not venture into an assessment of the wines.
Chilean wine producers are developing new styles, using grapes from vineyards planted in the far south of the country and the granite rich soils of the coastal mountain ridge known as the Cordillera de la Costa. Meanwhile, in Maipo, the Cabernet Sauvignons are growing ever more precise. This report provides an overview of these trends and what the changes mean for lovers of Chilean wine.
featured, California Vineyard Series, United States: California
With its undulating hills and striking contours, Kamen is one of the most evocative estates in Sonoma. The vineyard is just a short drive from the town square, yet it feels very remote. Screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen bought his property in 1980, mostly for the views, as he tells it. “I had just sold the screenplay for The Karate Kid and I wanted to celebrate,” Kamen told me recently.
The challenges posed by summer drought and sheer precocity of vine evolution are evident in the Rheingau and Mittelrhein, but there are numerous wines that no Riesling lovers should miss.