Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happy 40th Judgment of Paris! But you had a downside

January 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Wine

  This year, 2016, marks the 40th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris, which was one of the most important events in the history of the wine industry. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re tuned into history, so I will recapitulate only an abbreviated version. Before 1976 California wines were widely perceived […]

A tasting of Sonoma County Cabernets and Bordeaux blends: Call me a Verité kinda guy

January 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Wine

  I couldn’t have been more pleased that in yesterday’s tasting I gave the Verite 2012 La Joie * a perfect 100 points. (All wines marked with an asterisk are from Jackson Family Wines.) It was back in 2009 that I gave the 2006 La Joie a near-perfect 98 points. A year later I gave […]

When did Cabernet Sauvignon arrive in Napa Valley?

January 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Wine

  I’m doing some research for a project I’m involved with at Jackson Family Wines, and one of the things I’m interested in establishing is when the first Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted in Napa Valley, by whom, and where. You’d think such things would already be well-documented. After all, Napa Valley is one of […]

How does our taste in alcohol change over time?

December 22, 2015 by  
Filed under Wine

  When I was a young man I didn’t care at all for wine, except for its obvious ability to make a college freshman (me) drunk. Years later, I learned to appreciate and eventually love wine. At first I sought out Cabernet Sauvignon because that was the wine all the critics at that time (the […]

Is it possible to create a new cult wine?

November 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Wine

  Some years ago (and I quoted her in New Classic Winemakers of California), Heidi Barrett told me that the success of Screaming Eagle surprised even her, the winemaker. It was like a “prairie fire,” she said: lightning struck ready ground, and the winery became a legend. Recent developments and discussions have led to me […]

A Cameron Hughes Cabernet vertical

October 29, 2015 by  
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  Cameron Hughes Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. Sold as a six-pack vertical, 2006-2011 vintages, $449. Cameron Hughes was kind enough to send me this six-bottle vertical for review. (Full disclosure: He also was kind enough to come all the way to Oakland and buy me a sushi lunch.) All the wines are obviously […]

Crying all the way to the bank

October 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Wine

  What are we to make of the winemakers quoted in Karen MacNeil’s latest column in The Somm Journal? Asked by Karen their views on the word “cult” to describe their wines, the sextet unites in condemning a term they all say they loathe. Bill Harlan says the word “implies blind followers who lack discernment.” […]

A great Pinot Noir tasting

October 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Wine

  Farallon, the popular seafood restaurant in San Francisco’s Union Square, is having their annual PinotFest taating of Pinot Noir this November 20, and I’m already champing at the bit. Look at this list: Alma Rosa, Archery Summit, Au Bon Climat, Bonaccorsi, Byron, Calera, Charles Heintz, Chehalem, Cobb, Costa de Oro, Domaine de la Côte, […]

Napa Cabernet better than Sonoma? A cliche

October 14, 2015 by  
Filed under Wine

  You all know that I work for Jackson Family Wines. I have so say that upfront, because of what I’m about to write, which is how good and fine a place Sonoma County is for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varieties in general. If I were still the California wine critic for Wine Enthusiast […]

Three great new Napa Cabernets, and a little context

October 12, 2015 by  
Filed under Wine

  I do not suppose there can any longer be even the pretense of justification for critics, or would-be critics, who have negative things to say about the quality of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. That quality is stupendous, and I’m hardly alone of thinking so. After I wrote this post, I got my new (Nov. […]

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