Saturday, December 10, 2016

Benziger Family Winery: five new reviews

December 5, 2016 by  
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  I’ve followed Benziger’s fortunes for decades, and one thing I can say, they’re always striving to boost quality. The Benziger family began with the hugely successful Glen Ellen Winery, which pioneered “fighting varietals,” before launching their boutique Benziger brand, which they sold to The Wine Group in 2015. These five wines are the first […]

Tasting mountain wines with a valley appellation

July 21, 2016 by  
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  Gus and I headed up to the Alexander Valley yesterday for a tasting. It was chilly and foggy in Oakland when we left early, and the ride could have been worse: only 1-3/4 hours. We drove up the 101 to Alexander Valley Road, turned east through some awfully pretty wine country, and then—before reaching […]

Thursday throwaway: Drink while you shop, and cookie-cutter Napa Valley Cab

July 14, 2016 by  
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  It hasn’t come to my local Whole Foods yet, but it looks like it’s on the way: “Sip ‘n Shop.” According to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, that’s where “Some high-end supermarkets are turning into neighborhood watering holes. Many have set aside space for wine bars…Some stores encourage shoppers to ‘sip ‘n shop,’ drinking while […]

Wednesday Wraparound: Wine as intellectual delight, and a new Freemark Abbey

July 13, 2016 by  
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  Wine writer Gus Clemens must be a man after my own heart. In this lovely column he wrote for the San Angelo [Texas) Standard Times, he writes of wine’s “intellectually challenging” dimension—a dimension I love. All too often, in our industry, we reduce wine to its objective components. Master somms analyze it to a […]

Nice to see the Cabernet bashers come around

July 12, 2016 by  
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  I’m glad I never joined the bandwagon of protest against California (mainly Napa Valley) Cabernet Sauvignon. It garnered a lot of naysayers, but, as Jancis (what, you need a last name?) blogged the other day, even the naysayers are changing their minds. “There has recently been a resurgence of interest in these wines on […]

“There were giants in those days”

July 1, 2016 by  
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  The news that Paul Draper is retiring came, not as a complete shock, because after all, he’s 80 years old. Rather, it was a realization, the latest in a sorry series, that “the mighty men of old, men of renown” are passing from our scene like the last of a fine vintage gone to […]

Fielding Hills: Consistently Producing Great Wines

March 23, 2016 by  
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Fielding Hills Winery is one of the top wineries in Washington State. Owner/winemaker Mike Wade and his wife Karen are longtime apple and cherry growers who turned a middle portion of their orchard near Mattawa into a vineyard. Their RiverBend Vineyard, planted in 1998, is in the Wahluke Slope AVA and is their sole source […]

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A blind tasting of Mt. Veeder

February 17, 2016 by  
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  I gave 100 points in yesterday’s blind tasting of Mt. Veeder Cabernets and Bordeaux blends to the 2012 Freemark Abbey. I was pretty sure it was the 2012 Lokoya, a wine I’ve had on several occasions and have been dazzled by—and one, by the way, Parker gave 100 points to. I was wrong, but […]

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

January 29, 2016 by  
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  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  
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  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 […]

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