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Vinous Table: Miramonti l’Altro, Lombardy, Italy

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Dec 2014

My most recent meal at Miramonti l’Altro confirmed this is one of Italy’s most outstanding dining and watering holes.

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2000 Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Bèze – Grand Cru

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2014

Rousseau’s 2000 Chambertin Clos de Bèze is wonderfully expressive and open today. The flavors are dark, bold and super-ripe in this decidedly extroverted, opulent Bèze.

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New Releases from Napa Valley: 2012 and 2013, Part I

California

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2014

Napa Valley fans have quite a bit to look forward to with the 2012s and 2013s, wines from two very different vintages.

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Vinous Table: Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Dec 2014

Massimo Bottura has come a long way since the days of the Osteria del Campazzo in Nonantola, near Modena. Bottura's climb to stardom over the last handful of years has been nothing less than phenomenal.

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Loire Valley Cabernet Franc

Loire

Joel B. Payne, Dec 2014

Some grapes command great respect in the eyes of consumers; others are hardly known or even ignored. In spite of being part and parcel of many of the most expensive red wines in the world, Cabernet Franc rarely gets the attention it so clearly deserves.

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Le Miracle de Haut-Brion

Bordeaux

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2014

Le Miracle de Haut-Brion. This recent tasting in London more than lived up to its star billing.

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2000 Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2014

There are great wines, and then there are deeply emotional wines. Chave’s Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin often falls into the latter category. On this night, the 2000 is utterly mesmerizing.

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Vinous Table: Ai Fiori, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2014

The tried and true never disappoints at Ai Fiori, Michael White’s outpost in the Langham Hotel in mid-town Manhattan.

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2012 Rosso di Montalcino

Italy

Ian D'Agata, Dec 2014

Rosso di Montalcino is undoubtedly one of Italy’s true wine success stories of the last decade. A wine I had all but given up on from the latter part of the ’90s to the early part of the 21st century, it has undergone a remarkable quality turnaround and is now one of Italy’s most interesting and dependable red wines.

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Germany Grand Cru Riesling: 2004-2013

Germany

Joel B. Payne, Dec 2014

On the eve of the first official presentation of the 2013 Grosses Gewächs (Grand Cru) for the press in Wiesbaden, three of Germany’s leading producers of dry Riesling hosted a vertical tasting of their respective cult sites.

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The Vinous 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Rest of the World

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2014

With the holiday season fast approaching, these ten gifts are sure to bring a smile to any wine lover.

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Focus on Santa Barbara County

California

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2014

The 2013 vintage across Santa Barbara County should bring plenty of choices and pleasure to wine lovers who like to dig into their wines soon after release, as well as for itchy-corkscrewed sommeliers whose lists are chiefly made up of current releases.

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2007 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2014

Emidio Pepe’s 2007 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is stellar. Dark, rich and voluptuous, the 2007 hits the palate with marvelous depth and seemingly endless layers of pure, intense fruit.

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Vintage Champagne

Champagne

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2014

In spite of the growing popularity of Cava and especially Prosecco in the U.S., by all accounts Champagne still rules the hearts, minds and wallets of wine lovers when it comes to high-end (yes, that means expensive) bubbly.

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Tuscany Part 2: Bolgheri, the Tuscan Coast and More Super-Tuscans

Italy

Ian D'Agata, Dec 2014

The Tuscan Coast is a relatively new high-quality Italian wine production area that didn't exist as such 35 years ago.

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Focus on Loire Valley Chenin Blanc

Loire

Joel B. Payne, Dec 2014

For most tourists, the gentle stretch of the Loire that flows from Tours to Angers conjures visions of castles, stately manor homes and lazy afternoons on a bicycle tour along one of the river’s many tributaries.

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New Releases from Washington State

Washington

Stephen Tanzer, Dec 2014

The more I taste the better 2011 red wines from Washington State, the more excited I become about this vintage—and the more I wonder whether the warmest areas within the Columbia Valley’s high desert are just too hot in some years to make elegant, naturally balanced wines.

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2000 J.F. Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2014

What a treat it is to taste and drink Coche-Dury’s 2000 Corton-Charlemagne. Still fresh and vibrant to the core, the 2000 literally sizzles with mineral-drenched energy and tension.

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Everyday Piedmont - Dolcetto, Barbera and Langhe Nebbiolo

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2014

Barolo and Barbaresco get the lion’s share of the attention in Piedmont, but the best Dolcettos, Barberas and Nebbiolos reflect the same values that make Piedmont’s top wines so compelling.

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Roederer 1979 Cristal

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2014

Roederer’s 1979 Cristal is easily one of the greatest Champagnes I have ever had the privilege of tasting and drinking.

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Vinous Table: Le Bernardin, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2014

Over the years I have had many fabulous meals at Le Bernardin, but this was the first time I had the good fortune to settle in and enjoy one of the tasting menus at a more leisurely pace than I am used to.

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Champagne: The Season’s New Releases

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2014

Champagne fans have plenty to look forward to, as the fall season brings with it a number of fabulous new releases and plenty of occasions to enjoy them.

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Domaine G. Roumier 1978 Musigny – Grand Cru

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2014

What a treat it is to taste Roumier’s 1978 Musigny. Autumn leaves, pipe tobacco, mint, licorice and sweet red cherries all lift from the glass in a gorgeous, fully mature Burgundy that captivates all the senses.

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Vinous Table: La Ciau del Tornavento, Treiso

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2014

Fall is a magical time at La Ciau del Tornavento. White truffles abound, the wine is plentiful and the room buzzes with energy.

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Vinous To Acquire Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

IWC

Vinous, Nov 2014

November 18, 2014 (New York, NY) – Vinous announced today it has agreed to acquire Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (IWC). Founded in 1985 by Editor and Publisher Stephen Tanzer, IWC is the oldest independent, American-owned wine journal. Tanzer will join Antonio Galloni, Vinous’s CEO and founder, as a partner of Vinous and will be actively involved as Editor-in-Chief and a lead critic.

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Gaja: Sorì San Lorenzo 1971-2011

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2014

This recent vertical of Gaja’s Sorì San Lorenzo provided a great opportunity to check in on a number of vintages, including most of the reference points.

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Bartolo Mascarello 1986 & 1989 Barolo - Magnum

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2014

The world’s great wines have a way of inspiring incredible generosity.

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White Truffles, Barolo & Barbaresco

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2014

White truffles, Barolo and Barbaresco. Is there anything better in the fall?

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Screaming Eagle 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2014

What a treat it is to taste the 2007 Screaming Eagle. As exquisite as it has always been, the 2007 captivates all the senses with its exotic bouquet, resonant fruit and silky, generous finish.

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Vinous Table: Press, St Helena

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

I can't think of a better place than Press to explore the bounties of Napa Valley’s historic wines of the 1970s, two of which were the centerpiece of this fabulous dinner.

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Napa Valley Preview – 2012, 2013 and 2014

California

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

Napa Valley has been blessed with three back-to-back good to potentially historic vintages at a time when many of the world’s top red wine producing regions have struggled with much more difficult growing conditions.

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Six Epic Monfortinos

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

It’s always a thrill to check in on older vintages of Giacomo Conterno’s Barolo Riserva Monfortino, especially some of my personal favorites, such as the 1999, 1997 and 1996.

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Vinous Table: Glen Ellen Star, Glen Ellen

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

When I asked a good friend and local resident for her top dining recommendation in the area, the answer was swift: Glen Ellen Star.

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1996 Champagne – For The Ages

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

The 1996 Champagnes continue to thrill with a combination of precision, intensity and structure. The best 1996s are just as exciting as they were upon release and will continue to drink well for another decade or two, perhaps longer.

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2002 Salon - Magnum

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

Tasted from magnum, the 2002 Salon is utterly magnificent. The flavors are finely sculpted throughout in a Champagne that impresses for its tension and total brilliance.

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Looking Back at Napa Valley Icons

California

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

It’s always a thrill to revisit some of Napa Valley’s reference points. This tasting/dinner at Press was full of highlights.

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The Vinous 2014 Guide to Eating and Drinking in Piedmont

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

This year’s round up of the best places to eat and drink in Piedmont includes several new entries. One of the trends in Piedmont seems to be an increase in the number of casual restaurants that offer simple, yet well made food, a good wine list and an informal ambience, all with an eye towards keeping prices reasonable, a pretty good combination in my book.

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1992 Dunn Petit Sirah Howell Mountain

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

For a few years in the early 1990s, Randy Dunn made a small amount of Petite Sirah, which by his account, he largely forgot about for years until he started offering it to his mailing list recently.

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Barbaresco’s Stellar 2011s

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

The 2011 Barbarescos have turned out beautifully. Racy and pliant, the best 2011s are gorgeous and will drink well early.

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Cristal and Icons from Piedmont & Bordeaux

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

I am not sure I possess the vocabulary to do justice to this spectacular dinner at Marea. Icons from Bordeaux and Piedmont followed nine vintages of Cristal in a night of great wine, food and conversation.

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1995 Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard Vieilles Vignes

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

What a treat it is to taste and drink Araujo’s 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard Vieilles Vignes. A wine of seamless texture and balance, the 1995 captivates all the senses with its exhilarating purity and total finesse.

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Vinous Table: Ad Hoc, Yountville

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

This recent dinner at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc was fabulous treat after a long day of tastings in Napa Valley.

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Val d’Orcia, Montepulciano, Carmignano and the Undiscovered Tuscany

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2014

Pulling back the curtain on some of Tuscany’s lesser-known appellations reveals a rich tapestry of history and a bevy of stunning yet largely overlooked wines.

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1992 and 2002 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

Over the years I have been fortunate to taste more than my fair share of Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignons. These rugged hillside sites on Mount Veeder yield some of the most intriguing and age worthy Cabernets in Napa Valley.

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Vinous Table: Barolofriends Wine Bar, Barolo

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

Barolofriends, a newly opened wine bar in the center of town, is one of the most exciting additions to the eating and drinking scene in Piedmont.

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2010 Barolo: Flying High Again, Part 2

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

The late-bottled 2010 Barolos confirm first impressions – 2010 is one of the all-time great vintages for Italy’s most noble red.

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1982 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

I have always been taught that things need to start well in order to end well. That is what immediately came to mind when I ran into an old friend on my first day of tastings in Piedmont this past summer. Within a few minutes a bottle of the 1982 Monfortino was open and conversation was flowing. What a great way to start a trip!

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Vinous Table: Restaurant F and B, Beaune

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

Located just off the Place Carnot, Restaurant F and B is an ideal spot to enjoy a delicious meal in Beaune.

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Exploring the Tuscan Coast

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

The Tuscan coast excels with rich, ample reds. With careful selection, readers will find plenty of gorgeous wines in both the 2011 and 2012 vintages.

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Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet 1988-2004

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

There are few white Burgundies I look forward to drinking more than DRC's Montrachet. The expression of Chardonnay can vary to such an extreme degree; from super-opulent wines like the 1988 and 2008 to much leaner, more vibrant years such as the 1996, 2004 and 2010.

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Vinous Table: Bistro de l’Hôtel, Beaune

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

I can’t think of too many places I would rather be on a warm summer evening in Beaune than at the Bistro de l’Hôtel, where the outside terrace is a perfect place to enjoy the best Burgundy has to offer.

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Chianti Classico and Beyond – New Releases

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

Sangiovese reigns supreme in Chianti Classico. This year’s crop of new releases focuses on the 2012s and 2011s, wines from harvests that produced radiant, expressive reds with plenty of near and medium term appeal.

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Krug’s Epic 1966 Vintage [magnum]

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

Krug’s 1966 Vintage is one of the most gorgeous, viscerally thrilling wines I have ever had the privilege to taste and drink.

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Vinous Table: Guido da Costigliole, Relais San Maurizio

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

Timeless, elegant and classic. That is what comes to mind when I think of Guido da Costigliole. Tucked away in the hills of Santo Stefano Belbo, in the picturesque Relais San Maurizio, Guido is one of the meccas of fine dining in Piedmont.

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Two Glorious 1960s Barolos

Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

What a joy it is to taste these two glorious 1960s Barolos, both at the peak of their splendor.

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2011 Barolo – A First Look

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2014

The 2011 Barolos continue to surprise. Radiant, open and already quite expressive, the 2011s show terrific potential.

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Focus on Spain

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2014

Like most of the rest of northern Europe's wine-growing regions, Spain suffered through a cool, rain-plagued growing season and--in many regions--harvest in 2013

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Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc

IWC

Joel B. Payne, Sep 2014

I chaptalized for the first time since 2004, admitted Francois Cotat as we tasted his 2013s from barrel, "and also had a bit of botrytis at the end of the harvest

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Tuscany Part 1: Chianti, Vino Nobile and Supertuscans

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Sep 2014

For all intents and purposes, when it comes to wine, Tuscany is a country all on its own, with myriad different microclimates, terroirs and grape varieties to sift through

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The 2014 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2014

The upcoming 30th annual Cape Winemakers Guild auction offers a unique buying opportunity for American wine lovers interested in picking up some scarce and distinctive South African wines

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2013 and 2012 White Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2014

With the 2014 harvest well under way under sunny skies as I finished this article, but with the potential for thunderstorms over the next week, the size of the 2014 crop will come into focus soon

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The Best of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2014

What a difference a year makes!  Last summer the task of tasting well over a hundred 2012 sauvignon blancs from Marlborough was truly an acid test, as many of those wines were made from grapes that never ripened properly in a very cool, late growing season

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1999 Barolo: Brilliance, Intensity and Class

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2014

The 1999 Barolos are powerful, viscerally thrilling wines that express the truest essence of Nebbiolo. At fifteen years of age, the wines are in a perfect place to provide maximum enjoyment today.

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Vinous Table: Locanda ’800, Verona, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2014

Located in the heart of Amarone country, Locanda ’800 is an ideal spot to take a break while visiting estates in the Valpolicella Classico zone. This recent lunch was fabulous.

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Soldera: Brunello di Montalcino 1979-2006

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2014

Gianfranco Soldera's Brunellos are some of the most hauntingly beautiful, profound wines anywhere in the world. This recent tasting provided a fabulous opportunity to check in on a number of classics, both old and new.

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Vinous Table: Relais del Sant'Uffizio, Asti, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2014

A former monastery dating back to the days of Inquisition in the 1600s, the Relais del Sant’Uffizio is a gorgeous hotel and restaurant nestled in the rolling hills of Monferrato.

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Checking in on the 1999 Barbarescos

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2014

Some vintages are pretty easy to understand when they are young. That was certainly the case with most years during the second half of the 1990s. But 1999 was always the outlier. So many wines were austere and tough when they were first released. How are the 1999s today?

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Vinous Table: Hostellerie des Clos, Chablis

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2014

One of the things I love most about visiting Chablis is being able to walk from cellar to cellar. Located just a stone’s throw from many of the village’s most prestigious addresses, Hostellerie des Clos is an excellent base for discovering all Chablis has to offer.

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2013 Chablis: Living on the Edge

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2014

The 2013s in Chablis have turned out better than could have reasonably been expected given an extraordinarily difficult, capricious growing season full of ups and downs.

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Vinous Table: La Piola, Alba

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2014

Located on the ground level of a historic building in the old city center of Alba, La Piola specializes in mostly traditional dishes served in an informal setting. The menu at La Piola is rich in the classics, but with some twists.

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Vinous Table: La Ciau del Tornavento, Treiso

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2014

It’s always a treat to visit La Ciau del Tornavento. Proprietors Maurilio Garola and Nadia Benech continue to set a very high bar for food, wine and hospitality in the Langhe.

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Paso Robles and Points South

California

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2014

Although often lumped in with other appellations in California’s Central Coast, Paso Robles has its own distinct culture and values, both of which are clearly reflected in the wines.

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Vinous Table: Burgundy Charity Auction and Dinner

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2014

This private charity dinner and auction was held to benefit local charities in Beaune that help the poor. A number of Burgundy’s top growers poured wines from their cellars from magnum as a collection of eye-popping bottles was auctioned off to the attendees.

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Domaine de la Romanée-Conti: Focus on Grands-Échézeaux and Richebourg

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2014

This remarkable survey of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s Grands-Échézeaux and Richebourg spanned four decades going back to 1966.

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Santa Barbara: The Thrill of Discovery

California

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2014

A palpable energy and the thrill of discovery accompanied my tastings in Santa Barbara this year. Every day seemed to bring with it new wines, new projects and plenty of the youthful energy that is the heartbeat of one of California’s most exciting appellations.

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Vinous Table: Musique & Vin

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2014

The Musique & Vin Au Clos Vougeot festival takes place in Burgundy each year towards the end of June. I have always wanted to go, but have never been able to pry myself away from the cellars and vineyards. This year, I was determined to carve out a few hours to attend one of the concerts and the charity dinner that followed.

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1964 Leroy: Simply Timeless

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2014

“I still remember buying this wine,” says Lalou Bize-Leroy of her 1964 Meursault Les Genevrières. Today, that wine is stunning, as are two other 1964s I recently tasted.

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2012 Santa Lucia Highlands: A Winemaker’s Vintage

California

Antonio Galloni, July 2014

After two challenging years in 2010 and 2011, producers in the Santa Lucia Highlands were given a much more typical growing season in 2012. How have the wines turned out?

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Vinous Table: Le Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2014

There is a certain joy in simplicity. This fabulous, leisurely dinner at Le Montrachet is a great way to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday.

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Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé 1985-2006

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2014

Taittinger is one of the crown jewels in Champagne. The flagship Comtes de Champagne gets most of the attention, but its alter ego, Comtes de Champagne Rosé, can be every bit as thrilling.

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An Update From Burgundy

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2014

After very challenging growing seasons in 2012 and 2013, Burgundy's growers had high hopes for 2014. The early part of the summer had been ideal. That all changed within just a few minutes on June 28.

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Santa Cruz Mountains – A Study in Terroir

California

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2014

The Santa Cruz Mountains remains one of the most distinctive appellations in California, with an ever-increasing number of world-class Chardonnays, Pinots and Cabernet Sauvignons that merit serious attention.

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Brunello di Montalcino 2009 and 2008 Riserva

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Jul 2014

Brunello di Montalcino is indisputably one of the world's greatest wines.

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2011 Bordeaux from the Bottle

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Jul 2014

If I had to pick just one element that defines the Bordeaux reds of 2011, it is the transformative role of élevage

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Best New Wines from Australia

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2014

While many American wine lovers understandably believe that all this sprawling wine-growing region produces are critter wines in big bottles, there are signs that upper-tier Aussie wines have begun to gain a foothold in the U

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Annual Rose Roundup, 2014 Part 2

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2014

America's love affair with pink wines is looking pretty insatiable based on all anecdotal information I'm able to draw upon; if anything, it seems to be on the rise

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Oregon Pinot Noir Update

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2014

In the eyes of most Willamette Valley winemakers 2012 is a pinot vintage for the record books, and by all accounts the market is in agreement the wines have sold swiftly and in many cases are all gone at the wineries and even at the wholesale and retail levels in many markets

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Chablis 2013 and 2012

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2014

With several large outside players desperately seeking top vineyards in Chablis, if not entire domains, and very little cru land available for sale at any price, producers in the region are enjoying a period of great demand for their grapes and wines

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Vinous Table: Mattei’s Tavern, Los Olivos, Santa Barbara

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2014

An artful blend of the old and the new, Mattei’s Tavern is a throwback to a fascinating time in California’s history when this iconic watering hole catered to weary railroad travelers.

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Vinous Table: Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant, Santa Barbara

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2014

Part wine shop, part Parisian-inspired wine bar, Les Marchands is a very welcome addition to the Santa Barbara scene.

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2003 Barolo: Ten Years Later

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2014

The 2003 vintage in Barolo will be remembered for a scorching hot, dry summer that pushed growers to the maximum. Ten years later, how have the wines turned out?

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Vinous Table: maze, London

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2014

Sushi and Champagne. It doesn't get much better than that in my book. This recent lunch at maze in London was terrific.

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Six Decades of Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon: 1967-2012

California

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2014

For six decades Bob Travers made some of the most compelling and profound Napa Valley wines at Mayacamas. These magnificent Cabernet Sauvignons capture an artisan spirit that is only now being rediscovered and fully appreciated for what it is: one of the richest legacies in the world.

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Dalla Valle Maya: A Complete Retrospective 1988-2012

California

Antonio Galloni, June 2014

Dalla Valle's Maya is one of Napa Valley’s most iconic wines. This complete vertical back to the inaugural 1988 is a poignant reminder of Maya's timeless, enduring beauty.

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Vinous Table: Cappellano Barolos at the Four Seasons, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2014

This fabulous dinner at the Four Seasons Restaurant with a dear friend provided a great opportunity to check in on three Barolos from Cappellano.

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Hungary's 21st-Century Tokajis

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jun 2014

In the not too distant future, a tasting tour of the most important villages and hillside sites of the Tokaj region in northeastern Hungary is likely to be a voyage of terroir discovery in much the same way that cellar visits along Burgundy's Route des Grands Crus are today

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Annual Rose Roundup, 2014 Part 1

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jun 2014

This is the first of two installments of our annual summer coverage of rosé

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2013 Napa Valley: A First Look…

California

Antonio Galloni, May 2014

The 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet-based reds continue to impress with a combination of richness and energy that is compelling.

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Vinous Table: Chave Hermitage Vertical at Ristorante Morini, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, May 2014

A last-minute vertical of Chave’s iconic Hermitage was a great and unexpected way to celebrate Vinous’s first birthday.

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Four Decades of Champagne Salon and Delamotte: 1970-2004

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, May 2014

I was thrilled to moderate this tasting of Salon and Delamotte at Pebble Beach Food & Wine. These are some of the most compelling, utterly exquisite Champagnes readers will come across.

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Vinous Table: Boulud Sud, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, May 2014

This fabulous dinner at Boulud Sud gave us an opportunity to check in on a handful of iconic, reference-point wines that define the essence of greatness.

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Champagne: New Releases and Collectibles

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, May 2014

Champagne is one of life’s essentials. We take a look at the first of this year's crop of new releases plus collectibles as we kick off our spring Champagne coverage.

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Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino 1970-2006 [Magnum]

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2014

Since 1970, Giacomo Conterno has bottled just eighteen vintages of their flagship Barolo Riserva Monfortino in magnum. We opened them all at this epic vertical tasting and dinner in London.

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Vinous Table: Ora d'Aria, Florence, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, May 2014

Readers visiting Florence looking for something different will want to check out Ora d’Aria. Chef Marco Stabile’s food is whimsical, creative and full of surprises.

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2009 Brunello di Montalcino: The Day of Reckoning

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2014

Readers will have to be highly selective with the 2009 Brunellos. An extremely challenging vintage pushed growers to the limit.

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2010 Red Burgundy: Essays in Terroir

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, May 2014

The top 2010 Red Burgundies are now virtually impossible to find, so it was a real treat to taste these nine gorgeous, reference-point wines together.

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Vinous Table: Ai Fiori, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, May 2014

It’s always great to go back to Ai Fiori, which has become one of my favorites over the last year. This recent dinner was full of highlights.

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A Look Back at the 2008 Barolos

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2014

The finest 2008 Barolos are utterly magnificent, profound wines that represent a new paradigm for Italy’s most famous and collectible red.

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2011 Vintage Ports

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2014

The 2011 vintage ports, the first widely declared port vintage since 2007, arrived in the market with great fanfare

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Vertical Tasting of Il Marroneto Brunello di Montalcino

IWC

Ian D'Agata, May 2014

There is no doubt that knowledgeable Brunello fans consider Il Marroneto to be one of the top dozen or so estates in Montalcino today

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Vertical Tasting of Mastroberardino's Taurasi Riserva

IWC

Ian D'Agata, May 2014

Taurasi is potentially one of Italy's greatest and most important wines

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Bordeaux 2013: Definitely Not the Vintage of the Century

IWC

Ian D'Agata, May 2014

Asked for his take on the 2013 Bordeaux red wines, world-famous consulting winemaker Stephane Derenoncourt sighed wearily "A year of huge volume; easy to make, perfumed, smoothly tannic wines; perhaps the vintage of the century

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California's North Coast

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2014

Following the challenging, short 2011 vintage, the North Coast's growers and winemakers got exactly what they needed in 2012 a return to classic California weather and a copious crop, followed by a very early and highly successful harvest in 2013 that some cabernet growers are already calling better than 2012

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Vinous Table: Solbar, Calistoga

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2014

Solbar is one of my favorite spots in Napa Valley, especially when the weather allows for enjoying the outdoor terrace. This recent dinner was good, but not as outstanding as other recent meals have been.

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2013 Champagne: The Vins Clairs

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2014

The 2013 vintage was extremely challenging throughout France, but most of Champagne was spared the worst. In the Côte des Blancs in particular the best Chardonnays are drop-dead gorgeous.

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Vinous Table: Press, St. Helena, California

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2014

There is a certain beauty in simplicity. The brainchild of proprietor Leslie Rudd, Press excels with beautifully prepared cuisine that evokes the best of the American kitchen with a few French bistro accents thrown into the mix.

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Le Macchiole: Paleo Rosso 1992-2012

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2014

Over the last decade Le Macchiole's 100% Cabernet Franc Paleo Rosso has established itself as one of the great wines of the Tuscan coast and Italy.

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Vinous Table: L’Univerre, Bordeaux

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2014

Readers visiting Bordeaux will want to set aside at least one night for L’Univerre. The wine list will leave even the most seasoned traveler drooling, while the food is absolutely delicious.

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2013 Bordeaux: Walking the Tightrope

Bordeaux

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2014

The 2013 vintage will be remembered as one of the most challenging Bordeaux has ever seen, but quality-minded properties found a way to make delicious wines with plenty of near-term appeal.

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Vinous Table: Marea, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2014

It’s always great to get together with one of my local tasting groups for a night of fabulous wine, food and conversation, something that has become a rare occasion given my travel schedule these days.

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The Best New Cotes du Rhone Releases

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2014

Given the wide range of styles, not to mention varying levels of quality, within the far-reaching and all-encompassing "Cotes-du-Rhone" category, generalizing about the wines would simply be simply impossible--or at the very least, highly misleading

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2011 Red Burgundy: Three Sides of a Coin

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2014

The best 2011 red Burgundies are striking, quintessentially transparent wines that capture the essence of site, but overall this is a variable vintage that is going to require careful selection.

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Vinous Table: L’Assiette Champenoise, Reims, France

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2014

This recent dinner at L’Assiette Champenoise was off the charts. Proprietor Arnaud Lallement is at the top of his game these days.

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Vinous Table: Charity Dinner to Benefit the Frankie Lemmon School

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, March 2014

This magnificent charity dinner in Raleigh raised $30,000 for the Frankie Lemmon School, which provides a number of programs for children with learning disabilities.

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Giacomo Conterno: Barbera d’Alba Cascina Francia 2000-2010

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2014

Barolo gets most of the attention at Giacomo Conterno, but the estate’s Barbera shows another equally fascinating side of the Cascina Francia vineyard.

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Alto Adige: A World Unto Itself

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2014

Alto Adige is literally a world unto itself. Home to a number of indigenous white and red varieties seldom seen elsewhere in Italy, Alto Adige is one of the most unique and compelling regions in the world.

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Vinous Table: Gasthof Krone, Alto Adige

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2014

There are few regions in Italy that can match Alto Adige when it comes to top-notch hospitality and dining. Set in a small hotel in Aldino, Gasthof Krone captures the essence of Alto Adige kitchen and its rich tapestry of Italian and Austrian influences.

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Alpine Beauty: The Wines of Valle d’Aosta

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2014

Viticulture is heroic on the steep Alpine vineyards in Valle d’Aosta. The result: terroir-driven wines that pulsate with minerality and energy.

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Vinous Table: Maialino, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2014

It has been a while since my last lunch at Maialino, but I make up for lost time quickly. Executive Chef Nick Anderer’s tasting menu is absolutely brilliant.

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Veneto: Stunning Landscapes, Stunning Wines

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2014

A region of breathtaking beauty, Veneto is also home to an extraordinary range of wines made in all styles.

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Exploring Northern Piedmont

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2014

The Nebbiolo-based reds of Northern Piedmont remain some of the most exciting, under-the-radar wines in the world.

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Vertical Tasting of Chateau Branaire-Ducru

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2014

Branaire-Ducru is a storied Bordeaux property whose wines are remarkably consistent and high in quality

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Best New Releases from Argentina

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2014

Making vintage generalizations for this huge wine-soaked country is a tricky proposition--after all, we're talking about well over a thousand miles from Salta in the north to the main wine-producing areas of Patagonia in Argentina's extreme south

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La Festa del Barolo 2013 Gala Dinner

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2014

The spirit of sharing and camaraderie the world’s best wines inspire was in evidence at La Festa del Barolo, where I was fortunate to enjoy a range of emotionally moving, transcendental wines.

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2012 and 2011 Northern Rhone Wines

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2014

Winegrowers in the northern Rhone Valley have enjoyed a virtually unbroken string of good to legendary vintages (with 2002 being the bad guy) since the early 1990s, a run of luck that is unprecedented in this often-cool continental climate

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2011 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2014

At its best, 2011 is a vintage of considerable charm for the red wines of the Cote d'Or--and especially those from the Cote de Nuits

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The Wines of Southern Italy

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2014

Southern Italy is an increasingly interesting place for wine lovers to visit, virtually or in person

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Vertical Tasting of Chateau Pavie Macquin

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2014

Château Pavie Macquin is one of the most improved Saint-Emilion wines of the last 20 years

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Epic Dunn: Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 1979-1999

California

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2014

This tasting spanning 21 vintages of Randy Dunn's flagship Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain going all the way back to the inaugural 1979 was remarkable for so many reasons.

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Kata: An Exciting Debut From Napa Valley

California

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2014

I knew it the moment I tasted it. The wine in my glass was one of the most exciting new projects in Napa Valley. What was it? Kata’s 2011 Beckstoffer Bourn Vineyard.

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Interactive Vineyard Maps - Beta

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2014

Vinous Interactive Vineyard Maps give readers a totally new and engaging way to learn more about specific vineyards and then explore the wines that emerge from those sites.

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Vinous Table: Ai Fiori, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2014

Over the last year Ai Fiori has become one of my favorite spots in New York. The food is incredibly wine-friendly, the service is superb and overall ambience is welcoming. Everything on our menu is out of this world.

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Barolo: A Classification of Vineyards

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2014

Trying to gain an understanding of the vineyards of Barolo has been an all-consuming passion since I started visiting Piedmont 18 years ago. Over the last few years in particular I have begun to collect my thoughts on the region and its vineyards. Barolo: A Classification of Vineyards is the result of that work.

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Sonoma and Beyond: New Releases

California

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2014

Once again I was deeply struck by the quality and diversity of the wines I tasted in Sonoma County. At three times the size of Napa Valley, Sonoma County is home to a dizzying array of world-class whites and reds.

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Fontodi: Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo 1985-2010

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2014

The takeaway from this historic tasting is obvious: the Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo is Fontodi’s flagship wine. It’s as simple as that.

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The Undiscovered California

California

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2014

It seems like everywhere I turn in California a new winery or project is popping up. Sure, visiting California’s reference point wineries is always exciting, but the real thrill of discovery lies in uncovering the new.

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Vinous Table: Castello di Grinzane Cavour, Piedmont, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2014

Located in the Castello di Grinzane Cavour, Alessandro Boglione’s Ristorante al Castello is one of the prettiest dining rooms in Piedmont. The menu is steeped in the classics, with a few innovative touches.

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Vinous Table: Le Bernardin, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2014

I can’t think of too many places I would rather spend a cold, winter afternoon than Le Bernardin. This marvelous, indulgent lunch was full of surprises.

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Focus on Chile

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Feb 2014

Slowly but surely, Chile has been gaining respect for producing more than just a handful of world-class wines

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Vinous Table: Brooklyn Fare, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2014

This recent dinner at Brooklyn Fare was one of my most memorable culinary experiences. Chef César Ramirez’s food dazzles at every turn, with a seemingly endless array of thrilling twists and turns.

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Vinous Table: Bistro de l’Hôtel, Beaune, France

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2014

A trip to Burgundy isn’t complete with a meal or two at the Bistro de l’Hôtel, where proprietor Johan Björklund serves seasonal cuisine in a gorgeous, intimate setting.

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2012 Red Burgundy: Against All Odds

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2014

Mother Nature threw the book at Burgundy’s vignerons in 2012, with just about every kind of weather imaginable. Quality is uneven across the board, especially in the Côte de Beaune, but the best 2012s are undeniably thrilling.

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Gala Dinner at the World Wine Symposium

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2014

I have enjoyed a number of spectacular meals at the Villa d’Este over the last few years, but this was arguably the finest. The Gala Dinner that concluded the 2013 edition of the World Wine Symposium was a culinary tour-de-force from Executive Chef Michele Zambanini and his team.

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Vinous Table: Hurricane Sandy Charity Dinner at The Modern

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2014

This charity lot included a private tour of several galleries at the Museum of Modern Art, followed by dinner at The Modern. Executive Chef Gabriel Kreuther prepared a menu full of his signature Alsatian-inspired dishes to pair with our wines.

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2010 Barolo: Flying High Again

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2014

The 2010 vintage in Barolo is shaping up to be a modern-day classic. The cool growing season produced transparent, vibrant Barolos that pulsate with tension, crystalline purity and site-specific nuance.

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2012 and 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueyras

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2014

Following the universal success of the 2010s in the southern Rhone Valley and the sometimes-as-stellar 2009s, 2011 was predestined to land in their shadows unless the vintage turned out perfectly

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2012 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2014

For a vintage that produced so many utterly compelling red Burgundies, 2012 could easily have been a disaster

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Germany 2012

IWC

Joel B. Payne, Jan 2014

It was an almost perfect vintage for dry rieslings, stated Philipp Wittmann from Westhofen in Rheinhessen as I first tasted his Grosses Gewächs from cask this spring

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Vinous Table: Lincoln Ristorante, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

I have been fortunate to enjoy two spectacular meals at Lincoln Ristorante recently. Chef Jonathan Benno’s food is rooted in the classics yet inventive and full of surprises.

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Vinous Table: Mas Farmhouse, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

Tucked away in the labyrinth of small streets that is Greenwich Village, Mas offers an intriguing blend of contemporary American cuisine with French country inflections.

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Mastroberardino – Defining the Greatness of Taurasi: 1928-2006

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

My recent tasting with Piero Mastroberardino was a once in a lifetime experience, and not just for me. This was the largest comprehensive vertical the estate had ever staged of their Taurasi.

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Vinous Table: Ai Fiori, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

Two recent meals at Michael White’s Ai Fiori have been superb. This dinner featured a number of my favorite wines, all of which showed beautifully.

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Friuli – Parallel Universes

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

Friuli is home to some of the most spectacular hillside vineyards in all of Europe. While the best Friulian wines are stunning, the full potential of these sites remains largely untapped.

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Antinori Solaia – A Complete Retrospective 1978-2010

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

Chronicling the great wines of Italy for our readers has been a passion of mine for many years. Vinous Events take readers off the sidelines and make them participants in historic, once-in-a-lifetime tastings.

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Vinous Table: Aureole, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

This was my first dinner at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole, but it won’t be my last. Everything was spectacular from start to finish.

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The Vinous 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Rest of the World

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

With the holidays in full swing it’s time to start thinking about gifts. This year, we are once again proud to present our selection of some of the best gift ideas for the wine lovers in your life.

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Castello dei Rampolla d’Alceo – A Complete Retrospective 1996-2011

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

This complete vertical of Castello dei Rampolla’s d’Alceo was remarkable for many reasons, most importantly the absolute brilliance of the wines across vintages of all kinds.

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Talking Spirits with Nicolas Palazzi

Rest of the World

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

Micro-negociant Nicolas Palazzi offers magnificent artisan spirits that deserve just as much attention as the best small production wines anywhere in the world.

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Vinous Table: Piedmont Icons at Del Posto

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

I was thrilled to host this small, intimate dinner for one of Vinous’s private corporate clients. For the occasion, I chose a number of reference-point wines with an emphasis on Piedmont that showed a variety of styles mixing up current and older vintages.

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Isole e Olena: Cabernet Sauvignon Collezione De Marchi 1986-2010

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

Although Paolo De Marchi is best known for the sublime Sangioveses he crafts at Isole e Olena, his Cabernet Sauvignon is just as viscerally thrilling, as this vertical tasting amply proved.

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Domaine de la Romanée-Conti: An Essay in Terroir

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2013

Two terroirs, across four vintages in four different decades. Those were the parameters for this fascinating tasting held at the World Wine Symposium a few weeks ago.

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New Non-Vintage Champagnes

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2013

Looking back on the hundreds of Champagnes I tasted for this article and for my coverage of vintage releases in the current issue of the IWC, I've come to the conclusion that no region in the world produces a higher percentage of outstanding wines

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Austria 2012 and 2011

IWC

Joel B. Payne, Dec 2013

Although he prefers cooler vintages, Lucas Pichler from Oberloiben in the Wachau is pleased with 2012

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Champagne – A Wine For All Seasons

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2013

As the end of year holidays approach, it’s only natural to start thinking a little bit more about bubbly. In reality, though, Champagne is a wine for all seasons.

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Vinous Table: The Night of the Forgotten Labels

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2013

This fabulous dinner at La Rei, in Serralunga, featured a number of oddball rarities, some of which I had never tasted. One of my friends dubbed it ‘The Night of the Forgotten Labels’ and it stuck.

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Borgo del Tiglio – A Study in Whites: 1982-2011

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2013

Borgo del Tiglio is one of the world’s greatest estates. Proprietor Nicola Manferrari crafts brilliant, chiseled whites that capture the essence of some of Friuli’s most compelling terroirs.

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Vinous Table: La Ciau del Tornavento, Treiso, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2013

Truffles, truffles and more truffles. That was the theme of this spectacular dinner at La Ciau del Tornanvento last week. Even on a Monday night following a huge weekend of tourism in the Langhe, La Ciau was packed, as it pretty much always is these days.

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Vinous Table: Centro Storico, Piedmont

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2013

Centro Storico is one of my favorite places to eat and drink in Piedmont. I am not alone. Over the last few years, Centro Storico has become a huge hit with locals and tourists alike.

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2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Terroir Matters - Updated

California

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2013

The 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons have turned out better than I expected. It was a challenging vintage, but the best wines will surprise for their aromatic intensity, finesse, balance and sense of place.

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Vintage Champagne

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2013

Champagne lovers have a lot to be happy about these days thanks to a recent streak of good to great vintages beginning with 2002

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The Best New Wines from Washington State

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2013

Wine lovers who stopped following Washington's wines may hardly recognize what the state is up to these days

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Barolo and Barbaresco

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2013

With a late but successful nebbiolo harvest again this fall, Barolo and Barbaresco producers of the Piedmont enjoyed their tenth consecutive good to outstanding vintage--a string of luck that may be attributable in equal part to climate change and to lower yields and better farming practices

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Focus on California's Central Coast

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2013

The 2011 and 2010 vintages, with their overall cool nature, forced even the most diehard Central Coast producers of shock-and-awe wines to adjust their expectations and practices, with the happy result (to me, at least) that a large number of lively, pure wines were made up and down this vast region

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Piedmont Beyond Barolo and Barbaresco

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2013

As great as the best Barolos and Barbarescos are, Piedmont also offers a huge range of more affordable everyday wines that capture all of the virtues of one of the world’s indisputably great wine producing regions.

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Vinous Table: Piedmont Gems from the Cellar

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2013

There is nothing better than enjoying a few special bottles at home with friends. Wine has a rare ability to create lifelong bonds, so it is especially rewarding when I have an opportunity to share those wines with people who have encouraged me from the very beginning, something I never take for granted nor will ever forget.

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2009 Barolo: Highs and Lows, Part 2

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2013

This set of reviews concludes our coverage of the 2009 Barolos in 2013, which focuses on wines that are bottled later than is the norm. I view the 2009s as uneven across the board. There are some surprises though, many of them in this article.

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Introducing Vinous Playlists

Rest of the World

James Forsyth, Oct 2013

We are thrilled to introduce Vinous Playlists. With Vinous Playlists you can tag and organize your favorite wines by vintage, producer, region or simply by your own preferences, enabling you to revisit your personalized lists whenever and wherever you wish.

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Vinous Table: Cabernet Lovers of New York City

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2013

I was thrilled to join the Cabernet Lovers of New York City earlier this year for a casual, informal dinner with some of our favorite Napa Valley Cabernets. For the most part, the wines showed brilliantly, and highlighted the diversity Napa Valley is capable of.

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Vinous Table: Park Tavern, San Francisco

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2013

Park Tavern offers an attractive combination of American classics mixed with French influences in a casual, informal setting. Chef Jennifer Puccio’s food is exuberant, bold and utterly irresistible.

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Vinous Table: Classic Napa Cabernets at Press, St. Helena

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2013

I never miss a chance to get together with my Napa Valley tasting group. Our shared passion for the great wines of Napa Valley has been the catalyst for a number of fabulous tastings over the years. This dinner at Press was another in a series of unforgettable evenings.

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Barbaresco 2010: Treiso Shines

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2013

Treiso is the undisputed star of Barbaresco’s 2010 vintage. The wines are aromatically expressive, layered and spiced, with fabulous balance and class. A number of the village’s top producers made some of their best wines ever.

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School’s in Session – Dinner with Il Professore

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2013

I think it was the 1945 Conterno Barolo. Or maybe it was the 1931 Borgogno Barolo. Maybe the 1970 Mascarello Barolo Monprivato. Those are just a few of the most memorable bottles I have had the privilege of sharing with Il Professore.

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Antonio Galloni Announces Launch of Vinous Mobile Site

Rest of the World

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2013

The new Vinous mobile site offers access to our entire library – nearly 30,000 reviews and hundreds of videos and articles – all optimized for smartphones. We will continue to lead with technology and mobile specifically as we introduce new features over the next year.

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Focus on Rosso di Montalcino

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Oct 2013

The 2011 vintage in Montalcino has yielded a bevy of pure, precise, varietally accurate Rosso di Montalcino wines in a somewhat richer style than usual

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Vertical Tasting of Col d'Orcia's Brunello di Montalcino Poggio al Vento Riserva

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Oct 2013

Col d'Orcia is one of the leading estates in Montalcino

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Vertical Tasting of Valentini's Trebbiano d'Abruzzo

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Oct 2013

Valentini is an almost sacred name among Italian wine lovers

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The 2011 Côte de Beaune Whites: Grace in Motion

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2013

I was quite pleased with the 2011 white Burgundies I tasted in late June and early July. The wines are generally open, accessible and delicious, making this a great vintage to enjoy while the 2010s rest in bottle.

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The Vinous Guide to Eating and Drinking in Piedmont

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2013

Mother Nature is especially generous with Piedmont. She graces the region with world-class wines and a host of raw ingredients that provide the inspiration for the Piedmontese table, one of the most dazzling in Italy.

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2008 Brunello di Montalcino: A Consumer's Vintage

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2013

Readers will find a set of mostly approachable, easygoing Brunellos in 2008. The vintage presented growers with many challenges, the severity of which varied from zone to zone.

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Vinous Table: La Ciau del Tornavento, Treiso, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2013

Pasta, pasta, pasta. That seemed to be the theme of this spectacular dinner at La Ciau del Tornavento. I have had many memorable meals at La Ciau over the years, but the food has never been better than it is right now. The devil is in the details. Few do it better than Chef/Proprietor Maurilio Garola and his team, all of whom exude infectious energy and pure passion.

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Vinous Table: Bistro de l’Hôtel, Beaune, France

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2013

The weather was unseasonably rainy and chilly during the two weeks I spent in Burgundy this past June, so when sunshine arrived one Saturday morning there was only once place to go for lunch. The Bistro de l’Hôtel.

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2006 Brunello di Montalcino Revisited

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2013

At its best, Brunello di Montalcino is one of the world’s great wines. Like Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo, Sangiovese can communicate an extraordinary amount of detail about site and vintage, all in a variety of styles.

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The 2013 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2013

The upcoming 29th annual Cape Winemakers Guild auction offers a terrific buying opportunity for American wine lovers interested in picking up some scarce and excellent South African wines from some of the country's most talented winemakers

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Vertical Tasting of Zind-Humbrecht's Riesling Brand and Riesling Rangen

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Sep 2013

If you were to ask any serious wine expert for his or her list of the top white wine estates in the world today, Alsace's Domaine Zind-Humbrecht would nearly always be among those included.

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Vertical Tasting of Trimbach's Riesling Frederic Emile

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Sep 2013

It is no exaggeration to say that if I am writing professionally about wines today (instead of doing what my medical degree calls for), it is because of the many exceptional Clos Ste. Hune and Cuvée Frédéric Emile rieslings (and rieslings of the Mosel) I drank in my teen years courtesy of the always extremely well-stocked Vintages shelves (back then called the Rare Wine and Spirits store) at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

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The Best of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, and Some Chardonnays Too

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2013

These are tricky times for New Zealand wine in the U.S. market, as the short crop of 2012 and continued strength in the New Zealand dollar are exerting pressures on prices here.

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New Releases from Spain

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2013

Veteran IWC readers don't really need to be reminded that Spain is, in our opinion, the world's richest source of outstanding red wine values

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2012 and 2011 White Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2013

After hearing a number of Cote de Nuits producers rave about the creamy density of fruit and ripe tannic structure of their tiny 2012 crop of red Burgundies last fall, I began my late-spring white wine tour of the Cote de Beaune with a mixture of optimism and trepidation

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Chablis 2012: Energy, Power and Class

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2013

I was deeply impressed with the 2012s I tasted in Chablis during my annual trip to the region this past June. The 2012s bring together high levels of ripeness (by Chablis standards) with equally bright, vibrant acidities, a combination that is dazzling.

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Vinous Table: Tavernetta all’Androna, Grado, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2013

Grado is one of the prettiest and most quaint towns in northern Italy. Located just off the main church, Tavernetta all’Androna remains the best place to enjoy the numerous bounties of the Adriatic.

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In a Tuscan State of Mind

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2013

This year I spent six weeks visiting wineries and vineyards in Tuscany. I tasted an enormous range of wines, mostly from the 2011 and 2010 vintages. Readers will find a bevy of compelling wines from which to choose.

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Isole e Olena Cepparello: The Heart and Soul of Sangiovese

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2013

Proprietor Paolo De Marchi has left an indelible and highly personal stamp on Isole e Olena and all of Chianti Classico, for that matter. Since taking over his family's estate in the late 1970s, De Marchi has transformed Isole e Olena into a powerhouse.

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Vinous Table: La Subida, Cormòns, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2013

La Subida is one of ‘my don’t’ miss spots in Northern Italy. Located in the hills of Cormòns, in the heart of the Friulian Collio, La Subida captures so much of what makes the Collio such an interesting and intriguing region.

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San Giusto a Rentennano Percarlo: The Essence of Gaiole Sangiovese

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2013

This complete vertical of San Giusto a Rentennano’s flagship Sangiovese Percarlo left me speechless. Brothers Luca and Francesco Martini di Cigala showed me every vintage of Percarlo, back to the inaugural 1983, a wine that has now run its full course.

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Vinous Table: La Pineta, Livorno, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2013

Located just a few miles from some of the most prestigious wineries in Bolgheri, La Pineta and its charismatic owner Luciano Zazzeri are local legends. Inside the simple, rustic building, guests will find some of the best fish and seafood in Italy.

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Castello di Ama – Chianti Classico Bellavista: 1982-2007

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2013

This vertical of Castello di Ama’s flagship Chianti Classico Vigneto Bellavista was one of the more remarkable tastings I have ever had the privilege of participating in. The Ama wines have always been rich, immediate and luscious, but it is their capacity to age that has always impressed me most.

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Fontodi – Flaccianello and the Path to Greatness: 1981-2009

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2013

This complete vertical of Fontodi’s flagship Flaccianello was fascinating on so many levels. Needless to say, the opportunity to check in on prior vintages and see how they are developing was a big privilege. Even more importantly in this case, though, was following the path proprietor Giovanni Manetti took in his quest to establish Flaccianello as one of the great wines of Tuscany.

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Montevertine Le Pergole Torte: A Sangiovese Icon

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2013

In a week during which I tasted most of the reference point Sangioveses and Sangiovese-based reds, one wine stuck out – Le Pergole Torte. Quite honestly, I had a hard time getting to sleep the night I tasted these wines. They were that viscerally thrilling. Le Pergole Torte isn’t a great Tuscan or Italian wine. It is simply one of the world’s elite wines.

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Vinous Table: Villa Bordoni, Greve in Chianti, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2013

Villa Bordoni is one of the most beautiful spots in Chianti Classico. Set in the hills outside Greve, this small, family run hotel/restaurant is an oasis of tranquility and understated elegance.

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The New Golden Age of Beaujolais

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Aug 2013

Beaujolais lovers are living the dream right now

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Paso Robles and Beyond: Excellence in 2011

California

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

Paso Robles is buzzing with energy. Driven by an extraordinary level of ambition, Paso’s top producers and their continued search for a clearly defined identity within the wine world combine to make Paso Robles an incredibly dynamic region.

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Vinous Table: Alla Dama Bianca, Trieste, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

Set in a small, quaint fishing village with a dramatic castle, Alla Dama Bianca excels with the classics. There is nothing fancy here, just pure renditions of traditional Italian coastal cuisine.

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The Santa Lucia Highlands 2011s: Chardonnay Reigns Supreme

California

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

Chardonnay reigns supreme among new releases from the Santa Lucia Highlands. The 2011 vintage brought with it pretty much the same challenges faced by growers across California; namely poor flowering and a long, cool, growing season with no heat spikes at all.

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Santa Cruz Mountains: California’s Best Kept Secret

California

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

What is the most overlooked terroir in California? It is a question I am asked often. The answer is always the same: The Santa Cruz Mountains. These rugged hillsides just south of San Francisco are home to some of the world’s greatest vineyards and wines.

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Vinous Table: Ma Cuisine, Beaune, France

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

A temple to all things Burgundy, Ma Cuisine is always buzzing with people who love great food and wine. Husband and wife team Pierre and Fabienne Escoffier run their small, intimate restaurant with grace.

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Castellare I Sodi di San Niccolò: A Complete Retrospective 1979 – 2007

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

Proprietor Paolo Panerai is adamant about it. Sangioveto is the correct name and spelling of Tuscany’s main indigenous red variety. Panerai is one of Italy’s most successful entrepreneurs. His publishing empire is vast and encompasses a number of journals running the gamut from Milano Finanza, an Italian version of Barron’s, to Class and other glossy lifestyle magazines. Since the late 1970s, Panerai has owned Castellare, one of the jewels of Chianti Classico.

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Castell’in Villa – An Icon Revisited: 1971-2007

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

Castell’in Villa is one of the most historic estates in Chianti Classico. Princess Coralia Pignatelli della Leonessa and her husband found the property in 1967 and purchased it the following year. Initially, Princess Coralia and her husband thought they would make wine for fun. Her father, a Greek aristocrat, demurred at the thought of his daughter becoming a peasant. At the time, there was just one hectare under vine, but planting began in earnest in 1968 following the suggestions the Chianti Classico Consorzio, which included the white grapes that ended up being used for the first vintages.

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Santa Barbara's Stunning 2011s

California

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

Santa Barbara County is one of the unquestioned stars of California’s 2011 vintage. The best 2011s are gorgeous, drop-dead wines that fully capture the personalities of Santa Barbara’s top sites.

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Vinous Table: Bistrot du Bord de l’Eau, Beaune, France

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

Bistrot du Bord de l’Eau is located in Hostellerie de Levernois, outside of Beaune. At the Bistrot, the food, wine and service are top notch, while the ambiance is informal; a great combination.

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Felsina – Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia: A Complete Retrospective 1983-2011

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

I will never forget this once in a lifetime tasting of Felsina’s flagship Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia. What started out as a casual survey of a few older vintages turned into a complete vertical as proprietor Giuseppe Mazzocolin and long-time oenologist Franco Bernabei surprised me with bottle after bottle of fabulous Rancias going back to the inaugural 1983.

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La Festa del Barolo: Rare Wine Charity Dinner

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

Like all New Yorkers, Marzia and I were deeply affected by the devastation Hurricane Sandy left in its wake last October. Given the fast pace of the world we live in, it is easy to forget just how many people are still struggling to recover from Sandy, even today. This year’s La Festa del Barolo kicked off with a charity dinner at Eleven Madison Park to benefit Robin Hood’s Sandy Relief Fund. David Saltzman, Robin Hood’s Executive Director, shared details on the work his organization has done thus far, which includes disbursements of over $70 million. Specifically, the $45,000 we raised at dinner will be directed towards the rebuilding of homes that were damaged during the storm.

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Vinous Table: Trattoria de Toni, Grado, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

Grado’s pedestrian zone is one of the nicest places to take a stroll in this small, picturesque fishing town on Friuli’s Adriatic coast. The boardwalk is dotted with restaurants of all kinds, ice cream shops and coffee bars. For a great meal, we always head to de Toni, where proprietor Massimo Gaddi and his staff offer a menu of local specialties that showcase best of the region’s pristine fish and seafood. The outdoor seating in the summer makes for a quintessentially Italian experience that captures the essence of la dolce vita.

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Sonoma...A Thrill a Minute

California

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

Racy Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays and Pinots of all breeds, expressive Syrahs, Zinfandel-based reds, and Bordeaux-inspired blends are all part of the rich tapestry that is Sonoma.

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Vinous Table: Artisan, Paso Robles, CA

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

Paso Robles has one of the most vibrant dining scenes in the US. There was quite a buzz when I was in town about Artisan’s new location and the cocktail program.

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The 2010 Clarets: A Modern Classic

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2013

After tasting a few hundred 2010 clarets, I'd have to say that this vintage is a modern classic classic in the sense that the wines have sound acidity and serious tannic support, but modern in that the successful wines--and they are legion in 2010--are dense, glossy, high-alcohol and fruit-driven

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Oregon Pinot Noir Update

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2013

The 2011 harvest was the latest ever recorded in the Willamette Valley for most growers, in many cases extending into the first week of November

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Vinous Table: Thomas Hill Organics, Paso Robles, CA

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2013

One of the top restaurants in Paso Robles, Thomas Hill Organics' talented and creative French Chef Julie Simon makes the most of her raw materials from the restaurant’s own farm.

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Annual Rose Roundup

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2013

The days of rose wines being treated like the seersucker suit of wine are clearly behind us

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2012 and 2011 Chablis

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2013

Cool Chablis continues to be hot in the marketplace

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Best New Wines from Australia

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2013

Producers across the southern band of Australia would probably just like to forget the 2011 vintage, a year that presented a biblical array of plagues on the vineyards

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Brunello di Montalcino 2008 and 2007 Riserva

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Jul 2013

Rich, complex and refined, Brunello di Montalcino is the product of just one grape variety, sangiovese, which is capable--much like pinot noir and nebbiolo--of delivering wonderful site specificity

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Vinous Table: Le Bernardin, New York, NY

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

Le Bernardin remains one of the culinary highlights of New York City. Chef/Owner Eric Ripert has an uncanny ability to bring out extraordinary dimensions of depth and flavor from his pristine raw materials...

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Vinous Table: Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

Despite its informal sounding name, Osteria Francescana is anything but that. Widely recognized as one of the world’s top restaurants, Osteria Francescana is the backdrop for Proprietor/Chef Massimo Bottura's innovative, cutting-edge cuisine.

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Cédric Bouchard: In the Cellar

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

The gate opens to reveal a dilapidated villa worthy of a Romantic opera. It is easy to imagine what the building must have looked like in its prime. We are in Landreville, a few kilometers from Celles-sur-Ource, in the Aube. In the middle of nowhere. Literally. An abandoned residence is off to the left, but it is the cellar in the center of the small property that brought Cédric Bouchard to this spot. We descend into the cave through a wobbly freight elevator and it is clear why Bouchard is attracted to his new winery. The cellar is cold. Frigid, actually. Just the way Bouchard likes it. In front of me is Bouchard’s entire library, all the way back to 2000. Just a few bottles of most of his wines.

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Vinous Table: The French Laundry, Yountville, CA

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. This recent lunch at Thomas Keller's The French Laundry captured the sense of optimism of the season with course after course of gorgeous, beautifully prepared and presented dishes.

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Vinous Table: Charlie Bird, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, June 2013

At Charlie Bird, Chef Ryan Hardy and restaurateur Robert Bohr have teamed up to offer a thoughtful menu paired with a brilliant wine list in an edgy, hip space that is pure Soho. A decidedly urban soundtrack adds to the energy of the rooms.

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Castello di Ama: L’Apparita Retrospective 1985-2009

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

I have been lucky to have had many fabulous tastings at Castello di Ama over the years, but this was one of the most remarkable. L’Apparita, a 100% Merlot from high-altitude vineyards in Gaiole, gets less attention than some of its peers, but it is right up there with the very finest wines, not just of Italy, but of the world.

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Focus on Grower Champagne

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

The energy in the room was palpable and electric from the very start. I lead a few seminars each year, but this was different. I am not sure why. The wines were dazzling. Surely that had a lot to do with it. But the wines alone are never enough to sustain the energy in a room. There has to be something more. And that something is usually the audience. I can control which wines are served in a tasting, but not the participation of the attendees. This was one of those days where everything came together. I can say I had just as much fun tasting through these ten Champagnes as anyone in the audience.

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Vinous Table: Les Avisés, Avize, France

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

Les Avisés is very much a family affair. Anselme and Corinne Selosse's hotel/restaurant is elegant yet intimate, with none of the stuffiness one sometimes sees in Champagne.

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Opus One – Past, Present and Future: 1979-2012

California

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

I wasn't sure what to expect as I walked into the massive Opus One winery a few weeks ago. The opportunity to survey an estate’s entire production is not something that happens every day. At this level, wines can express so much; the spirit of the people involved, the characteristics of where they are from, and the personality of a vintage. Opus One is among the most famous wines in Napa Valley, but quality has been up and down over the years. How would the wines show? Well, that was answered loud and clear a few hours later.

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California Syrah on the Big Stage

California

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

This charity event at the Culinary Institute of America last October was special for so many reasons. First and foremost, the tasting and dinner at Press that followed raised over $110,000 for two very worthwhile causes, students in the CIA’s wine program and a division of The Mount Sinai Hospital that treats children with terminal cancer. As for the wines, well, they were pretty special, too.

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Kracher: A Brief Essay 2003-2010

Rest of the World

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

Listening to Gerhard Kracher talk about his family can only be described as emotional. Kracher’s grandfather, Alois Sr., was chronically undernourished and was thus mistaken for a boy and spared by the Nazis during World War II. Kracher’s father, Alois Jr. ‘Luis’, was one of the most beloved figures in the world of wine. Luis Kracher put his estate on the map with a series of stunningly beautiful and rich dessert wines that showed the world what was possible with meticulous viticulture and inspired winemaking.

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Vinous Table: La Rei, Serralunga, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

La Rei is located in the Boscareto, one of Piedmont’s few full-service, luxury hotels. Il Boscareto and its design continues to sharply divide fans and foes...

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Vinous Table: RN 74, San Francisco

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

Why have I let so much time pass between visits? That is what I kept thinking as a dear friend and I enjoyed a spectacular dinner at RN74 a few weeks ago.

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Vinous Table: Bistro de l’Hôtel, Beaune, France

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

The Bistro de l’Hôtel, located in the elegant Hôtel de Beaune, is one of the places to see and be seen in Burgundy. Or so I am told. I try to visit Beaune before or after the crowds descend on the city, when things are less hectic.

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Vinous Table: Five Decades of Classic Napa Valley Cabernets at Press, St. Helena

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

At Press, sommeliers Kelli White and Scott Brenner have built what is probably the single most significant collection of California wines in United States...

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Zenato Amarone – A Journey Across Three Decades

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

I remember my dad telling me when I was a kid that Amarone was one of the world’s great wines. Just behind Barolo, in his view. Ever since then, these wines have been a source of endless fascination. In the mid and late 1990s, when Italy’s top restaurants still kept well-stocked cellars of older wines, it was possible to find aged Amarone for extremely reasonable prices, making it quite fun and relatively easy to learn about the wines. Sadly, those days are long gone.

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Jadot: Corton-Charlemagne 1973-1996

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

Many of my greatest wine experiences have been in front of a bottle of aged white Burgundy. This vertical of Jadot’s Corton-Charlemagne was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise. Best of all, the wines showed beautifully, even those from less fortunate years. One of things I admire most about Jadot, Pierre Henry-Gagey and Jacques Lardière is their willingness to include wines from very difficult vintages into verticals like these, always a bit of a risk. Most producers cherry pick and only show their very best vintages, but Jadot is willing to take more chances than most, and it usually works in their favor, as these tasting notes make abundantly clear.

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Jadot: Beaune Theurons 1970-1997

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2013

Jadot’s long-time winemaker Jacques Lardière spent a good deal of 2012 on a year-long retirement tour worthy of a rockstar. He earned it with four decades-plus of memorable wines. It seemed like every few weeks there was a magnificent tasting somewhere in the world celebrating one of the truly great careers and people in wine. I was privy to one of these tastings, held at Jadot’s headquarters in Beaune.

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Falling in Love With Alto Adige

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2013

Despite boasting breathtaking scenery, great wines of all kinds, equally world-class restaurants and hotels, and some of the best skiing on the planet, Alto Adige remains largely unknown to Americans, which is a shame.

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2009 Barolo: Highs and Lows

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2013

I have been following the 2009 Barolos for several years. Tasting patiently, first from barrel, then from bottle. Waiting. Waiting for that spark that all the truly great years have. But it has never happened with the 2009s. I suppose it is only natural. How many great vintages can a region have in a decade?

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Champagne 2013: The Spring Preview

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, May 2013

We drink a lot of Champagne. There is no denying it. At the same time, I am amazed that for many consumers Champagne remains a wine for celebrations, special events and the holidays. It shouldn’t be. Champagne is one of the most versatile wines at the dinner table and a great companion to a wide range of foods.

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Vinous Table: Marea, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, May 2013

Marea is one of my favorite restaurants in New York City. Executive Chef Michael White does many things well, but I am generally attracted most to the crudos and pastas.

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The Best New Wines from South Africa

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2013

My extensive tastings of new releases from South Africa in March and April were a bittersweet adventure

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Bordeaux 2012: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

IWC

Ian D'Agata, May 2013

Every once in a while, a Bordeaux red wine vintage comes along that is neither a "vintage of the century" nor "surprisingly good

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Annual Coverage of California's North Coast

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2013

It's a little disconcerting to be salivating over new releases from California while the winemaker sitting across the table is practically apologizing for how difficult it was to get the fruit ripe

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Vinous Table: Solbar, Calistoga

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, May 2013

No trip to Napa Valley is complete without at least one meal at Solbar. Nestled in the Solage resort in Calistoga, Solbar is close to Araujo, Aubert, Chateau Montelena and Peter Michael, among others, making it a convenient stop before or after a tasting.

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Gems From The Cellar at Montevertine

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2013

Montevertine is one of the most privileged spots for wine anywhere in the world. If I had to choose only one Sangiovese to cellar, it might very well be Montevertine's Le Pergole Torte. The wines from Montevertine, a small hillside property just outside Radda, in the heart of Chianti Classico, have demonstrated an uncanny ability to age beautifully for decades, acquiring incredible finesse in bottle. This cool, high altitude site encourages slow ripening and yields Sangioveses endowed with remarkable grace. Although most of the attention centers around the flagship Pergole Torte, I also adore the Montevertine bottling. Given the exceptional track record the Manetti family has built over the last few decades, it is hardly surprising some of their lesser known wines age just as well.

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Vertical Tasting of Chateau Gruaud Larose

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Apr 2013

At its best, Gruaud Larose, a deuxième cru classé (second growth) in the famous Bordeaux classification of 1855, embodies all that is great about Bordeau

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Vertical Tasting of Domaine de Chevalier Rouge

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Apr 2013

Domaine de Chevalier is one of the very rare properties in Bordeaux that

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Dosage Trials Chez Selosse

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2013

One of the things I love most about wine is the opportunity to be learning constantly. It is what keeps me energized and focused. My tasting last week at Selosse is a perfect example.

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2010 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2013

First, the very good news: all things considered, 2010 is the finest vintage for red Burgundy I have tasted since I made my first tour of the region in 1988

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New Releases from Argentina

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2013

The U.S. market continues to be flooded with Mendoza malbec, as this wine has become as popular here--and as much of a brand name--as sauvignon blanc from Marlborough.

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2011 and 2010 Northern Rhone Wines

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2013

Northern Rhone aficionados who didn't exhaust their budgets on the many outstanding 2009s now have an even greater number of superb 2010s to start chasing down, but they'd better move fast because low yields and increasing worldwide demand are working against them

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Vertical Tasting of Domaine Meo-Camuzet's Vosne-Romanee aux Brulees

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2013

A special vertical tasting of Domaine Meo-Camuzet's Vosne-Romanee aux Brulees in November gave me a perfect opportunity to compare multiple vintages of one of my favorite premier cru bottings of Burgundy, one that is well-represented in my personal cellar

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Vertical Tasting of Colgin Cellars' IX Estate Syrah Napa Valley

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2013

The Colgin Cellars syrah is one of the handful of syrah superstars made on

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The Best New Wines from Central Italy

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2013

Central Italy estates outside of Tuscany must often feel that they're stuck between a rock and a hard place

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Central And Southern Italy: A Wine Lover's Paradise

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2013

At a time when prices for so many of the world’s great wines continue to spiral out of control, there aren’t too many regions that offer a level of breadth, quality and value that can match the best of Central and Southern Italy. My tastings this past year were by far the most comprehensive I have undertaken in eight years. Readers will find notes on many old favorites, but I am personally most excited about the many new estates that are appearing in these pages for the first time.

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Vertical Tasting of Castello di Monsanto's Chianti Classico Il Poggio Riserva

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Feb 2013

Located high in the hills of Barberino Val d'Elsa in Chianti Classico, the splendid villa of Monsanto dominates the valley below.

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Vertical Tasting of Castello di Ama's Chianti Classico Vigneto Bellavista

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Feb 2013

Ama is a Chianti estate whose wines, though expensive, rank among the best not just in Chianti but the world.

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2011 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2013

As there are now essentially only two types of vintages in Burgundy and Bordeaux--"vintage of the century" and "better than expected"--that would put the 2011 red wines of Burgundy in the latter category

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2011 and 2010 Southern Rhone Wines

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2013

Following the general hype for the 2010 vintage in the southern Rhone, the good to very good 2011s had an impossible act to follow

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Vacqueyras 2011 and 2010

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2013

At prices generally only slightly higher than most high-quality Cotes du Rhone-Villages bottlings, Vacqueyras offers some of the finest Rhone Valley values in the market today

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Germany 2011

IWC

Joel B. Payne, Jan 2013

Although Germany has largely benefited from global warming, 2011 brought a new twist on what is generally referred to as climate change

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Vinous Table: NoMad

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2013

Daniel Humm has been one of my favorite chefs since I met him and his team a few years ago in Piedmont, where we were staying in the same hotel. Since then, Humm’s career has taken off big time, culminating with a number of prestigious awards. Most recently, Humm’s Eleven Madison Park claimed the #5 ranking in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, a survey sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.

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2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: An Epic Vintage

California

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2012

Fans of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will find a lot to get excited about with the 2010 vintage. The 2010s are magnificent, viscerally thrilling wines loaded with character and personality. There is no question 2010 is the greatest vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in the 2008-2011 time frame.

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The Best New Non-Vintage Champagnes

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2012

Given the sheer scope of non-vintage Champagne it's foolhardy to overgeneralize when discussing the current state of the category

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1978 Piemonte Retrospective at Eleven Madison Park

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2012

This dinner, organized and hosted by the Wine Workshop, showcased a number of gems from Piemonte’s celebrated 1978 vintage paired with the cuisine of Eleven Madison Park and Executive Chef Daniel Humm. I will confess I spent most of my attention focusing on the wines, but the food was out of this world.

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Vintage Champagne

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2012

Champagne enthusiasts have plenty to be enthused about these days, aside from the nagging issues of diminished supply and escalating prices

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Annual Coverage of California's Central Coast

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2012

The worldwide trend to produce wines that emphasize finesse over sheer mass and power is in full blossom in California's Central Coast, even in the mostly hot Paso Robles region

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New Releases from Washington State

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2012

If Washington State's top producers are indeed aiming to make wines of greater finesse, as is the trend nowadays across much of the New World, their efforts have been facilitated by a pair of back-to-back cooler growing seasons in 2010 and 2011

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2009 Vintage Ports

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2012

Two thousand nine will be remembered in the Douro Valley as a year of low yields due mainly to the dry, dusty ripening season, the third consecutive dry year for the region

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2011 and 2010 Alsace Wines

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Nov 2012

Simply put, there is no countryside in the world I would rather live in permanently than Alsace's, and at one point in my life (about 15 years ago), I actually considered moving there for good

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Vertical Tasting of Quinta do Noval's Nacional Vintage Port

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2012

The first vintage of Quinta do Noval's Nacional port, the 1931, is considered one of the greatest wines ever made by those lucky enough to have tasted this extremely rare bird

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Champagne: So Much More Than a Celebration Wine

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2012

Readers will find a bevy of compelling, totally thrilling wines among this year’s crop of new releases. With the holidays right around the corner, I am reminded that most Champagne is drunk during celebrations and/or at the beginning of meals. But the truth is that Champagne is one of the world’s most versatile wines. Superbly adept at pairing with a wide variety of foods, Champagne is a great wine for the dinner table.

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Piemonte: 2009 and 2010 Barbaresco Plus Other New Releases

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2012

It is always a bit of a challenge to keep current with the bevy of fabulous wines that emerge from Piemonte’s top estates. Readers will find a huge assortment of wines in the market. This article covers the 2009 and 2010 vintages in Barbaresco, late-release 2008 Barolo, new releases from Roero and Piemonte’s northern appellations, and a wide range of every-day drinkers that won’t break the bank.

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New Zealand Sauvignon and Pinot

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2012

Exports of New Zealand wines to the U.S. have grown by 19% over the past 12 months, driven by this market's thirst for sauvignon blanc, which accounted for nearly 90% of New Zealand wines shipped here.

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Vinous Table: Jean-Georges, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2012

I can’t think of too many places I would rather have lunch in New York City than Jean-Georges. Everything simply works. The food is light and vibrant yet full of flavor, while the room is elegant but not overdone. It doesn’t hurt that Jean-Georges Vongerichten seems to always be in the kitchen during the day. The $38 lunch prix fixe (additional courses are $19/each) is one of the screaming values in New York City today.

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Tuscany Part 2: The Tuscan Coast, More Supertuscans et al

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Sep 2012

The Tuscan Coast is by now well established as one of Italy's prime wine production zones

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New Releases from Spain

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2012

Coming on the heels of the challenging 2006, 2007 and 2008 vintages, the mostly very good to excellent 2009, 2010 and 2011 trio is providing welcome relief to growers and importers, not to mention wine lovers

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2011 and 2010 White Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2012

In more innocent times, when politics was still the art of compromise and lovers of white Burgundy could buy their favorite wines without worrying about premature oxidation, a vintage like 2010 would have represented an opportunity for collectors to stock their cellars with gorgeously dense, sappy, mineral-driven wines to savor over the next 10 to 20 years

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Vertical Tasting of Corison Winery's Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2012

While Napa Valley cult wines with 15+% alcohol continue to garner more than their share of wine press, a more restrained, laid-back, Old World style of cabernet sauvignon is available if you just know where to look

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The 2012 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2012

American wine lovers interested in picking up some scarce and excellent South African wines will find it easier than ever to participate in the annual Cape Winemakers Guild auction, thanks to the implementation of on-line bidding this year

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2011 Bordeaux: Dry Whites

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Aug 2012

The 2011 vintage is a very good one for the dry white wines of Bordeaux, and much better than it is for the region's reds

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Elegance and Power: The 2010 White Burgundies

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2012

The 2010 white Burgundies are some of the most riveting young wines I have ever tasted. In the finest examples readers will find superb richness, vibrant acidity and great transparency to site. These are marvelously complete wines that bring together the depth of fruit typically found in ripe years with the classicism, minerality and tension that are the signatures of cooler vintages. That all adds up to viscerally thrilling wines that at their best capture the essence of everything great Burgundy can be. All of the wines in this article were tasted in June and July 2012.

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California's Central Coast: Better than Ever

California

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2012

My annual tour of California’s Central Coast took me north, starting in Santa Barbara County up to Paso Robles, then on to the Santa Lucia Highlands and lastly to the Santa Cruz Mountains. I tasted a wide range of wines, many of them excellent and some of them flat-out great. The wines of the Central Coast remain exceedingly fairly priced vis-à-vis their peers throughout the world. In particular, I continue to be impressed with the quality of Syrah in California.

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2011 Bordeaux: Sauternes

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Aug 2012

The wines of Sauternes and Barsac are spectacular in 2011

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Chablis 2011 and 2010

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2012

Chablis fans will find a lot to like in both the 2011 and 2010 vintages. The 2011s are generally soft, open wines with lovely fruit, accessible personalities and little of the austerity often associated with young Chablis. The vintage is inconsistent, so choosing carefully will be the key, but the best wines are tasty and will be ready to drink upon release. The 2010s are much stronger across the board, but the finest wines are going to need to come together. It is an exceptional vintage that combines both richness and acidity to a degree Chablis has rarely, if ever, seen before.

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Brunello di Montalcino 2007 and 2006 Riserva

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2012

The 2007 vintage for Brunello di Montalcino has intrigued me ever since the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino awarded its highest rating to this vintage in early 2008--this following a similar five-star rating for 2006

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The 2009 Clarets

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2012

It's a subject of great frustration to veteran American claret lovers that Bordeaux prices reached record levels for the outstanding 2009 vintage

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The Best New Roses: 2012

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2012

Americans seem to have finally become comfortable with the fact that rose wines aren't just for summer drinking

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Focus on Oregon Pinot Noir

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2012

Fans of bright, focused pinot noir are going to find plenty to like from the 2010 vintage, especially following the richer, heftier 2009s and powerful, structured 2008s

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Chablis 2011 and 2010

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2012

Barely a generation ago, the Chablis region in the northern reaches of Burgundy was lucky to get its fruit ripe one year out of two

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Best New Releases from Australia

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2012

The Australian premium wine industry has been going through a rough spell in the American market in recent years, a situation made even more difficult by the surging Australian dollar, which makes Australia's wines more expensive for American importers

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Tuscany Part 1: Chianti, Vino Nobile and Supertuscans

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Jul 2012

Some of the world's finest red wines are made in Tuscany's central areas of Chianti, Montepulciano and Carmignano, all relying mostly on the potential greatness of sangiovese

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The Bordeaux Effect

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jun 2012

During my annual tour of the best white wine addresses in Burgundy at the end of May, the producers I tasted with were eager to present their attractive, easygoing 2011s but were concerned about how the vintage would be viewed by the market

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Tuscany 2009 and 2010: A World of Opposites

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2012

These are interesting times in Tuscany. There is no doubt the region is in the midst of a profound stylistic evolution. A growing number of estates are moving in the direction of more natural viticulture. In the cellar, new oak is down and the use of neutral vessels is up. Cement, once virtually forgotten, is making a huge comeback. As it turns out, the makers of cement tanks and vats are now taking as long as six months to fill orders, something that was unheard of up until very recently.

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New Cotes du Rhone Releases

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jun 2012

Most seasoned wine lovers will tell you that it's safer to buy by producer than by vintage or appellation, but 2010 in the Rhone Valley is one of those years where one can seemingly grab any wine off the shelf and at the very least be pleased with the purchase

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Staring Into The Heart of Sangiovese

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2012

I am not sure what started it, but sometime this spring I got the bug for Sangiovese. Big time. Maybe it was the book I was asked to collaborate on. Or perhaps it was the fabulous 1995 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva I had at one of New York City’s best restaurants. At some point I decided it would be fun to taste verticals of a number of Tuscany’s icon wines, so here you have it.

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The 2002 Burgundies at Eleven Madison Park

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, May 2012

This past spring I enjoyed a number of fabulous dinners at Eleven Madison Park, including this 2002 Burgundy retrospective, which I hosted for the Wine Workshop. On this night Chef Daniel Humm and his team prepared a fabulous menu, culminating with the lavender honey-roasted duck, one of Humm’s signatures as well as one of the very best dishes in New York City today.

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1982 Bordeaux at Age 30

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2012

Odds are that in the spring of '83 you were borrowing money from your parents to pay for your college education rather than purchasing 1982 Bordeaux futures

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Best New Releases from Chile

IWC

Josh Raynolds, May 2012

The two vintages that make up the bulk of the wines I tasted for our annual report on Chile's wines, 2011 and 2010, posed a number of challenges for the country's growers and winemakers--chiefly, how to make attractive wine from mostly underripe fruit

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2010 and 2009 Cotes du Rhone Wines

IWC

Josh Raynolds, May 2012

The benevolent conditions that produced the generally superb 2010s and 2009s in the Rhone Valley were obviously beneficial to the "little" wines of the region as well, although that fact has been obscured by the frenzy over the marquee bottlings

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Focus on California's North Coast

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2012

If you're an inveterate Europhile who still resists the idea that California's North Coast can produce serious quantities of complex, delineated wines with energy and balance, recent vintages provide ample evidence that this is indeed the case

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Bordeaux 2011: Tales of Tannins and Terroir

IWC

Ian D'Agata, May 2012

I love Bordeaux

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Col d’Orcia: Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Poggio al Vento 1982-2006

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2012

Col d’Orcia is one of Montalcino’s most historic wineries. The estate’s modern-day lineage goes back to at least 1890, when records show the Franceschi family of Florence purchased the property, then known as Fattoria di Sant’Angelo in Colle. As early as 1933 Fattoria di Sant’Angelo in Colle presented its Brunelli at the Wine Exhibition of Siena, one of the first trade shows in Italy, decades before Brunello would become a prized, world-class wine.

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The 2009 Red Burgundies from Bottle

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2012

There has never been a better time to buy and drink red Burgundy. Yes, prices for the top wines continue to escalate at an eye-popping pace, but just after the few names everyone seems to want the region is literally awash with bottles that can be had without taking out a second mortgage.

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Don't Read Between the Lines

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Apr 2012

In our reviews of more than 1,500 wines in each issue of the International Wine Cellar, we try to use clear, understandable, jargon-free English to describe the wines in (y)our glass.

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Barolo 2008: The Incredible Lightness of Being

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2012

The 2008 Baroli have turned out better than I originally expected. They are for the most part gracious, medium-bodied wines that are highly expressive to site and full of character. Quality is inconsistent across the region, so consumers will have to choose with care, but the best 2008s are thrilling.

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Brunello di Montalcino 2007: A Worthy Successor to 2006

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2012

I have been visiting Montalcino since 1997. During the years I lived in Italy (2000-2003), I traveled to this picturesque hillside town several times a year. Today I meet with countless winemakers and visit numerous estates on a regular basis. And I have had the privilege to taste virtually all of the reference point wines made in Montalcino, both new and old. But none of that really matters. It was two totally unrelated incidents during my recent trip that spoke most eloquently to what Montalcino is really all about.

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New Releases from Beaujolais

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2012

The hugely popular 2009 vintage in Beaujolais is a tough act to follow, but in a number of cases the 2010s have proven to be more than up to the challenge

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Piedmont Report: Checking in on the 2001 Baroli

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2012

I first reviewed the 2001 Baroli in my journal, Piedmont Report in late 2006. The 2001s have always held special meaning on a personal level because it was one of the first vintages I followed literally from the time the fruit was picked until the wines went into bottle. It was illuminating to go back to the 2001s and see how things were shaping up. I tasted most of these wines during a trip to Piedmont in November 2011, and followed up with subsequent tastings from my cellar in New York.

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Vinous Table: "Gourmand" menu at Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2012

This was my second phenomenal meal at Eleven Madison Park in the span of a few weeks. This time around, we thought it might be fun to order Chef Daniel Humm’s “Gourmand” tasting menu to get a deeper sense of his style.

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Vinous Table: Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2012

I knew right away this was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime lunch, even though my wife and I have enjoyed many spectacular meals at Eleven Madison Park over the years. As much as I enjoy reviewing wines critically, it is a job that inevitably involves tasting a lot of wines. Sometimes, it is nice to spend a few hours with one or two wines. That’s what this lunch was all about.

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New Releases from Argentina

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2012

I was tempted to report that tasting through 800 or so new releases from Argentina in recent months was hard work, particularly as there is a great degree of sameness among the less-expensive malbecs

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2010 and 2009 Northern Rhone Wines

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2012

Fans of the northern Rhone Valley's robust wines have plenty of attractive buying options from the 2009 and 2010 vintages, at least from a quality standpoint

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Vertical Tasting of Château Trotanoy

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2012

Château Trotanoy is one of those places where it's truly all in the name

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2009 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2012

While some Burgundy snobs are already insisting that the 2010 reds are the real article whereas the '09s are too New World, enjoying these vintages need not be an either-or proposition

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Vertical Tasting of Trimbach's Riesling Clos Ste. Hune

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2012

About a dozen years ago, I participated in an extensive vertical tasting of Domaine Trimbach's great Riesling Clos Ste.

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Masseto Vertical at A Voce Columbus

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2012

A Voce is one of my favorite places in a neighborhood filled with a high concentration of great restaurants. It is one of the best places to enjoy true lunch (not just brunch) in mid-town on Sundays, and also happens to be very child-friendly.

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Vertical Tasting of Château Magdelaine

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2012

Château Magdelaine might well be the most misunderstood of all the great wines of Saint-Emilion

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The Red Wines of Northeast Italy

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2012

Although the four regions in Italy's northeast (Trentino, Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia) are always thought of as the home of Italy's best white wines, they also produce many noteworthy reds

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Vinous Table: Ristorante di Poggio Antico, Montalcino, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2012

Getting a good meal in Montalcino isn’t as easy as one might think. Even though Montalcino produces America’s favorite high-end red Italian wine, the town lacks great restaurants, something that is amazing, considering the wide range of high quality ingredients available to local chefs. Poggio Antico’s restaurant has been through a few incarnations, but if this dinner is representative, the current team is doing fabulous work. The menu is based on traditional favorites, but prepared and presented with a modern flair.

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9th Annual Wine Dinner and Auction to Benefit The Mount Sinai Hospital

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2012

The Mt. Sinai Wine Auction has become a central part of my winter calendar since my wife and I became involved with the hospital a few years back. Led by the indefatigable Robin Solomon, each year the Wine Auction has brought together a number of New York’s most generous collectors and wine lovers. Even in the dark days of late 2008 and early 2009 when it appeared the world as we knew it was collapsing, perhaps forever, this group of generous supporters came through. The 2012 auction raised a whopping 3.4 million dollars.

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The Best of Sonoma

California

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2012

I spent eight days in Sonoma County in January and also tasted a number of additional Sonoma wines late last year for this article. Getting a good look at the wines of Sonoma is not an easy task. For starters, at approximately three times the size of Napa Valley, Sonoma is a vast region made even more complicated by the distances that are often required to visit the top addresses with thoroughness.

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Occupy the Cellars

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Feb 2012

If recent wine auctions in the U.S. and Hong Kong are any indication, the market for the world's top wine collectibles is headed into some wild uncharted territory.

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The 2010 Red Burgundies

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2012

I spent a total of six weeks in Burgundy in 2011. My most recent trip, in late November/early December, was focused on the 2010 red Burgundies. Overall, I am thrilled with the 2010 vintage. The wines are racy, show fabulous minerality and are very true to site. In other words, the vintage embodies all of the qualities that make red Burgundy one of the world’s most compelling wines.

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Vertical Tasting of Chateau du Tertre

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Jan 2012

Château du Tertre is a little-known but excellent Margaux wine from an estate listed as a Fifth Growth in the famous Bordeaux Classification of 1855

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Germany 2010

IWC

Joel B. Payne, Jan 2012

Situated at the northern limit of vitis vinifera's historic range, Germany has by and large benefitted from global warming.

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Vertical Tasting of Chateau Lynch-Bages

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Jan 2012

Arguably the best known and most popular of all the Fifth Growths of Bordeaux, Chateau Lynch-Bages is generally viewed as better than its ranking in the 1855 classification would indicate

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2010 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2012

Two thousand ten is a superb modern version of a classic red Burgundy vintage

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Vertical Tasting of Chateau Giscours

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Jan 2012

Château Giscours is one of the best-known Third Growths of the 1855 Bordeaux classification, appreciated for its breed and perfume as well as its relatively low price compared to other top names of Bordeaux

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2010 and 2009 Southern Rhone Wines

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2012

The southern Rhone's winning streak continued through the generally outstanding 2010 vintage, with some estates having produced the best wines I've yet tasted from them

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Against Wine Extremism

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2012

There's a fundamentalist fervor these days about "natural" winemaking

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Vinous Table: Blue Hill at Stone Barns, NY

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2011

Dinner at Blue Hill is an experience. The focus is on sustainable food grown on the property and other nearby farms. Guests are presented with four menu choices, which are essentially the number of courses; 4, 5, 8 or 12. That’s it.

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Tip Sheet for Handicapping Wines

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Dec 2011

With just a little knowledge about your favorite categories of wine, and basic intelligence about the weather during a particular growing season—this information is easily available in harvest reports published on-line by producers around the world—you can boost your odds for buying great bottles.

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Top New Non-Vintage Champagnes

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2011

Vintage-dated Champagne gets the lion's share of attention from most wine collectors and commands higher prices to boot, but my annual tastings made clear, once again, that the best non-vintage Champagnes are often the equal of their fancier brethren

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New Releases from Napa Valley

California

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2011

I spent nearly three and half weeks in Napa Valley this year. Temperatures were already un-seasonally cool in April, which delayed bud break at a number of properties I visited. A few weeks later, in mid-May, it was even more unseasonably cool. Maturation continued at a snail’s pace throughout the cold summer. A rainstorm on October 10 caused quite a bit of worry, as sugars dropped. I arrived on the 12th to find winemakers and oenologists very nervous. All but the Bordeaux-trained winemakers, that is.

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New Releases from Champagne

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2011

This is the fourth year I have reviewed Champagne. I never cease to be amazed by the large number of compelling wines that emerge from the region. The sheer diversity of terroirs, producer styles and vintages is a lifetime’s work and guarantees there is always something to learn. At the same time, though, of all the regions I cover, Champagne leads the way in the sheer number of totally innocuous wines with little in the way of real personality.

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Focus on Barolo and Barbaresco

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2011

It wasn't much more than a generation ago that it was fairly easy to buy Barolo and Barbaresco--or at least the universe of serious choices for collectors was extremely limited

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New Wines from California's Central Coast

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2011

Mother Nature has been playing games with California's Central Coast in recent vintages, and this fall things have been especially nervewracking, especially in vineyards planted to late-ripening varieties

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Fourth Annual White Truffle Charity Dinner

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2011

Del Posto’s Gattinara Room was the setting for my White Truffle Charity Dinner, an annual event that seems to have taken on a life of its own. This year’s dinner raised $45,000 for The Mount Sinai Hospital. Executive Chef Mark Ladner and his team did a great job with the menu, which included some of my all-time Del Posto favorites such as the agnolotti, risotto, wood-grilled lobster and broiled veal chop.

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Cava for All Seasons

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2011

The Cavas I tasted for this year's coverage in the International Wine Cellar were the strongest group I have yet encountered, which is great news for wine lovers looking for high-quality bubbly at a gentle price this holiday season

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A Contrarian View on Decanting

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2011

Retailers and wine snobs may go on about giving your red wines air before you serve them, to tame their tannins and bring out their inherent complexity

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Top New Releases from Washington State

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2011

If you're an inveterate Francophile when it comes to structured red wines and have always been skeptical of those upstarts in Washington State, the 2008 vintage offers a perfect opportunity to give these wines a shot

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New Vintage Champagnes

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2011

I tasted a somewhat smaller number of vintage Champagnes this year than for past IWC articles, mostly because many American importers are still working through older inventory and are reluctant to lay in stocks of new vintages during a time of economic turmoil

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The Best New Wines from Spain, Part Two

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2011

Spain continues to offer extraordinary red wine values at the low end, even in the $8-and-under category, a price point most wine regions gave up years ago

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New Releases from Piedmont: The Stars Are Aligned

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2011

I tasted a seemingly endless number of drop-dead gorgeous wines from Piedmont over the summer. Piedmont has experienced a set of exceptional vintages that play to the strengths of the region’s indigenous varieties. At the same time, producers have backed off some of the more international leanings of the 1990s and now have the confidence to let their wines speak for themselves, and speak they do. Readers will find no shortage of stunning wines in all price ranges in these pages.

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Alba When It Sizzles

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Oct 2011

A couple months ago in this column, I noted the difficulty of predicting wine quality based on the weather during the growing season and harvest

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Vinous Table: Marea, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2011

This was my second great lunch at Marea within the last few weeks. Michael White was not in the restaurant, but it didn’t matter one bit, the food and service were just spectacular as they always are.

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Vertical Tasting of Chateau Cheval Blanc

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Oct 2011

Château Cheval Blanc is quite simply one of the most famous wines in the world, the object of desire of collectors, wine lovers and investors everywhere

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Vinous Table: Union Square Cafe, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2011

Union Square Café is a Manhattan landmark. Although today the neighborhood is quite chic, that certainly wasn’t the case when Danny Meyer opened in 1985. Union Square Café has a familiar, comfortable feel that resonates in everything from the décor, to the food and service. On this night the food was terrific, although it was impossible to escape the feeling that the overall experience was a bit staid. A slight updating wouldn’t be a bad thing.

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The Best New White Wines from Italy's Northeast

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Sep 2011

Long viewed as a wine-producing country that held interest only for its red wines, Italy now produces world-class whites as well

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The 2011 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2011

The recent strength in the U.S. dollar offers American wine lovers an even better opportunity to pick up some scarce and superb South African

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Best New Wines from Spain

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2011

I was presented with more wines for this year's coverage of Spain than I've ever seen before

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It Doesn't Have To Be Rocket Science

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2011

Most Americans are still daunted by the prospect of choosing the "right" wine, and nowhere more than in fancy restaurants

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Vinous Table: Marea, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2011

This was one of two extraordinary lunches I enjoyed at Marea recently. It had been a few months since my last visit, and I had forgotten just how extraordinary the food and service can be. Lunch started with the trio of crudi, which can also be ordered separately.

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New Zealand Sauvignons and Pinots

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2011

Owing largely to the high cost of grape-farming and winemaking, New Zealand's wines have never been cheap in export markets

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Vinous Table: The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sept 2011

I don’t get to the Four Seasons as much as I used to, but it remains one of my very favorite restaurants in New York City. For the three years I worked at Deutsche Bank my office looked out over the entrance of this Manhattan landmark. After 50 years the Pool Room is still one of the City’s most striking and romantic dining rooms. The Four Seasons was one of the places I did many of my early tastings for The Wine Advocate. Even today, I look forward to a meal at the Four Seasons with much anticipation because the room evokes so many memories.

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The Best New Releases from Australia, Part Two

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Josh Raynolds, Sep 2011

Wine collectors who used to chase after high-priced, high-octane Barossa shiraz in the late 1990s and early 2000s now admit to owning those bottles about as readily as they'd fess up to their hidden porn collections

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2010 and 2009 White Burgundies

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2011

It's hard to think of another important wine region where vintage generalizations are of so little value to consumers and collectors than the Cote d'Or

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Chablis 2009 and 2010

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2011

The 2009 and 2010 vintages in Chablis present readers with two dramatically different sets of wines. In general, the 2009s are supple and approachable upon release. The 2010s, most of which I tasted from barrel and/or tank, are much more structured and potentially long-lived. The sheer breadth and diversity of the wines across the top properties in Chablis is quite striking.

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Some Don't Like It Hot

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Stephen Tanzer, Aug 2011

When I tour a wine region in France or northern Italy to gather early tasting notes on a new vintage, I bring a blank notebook and an open mind

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Bordeaux 2010: The Dry Wines

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Ian D'Agata, Aug 2011

The 2010 vintage is a very successful one for Bordeaux's dry white wines

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Vertical Tasting of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild

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Ian D'Agata, Aug 2011

Mouton Rothschild is one of the renowned five first growths of Bordeaux, although in the classification of 1855 it had been placed at a lower level, as the top of the second growths

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Bordeaux 2010: The Sweet Wines

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Ian D'Agata, Aug 2011

"The main difference in the sweet wines between 2010 and 2009 is that 2010 had very cool temperatures in August and September, thereby preserving freshness and overall acidity in the wines," said Xavier Planty, general manager and co-owner of Château Guiraud

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Focus on Tuscany: The 2009s and 2008s

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2011

Readers will find a large number of wines to consider in Tuscany’s 2009 and 2008 vintages. The 2009s are the result of a warm, sunny year that yielded a number of gorgeous wines at all levels. It is a very consistent vintage that can be purchased pretty much across the board. The 2008s require a much more selective approach as weather was highly irregular across the region.

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Exploring California's Central Coast

California

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2011

I tasted an amazing range of wines during my trip to California’s Central Coast earlier this summer. The Central Coast is the broad name given to a number of AVAs starting roughly north of Los Angeles and finishing just south of San Francisco. In reality these vastly diverse microclimates deserve to be acknowledged on their own rather than being lumped into one generic category.

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The 2009 White Burgundies

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2011

The 2009 harvest yielded a large number of delicious white Burgundies, many of which will drink beautifully with virtually no cellaring. As with the reds, the sweet spot is in the less prestigious appellations, where the sun and warmth of the year helped flesh out the wines to a greater degree than is often the case.

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Vietti: Barolo Riserva Villero – A Complete Retrospective 1982-2004

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2011

Vietti is one of Piedmont’s historic estates. The late Alfredo Currado was among the first producers to bottle a single-vineyard Barolo (the Rocche in 1961), focus on estate-grown fruit and build a significant market presence outside of Italy. Today the winery is run by Alfredo’s son Luca, who oversees winemaking, and son-in-law Mario Cordero, who runs the business.

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Krug: Clos du Mesnil 1979-1998

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2011

This complete vertical of Krug’s Clos du Mesnil was one of the most amazing tastings I have ever attended. The event was organized by my New York tasting group and was important enough to attract Olivier Krug, who added his invaluable commentary to the wines. I am not sure Krug himself had ever tasted so many vintages side by side in one setting. The wines were tasted in thematic flights rather than in strict chronological order, which is how I have listed them here. The 1979, 1988 and 1996 form the triumvirate of the truly eternal, epic Clos du Mesnils, but there were many, many fabulous wines in this tasting. We finished with a look at the estate’s other 1996s, plus the 1995 Clos d’Ambonnay, a wine that continues to grow in bottle.

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Cool Wines for Dog Days

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2011

In recent weeks, I've been swirling and spitting 2008 Bordeaux and 2006 Brunellos (no complaints, mind you)

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New Releases from Australia, Part One

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Josh Raynolds, Jul 2011

There's no sugar-coating the fact that Australian wines have been struggling in the U.S. market

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The 2008 Clarets

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2011

Now that the 2009 and 2010 clarets have outstripped the financial wherewithal of all but the wealthiest Americans, many long-time Bordeaux collectors have virtually given up on the category and are looking elsewhere for medium-bodied cellarworthy red wines

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2006 Brunello di Montalcino

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2011

The Brunellopoli scandal of 2008 appears to have had a salutary effect on Brunello di Montalcino

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Annual Rose Roundup

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Josh Raynolds, Jul 2011

As the sheer number of notes in this article will attest, there are more roses than ever before available to American wine lovers

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Chablis 2010 and 2009

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2011

Two thousand ten was a difficult, up-and-down growing season for Chablis

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Focus on Oregon Pinot Noir

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Josh Raynolds, Jul 2011

It's a safe bet that if you're reading this article you know the story of 2008 and Willamette Valley pinot noir

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The Rare Wine Company's Historic Series Madeiras

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Josh Raynolds, Jun 2011

Here's a wine fact that has always puzzled me: as universally loved and respected as late-harvest and fortified wines are by collectors, sales of all but the bluest of the blue chips move at a glacial pace

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Vertical Tasting of Arietta Red Wine H Block Hudson Vineyards Napa Valley

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Stephen Tanzer, Jun 2011

The finest California red wines undergo a graceful evolution in bottle much like the best ageworthy reds from France and Italy do, gaining in aromatic complexity, depth, texture and harmoniousness over a period of years

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Good Readers Drink Better Wines

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Stephen Tanzer, Jun 2011

Several years back, I was invited to be a panelist at the World Vinifera Conference in Seattle on the subject of rating wines

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Checking in on Piedmont’s 2000 Vintage

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2011

Piedmont’s 2000 vintage attracted considerable attention early on. I was living in Italy at the time and visiting the region frequently. I still remember the buzz the vintage was generating, even before the wines had been bottled. I began tasting the wines from barrel around 2002. At that time the wines were already open, radiant, and frankly delicious. It was clearly an anomalous vintage.

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Exploring the Best of Central and Southern Italy

Italy

Antonio Galloni, June 2011

My tastings of central and southern Italy were the largest and broadest I have ever done. I found a number of properties that were new to me, but also tasted a huge number of wines that left a lot to be desired. Times are tough; there is no doubt about that. Demand in many markets remains weak while the shrinking power of the US dollar has begun to eat into margins in a big way. It appears that many wineries are making the choice to compete on price and are willing to sacrifice quality in the process.

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Focus on California's North Coast

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Stephen Tanzer, May 2011

Although the 2008, 2009 and 2010 vintages on California's North Coast posed challenges for grape-growers and winemakers alike, they have provided a welcome respite for consumers who have tired of California wines with the aromas of grapes roasted by the sun

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Bordeaux 2010: All That Glitters...

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Ian D'Agata, May 2011

At the recent en primeur tastings in early April, many producers and critics were gushing with praise about the reds, calling 2010 another vintage of the century for Bordeaux, even better than 2009

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2006 Brunello: The Emperor’s New Clothes or Historic Vintage?

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2011

I can’t think of another region in the world that needs a great vintage more badly than Montalcino. Still reeling from the 2003 blending scandal, plummeting prices and a tarnished reputation, Montalcino desperately needs to get back on track, and the 2006 might just be the vintage that makes that happen. Interest in the 2006 Brunellos is by far the highest I have seen for any Italian wine since I joined The Wine Advocate, coincidentally that same year.

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Vertical Tasting of Il Poggione's Brunello di Montalcino

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Ian D'Agata, May 2011

In many respects, there is no better Brunello di Montalcino than Il Poggione

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Le Pupille: A Complete Retrospective 1987-2007


Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2011

Le Pupille has been on tear of late. I can’t think of too many estates that have made such a significant leap in quality over the last few years. This vertical of the flagships Saffredi and Poggio Valente provided a fascinating look at Le Pupille’s history and development over the years. I admire proprietor Elisabetta Geppetti’s willingness to show every vintage of her two top wines, which is pretty rare in a day and age where producers tend to cherry pick their best vintages for tastings like this one. As good as many of the wines are, there is a major improvement in quality and consistency across the board beginning in 2000.

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New Releases from Chile

IWC

Josh Raynolds, May 2011

The growth and diversification of the Chilean wine industry continue apace

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The 2009 Red Burgundies

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, May 2011

The 2009 red Burgundies have attracted considerable attention for their ripe, seductive personalities. Is all of the hype justified? In most cases it is. The wines are open and expressive, with a warm radiance that seems to echo the extended sunlight that is one of the defining characteristics of the year. The 2009s are fleshy, generous wines that are impressive for their textural richness, even if at times they lack the verve, transparency and inner perfume that is such a big part of what makes Burgundy unique.

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Wines Born With the Power of Speech

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2011

I’'ll admit I'm jaded

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Tenuta dell’Ornellaia: Masseto – A Complete Retrospective 1986-2008

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2011

This truly once in a lifetime tasting was the largest Masseto vertical ever staged in the United States and spanned every vintage back to 1986.

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Vinous Table: Solbar, Calistoga, California

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2011

This delicious, informal lunch provided an ideal backdrop to check in on a handful of iconic California Pinot Noirs. Solbar is part of the stylish Solage Resort complex just outside Calistoga. The restaurant has received quite a bit of favorable press recently, all wholly deserved. The ambience is pretty casual at lunch, although I am told the dining room is a bit more elegant for dinner. Our two pizzas were delicious and would have made a fabulous lunch on their own. Distinctive and creative, they are worth a special trip on their own. I preferred the maitake mushroom pizza, which was bursting with flavor and character. My cod main course was also very nicely done. On this day, though, the focus was a bit tilted towards the wines on the table. I look forward to going back to Solbar and spending more time with the menu, as the food merits more attention than I was able to give it.

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Vinous Table: Press, St. Helena

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2011

It was a 1970s-era Beaulieu Vineyards Private Reserve Georges de Latour. That was the wine that made me fall in love with Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon many years ago. I was thrilled to attend this dinner at Press in St. Helena built around a number of reference-point Napa Valley Cabernets. We ordered a number of appetizers and entrees and shared them family-style. Everything was delicious, even if our attention was naturally focused on the wines. The crab, salmon and Flannery’s rib-eye were all dishes I would devour again with great pleasure. There were far too many wines to list individually, but these were some of the many, many highlights.

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Reading the Label

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Stephen Tanzer, Apr 2011

If I were teaching an Introduction to Wine course rather than spending my days tasting until my tongue turned blue, this would be Lesson One: New World wines are usually labeled by grape variety (chardonnay, pinot noir); European wines are labeled by appellation, or place name (Côte-Rôtie, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques)

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La Festa del Barolo Gala Dinner at Del Posto

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2011

The inaugural Festa del Barolo brought together sixteen reference-point producers for what turned out to be an amazing day of tasting great Nebbiolo. During the afternoon session each producer presented a current release Barolo. The focus was on 2007s, but a few of the growers who are late to bottle showed their 2006s.

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2009 and 2008 Chateauneuf du Pape

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Josh Raynolds, Mar 2011

It’s no understatement to say that Chateauneuf du Pape has been on a tear of high-quality vintages in modern times

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Focus on South Africa

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2011

If Argentine wine is led by an iconic superstar (malbec), then South Africa fields a more well-rounded team with many talented players

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New Releases from Southern Italy

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Ian D'Agata, Mar 2011

Southern Italy has always been a rich hunting ground for the savvy wine lover, as this large wine production area offers a treasure trove of fine wines at affordable prices

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2008 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2011

Two thousand eight is yet another red Burgundy vintage that will split the market

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March 2011 - Second Tuesday

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Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2011

For every new wine discovery I make there's typically a dog or three

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Vinous Table: Dinner in the Kitchen at Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2011

Over the years my wife and I have enjoyed many spectacular meals at Eleven Madison Park, but this dinner was the finest of all. Quite simply, it was one of the most unforgettable, truly moving wine and food experiences of my life. We had the good fortune of sitting in the kitchen, which is much less glamorous than it might sound. Eleven Madison Park doesn’t have a true ‘chef’s table.’ Those lucky enough to eat in the kitchen are seated at a small table tucked into the wall that is used by the staff during busier nights towards the end of the week.

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Vinous Table: Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2011

This was my first dinner since Eleven Madison Park and Executive Chef Daniel Humm reworked the menu. Guests are now offered two tasting menus, if that’s the right word for single words printed on a piece of paper. An a la carte dining option is no longer offered, which I have mixed feelings about. Sometimes it's good to know what to expect, but on the other hand the most thrilling meals I have had here have been those when I have left everything up to the kitchen. We opted for the larger tasting menu, and weren’t disappointed. All of the dishes were brilliant. The langoustine ceviche with celery showed Humm’s technical prowess in melding flavors and textures to create innovative, unusual combinations. The John Dory was cooked and seasoned to perfection. Both of the meat courses were delicious and beautifully executed. Service, as always, was impeccable from start to finish.

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Le Macchiole Messorio 1994-2006: A Study in Greatness

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2011

Le Macchiole’s Merlot Messorio is one of Tuscany’s most sought-after wines. And with good reason. Over the years Messorio has built an extraordinary track record. This incredible tasting with proprietor Cinzia Merli spanned every vintage of Messorio back to the inaugural 1994. I was completely blown away by how well the wines showed. In most vintages Messorio is expressive even when it is young, yet it also has demonstrated the ability to develop spectacularly well in bottle in a distinctly personal, intimate expression of Merlot from Bolgheri. Frankly, after tasting the 1994 and 1995 I found it virtually impossible to move on to the more recent vintages. Not that there was anything wrong with them. Far from it. It’s just that those older wines were at absolutely glorious peaks of expression, while every wine that followed was more about potential.

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The Best of Northern Italy

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2011

It’s always a challenge to encapsulate the best wines of all of northern Italy into one article given the huge number of noteworthy bottles that are made across the numerous regions that make up the north...

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Barolo 2007: Greatness in the Making

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2011

The 2007 Baroli are some of the most viscerally thrilling young wines I have ever tasted. The 2007s are similar to the 2004s, but with more substance. The wines are radiant, intensely perfumed and totally seductive, yet not at all heavy, in a style that offers the textural richness of a warm vintage with the aromatics of a cool year. In 2006 and 2007 readers will find the finest back to back Barolo vintages since 1989 and 1990. This article focuses on the 2007 Baroli, but I have also included notes on a number of other Piedmont wines too.

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February 2011 - Second Tuesday

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Stephen Tanzer, Feb 2011

My brother Andy, a financial journalist and fellow wine lover, takes a sensible approach to wine buying

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Northern Italy: Alto Adige, Friuli, Veneto

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2011

It is one my favorites drives in Italy. The highway turns north just past Verona. After a short while it feels like the valleys literally open up to reveal a dramatic landscape marked with apple orchards, the Adige River and the spectacular Dolomites. Just past Rovereto and Trento the vistas start to change again. We are in Alto Adige, one of the most spectacular regions in all of Italy. Seldom frequented by Americans, Alto Adige remains largely undiscovered.

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January 2011 of January 2011

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2011

In early November, Josh Raynolds and I took the New York-Geneva flight and hit the ground running

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Focus on Argentina

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2011

Argentina has had an extended run of very good to excellent vintages, so vintage generalizations are of limited value.

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2009 Red Burgundy

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Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2011

The 2009 red Burgundies are the wines most Americans thought they were getting when they paid through the nose to snag the much-hyped 2005s four years ago

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2009 and 2008 Northern Rhone Wines

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Josh Raynolds, Jan 2011

It’s always telling when producers pour their finished vintage before the one in barrel, which was the case with the red wines I was shown in virtually every cellar I visited in the northern Rhône Valley in mid-November

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Germany 2009: Everybody's Darling

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Joel B. Payne, Jan 2011

“Two thousand nine was an excellent year,” says Helmut Dönnhoff from Oberhausen on the Nahe, “but, please, let’s not talk about a vintage of the century

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Vinous Table: Del Posto, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2010

This was another fabulous dinner at Del Posto, where I do many of my tastings because wine service is so exceptional. We were treated to a wonderful, delicious meal full of highlights. The pastas at Del Posto are always terrific, as they were once again on this evening. The Caramelle with Robiola in particular were superb. I also adored the Wood-Grilled Lobster; easily one of the finest dishes being served in New York City today. The food was very much the equal of the wines on the table, and that is the highest compliment I can possibly pay considering the legendary wines we were privileged to drink. As always, Del Posto’s staff did a fabulous job in meeting all of our needs with regards to service of both food and wine, far from an easy task with this group.

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Bollinger: A Survey of the 2009 Vins Claires

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2010

There is probably no region where it is harder to get a handle on the most recent vintage than Champagne. The window for tasting the still wines, known as vins claires, is quite narrow, and only lasts from the end of the calendar year of the harvest until the following spring, when the wines are bottled. Unlike other regions, there are no formal events to show the young wines to the trade and press. Even visiting the region is no guarantee of being able to get a good look at the wines.

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Vinous Table: Da Nando, Friuli, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2010

Da Nando is an institution in Friuli. Even after all these years, the food and wine are well worth a visit. Proprietor Ivan Uanetto is a larger than life character whose booming voice and equally outsize personality fill up the room. Da Nando is the kind of place that is typical of the Italian provinces. The menu is essentially useless; instead diners should rely on the waiters to recommend what is outstanding on any given day. I usually start and finish with the antipasti, which consists of 5-6 courses that are more than enough for a meal. On the occasions I have ventured into the pastas and meat courses I have rarely been disappointed.

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Decemeber 2010 of December 2010

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Stephen Tanzer, Dec 2010

Every year my colleague Josh Raynolds and I each taste upwards of 10,000 new wines,  covering three to five wine categories in great depth in each bimonthly issue of my independent publication, the International Wine Cellar

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New Releases from Champagne

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2010

Once again I was completely blown away by the wines I tasted from Champagne, first during a visit to the region earlier in the year, and later in tastings in the US. I am convinced Champagne is the world’s greatest wine region that remains virtually undiscovered by the vast majority of wine lovers.

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New Releases from Piedmont

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2010

Vintage 2007 will be remembered for a freakish set of weather conditions that have never been seen before. The winter was unusually warm and dry, with virtually no precipitation, a stark contrast to the norm in these parts. To be sure, rain and snow during the winter have been in decline in Piedmont for more than two decades, but 2007 was unusually dry, even by modern-day standards. Flowering took place a full month ahead of schedule. The spring and summer were warmer than normal, but without the heat spikes of truly hot years such as 2003.

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Focus on the Central Coast

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Josh Raynolds, Nov 2010

My annual tour of California’s Central Coast afforded the opportunity to compare numerous 2007 reds against their 2008 siblings, and the differences were intriguing

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New Vintage Champagne Releases

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2010

Apparently the large Champagne houses are convinced that the world economy is back on track, if this year’s (suggested) price hikes are any indication.

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Alsace Update

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Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2010

This year, for a number of reasons, I decided to taste Alsace wines chez moi instead of in Alsace.

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New Releases from Washington State

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Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2010

As 2007 by now has gained a reputation as one of Washington’s most outstanding and complete vintages of the past generation, this vintage from the state’s better producers has sold well, even in this moribund economy.

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The Best New Releases from Spain, Part 2

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2010

Part two of our annual Spain coverage includes some of my top red wine values of the year

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Bruno Giacosa Dinner at Bar Boulud, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2010

This tasting/dinner at Bar Boulud featured two of my favorite things; the wines of Bruno Giacosa and the food at Bar Boulud. It is tempting to drink Barolo and Barbaresco with regional cuisine, and while that often results in great pairings, it is also fun to stretch out a bit and try new things as well. Our menu from Executive Chef Damian Sansonetti was brilliant. Each of the dishes was absolutely divine. I have been to Bar Boulud many times, but this was one of the best dinners I have ever had at Daniel Boulud’s casual brasserie in New York’s Upper West Side.

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Vinous Table: Del Posto, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2010

This was another delicious dinner at Del Posto. Executive Chef Mark Ladner and his team did a fabulous job with this tasting menu. The Wood-Grilled Lobster is one of the signature dishes at Del Posto, and it was once again amazing on this night. In my opinion it is one of the very finest dishes on the menu. The Stinco di Vitello was also sublime. The Risotto and Pansotti were tasty, but if I have one critique of Del Posto it’s that the portions can sometimes be on the small side. That wouldn’t be an issue in and of itself, but with this many wines, a little more food wouldn’t bad a thing.

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Vinous Table: Locanda Verde, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2010

This was my first dinner at Locanda Verde, Andrew Carmellini’s new restaurant in Tribeca. Even on a Monday night, the place was jam-packed. Once I tasted the food, it was easy to see why. Carmellini offers up generous doses of rustic, home-style cooking at reasonable prices in a casual, fun setting. What’s not to like? The crostini and pastas are particularly of note, so Locanda Verde is not the place for those on a carb-restricted diet. The lamb sliders, gigantone with Sunday night ragu, pappardelle with lamb Bolognese and the dry-aged ribeye are all dishes I would eat again in a heartbeat.

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In a Tuscan State of Mind

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2010

I continue to be amazed at the sheer diversity of wines coming out of Tuscany these days. While the big guns may still command the highest prices, the real attractiveness lies at the other end of the price spectrum.

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Vinous Table: Casual dinner at Del Posto, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Oct 2010

This was one of the more casual dinners I have enjoyed recently at Del Posto, but as always the food, wine and service were superb. Del Posto’s Lobster Salad was just a touch spicy for my taste, but otherwise delicious. The 2006 Blanc de Noirs from Ulysse Collin took a little time to find its balance in the glass, but when it did it was stunningly beautiful. Rich, warm and expansive, the wine covered every inch of the palate with layers of fruit. Olivier Collin is one of the most dedicated and passionate of Champagne’s young growers. His wines deserve a much wider audience. This bottle of the 2006 Blanc de Noirs exceeded my expectations.

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Checking in on the 1996 Champagnes

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2010

Over the last few months I have had the chance to revisit a number of Champagnes from the celebrated 1996 vintage. My first retrospective on the 1996s, published last year, found many of the wines in great shape. Today, only a year later, a number of bottles are finally beginning to show hints of their ultimate potential. Many of these wines have been on the market for some time but only now, fourteen years after the harvest, is it possible to taste a complete range of the tête-de-cuvées from all of the major houses.

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Vinous Table: Casa Lever, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2010

This was my first dinner at Casa Lever, the new Italian-inspired reincarnation of the former Lever House. The long, narrow dining space is nicely done, with Andy Warhol paintings that add a dash of color and brightness. The only negative is that the tables are tightly spaced and the room can get noisy.

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The Best New Wines from Spain, Part 1

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Josh Raynolds, Sep 2010

Spain’s wine producers are proving as eager to promote (read: hype) the 2009 vintage as just about every other wine-producing region in western Europe.

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Focus on the Tuscan Coast

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Ian D'Agata, Sep 2010

The wines of the Tuscan coast have become world-famous and much sought after over the past 30 years, but that fame has been mainly due to the reputation achieved by the best cabernet- and merlot-based wines made in the Bolgheri area.

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New Zealand Sauvignon and Pinot

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2010

New Zealand sauvignon blanc is a no-brainer for the consumer looking for fresh white wine at a moderate price, either to accompany a restaurant meal or for enjoying at home

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White Burgundy 2009 and 2008

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2010

When I developed the wine habit just over 30 years ago, my gateway bottles were cabernet and chardonnay from Napa Valley (remember chardonnay from Napa Valley?).

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The Noble Wines of Southern Italy

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2010

Piedmont and Tuscany may get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to important, ageworthy reds from Italy, but readers who look past the great classics of the south are missing out on some of the most distinctive wines in the country, and the world, for that matter.

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Italy’s Finest Values

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2010

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, there has never been a better time to be a wine consumer. The range of high- quality wines coming out of Italy today – and other countries, too – is amazing for its breadth and diversity.

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Taittinger: Comtes de Champagne 1971— 1998

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2010

For some reason, Taittinger’s tête de cuvée Comtes de Champagne seems to fly under the radar among the region’s elite bottles. Savvy consumers know better, though. Comtes de Champagnes is one of the most profound wines readers will come across, particularly with some bottle age.

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Bruce’s Birthday Bash 2010

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2010

Once again, collector Bruce Fingeret staged what has become one of the most anticipated events on the New York wine calendar. This was the birthday party of all birthday parties equalled only by previous editions. The number of great wines we tasted was simply amazing. Dinner was prepared by Grissini, which has become very well known for their white truffle pizza. I must have eaten several myself! From start to finish, all of Grissini’s appetizers and pizzas were first-rate.

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Roederer’s 2009 Vins Claires

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2010

Timing is everything, and fortunately my visit to Roederer turned out to be very well-timed. Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon prepared an incredible tasting of the estate’s 2009 vins claires that provided a rare glimpse into the base wines that make up the house’s top bottlings. I also had a chance to taste several of the just-bottled 2009s in their final blends and the 2004 Cristal and Cristal Rosé, both of which are scheduled to be released later this year.

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Oregon Pinot Noir

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2010

My spring trip to the Willamette Valley afforded me the chance to taste a number of the eagerly anticipated 2008 pinots and to discuss them with their producers

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Chianti, Vino Nobile and Super-Tuscans

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Jul 2010

As far as 2006 and 2007 are concerned, wine lovers can revel in the knowledge that there probably have not been two better back-to-back vintages in Tuscany since the 1980s

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New Releases from Australia

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2010

The unfortunate irony of the Australian wine industry’s current malaise in the U

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Chablis 2009 and 2008

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2010

France'’s very warm, dry growing season of 2009 brought an early harvest to Chablis, and has yielded a set of unusually rich, fruit-driven wines that will offer considerable early appeal

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2007 Bordeaux : Don't Hate Me Because I'm Overpriced

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2010

Two thousand seven is an ideal vintage for Bordeaux lovers who bemoan what has happened to their favorite category of wine as a result of global warming and more extractive modern-day winemaking

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Vinous Table: Marea, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, June 2010

Pasta. Pasta. Pasta. That seemed to be the theme at this recent dinner at Marea. Not a problem, though, as I can’t think of too many places I would rather indulge in what is arguably Italy’s greatest contribution to gastronomy.

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Vinous Table: Esca, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2010

I can’t think of too many places in New York I would rather eat than Esca. Three recent lunches were exceptional. One of the reasons the food is so consistently outstanding is that proprietor and chef Dave Pasternack is virtually always in the kitchen. In today’s world of globe-trotting celebrity chefs, Pasternack is one of the few who actually spends some time behind the burners…and it comes through in the pristine quality of his cooking.

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Vinous Table: Dom Pérignon and Giacosa Verticals, Del Posto, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2010

This recent dinner at Del Posto was so amazing I hardly know where to start. The collection of wines we tasted was mind-boggling. Our initial theme was a complete vertical of Bruno Giacosa’s mythical Barolo Collina Rionda, which we managed to pull off, save the 1968. All the reason to make another attempt in a few years’ time. Before we knew it, a desire to taste a few older Champagnes turned into a full-fledged second theme of 1970s Dom Pérignons.

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Pazo Restaurant

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2010

This fabulous dinner kicked off two intense days of business meetings for The Wine Advocate’s staff. As always, it was a privilege to compare notes with colleagues and tasters I hold in such high regard. Course after course of delicious Mediterranean-inspired dishes married well with this stunning selection of wines from Robert Parker’s cellar. The sea scallop carpaccio, crispy zucchini flowers, head-on shrimp, prime Kansas strip steak and Calaparra rice with lobster were among the highlights of this tasting menu.

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Haiti Charity Dinner

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2010

I visited Haiti a number of times when I was a young boy. As a child growing up in Latin America I often saw a level of poverty that was heartbreaking, yet in Haiti things always seemed worse than in other places. For that reason I was especially struck by the news of the devastating earthquake that struck the country earlier this year. Kudos to Eleven Madison Park, The Rare Wine Company and the Giacomo Conterno winery, who came together to put on this fabulous charity event to help the victims of the earthquake. It would be great to see more restaurateurs, importers, wineries and all of us who have the privilege of making a living in food and wine embrace initiatives such as this.

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Haiti Charity Dinner

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2010

I visited Haiti a number of times when I was a young boy. As a child growing up in Latin America I often saw a level of poverty that was heartbreaking, yet in Haiti things always seemed worse than in other places. For that reason I was especially struck by the news of the devastating earthquake that struck the country earlier this year. Kudos to Eleven Madison Park, The Rare Wine Company and the Giacomo Conterno winery, who came together to put on this fabulous charity event to help the victims of the earthquake. It would be great to see more restaurateurs, importers, wineries and all of us who have the privilege of making a living in food and wine embrace initiatives such as this.

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Miani Redux – Calvari: 1995-2008 and a Preview of the 2009s

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2010

Miani is one of the crown jewels in the world of wine. Proprietor Enzo Pontoni excels with a range of both whites and reds that are typically monumental. That is the good news. The bad news is that Pontoni releases a mere 8,000 bottles from 18 hectares of vineyards, which means the wines are very hard to source. Yields are tiny and selection is Draconian, first in the vineyards and later in the cellar, where Pontoni is especially demanding when it comes what goes into the bottle. Last year I reported on a once in a lifetime vertical of Miani’s Merlot. This time around the focus was on the estate’s rarest wine, Calvari. Once again the results were stratospheric.

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Enjoying Italy’s Finest Rosés

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2010

Rosé continues to be one of the fastest growing categories in wine. Consumers are discovering just how flat-out delicious the wines are, not to mention that they often deliver outstanding value as well. Producers have responded in a big way. Once again this year I tasted a number of wines that were made for the first time in 2009. Italy, with its incredible breadth of grape varieties, is particularly well-suited to offer consumers a wide range of fabulous wines, the best of which I have reviewed below. Readers who don’t go crazy for rosés might want to try serving slightly chilled lighter-bodied reds, such as Chianti Classico, Langhe Nebbiolo or Frappato, all of which make for great warm weather drinking. Readers will probably want to favor unoaked or cask-aged reds over wines aged in smaller barrels, which are likely to be too rich for summertime drinking.

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The Best of Central and Southern Italy

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2010

I tasted an amazing range of wines from central and southern Italy this year. The sheer variety these regions encompass is truly amazing. Readers who are limiting themselves to the wines of Piedmont, Tuscany and other better-known regions in the world are missing out on some of the most exciting wines on the planet.

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2008 Sauternes and Barsacs

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2010

The 2008 Sauternes, sandwiched between two richer vintages that have garnered much more attention in the marketplace, offer an interesting buying opportunity, especially for those collectors who gravitate toward vibrant, minerally, sharply delineated wines

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Bordeaux 2009: The Best Ever?

IWC

Ian D'Agata, May 2010

Rarely has a young Bordeaux vintage been so much fun to taste as 2009

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Cédric Bouchard – Champagne Redefined

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, May 2010

Cédric Bouchard is one of the most promising emerging young growers in Champagne. At their best, Bouchard’s Champagnes are exciting, viscerally thrilling wines that will challenge readers’ perceptions about what Champagne is and can be. The house style emphasizes single-vintage, single-vineyard, single-variety wines made in strict accordance with a natural, non-interventionalist approach in the vineyards and cellar.

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Focus on California's North Coast

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2010

These are fairly desperate times for wineries on California’s North Coast

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Best New Wines from the Central Loire

IWC

Josh Raynolds, May 2010

Perhaps no area in France resists categorization more stubbornly than the central Loire Valley

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Allegrini Amarone: 1982 – 2004

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2010

Allegrini is a reference-point producer for fine Amarone. The Allegrini family has played an important role in local Veronese society for hundreds of years going back to the mid-sixteenth century. The property’s modern history was built by Giovanni Allegrini, who purchased a number of top vineyards and made many of the estate’s first important wines. Today, the winery is run by Giovanni’s children Franco and Marilisa. A third sibling, Walter, passed away tragically in 2003.

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Argiolas Turriga – A Sardinian Icon: 1988-2004

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2010

Argiolas is one of Sardinia’s – make that Italy’s – most historic properties, with a rich lineage that dates back to 1918, when the first vineyards were planted. The estate makes a large number of wines, including a number of terrific, budget-level offerings all the way to the top-of- the line Turriga, which has long set the benchmark for what great Sardinian reds are and can be all about. This incredible tasting provided an opportunity to taste nearly every vintage of Turriga from the inaugural 1988 to 2004.

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New Releases from Montalcino

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2010

At a recent lunch I was reminded of Montalcino’s potential for greatness when a top producer’s Brunello from an excellent but not profound vintage outshone some of the most brilliant Burgundies ever produced, including those of what is arguably that region’s most storied domaine.

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Backstage at La Paulée

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2010

The best seat at La Paulée isn’t at one of the tastings or dinners that grace the calendar during this weekend-long celebration of the wines of Burgundy, rather it is backstage at the main event Gala Dinner. Hundreds of the rarest Burgundies, many in large formats, are carefully opened, decanted and tasted in this inner sanctum that is strictly off limits to visitors. Poor weather forced me to move my flight up or risk being stranded in San Francisco. I ended up missing the Gala Dinner, but luckily I was able to sneak backstage before leaving to taste a number of mind-bending wines.

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Tasca d’Almerita Rosso del Conte: 1979-2006

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2010

Tasca d’Almerita is one of the leading estates in Sicily and Italy. The estate’s top red, Rosso del Conte, is among the handful of wines from Southern Italy with a long, distinguished track record that goes back several decades. This tasting with proprietor Alberto Tasca provided an incredible opportunity to re-visit a number of older, and now exceedingly rare, vintages. It also proved the significant potential of both Nero d’Avola and Sicilian wines in general. I can only hope one day there will be many more properties making wines of such distinction and age-worthiness. In particular, readers lucky enough to own any of the older Rosso del Contes should be thrilled!

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La Paulée de San Francisco – Rare Wine Dinner

Burgundy

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2010

La Paulée, Daniel Johnnes’s annual tribute to Burgundy, is a once in a lifetime event for anyone who loves the wines of this region steeped in history. This year’s Paulée was held in San Francisco, which always offers a more relaxed setting than the hustle and bustle of New York City. The festivities started with a fabulous afternoon tasting in which producers poured three vintages of one of their flagship wines. Needless to say, it was a real treat to taste these mini-verticals given the minuscule quantities made of most of these wines.

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Vinous Table: RN74, San Francisco

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2010

This amazing lunch kicked off an incredible weekend of food and wine at La Paulée. RN 74 is part of Michael Mina's group of restaurants. Don’t be fooled by the casual atmosphere. Food and wine are taken very seriously here. Mina, and his team led Executive Chef Jason Berthold and Wine Director Raj Parr offer guests a fabulous dining experience. Not surprisingly, RN 74 was jam-packed on this Friday afternoon.

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Dom Pérignon: No Guts, No Glory

Champagne

Antonio Galloni,

I was blown away by these four new releases from Moët et Chandon. I confess I have long admired the flagship Dom Pérignon. There is a timeless elegance about Dom Pérignon that I find comforting and reassuring, like a favorite restaurant or food. For that reason, nothing could have prepared me for the Champagnes I tasted recently with Chef de Caves Richard Geoffroy.

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Roberto Voerzio – Past, Present and Future: 1988-2008

Italy

Antonio Galloni,

Roberto Voerzio’s Barolos are some of the richest, deepest and most texturally beautiful wines readers will come across. This incredible tasting, which spanned 20 vintages and nearly 40 wines, provided a once in a lifetime opportunity to look at the evolution of one of the world’s most talented and passionate winemakers. I was struck with nearly all the wines I sampled, but in many ways it is the Barolos from the smaller, forgotten vintages that made the deepest impression. The majority of these wines were tasted during a visit to the winery in November 2009, while a few additional bottles came from my cellar.

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Focus on Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2010

Vintages 2008 and 2007 presented growers at the eastern end of the Loire Valley with a series of challenges at crucial points in their growing seasons, both of which were to some extent mitigated by favorable late summers

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2008 and 2007 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2010

Two thousand eight, like 2007 before it, produced a crop of red wines that utterly resist generalization

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New Releases from Chile

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2010

As in recent years it was Chile’s sauvignon blancs that impressed me most in my annual tastings, especially at the lower price points, which is great news for consumers who might be looking for alternatives to increasingly pricey New Zealand versions

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Vinous Table: Petit Louis Bistro, Baltimore

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2010

This informal lunch with Robert Parker was a great way to spend an afternoon during what turned out to be a brutal winter for the Northeastern United States replete with multiple record-breaking snowstorms. Petit Louis, part of the empire of Baltimore restaurateurs Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman, serves up classic bistro fare in an informal and relaxed setting. The food was delicious, and a perfect foil for a number of breathtaking wines.

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Vinous Table: Convivo, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Feb 2010

Convivio is another of the fabulous restaurants in the Chris Cannon-Michael White empire. Tucked away in Tudor City, Convivio seems to get less mention than Alto or Marea, Cannon and White’s other two Manhattan restauraunts, but the food is equally brilliant and well worth a visit. Even better, prices are more modest than at either Alto or Marea. The menu at Convivio is based on the bold flavors of southern Italy and is offered either as a four course prix-fixe for $62 or a a la carte.

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Vinous Table: Jean-Georges, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2010

Jean-Georges has become one of my favorite places in New York for lunch. Two recent meals were simply extraordinary. The cuisine, service and ambience all live up to Jean-George’s status as one of a handful of restaurants in New York with three Michelin stars. Even better, the two-course prix-fixe at $29 is one of the very best deals readers are likely to find in the City.

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Vinous Table: Jean-Georges, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2010

Jean-Georges has become one of my favorite places in New York for lunch. Two recent meals were simply extraordinary. The cuisine, service and ambience all live up to Jean-George’s status as one of a handful of restaurants in New York with three Michelin stars. Even better, the two-course prix-fixe at $29 is one of the very best deals readers are likely to find in the City.

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2006 Barolo: A Modern-Day Classic in the Making

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2010

One of the most fascinating aspects of Nebbiolo is its ability to express an extraordinary amount of information with regards to vintage, site, microclimate, terrain and a host of other variables. That seemed to be the overwhelming takeaway from my tastings of the 2006 Barolos. To gain as much perspective as possible, I tasted the 2006 Barolos next to vintages 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 (where the wines were through malo) at a number of estates including Giacomo Conterno, Altare, Clerico, Brovia, Conterno-Fantino, Bartolo Mascarello, E. Pira, Sandrone, Scavino, Vietti, Roberto Voerzio and others; while at a handful of addresses time constraints allowed for a comparison with just 2005 and/or 2007.

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Piedmont’s Glorious 1989 and 1990 Vintages Revisited

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2010

The 1989 and 1990 Barolos and Barbarescos are among the most viscerally thrilling wines ever made in Piedmont. Even today, they remain benchmarks for greatness.

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Vinous Table: 1964 Dom Pérignon, Giacosa's 1989s & 1990s, Del Posto, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2010

This incredible dinner was organized around two themes; an in-depth look at several bottlings of the 1964 Dom Pérignon and a survey of Bruno Giacosa’s 1989s and 1990s, with a few bottles added for further perspective. Executive Chef Mark Ladner prepared a fabulous menu to go with our wines…in fact, the food was so delicious and the wines so brilliant that we added a couple of extra savory courses after the dinner had actually ended!

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Vinous Table: Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2010

I didn’t really know what to expect when I arrived for this dinner at Eleven Madison Park, except that Executive Chef Daniel Humm would be preparing a tasting menu specifically for our table. That was more than enough. As long-time readers know, Eleven Madison is one of my favorite restaurants on the planet. This dinner, though, seemed to take things to another level.

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Germany 2008: Crisp, Pure and Refreshing

IWC

Joel B. Payne, Jan 2010

In late autumn of 2008, few producers thought that the vintage would develop as well as it did

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The Best New Wines from Argentina

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2010

No wine category has grown as rapidly over the last seven years in the U

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2008 and 2007 Rhone Valley Wines

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2010

Mother Nature has been especially kind to the Rhône Valley’s winemakers for much of the last couple of decades, delivering conditions that old-timers there call the most ideal in generations

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Lupicaia: An Emerging Tuscan Thoroughbred

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2009

Castello del Terriccio is one of Tuscany’s most impressive properties. The estate is located in the upper reaches of Maremma, near Pisa and only a few kilometers from the Tyrrhenian Sea. Terriccio traces its rich history back at least several centuries, but vineyards were only planted in the late 1980s. Proprietor Dr. Gian Annibale Rossi di Medelana was inspired by the success of Sassicaia and he set out to make his version of Tuscany’s most famous wine.

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Champagne: The Last Frontier

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2009

My tastings this year of Champagne revealed a fascinating breadth and diversity of wines. In many ways, Champagne remains the last frontier - at least in the Old World - in that it is arguably the last major region that has yet to be discovered in the big way its top producers deserve. Burgundy fans are keenly aware of the differences of the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays grown in the various villages that dot the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, down to which producers own the best rows in the most coveted vineyards. In Bordeaux, each of the main towns and their vineyards possess qualities that are generally understood and accepted.

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Ornellaia: A Major Retrospective 1985-2006

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2009

Tenuta dell’Ornellaia is the brainchild of Lodovico Antinori, who founded this gorgeous, sprawling estate in Tuscany’s Maremma in 1981. Vines were planted in 1982 and the first vintages were overseen by the legendary oenologist and winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff. Today Ornellaia is owned by the Frescobaldi family, but like all of the Frescobaldi properties, it is run independently. The estate produces a wide range of wines, from the entry-level Le Volte to the super-premium Merlot Masseto. To me, though, it is the Cabernet Sauvignon-based Ornellaia which truly captures the essence of these unique vineyards and microclimates.

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Vinous Table: Ristorante Bovio, La Morra, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2009

This was my first dinner at Ristorante Bovio, the new venture of the Bovio family who for many years ran the Belvedere, one of Piedmont’s best-known restaurants. Ristorante Bovio is a smaller, more intimate locale, with modern décor that is a big change over what diners were used to at the Belvedere. The cuisine also looks like it too has received a much-needed face lift.

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Vinous Table: La Rei, Serralunga d'Alba, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2009

Few topics have polarized locals in the Langhe as the recent construction of Il Boscareto, a new luxury hotel in Serralunga. This ambitious project was vociferously protested by many, who dubbed the huge building an “eco-disaster.” Take it from someone who has visited Piedmont regularly for over a dozen years, the region has long needed a full-service, high-end hotel near the vineyards of Barolo and Barbaresco, of which there is now exactly one.

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Italian Wine Weekend at Del Posto

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2009

The first Italian Wine Weekend was held in New York City on November 12-14, 2009. The event, loosely based on Daniel Johnnes’s La Paulée, was held to benefit the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. As might be expected for any event in its first year, there were some rough spots, but both dinners I attended at Del Posto were packed. The charity auction raised almost $400,000 for the University, a great achievement by any measure. I am particularly grateful to the generous bidders who purchased the two dinner lots I was involved with. I hope the organizers, participating restaurants and wineries will make Italian Wine Weekend an annual tradition.

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Third Annual White Truffle Charity Dinner

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2009

I am deeply grateful to a small group of food and wine lovers who came together in December 2009 to support my annual White Truffle Charity Dinner, held to benefit the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.

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Austria 2008: Rising to the Challenge

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Peter Moser, Nov 2009

In many respects, Austria’s 2008 vintage follows 2007 seamlessly.

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Focus on the Central Coast

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2009

Followers of the Central Coast’s wines were chomping at the bit to get their hands on the top producers’ 2007s even before the first grapes were harvested

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New Vintage Champagne Releases

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2009

The ongoing global financial malaise has taken a huge toll on Champagne, as this year's line-up of vintage bottlings demonstrates

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New Releases from Washington State

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2009

If this year’s coverage of new releases from Washington State is longer than ever before, that’s because there are more wines worthy of your notice than previously

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Focus on Barolo and Barbaresco

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2009

After tasting well over a thousand Barolos and Barbarescos from the 2004 through 2007 vintages over the past two-plus years, and discussing these vintages in depth with a few dozen winemakers and other Piedmont insiders, I’ve reached the conclusion that it’s impossible to generalize about these very different years—and you can add 2008 to the list as well

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Vinous Table: Marea, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2009

I can't think of too many chefs doing better work in New York these days than Michael White. Marea, which is set in the space once occupied by San Domenico at 240 Central Park South, is White’s newest venture with Chris Cannon, his partner at sister restaurants Alto and Convivio.

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Vinous Table: Corton, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2009

This was my first dinner at Corton, restaurateur Drew Nieporent’s newest creation in the Tribeca space once occupied by Montrachet. Chef-Owner Paul Liebrandt offered to cook for us, and we took him up on the spot. The extensive tasting menu had plenty of highlights, most of which came later on in the meal. There is no question Liebrandt is massively talented, in fact he may be too talented at times.

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The Wines of Fausto Maculan: 1985-2007

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2009

Fausto Maculan is one of the great characters in the world of wine. His larger than life personality, wicked sense of humor and charm are all reflected in these gorgeous wines. Much of Maculan’s vision is clearly informed by a huge passion for the finest wine and food money can buy. The eye-popping collection of lovingly cared for icon bottles in Maculan’s personal cellar is but one sign of the heights this driven producer strives for. Maculan is best known for his dessert wines, and rightly so, as they represent a glorious pinnacle of achievement. That said, Maculan is proving to be equally skilled with his dry red wines. This incredible tasting covered a number of older vintages of Maculan’s top reds, Fratta and Crosara, and sweet dessert wines Torcolato and Acininobili.

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Vinous Table: Second night at Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2009

My wife and I returned to Eleven Madison Park for a second night of fabulous food and wine, this time in the company of dear friends from North Carolina. Once again, everything we ate and drank was superb.

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Vinous Table: First night at Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2009

This was the first of two fabulous dinners I enjoyed at Eleven Madison Park on consecutive evenings in October, 2009. Executive Chef Daniel Humm and his team were firing on all cylinders, as every plate that came out of the kitchen was divine. I particularly like the smoked pork belly and organic milk-fed chicken, but then again, both dishes were topped with truffles, so it was hard to go too wrong. One of the qualities is I like most about Humm’s food is the way he builds clean, well-articulated flavors in a style that marries exceptionally well with wine.

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Vinous Table: Second night at Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2009

My wife and I returned to Eleven Madison Park for a second night of fabulous food and wine, this time in the company of dear friends from North Carolina. Once again, everything we ate and drank was superb.

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The Best of Northern Italy

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2009

Veneto is one of Italy’s most fascinating and diverse winemaking regions. Along with Piedmont, I can’t think of another region in Italy that produces so many different and compelling wines, at all levels. The sparkling Prosecco is a delicious, budget-friendly choice for an aperitif. The white Soave is experiencing a resurgence as a number of growers exalt the unique qualities of the finest hillside vineyards. In the Valpolicella district, home to Valpolicella, Amarone and Recioto, readers will find an amazing number of terrific wines loaded with character.

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Piedmont Comes Of Age

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2009

This year, I left my tastings of the wines of Piedmont energized and excited. Simply put, I have never encountered so many delicious wines from so many different producers. Of course, there are always varying levels of quality based on the characteristics of specific vintages (see 2008 Dolcetto below), but the simple fact is that Piedmont’s wines have never been better and more consistent across the board.

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A Survey of Michet: Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo 1967-2001

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2009

This incredible tasting of Barolos from Giuseppe Mascarello - originally conceived as a survey of the Michet clone of Nebbiolo - spanned five decades going back to 1967, and included a number of benchmark wines such as the 1970, 1982, 1985, 1989 and 1990 Monprivatos plus a complete vertical of the estate’s Barolo Riserva Monprivato Cà d’Morissio. Virtually all of the older vintages were shipped over from the estate, which made this afternoon quite special, as provenance was unparalleled. Proprietor Mauro Mascarello and his son Giuseppe were on hand to lend their commentary to a group of Barolo aficionados that included sommeliers from a number of New York City’s very finest restaurants

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The Best New Wines from Spain, Part 2

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2009

The most pleasant surprise of my tastings of Spanish wine this year has been my finding so many delicious, well-balanced wines from the often-derided 2006 vintage

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New Zealand Sauvignon and Pinot

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2009

American consumers can still find New Zealand’s wines in the market at the same prices as last year, and in some cases lower

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New Releases from Australia, Part 2

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2009

Australia's image among American wine hobbyists continues to take a beating, but it seems that the abuse might be letting up a bit

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2008 and 2007 White Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2009

Two thousand eight is yet another vintage in which miraculous September weather allowed Burgundy’s better growers and smarter winemakers to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat

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Vinous Table: Solociccia, Firenze, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2009

Solociccia is the brainchild of Panzano’s famous rock-star butcher Dario Cecchini, who seems to be everywhere in this small, hillside town. Panzano is technically part of the commune of Greve, in Tuscany’s Chianti Classico, but it is such a unique microclimate that it really deserves to be recognized for its own special qualities. This gorgeous, scenic village is home to some of Italy’s most celebrated producers, including Fontodi, Castello di Rampolla and La Massa.

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Tuscany 2006 and 2007: A New Golden Age

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2009

Readers who enjoy the best Tuscany has to offer will find no shortage of compelling wines at virtually all price points in vintages 2006 and 2007. I continue to be impressed with the consistently stunning 2006s. Most of the entry-level wines have been on the market for some time, and as I have written on this site previously, the vintage offers incredible quality from top to bottom in all of the region’s main appellations.

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The Essence of Merlot: Miani 1994-2006

Italy

Antonio Galloni,

Miani is one of Italy’s cult properties, and with good reason. Proprietor Enzo Pontoni crafts some of the most profound, monumental wines readers are likely to come across. The range includes a number of compelling whites, two phenomenal Merlots and an equally majestic red from Refosco, the legendary Rosso Calvari, all made in miniscule quantities. Incredibly, this was the first comprehensive vertical tasting Pontoni had ever held of his Merlots. Because bottles have become extremely scarce – even in Pontoni’s own cellar – a number of wines were tasted from magnum, a format that is not commercially available. To say this was unforgettable tasting would be a colossal understatement, as the wines were brilliant in every way.

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Italy’s Finest Wine Values

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2009

There has never been a better time to be a wine drinker. Period. Generally more favorable climactic conditions across the world, the emergence of high quality wines from once- dormant regions in Europe and newly developed areas in the New World, and increasing technical expertise in the areas of viticulture and oenology have come together to present consumers with a staggering array of delicious wines that can be found for under $25.

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Italy 1990 at Eleven Madison Park

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2009

Special thanks to collector Bruce Katz for organizing this incredible dinner built around Italy’s 1990 vintage, one of the most celebrated of its generation. The late afternoon/early evening hour is one of the most beautiful times to be sitting in Eleven Madison’s spacious, high-ceiling dining room, as the gentle light that filters through the windows is especially calming.

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Bruce’s Birthday Bash 2009, Part 1

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2009

Bruce the Returner. Airplane Eddie. Big Boy. The Hillbilly. King Angry. Wheels. You could be forgiven for mistaking this colorful cast of characters for something right out of Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment. But no, these are some of the world’s most passionate collectors, all of whom gathered in New Jersey recently to celebrate the birthday of Bruce the Returner.

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Bruce’s Birthday Bash 2009, Part 2

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2009

This magical evening continued into a delicious dinner blessed with a stunning array of wines. The menu, prepared by Grissini Restaurant and served al fresco, was simple, tasty and very nicely done, as always.

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Exploring Sagrantino: The Wines of Arnaldo Caprai 1994 - 2007

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2009

My visit with Marco Caprai a few months ago was one of the highlights of a day in Montefalco. In recent years Montefalco has experienced a boom in interest and new investments. Little of this success would have been possible without the foresight of Caprai, a man who has dedicated considerable time and resources in promoting the unique qualities of Sagrantino and Montefalco after taking over his family’s estate in 1988.

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Vinous Table: Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2009

This delicious Friday lunch at Eleven Madison Park was a great way to kick off a summer weekend. As always, the food, service and ambience were first class. I was hardly surprised when, a few weeks later, The New York Times awarded Eleven Madison Park a very highly deserved fourth star. What I love most about Chef Daniel Humm’s food is the way each ingredient speaks with eloquence and clarity, like a world-class orchestra in a concert hall where all of the nuances are incredibly vivid. The $28 prix-fixe lunch (for an appetizer and main course) is easily one of the best deals in New York.

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Ian D'Agata on the Best Wines of Central Italy

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Jul 2009

You will doubtless recognize some wine names from the central Italian regions of Emilia Romagna, Marche, Lazio, Umbria, Abruzzo and Molise, but the majority of them won’t mean a thing to you.

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2004 Brunello di Montalcino

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2009

Thus far, the coverage of Brunello di Montalcino I’ve seen elsewhere has generally fallen into two categories: 2004 is an outstanding vintage, worth the 5 stars awarded to it by the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, or 2004 is an overrated vintage from a growing season that was too warm to make classic sangiovese wines

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Chablis 2008 and 2007

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2009

I found plenty of highlights in chardonnay on my recent tour of the Côte de Beaune, but it was Chablis, among the regions of Burgundy, that enjoyed the best of the weather in 2008

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The Best New Wines from Spain, Part 1

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2009

Following the 2004 and 2005 vintages, which generated a great deal of enthusiasm for wines from all across Spain, the fervor has been tempered by the trickier 2006 and 2007 vintages

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New Releases from Australia, Part 1

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2009

By now the Australian wine industry’s problems have been well documented

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Vinous Table: Alto New York

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Antonio Galloni, Jun 2009

This was my second great meal at Alto within a span of a few weeks. Executive Chef Michael White may be spending much of his time at the recently-opened Marea, but you would hardly know it by the quality of the food at Alto, which hasn’t slipped one bit.

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A Taste of Champagne at Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2009

This delicious dinner was a slight departure from the norm at Eleven Madison Park. From time to time the restaurant hosts intimate theme-oriented wine dinners. Executive Chef Daniel Humm prepares a menu designed to pair with the wines of a specific region. Diners bring bottles from their own cellars (with no corkage) to share with fellow guests. The atmosphere is fun and celebrative.

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1970s Night at Babbo, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2009

I owe special thanks to collector Bruce Fingeret for organizing this incredible dinner, which was built around a theme of wines from the 1970s. Thankfully the focus remained on the wines, and despite many threats, period music and video never made an appearance! Babbo proprietor Joe Bastianch and General Manager Colum Sheehan designed a menu that paired beautifully with these gorgeous wines.

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Summertime Drinking: Exploring Italy’s Finest Rosés

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2009

Rosé continues to be one of the fastest-growing categories of wine in Italy. The best wines are delicious, pair well with a variety of foods and typically offer outstanding quality for the money.

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2004 Brunello di Montalcino: A Vintage Full of Surprises

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2009

The much-anticipated 2004 Brunellos are now in the market and the moment of truth has arrived. Do the wines justify the hype or not? Like all things that involve Brunello di Montalcino, the answer is not a simple one. My first impression of the wines from bottle was not particularly positive as I encountered a number of disappointing wines from well-known producers. Then an interesting thing happened. I tasted Brunello after Brunello from lesser-known properties that were in many cases outstanding.

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Jackson Hole Wine Auction Charity Dinner at Alto

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Antonio Galloni, May 2009

This magnificent dinner at Alto was held to benefit the Jackson Hole Wine Auction. Chef Michael White prepared an extraordinary menu to match a selection of wines pulled from my cellar and that of the winner of this lot, collector David Stout. The focus was on Friuli, Piedmont and Veneto. Not bad. Among the guests were several prominent Philadelphia restaurateurs, including the irrepressible, boisterous Mark Vetri who I had the privilege of sitting next to. A great time was had by all.

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Elio Altare: A Retrospective of Larigi 1985-2008

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2009

Although Elio Altare is best known for the superb Barolos he crafts from the Arborina and Brunate vineyards, his entire range is among the most consistently brilliant in Italy. This truly once in a lifetime retrospective tasting traced the development of Altare’s Vigna Larigi, an old-vine Barbera made from a tiny one-hectare plot on the Arborina hillside. For the occasion Altare opened every vintage of Larigi from 1985 to 2006 - with the exception of the 1983 and 1984, which could not be located – a rare event by any measure, most importantly because Altare himself had never tasted so many vintages of the wine in one sitting.

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The Champagnes of André Beaufort

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, May 2009

Jacques Beaufort makes some of the most pure, unadulterated and highly singular Champagnes readers are likely to come across. Beaufort is based in Ambonnay a village justly famous the high-class Pinot Noir that informs his wines with such eloquence. In addition to four hectares in Ambonnay, Beaufort also owns 14 hectares in Polisy, in the Aube.

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The Top Clarets of 2006

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2009

Even though I had heard from a number of chateau owners and other Bordeaux insiders that the 2008 vintage was a lot better than early reports had indicated, it was hard to work up much enthusiasm to play the Bordeaux game and taste six-month-old wines from a vintage unlikely to attract much futures interest

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Focus on Oregon Pinot Noir

IWC

Josh Raynolds, May 2009

Comparisons between Oregon and Burgundy have never been more apt than with the 2007 vintage, and that’s not necessarily a good thing

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Bordeaux '08: Far Better Than Expected

IWC

Ian D'Agata, May 2009

Vintage 2008 in Bordeaux will long be remembered as one of the most pleasant surprises in decades for claret lovers.

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Focus on California's North Coast

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2009

With the superb 2007 growing season, California enjoyed yet another strong year, probably the most complete vintage since 2002 for the North Coast

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Produttori del Barbaresco: 1978-1996

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2009

Produttori del Barbaresco is one of the few estates in the world that continues to produce fine, age worthy wines at consumer-friendly prices. Although the Produttori’s Barbarescos - the Riservas in particular - age extremely well, until recently the wines haven’t been considered collectible. Because of their reasonable prices, most of the wines have long been drunk up by the estate’s loyal supporters, making older vintages nearly impossible to source, even in the secondary market. This tasting provided an extraordinary opportunity to get a progress report on 21of the estate’s single-vineyard Barbarescos.

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Vinous Table: Matbaren, Stockholm, Sweden

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2009

I am deeply indebted to readers for their suggestions on dining in Scandinavia. I had a number of delicious meals on my recent trip to Helsinki and Stockholm, but our dinner at Matbaren in Stockholm’s Grand Hôtel in particular stood out. In fact, this was easily one of the best meals I have had so far in 2009!

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Central & Southern Italy: A World Waiting to be Discovered

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2009

For many years discussions around fine Italian wines centered around Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello di Montalcino, the high-end Tuscan reds and Amarone. That was pretty much it, and for good reason, as most of what came out of the Center and South was undistinguished, to say the least. That is no longer the case. Recent years have seen an explosion in the number of high- quality wines from the Center and South. Take it from someone who tastes thousands of wines from Italy each and every year; today the best Taurasis, Aglianicos, Sagrantinos, Montepulcianos,

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Vinous Table: Bar Boulud, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2009

Bar Boulud, located across the street from Lincoln Center, has become one of my favorite restaurants in New York City. The food, wine and ambience are great, plus it’s an ideal spot to take young children, especially if you sit in one of the booths in the back of the restaurant.

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Vinous Table: L’Oste Scuro, Verona, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2009

L’Oste Scuro is a cozy restaurant located off a side-street in the historic center of Verona, a town that is notorious for its high prices and indifferent food targeted at the waves of tourists who descend upon the city nearly every day. Partly for those reasons, this was such a magnificent dinner. The food, wine and service were all top-notch. L’Oste Scuro is small, so reservations are essential.

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Vinous Table: Il Calandrino, Padova, Italy

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Antonio Galloni, Apr 2009

This impromptu lunch at Il Calandrino was a nice reward after several bruising days tasting Amarone from cask. Il Calandrino is the informal café that is part of Le Calandre, one of the few restaurants in Italy with three Michelin stars.

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Barolo 2005: Location, Location, Location

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2009

My late November trip to Piedmont was full of surprises. I encountered two massive snowstorms in the span of three days, the second of which forced me to abandon my car on the hills of La Morra! The roads were virtually desolate, and the sight of these pristine hillside vineyards covered in snow instilled a surreal sense of calm in my otherwise jam-packed schedule.

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La Paulée 2009 (Part 1)

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2009

La Paulée, Daniel Johnnes’ homage to Burgundy, kicked off with a phenomenal evening of food and wine at David Bouley’s Test Kitchen in Tribeca. The following day’s lunch at Daniel and the centerpiece Gala Dinner were equally monumental. This year the Paulée was especially cathartic. For a few magnificent days the world’s troubles were put on hold, and wine, food and friendship took center stage.

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La Paulée 2009 (Part 3)

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2009

The Gala Dinner was a fitting culmination to an extraordinary weekend of tastings and events dedicated to the glories of Burgundy. Guests were seated alongside winemakers at long, communal tables that paid homage to La Pauleé’s origins as an after-harvest celebration.

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La Paulée 2009 (Part 2)

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2009

The festivities at La Paulée continued with this superb lunch prepared by Daniel Boulud and his team of brilliant young chefs. All of the dishes were perfectly executed and utterly delicious. Anne-Claude Leflaive and sisters Marie-Andrée and Marie-Christine Mugneret offered an incredible selection of bottles from their own cellars.

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Vinous Table: Bellavitae, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Mar 2009

Proprietor Jon Mudder left the high-flying world of investment banking to open Bellavitae a few years ago. Based on what has transpired in global markets of late, it looks like his timing was brilliant.

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Vinous Table: Veritas, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2009

This recent dinner at Veritas was superb. Chef Grégory Pugin prepared an extraordinary menu that went from strength to strength. Before moving into the dining room we enjoyed a few appetizers at the bar, including the frog’s legs and steak tartare, which were brilliant.

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Vinous Table: The Modern, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2009

This was my first time eating at the Modern, the luxury restaurant in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. Before dinner my wife and I spent some time wandering through the museum’s galleries, something I highly recommend, as the MOMA’s collection is superb.

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The Best New Wines from Chile

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2009

One would be hard-pressed to name a country that is producing a wider range of serious wines in the under-$20 category than Chile, especially over the last five years

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2007 and 2006 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2009

After the last funny money in America was spent on the 2005 reds at ever-higher prices, Burgundy lovers have cut back dramatically on their purchases of 2006s, and all indications are that the 2007s will also languish on retailers’ shelves

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Focus on South Africa

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2009

Providing comprehensive coverage of South Africa’s best wines this winter was an adventure due to the instability of this category in the U

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Checking in on the 1998 Barolos

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2009

1998 has always been an interesting vintage for Barolo. Caught between the more hyped 1996 and 1997 on one end, and 2000 and 2001 on the other, the 1998s have often been overlooked. It also didn’t help that the wines were first released during a period global economic malaise. While 1998 is not a truly iconic, legendary vintage, these Barolos are great choices for medium-term drinking as a number of wines are entering their early maturity, making them great choices for readers who are cellaring wines from Piedmont’s sturdier vintages such as 1996, 1999 and 2001.

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Vinous Table: Del Posto, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2009

This was another great dinner at Del Posto. The central theme of the evening was comparing different disgorgements of several iconic Champagnes, although a number of other monumental wines were thrown in for good measure. As always, it was an enriching experience to share these bottles with friends who brought so much sheer passion to the conversation.

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Simply…..Dom Pérignon

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2009

When I was a child my father gave his best customers bottles of Dom Pérignon as a holiday gift. From an early age, to me Dom Pérignon was virtually synonymous with fine Champagne. I imagine many people feel the same way, as Moët et Chandon has done a remarkable job in building Dom Pérignon’s prestige around the globe. While some of the large production Champagnes often give emphasis to style over substance, there can be no denying that at its best Dom Pérignon is more than just a brand.

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Gems from Tuscany’s Spectacular 2006 Vintage

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2009

I continue to be impressed with the consistently stunning 2006s from Tuscany. Most of the entry-level wines have been on the market for some time, and as I have written on this site, the vintage offers incredible quality from top to bottom in all of the region’s main appellations. Over the coming months many of the high-end bottlings will be arriving on retailers’s shelves. The best of these wines offer breathtaking richness in a style that marries ripeness with structure to a degree that has seldom, if ever, been seen in Tuscany. Although 2006 is very strong across the board, I couldn’t help notice that Maremma in particular was graced with a number of simply profound wines that readers won’t want to miss out on.

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The 1996 Champagnes Revisited

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2009

1996 remains one of the great modern-day vintages for Champagne. The wines possess a combination of bright acidity and high sugars that is extremely rare. The best 1996 Champagnes are bold, racy and exuberant, in both absolute and relative terms, something that has also come across in numerous recent tastings, including verticals of Dom Pérignon, Cristal, Krug and Dom Ruinart. For all of these houses 1996 is one of the more powerful, extroverted vintages of the last 15 or so years.

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A Survey of Cristal: 1979-2002

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2009

Cristal, first created in 1876 for Tsar Alexander II of Russia, is one of the most iconic wines of Champagne. Sometimes lost in the glamorous image the wine has acquired over its long history is the fact that Cristal also happens to be a serious Champagne that is capable of aging extraordinarily well. I recently sat down with Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon to survey a collection of vintages. The wines were grouped in pairs meant to represent Cristal in three distinct stages; mature, peak and young. This was an incredible opportunity to compare some of the legendary Cristals side by side, and to revisit a few personal favorites, like the 1979, which was one of the standouts in a recent horizontal tasting that included nearly all of that vintage’s top wines.

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Joel Payne on Germany 2007

IWC

Joel B. Payne, Jan 2009

After two short crops that were quite different in character, 2007 brought producers in Germany both quality and volume.

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The Best New Wines from Argentina

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2009

In the ten months ending in October of 2008, the total dollar value of wine shipped by the top ten wine-exporting countries to the U

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2007 and 2006 Rhone Valley Wines

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2009

The 2007 vintage in the southern Rhône has been the subject of intense scrutiny and sometimes overheated rhetoric virtually since the grapes landed in the presses.

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A Holiday Lunch

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Antonio Galloni, Dec 2008

Sometimes simpler is better, as was the case with this holiday lunch. The 2000 Dom Pérignon was absolutely delicious as it hovered on the palate in fresh, sensual style.

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2nd Annual Barolo and White Truffle Charity Dinner

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2008

Following on the heels of last year’s event, the 2008 Barolo and White Truffle Charity Dinner, held on December 1, 2008, was another success. The dinner raised over $40,000 to benefit the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation, an organization that supports medical research for this rare and debilitating brittle-bone disease.

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Vinous Table: Eleven Madison Park, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Dec 2008

Eleven Madison Park has become one of my favorite restaurants in New York, as just about every meal I have had here has been absolutely brilliant. This was no exception. We opted for the Late Fall Tasting Menu, which was superb. Among the dishes that were especially notable were the Diver Scallop, Nova Scotia Lobster and Black Angus Beef.

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Vinous Table: Esca, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Dec 2008

Readers will have a very hard time finding better fish and seafood than at Esca, located in mid-town Manhattan. I have eaten at Esca many times, but each time I leave wondering why so much time has passed between visits, as the food is never anything less than outstanding.

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1967 Piedmont….and White Truffles

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2008

A simple, casual dinner with friends provided a great opportunity to check in on a few wines from Piedmont’s 1967 vintage. We were fortunate, as all of these wines were terrific. If well-stored, the 1967s can still keep and drink well for at least a few more years although the potential for further development seems exhausted at this point.

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New Releases from Champagne

Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2008

My November trip to Champagne was fascinating, as I visited a number of properties and tasted an extraordinary range of wines. Readers will find a dazzling variety of Champagnes on the market, from outstanding non-vintage releases all the way up to the rarest, most prized trophy wines and everything in between. In general, producers were upbeat about the recently concluded 2008 harvest, although the slowdown in the global economy was a subject of much discussion, especially given the proposed expansion of the region to include a number of new villages. It remains to be seen how much demand, and therefore prices, are affected by the current synchronized global economic slowdown countries around the world are grappling with.

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Antinori: Tignanello and Solaia Revisited

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2008

My recent visit to Antinori’s Tignanello property in Chianti Classico provided an object lesson in the challenges of understanding the complexities and nuances of Tuscan terroir, something that can be extrapolated to many other regions within Italy as well. I saw vineyards where the two major terrains in these hills, galestro and alberese, alternated in groups of three to four rows within the very same plot. As a result, vines that were separated by no more than a few meters were at slightly different points in their vegetative cycles, meaning that work in the vineyards must literally proceed on a row by row, and sometimes, plant by plant basis.

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Valdicava: Brunello di Montalcino 1988-2004

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2008

Valdicava makes some of most intense, richly-flavored Brunellos coming out of Montalcino today. Proprietor Vincenzo Abbruzzese speaks in a surprisingly soft-spoken voice, but his lively sense of humor hints at the extroverted style of his wines. The Valdicava Brunellos have at times been controversial because of their massive concentration, but as this vertical attests, the only thing these wines need is time. To be sure, Abbruzzese favors small yields and his newest vineyards are planted to very high densities, but the wines are aged in cask and ultimately represent an intriguing intersection between traditional and modern styles. Valdicava releases two Brunellos; a normal bottling, and the single-vineyard Riserva Madonna del Piano.

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Vinous Table: Asiate, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Nov 2008

Asiate is one of the most dramatic dining rooms in New York City. Perched on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the Time-Warner Center, the restaurant offers incredible views of the surrounding neighborhoods.

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Focus on the Central Coast

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2008

My September tour of the Central Coast offered me the opportunity to taste a number of elegant 2006 releases and, perhaps of even greater interest, some outstanding 2007 barrel samples

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Alsace 2007 and 2006

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2008

At its finest, Alsace is all about juicy, pure white wines with intense fruit flavors, bright acidity, and—in the case of wines from Alsace’s grand crus and next-best sites—complex underlying soil tones

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New Vintage Champagne Releases

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2008

Champagne lovers are in for some serious sticker shock in the coming months, as a quick glance at these notes will attest

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New Releases from Washington State

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2008

At a time when some of Washington’s most thoughtful winemakers are considering how they might make ripe, satisfying wines at lower alcohol levels, recent vintages have brought a return to more normal conditions following the 2003-2005 trio of very warm years

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Austria 2007: Light, Fresh and Classic

IWC

Peter Moser, Nov 2008

After a vintage like 2006, which brought so many potent white wines, wine lovers should be pleased about the moderate alcohol content, vibrant acidity and elegant fruit of the 2007s.

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Vinous Table: Bar Boulud, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2008

This was my first dinner at Bar Boulud, Daniel Boulud’s new winebar located right across the street from Lincoln Center. The casual, bustling Bar Boulud serves rich bistro fare with an emphasis on traditional French comfort foods such as charcuterie and steak frites.

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In Appreciation of Madeira

Rest of the World

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2008

“I am sorry, but I hope you understand that we can only taste a few wines from the 1700s and 1800s,” says Richard Hales as he escorts me into the tasting room. Right. That’s how most of my tastings usually begin. Hales is the Wine Director of Asiate, the restaurant in New York’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and a longtime veteran of the company. Hales has prepared an incredible assortment of rare Madeiras for us to taste, many of them recent auction purchases. Few, if any, wines are as evocative as Madeiras, as it is nearly impossible not to wonder what was taking place in the world when they were being made. Readers who enjoy the complexity of fine, aged wines will find much to admire in these sublime, compelling Madeiras.

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Dom Ruinart at Cru, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Oct 2008

I have been to Cru twice in the last few months, and have enjoyed terrific meals both times. This dinner was quite special as it featured a large number of Ruinart Champagnes paired with the brilliant cuisine of Chef Shea Gallante. All of the dishes worked beautifully with the food.

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New Releases from Piedmont

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2008

2005 is a fascinating vintage in Barbaresco for many reasons. First, and foremost is the simple fact that a generation ago 2005 would have likely been a lost vintage. Much has often been made of how technical advances have improved winemaking over the years.

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The Best of Northern Italy

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2008

This year the most exciting wines I tasted were those of Veneto. The 2004 Amarones have turned out splendidly. The wines show many of the same qualities that define the best wines from Piedmont and Tuscany in this vintage; namely well articulated aromas, clean, focused fruit and finessed tannins. Readers who prefer a more opulent style of Amarone will want to consider the 2003s, although quality is less consistent and many wines possesses noticeably less finesse, particularly in the tannins. I was also very pleased with the 2007 Soaves and found numerous sweet wines well worth purchasing. I can think of few better ways to begin a meal with a glass of Prosecco, and most of those wines are reviewed in Issus 178. Overall Veneto remains an under- appreciated region, especially in the US.

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Vinous Table: Ristorante Cracco, Milan, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2008

I generally avoid super-luxurious restaurants in Italy as my experience is that simpler is better in a country where the richness of raw ingredients is among the finest in the world. Ristorante Cracco is an exception.

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New Releases from Australia, Part 2

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2008

At this point I’m beginning to feel—and probably sound—like a broken record, but the message just doesn’t seem to be getting out that stereotyping “Australian wine” is as ridiculous as referring to “European wine

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The Best New Wines from Spain, Part 2

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2008

Our second installment of new Spanish releases, like last issue’s coverage, is chock full of remarkable bargains at all price points

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2007 and 2006 White Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2008

It is tempting to say that white Burgundy prices, like those of several other expensive categories of wine, are at unsustainably high levels today

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New Zealand Sauvignon and Pinot

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2008

I tried far more New Zealand sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs this summer than ever before, but in the warm months the assignment of tasting these vibrant, fruit-driven, cool-climate wines can never be a hardship

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Piedmont’s Legendary 1978 Barolos and Barbarescos Redux

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2008

1978 in Piedmont remains one of the most historic vintages in the world the world of fine, collectible wine. Even today, at thirty years of age, well-preserved bottles remain positively youthful, with plenty of life ahead of them. Yet virtually no one could have ever imagined the harvest would turn out as it eventually did. An irregular bud break that year acted as nature’s version of a green harvest. The plants carried very little fruit into a summer that was especially cool, even by the standards of the time. Needless to say, early prospects were not encouraging. Then, miraculously, the region saw a month of intense, uninterrupted sunshine and heat beginning in early September that allowed the fruit to ripen perfectly.

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Discovering Italy’s Finest Wine Values

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2008

Preparing the Best Values issue is always something I look forward to with much excitement. In fact, I get much more satisfaction and pleasure from finding a great budget-priced wine than I do tasting a high-flying wine from one of Italy’s famous regions.

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Vinous Table: Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2008

This was another stupendous dinner at Eleven Madison Park, which has quickly become one of my favorite spots in the city. Every meal I have had recently has been superb.

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Vinous Table: Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2008

This was another stupendous dinner at Eleven Madison Park, which has quickly become one of my favorite spots in the city. Every meal I have had recently has been superb.

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Bruce’s 50th Birthday Bash

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2008

This incredible dinner, hosted by collector Bruce Fingeret to celebrate his 50th birthday, was one of the most amazing nights I have been a part of. All of the food was catered by Grissini, a small family-owned restaurant that did a great job keeping us well fed throughout the night with an array of delicious and pure dishes that worked perfectly with our wines.

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Vinous Table: Otto, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2008

Owners Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich opened Otto, their pizzeria/wine bar several years ago and have never looked back. Not surprisingly in these tough economic times, Otto is almost always packed. Diners come for the pizza, pasta and Italian charcuterie that are the house specialties.

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Soldera: Brunello di Montalcino 1977-2000

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2008

Gianfranco Soldera is without question Montalcino’s most iconic producer. At their best, his Brunellos are monumental examples of the heights Sangiovese can reach in Montalcino. Soldera is a man with an incredible culture of wine. He is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met when it comes to the great traditionally made Barolos and Barbarescos of Piedmont. These wines are among his deepest passions and clearly his own wines share many attributes with them.

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Poggio Scalette: Il Carbonaione 1992-2007

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2008

Poggio Scalette is a tiny, family-run property located in the hills of Greve right next to neighbors Querciabella. The estate is run by father and son team Vittorio and Jurij Fiore. Vittorio is most well-known as consulting oenologist for a number of top wineries, including Costanti and Il Carnasciale, while Jurij oversees day to day work at Poggio Scalette itself. The hillside vineyards are located at about 500 meters in altitude, which is ideal for making elegant, finessed wines that are capable of aging.

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New Releases from Australia, Part 1

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2008

The diversity of climate and geography in Australia’s wine regions, and its producers’ mastery of a vast range of varieties, are unmatched in the New World, but you’d hardly know it from talking to most wine drinkers in the U

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2007 and 2006 Chablis

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2008

First things first: the miserable summer of 2007 was much harder on red grapes in Bordeaux than it was on chardonnay in Burgundy

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2003 Brunello di Montalcino

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2008

This year, there’s more Brunello action off the field than on it, and wine fanatics have been glued to the Internet to follow the activity in recent weeks

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The Best New Wines from Spain, Part 1

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2008

Despite the anemic U

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2007 and 2005 Sauternes and Barsacs

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2008

If 2007 was a challenging growing season for making red wine in Bordeaux, the region’s white wines—dry and sweet—are another matter entirely

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The Best Wines of Southern Italy

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Jul 2008

Southern Italy, that portion of the country south of Lazio, where Rome is found, is one of the most dynamic wine- producing areas of the world today.

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Vinous Table: Bar Boulud, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Jun 2008

Café Boulud is Daniel Boulud’s version of a neighborhood restaurant, although the New York incarnation reflects its surroundings in the fashionable Upper East Side. The ambience and service are slightly less formal than at the flagship Daniel but the food and wine are equally brilliant. This early summer dinner was fantastic. With the exception of an overcooked risotto, all of the dishes were flawless. The two tartares were not only delicious and vibrant, but also very attractively presented.

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Tuscany: The Best of 2005 and 2006

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2008

Tuscany is a region of great contrasts that at its best is capable of producing an extraordinary range of wines. A few years ago I would have thought it unthinkable, but the simple fact is that many of the finest Tuscan wines are being made in Chianti Classico. The region once so maligned (and rightly so) for its mediocre, weedy, acidic wines is today home to some of Italy’s most exciting bottlings.

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Thirty Years of Vietti: Barolo Rocche 1974-2004

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2008

A simple, informal dinner at Becco, in New York City’s theater district, provided an incredible opportunity to survey a broad range of vintages of Vietti’s Barolo Rocche. Vietti is one of Barolo’s historic properties. Husband and wife team Alfredo Currado and Luciana Vietti were pioneers in the 1960s. They were among the first producers to recognize the unique qualities of their vineyards, many of which are among the finest in the region, even today.

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Vinous Table: La Ciau del Tornavento, Trieste, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, May 2008

La Ciau del Tornavento is one of Piedmont’s most dramatic dining rooms. Set in the hills of Treiso, in the heart of the Barbaresco zone, La Ciau offers spectacular views of these gorgeous vineyards through large sliding glass doors which are left open when weather permits. The tables are spaced far apart, which adds to the feeling of calmness and serenity.

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Vinous Table: Noble's Restaurant, North Carolina

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Antonio Galloni, May 2008

This incredible dinner was organized by Wine Advocate subscriber Kelly Walker as part of Charlotte Wine and Food Weekend, a bi-annual event that raises money for several local charities. Having spent much of my childhood in this part of US, it was great to get a dose of old-fashioned southern hospitality.

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Vinous Table: L’Aquila d’Oro, Dolegna Del Collio, Italy

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Antonio Galloni, May 2008

I admit to having a special fondness for L’Aquila d’Oro as this is where I had my wedding reception a few years ago. The restaurant is located in the Castello di Trussio, which sits on a picturesque hillside in the Ruttars district of the Collio.

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Focus on California's North Coast

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2008

Around 2020, some very lucky collectors are going to have the time of their wine-loving lives carrying out blind tastings of 2005 Napa cabernets

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2007, 2006 and 2005 Bordeaux

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2008

I can assure you that your correspondent traveled to Bordeaux with his usual open mind to taste the 2007s in late March and early April.

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Focus on Oregon Pinot Noir

IWC

Josh Raynolds, May 2008

There is already considerable buzz in some quarters about the 2006 pinot noirs from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, but while I tasted many outstanding wines from this vintage, my feeling is that ‘06 will be a year that delivers its charms early

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Vinous Table: Babbo, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2008

I always look forward to dinner at Babbo, one of New York’s top destinations for great food and wine. The plan was to focus on wines from the great 1980s vintages; 1982, 1985 and 1989. Along the way we added a few wines to round things out.

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Vinous Table: Al Cacciatore - La Subida, Friulu, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2008

I can’t imagine visiting Friuli and not having a meal at Al Cacciatore, known by everyone simply as La Subida. This comfortable, rustic restaurant is perched atop the picturesque, undulating hills of Cormons, in the prestigious Collio.

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Vinous Table: Asiate, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2008

This was my first dinner at Asiate, the restaurant located in New York’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. We were seated in a corner table that provided spectacular views of Central Park West as late afternoon melded into night. The tasting menu created by Chef Toni Robertson to match our wines was fantastic.

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Montalcino: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2008

No other region in Italy is as full of contrasts as Montalcino. These gorgeous, rolling hills south of Siena are home to a variety of diverse microclimates capable of yielding expressions of Sangiovese that at their best are among the most unique wines being made anywhere. The producers' consortium, the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, aided by the marketing savvy of the region’s largest estates, has succeeded in creating an upscale image for the region in a very short time.

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Soldera Brunellos and 1979 Champagnes at Alto, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2008

This amazing dinner was built around two themes: the Brunellos of Gianfranco Soldera and a retrospective of the 1979 vintage in Champagne. I am not quite sure how these two groups of wines came together at the same dinner, but the combination worked.

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Il Poggione: Brunello di Montalcino 1967-2001

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2008

Il Poggione is one of Montalcino’s historic wineries. The estate, which is owned by the Franceschi family, traces its lineage back over 100 years. Leopoldo Franceschi was one of the founders of the Brunello producers’ consortium, the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, and also served as its first president. Today the Il Poggione is run by Franceschi’s grandson, also named Leopoldo.

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Vinous Table: Le Dune, Friuli

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Antonio Galloni, Apr 2008

Le Dune is not the kind of place readers visiting Friuli are likely to happen upon by chance. The restaurant is tucked off a small road in the sleepy rural town of Mariano del Friuli and is very easy to miss.

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La Paulée de San Francisco

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2008

Once again, the unflappable Daniel Johnnes put on what is probably the single greatest tasting and dinner of fine Burgundies in the world. This year’s event was held at the Westin Hotel in San Francisco.

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Dinner at Home

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2008

My March trip to Napa Valley was fantastic. I visited several estates and attended La Paulée in San Francisco. Although I had a number of terrific meals, none gave me more pleasure than the dinners I enjoyed at the gorgeous St. Helena home of dear friends. For the sake of simplicity both dinners are listed below.

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Vinous Table: The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CA

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2008

Meadowood is the posh resort located just off the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley. We arrived for dinner just as the sun was setting but did manage to get a few glimpses of the stunning property. The Restaurant at Meadowood had been closed for over three years, but was recently re-opened to much acclaim.

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Vinous Table: Eleven Madison Park, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2008

Eleven Madison Park had been on my list of places to visit for a while, yet for some reason I had never managed to eat there until fairly recently. What was originally intended as a casual, leisurely lunch unexpectedly turned into one of the greatest meals I have had in a long time. A second dinner a few weeks later was equally brilliant.

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The Best New Wines from Chile

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2008

While Chile continues to be a very good source of wine values, prices are no longer as consistently attractive at the low end as they were the last time the IWC published coverage of this category, two years ago

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2006 and 2005 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2008

These are the best of times and the worst of times for American lovers of red Burgundy

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The Best Whites from Italy's Northeast

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2008

At their best, the white wines of northeast Italy are world-class, on a par with Barolos, Barbarescos and Brunello di Montalcinos, and the outstanding 2006 vintage showcases these whites at the top of their game.

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The Best of Central and Southern Italy

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2008

The regions of central and southern Italy offer consumers an incredibly wide panorama of wines that cover a veritable kaleidoscope of grape varieties and styles. As outstanding as the top wines are, I must caution readers that overall quality is highly irregular, even within the portfolios of the better producers. This is one critical element that separates the center and south, as opposed to regions likes Tuscany and Piedmont, where as a general rule producers are much more consistent. The good news is that the wines of the center and south remain very reasonably priced. These wines are unlikely to attract the feverish, sometimes speculative, interest of recent Tuscan and Piedmontese vintages, and therefore remain wines for the true consumer who intends to actually drink the wines.

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Vinous Table: Daniel, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Feb 2008

Even though Daniel Boulud is a rock star global celebrity chef with a number of restaurants in New York, not to mention newer projects throughout the US and soon China, Restaurant Daniel remains his home base.

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Vinous Table: Alto, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Feb 2008

I have enjoyed a number of delicious meals at Alto recently. The cuisine seems to have reached a more inspired level since Executive Chef Michael White arrived a few months back. The extensive wine list is overseen by Wine Director Eric Zillier and offers a broad array of choices.

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Vinous Table: Esca, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2008

Esca, located in Manhattan’s theater district, is one of New York’s top fish and seafood restaurants. Chef David Pasternak is an absolute maestro when it comes to preparing the finest local purveyors have to offer. The cooking is brilliant, but never overwhelms the purity and sheer quality of the raw materials.

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Festa di Barolo

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Antonio Galloni, Jan 2008

I often find the best way to enjoy fine older wines is at home, where the more relaxed pace allows for re-visiting wines over the course of an evening, something that is much harder to do in a more formal restaurant setting.

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2006 and 2005 Rhone Valley Wines

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2008

If the scores assigned to a majority of wines in this article seem particularly high to long-time IWC readers, there’s a reason.

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Focus on Argentina

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2008

According to U

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Germany 2006: An Unusual Auslese Year

IWC

Joel B. Payne, Jan 2008

If 2005 in this part of the wine world was uneven in quality from region to region and estate to estate, 2006 was even more so.

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A Holiday White Truffle Lunch

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni,

This leisurely BYOB lunch at Del Posto Ristorante in New York City was a great way to spend the better part of a Sunday just before the rush of the December holiday season kicked in to high gear.

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A First Look at the 2004 Barolos

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2007

My November trip to Piedmont was one of the most eventful in recent memory. It seemed like every day brought with it an important piece of news, ranging from the possible sale of one of the region’s historic estates, to reports of a second winery caught in a bitter power struggle among families, to the locals’ displeasure over the construction of an imposing new luxury hotel many view as an eyesore among these generally bucolic landscapes. Several landmark restaurants will be closing, changing ownership and/or relocating at the end of the year.

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Vinous Table: Guido da Costigliole, San Maurizio, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2007

Alciati is without question the most celebrated name in Piedmontese cuisine. For decades Guido Alciati, his wife Lidia and their family ran Guido, the landmark restaurant in Costigliole d’Asti. Guido attracted diners from all over the world for Lidia’s sublime cooking and Guido’s legendary wine list. Upon Guido’s passing some years ago, his sons Pietro and Andrea went their separate ways. Pietro opened his version of Guido in the beautiful gastronomical complex in Pollenzo, which is worth a visit just to see the grounds. Unfortunately I have had mixed experiences both times I have eaten there.

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The HANY Charity Dinner

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Antonio Galloni, Nov 2007

This annual BYOB dinner held to benefit the New York Hemophilia Association has to be one world’s premier food and wine events. We enjoyed breathtaking array of the world’s greatest wines, many of them from large formats.

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Dinner with Friends

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2007

The highlight of this evening was a massive white truffle sourced from one of New York’s finest restaurants. Its very presence could be sensed by the profound aromatics that wafted throughout the dining room as we indulged in a delicious antipasto of meats, cheeses and roasted vegetables.

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Granbussia Through the Decades: 1974-2001

Italy

, Nov 2007

Aldo Conterno’s Barolo Riserva Granbussia has long been one of Piedmont’s icon wines so it was with great pleasure that I sat down recently with brothers Franco and Giacomo Conterno to survey seven vintages of their top Barolo. Needless to say, the opportunity to taste these wines from impeccably stored bottles was an enormous privilege and made for a very enjoyable afternoon.

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New Releases from Washington State

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2007

While Washington’s 2007 crop of wines will be covered in depth over the next year or three, it’s not too early to say that this vintage will be tricky in spots, due to rainy, cooler weather during the latter half of the harvest, which may have affected the later-ripening cabernet

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First Annual Nebbiolo and White Truffle Charity Dinner

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2007

The First Annual Nebbiolo and White Truffle Charity Dinner was held on November 14, 2007 at Del Posto Ristorante in New York City. All proceeds were donated to Tomorrows Children’s Fund, a New Jersey-based organization that offers a variety of programs to help children with cancer and rare blood disorders.

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Focus on Barolo and Barbaresco

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2007

My tour of Italy’s beautiful Piedmont region in mid-September took place against a backdrop of dry, warm weather and cool nights—ideal late summer weather for barbera and nebbiolo

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Focus on the Central Coast

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2007

Vintage 2005 provides the perfect opportunity for exploring the diverse terroir expressions of California’s Central Coast, as conditions up and down that vast region were placid and essentially problem-free

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New Vintage Champagnes

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2007

Hard numbers say that Champagne is more popular in the United States than ever before, with over 23 million bottles imported in 2006—up 12% from the previous year

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Austria '06: The Year of Gruner Veltliner

IWC

Peter Moser, Nov 2007

Austria’s 2006 vintage frequently brought quite powerful white wines, particularly in Lower Austria (Niederösterreich).

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Vinous Table: Babbo, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2007

I know its going to be a serious night of eating and drinking when my long-time tasting group convenes for one of our dinners. Proprietor Joe Bastianich and his team put together a wonderful menu to match our wines.

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Exploring the Best of Northern Italy

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2007

This article covers the new releases from Northern Italy. The introduction includes insight into the main regions: Friuli, Veneto Trentino, Alto Adige, Lombardy and Valle d’Aosta.

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Piedmont Report

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2007

After a series of poor 2002s and uneven 2003s Barbaresco bounces back with its stunning 2004s. It is a vintage that happily coincides with a growing maturity and seriousness among producers. The most striking developments taking place in Piedmont are a return to larger barrels for aging, a reduction in toast levels and a generally more refined style of winemaking all of which are very much in evidence in the 2004s.

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Vinous Table: Lunch with Friends

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2007

A gorgeous sunny Sunday in rural New Jersey provided the backdrop for this relaxing, leisurely lunch. Highlights included the polenta with shrimp and spicy tomato sauce and perfectly grilled veal chops, one of my favorite dishes.

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Brunello di Montalcino: The 2001 Riservas

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2007

The 2001 vintage in Montalcino continues to provide a number of superb wines. The best Brunello Riservas have expressive aromatics, vibrant, ripe fruit, sweet tannins and the ability to continue to improve with bottle age. Readers will also find a number of wines that offer rewarding drinking today. Of course Montalcino is home to an extraordinarily diverse variety of terroirs, microclimates and winemaking styles, all of which are reflected in the wines.

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Massolino: A Journey Through Vigna Rionda 1982 - 2001

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2007

Franco and Roberto Massolino put together a remarkable tasting when I visited their small estate in Serralunga earlier this year. Massolino makes a number of outstanding wines but their flagship Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda is particularly noteworthy. All 14 vintages of the Rionda were represented, including the legendary Barolo vintages of the last 20 years – 1982, 1985, 1989 and 1990 – as well as the more recent wines from the 1990s.

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Vinous Table: Al Cacciatore - La Subida, Friuli, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2007

No trip to Friuli is complete without a visit to Al Cacciatore. Proprietors Joško and Loredana Sirk offer a refined version of country-style cooking in their homey, old-fashioned trattoria. Located in the hills of Cormons, Al Cacciatore reflects everything that is fascinating about this region so steeped in the traditions of multiple cultures.

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Vinous Table: Al Campiello, Friuli

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Antonio Galloni, Sep 2007

Al Campiello is one of my favorite places to eat in Friuli. The restaurant is located in the hotel of the same name right off the main road that connects Gorizia and Udine. Owner Dario Macorig runs the dining room with extraordinary passion and energy.

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The Best New Wines from Spain, Part 2

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2007

As my tasting notes in this issue illustrate, there are myriad Spanish wines for under $12—even under $8—that deliver vibrant fruit, impressive balance, and often startling complexity compared to similarly priced wines from anywhere else

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2006 and 2005 White Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2007

If there are any global warming deniers left, they are not generally to be found in the wine-producing regions of Europe

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New Zealand Pinot and Sauvignon

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2007

While Josh Raynolds was slogging his way through a couple thousand Australian and Spanish wines this summer, many of them with alcohol levels of 15% or more, I was enjoying a cool dip in the pool of New Zealand sauvignon blanc and pinot noir

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New Releases from Australia, Part 2

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2007

A recent two-week trip to Victoria made palpable to me what I’ve been saying in these pages for the past couple of years: Australia is one of the world’s most diverse wine-growing countries

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Jackson Hole Wine Auction Charity Dinner at Daniel

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2007

This fantastic dinner at Daniel was auctioned at the Jackson Hole Wine Auction. The generous and passionate wine lovers who purchased the dinner recently convened in New York to enjoy a breathtaking collection of lovingly-cared for wines provided by Robert Parker paired with the extraordinary cooking of Chef Daniel Boulud. Daniel Johnnes and his team of sommeliers made sure the wines were served with the utmost care.

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Vinous Table: Bellavitae, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Aug 2007

Bellavitae has become one of my favorite informal places to eat in New York. Located in the West Village, Bellavitae serves simple, homestyle cuisine with an emphasis on using the finest raw materials.

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Vinous Table: Locanda nel Borgo Antico, Barolo, Italy

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Antonio Galloni, Aug 2007

La Locanda del Borgo Antico is one of my favorite restaurants in Piedmont for a great all-around dining experience. The new Locanda, which relocated a few years ago, is set among the vineyards that straddle Barolo and Monforte.

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Cavallotto: The Re-Emergence of One of Barolo’s Historic Estates

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2007

Time has always marched to a different beat at Cavallotto. One of the things I enjoy most about visiting this property is the absolute calm and relaxed pace here. Cavallotto remains somewhat of an anomaly in Piedmont. Up until recently the estate was off the radar screens of all but the most devout Barolo aficionados. The 1990s boom seemed to have passed this winery by. I remember seeing plenty of 1996 and 1997 Barolos still available for sale a few years ago, including a significant number of large format bottles, long after those vintages had disappeared from other producers’ cellars. Perhaps that is because Cavallotto releases their flagship Riservas later than what has become the norm these days.

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Alsace's 2005 Vintage

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2007

Alsace did not enjoy most-favored region status during France’s beautiful summer of 2005, but this continental corner of northeastern France benefited significantly from Indian summer conditions in the middle of October

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Ian D'’Agata on Chianti, Carmignano and Montepulciano

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Jul 2007

If noted gourmand Hannibal Lecter, in “The Silence of the Lambs,” singles out Chianti, rather than Bordeaux, Burgundy or, for that matter, Santa Barbara pinot noir, he has good reason: quite simply, this part of Tuscany is one of the world’s most beautiful viticultural areas and its best wines are among the finest made anywhere.

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2006 and 2005 Chablis

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2007

While global warming and associated climate changes represent a serious threat to already-warm growing regions like inland sections of California and much of the southern rim of Europe, marginal areas in which vines historically struggled to ripen their fruit appear for the moment to be benefiting

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New Releases from Australia, Part 1

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2007

At the risk of giving a creepy Groundhog Day vibe, I must say, yet again, that wine lovers whose view of Australia is based on limited personal experience and the uninformed opinions of others—and who think that this vast continent’s wines are all outsized, grotesquely alcoholic reds—are really missing out

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The Best New Wines from Spain, Part 1

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2007

During the first half of my tastings of new Spanish releases this year, I was impressed once again by the often surreal values available on the U

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Vinous Table: L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at The Four Seasons, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2007

My wife and I recently enjoyed a spectacular dinner at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon located in the Four Seasons Hotel in New York. We ordered the tasting menu, which consisted of a series of small tasting portions that allowed us to sample a broad range of dishes, all of which were superb.

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Vinous Table: La Pizza Fresca Ristorante, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Jun 2007

La Pizza Fresca is one of my favorite places to go in New York for a simple, casual meal. Although the atmosphere is informal the food is prepared with the highest-quality ingredients and is always delicious.

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Central Tuscany 2003 and 2004: A Tale of Two Vintages


Italy

Antonio Galloni, June 2007

Readers are sure to enjoy exploring new releases from the 2003 and 2004 vintages in Central Tuscany. Although they could not be more different in terms of their personalities, 2003 and 2004 have yielded a large number of exciting wines. In 2003 Tuscany, like the rest of Europe, suffered through a heat wave the likes of which was virtually unprecedented. The effects of the scorching heat were exacerbated by near drought-like conditions. Over the last few years, however, producers have learned to better cope with such weather, meaning that the vintage has yielded some gems even if overall quality is irregular.

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A Conversation with Domenico Clerico

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2007

Few producers’ wines have given me as much pleasure over the years as those of Domenico Clerico. Based in Monforte, Clerico has been turning out spectacular Barolos since the mid-1980s. I find a spirituality and character in these wines that puts them in a class with few peers. Although a visit to Clerico’s cellar is always at the top of my list of things to do when I visit Piedmont, on this evening we sat down at La Pizza Fresca in New York’s Flatiron District. I brought bottles of the1989 and 1990 Ciabot Mentin Ginestra that we tasted over several hours. Clerico is one of Piedmont’s most passionate vignerons and is blessed with a talent for telling a good story. As expected, the conversation was lively and punctuated by a healthy dose of humor.

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Podere Il Carnasciale: Il Caberlot 1988-2004

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2007

On a cold fall day I made my way up into the hills above Mercatale Valdarno in search of Podere Il Carnasciale. The unpaved winding roads pass through the adjacent Petrolo estate in this very rugged corner of the Tuscan landscape rich in forests. I followed my hand-written directions diligently and when I saw the small house at the end of the road I knew I had arrived. I was greeted by owner Bettina Rogosky and oenologist Peter Schilling, both of whom seemed relieved I had actually made it.

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Focus on California's North Coast

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2007

Just when it seemed that our planet was hurtling inexorably toward the sun, and that the production of quality wine in California was in danger of becoming a memory, the North Coast enjoyed a break in the trend toward ever-hotter vintages in 2005, with a very moderate 2006 growing season right behind it

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2006, 2005 and 2004 Bordeaux

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2007

In light of the schizophrenic growing season and rain-plagued harvest, I found the 2006 vintage in Bordeaux to be a pleasant surprise on my annual early spring tour.

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Focus on Oregon Pinot Noir

IWC

Josh Raynolds, May 2007

For the third consecutive year, Oregon’s pinot noir growers were challenged by an array of climatic obstacles in 2005

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Vinous Table: Da Cesare, Piedmont, Italy

Vinous Table

, Apr 2007

I never miss an opportunity to eat at Da Cesare, especially when my local tasting group assembles in what has become an almost ritual pilgrimage to this temple of everything that is satisfying to the soul about Piedmont. The early April weather was quite chilly and rainy, more reminiscent of Fall than Spring, except for the absence of truffles.

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New Releases from Piedmont: Dolcetto 2005 and Barbera 2003/2004

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2007

In most discussions on Piedmont wines Barolo and Barbaresco typically receive the lion’s share of the spotlight and rightly so, as they are among the world’s great wines. That said, readers who want to explore the full range of what the region has to offer owe it to themselves to check out the top Dolcetto and Barbera bottlings, which offer much pleasure at more accessible prices.

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Vinous Table: The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2007

The Four Seasons is a Manhattan landmark. The gorgeous rooms, which were designed by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, represent a timeless elegance that is just as remarkable today as it was in 1959 when the restaurant first opened its doors.

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Tenuta di Trinoro: Tenuta di Trinoro 1997-2005

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2007

Franchetti favors late harvests that push ripeness to the extreme. This is clearly a high-stakes approach to winemaking as the likelihood of rain and other inclement conditions increases as the harvest season moves into the Fall.

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La Paulée de New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2007

In March of this year I was fortunate to attend La Paulée in New York, an event that anyone who loves Burgundy must experience at least once. La Paulée is rooted in the traditional dinner Cistercian monks held for their workers at the end of the harvest.

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Tenuta dell’Ornellaia: Ornellaia and Masseto 1997-2004

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2007

Tenuta dell’Ornellaia is without question one of Italy’s blue-chip properties. The gorgeous, sprawling estate is located in Bolgheri in Tuscany’s Maremma. On a recent visit I had the opportunity to taste a number of the estate’s wines with General Manager/Agronomist Leonardo Raspini and Oenologist Axel Heinz, including verticals of the estate’s top bottlings Ornellaia and Masseto.

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Vinous Table: Per Se, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2007

I had been looking forward to this dinner at Per Se for some time. Located in the stylish Time-Warner Center, Per Se is Chef Thomas Keller’s New York restaurant. The main dining room is elegant and spacious in its design. We were seated in a private room which offered lovely springtime views of Central Park.

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2005 and 2004 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2007

At the risk of throwing another log on an already raging fire (see Market Monitor), I'd have to say that 2005 is potentially the greatest red Burgundy vintage I've yet tasted from barrel, and I've been sampling these wines in depth every year since the 1987 vintage

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Focus on South Africa

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2007

If you’re more concerned with what’s on the label than what’s in the bottle, I will probably never convince you to look into South African wine

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Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume and Muscadet

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2007

Lovers of brisk, nervy, dry white wines who feel forced out of their traditional hunting grounds by the growing number of outsized, alarmingly sweet bottlings can, at least for now, find plenty of options in the eastern Loire Valley’s Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé—and of course in the bracing Muscadets made at the opposite end of the Loire, on the Atlantic Coast.

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Exploring Maremma’s 2003 and 2004 Vintages

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2007

With its many seaside resorts and state of the art wineries, it is hard to believe that up until the 1930s Maremma was a disease-infested swampland. The noble families preferred to live in the hills, which were set back from the coastline, while their servants lived closer to the sea. In fact, the emergence of Maremma as one of the world's leading wine production zones is somewhat of an accident. The region owes its prominence to Mario Incisa della Rocchetta. Inspired by the wines of Bordeaux, Incisa wanted to make a similar wine on his own property.

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Bruno Giacosa and Giacomo Conterno at Della Notte, Baltimore

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2007

There are few things I look forward to more than a meeting of my tasting group. In January we gathered at Della Notte, located in downtown Baltimore. Any one of these wines we had could easily have been the centerpiece of an unforgettable evening. Needless to say were incredibly fortunate to drink so many towering Barolos and Barbarescos at one dinner.

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New Releases from California

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2007

So there I was, signing copies of my book…

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2005 and 2004 Rhone Valley Wines

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2007

The 2005s are well on their way to being the most anticipated set of Rhône Valley wines of a generation that has enjoyed no shortage of "vintages of the century.

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Joel Payne on Germany 2005

IWC

Joel B. Payne, Jan 2007

As 2003 was generally slightly overrated and 2004 wrongly underrated by pundits, many writers were very careful about making any dramatic statements about 2005.

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Dinner at Home with Le Macchiole

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2006

This past fall my travel schedule took me to Tuscany rather than Piedmont, which has been my more typical destination in late November. Although I suffered from a severe case of truffle withdrawal in Chianti Classico I did come home with several bottles of freshly-pressed olive oil, my second-favorite food of the season. We started with very simple bruschetta topped with the 2006 olive oil from Petrolo, a remarkable estate for the exceptionally high quality of all its products.

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A Holiday Lunch

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2006

This Christmas morning started out somewhat unusually. It was a bright, sunny day so I decided to go out for a run with my son. While the sight of mothers and fathers jogging with their babies in strollers may be a common sight in Central Park, it is apparently anything but that in the small Friuli town of San Lorenzo Isontino, judging by the many bewildered stares I received.

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Vinous Table: La Bottega del Vino, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2006

I recently had the pleasure of attending a tasting at the Bottega del Vino organized by François Mauss of the Grand Jury Européen. After the formal tasting was concluded the group sat down to dinner in the private dining room located in the restaurant’s wine cellar, which holds an eye-popping collection of trophy wines. We tasted many wines blind during the course of the evening; the following are just a few that were especially noteworthy.

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Vinous Table: Le Calandre, Padova, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2006

The Alajmo family has built a small empire around Le Calandre, one of only five restaurants in Italy with three Michelin stars. The complex also includes the informal Le Calandrine café, the Maccaroni Hotel and a specialty food shop selling everything from an enticing array of aged cheeses to a selection of high-end wines.

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Vinous Table: Villa De Winckels, Verona, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2006

On Romano dal Forno’s recommendation my wife and I visited the lovely Villa De Winckels for lunch after our visit to the estate. Diners can choose to eat in the more formal dining room or the casual enoteca. We chose the latter. The cozy, small enoteca specializes in the traditional Veronese comfort foods.

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2005 and 2004 Chablis

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2006

Cool, minerally Chablis remains the world's hottest version of chardonnay at the moment, at least among readers of this publication

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Peter Moser on Austria 2005

IWC

Peter Moser, Nov 2006

Had the weather gods not changed their demeanor at the end of summer and provided five weeks of beautiful sunny weather beginning in early October, Austria's 2005 harvest would have been a disaster.

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Champagne Update

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2006

The quality level of Champagne available to American wine drinkers has never been higher, but prices have also never been as lofty, especially at the level of vintage and tete de cuvee bottlings

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2004 Alsace Wines

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2006

Due to the sheer volume of wines I tasted in Alsace in September and the size of this issue, I will present my coverage of Alsace in two installments, the 2004s in this issue and the 2005s in the near future

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New Releases from Washington State

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2006

Washington State has enjoyed a succession of warm vintages in recent years, and it's quite likely that 2005 will turn out to be the best of them

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Giuseppe Mascarello Revisited: 1967 - 2001

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2006

At a recent meeting of my local tasting group the focus was on the wines of Giuseppe Mascarello, one of Barolo’s historic producers. For this event we were fortunate to have Mauro Mascarello as our guest. The focus of the evening was Mascarello’s most famous wine, Monprivato, and his new luxury bottling the Riserva Ca’ d’Morissio. Chef Silvano Fiorindo, a veteran of Cipriani in New York, Buenos Aires and his native Venice, prepared an exquisite meal to accompany the wines.

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Italy’s 2001 Barolo and 2001 and 2003 Barbaresco vintages

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2006

The 2001 vintage caps off a remarkable string of outstanding vintages for Piedmont that began in 1996. During that relatively brief time period producers gained a great deal of knowledge and experience, both in the vineyard and in the cellar, a positive trend which continues today. In addition, 2001 featured the growing conditions in which Nebbiolo thrives: hot daytime temperatures alternating with cool nights. The favorable weather, along with producers’ newfound sense of maturity combined to produce an extraordinary set of wines. Simply put, for Barolo, 2001 is the most complete of the vintages between 1996 and 2001.

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The Wines of López de Heredia: 1954–1998

Rest of the World

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2006

López de Heredia is one of the historic bodegas in Rioja, with a rich lineage dating back well over a century. The estate produces age-worthy, traditional Riojas of the highest level. These are among my favorite Riojas, and I have been fortunate to drink more than my fair share of the wines over the years. A few months ago I had the opportunity to taste an extensive collection of older vintages with importer Doug Polaner and proprietor Maria Jose López de Heredia when López was in New York to present the estate’s new releases.

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Paolo Scavino: A Major Retrospective

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2006

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to attend an incredible tasting at the Scavino estate in Castiglione Falletto. Readers who have visited the winery within the last few years will have no doubt have seen the massive renovations that have been under way for some time. The work was finally completed earlier this year and to celebrate the opening of the new cellar Enrico Scavino hosted a vertical tasting featuring three of his four single-vineyard Barolos; Carobric, Bric del Fiasc and the Riserva Rocche dell’Annunziata.

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Vinous Table: Esca, New York

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Antonio Galloni, Oct 2006

Readers dining at Esca are in for a treat. Chef David Pasternack's cuisine features the freshest fish and seafood prepared simply but brilliantly. We started with the crudo which alone is worth a visit.

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The Wines of Emidio Pepe: 1964 – 2001

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2006

Bucking every trend and modern convention, the wines of Emidio Pepe represent one of the most singular expressions in winemaking today. That can’t be too surprising given that Pepe himself is quite a personality. Initially somewhat stern, he seems to live in world long gone by. Pepe doesn’t say much except that all his wines are excellent and that he only drinks his own. Fortunately the wines speak for themselves. In a time of increasing convergence these wines stand out for their unique style, artisan approach and notable purity.

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Vinous Table: Michael Mina, San Francisco

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2006

Extraordinary is the word that comes to mind when I think about the dinner I enjoyed at Michael Mina recently. Everything from the food to the service was truly exceptional. My only quibble was with the noise level, which can be rather high, especially around the 6pm cocktail hour. Once immersed into the menu, however, such considerations take a back seat to the eating and drinking experience.

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Vinous Table: Da Cesare, Piedmont, Italy

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2006

Chef and proprietor Cesare Giaccone is one of Piedmont's legendary culinary figures. For decades Da Cesare, located high in the hills of Albaretto Torre, was a destination point for those seeking the finest food and wine in the region. Two years ago, seeking to scale back and simplify things a bit, Giaccone moved the restaurant back to his original house.

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A Birthday Dinner

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2006

After a long day on the tasting trail nothing beats a simple home-cooked meal featuring the best of the classic Piedmontese comfort foods enjoyed with close friends. We started with insalata russa, a salad of boiled potatoes, carrots and peas dressed with mayonnaise that when well-prepared is always greater than the sum of its humble parts.

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Vinous Table: Centro Storico, Piedmont

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2006

The tiny Centro Storico, appropriately located in the old historical center of Serralunga, has become on of my favorite spots in Piedmont for a casual meal. Visitors looking for a break from the region's more elegant restaurants will delight in the informal atmosphere which includes a few tables for outdoor eating during the summer months.

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Focus on California's Central Coast

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2006

With new Central Coast producers emerging every year with high-quality wines, especially in the southern half of the region stretching from Santa Barbara County northward to Paso Robles, this part of California is a growing source of full-flavored and user-friendly wines, most of the best of them red

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The Best New Wines from Spain

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2006

Spain today continues to offer unbelievable wine value, especially in the under-$12 range

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New Releases from the Tuscan Coast

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Sep 2006

One of Italy’s most exciting wine regions today, the Tuscan coast actually spans both a coastal and an inland portion of southern Tuscany

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2004 White Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2006

The challenges posed by the 2004 growing season in Burgundy have been widely documented, including in the pages of this journal

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2001 Brunello Vintage

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2006

This year marks the release of the much-anticipated 2001 Brunellos from Montalcino. There is much to be excited about as the vintage offers an array of outstanding wines. The best 2001 Brunellos are characterized by rich aromatics and generous, ripe fruit, with excellent structure and fine, elegant tannins. Although many wines are clearly built to age I also tasted quite a few that are drinking beautifully right now. Readers should not ignore the 2004 Rossos, the best of which are also outstanding.

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New Releases from Australia

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2006

Discussing recent vintages in Australia, even in general terms, could take multiple pages of this issue, such is the range of geography and climate—in short, terroir—of this continent

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2004 and 2003 Sauternes and Barsacs

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2006

With buying interest in Bordeaux's sweet wines currently focused on the 2005 vintage, the freakishly sweet and rich 2003s, with lovely purity of fruit and strong botrytis character, are looking better and better at their current price levels

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2001 Brunello di Montalcino

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2006

The 2001 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino has it all: healthy deep color; expressive, nuanced aromas; lovely fleshy sweetness and deep fruit; harmonious ripe acidity; and firm tannins that generally avoid coming off as hard or dry

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2005 White Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2006

The hoopla over France's 2005 growing season, which featured a sunny, dry, warm summer and a temperate harvest, has certainly extended to Burgundy, even if it's Bordeaux that has dominated the headlines in recent months

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Barolo 1999: The Forgotten Vintage

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2006

Even today many wines remain incredibly youthful and closed, and my sense is that the wines will mature later than the 2001s. In time, though, I believe 1999 will be seen as part of a lineage of classic age-worthy vintages that includes 1978, 1982, 1989, 1996 and 2001.

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Elio Altare Revisited: 1970 – 1991

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2006

"The idea that a Barolo should be undrinkable in its youth and that a consumer should have to wait twenty years for the wine to be great is ridiculous,” says Elio Altare,…and so begins what will turn out to be a memorable day.

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An Unforgettable Winter Dinner: Barolo 1958 – 1998

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2006

For our January meeting my local tasting group gathered to survey the wines of Francesco Rinaldi and Luciano Sandrone, two producers who represent different schools of thought when it comes to Barolo. By the time the evening was over however, we had also opened terrific bottles from Bruno Giacosa, Bartolo Mascarello, and Giacomo Conterno. Not a bad way to spend a cold winter evening. On this night I was fortunate to host the group at my house. For the occasion I prepared a simple meal to accompany the wines, including tagliolini al ragu (featuring pasta directly from Alba), osso buco, and a selection of cheeses. As always, a great time was had by all.

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Piedmont Report Issue 7

Piedmont Report

Antonio Galloni, May 2006

Barolo 1999: The Forgotten Vintage; Barolo 2002: New Releases; Elio Altare Revisited: 1970 – 1991; Bruno Giacosa: Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano 1982 – 1990; Bruno Giacosa: The 1978 Barolos; Giacomo Conterno: Barolo Riserva Monfortino 1978 – 1985; Francesco Rinaldi: Barolo 1958 – 1993; Luciano Sandrone: Barolo Cannubi Boschis 1982 – 1989

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A Memorable Evening of Barolo and Barbaresco: 1978 – 1990

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2006

It’s always a lot of fun to get together with my tasting group. I knew this was going to be an unforgettable dinner when the first wine of the evening was listed as the 1985 Sassicaia, one of the most legendary and collectible wines ever produced in Italy. The plan also included a deep selection of classics, including three Giacosa Barolos from 1978, a mini-vertical of Giacosa’s Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano spanning 1982-1990, and a mini-vertical of Conterno’s Barolo Riserva Monfortino covering the historic 1978, 1982, and 1985 vintages. We were fortunate, and indeed privileged, to taste these wines from bottles that had been perfectly stored since release. As always it would be a great pleasure to share these wines and the animated conversation they bring out in a small group setting. What a night lay ahead!

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The ‘Legends of Piedmont’ at Crush

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2006

The following wines were tasted at a class on Barolo and Barbaresco I led at Crush Wine and Spirits in mid-town Manhattan in February 2006. The evening provided a great opportunity to check in on a few new releases as well as taste some of the region’s benchmark wines from nearly all of the most important vintages back to 1961.

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Focus on Oregon Pinot Noir

IWC

Josh Raynolds, May 2006

Two thousand three is a mixed bag for Oregon pinot noir, with a distinctly superripe, even roasted character, to a sizable percentage of the wines

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Barolo 2002: New Releases

Italy

Antonio Galloni, May 2006

Few subjects have aroused such passionate discussions in recent years as the quality of the 2002 vintage.

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Focus on California's North Coast

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2006

For those wine lovers who find California's ever more alcoholic wines increasingly hard to swallow, the 2005 growing season holds out the promise of a respite

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The Annual Red Bordeaux Report

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2006

Now that every blogger and his brother are on the Net with tasting notes on each new Bordeaux vintage virtually before the wines have finished their malolactic fermentations, one wistfully recalls the days when château proprietors actually attempted to set their prices based on wine quality and economic conditions rather than waiting to see the early scores of influential wine writers for fear of leaving money on the table.

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Vinous Table: Del Posto, New York

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2006

A dinner at the newly opened Del Posto, the latest restaurant from the Lidia and Joe Bastianch/Mario Batali team, provided a great opportunity to enjoy several impeccable bottles from Giacomo Conterno.

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New Releases from Portugal

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2006

A surprising number of the top table wines coming out of Portugal today, especially from the Douro Valley, are priced at a level approaching and sometimes surpassing that of top Bordeaux crus and many of Napa’s cult cabernets

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2004 and 2003 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2006

The growing season of 2004 was another summer from hell rescued by a favorable September

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The Best New Wines from Chile

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2006

Chile shows signs of being capable of producing high-end wines to compete with the best of the New World

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Focus on Northeast Italy

IWC

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2006

Although Italy now makes very good white wines in virtually every region, the best come from Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia (FVG).

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Vintage Retrospective: The 1978 Barolos and Barbarescos

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2006

For most observers 1978 occupies a hallowed place among the legendary vintages in Piedmont. From a purely historical perspective 1978 is also a fascinating vintage to study because it is the last important vintage in which the wines were largely made with traditional methods, both in the vineyards and in the cellar. These wines pre-date the arrival of the more modern style of winemaking which in the 1980s would begin to change the way many estates vinified and aged their wines. A recent dinner in New York with a group of die-hard Nebbiolo fanatics provided a great opportunity to re-visit many of the vintage’s benchmark wines.

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Piedmont Report Issue 6

Piedmont Report

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2006

Barolo: A Preview of Vintages 2003 and 2004; New Releases from Barolo and Barbaresco; Vintage Retrospective: The 1978 Barolos and Barbarescos; A Magical Evening of Great Barolos at Cru; The Rising Stars of Roero; The Wines of Northern Piedmont; Barbera d’Asti: A Primer; Hastae: Barbera d’Asti Quorum 1997-2003

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A Magical Evening of Great Barolos at Cru

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2006

An evening at Cru is always a memorable experience, and this night was no exception as we were treated to an amazing dinner featuring great food, wine, and most important of all, the company of close friends. Readers who love older wines owe it to themselves to pay a visit to Cru and to explore its breathtaking wine list, which offers a rich treasure trove of selections. I think it is fair to say that every major producer of note is well represented in an astonishing range of vintages. On this occasion the focus was on Bruno Giacosa’s Red Label Riservas from the mid-1980s although we did have a chance to taste some other great wines as well. The four of us had no problem polishing off these fine bottles…quite an achievement especially given that my wife does not drink much.

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2003 Vintage Ports

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2006

It is clear from my early tastings that 2003 will take its place among the outstanding port vintages of recent decades, along with such stellar years as 2000, 1997, 1994, 1977, 1970, 1966 and 1963

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2004 and 2003 Rhone Valley Wines

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2006

Rhône wine aficionados will soon be showered with a greater number of enticing wines than were available even during the golden run of vintages from 1998 through 2001.

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Germany '04: A Classic Spatlese Vintage

IWC

Joel B. Payne, Jan 2006

Last year's 2003 vintage was highly rated-in fact slightly overrated-before anyone had done much tasting of the wines, and in many cases it has not lived up to early expectations.

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New Releases from California

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2006

My coverage of new wines from California includes a large number of pinot noirs from all over the state

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Austria 2004:A Viticulturist's Year

IWC

Peter Moser, Nov 2005

Vintage 2004 was a year for the diligent grower in Austria, and those who did not meet the challenges of the growing season were destined to fail.

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Focus on Argentina

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2005

Until as recently as ten years ago, Argentina's wine industry was focused inward, as wine consumption in Argentina was sufficient to absorb the huge quantities of everyday drinking wine produced there

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New Releases from Washington State

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2005

My annual round-up of the best new bottles from Washington State turned up more good wines than ever before-not just a handful of emerging stars but a number of established wineries that reached the 85-point level on one or more of their current offerings for the first time

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Focus on Champagne

IWC

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2005

It's a mystery to me how many fellow winos give Champagne short shrift, treating it as so much mouthwash before moving on to "real wines," which are almost inevitably red, and outsized to boot

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Vintage Retrospective: The 1985 Barolos and Barbarescos

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2005

The subject of evaluating and rating vintages is one of the favorite topics of discussion among Piedmont lovers, so the opportunity to taste sixteen of the best 1985 Barolos and Barbarescos with a group of hardcore New York Nebbiolo fans made for a truly special evening.

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Bruno Giacosa Revisited: 1986-1988

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2005

When people talk about the great Piedmont vintages of the 1980s, you are most likely to hear a discussion centered around 1982, 1985 (see above) and 1989, the relative merits of which are still debated with much passion and enthusiasm today. Until fairly recently, most of my own experience with the wines of Bruno Giacosa had also been limited to the better known labels from the more famous vintages. Nothing, then, could have prepared me for what I was about to experience in this impromptu, surprise tasting organized by two of my closest friends. These wines are from vintages long-forgotten by all but the most diehard of Piedmont aficionados-1986, 1987, and to a lesser extent, 1988.

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Paolo Scavino: Barolo Cannubi 1989-2001

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2005

Owing to its small production, Scavino’s Cannubi is perhaps the least well known of his single-vineyard Barolos. It is made in a very ripe style with notable concentration and suppleness, but without losing the feminine, perfumed quality that makes wines from this vineyard so distinctive and irresistible. Although Cannubi is the most approachable of Scavino’s Barolos it is also a wine that has also proven to be quite capable of aging.

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Luciano Sandrone: Barolo Cannubi Boschis 1985-2001

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2005

From his first vintage in 1978 Luciano Sandrone set out to make a more approachable and drinkable Barolo. No one has managed to bridge tradition and innovation as brilliantly as Sandrone, rendering pointless any of the typical arguments in favor of one winemaking philosophy versus the other. Over the years Sandrone has turned out a stunning group of wines, often reaching stratospheric heights. Although Sandrone’s wines are accessible when young, they also age beautifully as is demonstrated by the wines from the 1980s. Yet as magical as the older wines can be, Sandrone believes his recent releases are even better, saying “today we know so much more about how to work in the vineyards and in the cellar.” I consider Luciano Sandrone’s Cannubi Boschis to be one of a handful of benchmark wines for the region, well worth the effort of finding and cellaring.

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Four Decades of Barolo: Wines of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2005

A recent gathering of passionate Nebbiolo lovers in Boston provided a great opportunity to open a wide range of wines spanning four decades and the full gamut of styles. The wines were critically evaluated and discussed without food after which they were heartily enjoyed with a variety of delicious homemade dishes, among them our hosts’ spectacular braised short ribs, which were so exceptional they nearly stole the show. The wines were decanted for several hours prior to being served and tasted blind. Given the casual nature of the evening notes on these wines should be interpreted as impressions rather than formal tasting notes.

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Piedmont Report Issue 5

Piedmont Report

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2005

New Releases from Barbaresco: The 2002s and Late-Release 2001s; Vintage Retrospective: The 1985 Barolos and Barbarescos; Bruno Giacosa Revisited: 1986-1988; Focus on Cannubi
E. Pira (Chiara Boschis): Barolo Cannubi 1996-2001; Luciano Sandrone: Barolo Cannubi Boschis 1985-2001 Paolo Scavino: Barolo Cannubi 1989-2001; Four Decades of Barolo: Wines of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s; Where to Eat and Sleep in Piedmont

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The Best New Wines From Spain

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2005

Of all the wine-producing countries regularly covered in this publication, Spain must be the world's greatest source of wine values at the moment

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Australia, Part Two

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Josh Raynolds, Sep 2005

This second installment of new releases from Australia includes everything from the flamboyant, intensely flavored examples that define Australian wine for many wine lovers to some wonderfully balanced, elegant bottlings that deserve wider attention, even from consumers whose preferences run more to Old World styles

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2004 and 2003 White Burgundies

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2005

Just when the Burgundians were beginning to think that global warming was here to stay, the growing season of 2004 brought a return to more typical weather conditions, which is to say it was a year that challenged growers at every turn

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The Best New Wines from New Zealand

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2005

New Zealand is now the fastest growing wine category in the US

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Giacomo Conterno Vertical Tasting

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2005

In May of this year I attended two very special tastings at Cru in New York. Winemakers Roberto Conterno and Mauro Mascarello were in town to present extensive verticals of their Barolos. The first tasting took place in the afternoon and featured current releases as well as a few older vintages. Although I generally avoid trade events because they don’t allow enough time to accurately assess each wine, this sit-down tasting, which was hosted by importer Doug Polaner, was extremely well organized. Cru Wine Director Robert Bohr and his staff did an outstanding job in coordinating the service of the wines, which was no small feat. Between the afternoon tasting and the dinner that followed, I don’t think I have ever tasted so many profound and emotionally moving wines in a single day! The wines were double decanted a few hours prior to serving.

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An update from Barolo...

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2005

The market for Barolo worldwide continues to be soft although on my most recent trip producers told me that demand is beginning to pick up in the US while they still face difficulties in the continental European markets, especially Germany. I found the mood among producers to be fairly optimistic even though some are worried about the ability of the US market to absorb the 2001 wines after all of the hype and interest surrounding 2000. Estates have the benefit of being able to be patient with their 2001s as many will have little, if any, 2002 Barolo to offer. Quite a few wineries will deliberately hold off on releasing some of their 2001s in order to smooth their revenues over the next few years. Recent weakness in the euro should benefit producers and US consumers alike.

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Piedmont Report Issues 3 & 4

Piedmont Report

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2005

Barolo 2001, Part 2: A Comprehensive Overview of Current Releases; Giacomo Conterno: Barolo Cascina Francia 1989-2000 and Barolo Riserva Monfortino 1958-1997; Giuseppe Mascarello: Barolo Monprivato 1970-1999 and Barolo Riserva Ca’ d’Morissio 1995-1997

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Giuseppe Mascarello Vertical Tasting

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2005

In May of this year I attended two very special tastings at Cru in New York. Winemakers Roberto Conterno and Mauro Mascarello were in town to present extensive verticals of their Barolos. The first tasting took place in the afternoon and featured current releases as well as a few older vintages. Although I generally avoid trade events because they don’t allow enough time to accurately assess each wine, this sit-down tasting, which was hosted by importer Doug Polaner, was extremely well organized. Cru Wine Director Robert Bohr and his staff did an outstanding job in coordinating the service of the wines, which was no small feat. Between the afternoon tasting and the dinner that followed, I don’t think I have ever tasted so many profound and emotionally moving wines in a single day! The wines were double decanted a few hours prior to serving.

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2003 and 2002 Sauternes and Barsacs

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2005

Compared to the powerful 2001 Sauternes vintage, which featured a rare combination of richness, complexity and acidity and should be cellared and forgotten for a decade or more, vintages 2002 and 2003 should offer considerably more early appeal

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New Releases from Southern Italy

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Ian D'Agata, Jul 2005

Italy’s south—Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia—is home to at least one excellent world-class native red grape variety and more than a few very good white varieties.

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New Releases from Australia

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Josh Raynolds, Jul 2005

Two months of tasting through hundreds of Australian wines and across a range of importer portfolios left me by turns exhilarated and exhausted but seldom, if ever, disappointed

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2004 and 2003 Chablis

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2005

Following the freakishly hot summer of 2003, Chablis experienced a much more normal growing season in 2004—including a moderately dismal summer rescued by a near-perfect September and early October

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Focus on California's Central Coast

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2005

A quick tour of California's South Central Coast in mid-May gave me the opportunity to get to know some of the new generation of talented growers and winemakers in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties

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Focus on California's North Coast

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Stephen Tanzer, May 2005

As I worked my way up and down and across California's North Coast during my annual late winter tour, I couldn't help thinking that California wine has never been more extreme than it is today

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Focus on Oregon Pinot Noir

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Josh Raynolds, May 2005

There are several reasons why the Willamette Valley merits even the most demanding pinot noir lover’s attention more today than ever before

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The Annual Red Bordeaux Report

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Stephen Tanzer, May 2005

Two thousand four is likely to be yet another underappreciated Bordeaux vintage—the third in four years—that will offer veteran claret drinkers the opportunity to purchase many excellent wines at prices that seem downright reasonable in the context of today's international wine market.

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Cavallotto: The Barolo Riservas

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2005

During a recent visit to the estate, brothers Alfio and Giuseppe Cavallotto surprised me with not one, but two vertical tastings of their Barolo Riservas, Vignolo and Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe. This was a great opportunity to taste both wines side by side and compare vineyard and vintage characteristics. The Vignolo is typically the more feminine of the two wines. Explains Alfio Cavallotto “The soils at Vignolo are deep, and they retain water very well. This means that in hot vintages such as 1997 an 2000, the vines don’t go into stress and the wines remain quite fresh” I find the Vignolo often has a very aromatic profile and flavors of small red fruits such as raspberries, although that varies from vintage to vintage.” San Giuseppe is decidedly the more masculine and muscular wine. “At San Giuseppe we have soils that begin to resemble those of Serralunga. The wines are usually more complex, structured and higher in alcohol, with flavors of spices and dark fruit,” says Cavallotto.

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Piedmont Report Issue 2

Piedmont Report

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2005

Barolo 2001, Part 1: An Overview of Current and Future Releases; Exploring Brunate: The 2000 Brunate Barolos Elio Altare: Barolo Brunate 1999-2001 Marcarini: Barolo Brunate 1996-2001; Cavallotto: Barolo Riserva Vignolo 1996-1999 and Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe 1989-1999; Produttori del Barbaresco: The 1999 Riservas; Notes from a Birthday Lunch; Bartolo Mascarello 1926-2005

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Produttori del Barbaresco: The 1999 Riservas

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Apr 2005

This recent tasting provided a great opportunity to compare the Produttori’s single-vineyard 1999 Riservas side-by-side. The Produttori del Barbaresco cooperative has focused on single vineyard Barbarescos since its inception in 1958.

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2003 and 2002 Red Burgundies

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Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2005

Although it is far too early to know if a significant percentage of the 2003 red Burgundies will turn out to be monumental wines with real staying power, as some producers and wine merchants claim, it's not too soon to say that this vintage is something of a miracle

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Focus on South Africa

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Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2005

I am happy to offer extensive coverage of South African wine in the current issue, based on two dozen visits I made to some of the Cape region's top wineries during a brilliantly sunny late-winter week at the end of August, and on extensive tastings of new releases from these and many more producers in New York this winter

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2003 and 2002 Northern Rhone Wines

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Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2005

As I taste my way through the 2003 vintage from Europe, it is becoming

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Best New Releases from California

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Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2005

Following are notes on the best new California wines I tasted this fall

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Germany 2003: Extreme Riesling

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David Schildknecht, Jan 2005

During Germany's summer of 2003, the very early bud break and.

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An Introduction to Piedmont Report

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2004

Welcome to the first issue of Piedmont Report, the Consumer’s Guide to the Wines of Piedmont. My goal is to provide not only extensive tasting notes of current releases, but also to take you into the vineyards and cellars of this incredibly fascinating region. For many consumers, the large number of producers and vineyard designations in Piedmont makes gaining a familiarity with the region a daunting task. I hope to make that easier. From time to time I will also write about thematic vertical tastings that explore one particular dimension such as the wines of a specific vintage, vineyard, or producer.

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The 1997 Gajas Revisited

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2004

The merits and faults of the 1997 vintage have been debated endlessly. Some people love the wines for their rich round fruit, others find the wines atypical and overly ripe. My own feeling is that the vintage is simply uneven, and that there are exceptional wines that capture the best of the vintage and there are overripe, unbalanced wines that are by comparison much less complex. Without a doubt the1997 Gaja wines from the Barbaresco zone are among the very best wines of the vintage.

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Marcarini: Barolo Brunate 1996-2001

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2004

Marcarini’s Barolo Brunate is one the most representative wines in the region year in year out. I recently had a chance to taste the six most recent vintages, which was a great learning experience. The wines are all very young and will require patience. It would be great to do this tasting again in ten years, and see how the wines have developed. While all the wines are excellent, the 1999 and the 2001 are truly special and the 1998 is not too far behind…

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Some Thoughts on Barolo 2000 and a Preview of 2001....

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2004

Earlier this year I visited the region to get a sense of what the hype surrounding the 2000 vintage was all about. In 2000 the hot weather produced wines that are round, rich and approachable when young, all qualities considered to be atypical for Barolo. As with everything Piedmont, generalizations are very tricky because there are always so many exceptions to any statements that can be made about a vintage. It really pays to taste as many wines as possible so that you can decide for yourself whether you prefer warmer vintages like 1997 and 2000 or more classic vintages such as 1996, 1999, and 2001.

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Piedmont Report Issue 1

Piedmont Report

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2004

Barbaresco 2001: A Comprehensive Overview of Current Releases; Some Thoughts on Barolo 2000 and a Preview of 2001....
; The 1997 Gajas Revisited: Costa Russi, Sorì Tildìn, Sorì San Lorenzo; Barolos of the 60s, 70s, and 80s: Notes from a Memorable Tasting

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Barbaresco 2001: An Overview of Current Releases

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2004

For this report, I spent ten days in October in Barbaresco tasting mostly current releases. I also wanted to get an update on the 2002 and 2003 vintages. I arrived in mid-October, as the Nebbiolo harvest was in its final days. Without exception, every producer I spoke to was enthusiastic about the potential of the 2004 vintage. The growing season had started a bit late due to unusually cold weather in the spring, which continued into the summer.

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Elio Altare: Barolo Brunate 1999-2001

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2004

Elio Altare realized a long-standing dream when he began to produce a Barolo from this storied vineyard. This mini-vertical of Altare’s Barolo Brunate was very insightful in gaining a better of sense of the characteristics of the 1999-2001 vintages. While all the wines are outstanding, the 1999 is truly special. Of his 1999, Altare says it is “probably the best I have made so far.”

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Exploring Brunate: The 2000 Brunate Barolos

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2004

Exploring Brunate is the first in a series of articles in which I will take an in-depth look at the historically famous vineyards in the Barolo and Barbaresco production zones. I chose Brunate because it is a vineyard that is owned by many producers, so it is possible to taste several interpretations of this site. I was curious to learn if the wines shared any common traits or if the producers’ styles and/or vintage might overwhelm the specific qualities of the vineyard.

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Barolos of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s

Italy

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2004

A recent gathering with friends provided the perfect occasion to open a few special bottles of our favorite wines. The theme was aged, traditionally made Barolos. The setting was a beautiful country home set high in the Appenine mountains, on the border between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany. The estate was gorgeous and peaceful, the only sounds to be heard were the barks of the playful dogs and the gentle trot of the horse. The weather was chilly so we lit the fireplace. First we tasted the wines, then we enjoyed them alongside a traditional Emilian menu of tortellini in brodo and bollito misto. While it is fun to taste wines like this side-by-side, doing so inevitably leads to comparisons of the wines. These Barolos are such idiosyncratic, highly individual wines, that they are probably best enjoyed on their own, without the presence of other wines.

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New Releases from Washington State

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Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2004

This year I tasted more Washington State wines than ever before—no surprise, as the number of wineries increases every year

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Austria's Surprising 2003s

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David Schildknecht, Nov 2004

That much of Europe set hundred-year records for heat and drought in 2003 is by now well known, and Austria was no exception

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New Vintage Champagne Releases

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Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2004

Due to a heavier than usual tasting and travel schedule in recent months, my coverage of Champagne this fall is limited to vintage-designated wines, plus a few non-vintage brut bottlings that essentially derive from a single harvest

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Focus on Barolo and Barbaresco

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Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2004

There is no question that sales of Barolo and Barbaresco, the greatest expressions of the nebbiolo grape, have slowed in recent years

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The Best New Wines From Spain

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2004

Spanish wine continues to be hot in the U.S. market, even if the 2003 and 2002 vintages posed serious challenges in many regions.

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Three Vertical Tastings

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2004

Three Vertical Tastings

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2003 and 2002 White Burgundies

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2004

Having now tasted two sets of 2003s from France in depth

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1999 Brunello di Montalcino

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2004

Since literally before the widely hyped, very ripe 1997s were released, some Tuscany insiders were already saying that 1999 would be at least as good a vintage for Brunello di Montalcino, and perhaps more classic

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Best of the Alto-Adige and Trentino

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Edward Beltrami, Jul 2004

The region of northern Italy made up of the contiguous provinces of Alto-Adige and Trentino is a source of some remarkable wines that until recently were little known to consumers in the United States

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2003 and 2002 Chablis

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2004

In light of the fact that winemakers in France are normally forbidden to chaptalize and acidify the same wine, it ought to be illegal for a growing season to feature both a killer frost and a brutal heat wave

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New Releases from Argentina

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2004

Thanks to two highly successful vintages in 2002 and 2003, and to mostly stable prices in export markets, Argentina's wines are poised to find new fans in the coming months

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New Wines from the Central Coast

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2004

On the following pages are tasting notes on the best new releases from California's Central Coast, which stretches roughly from San Francisco down to Santa Barbara

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The Best New Wines from Australia

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2004

My tastings of new releases from Australia in recent weeks were by turns fascinating, exhausting and depressing

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Focus on Sauternes/Barsac

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2004

Below are the results of my early April tastings of the powerful 2001 sweet wines of Bordeaux, as well as a set of barrel notes on the surprisingly good 2002s

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The Annual Red Bordeaux Report

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Stephen Tanzer, May 2004

I traveled to Bordeaux this spring with the expectation that most 2003

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Focus on California's North Coast

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Stephen Tanzer, May 2004

Following three lean years, California has enjoyed three fat years in 2001, 2002 and 2003

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Languedoc/Roussillon 2001

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Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2004

Sales of Languedoc and Roussillon wines, so hot in the U.S. market just a few years ago, have slowed considerably as prices for these wines have risen and as American wine lovers have discovered new sources of inexpensive red wines with a Southern flavor, chief among them bottles from Spain.

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2002 Loire Valley Sauvignon Blancs

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Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2004

In recent years I have published regular coverage of excellent sauvignon blanc bottlings from New Zealand and South Africa

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Oregon Pinot Noir Update

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Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2004

First the bad news:the 2001 vintage, which comprises the majority of current releases in the marketplace, is Oregon's weakest year for pinot noir since 1997

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2002 and 2001 Red Burgundies

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Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2004

Just because the 2002 red Burgundies are outrageously expensive doesn't mean they're not also utterly delicious

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Focus on the Maconnais

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Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2004

For wine lovers who enjoy chardonnay for its minerality and its ability to convey nuances of soil and site - rather than simply for its capacity to carry new oak past the blood-brain barrier - there is no better source of wine today than the Maconnais, especially if price is an issue

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Germany's Charming 2002 Vintage

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David Schildknecht, Jan 2004

In 2002, for a third straight year, Germany's crop of riesling remained around two weeks ahead of normal from the flowering to the first softening of the grapes

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2001 Red Wines from the Rhone Valley

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Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2004

This fall, your intrepid correspondent could not quite convince himself to devote his usual 11 days to touring the Rhone Valley

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New Releases from California

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Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2004

After lurching my way through literally hundreds of fall releases from California in recent months, it's hard to avoid the feeling that there's more mediocre California wine on the market today than ever before

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Austria's Amiable 2002s

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David Schildknecht, Nov 2003

In two and a half frightening days in 2002 (August 8 through 11), the Krems area received more than half its average annual precipitation

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Focus on Champagne

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Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2003

While most wine lovers drink more Champagne at year-end celebrations than at any other time of the year, I swim in the stuff during September and October, in an attempt to bring as many new releases as possible to your attention before the holidays

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Best New Wines from Washington State

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Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2003

Washington State's best bottles continue to be well worth pursuing, as recent vintages have been conducive to making highly satisfying red wine

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Alsace 2002 and 2001

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Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2003

Of all the wine regions I visit regularly, Alsace may be the one with the largest quality gap between a handful of elite producers and everybody else

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The Best New Wines from New Zealand

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2003

New Zealand's fresh, fruit-driven wines continue to grow in popularity in the US

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1999 Tokaji Aszu Releases

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David Schildknecht, Sep 2003

by David SchildknechtThe 1999 vintage offered a nearly perfect opportunity for the many estates that have been revived, resurrected or newly minted in this historic region since the advent of privatization in 1991 to showcase their great talents and terroirs

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New Releases from Southern Italy

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2003

Most cosmopolitan American wine lovers are considerably more knowledgeable about the wines of Southern France than they are about Southern Italian wines

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Focus on Brunello di Montalcino

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2003

Among the vinous highlights of my summer were a series of tastings of this year's Brunello di Montalcino releases, 1998 normale and 1997 riserva bottlings

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2002 and 2001 White Burgundies

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2003

A bulletin to white Burgundy collectors who have barely gotten their feet wet in recent vintages: with the arrival of the 2002s in the retail marketplace beginning this fall, now may be the time to dive in head first

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2002 and 2001 Chablis

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2003

After having missed Chablis for several years running, I went back in early June for the second consecutive year to taste the highly touted 2002s, at the end of my annual tour of the best white wine addresses of the Cote de Beaune

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The Best New Wines From Spain

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2003

Spain remains one of the few hot categories in the retail wine market today, with sales driven not only by extraordinary bargains in the under-$10 range but by steady international interest in high-end bottlings from Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Priorat

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New Releases from Australia

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Jeremy Oliver, Jul 2003

In the typically quiet world of wine, all hell has broken loose

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New Wines from the Tuscan Coast

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Edward Beltrami, Jul 2003

by Edward BeltramiIt is clear that the success of Sassicaia in the 1970s stimulated a number of other wine initiatives along the Tuscan coast

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2001 Sauternes/Barsac

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2003

For partisans of Sauternes, the superlative 2001 vintage is a must purchase

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The Annual Red Bordeaux Report

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Stephen Tanzer, May 2003

Although earlier Bordeaux growing seasons have been characterized as miracle

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Focus on California

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Stephen Tanzer, May 2003

Tasting California wines today is enough to make even the most stable wine reviewer bipolar

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Oregon Pinot Noir Update

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Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2003

My annual winter tastings of Oregon pinot noir focused on the 2000 vintage, but also included numerous early 2001 releases and some stragglers from 1999

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Focus on South Africa

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Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2003

A whirlwind trip to South Africa at the end of August (late winter in the Southern Hemisphere) gave me a chance to view this dynamic, spectacularly beautiful wine-producing region firsthand

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2001 and 2000 Red Burgundies

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Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2003

On my annual November tour of the best red Burgundy addresses, growers were enthusiastic about their 2002 harvest and relieved to have mostly dodged the weather extremes that plagued the southern half of France

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Dolcetto and Barbera

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Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2003

On the following pages I offer notes on the best dolcetto and barbera bottlings I tasted in the Piedmont in September and subsequently at home this fall.

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2001 and 2000 Rhone Valley Wines

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Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2003

A rainstorm of near-biblical proportions in early September of 2002 put an end to Chateauneuf du Pape's unprecedented string of superb vintages

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Austria 2001: Crazy, Often Remarkable

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David Schildknecht, Jan 2003

After calling last year's report "Austria 2000: Extreme, Often Excellent," I immediately remarked on growing similarities with the then-hanging 2001s

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2000 Vintage Ports

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Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2003

I approached the 2000 vintage ports with some skepticism, figuring that the millennium vintage would be widely declared even if it was a good rather than outstanding year for Portugal's Douro region.

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Focus on Barolo and Barbaresco

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Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2002

For the first time in years, on my latest September trip to the Piedmont, producers were not anticipating yet another superb harvest

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Focus on Champagne

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Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2002

Don't look now, but Champagne has become a relative bargain in today's international wine market

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Germany 2001: Golden October?

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David Schildknecht, Nov 2002

The tale of German vintages is always one of rain and sunshine, but in the past dozen years there has simply been much more of both

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New Releases from California

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Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2002

In recent months, I'm sorry to report, I slogged through more overpriced and wearisome California wines than ever before

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2001 and 2000 White Burgundies

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2002

White Burgundy lovers under the impression that there hasn't been an outstanding vintage for these wines since 1996 have been missing out on a whole lot of satisfying chardonnay lately

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New Releases from Washington State

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2002

Washington State wines in general remain reasonably priced

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The Best New Wines from New Zealand

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2002

New Zealand wine continues to grow in popularity in the U.S. market, driven by a mounting thirst for sauvignon blanc in general and by a growing realization on the part of consumers that New Zealand juicy, brisk examples are a slightly less expensive, and somewhat less rigorous, alternative to Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume.

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1987 California Cabernets

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Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2002

A major horizontal tasting of 1987 California cabernets hosted by collector Michael Rockefeller at the restaurant Eleven Madison Park on a crisp, lucid winter day in New York afforded a rare opportunity to view an above-average vintage in depth 15 years on

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1982 Bordeaux, 20 Years On

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2002

An extraordinary tasting this spring organized by University of California physics professor and long-time wine collector Bipin Desai promised to provide a definitive answer to the most pressing Bordeaux question of the past generation: Just how good are the 1982s? Desai idea was not simply to taste all of the most important '82s at a time when most of them should be at or near peak drinkability, but to see how the best '82s stack up against other top Bordeaux of the last 40+ years

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1999 Sauternes/Barsac

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2002

The 1999 Sauternes, the newest crop of sweet Bordeaux wines in the retail market, may also be the most enjoyable vintage of the last several years

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1999 Vintage Port

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Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2002

The highly irregular 1999 growing season in Portugal Douro Valley began with a very dry May and June that resulted in near-drought conditions in the vineyards through the end of an unusually hot July

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1997 Brunello di Montalcino

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Edward Beltrami, Jul 2002

by Edward BeltramiThe eagerly awaited 1997 vintage in Montalcino does not disappoint

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New Releases from Australia

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Jeremy Oliver, Jul 2002

by Jeremy OliverThere was a time, not so very long ago, when Australians despaired at the very prospect of being able to sell any wine to the United States

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New Languedoc/Roussillon Releases

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2002

It been a while since my hopes for a group of wines were so thoroughly dashed by what I actually found in the bottle

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2001 and 2000 Chablis

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2002

The best wines of Chablis are so understated, minerally and brisk you'd swear they're not made from chardonnay

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Focus on California

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2002

At today's prices, California's producers rightly believe that their wines must make a statement

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2001, 2000 and 1999 Bordeaux

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2002

Tasting wines built to last several decades a scant six months after they were grapes is a difficult task even for professionals

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Best New Table Wines from Portugal

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2002

As an antidote to high Burgundy prices, I offer notes on some of the better Portuguese table wines currently available in the U

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2000 and 1999 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2002

Vintage 2000 marked the fourth consecutive year of healthy to high grape sugars on the Cote d'Or; but a stormy, wildly uneven growing season, and significant climatic differences between the Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune (and even between neighboring villages), made for a tricky vintage for pinot noir and a mixed bag of wines

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Oregon Pinot Noir Update

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2002

Since the rain-plagued harvests of 1995, 1996 and 1997, Oregon has enjoyed a string of highly successful vintages

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The Best New Wines from South Africa

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2002

As an antidote to high Burgundy prices, I offer my most extensive coverage to date on the best new releases from South Africa, a category that now merits the active interest of serious wine lovers in search of very good wine at reasonable prices

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2000 and 1999 Rhone Valley Wines

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2002

At a time when prices for many categories of collectible wine seem distinctly out of touch with economic reality, the red wines of the Rhone Valley represent a great opportunity for wine lovers in search of bottles that offer both hedonistic pleasure and distinctive soil character

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Germany 2000: Rot and Redemption

IWC

David Schildknecht, Jan 2002

The decade of the 1990s was an extraordinary one for German vintners

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Spain Revisited

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2002

I accidentally omitted several exceptional bargains from the current portfolio of Jorge Ordonez (Fine Estates From Spain, Dedham, MA) from my coverage of Spain in the last issue

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1999 and 1998 Chianti

IWC

Edward Beltrami, Jan 2002

by Edward BeltramiThis article focuses on Chianti's 1999 vintage, which has begun to arrive in the U

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The Best New Wines from Spain

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2001

Since my last sojourn in Spain two years ago, I have looked forward to the opportunity to revisit the best estates of Rioja and Ribera del Duero and to discover more of Spain's rising new winemaking stars

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Austria 2000: Extreme, Often Excellent

IWC

David Schildknecht, Nov 2001

The year 2000 was bound to go down in the record books even before the first grape was harvested

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Current Releases from California

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2001

I'm as patriotic as the next wino, but it's hard to avoid the conclusion that California is currently one of the last places to look for excellent wines at affordable prices

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Focus on Champagne

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2001

There are several reasons why I attempt to carry out comprehensive tastings of current Champagne releases, both vintage-dated wines and basic non-vintage brut bottlings, every year

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2000 and 1999 White Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2001

Considering the fact that the 2000 harvest brought another huge crop of grapes and was marked by a wild storm less than 48 hours after the ban de vendange, the 2000 white wines from the Cote d'Or are turning out miraculously well

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Three Vertical Tastings

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2001

This special feature spotlights Mauro Mascarello's classic, traditionally made Barolo Monprivato, Hugel's Riesling Vendange Tardive back to 1935, and Quilceda Creek's ever-evolving Cabernet Sauvignon

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The Forecast for Tokaj

IWC

David Schildknecht, Sep 2001

Tokaj is a region ripe for rediscovery

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Current Releases from New Zealand

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2001

My tastings this summer of more than 250 current releases from New Zealand make it clear why the U.S. and other major wine-consuming markets are buying more of these wines than ever before.

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New Releases from Washington State

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2001

The long and dusty drive to the Walla Walla and Yakima Valleys to taste current releases and visit some of Washington State new players has become an annual journey of discovery, what with the feverish pace of grape-growing and winemaking improvement and the recent string of successful vintages

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Alsace 2000 and 1999

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2001

Alsace is one of the world most picturesque growing regions, but with the sheer number of different cuvees most producers offer each year (often two dozen or more), and two new vintages to taste, I was lucky to see daylight on my most recent tour of the area's best addresses in early May

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1999 and 1998 Sauternes

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2001

Bordeaux producers of sweet wines missed out on the region's millennial celebration in 2000

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Daniel Thomases on Southern Italy

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2001

Italian viticulture began in Southern Italy, brought there by early

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Best New Releases from Australia

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2001

There have never been as many exciting Australian wines in the marketplace as there are today

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Best New Wines from Argentina

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2001

The better wines from Argentina continue to outclass their counterparts from Chile

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2000, 1999 and 1998 Bordeaux

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2001

What if Bordeaux threw a millennium party and the sun didn't show up? In early July of 2000, that was the horrifying thought going through the minds of chateau proprietors in the region

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Focus on California

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2001

My exhaustive tastings of new California wines in late winter and early spring, both in the cellars and in my dining room, consisted largely of examples from the '99 and '98 vintages, two cool, late harvests in which Bordeaux red varieties often struggled to ripen, especially in cooler sites and at high altitude

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1999 and 1998 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2001

The charming, delicious 1999 red Burgundies, made from a bumper crop of grapes, could hardly be more different in style from the concentrated but sometimes hard-edged '98s, which were the product of a challenging growing season

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New Releases from Chile

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2001

Slogging through a couple hundred new releases from Chile this winter was hard work with relatively paltry pay-off

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Mea Culpa

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2001

Due to an error by the editor, publisher and chief glass-washer of this journal, page 31 of Issue 94 was replaced by page 31 of an old issue of the IWC (All other pages in Issue 94 are as nature intended them to be

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Best New Table Wines from Portugal

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2001

My tastings of table wines from Portugal this winter turned up a healthy number of characterful, food-friendly wines that manage to be warm and inviting despite their often brisk acids and substantial tannins

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Oregon Pinot Noir Update

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2001

With the 2000 vintage now resting comfortably in barrel, it is clear that Oregon has enjoyed three consecutive very good to excellent vintages for pinot noir following the dismal 1995-97 trio of rain-plagued harvests

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1999 and 1998 Rhone Valley Wines

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2001

My annual tour of the Rhone Valley in November was unencumbered by the usual obstacles: no snow in the North, no flooding in the South, no striking truckers blocking gasoline deliveries and making travel on the autoroute an adventure

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Focus on Barbera and Dolcetto

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2001

In Italy Piedmont region, the locals drink dolcetto and barbera on a daily basis, reserving their more serious nebbiolo wines, Barolo and Barbaresco, for special occasions

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Germany 1999: Generous to a Fault

IWC

David Schildknecht, Jan 2001

The easy and agreeable personality of Germany 1999 rieslings reflects a warm spring and summer that were stress-free for both vintners and vines

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The Best New Wines from South Africa

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2001

My most extensive tastings to date of recent wines from South Africa turned up numerous interesting new bottles, as well as a growing number of producers who have what it takes to compete on the world wine stage

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Austria Outstanding, Abundant 1999s

IWC

David Schildknecht, Nov 2000

The 1999 vintage brought smiles to the growers of Austria Danubian growing regions

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Current California Releases

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2000

Record prices for many California wines are getting harder to justify, especially in light of the distinctly mixed quality of the 1998 vintage

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Focus on Barolo and Barbaresco

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2000

For those who believe the world climate has changed in recent years, there may be no more dramatic evidence than in the Langhe hills around Alba in Northwestern Italy, the home of Barolo and Barbaresco

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Champagne for Everyone

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2000

Tasting 200 or so Champagnes is always hard on the palate (hey, somebody got to do it), but this year it was particularly enjoyable labor

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1999 and 1998 White Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2000

During my visits to Burgundy's Côte de Beaune in late spring and early summer, virtually no one among the more than three dozen producers I visited made claims of greatness for his 1999 white wines (some, however, were making such predictions for their reds)

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Two Vertical Tastings

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2000

This special feature showcases two of the greatest cabernet-based wines made outside Bordeaux: Ridge Monte Bello and Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet

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New Releases from Washington State

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2000

In the state of Washington, a new winery was established every 13 days in 1999

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Best New Releases from Spain

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2000

Spanish wines remain red-hot in the US Market

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Current Releases from New Zealand

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 2000

Of the nearly 250 current releases from New Zealand I tasted this summer, a solid majority of the standouts were sauvignon blancs, mostly made in the pungently fresh and decidedly unoaky Loire Valley style

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The Best New Wines from Australia

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2000

The crop of new releases from Australia could make a manic-depressive out of even the most rational taster

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1998 and 1997 Sauternes

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2000

Following a string of poor vintages in the early 1990s, Sauternes and Barsac have enjoyed four consecutive good to excellent years since 1996

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Daniel Thomases on Tuscany

IWC

Daniel Thomases, Jul 2000

In the late 1970s, as a direct result of a decade-long period of declining standards and insipid wines, Tuscany vintners found themselves with cellars bulging with bottles that no one had any desire to drink

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Focus on the Languedoc

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 2000

Although prices for some top Languedoc wines are climbing beyond the $30 level, most reds from this part of Mediterranean France still sell for less than $15, making the better Languedoc bottles the world's sexiest inexpensive wines

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1999, 1998 and 1997 Bordeaux

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2000

As a result of the furious tempete of last December 27, which cut a swath of devastation through the forests of the Medoc region, Bordeaux was still looking a little ragged around the edges on my recent early spring tour

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Focus on California

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2000

California's string of four consecutive very good to outstanding vintages came to an abrupt end in the El Nino year of 1998, a late, cool growing season punctuated by extremes

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1997 Vintage Ports

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 2000

Many early reports on the 1997 vintage ports have described the year as outstanding

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1998 and 1997 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2000

As I toured the best red Burgundy addresses in November, growers were still buzzing about the huge 1999 crop, a harvest for which they were granted the right to make 40% more wine (30% for the grand crus) than the normal maximum yield, or rendement de base, set for each appellation

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New Releases from Chile and Argentina

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2000

If you're familiar with the wines of Chile, you've no doubt read that this is a near-Edenic region featuring wall-to-wall sunshine and boringly clement harvests

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The Best of South Africa

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2000

My annual tasting of new releases from South Africa made it abundantly clear that a small but steadily growing number of estates are crafting predictably good and in some cases excellent wines

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Oregon Pinot Noir Update

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 2000

After three vintages of mediocre to average quality, Oregon fortunes have taken a major turn for the better in 1998 and 1999

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1998 and 1997 Rhone Valley Wines

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2000

Ploughing through snow in the North and enjoying brilliant sunshine in the South, I spent ten days in the Rhone Valley in late November, immersing myself in the '98s and following up on the mostly bottled '97s

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Best New Releases From Italy

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 2000

On the following pages are notes on my favorite new Italian wines tasted in recent months, from among six or seven hundred sampled

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Germany Improbable 1998s

IWC

David Schildknecht, Jan 2000

Germany's 1998 vintage commenced with a precocious, uniform bud break and successful flowering

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The Best of Rioja and Ribera del Duero

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 1999

Spanish wine is on fire today, hotly pursued by well-heeled enthusiasts and restaurateurs in Spain and increasingly sought in Europe, the U

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Austria's Astonishingly Successful 1998s

IWC

David Schildknecht, Nov 1999

The 1998 vintage in the Krems area, Austria fount of world-class dry white wine, commenced auspiciously.

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Current Releases from California

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 1999

Following are my notes on new releases from California, including a number of wines I previously reviewed from barrel

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Focus on Champagne

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 1999

There is a great deal of confusion in the marketplace over the availability of Champagne for millennial merrymaking- and strong indications of hoarding on the part of retailers and individual celebrants

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1998 and 1997 White Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 1999

Burgundy lovers who bought the '95s and '96s heavily can afford to view today outrageously high prices with equanimity

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The Best from Mediterranean France

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 1999

The range of wines and styles produced in Provence and especially the Languedoc is mindbending, so vintage generalizations are of limited utility

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Best New Wines from Washington State

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 1999

A July vacation in Seattle and the spectacular northern Cascades was the perfect pretext to visit some of Washington State top wineries and survey current releases

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Today Tokaji

IWC

David Schildknecht, Sep 1999

Tokaji, Jancis Robinson once observed, is "one of the few wines that could justifiably be described as legendary

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The Best Wines from Central Italy: Umbria, the Marches, Latium

IWC

Daniel Thomases, Sep 1999

Since the mid-1990s, central Italy-which might be defined as a belt of territory stretching across the peninsula to the south of Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna-has been attracting considerable attention as a new source of quality wine

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Best New Releases from Australia

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 1999

Following is my most extensive report to date on new releases from Australia—featuring a host of wines familiar to American wine lovers and a bunch you've probably never tried before, much less heard of

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Alsace 1998 and 1997

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 1999

Alsace identity and reputation are threatenedby two alarming trends:the region's extremely highcrop levels of recent years and the steady climb in

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Five Vertical Tastings

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 1999

This special feature showcases the Meursault Charmes of Domaine Lafon, Dalla Valle Maya, Dominus Estate, Chave's Hermitage and Alvaro Palacios' Priorato superstar L'Ermita

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1997 and 1996 Sauternes

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 1999

My extremely early look at Bordeaux 1998 sweet wines suggests that this was the third consecutive successful vintage for Sauternes and Barsacs

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Focus on California

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 1999

My late winter tour of the best North Coast addresses, plus extensive subsequent tastings of finished wines in New York in recent weeks, provided me with an in-depth look at California huge but highly successful 1997 vintage

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1998, 1997 and 1996 Bordeaux

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 1999

Last spring, the 1997 Bordeaux vintage opened at price levels far in excess of wine quality, and the silence from the claret-drinking world was deafening

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The Best New Wines from Portugal

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 1999

In the hopes of providing Wine Cellar readers with an alternative to pricey red Burgundies, I have included tasting notes on the best new table wines I've tasted from Portugal in recent months

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1997 and 1996 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 1999

If you're searching for a simple generalization on the 1997 red Burgundies to help you decide whether to buy these wines or simply to take a year off following your purchases of '96s and '95s, don't look here: 1997 ain't that simple

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Oregon Pinot Noir Update

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 1999

My annual coverage of current Oregon pinot noir releases focuses on the '96s and '97s, an average and a weak year, respectively, that nonetheless offered better raw material than the rot plagued, underripe 1995 vintage

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Germany 1997: Easy-Access Ripeness

IWC

David Schildknecht, Jan 1999

While 1996 was characterized by a late catch-up in ripeness made possible by a sunny October, 1997 is a vintage that featured early ripening under dry conditions, followed by refreshing rain in September, then unremittingly sunny but cool weather in October

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1997 and 1996 Rhone Valley Wines

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 1999

By most accounts, and as far as I can tell from my limited early tastings in early December, the Rhone Valley 1998 vintage will surpass the two previous years in quality

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Best New Releases From Italy

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jan 1999

On the following pages are notes on my favorite new Italian wines tasted in recent months

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Focus on Barolo and Barbaresco

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 1998

When I left Italy Piedmont region in late September with the nebbiolo harvest imminent, producers of Barolo and Barbaresco were looking forward to their fourth consecutive highly successful vintage a streak without precedent in the Langhe hills around Alba

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Current Releases from California

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 1998

On the following pages are notes on scores of new releases from California, including a number of wines that I previously reviewed from barrel

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Best New Wines from the Loire Valley

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 1998

Although some 1996 Loire Valley wines have already disappeared from the marketplace, most of the vintage more serious dry reds as well as many whites are now available on retail shelves

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A Tasting of the 1991 Northern Rhones

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 1998

From the outset, the 1991 vintage in the Northern Rhone Valley was overshadowed by 1990, perhaps the greatest vintage of our generation for syrah in France

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Focus on Champagne

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 1998

Whether it is true, as some have maintained, that the major Champagne shippers are holding back much of their best juice for special millennium bottlings to be released in 1999 is impossible for the Champagne outsider to know for certain

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Best New Releases from Spain

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 1998

My marathon tastings of Spanish wines during the summer of 1998 turned up many fantastic new bottles, as well as a bodega full of cheap wines that offer compelling value

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Austria Awe-Inspiring Autumn of 1997

IWC

David Schildknecht, Sep 1998

The two dozen growers I visited this year (all of them within about a 12 mile radius of Krems on the Danube) claimed 1997 is the finest vintage since either 1990 or 1986, depending on one geographical and personal perspective

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Best New Wines from Washington State

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 1998

The best red wines from Washington State continue to deliver uncommon varietal character, flavor intensity and freshness, as well as considerable early appeal

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1997 and 1996 White Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 1998

This spring I made my annual tour of the best white Burgundy addresses of the Cote d'Or with some trepidation

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Best New Wines from South Africa

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Sep 1998

In the five years or so since I last offered extensive coverage of South Africa wines in the Wine Cellar the quality of these wines has improved dramatically

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Five California Verticals

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 1998

On the following pages are the results of vertical tastings of five outstanding California wines from five different grape varieties

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Brunello di Montalcino and Other Red Wines of Tuscany...

IWC

Joel Butler MW, Jul 1998

An exhausting two-week trip to Italy in April to cover Montalcino, the intense VinItaly fair in Verona, and numerous Barolo and Barbaresco estates further convinces me that Italy finest wine regions are entering a period of quality production unrivalled in history

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The Best New Releases From Australia

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 1998

Australia remains one of the world richest sources for excellent inexpensive wine

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Focus on Sauternes

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 1998

My coverage of Bordeaux great sweet wines is presented in two sections: First, I offer a brief report on the very promising '96 and '97 vintages, which followed several lean years that tried the souls of the proprietors of Sauternes and Barsac after the great trio of 1988, 1989 and 1990

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The Best From Mediterranean France

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Jul 1998

Wine lovers who bring modest expectations to the red wines of Provence and the Languedoc cannot help being charmed by the warm, inviting character of these wines

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1997, 1996 and 1995 Bordeaux

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 1998

At the beginning of April of last year, I enjoyed a perfect week of tasting weather in Bordeaux: dry, sunny days followed by cold, clear nights

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Focus on California

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, May 1998

High California wine prices continue to make purchasing these wines an adventure: today, there are far too many competent but unexceptional bottlings of cabernet-based wine retailing for $80 or more! But the quality of wine being made by California best producers today is truly stunning, and the state has not yet had a bad vintage in the '90s

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Oregon Pinot Noir Update

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 1998

My notes below focus on the '95 and '96 vintages-a weak year and an average year for Pinot Noir in Oregon

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1996 and 1995 Red Burgundies

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 1998

Although I embark on each trip to taste the new Burgundy vintage with optimism and an open mind, it was hard to avoid a measure of skepticism in advance of my November red wine adventure

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The Best New Wines from Portugal

IWC

Stephen Tanzer, Mar 1998

While a growing number of Portuguese table wines have passed the $20 barrier, most can still be found for less than $12-many in the single digits