Home & Leisure

Grilling-Season Rules

The grilling season is upon us, exciting the imagination with visions of a smoking hot barbecue covered with fresh salmon, savory bratwurst, thick steaks and foil-covered corn on the cob. So it must be time for the annual "Wine Talk" Grilling Rules.

Rule Number 1: The grillmeister, usually moi, must have the proper tools for the task. These ...Read more

Watching Bordeaux Prices

The following is an excerpt from an email sent from a fellow Bordeaux collector to like-minded friends, many of whom are dismayed by the news that prices for the very good 2015 vintage, those being sold on the en primeur market, have gone up an average of 15 percent (from 2014 prices).

"Earlier this month, in anticipation of our middle child'...Read more

MacPhail Departs From Namesake Winery

HEALDSBURG, Calif. -- We've seen this act before: Richard Arrowood sells Arrowood. Gone. Gary Farrell sells Gary Farrell. Gone. Richard Sanford sells Alma Rosa. Gone.

The latest disappearing act involves James MacPhail, the well-regarded pinot noir specialist who sold the MacPhail winery to Hess about a year ago.

During a recent visit, as I ...Read more

The Bordeaux Conundrum

Tasting hundreds of young Bordeaux wines from barrel is an annual exercise of self-inflicted pain for many of the world's wine journalists and prominent members of the global wine trade. The purpose of the En Primeur tastings, which are organized by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, is to get some sense of each vintage prior to the sale ...Read more

Canary in the Coal Mine

Michel Rolland is perhaps the world's most famous winemaker. From his home base in Bordeaux, the winemaking guru's influence reaches across the globe, from France to Argentina to California.

His style of wine is robust and full-bodied, much like the man himself. Rolland has strong opinions on everything wine-related and is never at a loss for...Read more

The Rise of a Bordeaux Juggernaut

BORDEAUX, France -- When Daniel and Florence Cathiard first laid eyes on Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte more than a quarter century ago, it was love at first sight, despite the chateau's run-down condition and spotty reputation.

The couple met while they were on the French Olympic ski team in the 1960s. They took on other endeavors, and years ...Read more

10 Wines That Impressed Critics

The annual Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition brings together many of the nation's most prominent wine journalists once a year to evaluate recently released wines. The judges are celebrated wine authorities, such as Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan, authors of the "Wine for Dummies" series, and Leslie Sbrocco, author...Read more

Platinum Perspectives

The unveiling of the winners at a major wine competition is the moment of truth for most professional wine judges, a time when perception meets reality.

The competing wines are tasted blind to eliminate the possibility of personal bias either for or against any winery in pursuit of a gold medal, or better. There are always surprises, although...Read more

Exploring Single-Vineyard Pinots

A week in wine country, whether in the U.S. or abroad, always leaves me with a notebook full of tiny facts and observations. These can be useful to a wine country visitor, although they may not have enough oomph to become a full-blown column.

I recently spent a week visiting wineries in Napa, California, and Sonoma, California. As usual, I ...Read more

A Family Affair

ST. HELENA, Calif. -- Chances are you've never heard of Young Inglewood Vineyards, a small property in St. Helena that has been the site of a coveted Napa Valley vineyard since the 1800s.

The Young family -- Jacky, Jim, Scott and Mary -- built the winery from the ground up after purchasing the property more than a decade ago. There's nothing ...Read more


Social Connections


Wee Pals Baby Blues Shoe BC Intelligent Life Herb and Jamaal