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Robert Mondavi the Man

The top selection this week in the Wine Talk reviews is the 50th anniversary wine from Robert Mondavi, probably the most renowned winery in California's Napa Valley.

The 50th anniversary is an important milestone to be sure, but longevity alone is not what makes the occasion significant. Many among the current generation of California wine ...Read more

Inside the 'Wine Talk' Reviews

Regular "Wine Talk" readers know that most weeks I offer a selection of wine recommendations. What may be less well-known is how I choose which wines to highlight.

Over the course of the year I taste thousands of wine samples for review consideration. A small percentage of those are flawed in some way and easily dismissed.

The vast majority ...Read more

Age Before Beauty

The ability to age is one of the accepted tenets of wine appreciation. That may seem oddly disconnected from reality given that the vast majority of wines are consumed within days, if not hours, of purchase. Yet, it is a truth that yields spectacular results for those with the patience and wisdom to wait.

That truth was driven home to me ...Read more

California Wine's Best Kept Secret

South Coast Winery in Temecula, California, recently pulled off a feat no other California winery can claim: winning its fourth Golden Bear Trophy at the California State Fair earlier this month.

The trophy is awarded to one California winery each year, chosen from the hundreds that enter the state fair's annual wine competition. Considering ...Read more

Texas Winery Shines at San Diego Challenge

A number of eye-popping performances were put on at the 2016 San Diego Wine Challenge.

Italy's Castello Banfi served an impressive Super Tuscan and a sensational Brunello from a so-so vintage.

Australia's Mr. Riggs did what Aussie wineries often do: It dominated with delicious wines at price points typically reserved for second-tier wines.

...Read more

Making the Case

As director of the international San Diego Wine & Spirits Challenge, I encounter many tasks too mundane to mention in this space, with one glaring exception. During the course of the SDIWC and the other three wine competitions I manage, I make a point to taste each of the wines awarded a platinum medal.

For practical purposes, I typically ...Read more

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


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