Winemaker Christian Roguenant arrived in California some 35 years ago. A native of the Burgundy region in France, he quickly gained fame making elegant sparkling wines at Maison Deutz near Pismo Beach. Deutz eventually gave way to Lateita Winery, and Roguenant moved on, working for the Niven family in the nearby Edna Valley.
With the Nivens, ...Read more
Valentine's Day presents a unique opportunity for wine lovers. Although there are many excellent options for a Valentine's wine, there is one slam dunk. And that would be bubbly. Throughout its many iterations -- Champagne, cava, Prosecco, cremant, domestic sparkling, etc. -- bubbly brings the sparkle to the party.
That isn't to say you ...Read more
Like most wine enthusiasts, I am fond of wines with a good story. Of course, they must taste good, too. Yet there is no question a solid backstory enhances the appeal.
In particular, small family wineries serving up great wines have long fed that desire to serve a story at the dinner table along with the evening's wine. In recent years, ...Read more
In the early 1990s, when winemaker Steve Ledson broke ground on the Ledson winery and his dream home along Highway 12 in the Sonoma Valley, it was the talk of the town -- the town being nearby Santa Rosa. It isn't every day you find a 16,000-square-foot French castle going up in the neighborhood.
The Castle became a popular tourist attraction...Read more
There are numerous predictions of gloom and doom circulating throughout the wine business these days. Much of the hand-wringing has been inspired by a couple of business-insider reports that indicate a) we are in the midst of a wine glut and b) growth in wine consumption has stagnated as millennials seem to be gravitating toward other adult ...Read more
Although I missed about one third of my typical annual tasting regimen while recovering from knee surgery, over the course of 2019 I did manage to squeeze in dozens (more likely hundreds) of wines I would characterize as profound including two -- the ZD 2015 cabernet sauvignon reserve and the 2015 Castello Banfi ExcelsuS -- that I awarded a ...Read more
Over the course of the past year, I have tasted thousands of wines, judged multiple wine competitions and traveled thousands of miles to evaluate wines from Bordeaux to the Napa Valley. The wineries that sparkled are too numerous to mention.
Still, there was one that rose up and smacked me between the eyes in 2019. If you guessed it must be a...Read more
Admit it, you're one of those wine lovers who only thinks about bubbly between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. And if you're not, you certainly crave the fizz more around the holidays. At least that's what the numbers indicate. The bulk of U.S. sparkling wine sales come in the final two months of the year -- every year.
So, a refresher ...Read more
During the gifting season, I am inclined to wander the wine aisles at the Costco near me hoping for a wine or two that speaks to me. The wines that speak loudest are typically my go-to wines. They've become my go-to wines because they are reliable, regardless of vintage.
For example, if I spy anything from Guigal, Chapoutier or Jean-Luc ...Read more
A number of years ago, while covering the annual Bordeaux en primeurs tastings in France, I decided to decamp for the week at the lovely Cordeillan-Bages, a Relais & Chateaux hotel in Pauillac. The attraction for me was the restaurant, which had one Michelin star at the time.
Over the course of en primeurs week, I had the opportunity to dine ...Read more
With Thanksgiving squarely in the rearview mirror, it's time to turn our attention to the gifting season. There is a common perception that buying for a wine enthusiast presents a tremendous challenge. But why go through the anxiety of choosing the perfect wine for your friend or loved one?
There is a better way. Gift that person something ...Read more
The annual Thanksgiving feast is the best of times for a wine enthusiast.
The combination of sweet and savory flavors on the typical Thanksgiving table opens the door to a multitude of options. Add to that the versatility of a roast turkey all by itself and a person almost can't go wrong no matter the wine selection.
As for me, I want it all...Read more