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Runquist Wines Crush It at Critics Challenge

Over the course of my 29-year career as a wine columnist, I've staged more than 70 wine competitions and judged countless others. Each of those events has brought new insights and occasional revelations.

The 16th annual Critics Challenge in San Diego June 8-9 delivered a revelation. Jeff Runquist, who took his first winemaking position at ...Read more

Banfi's 100-Point Wine

A 100-point wine is a rare and beautiful thing. It is my good fortune to come across a wine once or twice a year that is so compelling I have little choice but to give it my highest mark. Such was the case the first weekend in June when I had the pleasure of tasting all wines given platinum awards at the 16th annual Critics Challenge in San ...Read more

Wines Across America

Hang around a wine geek long enough and you will inevitably hear the word "terroir." It is a term coined by the French to explain the influence of a particular vineyard site on the structure and taste of the wines produced there.

Terroir takes into account factors such as sunshine, soil composition and annual rainfall. This is the reason ...Read more

The Grilling Season

The Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off the grilling season in most parts of the country. For some, that means stocking the pantry with wines appropriate for the occasion.

What's appropriate ultimately comes down to personal taste, but a few of the many options are universal. First, and perhaps foremost, find out what the grillmeister ...Read more

Age Matters at Cognac Frapin

COGNAC, France -- Here in this mysterious land known officially as Charente or Charente-Maritime, roughly an hour's drive north of Bordeaux, the rolling hills are covered with hundreds of thousands of acres of vines that produce wine no one will ever drink.

The primary grapes planted in the region -- ugni blanc, folle blanche and colombard --...Read more

The Prosecco Push

Champagne producers frequently lament that the bulk of sales to U.S. consumers comes around the holidays, between November and the end of December. Champagne should be consumed year-round, I am told. I agree completely -- for those who can afford it.

The Prosecco gang has no such problem. The soft, fruity sparkling wine from northeast Italy ...Read more

Oceano Surprises at San Diego Judging

The element of surprise is easily the most scintillating aspect of a "blind" wine tasting. When all bias in favor of region, producer and price is removed, anything can happen and often does.

Such was the case at the 37th San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge from April 6-7. One of the youngest wineries (first vintage 2016) to ...Read more

Bordeaux 2018: 20 Fab Reds

BORDEAUX, France -- The splendid 2018 vintage of red Bordeaux marks the fourth consecutive very good to outstanding harvest in arguably the world's most closely watched wine region. Given its marginal climate, which is often too cold to fully ripen its red grape varieties, the current streak of above-average vintages is unprecedented in recent...Read more

Bordeaux 2018: First Impressions

BORDEAUX, France -- In an annual rite of spring, thousands of wine merchants and dozens, if not hundreds, of wine journalists descend upon this city to take stock of the latest Bordeaux vintage. It matters not that these wines will not be released into the market for almost two years. Interest is driven by the sale of Bordeaux "futures" now.

...Read more


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