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For Value, Think Chablis

CHABLIS, France -- France would be the last place most wine enthusiasts would look for great value in wine. The staggering cost of many of the most familiar estates in Bordeaux casts a mighty shadow over the entire French wine business.

The problem with that narrative? It's simply not true. Here in the northernmost village of Burgundy, where ...Read more

Postcard From Paris: Chez Papa

PARIS -- Stopping in Paris for a few days on my way to the wine regions of France has become a ritual. There's usually a trip to Willi's Wine Bar on the Right Bank. Willi's has always served exceptional wine, but the cuisine was somewhat rustic. It has recently upped its game in the kitchen, for which I am grateful.

Joel Robuchon's l'Atelier,...Read more

The Other Face of Napa Cabernet

There is little question that cabernet sauvignon is the Napa Valley's money grape. As a stand-alone grape, it produces some of the most expensive and sought-after red wines in America. And, as a blending agent, it is the backbone of most of the Napa Valley's most coveted and traditional Bordeaux-style red blends.

This is Napa's strength.

But...Read more

What's in Your Glass?

It would seem that the pleasure you might expect from a glass of wine has everything to do with the wine in the glass and nothing to do with anything else. Yet everything isn't what it seems when it comes to a glass of wine. The temperature can have a profound influence on flavor, for example. How long the bottle has been open is another ...Read more

Lessons From the 2018 Winemaker Challenge

While pricey Napa Valley wines dominated the top awards at the 2018 Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition in San Diego at the end of January, other trends emerged, as they always do.

The Winemaker Challenge involves blind tastings, as all credible wine competitions do. Judges evaluate each wine without such vital information as ...Read more

5 Great Pairings for Valentine's Day Bubbly

We can all agree that Champagne adds a bit of sparkle to Valentine's Day. A box of chocolates will get high marks, too. So far so good, right? Until you take a bite of chocolate with a sip of Champagne. That's when the Valentine's mood is likely to sour.

Champagne and chocolate -- a traditional combination on Valentine's Day -- simply do not ...Read more

Napa Dominates Winemaker Challenge

Three powerhouse Napa Valley wineries dominated the top awards over the weekend at the ninth annual Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition in San Diego. The Winemaker Challenge is one of only two U.S. wine competitions judged exclusively by professional winemakers.

V. Sattui was named winery of the year for the second consecutive ...Read more

Rethinking Zinfandel

Adam Sbragia was raised in a winemaking family in Healdsburg, in the heart of Sonoma County. His grandfather made wine. His father, Ed Sbragia, is the only winemaker to have twice produced a wine that earned the coveted Wine of the Year award from Wine Spectator. And for the past decade or so, Adam has been making wine at Sbragia Family ...Read more

The Queen of California Pinot Noir

Frequent readers of this column no doubt know I often refer to Merry Edwards as the queen of California pinot noir.

That wasn't always the case, for when Edwards came out of U.C. Davis in the 1970s, she gained her initial fame making stunning cabernet sauvignon at Mount Eden Vineyards in California's Santa Cruz Mountains. She eventually moved...Read more


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