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The Cork Problem

You may recall the issue of so-called cork taint that ravaged the wine industry not so long ago.

Many natural corks were infected with a compound called TCA (short for trichloroanisole, which forms through interactions between plant phenols, chlorine and mold). TCA was a huge problem until recently, spoiling many bottles of wine, including ...Read more

Big Winners of 2020

The many setbacks of 2020 notwithstanding, there were numerous bright spots for the wine industry over the course of the year.

As regular readers of this column know, I oversee four major international wine competitions. The insights I gain as I digest the competition results -- from new trends and developments to the confirmation of long-...Read more

2020 Hindsight

Sometime around late February or early March, the biannual Grands Jours de Bourgogne was canceled. It was followed shortly thereafter by postponement, then cancellation of the annual en primeurs tastings hosted in Bordeaux by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux for the wine trade and media.

Other dominoes quickly fell as wineries throughout...Read more

A Schramsberg for the Ages

When the late Jack and Jamie Davies purchased the historic Jacob Schram winery in Calistoga, California, in 1965, they embarked upon what must have seemed at the time to be the impossible dream.

Their goal was to produce the finest sparkling wine in America at the 100-year-old winery up on Diamond Mountain. They dreamed of a bubbly that would...Read more

Why Champagne Dominates

Given a choice between a bottle of Champagne or a sparkling wine from any other corner of the world, most reasonably sane wine enthusiasts would opt for the Champagne. Of course they world. It's more expensive than other bubblies, so it must be better. That's what the smart crowd thinks.

Champagne's unique station in the wine culture is so ...Read more

Winery to Watch: Blackbird Vineyards

Conventional wisdom tells us that the Napa Valley's prominence in the world of fine wine is built upon its extraordinary success with one grape variety: cabernet sauvignon. Cabernet sauvignon, as it happens, is a red grape variety also prominent in the Bordeaux region of southwestern France. Hence the fascination in the Napa Valley with so-...Read more

Budget-Wine Strategies

Early on in my wine journey, I developed a healthy respect for budget wines, and not because I was cheap. My goal from the moment I got hooked on fine wine was to put together a collection of top-notch wines from around the world, a noble but expensive proposition no matter where you shop.

What I discovered in those early buying sprees was ...Read more

Beaujolais Nouveau Has Landed

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the 2020 Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived. The official release date was Nov. 19.

Just as Pilgrims gathered to celebrate the bounty of harvest, the French have a long tradition of celebrating the end of the wine harvest by drinking the so-called vin de primeur, young wines from that year's harvest that have only ...Read more

Thanksgiving: Challenge or Opportunity?

The Thanksgiving table is often seen as a challenge by those who seek to serve the perfect wine with every meal. The combination of sweet and savory, and the sheer number of courses, present a bit of a gauntlet for the average wine enthusiast. I take a slightly different approach.

I look at the Thanksgiving table as an opportunity. Start with...Read more

Winery to Watch: St. Supery

NAPA, California -- Cruising along Highway 29 through the Napa Valley is a feast for the eyes of even the most casual wine lover. From Napa to Calistoga, the hits just keep rolling past: Trefethen, Cardinale, Opus One, Robert Mondavi, Cakebread, Corison, Grgich Hills, Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel, Heitz, Martini, Beringer, Krug, Sterling, to name...Read more

Napa Valley on the Rebound

NAPA, California -- The drive south through the Napa Valley from Calistoga to St. Helena, along the Silverado Trail, is one of the most beautiful and iconic in American wine. On one side of the trail, there is Howell Mountain, with its many historic vineyard properties. On the other side, the remarkable Three Palms Vineyard stretches across ...Read more

Napa Valley Fire Update

On Oct. 20, CalFire announced the Napa Valley's devastating Glass fire was 100% contained. The Glass fire, which raged for 23 days, was perhaps the most destructive in the history of America's most prominent wine region.

The wreckage included 67,000 acres burned and more than 1,500 structures destroyed or damaged, including such iconic ...Read more

Wine and Cheese

No matter your level of interest or knowledge, there is one thing you know about wine: Wine loves cheese, and cheese loves wine. You know this because you have heard the wine and cheese mantra over and over again.

What you are rarely told is what wine goes with what cheese. That's probably because the choices are subjective. There is no ...Read more



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