It was difficult to chose just ten of the many great bottles I’ve enjoyed this year, but these are some of the best, listen in no particular order. Reviewing thousands of young wines, I generally gravitate towards mature specimens when drinking for pleasure, and 2017 was gave me abundant opportunity to gratify that preference. What’s … More The best bottles of 2017
This article originally appeared in Noble Rot (issue 11). Few North American winemakers are more deservedly celebrated than Burt Williams. Widely regarded as one of Californian Pinot Noir’s most accomplished twentieth-century exponents, his wines expanded the parameters of the possible. Ripe but vibrant and never cloying, above all clearly differentiated by site, in Burt’s hands … More Lunch with Burt Williams
Originally published in Noble Rot (10) When Emidio Pepe established his winery in 1964, he was convinced from the very beginning that the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo could produce one of Italy’s great red wines. Nowadays, it would be hard to argue the point. The world beats a path to his cantina in the sleepy village of … More Emidio Pepe and the road less travelled
I: Tasting critically and tasting appreciatively. It seems to me that there are two distinct ways of tasting: tasting appreciatively and tasting critically. We taste appreciatively when we are drinking; when we take pleasure in a wine, and enjoy it for its merits, whatever they may be. We appreciate a rustic Gigondas, for example, for … More Three short essays on tasting
What makes a site a grand cru? The glib answer is the Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (until 2007 the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine or INAO) which classifies the vineyards of France. More seriously, the evolution and elaboration of the concept of terroir over time is a fascinating subject for the … More What makes a Grand Cru?