Category Archives for Producers and Wineries

margrit mondavi napa valley wine

Remembering Margrit Mondavi: How One Woman Helped Change the Perception of Napa Valley Wine

We lost a wine icon this year. Margrit Mondavi passed away from cancer on September 2, 2016, and although she is no longer with us, she leaves behind a long legacy that will ripple through California’s wine industry for decades. My father-in-law remembers the first time he met Margrit Mondavi. “She was magnanimous and sharp as a tack,” he sai...
2007 brunello

Hidden Gem of the Month: 2007 Valdicava Brunello Is an Age-Worthy Tuscan Masterpiece

Brunello di Montalcino is the crowning jewel of Italy’s Sangiovese grape, capable of lasting as long as 20 years in a cellar without much effort. Yet when the weather, the winemakers, and the cellar conditions are just right, Brunello can exceed this lifespan by an additional 10 or even 20 years; it’s a rare feat, but I’ve seen it happen. I...
Richebourg 1986

Unicorn Wines: The Legendary Domaine Henri Jayer Richebourg 1986 Is the Last of Its Kind

Some wine experts have a pretty loose definition of “unicorn wine.” I’ve seen critics give unexceptional wines the unicorn title simply because the vintner didn’t produce as much wine as expected in a particular year. Personally, I’m far more measured about which wines I deem unicorns. They can’t just be rare or expensive; they should m...
Bordeaux Wine Blend

Hidden Gem of the Month: 2000 Pavie Is a Slow-Aging Bordeaux Blend for Patient Collectors

Growing up in a wine-loving family, I learned that patience makes great wines. My great uncle had an apartment in New York that was covered wall-to-wall in empty bottles of Bordeaux Grand Cru, but he was the most proud of his dust-covered collection of 40-year-old wines that he had yet to drink. I own one 20-year-old bottle from his “museum,” a...
1971 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon

Unicorn Wines: 1971 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard Is a Rare Wine with a Rich History

When I first took an interest in wine, Ridge was my gateway to finer bottles. As a child, I’d visit my family in California every year, and I’d always see at least one Ridge bottle resting on the rack in my grandma’s pantry; it was her go-to celebration wine. By the time I was old enough to drink and finally had enough money to splurge on a d...
Best Napa Valley Vintages

Hidden Gem of the Month: Looking for the Best Napa Valley Vintages? The 2013 Scarecrow Has It All

Wine critic Richard Jennings never understood the hype around California cult Cabernet. He admits that these wines are usually ultra-concentrated and flavorful, but, he says, “I also believe the great majority of wines in this category are hardly deserving of the stratospheric prices and disproportionate attention they have received over the year...
2005 Cheval Blanc

Hidden Gem of the Month: 2005 Cheval Blanc Offers the Best Wine Investment for Your Money

In the film Sideways, a character muses, “You know, the day you open a ‘61 Cheval Blanc…that’s the special occasion.” The main character in the film is obsessed with 1961 Cheval Blanc, and for good reason; in its best vintages, it’s one of the finest wines in the world. But the 2005 Cheval Blanc received even higher ratings than tha...
Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select

Hidden Gem of the Month: 2002 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select Won’t Go Out of Style

  Backlash has been brewing over jammy, bold California Cabernet. Critics of wine “Parkerization” (named after wine critic Robert Parker) claim that these big Cabernets are the epitome of what’s wrong with the modern wine market; namely, that subtle flavors are being sacrificed for bold, rich notes that fade quickly. Winemaker Bill Dyer ...