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The Many Faces of McLaren Vale

Australia, featured

Angus Hughson, Feb 2023

For over 130 years, the idyllic seaside region of McLaren Vale has been a cornerstone for South Australia, particularly for powerful Shiraz. This report covers McLaren Vale’s recent evolution, defined by wines of increasing subtlety and finesse, seen across Shiraz, and the region’s emerging status as a hotspot for exceptional Grenache.

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Cleaning Out the Cupboard: Bordeaux 1943-2020

featured, France: Bordeaux

Neal Martin, Jan 2023

This article cleans out my cupboard of miscellaneous Bordeaux tasting notes. It embraces legendary bottles and iconic vintages, minnows and seasons long-forgotten, even derided. Few pleasures in life surpass that of a bottle of wine with years under its belt.

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The Deep Bench of Gigondas

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2023

Like the rest of the Rhône valley, and Europe, Gigondas has been confronting hot, dry weather conditions since 2017. Luckily, the best, most experienced growers and winemakers have handled the situation with a steady hand. Still, there’s no question that many wines from recent vintages are distinctly powerful, often high in alcohol, with more dark fruit character and tannic structure than usual.

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The Pendulum Swings: 2012 Brunello di Montalcino

featured, Italy: Tuscany

Eric Guido, Jan 2023

The 2012 Brunello di Montalcinos immediately appealed to buyers, consumers and restaurant-goers. While warm and dry, 2012 yielded balanced wines, but the big question has always been: how well will they mature over time?

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Luján de Cuyo: Old Vines and a Patchwork of Soils

featured, Argentina

Joaquín Hidalgo, Jan 2023

Luján de Cuyo is a historic region that is reinventing itself and looking to a terroir-based future. This report covers the relaunch of the first D.O.C. in South America, several new Malbecs and a handful of old vintages, exploring how a region with much to offer is making the most of its best qualities.

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Burgundy 2021: The Market

featured, France: Burgundy

Neal Martin, Jan 2023

This opinion piece was originally composed as part of my 2021 Burgundy report. Given the escalation of prices in recent years, here, I discuss what is fueling this inflation, its potential consequences and trends I have seen with respect to Burgundy’s distribution.

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2019 Barolo: Back on Track

featured, Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2023

After the highly problematic and uneven 2018s, Barolo bounces back with a stellar vintage in 2019 that could very well represent the beginning of a new cycle of strong, outstanding years for this historic appellation. The 2019s are potent, tightly wound wines that will thrill readers who appreciate the nuance, subtlety and structure of Nebbiolo. Today, the 2019s show elements of youthful austerity that, at times, recall vintages such as 2016, 2005 and 1999. The only thing 2019 lacks is some of the visceral excitement found in the very best years, although the top wines certainly check all the boxes.

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2021 Sonoma Preview

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2023

It’s far too early for me to have a complete view of the 2021 vintage in Sonoma County, but the wines I have tasted so far suggest this is a very good and possibly outstanding vintage. The best 2021s are deep, beautifully layered and highly expressive of site. Watch this space for updates in the coming weeks.

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Servants of the Seasons: Burgundy 2021

featured, France: Burgundy

Neal Martin, Jan 2023

Apart from devastating black frost, snow, stunted vine growth, mud, mildew, oïdium, rot, localised hail, difficulties recruiting pickers, erroneous weather forecasts, tiny yields and problems filling vats, the 2021 growing season went swimmingly well in the Côte d’Or. Welcome to the most frustrating, convoluted, brilliant, disappointing, vexing, motley, inspiring, distasteful, delicious, remarkable vintage in recent years.

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Never a Dull Vintage in the Northern Rhône

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2022

It’s an interesting time for wineries in the Northern Rhône valley. On the one hand, demand for their wines, especially for small-production, single-vineyard bottlings, is higher than ever. On the other, nature hasn’t been playing nice for the last several vintages. Luckily, the best producers have handled the increasingly challenging conditions with aplomb.