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Memories Tumble Out: Pichon Baron 1937-1990

Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Bordeaux, featured

Neal Martin, Aug 2022

Even the most famous Bordeaux estates own pitifully small libraries of older vintages. When Christian Seely invited me to taste a bygone era of Pichon Baron from the châteaux’s scant reserves, I knew it would be an unrepeatable travel back in time, one with plenty of surprises.

The village of chavignol is famous not only for its goat cheese but two of the appellation%e2%80%99s most esteemed lieux dits  les monts damn%c3%a9s and les culs de beaujeu cover copy

Sancerre: Finding Its Place

France: Loire, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Aug 2022

Forget the grape behind Sancerre, local producers are increasingly keen to push their individual vineyards. With records showing the Sancerrois were using the term “climat” before the Burgundians and with hundreds of individual sites today, it’s important to acknowledge their history, but I wonder if the world demands such detail from Sancerre, or if its winemakers are trying to push wine uphill.

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Santa Barbara: A Rare Bright Spot for California in 2020

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2022

Santa Barbara is one of the few bright spots for California in 2020. Tucked away to the south, far away from fires that were so damaging in the north, Santa Barbara was blessed with far more favorable conditions throughout the year, especially during the critical weeks around harvest. There were some challenges, most notably heat spikes in middle to late August and all of the stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but overall Santa Barbara fared much better than the rest of California. Based on what I have tasted and seen so far, Santa Barbara produced the finest wines in California in 2020 by a wide margin.

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Relive the Nightmare! 2008 Red & White Burgundy

France: Burgundy, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Neal Martin, Aug 2022

What lies inside a bottle of Burgundy? You never know until you open it. So, when touring the region, I tasted an eclectic array from the divisive 2008 vintage to see how the wines turned out, finding a few surprises on the way.

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The Inflection Point: Mâconnais 2020 & 2021

France: Burgundy, featured

Neal Martin, Aug 2022

With the inception of Premier Crus and more Burgundy lovers appreciating its well-priced wines, the Mâconnais currently has the wind in its sails. But how did winemakers react to two recent vintages that were so different: 2020 and 2021? There is only one way to find out.

Climens bottle line up copy

Magic and Madness: Climens 1912-2020

Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Bordeaux, featured

Neal Martin, Aug 2022

At the end of April 2022, I conducted what turned out to be the final tasting of Climens with Bérénice Lurton as owner. This article examines the château’s history and viticulture with contributions from Lurton herself, as well as dozens of tasting notes stretching back decades.

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Vibrant Whites from the Cool Terroirs of Argentina

Argentina, featured

Joaquín Hidalgo, Aug 2022

Argentina is enjoying a resurgence in white wines. After several decades in which the focus has been on reds, producers have been exploring new, creative territory based on bringing out the best of the country’s cool, continental sites. The result has been an explosion in new approaches, several of which have produced excellent wines, but others have not fared so well.

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Loire Cabernet Franc: Who Do You Think You Are?

France: Loire, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Aug 2022

Over the past two decades the quality of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc has soared. The very best wines are inimitable, elegant, terroir-driven and sensitively handled. They deserve to be discovered, in their own right, as superlative Loire reds, not a fresher alternative to Bordeaux Right Bank nor an affordable offering for Burgundy drinkers. Following four visits to the Loire in the first half of 2021, I was left wondering why Loire Cabernet wasn’t enough, why did it have to be benchmarked against other French wine regions that don’t make single varietal Cabernet Franc?

Chadwick bottle shot

Viñedo Chadwick: 21 Years of Cabernet Sauvignon from Puente Alto

Chile, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Joaquín Hidalgo, Aug 2022

In South America, some wines tell a story while others represent an entire era. There is no doubt that in Chile, Viñedo Chadwick is one of the latter. On my last trip to the country, I had the opportunity to explore 21 chapters of that tale, from beginning to end. Here is a journey through both the style of this Cabernet Sauvignon and the history of a terroir that has earned its name in Maipo.

Pichon lalande off vintage bottles

Bring Out Your “Dead”: Pichon-Lalande 1957-2013

Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Bordeaux, featured

Neal Martin, Aug 2022

When I asked Pichon-Lalande winemaker Nicolas Glumineau to pour off-vintages of his choosing, it turned out to be a surprisingly insightful and even enjoyable tasting. Time to venture into growing seasons hardly seen to learn more about this Pauillac Second Growth.