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2024 Tuscany Preview

featured, Italy: Tuscany

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2024

Readers will want to pay special attention to new releases from Tuscany’s 2021 vintage. Favorable growing conditions throughout the year and the gentler winemaking that is increasingly the norm yielded wines that impress with stunning beauty, finesse and exceptional balance. I started tasting the 2021s from barrel in the summer of 2022. Even then, the potential of the vintage was evident. The bottled wines confirm my early impressions. Many estates produced some of their best wines ever. Our Tuscany Preview report covers a handful of new releases ahead of my larger articles coming later in 2024. Watch this space for more.

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Cellar Favorite: 1982 Pol Roger Brut Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Champagne

Neal Martin, Feb 2024

Our greatest Prime Minister, after Liz Truss, had impeccable taste in Champagne. Though I must drink far less bubbly than Sir Winston Churchill, which is probably why, like most people, I have always enjoyed the cuvée created in his honor. As the story goes, the PM met Odette Pol Roger in 1944 at the British Embassy in Paris, and their families struck up a close friendship.

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Vinous Table: Manteca, London, UK

Vinous Table, United Kingdom

Neal Martin, Feb 2024

Manteca does not quite have the same high profile as its peers, yet it was packed to the rafters, probably more of a lunch venue than an evening. It is not pursuing awards or Michelin stars, and all the better for it. Given the escalation in restaurant prices across London, while Manteca is not inexpensive, it is certainly affordable, and the wide choice of wines will please oenophiles. If you find yourself in the City or around Spitalfields, I heartily recommend this Italian.

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The Whites of Rueda Get Serious

featured, Spain

Joaquín Hidalgo, Feb 2024

A region famous for simple, fruity whites that are ideal for casual summer drinking, Rueda is increasingly producing wines of greater depth and sophistication. The effort put in by producers is beginning to pay off, although it is still early days. In this report, I review some of the bottlings that offer a glimpse into that promising future.

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Survive Us All: Latour 1858-2018

France: Bordeaux, featured, Verticals & Retrospectives

Neal Martin, Feb 2024

A First Growth vertical that spans 160 years and took over three years to complete? This epic tasting of Château Latour is virtually unique in scope. But instead of simply glorifying ancient vintages, this article painstakingly examines the backdrop to the wines, winemaking practices, those involved in their creation, critics’ reception, market prices and the ups and the downs of this storied estate.

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Alto Piemonte: Small Is Beautiful

featured, Italy: Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2024

Alto Piemonte remains one of the most glorious, under the radar regions in the world. Wines of delicacy and transparency communicate the essence of site in the handful of villages that comprise this series of small appellations in Northern Italy. Many estates featured in this report are quite small, making some bottles hard to find. Nevertheless, consumers and professionals seeking fine, artisan wines of place that can diversify any cellar will find so much to admire in Alto Piemonte today.

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Cellar Favorite: 2020 Domaine Bernard-Bonin Meursault La Rencontre

France: Burgundy, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Feb 2024

Domaine Bernard-Bonin is a Meursault-based producer that I would dearly love to visit. For reasons I will not go into here, so far, that has not been possible. This has not prevented me from enjoying the occasional bottle that has come my way.

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2013 Brunello di Montalcino: The Throwback Vintage

featured, Italy: Tuscany, Verticals & Retrospectives

Eric Guido, Feb 2024

The 2013 Brunellos were often misunderstood on release. The cool, extended growing season yielded aromatic, high-toned wines sparked with elevated acidity, making them immediately appealing. Could they possibly be classic? Now, ten years later, the proof is in the bottle, and 2013 has shown itself to be worthy of attention.

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2022 Wachau and Lower Austria: An Overshadowed Vintage Worth Exploring

featured, Austria

Anne Krebiehl MW, Feb 2024

Two thousand twenty-two in Austria is a vintage that had the misfortune of following a stellar year. With the spectacular 2021 vintage still fresh in producers’ memories, nobody was waxing lyrical about 2022. It is one of those years that will live in the shadows and eventually be quietly reassessed, especially since the combination of slightly more moderate alcohol levels, with not-quite-as-much stuffing provides surprising drinking pleasure. But, talking about stuffing, there is plenty of that in the best wines.

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Loire Reds: Beyond the Unicorn

France: Loire, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Jan 2024

When it comes to Loire Valley reds, there is one cult producer whose bottles consistently steal the limelight: Clos Rougeard. Following the inauguration of its revamped winery, financed by the Mariana-Trench-deep pockets of its new owners, it’s timely to consider the impact of this unicorn on local producers and international consumers.