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Listed in chronological order. The most recent are at the top:

Gunning for Burgundy It's no news that Australian producers make good Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but can they compete with the best?... go to article

The Great Grape Shootout What's your favorite varietal -- really? If Americans weren't looking at labels, would they still insist on Chard, Cab and Merlot? Two of these three kings were dethroned in a recent blind tasting... go to article

Australia vs. France Could any Australian Cab be near as good as 1990 Margaux? Would you believe an Oz Chardonnay could beat the pants off a Verget Batard? Oh yeah? I've got a generous friend who delights in discrediting sacred cows, and he did it again a few nights ago... go to article 

Oz Blockbusters: Can You Tell 'Em Apart? There's no doubt that Australian producers can make big, delicious wines, but some complain they're too formulaic. How true is this charge? A blind tasting provides some surprising answers...go to article

The 1000 Point Dinner Ten wines, each rated 100 points by The Wine Advocate or Wine Spectator. How perfectly will they perform in real life?...go to article

Letters to America from the Wine World Wine producers in Germany, Italy and France write to express their solidarity with Americans in the wake of the terrorist attacks...go to article

Report from the Finger Lakes, Part 1 Even after a terribly tough 2000 vintage, wineries in New York's Finger Lakes appear to be prospering as never before. With better weather, we might see an even bigger leap in quality. As it is, they've made progress in two key areas...go to article

All But Perfect The food is terrific. The wines, legendary. Our companions, two of our favorite people. So how could this not be an evening of sheer perfection? Following, a lesson in how not to run a restaurant...go to article

Extreme Cab: The 1997 California Vintage They're extremely good. They're extremely expensive. Should you buy? Should you boycott? Search me. But this I can tell you...go to article

Bouchard Bounces Back For quite a stretch of time, Maison Bouchard Père et Fils embodied everything I didn't like about Burgundy. Now the new owner is turning things around. While in Paris, I tasted a bunch of their reds and whites in the company of their general manager and winemaker. Here's how it went...go to article

Burg Pretenders Perform If you want to incite a minor riot over dinner, just suggest to a Burgundy lover that American West Coast efforts are anywhere near as good. But let me tell ya...go to article

When Burgundy Delivers None of us mere mortals one can afford to stuff our cellars with the best Grand Cru Burgs anymore. But if you get enough wine-geeks together, you can stage a minor miracle...go to article

Oz Pinot Noir: Ready for Prime Time? We gave them the best shot we could. Lined up ten of the most highly regarded Pinot Noirs from Down Under. Then bagged 'em, tasted them blind and here's what happened...go to article

Champagne Sure Shots If you've waited this long to select your millennium bubbly -- forget the dire predictions. There's plenty around. Here's the best of what I've tasted this season...go to article

Great Bordeaux You Can Actually Buy I’m not exactly talking about bargains here, but some of the prices aren’t yet out of sight for 1996 Bordeaux. Look out especially for "the other Leoville"...Go to Article

Cult Rites The ultimate tasting of California cult wines? Could be! It happened in North Jersey on September 25, 1999 and you better believe I was there. Here’s the sip-by-sip complete with scads of photos... Go to Article

Are Vintages Bunk? 1990 may have been the best Bordeaux vintage of the last ten years, right? And 1991 may well have been the worst, right?  Okay. Then kindly explain to me...just what happened at this blind tasting? Go to Article

Great White Wonders of 1999 Big, young and showy. We lined up some of the best and here's how they performed... Go to article

Night Thoughts What's it all mean? Where's it all going? Couldn't sleep. It came to me. Make of it what you will...Go to article

'74 Goes Silver Do California Cabs age gracefully? Let's find out! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of this "vintage of the century," a bunch of us tasted through 20 of the best. Here's how they did...Go to article

After the Gold Rush Is there anywhere left in California where wine prices haven’t shot to the moon? Go East, young geek, and explore the Sierra Foothills with us. Here in the old gold rush country, we found beautiful scenery, warm welcomes in the tasting rooms and some 24 karat wine-buying opportunities...

The New Neyers Who are these folks, anyhow? You may recognize them better from their day jobs. But even if you don't, you'll be hearing a lot about their Chardonnays, Syrahs and Merlots. Here's my barrel tasting report from their 1998 vintage...Go to article

Zins of the Century? You may not agree. Not unless you like your Zin to be amazingly fruity and deep as the ocean, with a sixty-second finish and a taste that reflects the site where the grapes were grown....Go to article

98 Will Be Great for at least one hot new West Coast Pinot Noir producer. Their best wines yet, judging from my barrel tastings...Go to article

Dinner in the Caves I thought I had dined in all the coolest places in Napa Valley until...Go to article

97 Isn't Heaven Are the 1997 California Cabs overhyped? No, in fact, the barrel samples taste great. So why the sourpuss headline? In a word...Go to article

W.O.W Italia Before you spend another buck on overpriced Bordeaux or California Cabernet, take a second look at Italy. Even the whites are suddenly more interesting...Go to article

Johnson's Law of Expectations You open an '83 Margaux...and it isn't profound, but still really good. So why does it make you feel so miserable? Presenting a new way to think about wine scores...Go to article

Shan-gri-la in Stags Leap You've never been here, but if this secret wine paradise looks familiar, there's a very good reason...Go to article

White Hats of Winedom Count on Gallo to do what's good for Gallo, but happily there's another outfit doing what's good for wine...Go to article

Mixxin' with Patrick A great wine producer who could be charging consumers a lot more, but for his refreshingly different attitude about pricing...Go to article

For Bubbleheads Only Think you've read your share of purple wine-prose? Hah! You ain't seen nothin' yet...Go to article

The Rise of Hillside Wine geeks are stampeding for this wine now and I'm not ecstatic over what's happening to the prices. But success was well-earned and a long time coming...Go to article

Paradise at the Milton: A Wine Epic Sip by sip, my notes from a tasting hailed in the annals of cyber-winedom as "The RC Challenge." Hosted by Robert Parker...Go to article

Tuscany's Tiny Treasure  This little winery is a model for what the rest of Tuscany should be doing and their Super-Tuscan blend is still a bargain...Go to article

If Kublai Khan had Been a Winemaker Can twenty million dollars make your fondest dreams come true? Can it even make you a Cabernet that gets 97 Parker points? Maybe not yet, but one thing's for sure... Go to article

Rebirth of a Winery If you think most California Merlot is underwhelming, well, yes it is. But don't dismiss the whole shmear until you try...Go to article

Five Hundred Sticks of Dynamite  If you’ve ever tasted one of those great Sterling wines from the ‘70s and wondered why they don’t make them like that anymore, the answer is -- he's alive and well and making his own wine across the valley...Go to article

Top of page


Mark Aubert of Colgin and Peter Michael

Rudy von Strasser of  von Strasser Winery

Harmon Skurnik, distributor of California's most-wanted cult wines

Howell Mountain maestro Dennis Johns of White Cottage Ranch

Dianna and Adam  Lee of Siduri

Patrick  Campbell of Laurel Glen

David Jones of Lava Cap Winery

Ric Forman of Forman Vineyards

Tuscan wine innovator Roberto Cipresso

Napa Valley's Merlot Maven Mike Havens

Zin Kings Larry Turley & Ehren Jordan of Turley Wine Cellars


Italian Sangiovese so righteous, it may be the  bargain red wine of the year...

Serious Spanish red that can give Ribera del Duero a run for half the price...

Best Zin on the market for under $15 (from Ravenswood, no less)...

Best California Chard I've tasted this year for under $10...

Gawjuss Grenache from Australia. Fat, ripe and loaded with raspberries...

Terrific Merlot for just $13.99, from a red hot, up-and-coming wine region...


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