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Champagne: 2021 New Releases

France: Champagne, featured

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2021

After a brutal year in 2020 in which sales slumped dramatically, Champagne has come back with a vengeance. Demand and enthusiasm are high, no doubt buoyed by a return to more or less ‘normal’ conditions, whatever that means these days. Readers will find an extraordinary range of Champagnes in the market that span the entire stylistic spectrum ranging from the glitziest grande marque new releases to small-production artisan bottlings.

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Cellar Favorite: 1989 Gaja Barbaresco

Italy: Tuscany, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2021

It is still one of the greatest tastings I have ever done. One chilly, late fall afternoon about a dozen years ago, Angelo and Gaia Gaja opened all of their 1989s and 1990s for an article I was working on, Piedmont’s Glorious 1989 and 1990 Vintages Revisited.

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Breaking News: Justin Willett Acquires Iconic Fiddlestix Vineyard

United States: California, General Interest, featured

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2021

Justin Willett’s acquisition of the iconic Fiddlestix Vineyard is sure to make waves for many reasons. For over a decade Willett's superb wines at Tyler have placed him in the upper echelon of Santa Barbara producers. With this investment Willett sends a strong message that the future of Tyler is very much as an estate winery in the Sta. Rita Hills and makes him one of the biggest advocates of the appellation. At Fiddlestix, Willett leads a team with partners Erik Mallea and Todd Gray of Willett-Mallea Farming and entrepreneur/wine lover William Borgers.

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Argentina on the Couch: Malbec, Terroir and Other Trends

Argentina, featured

Joaquín Hidalgo, Nov 2021

In this extensive report, I take a look at the current state of the wine scene in Argentina, a country where creativity is necessary for survival. Malbecs have grown increasingly diverse and reflect the range of terroirs, while a number of new trends are developing. From Cabernet Franc to Pinot Noir, high altitude vineyards are lending real energy and quality to a host of different reds.

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Muscadet: A Region in Crus Control

France: Loire, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Nov 2021

Life has not been kind to Muscadet producers in recent decades, but with the advent of a cru system, focusing on local terroir and extensive lees ageing, there are reasons for optimism. In my report, I ask if this is the rocket fuel this under-appreciated region needs to revive its fortunes or is it a case of Mission Impossible?

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Cellar Favorite: 2012 Pian dell'Orino Rosso di Montalcino

Cellar Journal, Italy: Tuscany, cellar favorite

Eric Guido, Nov 2021

Caroline Pobitzer and Jan Erbach came to Montalcino with the greatest wines of Gianfranco Soldera and Piero Palmucci of Poggio di Sotto in mind.

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Don’t Rain on My Parade: Mâconnais 2019/2020

France: Burgundy, featured

Neal Martin, Nov 2021

Mâconnais has experienced highs this year with its first Premier Crus and lows in terms of devastating frost and hail. Although I could not author a full write-up during my two days there in June, this report covers 2019s and 2020s from some of the region’s finest producers.

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Chablis’ Satellites: Irancy & Saint-Bris

France: Burgundy, featured

Neal Martin, Nov 2021

Irancy and Saint-Bris are both located within close ambit of Chablis. Rather than lump them in with Chablis, I chose to author a separate report, since the wines are fundamentally different and moreover, well-deserving of focus.

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Cellar Favorite: 1995 Haut-Brion

France: Bordeaux, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Nov 2021

The 1995 Bordeaux vintage is one that I would like to revisit more often. It has not been forgotten about. After all, it was one of the most celebrated vintages of the decade, but it has been side-lined by subsequent growing seasons.

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Italy's Food and Wine Epicenter: Emilia-Romagna

Italy: North, featured

Eric Guido, Nov 2021

Emilia-Romagna is the source of Italy’s most beloved culinary creations. Can you imagine a world without Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto di Parma and aceto balsamico? Yet what we don’t often consider are the wines that make a perfect pairing for this rich and hearty cuisine. Add in one of Italy’s undiscovered sources of Sangiovese, and you have a region that no wine lover should ignore.