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2016 Barolo, Part 2 & Late Releases

Italy: Piedmont, featured

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2020

As is our custom, we present our annual Barolo coverage in two installments. This article covers recently bottled 2016 Barolos and a number of other late releases that are in the market. Readers will find everything from benchmark producers to lesser-known growers who made some of their best wines ever.

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Cellar Favorite: 1955 Maison Leroy La Romanée Grand Cru

France: Burgundy, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2020

Maison Leroy’s 1955 La Romanée Grand Cru is a historic wine for many reasons, and not just because of its age. It was the year Henri Leroy asked his daughter Lalou, then 23, to join the family business and help him select the wines for the maison’s portfolio. To this day, Lalou Bize-Leroy has an extraordinary memory of those early wines she tasted with her father.

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Vinous Lockdown Special

France, Austria, General Interest, featured

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2020

As the reality of a prolonged lockdown started to settle-in this past Spring, I thought it would be fun to do something different, to write an article on regions and estates I don’t usually cover and that have been missing from our pages. I hope you enjoy this tour through some of my favorite properties.

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Alto Piemonte & Valtellina, Continued…

Italy: Piedmont, featured

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2020

Keeping up with the fervent pace of change in Alto Piemonte and Valtellina is no easy task these days given the ever-increasing number of estates making fabulous, noteworthy wines. I had originally intended to add the producers in this report to my article Nebbiolo in Its Many Guises: Alto Piemonte & Valtellina, published earlier in the year, but as I tasted through the wines I became convinced these estates, many of them new to Vinous, deserved to be showcased in a separate article.

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Krug: 2006 In Three Acts

France: Champagne, featured

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2020

Clos du Mesnil is one of the most revered sites in Champagne. Rémi and Henri Krug bought the 1.84-hectare vineyard in 1971 with the goal of securing a high-quality fruit source. But once they started working with the fruit, they realized they had something special. The first Clos du Mesnil, the 1979, remains epic to this day. Although not be design, Clos du Mesnil is also the archetype for what many grower Champagnes would later become – single vineyard, single variety, single vintage wines. I recently had the chance to taste the 2006 Clos du Mesnil, the latest release, with Olivier Krug over Zoom, which is how everything seems to happen these days.

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Penultimate: A New Chapter at Promontory

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2020

About ten years ago I met Bill Harlan at a small winery a stone’s throw from Meadowood and The Napa Valley Reserve. Harlan took a set of maps and spread them out over a coffee table. “This is our latest project,” he told me as his eyes lit up. Harlan explained that he had chanced upon the property while hiking back in the 1980s and used evocative phrases like “the land” and “the territory” to describe a place that sounded like something out of the Wild West or a fairy tale, possibly both. That sort of mysticism is not often associated with Napa Valley, but Napa Valley can be that way once you move away from the well-known areas. That place was Promontory. I recently had a chance to taste the first three vintages of Penultimate, the newest wine from the property, with Will Harlan and Winemakers Cory Empting and David Cilli.

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Antinori Solaia From Magnum: 1978-2016

featured, Italy: Tuscany

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2020

It’s always great to be in London. There is something magical about the city. Its energy and pulse are so inspiring. This vertical of Antinori’s iconic Solaia going back to the inaugural 1978, with all but the very early vintages from magnum, was truly unforgettable.

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Chianti Classico: More Than Meets The Eye

featured, Italy: Tuscany

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2020

For the first time in many, many years I was not able to make my summer trip to Tuscany to taste the wines of Chianti Classico. That’s 2020 for you. But you know what? There is something to be said for the perspective gained by tasting the wines far away from those stunning hillside vineyards, removed from the charming towns, without any of that amazing food. Would the wines be as impressive as I have long thought?

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Cellar Favorite: 1978 & 1989 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Collina Rionda

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2020

Bruno Giacosa is no longer with us, but these Barolos from his prime remain riveting testaments to an extraordinary legacy.

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Santa Cruz Mountains: Wines of Breathtaking Pedigree

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2020

I tasted more truly exceptional wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains this year than at any time over the past decade. The 2018 Pinots are utterly breathtaking, while the 2017 and 2016 Bordeaux reds and 2016 Rhônes aren’t too far behind. I have long believed that the Santa Cruz Mountains is one of the world's preeminent regions for fine whites and reds that speak of place. These new releases certainly make a statement.