Brian and jill o'donnell's belle pente vineyard  in yamhill carlton  has produced some of the willamette vallley's most graceful pinot noirs since 1996.covervopy

Oregon Pinot Noir: The Winning Streak Continues

United States: Oregon, featured

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2020

Oregon’s unprecedented run of outstanding vintages which began in 2014, has been extended yet again with 2018. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2011 and 2007 to find years that were truly challenging, and both of those vintages actually produced a large number of outstanding wines.

2020rose5 covercopy

2020 Rosé-a-Rama

Rest of the World, France, featured

Josh Raynolds, Jun 2020

The Rosé season has started, but definitely not at the frenetic pace of the last several years. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on demand for all wines. Even the ever-popular pink versions aren’t immune to market realities. That said, the best 2019 Rosés are generous, soft and versatile at the dinner table.

Saint michel sur rho%cc%82ne is home to both top vineyards and some of the region's best cellars copy

Exploring Northern Rhône Whites

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, May 2020

The hot growing conditions that defined the 2017, 2018 and 2019 vintages in the Northern Rhône show in the white wines, but the best examples also offer a good bit of energy to counterbalance their richness and ripeness. Simply put, the whites here have never been better, while the top bottlings are easily some of the world’s finest wines.

Some of the most complex and age worthy wines in the world come from the granitic soils of the hermitage hill copy

Northern Rhône: A First Look at the 2019s

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, May 2020

While my late-winter visit to the northern Rhône focused primarily on tasting the 2017s and bottled 2018s, I also had a chance to try a good number of 2019s. Like 2018, 2019 was a hot and dry year, but the wines look extremely promising and show an uncanny blend of depth and vivacity.

For centuries  the garnitic soils of the faned hermitage hill have produced some of the most compex  ageworthy wines in the world copy

Power and Energy: The 2018 and 2017 Northern Rhônes

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2020

Northern Rhône wine lovers whose tastes run to richness and power are going to have a field day with the 2018 and 2017 vintages. While most of the wines tend toward dark fruit character, the best examples also have quite a bit of freshness and energy. That is especially true of the 2018s, which will appeal to readers who prefer a more classic style.

Blessed with a varying topography of rolling hills and varied exposures  san luis obispo produces a range of wine styles copy

San Luis Obispo: Solidifying an Identity

United States: California, featured

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2020

The best-known region within San Luis Obispo County is, of course, Paso Robles. However, most wines that carry the San Luis Obispo designation bear little resemblance to those from that AVA, emphasizing elegance and energy over ripeness and strength.

The hilly terrain of vacqueyras is surrounded by forests and local flora  or garrigue  typical of northen provence

Vacqueyras: The Southern Rhône’s Stealth Appellation

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Feb 2020

While its more famous neighbors have long been on the radar of wine lovers and collectors, Vacqueyras and its wines continue to fly under the radar. That is likely to soon change, especially given the consistently fine value these wines offer and the uniformly high quality of recent and upcoming vintages.

High altitude vineyards in gigondas  like at domaine des bosquets  provide optimal conditions wines of balance and freshness. copy

Gigondas Maintains Its Tempo

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Feb 2020

Gigondas, like the rest of the southern Rhône Valley, experienced lows and highs, in that order, in 2017. The low points came at the beginning of the year, when warm weather set off early flowering, and in May, when shatter severely affected Grenache, resulting in significant crop loss across the region. Fortunately, the remainder of the season was picture perfect, if warm, while the quality of the crop was very high.

Grenache makes up the base of many of the best and most expressive wines from paso robles copy

Paso Robles Can’t Stop Winning

United States: California, featured

Josh Raynolds, Feb 2020

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, 2017 yielded yet another exceptional harvest for Paso Robles. It’s the latest in a stretch of outstanding vintages that extends, unbroken, back to 2011, which was by no means a truly bad year. The best wines deftly combine richness and energy, with a balance of fruit and structure that is compelling.

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Cellar Favorite: 1966 Dow’s Vintage Port

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Portugal

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2020

Nineteen sixty-six has long been an undervalued year for Port, especially given the across-the-board quality of the wines, many of which can stand toe-to-toe with their 1963 siblings.