Moulin a vent post harvest copy

Beaujolais: If You Want Value - You’ve Got It

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2019

While prices for French wines with historic pedigree are often dramatically rising, Beaujolais, for the most part, continues to provide a respite from an overheated market. That, plus a string of recent vintages with average quality level ranging from very good to outstanding, makes Beaujolais one of the most intriguing regions in the world for savvy wine lovers.

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Northern Rhône: 2016 and 2017 Reds

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2019

The two most recent vintages of bottled reds from the northern Rhône present two quite different faces of Syrah: 2017 full of dark fruit character, power and even opulence, and 2016 with bright, well-defined fruit qualities, distinct freshness and harmonious tannins.

2019 rose 3 copy

2019 Rosé Roundup

featured, Rest of the World

Josh Raynolds, Aug 2019

There have never been more high-quality pink wines available than there are today. Worldwide demand for Rosé, at all price levels, is at an all-time high. But the Rosé boom has also resulted in a large number of uninteresting, forgettable wines, so knowing where to look is key. These are the most distinctive and delicious Rosés I tasted this year.

Young vines in the granitc soils of the highly esteemed and high altitude les eygats lieu dit in cornas copy

2017 and 2018 Northern Rhône

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2019

The 2017 vintage in the northern Rhône was marked by unpredictable weather swings, resulting in a short crop of ripe, healthy grapes that produced numerous fruit-forward, highly attractive wines to drink young. Meanwhile, 2018 was another hot year, but the wines show more energy than their 2017 siblings.

1 afternoon at brick house vineyard  one of the first in the united states to be farmed biodynamically copy

Oregon: An Embarrassment of Riches and Richness

featured, United States: Oregon

Josh Raynolds, Jun 2019

Two thousand sixteen is yet another link in an unprecedented chain of outstanding vintages in the Willamette Valley that began in 2014 and has now extended to 2018. Compared to the ‘14s and ‘15s, the ‘16s, while on the rich side for Pinot Noir, show more freshness than wines of the previous years at a similar stage.

The cartoixa de escaladei in priorat was a working monastery  with vineyards  from the 1100s until it was ransacked by the local peasantry in 1835. copy

Mediterranean Spain: Diversity and Consistency

featured, Spain

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2019

From northeastern Catalonia to the country’s southeast corner and all the way west to Andalusia, Spain’s Mediterranean Ocean–influenced winegrowing regions have been experiencing a run of almost uniformly very good to epic vintages.

Terraced vineyards in valdeorras  overlooking the river sil. today  this relatively obscure zone is emerging as one of spain's most exciting growing regions copy

Spain’s Northern Regions Keep It Cool

featured, Spain

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2019

Spain’s northern, Atlantic Ocean–influenced winegrowing zones were virtually unknown to most wine lovers only a decade ago, but things have changed dramatically. The popularity of some of Spain’s high-quality red wines and racy whites from the area continues a steep upward trajectory.

Rioja's beneficial microclimate owes a great deal to the sierra cantabria mountain range  which shelters the vineyards from rain and cold winds that pour down from the atlantic ocean copy

Rioja Looks Back and Ahead

featured, Spain

Josh Raynolds, Feb 2019

Traditionally made Riojas are having a moment. Old-school, elegant Riojas have caught the attention of collectors and sommeliers around the world, putting pressure on the supply of some of the region’s most famous wines. At the same time, a number of modern-leaning producers have begun to throttle back on assertive oak, extraction and alcohol levels, which is a highly welcome development. The recent 2016, 2015 and 2014 vintages have been very good to outstanding, with healthy yields that ensure there’s plenty of wine to go around.

The marine derived  sandy soils and cold winds from the pacific ocean give the wines of coastal san luis obispo their distinctive freshness and energy

San Luis Obispo County Plays It Cool

featured, United States: California

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2019

The greater San Luis Obispo County winegrowing region is best known for the mostly brawny, high-octane Rhône-variety-based wines of its famous AVA, Paso Robles, but the elegant and energetic wines from its cool, Pacific Ocean–influenced vineyards are increasingly making their case in the market as well.

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2018 Dining & Drinking Memories

featured

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2019

I was fortunate to enjoy dozens of fantastic meals, casual as well as over-the-top, indulgent and gastronomic, as well as literally hundreds of superb wines, ranging from remarkable values to rarities this year, many of which will likely never pass my lips again. Choosing which ones were “best” is, frankly, impossible but here is a highly pared down selection of those meals and wines that made some of the strongest and most lasting impressions on me in 2018.