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Cellar Favorite: 1967 Château d’Yquem Sauternes Premier Grand Cru

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Bordeaux

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2021

I have been fortunate to taste the legendary Château d’Yquem a number of times since the early 1980s but hadn’t had the opportunity to actually drink it in many years. That was until a generous friend brought a surprise bottle along to an indulgent Château Petrus vertical this fall, to be shared among a small group of wine lovers at the outstanding Peppercorn’s Grill in Hartford, Connecticut.

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San Luis Obispo: Excellence Hiding in Plain Sight

United States: California, featured

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2021

It’s an ongoing mystery to me that, aside from a small handful of producers, San Luis Obispo hasn’t received the attention it deserves for its almost universally high quality wines. In the excellent 2018 vintage, SLO’s wineries outdid themselves.

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Paso Robles 2018 & 2017: Grace and Power

United States: California, featured

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2020

Following the hot 2017 vintage, growers and winemakers in Paso Robles were relieved to have a cooler vintage in 2018. The long growing season and moderate conditions led to an unhurried harvest and a larger-than-normal crop of healthy fruit. The results are outstanding.

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Domaine A. Clape Cornas: 2012–1987

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2020

One of the world’s iconic estates, Domaine Auguste Clape has long set the standard for the Cornas appellation and has featured on any Rhône aficionado’s short list of the region’s very best properties. With a mere eight hectares of vines spread across Cornas, Saint-Péray and Côtes-du-Rhône, the Clapes produce two different examples of Cornas, a Saint-Péray, a red Côtes-du-Rhône and a red Vin de France. All of the reds are made with whole clusters and fermented in concrete vats before being moved into ancient, traditional oval foudres for aging. Because of small production (roughly 2,500 cases per vintage, total) and longtime worldwide demand, especially for the flagship Cornas, the wines are not always easy to find. Unfortunately, the world has caught on, and prices have risen sharply as well. These are structured, long-lived wines that are definitely built for the patient consumer. As this retrospective shows, patience is consistently rewarded, even in tough vintages.

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Vinous Table: Pizza and The Original Hamburger in New Haven, CT

Vinous Table

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2020

I was recently passing through New Haven, outside the always hectic lunch and dinner hours, so made the not-difficult call to stop in Modern and also to swing into Louis’ Lunch, founded in 1895 and home of what many historians believe is the world’s original hamburger. As usual, both quick snacks were sublime, both for the food and the atmosphere.

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Vinous Table: Crabtowne USA, Glen Burnie, MD

Vinous Table

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2020

Readers visiting the D.C. or Baltimore area who love seafood and tradition owe it to themselves to hit a Maryland crab house or two. It’s a unique, timeless and comforting experience that I try to enjoy as often as possible.

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2018 Santa Lucia Highlands: What a Difference a Year Makes

United States: California, featured

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2020

Following the epically hot 2017 vintage, Mother Nature paid Santa Lucia Highlands growers and winemakers back, with interest, by delivering a picture perfect season and an abundant crop of healthy grapes in 2018. The wines feature distinct energy and fine definition, with expressive fruit, well-integrated tannins for the red wines and relatively uncommon nerviness for the whites.

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Cellar Favorite: 1966 Dow’s Vintage Port

Portugal, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2020

The vintage Ports of 1966, despite their extremely high quality, have and probably always will live in the shade of the monumental 1963s, which is great news for consumers.

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Cellar Favorite: 2001 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin Grande Cuvée

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2020

Two thousand and one is, without a doubt, one of this generation’s greatest vintages for France’s southern Rhône valley, producing an abundance of rich but balanced and ageworthy wines that are now either in their prime or entering it.

Some of oregon's finest and most graceful chardonnays are grown in the compact ribbon ridge ava  which lies within the chehalem mountains appellationcopy

Oregon Outside the Pinot Noir Box

United States: Oregon, featured

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2020

For many wine lovers, Oregon, and especially the Willamette Valley, is all Pinot Noir, all the time. Perhaps no other region in the New World is so closely associated with a single variety. And yet there’s so much more happening here, especially with Chardonnay. White wine and reds not made from Pinot Noir are approaching almost half of our annual Oregon coverage, which is a remarkable development over the last decade.