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Chianti Classico: The Magnificent 2021s

Italy: Tuscany, featured

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2024

Two thousand twenty-one is the single greatest young vintage I have ever tasted in Chianti Classico. Period. Full stop. The 2021s are majestic wines endowed with striking aromatics, layered fruit and all the energy that is such a signature of the appellation. Quality is consistently high across the region, while many wines hit breathtaking peaks of excellence. Last year, I wrote, “The 2021s, in particular, are some of the most exciting young wines I have tasted in more than 25 years of visiting the region.” The top bottlings, those being released this year, more than confirm that initial impression. This is a historic vintage Vinous readers will want to pay close attention to.

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Vinous Table: Mustards Grill, Napa, CA

United States: California, Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2024

A Napa Valley institution, Mustards Grill remains a consistently fine spot to enjoy contemporary American comfort food at its finest. Chef/Owner Cindy Pawlcyn and her team, led by Managing Partner Sean Knight and Executive Chef Michael Foster, serve up a menu of what they call “Deluxe Truck Stop Classics.” I can’t say I have ever seen a truck stop with food like this, though. At a time when so many things change so fast, Mustards is one of my favorite places to eat when I am in Napa Valley.

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Once Upon a Time – Soldera Retrospective: 1977-2017

Verticals & Retrospectives, Italy: Tuscany, featured

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2024

It remains one of the greatest tastings I have ever been a part of, either as an attendee or a host. Forty-six wines, all of them in superb shape. Even wines from smaller or less well-known vintages were sublime. Not a single bottle was corked or oxidized. The memories from this retrospective of Gianfranco Soldera’s wines will last forever.

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Aerika Estate: The Prologue

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2024

Over the years, I have been fortunate to see many projects get off the ground in Napa Valley. Founded by Rob Black and Julia van der Vink, Aerika Estate is one of the most exciting and promising new ventures I have seen in Napa Valley in some time.

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Vinous Table: Ad Hoc, Yountville, CA

United States: California, Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2024

Ad Hoc offers delicious interpretations of American comfort food classics but with added touches that elevate the cuisine far beyond household fare. Everything about this dinner was terrific. Food, wine and service were all tops.

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Vinous Table: Roagna Barbaresco Crichët Pajé: 2001-2014

Vinous Table, United States: New York

Antonio Galloni, May 2024

The room is buzzing with energy as our Crichët Pajé is about to kick off. It’s one of the things I love most about our events: the enthusiasm, passion and deep knowledge guests bring to these lunches and dinners. The 60th floor at Manhatta is especially evocative on this morning. A thick blanket of fog weaves throughout the New York City skyline as if we had arranged for the most perfect Barbaresco meets New York views imaginable. We aren’t that good.

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Cellar Favorite: Castello di Ama - Looking Back at the 2006s

Italy: Tuscany, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Antonio Galloni, May 2024

I vividly remember the first time I truly fell in love with Castello di Ama wines. It was 2009. After we had gone through the releases, Lorenza Sebasti and Marco Pallanti opened a few older wines. It was at that moment that I started to understand how well these wines can age. In the years that followed, I had the good fortune to report on several verticals.

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Vinous Table: The Modern, New York City, NY

Vinous Table, United States: New York

Antonio Galloni, May 2024

I was excited when my dining companion booked a table at The Modern for this recent lunch. I had not been to The Modern in quite some time, so I was very much looking forward to going back. Over the years, I have had some very good experiences here and some that have been rather lackluster, hence my long absence. Walking into the dining room felt like a refreshing new beginning in a place I have often loved.

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2012 & 2013 Napa Valley: Too Close to Call

United States: California, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Antonio Galloni, May 2024

The 2012 and 2013 vintages are among the best in recent memory. Both were met with considerable acclaim. Now that the wines have passed their tenth birthdays, it’s time to look back and see how things have shaped up, to examine which wines met or exceeded expectations and which did not.

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Bordeaux at the Crossroads: 2023 En Primeur

France: Bordeaux, featured

Antonio Galloni, April 2024

Tasting Bordeaux en primeur is largely the art of shutting out extraneous noise and concentrating just on the wines. This year, the noise is especially loud as estate owners, winemakers, consultants, négociants and other professionals debate the merits of 2023 within the context of today’s global market. Many of these views are fueled by agendas, which is certainly understandable. For this taster, it’s only about what is in the glass. When all is said and done, 2023 has a lot to offer. It is not a great vintage across the board, yet plenty of wines merit serious attention.