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Cellar Favorite: 1991 Dominus

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, United States: California

Neal Martin, Nov 2022

I’m no California expert. But I know a great California wine when I meet one.

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Vinous Table: Bar Le Côte, Los Olivos, CA

Vinous Table, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2022

With its seafood focused menu and bright décor, Bar Le Côte is a very welcome addition to the Santa Barbara wine country dining scene.

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Santa Barbara: A Rare Bright Spot for California in 2020

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2022

Santa Barbara is one of the few bright spots for California in 2020. Tucked away to the south, far away from fires that were so damaging in the north, Santa Barbara was blessed with far more favorable conditions throughout the year, especially during the critical weeks around harvest. There were some challenges, most notably heat spikes in middle to late August and all of the stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but overall Santa Barbara fared much better than the rest of California. Based on what I have tasted and seen so far, Santa Barbara produced the finest wines in California in 2020 by a wide margin.

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Santa Cruz Mountains: The Compelling 2018s & 2019s

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, May 2022

The Santa Cruz Mountains remains one of the most intriguing regions in the United States for the inquisitive oenophile. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Rhône varieties are rarely as vibrant and nuanced as they are here. With a few exceptions, the Santa Cruz Mountains is still very much under the radar, which presents a terrific opportunity to discover wines that offer world-class pedigree at prices that continue to be quite affordable.

A number of standout 2011 napa valley wines.

The 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons at Age Ten

Verticals & Retrospectives, featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, May 2022

As the 2011 Napa Valley Cabernets reached the ten-year mark, revisionist thinking about the wines started to surface. Had the Cabernets of this much-derided vintage turned out better than expected? Absolutely not! The top 2011s were always gorgeous. Today, with the added benefit of bottle age, the best 2011s are showing especially well.

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Santa Lucia Highlands: Back-to-Back Greatness in 2018 & 2019

featured, Santa Lucia Highlands, United States: California

Josh Raynolds, May 2022

The brilliant 2018 vintage in the Santa Lucia Highlands was a tough act to follow, but 2019 is proving to be more than up to the challenge. Finely etched, precise fruit is a hallmark, while the wines should age gracefully on their balance and well-integrated tannins. The 2019s can be drunk young or cellared; either way, they are going to deliver a lot of pleasure throughout their lives.

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San Luis Obispo: At the Edge of the Ocean

featured, United States: California

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2022

The wines of San Luis Obispo continue to grow in popularity and availability. Recent vintages will only enhance the region’s well-earned reputation for high quality. The consistent success of the wines from this cool, Pacific Ocean-influenced region resulted in the creation of the new San Luis Obispo Coast AVA.

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From the Vault: Realm 2005-2018

Verticals & Retrospectives, featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2022

Realm has been one of the hottest wineries in Napa Valley for the last decade or so. This remarkable retrospective spanning more than 60 wines started pretty humbly. My initial intent was simply to fill in a few gaps in our database. I asked some friends if they had certain wines. Then the replies started coming in. Before I knew it, we had assembled dozens of wines, more than I could count, across a number of vintages. This tasting provided an incredible opportunity to look at several key periods in Realm’s history.

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VHR, Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2008-2019

Verticals & Retrospectives, featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2022

Over the last decade or so, the VHR, Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon has established itself as one of the elite wines of Napa Valley. This retrospective, back to the inaugural 2008, provided a fascinating opportunity to check in on the early vintages and revisit more recent releases that complete the arc of the last dozen years here.

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The Judgement of Clapham Junction

United Kingdom, France: Burgundy, France: Bordeaux, featured, United States: California

Neal Martin, Mar 2022

No tasting has altered the world of wine as the late Steven Spurrier's Judgement of Paris in 1976. As a member of our "Southwold" group, we honoured our departed friend with an informal recreation of that epochal event last October with a raft of spectacular wines from Bordeaux and California.