The Greatness of Pinot Noir: Part 2, Vineyard Designates

By Dan Berger The brief discussion of Pinot Noir in our last issue was an overview of some of the basic topics we should consider when buying wines from that grape and included price as a key element. Since there are about 30 more topics we should… Want to read more? If you’re already a … Continue reading “The Greatness of Pinot Noir: Part 2, Vineyard Designates”

A Day at Inglenook

By Robert Lawrence Balzer (from an unpublished memoir) (Concluding a 1939 Visit to Napa Valley)  This follows Balzer’s visit to BV) On that same lovely day in June of 1939, I would drive… to the neighboring Inglenook wine estate to rejoin my… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may … Continue reading “A Day at Inglenook”

Sonoma “Coast”

This appellation is one of the worst designed of all of the country’s wine-growing districts. To say it is sprawling is to challenge the meaning of the word! It encompasses some lands that are low-lying to the southern and western part of the c… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – … Continue reading “Sonoma “Coast””

Tasting Notes

Exceptional 2016 Alphonse Mellot Sancerre ($32): This stylish, classically scented Loire Sauvignon Blanc has the nose of minerality that some wines from Sancerre lately have lacked.  (One wonders if this blandness is intentional.) The entry is cri… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may login here. If you aren’t a … Continue reading “Tasting Notes”

The Durand Saves the Day

At a local restaurant recently, I brought in a bottle of 1961 Dr. Fassi Chianti Classico (and several other old wines) from our cellar. Without asking, the waiter grabbed the bottle off the table intending to “help” by opening it with a standard w… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – … Continue reading “The Durand Saves the Day”

An Odd Tale of Bad Wine Service

About 1990, when I was with The Los Angeles Times, I got a phone call from a woman who was bothered about an experience she had had at a Newport Beach restaurant of some renown. She and three friends had gotten together for a Friday afternoon lunc… Want to read more? If you’re already a … Continue reading “An Odd Tale of Bad Wine Service”

Restaurant Wine Foibles

I have my issues with restaurant wine programs (oh, do I!), starting with the two most egregious problems: high prices and terrible selection. Not to mention far too many young wines. In so many lists you could argue that young wines dominate so g… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – … Continue reading “Restaurant Wine Foibles”

What is it About Pinot Noir?

A Two-Part Investigation By Dan Berger Given all the hyperbole and exalted language that seems to have blossomed around the most pricey Pinot Noirs over the last decade, you would think that someone would by now have attempted to do something a… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may … Continue reading “What is it About Pinot Noir?”