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Napa Getting Back to Business

Napa Valley grapes


Despite the huge human cost of the wildfires, the wine industry has emerged mostly unscathed.

While the wildfires in Napa were catastrophic on a human scale, the actual damage to wineries themselves has been thankfully not as widespread, Napa Valley Vintners have said.

Wine Auction Sales Continue to Climb in 2017


In the third quarter of 2017, global sales of fine and rare wine at auction (consisting of sales in the U.S., Hong Kong and London markets) totaled $53.7 million, up 8.7 percent from last year’s $49.4 million sum in 2016’s third quarter.

U.S. sales totaled $30.3 million, up 9.4 percent. Hong Kong sales also rose 7.3 percent, to $17.7 million, and London increased by 9.6 percent to $5.7 million. As in the previous two quarters, pristine single-owner cellars and winery-direct consignments generated heated bidding, propelling aggregates above presale estimates.

Spotlight On: 2010 Chateau Le Pin


Made from 100% Merlot (one percent for each rating point I’ve assigned), this wine is explosively rich and compelling. Dense plum/purple, it boasts the remarkable delineation and freshness that are hallmarks of this vintage. From a much smaller production than normal because of Merlot’s poor flowering, the very hot, dry growing and harvest conditions, this is a super-endowed, very rich Le Pin with its exotic new oak largely buried behind its extravagant concentration, power and richness. I don’t know what… Read more »

Chateau Troplong Mondot Sold For Record Setting Price!


Big News! Make that very big news. In breaking news, Chateau Troplong Mondot was sold to SCOR Group by Xavier Pariente, the owner of Chateau Troplong Mondot. The SCOR group is a massive French Insurance Company that was formed in 1970. This is their first investment in Bordeaux. While details on the transaction are a closely held secret, the rumors are that price paid was close to 180 Million Euros! That is a record setting price for land in St. Emilion at close to 5.5 Million Euros per hectare.

Buyer pays over $50,000 for a rare bottle of Penfolds’ Grange Hermitage


In 1951, South Australian winemaker Max Schubert created a small volume of experimental wine in the Adelaide suburb of Magill. Today the vintage is known as the first of the Penfolds Grange Hermitage collection and is one of the most expensive bottles in Australia. One undisclosed Aussie buyer is the latest to add the rare red to their collection, having paid $51,750 AUD for the 750ml bottle in an online auction. In a bottle with roughly five glasses of wine,… Read more »

Spotlight On: Chateau Latour 2000


The 2000 Latour (a relatively abundant 14,000 cases compared to what they produced in 2009, 2008, or 2005) is “packed and stacked.” The extremely rich, black/purple color to the rim is followed by a wine with some subtle smoke, loads of minerals, a hint of vanilla, and plenty of creme de cassis as well as roasted meat and a slight scorched earth character. Broad, savory, and rich, the wine seems to be about 5 years away from full maturity and… Read more »

Bordeaux’s Most Expensive Wines


It’s not often “Bordeaux” crops up in the same sentence as “bargain” – especially in an article about expensive wines – but there is a case to be made that, when it comes to value, Bordeaux punches above its weight. That’s not to say Bordeaux’s best wines are cheap – they aren’t. But a comparison with other regions suggests a certain level of parsimony among the good burghers of Bordeaux; after all, the average price for basic Bordeaux has remained pretty… Read more »

Do you think you are a wine expert?


Do you know your Cornas from your Albariño? Could you hold forth confidently on such diverse subjects as soil moisture levels, pest control and the effects of temperature on yeast? If so, you might the sort of person who can pass the wine world’s most stringent qualification exams – the Master of Wine. More than 150 candidates tackled the Stage 2 section of the exam in London, San Francisco and Sydney last week, and faced a barrage of questions testing… Read more »

Spotlight On: 2005 Palmer


Its bigger sister, the 2005 Château Palmer (53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot), is one of the great efforts of this superlative vintage. Floral notes mixed with blackberry, cassis, plum, licorice and spring flowers soar from the glass of this dense ruby/purple wine. It is medium to full-bodied, surprisingly opulent (it has a big percentage of Merlot), long, multi-dimensional and textured. This wonderfully pure, stunning wine once again performs as a first-growth. It should drink well for the next 20-25 years.

Get to Know the Grand Crus of Alsace


The prerequisites for great wines often include cool climate, ample sunshine and unique soils. Add grape varieties that express those characteristics and winegrowers who aim for the highest quality, and greatness is within reach. All of those elements come together in Alsace. The vineyards of Alsace lie within a narrow 75-mile strip of land that runs along the north-south spine of the Vosges Mountains in northeastern France. The 51 best parcels are designated grand cru—choice spots that dot the headlands… Read more »


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