Wine Spectator October 31, 2020

Wine Spectator rates over 15,000 wines per year, in every price range, to fit every occasion. Read about the world's great wineries and winemakers and visit restaurants with outstanding wine lists. Plus, each issue features delicious recipes and pairs them with the perfect wines.

United States
M Shanken Communications
6,50 €(TVA Incluse)
37,33 €(TVA Incluse)
15 Numéros

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2 min

FREE RESOURCES FOR ALL WINESPECTATOR.COM READERS STRAIGHT TALK WITH WINE SPECTATOR is an Instagram Live series featuring conversations with wine-and-food newsmakers. Recent editions have featured Heitz Cellar CEO Carlton McCoy, star winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown (below, center) chef Charlie Palmer (below, left) and vintner and restaurateur André Hueston Mack (below, right). All episodes are archived on our IGTV channel for viewing anytime. Tune in to Straight Talk on Wine Spectator’s Instagram page, every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, and check out the chat schedule at WHAT AM I TASTING? Test your tasting skills in our mystery wine game. Every two weeks, we post a tasting note with clues from the color, aromas, flavors and structure. Then, you guess the variety, region, appellation and age of the wine. Good luck! WINE…

2 min
tastes of italy

One thing we’ve learned about our readers over the years is how much you love Italy. It ranks among your top travel destinations; it is the source of what is arguably your favorite cuisine; it consistently leads in wine imports to the U.S. So we pay close attention to Italy—exploring what is new and interesting, keeping tabs on the venerable and still excellent, and reporting our findings. Unfortunately, in this pandemic era, we aren’t visiting Italy as tourists, nor are we able to enjoy our local Italian restaurants so freely and fully right now. However, we can still drink the wines! Most years, we review about 3,000 Italian wines. That’s about 20% of our total annual tastings, putting the country behind only France (4,000 wines reviewed) and California (3,500). All of…

2 min
wildfires, smoke, and the 2020 vintage

Where there’s fire, there’s smoke. Wildfires have burned across 12 western U.S. states this fall, including in California and Oregon wine regions. Napa and Sonoma have faced multiple waves, with the Glass Fires already burning several wineries at press time. (See for ongoing coverage.) With the sky blanketed with smoke in many places, winemakers are anxious about the possibility of tainted wines. As the name implies, smoke taint can impart smoky flavors and aromas to a wine that render it unmarketable. Wines impacted by smoke taint are not harmful to drink, but they’re not pleasant. Smoke taint has become a growing concern across the globe as climate change increases the threat of wildfires. In late 2019 and early 2020, bushfires burned along Australia’s southeast coast for more than five months. Chile…

1 min
understanding smoke taint

GRAPES Burning wood releases aromatic compounds called volatile phenols, such as guiacol and 4-methylguaiacol. Drifting through vines, they can permeate the waxy cuticle of grape skins and bond with the sugars inside, forming molecules called glycosides. BARREL Glycosides are nonvolatile—growers and winemakers cannot detect them by taste or smell. But during fermentation, the wine’s acidity begins to break down the chemical bonds, releasing the volatile phenols again. BOTTLE The wine might taste fine at bottling, but develop smoke taint hints months or years later. Scientists have found evidence that enzymes in our mouths can break down any remaining glycosides, releasing the smoke taint as the wine is consumed.…

2 min
sting hires riccardo cotarella

Sting and his wife, actress and director Trudie Styler, have brought in a rock star of Italian winemaking to work at their Tuscan estate, Il Palagio. The couple announced they’ve hired enologist Riccardo Cotarella to oversee the vineyards and winemaking. Cotarella, widely considered Italy’s leading consulting enologist, plans to focus on making wines with both the Chianti and Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) designations beginning with the 2020 harvest. The current range of wines includes the Toscana IGT Sister Moon, a blend of 60% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot; Toscana IGT Casino delle Vie, comprising 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet; and Chianti When We Dance, 90% Sangiovese plus equal parts Colorino and Canaiolo. Once the fermentations this year are complete, Cotarella plans to review the blends. “The goal we have set…

1 min
jackson family wines takes giant steps

Expanding Down Under, JFW is inking a deal to acquire Giant Steps winery in Australia’s Yarra Valley in Victoria from founder Phil Sexton. The purchase includes the Sexton and Applejack vineyards, about 75 acres total. Sexton, the winery’s general manager, and chief winemaker Steve Flamsteed will remain at Giant Steps, and long-term vineyard contracts will remain in place. The purchase price was not disclosed. “Our family is excited to be a part of the Yarra Valley community and help build upon the incredible legacy of Phil Sexton and Steve Flamsteed,” said Chris Jackson, one of the second-generation proprietors of JFW. The deal is a strategic move for JFW. It expands the company’s Australian portfolio and vineyard holdings in a way that doesn’t compete with its other properties, adding an exciting brand in…