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Wine Spectator December 15, 2018

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.

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Napa’s Tod Mostero talks harvest, onlineFREE RESOURCES FOR ALL OF OUR WINESPECTATOR.COM READERSTOP 100 COUNTDOWN On Nov. 12, we begin unveiling the Top 10 wines of 2018—with videos, tasting notes and more—culminating with the Wine of the Year on Nov. 16 and the complete Top 100 list on Nov. 19. Don’t miss the year’s most exciting wines!FIND THE WORLD’S BEST WINE LISTS With more than 3,700 award winners for 2018, search for the perfect dining spot by city, wine strengths, cuisine type, award level and more. Our free online Restaurant Search lets you easily find the award winners nearest to you, with helpful maps. You can also find all our great dining articles in one convenient location: restaurant guides, sommelier and chef interviews, new openings and more.WINE SPECTATOR VIDEO Watch…

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tilman fertitta

(DAVID YELLEN)Tilman Fertitta could eat dinner in one of his restaurants every night and it would be nearly two years before he had a second meal at any of them. That’s because this Texas-based businessman owns more than 600 restaurants around the world.Fertitta grew up near Galveston, working in his family’s seafood restaurant. A born entrepreneur, he dropped out of college to work in retail and real estate. In 1985, not yet 30, he began in-vesting in restaurants, an industry that would become his passion.Today, Fertitta is worth an estimated $4.4 billion. In addition to the restaurants, his company owns 12 hotels, five casinos, three aquariums, two amusement parks and Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Bugatti dealerships. Last year he bought his hometown NBA team, the Houston Rockets.Why put him on the…

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REMEMBERING ULISES VALDEZMuch-admired Sonoma vineyard manager Ulises Valdez died on Sept. 12. His obituary appeared on and in our Nov. 30 issue. Below are a few responses from our readers.What a sad day. He had a big personality, self-motivated and self-taught as a vineyard manager. A great loss for viticulture and winemaking. Such a nicely written story about a very special man that everyone in the Sonoma wine business knew.Tim McDonald Founder/Publicist, Wine Spoken HereNapa, Calif.We had the pleasure of tasting his family’s wines at their tasting room in Healdsburg, and it was a lovely experience. Our hearts go out to his family. A great and wonderful man.Chris Moody St. Louis, Mo.Ulises told me his story of swimming the Rio Grande and arriving on a Sacto flight, soaking wet…

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cotton clashes with cabernet in texas

Vines impacted by Dicamba, like this Viognier in Texas, have curled up leaves.Katy Jane Seaton (COURTESY TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY)The Texas High Plains AVA is traditionally cotton country. Yet with recent drought conditions and a growing recognition of the economic possibilities of wine, vine plantings in this plateau near the New Mexico border have exploded over the past 10 years. The appellation is now home to nearly 5,000 acres planted to wine grapes.But a conflict between cotton and grapes is emerging. Many Texas High Plains grapegrowers say they’ve been hit by “pesticide drift”: Strong chemicals sprayed on neighbors’ cotton fields are being carried by wind into the vineyards. The resulting damage can be devastating. According to Pierre Helwi, a professor and viticulture specialist at Texas A&M University, farmers are experiencing deformed…

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oregon vintners battle with california’s joe wagner

California vintner Joe Wagner (COLIN PRICE)Wine labels are legally required to identify where the grapes in the bottle were grown. But can they identify a viticultural area if the winery is located in a different state? That’s one component of a controversy facing California vintner Joe Wagner and his Copper Cane Wines & Provisions. The dustup centers on two of Wagner’s Oregon brands, Elouan and Willametter Journal, which are made with Oregon-grown grapes but are vinified and bottled in California.Wagner made a splash with his California Pinot Noir Meiomi, a regional blend. (He sold the brand to Constellation in 2015.) He takes a similar approach with his Elouan brand, blending grapes from Oregon’s Willamette, Umpqua and Rogue valleys.At issue is whether Elouan can include references to those appellations since its…

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‘the soul of barolo’ wins wine spectator’s 2018 video contest

(FREMONT FILMS)On a summer trip to the Piedmont region of Italy, Seattle-based filmmaker Will Miceli fell in love with the abundance of great wine and food there. But the story of the Abbona family, the owners of Piedmont’s Marchesi di Barolo winery, won his heart. He captured that story in “The Soul of Barolo,” the winning video in Wine Spectator’s 2018 Video Contest, chosen by a vote of visitors. “I [wanted] viewers to get a behind-the-scenes snapshot of the family when they let their guard down,” said Miceli. He has won two full weekend passes to Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience, where the video will be screened for more than 1,000 of the event’s attendees. Watch all the winners, finalists and honorable mentions at ■…