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Wine SpectatorWine Spectator

Wine Spectator December 15, 2016

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
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15 Issues


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france, italy and the usa

The wine world is big, and getting bigger all the time. This issue features stories anchored in three different countries, showcasing our commitment to exploring every corner of this amazing community. December brings many reasons to host family and friends, and every gathering is an opportunity to serve sparkling wine. This issue recommends sparklers from many countries and in a range of styles and prices. But our principal report focuses on sparkling wines from Champagne. Senior editor Alison Napjus, our lead taster on many of the world’s sparkling wines, has reviewed more than 350 Champagnes in blind tastings over the past 12 months. They run the gamut from elegant Chardonnay-based wines to complex, wellaged vintage cuvées to hearty rosés with enough structure to match with meals. The largest category is non-vintage blends.…

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DISCERNING THE DIFFERENCE Readers respond to contributing editor Matt Kramer’s column “Differences of Magnitude” (online, Sept. 6) as he explains a wine critic’s approach to the subtle art of scoring wine. Kramer] stated, “After tasting 200 or 500 Cabernets from a single vintage, it’s not that you’re bored, it’s that, often unconsciously, what to anyone else seems a small difference is precisely what captures your attention and excites you.” Would it not take some time to notice that difference, and are wines at the beginning of the tasting suffering from their place in the lineup? Had they been tasted later, might they have scored one or two points higher? Jamie Sherman Sacramento, Calif. Matt Kramer responds: Speaking only for myself, I can quantisay that unless it’s a category of wines to which I’ve had little prior…

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celebrity owners of château miraval split

When Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt on Sept. 19, it triggered a worldwide media frenzy, with all the anonymous rumors one might expect when one of Hollywood’s most famed power couples split. Even the wine world paid attention. Pitt and Jolie are not just movie stars and philanthropists but also the owners of Château Miraval, a successful wine estate in Provence. What happens to the winery? According to Pitt and Jolie’s business partner, Marc Perrin, the answer is simple. “Miraval is not for sale,” he told Wine Spectator. “We will definitely release the 2016 vintage next year.” Perrin and his family are some of France’s most respected and business-savvy vignerons, owners of Château de Beaucastel, La Vieille Ferme and numerous other projects. Their partnership in the Pitt-Jolie & Perrin…

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an american looks to bordeaux

The American founder of Lumber Liquidators has purchased a Bordeaux château and is in negotiations to acquire four others. According to local real estate experts, the deal is part of a new wave of interest from foreign buyers who are looking for lesser-known properties that will allow them to tap a growing demand for valuepriced Bordeaux. Tom Sullivan, chairman of Lumber Liquidators and Cabinets to Go, purchased the 12.7-acre Château du Parc in St.-Emilion from Alain Raynaud for an undisclosed sum in September. He says it’s the first of five Right Bank estates he is hoping to acquire. “If everything happens as planned, we’ll have [an annual production of] more than 300,000 bottles,” said Sullivan, while stressing that (at press time in early October) the other deals have not yet closed. Sullivan,…

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plumpjack group expands on napa’s howell mountain

The PlumpJack Group, which includes Napa’s Plump-Jack Winery and CADE Estate, bought Ladera Vineyard’s 82-acre estate on Howell Mountain from the Stotesbery family in September. The sale includes the winery and 77 acres of vines, but not the brand. The Stotesberys plan to continue the Ladera brand. Neither side would disclose the price, but PlumpJack general manager John Conover told Wine Spectator they paid “market price,” which he defined as roughly $300,000 per planted acre. That would exceed $23 million before the winery was included. “The acquisition gives us an opportunity to expand CADE,” said Conover. Ladera’s estate sits on the other side of the hill. California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, businessman Gordon Getty and Conover established CADE in 2005 as a mountain-grown Cabernet estate to complement the valley-floor wines of PlumpJack…

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a nebbiolo’s story wins wine spectator ’s video contest

True love requires patience, dedication and hard work. That’s true for couples—and winemakers who devote themselves to a beguiling grape like Nebbiolo. In the 2016 Wine Spectator video contest winner, A Nebbiolo’s Story, winemaker Giuseppe Vaira talks about growing up with his family’s vines in La Morra and describes the struggle required to turn Nebbiolo into ethereal Barolo wines. The video is also the product of love. Producers Julian Rodier and Camille Broderick first met at a wedding, where he was the videographer and she the caterer. Both had restaurant backgrounds, Rodier in management and Broderick as a cook, sommelier and manager. “[It was] love at first sight,” says Rodier. “We were engaged four months later and traveled to Barolo on our first international trip together.” “Piedmont was stunning, with its vineyards…