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Wine SpectatorWine Spectator

Wine Spectator December 31, 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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looking back, looking forward

As most of you know, Wine Spectator celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. The Nov. 15 issue contained a wealth of memories, and we hope you enjoyed looking back on the amazing path we’ve taken as much as we did. But we are still moving forward, with all the excitement and enthusiasm with which we began this journey. This issue continues the theme of celebration. Those of you able to join us for the Wine Experience in October will agree it was truly a memorable occasion. On a single day, we enjoyed actor Sam Neill discussing his New Zealand Pinot Noir (and his films); a wine-pairing exercise with four celebrity chefs; a tasting of Il Palagio, a super Tuscan, by owner Trudie Styler that included a surprise performance by her husband,…

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A Presidential Retrospective Congratulations on your 40th anniversary issue, which brought back some memories, since I graduated from my high school in Northern California just after your very first issue. Your retrospective mentioned that President Reagan “embraced California wines.” Actually, upon entering office Reagan may have known more about wine than any other president. I am a historian who has looked closely at the Reagan era, and I did quite a lot of research for a quotation book on his sayings. When his wife, Nancy, first met him in 1949, she was attracted to him because he was interesting and good-looking and because “he knew a lot about wine.” Despite having had an alcoholic father, Reagan during his acting career enjoyed wine with dinner. Once in 1953, while working in New York City,…

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constellation bets big on washington

Constellation Brands is adding to its burgeoning collection of premium wine brands, this time in Washington state. On Oct. 17, it announced an agreement to purchase five brands from Charles Smith Wines for $120 million. With this deal, Constellation says, it will become the second-largest supplier of Washington state wines. Charles Smith has numerous projects, but the deal features five wines that he calls “the five core brands” of his company: Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Eve Chardonnay, Boom Boom Syrah, Velvet Devil Merlot and Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon. Together, the brands add up to nearly 500,000 cases per year, selling mostly at $12 to $15 a bottle. Smith created the wines as separate brands, beginning with Kung Fu Girl in the 2006 vintage. The rest were added in 2007. The Riesling, boasting…

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a familiar face at margaux

Chateau Margaux owner Corinne Mentzelopoulos has named Philippe Bascaules as the Bordeaux first-growth estate’s new managing director. He will assume the position previously held by Paul Pontallier, who led the estate from 1983 until his death earlier this year. The move is official starting March 1, 2017. It’s a homecoming for Bascaules, who worked at Margaux as technical director for 21 vintages, beginning in 1990, under Pontallier’s stewardship. “I am very honored Corinne Mentzelopoulos has appointed me, and I like to think that Paul Pontallier would have been happy for me to carry on his work,” Bascaules told Wine Spectator. Bascaules has been working at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook Estate in Napa since 2011, and the winery announced that he will remain director of winemaking there. He and his team are in…

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in brief

Burgundy Négociant Maison Champy Sold AdVini, a French wine company that owns more than a dozen wineries in France and South Africa, purchased the Burgundian negociant house Maison Champy on Oct. 14. The deal also includes Domaine Laleure-Piot, which Champy operates as a separate brand. The sale price was not disclosed. The deal includes 54 acres of vineyards held between Champy and Laleure-Piot. Founded in 1720, Champy is Burgundy’s oldest merchant house. Pierre Beuchet, the majority partner in Champy since 2012, cited erratic yields and adverse weather among the reasons he and his partners decided to sell. “I just turned 68, and it was probably time for me to give the reins of Champy to someone with the required financial strength and appetite for growth,” he told Wine Spectator. Technical director and…

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clash over wine merchant shipping laws grows

THE SHOW-ME SUIT Missouri bans most direct shipping by retailers. In the latest lawsuit, Sarasota Wine Market, LLC et al v. Nixon et al, filed Sept. 23, the owner of a Sarasota, Fla., store called Magnum Wine and Tastings is challenging the restriction. Like the Illinois complaint, the filing in Sarasota makes a two-pronged attack against the constitutionality of Missouri’s shipping code: that it violates the Commerce Clause by treating interstate sales, shipment and delivery of wine by retailers less favorably than intrastate sales; and that it violates the Privileges and Immunities Clause by denying Magnum owner Heath Cordes the privilege to engage in his occupation in the state on the same terms as Missouri citizens. MICHIGAN CONSIDERS CHANGING THE RULES In 2008, two of the lawyers in the Missouri case successfully argued…