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Wine SpectatorWine Spectator

Wine Spectator August 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
M Shanken Communications
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15 Issues


access_time3 min.
wine retailers need to take responsibility

A typical wineshop offers hundreds, if not thousands, of wine choices. How do you decide which bottle to buy? Ask the retailer? Read a wine magazine or newsletter? Depend on a recommendation from a friend? See a pretty label that attracts your eye? This is truly a challenging dilemma. Do any other consumer product categories offer so many different options?How many of you read the description of the wine, and its rating, displayed on an in-store shelf talker? For many wine consumers, this is the most convenient way to make a purchasing decision.Is there anything wrong with that, you ask? Maybe, maybe not, I reply.You see, not all shelf talkers, or for that matter wine retailers, can be trusted.Over the years, our readers have sent us many complaints about inaccurate…

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TANNIN TALKReaders respond to Harvey Steiman’s blog post “Washington Reds Develop a Bite” (online, April 28), which notes the rise of tannin levels in Washington’s red wines.With the exceptionally warm 2012 and 2013 vintages, astringency driven by assaulting tannins dominates too many of Washington’s top Bordeaux-style wines. I wonder if there is a “Red Mountain” effect at play. Wines sourced from the Red Mountain AVA are often very tannic and mostly unapproachable in early life but receive high scores because of their cachet, inherent structure and [proven] aging potential.Are Washington winemakers making wines more aligned with a tannic Red Mountain profile because that is where the scores are? Or, did they simply get caught not adjusting to the conditions of abnormally warm vintages?Mike OlszewskiNewcastle, Wash.This is good feedback to have…

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a landmark day for the wine business

Attendees at the groundbreaking included (standing, from left) Gary Heck of Korbel, Ron Rubin of Rubin Family Wines; Rep. Mike Thompson; Marvin R. and Hazel Shanken; Joan and Sanford Weill; SSU president Ruben Armiñana; and (seated, from left) Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom; Barbara Banke of Jackson Family; SSU School of Business and Economics dean William Silver; Tom Klein of Rodney Strong. (JASON TINACCI)SSU president Ruben ArmiñanaIt was a beautiful day in Sonoma, and a historic moment for the American wine industry. On June 1, Sonoma State University broke ground on a new home for its Wine Business Institute, beginning construction on the Wine Spectator Learning Center. The $9.15 million facility, financed in part by a $3 million contribution from the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation, will house the institute once it…

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koch sale nets $21.9 million

Jamie Ritchie of Sotheby’s took bids on William Koch’s wines in front of an image of the cellar.William Koch spent years—and large sums of money—ferreting counterfeit wines out of his cellar. In May, wine lovers showed him it was worth it. In a three-day sale, Sotheby’s New York auctioned off 20,000 bottles of fine wine from the billionaire energy executive’s collection, bringing in a staggering $21.9 million, one of the highest totals ever by a wine auction, topping the presale high estimate of $15 million by 46 percent.What distinguished Koch’s collection was its breadth, depth and quality. From the outset, he sourced the best wines, storing them in a state-of-the-art cellar in his Palm Beach, Fla., mansion. Koch became famous for his dogged legal campaign against counterfeits, and he and…

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donn chappellet

Before Donn Chappellet set his sights on producing powerful, agewor-thy wines, he made a fortune distributing coffee vending machines. But in 1967, seeking an escape from the hustle of Beverly Hills, he and his wife, Molly, moved to Napa Valley and founded Chappellet Vineyards. Part of Napa’s quality revolution, the winery put Pritchard Hill on the map. Chappellet died May 22 after a long illness, according to his family. He was 84.“Dad was the kindest, most thoughtful person,” said son Cyril Chappellet, the winery’s current board chair-man. “He was our rock, our mentor, and an inspiration not just to our family but to so many others as well.”Donn Chappellet was born in 1931 in Los Angeles and met his future wife there as a teenager. The two were mar-ried during…

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an evening of large-format wine fun

From left: Chris Underwood, Chuck and Nicole Wagner, Hazel and Marvin R. Shanken and Agustin Huneeus Jr.Bill Phelps and son Will, of Joseph Phelps WineryDonald Patz of Patz & HallMarchese Piero Antinori, Wilson Daniels’ Rocco Lombardo and Rick Gillis of Young’s Market CompanyLarry Turley and Deborah and Bill HarlanGuests mingle at the Bring Your Own Magnum party in St. Helena.On June 1, some of the biggest names in American wine gathered in Napa Valley, with their favorite large-format bottles in hand, for Wine Spectator’s annual Bring Your Own Magnum Party. One of the most anticipated galas of the year, the event offers vintners a chance to kick up their heels—and kick off the whole Auction Napa Valley weekend with a bang.Nearly 600 guests flocked to chef Christopher Kostow’s soonto-open Charter…