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Food & Wine
Wine Spectator

Wine Spectator December 31, 2017

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
Read More
15 Issues

In this issue

3 min.
napa first

This issue features our annual Top 100 Wines of the Year—the most exciting wines we blind-tasted among the nearly 17,000 new releases we reviewed in 2017. The No. 1 wine in the 2017 Top 100 is Duck-horn’s Merlot 2014 from Napa Valley’s Three Palms vineyard. It’s the second Merlot to be crowned Wine of the Year, follow-ing the Paloma Spring Mountain District 2001, which earned the top honor in 2003. Merlot may not have the stature of Cab-ernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir in California, but when it’s done right, it can be spectacular. What makes the 2014 Duckhorn so special? First, of course, its quality. At a classic 95 points on our 100-point scale, it’s the top-scoring California Merlot we reviewed this year. Second, its relative value. In 2017, 14 Napa Valley reds…

4 min.
learning curve

Faced with this challenge, I prefer to give newbies a sense of hope. I describe wine learning as an adven-ture, with disappointments and pleasant surprises, but one nonetheless worth pur-suing. One can learn from any wine experience, good or bad. And let us not forget that people’s tastes change with exposure. Wines that are de-lectable today become ordi-nary or tired a year from now, and new wines come to fill their space in the favorites list. How long have any of us stayed in love with a particu-lar wine or even a particular winemaker? It is only after many years that we have con-firmed favorites. In the meanwhile, the ad-venture is certainly worth the time and effort. Let us never forget that it’s all about enjoyment and learn-ing, and that any time…

4 min.
the road ahead for california wine

WINE FOOD PEOPLE COLLECTING Two weeks after the fires began in Northern California wine country, residents’ thoughts shifted from survival to recovery. Firefight-ers had largely contained the last of the blazes, and many restaurants and wineries were reopening their doors. But there remains plenty of work to do as residents assess the damage from the deadliest wildfires in the state’s modern history. At press time in late October, the fires had caused 42 deaths, destroyed more than 8,400 buildings and burned more than 245,000 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Preven-tion (Cal Fire). A report by rating agency Moody’s projects that the wildfires will cost California $4.6 billion, a preliminary estimate that the agency ex-pects will rise. The fires’ aftermath will affect the wine industry in many ways,…

3 min.
vintage 2017: harvest report

Northern California’s harvest was in full swing when wildfires tore through parts of Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties, forcing residents to flee. With fire crews battling the flames and many areas under mandatory evacuation, winemakers faced challenges finishing what had once looked to be an easy harvest. Fortunately, most vintners had already harvested the majority of their grapes, with vintners’ groups estimating that 75 percent to 90 percent had been picked. “The 2017 vintage has been a hot and dry one, but we are very pleased with the quality of the wines in tank right now,” says Remi Cohen of Lede Family Wines in Stags Leap District, an appellation in the Atlas fire zone, speaking of grapes picked pre-fire. Still, at press time in late October, vintners reported that some Cabernet Sauvignon…

3 min.
winter mountain retreats

Whether you’re visiting an Olympic Village resort or exploring a remote ranching lodge, going skiing or taking a spa day, the food and wine offerings at your winter travel locale can set the tone for the entire vacation. Wine Spectator’s Samantha Falewée spoke to the ace sommeliers behind the wine cellars of four spectacular mountain retreats. OAKHURST, CALIF. Erna’s Elderberry House at Château Du Sureau Website www.chateausureau.com/ernas-elderberry-house-restaurant “We have one of the most unique selections I’ve ever come across, especially for a restaurant in the middle of nowhere, of Rhone-based blends. In the winter, those are wines that speak to me. When you’re in the mountains and you have all these conifer trees, a lot of those wines have descriptors that come to mind—sage, rosemary, sometimes even pine. “I’m Erna’s daughter. When I left…

3 min.
choice “cheesy” gifts

It’s time again to start sourcing some well-chosen gifts for our favorite cheese lovers (or tuck a few treasures away for ourselves). This holiday season we spotlight clever inventions from two serial entrepreneurs to facilitate proper storage and preservation, in addition to a couple of top knife options and an elegant collection of serving platters. CHEESE VAULT Capabunga.com; $30 A new product from former Napa Valley winemaker and Capabunga inventor Walt Averill, the Vault is a high-end storage solution at a stocking-stuffer price. Its food-grade silicon protects cheeses from flavor contamination. With an interior arched top and ridged bottom, it ensures proper wicking and breathing. There’s a divider for storage of two cheeses and an erasable exterior end for labeling with a pen. WÜSTHOF CLASSIC CHEESE KNIFE SET Wusthof.com; $200 A set of dedicated cheese knives…