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Wine Spectator October 2015

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_time5 min.
trials loire of reports

In 2013, France’s major wine re-gions experienced one of the most difficult growing seasons in some time, and the Loire was not spared. In the spring, rains led to uneven flowering. In June, Vouvray and Chinon were hit with a devastating hail-storm. August lacked its typically bright and steady sunshine, preventing grapes from ripening fully and consistently. Finally, late-season rains contributed to disease pressures. “The 2013 vintage has been the most challenging vintage,” says Pascal Jo-livet, a top Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé producer. “It was late, with average ma-turity and high acidity.” But the Loire is one of France’s most diverse vineyard regions, and that diver-sity helps buttress it against difficult weather. With a wide range of grape va-rieties and varying soil types covering over 60 appellations and an expanse of 620 miles,…

access_time4 min.
hitting the sweet spot

Readers respond to Matt Kramer’s assertion that strong sales of Meiomi Pinot Noir reveal quite a bit about American wine drinkers’ sweet tooth (“The American Way of Wine,” online, July 7). While Pinot Noir purists may worry about such a style coming to prominence, Kramer reminds readers that American wines often create and embrace a widening audience and raise the bar for standard quality. Americans have a sweet tooth? I remember liking reds and whites initially that were slightly sweet. If we want more Americans drinking wine, then let’s revere the sweet successes of Meiomi Pi-not, Rombauer Chardonnay and Ménage à Trois Red. Let’s give people what they want rather than tell them what’s good for them. That is the American Way! Mark LyonSonoma, Calif. Well, I just found out that I like…

access_time4 min.
smoke gets in your glass

Smoke has been a palate pleaser for humans ever since the cave-men invented the now-trendy paleo diet and used it for cooking and preserving meat and fish. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that up-and-coming bar chefs have been striving to put the flavor of burn-ing wood into cocktails. This development has not only delivered some tasty drinks but also generated the kind of barroom theater you might associate with dry ice. The problem, of course, is how to get smoke and liquid to mix. The genre has been developing for a few years. Putting smoked bacon and cigar tobacco (two ingredients I normally endorse) directly into a Man-hattan cocktail—a method I encountered five years ago at a bartending contest—is not a winning ap-proach; it’s a slimy, oily mess. There are better…

access_time4 min.
savvy shopper

WESTERN ROUNDUP California, Oregon and Washington produce a wide range of wines, from 100 percent varietals to intriguing blends. This list highlights both the familiar—Willamette Valley Pinot and Napa Sauvignon Blanc—and the surprising, such as Alexandria Nicole’s Roussanne blend from Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills AVA. The Le P’tit Paysan, Guardian and Cor bottlings are red blends based on Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, respectively. LE P’TIT PAYSAN Le P’tit Pape San Benito County 2012 (92, $22) Floral, raspberry, red clay, pepper, beef CARLISLE Syrah Sonoma County 2013 (92, $25) Fleshy; blueberry, raspberry, Asian spice NOVELTY HILL Malbec Columbia Valley Stillwater Creek Vineyard 2012 (92, $28) Supple; raspberry, cherry, cocoa, loamy earth GUARDIAN Chalk Line Columbia Valley 2012 (91, $25)Ripe cherry, currant; fresh, vibrant OR Momentum Horse Heaven Hills 2013 (90, $18) Blueberry, plum, rose…

access_time2 min.
finger lakes winemakers celebrate fracking ban

After nearly seven years of study, New York state’s environmental agency officially banned the practice known as high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in July, making New York the second oil- and gas-rich state in the nation to do so this year. The announcement final-izes a decision made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this past December, on the advice of the state’s Depart-ment of Health, to ban the natural-gas drilling technique. The news brought elation to Finger Lakes vint-ners worried about the environmental risks of the practice. “I think it’s absolutely wonderful. Kudos to Gov. Cuomo for doing the right thing when many governors haven’t,” said Lou Damiani, proprietor of Damiani Wine Cellars. “You can’t make a tour-ist wine region and heavily industrialize it at the same time. You can’t have it both…

access_time2 min.
drought plagues winemakers in northern chile

For vintners in any country, “drought” is a bad word. California’s water shortages have dom-inated the news cycle recently, forcing painful discussions of water restrictions and whether vineyard acreage in the Central Valley will shrink dramatically. But in the Southern Hemisphere, northern Chile’s Limarí and Elquí valleys have been dealing with their own se-vere drought for several years now, dramati-cally impacting vintners and forcing some to watch as their vines die from a lack of water. Situated between the largest ocean and the longest mountain range in the world, the northern half of Chile is arid in a good year. Grapegrowers rely on meager rainfall and reservoir-filling snowmelt from the Andes to keep irrigation systems topped up. But the past three years have brought an annual av-erage rainfall of 1 inch,…