October 2007
Great Performances at Wine & Spirits

Octobers Departments
Editor's Note

Fined & Filtered:
Take a sommelier's
holiday in San Francisco and Chicago

Year's Best Chardonnay

Critic's Picks:
Best Values

Books: Gerald Asher
on The House of Mondavi

Peter Liem on Santorini

Short Finish Vin de Prey by David Darlington

Best Wines...
for Salumi

for Breaking Up

for Oysters

for Birthdays & Anniversaries

for Burgers

for Thai Food

for Shawarma

for Philly Cheesesteak

for the Taco Truck

Best Wine...
Blogs You're not Reading

Maps of Great Regions

Value Brands

Books of the Past 25 Years

The Producers with the Most High Scores
Ever since Wine & Spirits started out 25 years ago, our goal has been to help readers make informed decisions about what wines to buy, and tastings have been central to our magazine.
     In the beginning we convened tasting panels made up of winemakers, restaurateurs and retailers, tasted blind, and reported their comments–good, bad or indifferent. We soon moved to reporting these tasting results on a five–star scale, and then narrowed the range to three. Eventually we moved to the 100–point scale, still using panels of experts, and always blind.

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

25 Highest Scoring Wines from 25 years of W&S Tasting

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

Cocktails
In 1982 the American art of the cocktail was at its lowest point in 200–plus years. The great canonical recipes of the pre–Prohibition era had been bastardized by three generations of accumulated shortcuts and misunderstandings to the point where you could call a double shot of vodka on the rocks a Dry Martini if you put an olive in it. Fresh–squeezed citrus juice was replaced by the odious sour mix. Instead of making the old, large, dense (and therefore slow to make) cubes of ice, bars were using quick, cheap chips and doughnuts that started melting before they even got out of the ice machine. The big–bore flavor of straight American rye was out and mild Canadian whisky was in. Gin was moribund. Bourbon was scorned outside the South. And Cognac was getting mixed with orange Crush.

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

Best Retreats in Tuscany
It wasn't long before short day trips in Tuscany lost their charm for me. I wanted to spend long weekends amid the vines and olive trees, soaking up the local flavor. It turns out that there are plenty of options: About a fourth of Italy's countryside lodging is in Tuscany, close to 5,000 in all. (The number of properties here has nearly doubled in the last decade). Most are agriturismi, working farms that accomodate overnight guests. My five picks cluster within Chianti Classico. Though they are not all official agriturismi, they're all noteworthy and picturesque refuges perfect for enjoying Tuscany's delicious cuisine and tasting the earthy, food–friendly flavors of Chianti Classico wines.

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

Sommeliers Rockstars

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

How Green is your Wine?
Twenty–five years ago, "sustainability" wasn't on anybody's wine radar, save for a number of European producers. The increase in organic and sustainable practices in every sector of the global wine business represents a return to old, familiar approaches to farming: 2000 years ago, the Romans were apparently making pretty decent wine without herbicides, designer yeasts or Caval tractors. Today the changing landscape includes leased sheep that manicure vineyard cover crops and fertilize the old fashioned way. And there's a familiar smell of French fry oil wafting out of winery vehicle tailpipes from the Willamette Valley to Santa Barbara.

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

Best in a Can
At Fogón in Paris, chef Alberto Herraiz uses a tuna can as a serving dish for tuna confit. Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal cooks mallard duck and foie gras in a can, then opens it tableside. Once anathema to serious restaurants, preserved foods are now paraded on the menus of elite chefs. At W&S, we decided to create our own sampler of the best products and select the perfect wine pairings for them. First we searched specialty food shops around the country for great wine–friendly canned or jarred foods. Next we gathered wine recommendations from chefs and sommeliers who serve these canned foods and added a few bottles of our own. Then we popped the cans with New York restaurateur Frederick Twomey of Bar Carrera and Bar Veloce. On the following pages we introduce you to the delicious seafood, peppers, mushrooms and beans we tasted and some brilliant wine matches.

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

Farm Teams
In every profession there are a few special places that become incubators of success. Basketball, for instance, is famous for all the star coaches who have come from the University of North Carolina. In fiction writing, the University of Iowa is well known for the quality of its graduates.
     Wine too is filled with such nurseries, wineries that produce winemaker after winemaker who ultimately goes on to a stellar independent career. The reasons for these legacies can vary. There's a head winemaker who is a good teacher. An owner has a sharp eye for talent. The winery culture encourages growth and development. Whatever it is, the wine world is better for these places. Here are nine outstanding examples.

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

25th Anniversaries
Au Bon Climat
Audubon Cellars
Belvedere Winery
Carmenet Vineyard
Caswell Vineyards
Chateau Boswell
Chateau Julien
Christine Woods
Cline Cellars
Dominus Estate
Etude Wines
Gary Farrell
Georis Winery
Gloria Ferrer
Groth Vineyards and Winery
Handley Cellars
J. Rochioli Vineyards
Kendall–Jackson Vineyards
Lolonis Winery
Marston Family Vineyards
Menghini Winery
Morgan Winery
Peju Province
Qupé Cellars
Random Ridge
Richard Longoria Wines
Roederer Estate
Saucelito Canyon Vineyard
Spottswoode Estate
Taft Street Winery
Thackrey & Co.
The Terraces
Thomas Fogarty Winery
Wermuth
Wild Horse Winery
Williams Selyem Winery

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.