God Bless the Baroness

Posted on Aug 27, 2014 by Fiona Morrison, MW in News

Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, the larger-than-life dynamo who brilliantly carried on the legacy of her father, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, died in Paris at the end of August. She was 80 years old. While it was her father who elevated Mouton to first-growth status, Baroness Philippine has ensured that Mouton is worthy of its classification and has grown the company, known as La Baronnie, into an international force.

After the death of her father in 1988, Rothschild carried on his work: cementing the friendship with Robert Mondavi that would produce Opus One; forging links with Concha y Toro to produce Almaviva in Chile; supervising the extension of Mouton’s wine museum in Pauillac; building the new wine cellar at Mouton; creating the second wine, Le Petit Mouton and the white wine, Aile d’Argent; moving the . . . Continue reading →


After the Quake

Posted on Aug 26, 2014 by Luke Sykora in News

When a magnitude 6.0 earthquake rolled through Napa Valley in the wee hours of Sunday morning, barrels toppled, bottles shattered, asphalt buckled and brick chimneys fell to the ground. Jon Bonné’s report for the San Francisco Chronicle provides some early indications of the quake’s effect on Napa wineries.

As residents, including those who work in the wine business, survey the damage, Napa Valley Vintners set up an information page on their website to connect winemakers with local resources:


Later this week, the organization is planning a workshop to address some of the initial concerns of affected wineries.

Lewis Purdue of Wine Industry Insight also set up Continue reading →


NYC’s Local Wine

Posted on Jun 17, 2014 by Joshua Greene in News

(This past Saturday, at the Wine Symposium of the Finger Lakes in Geneva, New York, I presented this speech at a lunch featuring local chefs and wines. It’s a consideration of Finger Lakes riesling as the local wine of New York City. —JG)

I buy Finger Lakes riesling at the local wine shop near my home in the Berkshires, a branch of the store, in fact, where I got first got into the wine business, run by Jimmy Nejaime.

But I am no riesling expert, and so I can’t really deliver a speech comparing Finger Lakes wines with Mosel riesling and Wachau riesling. And I’m not sure how relevant that is, in any case. I buy it because it is my local wine.

Continue reading →


Gentle Chileans

Posted on Jun 11, 2014 by Tara Q. Thomas in Top 100 Wineries

“This is what I always loved about Chilean cabernet sauvignon,” said Josh Greene, W&S’s editor. “It was the only place in the world where cabernet sauvignon could be delicate.”

Joshua Greene (center) with Tara Q. Thomas (left)
Joshua Greene (center) with Tara Q. Thomas (left)

Greene made this remark over a glass of 1998 Don Melchor from Concha y Toro’s Puente Alto Vineyard, at a dinner he hosted with Patricio Tapia, the magazine’s critic for South American wines, and Marcelo Papa, the chief winemaker at Puente Alto. Papa joined the winemaking team at Concha y Toro in 1998, at the start of a great run:  Concha y Toro has made the W&S Top 100 Wineries list every year since 1997.  (Only Penfolds in Australia has made the list more often, with 23 appearances.) With Papa and Tapia in NY—plus Ruth van Waerebeek, the chef-in-residence at . . . Continue reading →


Remembering Bob Sessions

Posted on Jun 11, 2014 by Luke Sykora in

The California winemaking community lost a legend when Bob Sessions passed away on May 13.

In 1973, Sessions became the head winemaker for Hanzell Vineyards, the first California winery to focus exclusively on pinot noir and chardonnay and a pioneer in the use of French oak for aging wines. Over the years, Sessions shepherded the hillside estate in southern Sonoma through numerous plantings and replantings, while honing Hanzell’s rich, structured style and preserving the original 1953 plantings, which remain the oldest continually producing pinot noir and chardonnay blocks in the country.

Sessions retired in 2001 as he began a long struggle with Alzheimer’s. (Lettie Teague’s affecting portrait in the Wall Street Journal provides some insight into Sessions’ later years.)

While I . . . Continue reading →