© Welcome Books |
The combination of sex and wine proved irresistible to Wine-Searcher users. Under her real name, Natalie Oliveros, former on-screen sexpot Savanna Samson has morphed into a serious vintner. This story was the year’s favorite by a country mile, perhaps encouraged by a photograph of her lying naked on a bed of grapes. The former film star now owns La Fiorita, a winery in the Tuscan region where Brunello di Montalcino is produced. She makes several sangiovese-based wines, as well as some unusual indigenous blends, with the help of winemaker Roberto Cipresso.
This was Maureen Downey’s selection of her favorites from among the many counterfeit wines she has encountered. From melted crayons used to recreate the wax seal on a bottle of dodgy 1870 Lafite, to “1950s” capsules bearing today’s recyclable symbol, there were some audacious, almost comedic, shockers. Downing noted: “Every time I think I have seen ‘the worst,’ I run into something that is even more of a howler.”
Jane Anson took readers through the iconic wrought-iron gates of this historic estate. From religious ownership and expropriation during the French Revolution to today’s aristocratic proprietors, the Bordeaux estate has a colorful history. These days, it is often referred to as the sixth first growth.
The menu for the president’s inauguration luncheon was hastily changed after it stated that “Special Inaugural Cuvee Champagne, California” would be served with Hudson apple pie, sour-cream ice cream, aged cheese and honey. While fussing over the wording might seem like semantics, the U.S. Champagne Bureau protested that the Champagne name was being used incorrectly. With their tails between their legs, the organizing committee agreed to change the error in time for the lunch.
© Coravin/AFP | 5. How to Drink Wine Without Opening the Bottle
Only want a glass of wine but don’t want to open a bottle? Coravin – a new “wine access system” that was dubbed “a killer device” by Robert Parker – has the capacity to deliver. The device pierces the cork of a wine bottle with a needle and allows the user to pour out some wine without any oxygen getting in. Perfect for a single glass of wine on a week night or for trying fine wines one glass at a time.
It was our first story of 2013, and one of the most popular: Tyler Colman‘s take on the year ahead. His predictions included the demise of “point-spewing critics” and overly elaborate wine lists. Colman is currently polishing off his crystal ball for a look ahead to 2014.
A reflection on last year’s fine-wine scene from London-based exchange Liv-ex made gloomy reading for wine investors in January. The Eurozone crisis, sluggish Asian demand, and a weak U.K. economy shared the blame for falling prices. Unfortunately, this year hasn’t been much better: after a promising start, a “mispriced en primeur campaign” has given Left Bank investors little to smile about. And with the Bordeaux 2013 vintage being described as “shit” by leading consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt, 2014 might be another gloomy year.
The bling Champagne brand with the ostentatious gold bottle and a price tag to match. Armand de Brignac, aka Ace of Spades, is one of the most expensive – and desired – brands on sale in night clubs around the world, no doubt helped by rapper Jay-Z’s public affection for the brand. Champagne specialist Peter Liem regards it as very well made, but not very exciting, although its lack of complexity apparently contributes to its commercial success.
© Jason Tinacci | 9. Parker’s Perfect Napa Dozen
While there are plenty of critics of Parker and his 100-point system, he still makes headlines. After Antonio Galloni‘s rather acrimonious departure from The Wine Advocate, Parker returned to his role as Napa reviewer this year. With a reputation for loving the bold wines of Napa, he could find no fault with 12 wines from the “gorgeous” 2010 vintage. Superlatives flew from his mouth: Shafer Vineyards’ Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon was “mindblowing,” while the 2010 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, was “utter perfection.”
Not surprisingly, some of the producers anointed by Parker also appeared in our list of U.S. wines with the biggest price tags. Are these eye-watering prices justified? Per Holmberg from Christie’s in New York says: “If you consider first-growth Bordeaux prices, then yeah, by all means.” Enjoy every sip if you are drinking one of these wines over the holidays!