Inside the Issue

Fall 2018

Breakthrough Wines

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Departments


Editor's Note
Owning Up

Drink Different

We all have biases, whether it’s a grudge against cooked broccoli or oaky cabernet sauvignon. But every once in a while, a wine comes along that makes us reconsider. This issue is devoted to those wines.

Breakthrough Wines

Farming

Alsace Gewurztraminer
Gewurztraminer can be aggressive, Joshua Greene finds, given its wild, floral scents, but grown with care in the right place, some recent releases have won him over at dinner.

Chilean Sauvignon Blanc
Rachel DelRocco
Terrazas makes peace with sauvignon’s grassy flavors through the distinctive character of Chile’s far-coast versions.

Carmenère
Patrick J. Comiskey
had always been challenged by thin, reedy carmenère, until a series of wines from Walla Walla in Washington State began to turn his head.

Grenache
Tasted blind, it only took a single glass of Priorat to change Deanna Gonnella’s entire outlook on grenache.

Precision

Sicilian Nero d’Avola
Best known as Sicily’s answer to international-style reds, nero d’Avola is widely planted and often anonymous—or that was Stephanie Johnson’s impression, prior to discovering some compelling versions on the volcanic island.

Tuscan Coastal Reds
The broad-shouldered Super-Tuscans from Italy’s coast have never really captivated Stephanie Johnson. Now the region’s cabernet franc has her taking a second look.

Vodka
Vodka is colorless and flavorless, right? As a bartender, Rachel DelRocco Terrazas long dismissed vodka, until she started looking more closely.

Altitude

Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Sharing a mountain range with Napa Valley, the Alexander Valley’s hills produce a completely different style of cabernet, one that has little to do with the plantings on the Russian River floodplain. Joshua Greene reports on changes in farming and winemaking that are leading growers to turn out finely ripened, silken cabernet.

Australian Shiraz
Like many people, Allison Bart thought of Aussie shiraz as hyperripe and oaky, until a bottle from the foothills of the Victorian Alps illuminated the country’s move to cool-climate reds.

Mendoza Malbec
A tip-off from South American wine critic Patricio Tapia leads Tara Q. Thomas to reconsider Mendoza malbec, as she discovers a new generation of wines from the region’s highest climes.

Classicism

Napa Valley Cabernet
As a fifth-generation Napan and young cellar rat, Karen Moneymaker was surprised by how poorly the famous cult wines of Napa Valley were aging. But recent tastings at W&S have reminded her that the old-school classics are still pretty great.

Portuguese Reds
Before Portugal joined the EU, local producers featured their diverse range of varieties in wines they held back to grow elegant with age. Deanna Gonnella, who once shunned the Portugal shelf, now scans it for older bottles.

Breakthrough Meals

As wine critics, we tend to pride ourselves on our broad tastes and openness to new flavors. But when it comes to food, there are things that took a lifetime for some of us to appreciate.

Game Changers

Non-Dosage Champagne
Willamette Chardonnay
Off-Island Assyrtiko
Retsina
Chilean Carmenère

Canary Island Reds
Chianti Classico
Cahors
Margaret River Cabernet

End Notes

Yes, we’ll admit it. We’re biased when it comes to these words describing wine and food.