Stephen Tanzer's


The largest issue in the 29+-year history of the International Wine Cellar went live last night, featuring five in-depth articles and more than 2,700 tasting notes. If you’ve never seen the IWC, you’ll be able to read expert wine criticism from the full line-up of our regular writers in the current issue.

For as little as $19.95 for a two-month subscription, you can get immediate and unlimited access to the current issue, as well as to the easily searchable and sortable IWC data base of well over 100,000 tasting notes and to the unusually civilized IWC user forum.

Here’s what you will find in Issue 176: READ MORE »

September 18th, 2014 | no comments

Why should you care? Following an extended period during which chardonnay was relegated to second-class status behind the country’s cash cow, sauvignon blanc, the quality of New Zealand’s chardonnays, and the popularity of these wines in the home market, have risen steadily in recent years. The Brajkovich family, who emigrated to New Zealand from their native Croatia in 1937, has consistently been making New Zealand’s most decorated chardonnays under their Kumeu River label since the 1980s. These wines have justly earned a reputation for being among the world’s most Burgundian chardonnays made outside Burgundy.

What does it taste like? The 2011 Chardonnay Estate Kumeu (Kumeu is also the name of the tiny, relatively cool appellation north of Auckland), a blend of the best grapes from several sites, entices with aromas of apple and peach nectar complicated by sexy hazelnut. It’s sweet, spicy and generous on the palate, with nicely integrated acidity giving a light touch to the apple and stone fruit flavors. The back end is brisk, dry and gingery, with a saline nuance. You can spend 50% more on Kumeu River’s more minerally, ageworthy, top-of-the-line Maté’s Vineyard chardonnay, but over the next few years the Estate blend will give greater drinking pleasure. My score: 90 points.

How much does it cost, and where can you find it? $34; Wilson Daniels.

September 16th, 2014 | no comments

Guest Stars
Guest Stars

Boys and girls and their new toys

Winemaker Roundtable

What is the next significant cellar implement you are eager to adopt, and what do you hope to accomplish by using it? I’m referring to such devices as presses, destemmers, new fermentation and/or aging vessels, pumps, bottling equipment, and the like.

Anthony Hamilton Russell, Hamilton Russell Vineyards (Hermanus, South Africa). We are currently undergoing a major fermentation cellar upgrade prior to our 2015 harvest. The main feature is a set of 13 new small (cooled) stainless steel open fermenters with easy-access catwalks, designed specifically for our pinot noir. We will be able to have the entire harvest in the cellar at once, with each lot in an appropriately sized fermenter. We will have a longer cold-soak and total cuvaison and more precise cap management. We have also upgraded the cooling and purchased a new (and better) pneumatic press. READ MORE »

September 13th, 2014 | no comments

The recent trials and tribulations of Australian wines in the American market have yielded major benefits for at least one important group: wine consumers. Following the boom years of the late 1990s importers of wines from Down Under have found it increasingly difficult to move anything like the volume of high-end wines that they used sell. Circumstances have forced them to pare down their portfolios accordingly, meaning that, generally speaking, only the best of the best Australian wines, at all price points, are currently on offer here. READ MORE »

September 10th, 2014 | no comments