The (Unthinkable) End of Wine?

Shattered wine glass

Four years ago, the World Economic Forum reported that extreme, volatile weather events would cause 12 crops to be extinct within the next few decades. One of those crops was wine grapes. This can’t possibly… Continue reading

Best Restaurant All Year…

colorful food

The new French Laundry lives—and it’s in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Ok, it’s not the French Laundry (the Napa Valley restaurant owned by chef Thomas Keller). But the new restaurant ōkta in the small… Continue reading

Who Doesn’t Love to be Seized…?

A Review of Drinking with the Valkyries by Andrew Jefford

Photo of book cover

I read recently about a dangerous animal quest. Two friends, a writer and a biologist, spend several grueling months trekking into the Himalayas to catch a glimpse of one of the world’s most elusive animals:… Continue reading

I Hope I Remember This Night

I wrote the following poem on the evening of September 21, 2022 after attending a “Conversation” at Ashes & Diamonds winery in the Napa Valley. The presentation—by five winemakers—centered around the topic of sustainability. But,… Continue reading

Are Smaller Bubbles Really Better?

Wine bubbles in a glass

The first time I went to the Champagne region, a winemaker took me aside and showed me a glass of Perrier water. These, he said, were not “good” bubbles—not for Champagne wine anyway. The almost… Continue reading

The Rise of Fantastic Cabernet Franc

Wine bottles in a round photo

One of the more exciting things that we at Karen MacNeil & Company did this past summer was a double-blind tasting of every California Cabernet Franc we could get our hands on. There are more… Continue reading

Unleashed and Unhinged

image of 4 wine bottles

One of the first life-changing wines I drank in my 20s was a Guigal Côte-Rôtie “Brune et Blonde.” I was in a New York steakhouse and the sommelier I was with just stood there awaiting… Continue reading


Wine Evaluation System Example

The first evaluation system I encountered when I was starting out in wine was the 20-point system. Essentially various aspects of the wine were awarded a certain number of points out of 20. Color got… Continue reading

California Chardonnay—Walking the Talk?

In the United States, the popularity of big, oaky California Chardonnays led, in the late 1990s, to a still-thriving counter-movement called ABC—Anything But Chardonnay. Today, scores of California winemakers hammer on about the importance of… Continue reading

The New Super Sauvignons

One of the most exciting developments in wine over the last several years has been the emergence of a whole new class of California Sauvignon Blancs—wines that are bright, minerally, sophisticated, and complex, often with a ravishing… Continue reading

Why Don’t I Love Beaujolais More?

I should. Gamay can be a fantastic grape. And the best cru Beaujolais’ have lots of what I love in wine—precision, freshness, structure, aliveness, a core of addictively delicious fruit. But somehow I never seem… Continue reading

Trunk and Disorderly

The biomolecular archeologist Patrick McGovern has said, “We are set up as biological creatures to drink alcohol. Biology, chemistry, genetics, ancient texts, art, ethnography, and archeology all support this.”   Other animals in particular have… Continue reading

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