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CALIFORNIA FIRST GROWTHS THE 2O15 VINTAGE

by SANDY BLOCK, MW Any attempt to delineate California “First Growths” is by nature subjective, but there are a finite number of Cabernet-based wines that by reputation, track record, and the price they command should be in the discussion. Trying to narrow it down is a pointless exercise. Each of...
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MONTECUCCO SANGIOVESE – BIG REDS FROM CUCKOO MOUNTAIN

by HARVEY FINKEL What’s on offer today? How about big, juicy, multifaceted, ageable reds that you may never have heard of, that are less costly than their neighbors, that are bidding to imminently materialize in the American market? Montecucco, in the northeastern corner of Tuscany’s Maremma, immediately south of more...
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REMEMBERING MICHAEL BRODY

By Kirsten Amann The Massachusetts beverage industry lost one of our brightest innovators and boldest leaders in June with the passing of Michael Brody, Executive Vice President, Spirits for M.S. Walker. Michael was a 46-year veteran of the industry who spent his career shaping the company and culture at M.S....
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A FRESH LOOK AT THE MANY STYLES OF PALE ALES

By Andy Crouch The journey of hops as mere preservative to dominant flavor and aromatic ingredient in beer has been a windy one. Once cast aside as purely offering unpleasant bitterness, American beer enthusiasts and brewers have embraced hops to all ends of the spectrum. Brewers now routinely work with...
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ALICANTE BOUSCHET

By Harvey Finkel Alicante Bouschet, a blue-collar, red-fleshed grape variety of waning popularity in southern France, has achieved elite status in southern Portugal’s Alentejo region. Officially named Alicante Henri Bouschet, this cross of Garnacha (Grenache) with Petit Bouschet was developed by the eponymous Henri Bouschet in the Hérault in 1855,...
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ISRAEL RE-VISITED

By Sandy Block, MW Three years ago we reported on the state of Israel’s wine industry, and its commercial prospects in the U.S., based on a tour of the country’s vineyard regions. Not much has changed in the interim. Quality continues to rise, across the board, but it’s still a...
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FINE BUBBLES FROM SCHARFFENBERGER CELLARS

By Harvey Finkel You’d think you were looking through Alice’s looking glass to view the labyrinthine history of Scharffenberger Cellars, though the wines have been on a straight line of good quality. In 1981, the young John Scharffenberger, having studied agricultural geography at Berkeley, founded a marginally capitalized eponymous sparkling...
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