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May/June 2011
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Market Monitor

By: Stephen Tanzer

Recent and impending developments affecting the retail wine market.
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Focus on California's North Coast

By: Stephen Tanzer

In what is by a wide margin our most extensive report to date on the best new releases from California's North Coast, Josh Raynolds and I offer tasting notes on more than 1,500 of the best new and upcoming bottlings.  Our report highlights the coolish growing season of 2009, which was close to perfect for pinot noir and chardonnay in Sonoma and excellent for Napa Valley growers who brought in ripe fruit prior to heavy mid-October rains.  The new report also features notes on the finished 2008 cabernets, a pure, aromatically expressive, concentrated crop of wines that should provide a great deal of early pleasure owing to their ripe tannins but should also age well.
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Bordeaux 2010: All That Glitters...

By: Ian D'Agata

In his detailed on-site report on the highly touted 2010s, Ian D'Agata takes a somewhat contrarian view.  D'Agata does not believe that the vintage overall is as strong as 2009.  There are some fantastic wines, he says, and most of the best of them are about structure, acidity, purity and finesse.  But many wines show varying signs of green or angular tannins, said D'Agata, in most cases due to hydric stress during the very dry summer.  Incidentally, France's Le Figaro newspaper, in an article entitled "Bordeaux 2010:  le grand bluff," highlighted D'Agata's reservations on the vintage, contrasting them to the more enthusiastic comments of some other critics who they suggested simply went in the direction the wind was blowing.

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New Releases from Chile

By: Josh Raynolds

Josh Raynolds reports that success in the marketplace has encouraged a growing number of producers in Chile to become more adventuresome:  in site selection, in choice of varieties to plant, and in styles of wine to make.  The result, he reports, is that he saw more wines of real individuality this year than ever before.  These limited bottlings often come from "garage wineries" but many large producers too have taken a leap into limited-production wines, usually with positive results.
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