Wine Critics

Sommelier and wine scribe Natalie MacLean has written for dozens of magazines and newspapers, penned Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass, and authors the monthly wine newsletter Nat Decants. I asked MacLean, who hails from Canada, about how the palates of professionals and amateurs match up, how cultural background affects wine critics, the pros and cons of the Internet for wine consumers, and more. In Red, White, and Drunk All Over, you state that you taste 3,000 wines per year, while a critic such as Robert Parker tastes as many as 10,000. Given […]

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Golf & Wine

Normally you’d figure that any PGA Tour player accepting high-fives for scoring in the 90s must have had a sip of something strong. A group of current and former pros, though, have taken winemakers for playing partners and adopted the wine critics’ 100-point scale as a new measure of being on par. The idea is simple enough: Golfers bring the fame, winemakers bring the expertise and together they alchemize the mix into a golden brand. Greg Norman has been at it for nearly two decades. More recently, Arnold Palmer, Mike Weir, Nick Faldo, John Daly, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and […]

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Scoring Wine

I just finished a chapter in Red, White and Drunk all Over in which the author Natalie MacLean examines the “purely American phenomenon” of wine scores. Hugely interesting stuff, and very relevant to us Winos; the vast majority of us, I would hazard a guess, are influenced by those 100-point-scale ratings that we see taped up next to displays of wine in stores. Charged with a mandate to buy something relatively obscure (a bottle of Pinot Noir from Chile, lets say), and discovering two similarly-priced bottles at your local wine shop — both with positive reviews but one featuring a […]

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Economy & Wine

The subprime mortgage crisis may be pushing housing prices down but it could soon have the opposite effect on Chardonnay, Chianti or Shiraz. Concerns about the economy, lower interest rates, rising oil prices and a weak dollar are expected to push the price of wine higher by the end of the year. Jim Galtieri, head of Pasternak Wine Importers, described the combination of economic events as a perfect storm and said we are all wearing foul weather gear. “The dollar is weak and the prognosis is that it is not only going to stay weak, but get weaker when interest […]

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Economy & Wine 2

Today’s cut rate from the Fed has economists expecting that the already-weak dollar will fall even further. That’s after the greenback hit a new record low against the euro early Wednesday, breaking the record it set Monday following announcements of a plunge in consumer confidence — i.e., a measurement of Americans’ optimism about the economy, based on surveys. What does that mean for your wallet? Simply put, the weaker the dollar, the more you pay for imported goods such as that favorite bottle of Château Lafite-Rothschild from France or that Mercedes-Benz S-Class from Germany. “Currency fluctuations immediately affect prices,” says […]

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Pricing Wine

NEW YORK (CNN.com) — From a box of Franzia to a bottle of 1961 Chateau Petrus, there are few drinks with such a wide range of quality and cost as wine. As wine has grown more popular, more and more producers are getting into the market with inexpensive offerings designed to be consumed immediately, pushing overall prices down steadily. But at the same time, demand has soared for premium wines, which are grown in limited quantity and released in moderation — resulting in record breaking prices. This Sunday, an Imperial of a 1961 vintage of Château Petrus (which is the […]

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Wine Deals

Leaves aren’t the only things that fall in autumn. As retailers clean out old inventory and make room for the upcoming holiday season and new year, there are plenty of bargains to be found. Shop for the right items, and you’ll see prices drop just as fast as — if not quicker than — the foliage outside. Here’s our guide to what’s best to buy in September, October and November. Wine When to Buy: September Why: “Fall is always when the new bottles from last year’s harvest show up on shelves,” says Natalie MacLean, editor of Nat Decants, a wine […]

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