CHRISTIAN NAVARRO

California Dreaming: Napa Valley and Sonoma County

As the cradle of all New World and American wine, these two regions in the northern half of the Golden State possess all the attributes of viticultural nirvana: Perfect amounts of sunlight, soils that imbue the fruit with structure and complexity of flavor, and the local populace’s tenacious pioneering spirit that drives the winemaking to […]

Ideal Iberians: Spain and Portugal

At present, the iberian Peninsula is producing arguably the best wines in Europe. The wine industries in Spain and Portugal have undergone significant transformations in recent decades. In both countries, traditional winemakers and the more avant-garde new school of oenologists seem to have struck a harmonious balance in which each group borrows techniques and practices […]

Pure and Precise: Loire, Alsace, Provence, and Germany

While this grouping of regions may be all over the map, the best wines from these areas share certain stylistic attributes—such as mouthwatering minerality, lively acidity, and precise, lengthy finishes—that make them exceptional wines for pairing with food. Though often underappreciated in the United States, these recent releases do credit to the noble soils from […]

Ancient Roots, Modern Vines: Italy

Its traditions are ancient, but the modern nation of Italy is a relatively recent invention. Just as the United States was torn by civil war in 1861, the disparate Italian states were being unified under Victor Emmanuel II, whom the new parliament proclaimed king. The government declared Rome its new capital, yet the city-states of […]

The Big Valley: Rhône

There is an old saying that, if it smells like a Bordeaux and tastes like a Burgundy, it must be a Rhône. Indeed, the wines of this southern region of France strike an interesting medium between the lushness of those from Pauillac and Pomerol and the exquisitely structured austerity of those grown in the Côte […]

Tiny Bubbles: Champagne

Although the wines of Champagne are all too easy to sip, they are actually quite difficult to make. Yet these adversities are partly responsible for the creation of the sparkling wines that have come to define this cool countryside, which lies east of Paris. Historically, Champagne’s cold climate—unlike that of any other major wine-producing region—would […]

Red King, White King: Burgundy

It has been said that Bordeaux is for the rich, but Burgundy is only for kings. Indeed, the region’s history reveals regal ties: One of its grand crus, Corton-Charlemagne, is named for the first ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. Despite its glorious past, however, this illustrious swath of French countryside frustrates oenophiles as often […]

Veuve Clicquot 1998 La Grande Dame Brut

This refined and elegant tête de cuvée from one of France’s most respected Champagne houses possesses the delicate perfume, voluptuous body, and charming personality of a very great lady indeed. Time in the bottle has brought incredible dimension to the 1998 vintage. ($150)

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