Christian Navarro

Wild, Wild West: Central and Southern California

California’s Central Coast stretches from Ventura to San Simeon, but its three most important wine regions are Paso Robles, the Edna Valley near San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara County, where the film Sideways was shot. The success of that production fueled a surge of interest in the area’s wines, and the winemakers there have […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Liquid Legends: Bordeaux

Those who like to argue such points could certainly claim with justification that Bordeaux is the greatest winemaking region in all the world. Blessed by the even climate and ideal soils of southwest France, the vintners there excel at producing the rich, full-bodied reds that have made them the oenological envy of the world. Moreover, […]

Château Margaux 2008 Margaux

Few other estates in Médoc can boast the exalted status of First Growth Château Margaux. Devoted to viticulture since the 16th century, the estate grows primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, along with smaller quantities of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, to create this exemplary and hedonistic wine of unparalleled balance and refinement. ($800)

Promise 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

This remarkable label has already been featured in these pages twice—no mean feat, given that this is only the third vintage of Promise. Made in exceedingly small quantities (fewer than 250 cases per vintage) from 100-percent Rutherford fruit, this blend elicited from Robert M. Parker a long string of adjectives that included “spectacular,” “classic,” and […]

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