"Great wine from Pinot Noir is as easy to define as it is to achieve," said viticulturist John Wetlaufer, who took the Wine Experience stage with his wife and winemaking partner, Helen Turley. Wine Spectatorsenior editor James Laube joked that the couple would be sharing their "secret formula," but instead, they impressed upon the audience their passion for meticulous winemaking and their strict attention to grapegrowing details such as site selection, rootstock, crop thinning and picking at optimum ripeness.
Forty years ago, Piero Antinori outraged the Italian wine world with the first release of a red blend that was quite untraditionally Tuscan, Tignanello. A few years later, he followed that with Solaia, which also blended the Bordeaux grapes Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with the local Sangiovese. Together, they helped create a new category—super Tuscan—and the future of Tuscany was set in motion.
DE Bortoli Wines, one of Australia’s largest family-owned wine groups, has more than doubled its profit, but the sharp uplift in earnings had little to do with its vineyard and was rather the result of good luck on the sharemarket and slashing costs across the business.
"One of the things that brings us all together in this room is that we all love great wines," pointed out vintner Mark Carter during a Wine Experience seminar devoted to Napa Valley's historic To Kalon vineyard. "Great wines come from great vineyards," Carter added, "and To Kalon is one of the greatest vineyards in the world."
Few wine regions have gone through such a dramatic transformation as Portugal’s Douro Valley. “What we will taste today is the taste of a revolution,” said Wine Spectator contributing editor Matt Kramer, who spent three months in Porto to learn more about the region's exciting table wines. He shared three of his favorites from top producers, which he described as “utterly original,” with the Wine Experience audience.
“Wine is a time machine,” Jean-Michel Cazes said. “It’s the only time machine that really works.” After 30 years at the helm of Château Lynch Bages in Bordeaux, Cazes speaks from experience, and he offered a superb example with the classic 2000 vintage from the fifth-growth estate's cellar.