#144-146: Vintage 2012 Master Sommelier Issue

  • Special Report: Italy's Franciacorta
  • Vintage 2012 Master Sommeliers
  • 800+ Wines Recommended


Below is a summary of Restaurant Wine issue #144-146, published in July-Dec 2012. This issue is available for purchase online by clicking “Add to Cart” below.

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Special Report: Italy’s Franciacorta

Italy’s “other sparkling wine” challenges the best sparklers produced anywhere. Yet this ‘new’ and small region is poised to become a household word, as its wines get better and better and better… Here, we also review dozens of our favorite current releases.

Vintage 2012 Master Sommeliers

We profile nine of ten Americans who passed the Master Sommelier diploma examination in 2012. They happen to be — already — among the most influential and prestigious wine professionals ever to pass the Master Sommelier diploma examination in a single calendar year. It is not only where they now work and what they do that is so interesting, but also what they think and how they view their roles as mentors, advocates, and professionals that gives insights into where and how they will help lead the industry in the years ahead.

Wine Recommendations

An extraordinary range of wines this issue, from California, Washington, and Oregon; France; Germany; New Zealand; and Spain. The 800+ wines recommended represent fewer than 40% of the total wines tasted for this issue.

From the USA, we present some of the best American wines we have ever tasted, including outstanding Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs (from Washington and California); top Rieslings (Washington and Oregon); outstanding late harvest Semillons; superb 2010 Pinot Noirs and 2009 Cabernets/blends (California); stunning Syrahs; and top value Zinfandels.

From France, we focus on first-rate sparkling wines and Champagnes, including those from the relatively new Devaux brand, as well as the excellent Languedoc wines from Gerard Bertrand.

In 2011, Germany enjoyed one of its best vintages since 1971. We tasted several hundred dry and fruity/sweet Rieslings, and bring you our favorites — and the best values — from such producers as Bischoflische Weinguter, Dr. Loosen, Gut Hermannsberg, Hermann Donnhof, Karthauserhof, Kunstler, Kloster Eberbach, Robert Weil, Schloss Reinhartshausen, Schloss Vollrads, Schlossgut Diel, von Kesselstatt, etc. The 2011s are some of the greatest Rieslings we have ever tasted (in 40 years of following them closely).

Italy continues to be an extraordinarily dynamic wine country: from Prosecco to Barolo, and Soave to Sicilia IGT Italian wines have never been better. We recommend 100+ Italian wines here, from leading and upcoming producers from Friuli, Veneto, Tuscany, Piedmont, Sicily, Umbria, Marche, and Sardinia.

New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs represent excellent value in the world market, and we present some of our favorite ones here, as well as outstanding Pinot Gris and Rieslings. And from Spain, we spotlight some top dry white wines (Verdejo, Rioja, Rias Baixas) and outstanding reds from Toro, Rioja, Bierzo, and Castilla y Leon.